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Ásgarðr

Chapter Text

Loki's Perspective

It is a foolish decision, but it is one I make without thinking twice. With three of the Infinity stones in hand, power surges through my veins like liquid fire, and I feel my being slowly begin to unfurl, coming undone at the very threads that tie me into existence. It is a sweet pain, a beautiful burn that consumes me, but I have little time to dwell on it before I exist wholeheartedly. Everything that I am, or was, or will be, become one with a simple click that makes perfect sense. 

 

I begin to understand who I am meant to be, and it was not who I masqueraded as. How stupid I had been. In the grand scheme of things, what are we? Why do we exist? We are but small insignificant things, living our lives to our very best ability. My father tried to teach me that a God was not above the lives of mortals, but I had refused to listen. I wasted my time wallowing over things I could not change. There are things that happen because they must. There are events that exist to lead us onto our destined paths, to reach our destined journey. So, I ask, am I supposed to be here? 

 

With the stones, I can walk through time. I stepped through centuries to watch as innocent jokes filled with joy turned into cruel ones filled with malice. I noticed things I had never noticed before while living them. I saw the way my brother's expression changed when he looked my way, as pain flooded his eyes because he knew he was losing me but did not know how to stop it. I saw every failed attempt to reach out. I remembered every hand I slapped away. 

 

I was not forced to behave in any kind of way. It was anguish, I saw now, not strength, that made me act out. How odd it was to witness your life from the third person point of view, realizing every false step, every mistake, judging your own actions from a different perspective. I had been childish. I longed for something more, but what I longed for was presented before me. Perhaps I had a choice, and I made the wrong one. 

 

Perhaps there was only an illusion of choice? 

 

Bah, that is far too philosophical. Of course, there is a choice. I made choices that led me here, to this place now, caught between my past and my present. I hear my mother's voice, but she sounds distant. She is teaching me, lecturing me about the importance of patience. She has not formed yet. Her colors are still blurred together. 

 

"These things do not come easy, Loki."

 

Holding the stones tightly in hand, I open my eyes. I am standing inside a room I recognize.

 

                                                                             * * * * * *

"But, mother, I understand," I tried to argue, but she shook her head. She would not listen. She had been in my shoes once, and she had reacted in a similar fashion. A small smile spread across her lips, an expression I had come to love. 

 

"You do not understand, Loki, or you would be patient," she replied softly. Quietly, she sat down across from me and proceeded to pick up a large leatherbound book off of a table's surface. She cracked it open, and her eyes fell to the words scrawled across its pages. For a moment, she remained that way. She did not move, and she did not speak. Then, her eyes rose to my face. 

 

"How does one read without patience?" 

 

"They cannot."

 

"And why is that?" 

 

"Because they would not wait for the ending, so they would miss it," I answered simply. Her smile stayed. She, once again, glanced down at the pages. 

 

"You chastise your brother for his impatience." 

 

"Yes, but-"

 

"But nothing, Loki. You need not chastise someone for making the same mistakes you make. There is a term the Midgardians have for such a thing. Do you know it?"

 

"Hypocrisy," I muttered. 

 

"Hypocrisy. Do you know...when one nitpicks at another's bad traits, it is most likely because they themselves have similar traits they cannot stand," my mother questioned, closing the book and setting it aside. I had no reply, so I held my tongue. 

 

"Learn to be patient. Learn to be understanding. Learn to be wise. Go now, play with your brother." 

 

I did not need to be told twice. I did as she said, gathering up my things from that day's studies and heading toward the door. 

 

"Loki."

 

"Yes, mother?"

 

"You are an intelligent boy, but that is not everything. To be well-rounded, you must learn compassion. Your brother has his own skills. Take the time to appreciate them as you do your own." 

 

                                                                                 * * * * * * 

I see her, but I know she is gone. Not now, not in my timeline. Not yet. I know that it will happen, just as I know I will die. Still, I watch this place I called home fade from view as I step out of it. It is a cool breeze, leaving my skin frozen. I continue forever more. 

 

I hear Thor's boisterous voice before I see him. He and I are running through the woods, but I am far behind him. I see my past self struggling to keep up before giving up, preferring to walk instead. He runs on, leaving me in the dust.

 

His body whips past mine, but he does not acknowledge me. I am not of this time. I am of little concern to him. 

 

                                                                              * * * * * * 

 

" Thor, the tr-" I shouted, but it was too late. I winced at the crack that resonated through the silence as Thor's face collided with the trunk of a tree that I had seen long before he had. He stumbled back into me, and our legs gave out. We tumbled to the forest's floor. I barely managed to roll out of the way of his weight, huffing in annoyance as he lied there dazed.

 

"You big oaf! What did I say?" I hissed. 

 

"You were trying to warn me..."

 

"And?"

 

"And I did not listen." Thor slowly sat up, rubbing his head with his hand. I watched blood bubble up from a cut on his forehead, and I hesitantly reached out to swipe it away with my thumb. My eyes fell to it, and I noted the way it seemed to sparkle on my skin. With a quiet hum, I wiped it off on Thor's clothing. He looked at me incredulously but said nothing. 

 

"Does it hurt?" 

 

"No."

 

"Are you sure that is not because you have damaged your brain? Mother would be most upset..." 

 

"Loki, I did not damage my brain." 

 

"I believe your brain is already damaged enough if I am being quite honest."

 

Thor grabbed at me, but I moved out of the way with a big smile spread across my lips. He pulled back, suppressing a pained groan. It was nearly imperceivable, but it was enough to wipe the smile off my face. I crouched down beside him, peering into his eyes.

 

"It hurts?" I asked again. 

 

"A little, yes."

 

"I knew it did. Stay still." 

 

                                                                                * * * * * * 

 

I want to kill Thor, or at least I try to convince myself of that fact. I believe myself incapable of doing so. Though in my present, I have recently tried again, I have seen into a future where I am much more than that. A future where I am much more than the things I fear. 

 

It is odd, seeing my brother and I acting as siblings should, but we were there without murderous intent glinting inside of our eyes. Without knives hidden behind backs. I was genuinely concerned for his wellbeing, and he genuinely wanted me there by his side. It is equally as odd to see a version of myself ignorant to the truth. 

 

He has yet to hear the cruel things his brother has to say about the origin of his birth. He has yet to discover that he is nothing like his "people". They are not his family. He has yet to find out that he was lied to by his supposed father. 

 

I envy him. When I close my eyes now, I am haunted by images of cerulean skin and the ice in my veins. My hands are cold to the touch. There is frost inside my lungs, and it hurts to breathe so instead I hold my breath. The tears that choke me are not caused by anger as I initially believed but by fear. I am afraid of being different than everyone else. I do not see it as a gift because I do not want to stand out. I already do, enough, and any more would be another's excuse to push me away. 

 

I understand now that I am afraid of what my brother would do if he knew. 

 

I am destroying our relationship to prevent my brother from doing so. The last word, if you will. I know that now. 

 

So, if I hurt as much as I did, why was it Thor that looked devastated? I have to find out. 

Chapter Text

Loki's Perspective

No, forgive me. I am explaining things you do not need to know. Allow me to try again. You know the past, or bits and pieces of it. They made me who I am, currently, but they are not what matters now. Do you understand? You know about the Avengers. The Midgardians banded together with whomever they could find, in an attempt to stop my brash attempt at world domination. Please, glance past that, will you? Not my best moment, I confess. 

 

The stones. The Midgardians were correct. There were three stones in New York at that current time, which I discovered long after they themselves did, or perhaps it was earlier? Considering their reality had not happened yet. Nevermind. It does get confusing. 

 

Still, I remember. There was an attempt to reclaim the stones in my timeline, by yours. I had two of them, I know. The Scepter, and the Tesseract. The Present Day Avengers required all of them. It did not take long for me to realize that they were in a time they should not have been in, and it raised a few questions. 

 

Why would your future require the stones? You should have had them. 

 

But, then I answered myself. Thanos succeeded in your future, Thor, did he not? There were no stones because you lost them, but you were desperate to fix what had been done. That is why they were here, searching for stones to replace the ones that they should have had but did not. 

 

It made me think of another question, a frightening one. From the moment I had first used the stones, I knew I would not give them to Thanos. I was a monster, brother, but do you think of me that bad? I would not be spared, yes? The answer was simple. If Thanos had succeeded in acquiring all of the stones, it must have meant that I did not. I was dead. 

 

I die in your time.

 

That is where we should begin. My death, or the realization thereof. 

 

I discovered that in your time I should die. My future would be my death. I learned this, and I was curious. Why would I die? It was a stupid, untimely death, but if I had not died I feel you would have. The world, at the time, needed you more than it needed me. I realized, Thor, that I died so that you may live. 

 

I needed more than that. 

 

The Mighty Avengers showed me their plans in a matter of minutes, with one small mistake, and I understood everything. Do you want to know what I did? You returned the stones to their respective places, Thor, but that included my own. Of course, I lingered in this place your Midgardians called New York. I waited. 

 

When the stones were returned, I took hold of them. Just the three. Mind, Space, and Time. 

 

Now, Space and Time are already intertwined. They work in very similar manners, which worked in my favor I must admit. Still, I could not remember for the life of me what had occurred in my future to be. I wished to know, so I did.

 

I used the Time stone to glance through the timeline you came from, soaking in the information I could find. I saw my death but did not remember it. I wished to know your Loki, know the things that he had done. It wasn't impossible. I am not your Loki, but I am.

 

Using the stones I had acquired, I was able to remember memories that were not my own. Do you understand this? I imagined it to be a catastrophic thing, with too many noises and pictures overlapping, but they are not. They, instead, live simultaneously. Most of our pasts inter-lap perfectly. Our thoughts, our memories, they blur into a continuous motion with smooth dips and curves.

 

The frayed strands, instead of causing confusion, become braided together. I remember my future as my past as if I have already lived through it. 

 

I remember you, Thor. 

 

I remember our lives as children, as adolescents, as adults. I remember our wars. I remember becoming brothers when we fought our sister together. 

 

I remember dying. 

 

I am not sure I am explaining this well. While I have not lived your Loki's life, I have. I remember every step, every thought I have ever had. After that, after opening my own eyes, I realized that I was alive. I would never have to die for you because I already had. 

 

I realized I would make the same sacrifice if need be.

 

The next action was done purely based on emotion, which I admit is odd for me. I found my way to your timeline, but I did not bring the stones. I figured you had left them behind for a specific reason. Of course, those timelines losing their own respective stones would cause fractures. I am not stupid. 

 

I left them behind after coming to your time. I have no way home, though I do not think I care much.

 

I see this town you've built with your own two hands. New Asgard, you called it. I am impressed, but this place smells of pain. I see the cliff it sits upon. 

 

I remember this place. I remember how it overlooked the sea, how the waves smashed against the stones with a sound akin to your Thunder. I remember how father loved this place.

 

I also remember having never stepped foot here. 

Chapter Text

Loki's Perspective

The water roars loudly, and the volume of it is nearly deafening. I continue on regardless, eyeing the wooden sign he painted with the name of his Kingdom. New Asgard. It is saddening to see that he has not moved on, or perhaps he has, but a piece of him clings to the memory of home. I cannot say that I blame him. For some, it is harder to let go. This place smells of pain. It has soaked into the wood of the structures, has made a refuge for itself. It hides out of view so that no one may find it. I see it, lingering in the cracks, but it is my own. 

 

I am afraid to step foot in this village that rests on the cliff my father died upon. I wish to see my brother, but no. I left my brother behind in my own timeline, and this is not him. But, I suppose at the same time, it is. The brother that I left behind will grow into this man I am too frightened to see now. I stand at the mouth of this place, listening to the water smash against the stones below. 

 

The air around us is a shroud of mist, obscuring this place from view. The sky above is a darkened gray, warning of bad weather approaching. There is one who commands the storms. I figure he must've been unhappy, though I am unsure why. I change my face for his sake, taking a deep breath before stepping foot inside his kingdom.

 

Thor Odinson, God of Lightning, lives on a small incline at the far edge of the village. It is most obvious. The house that sits there towers over all else and screams of tradition. The entirety of this place looks old, as though it had not been built recently, but I know that this cliffside used to be free of everything that was not grass and stone. 

 

Now the remainder of Asgard lies here.

 

No one glances my way. In all their years of life, after everything they've lived through, they still have not learned to be suspicious of new faces. None of them notice me as I pass by, or so I thought. 

 

I feel eyes on me. A woman is staring my way, and I recognize her as someone I should know. I do know her, except I do not. I have not seen her yet, but I have. It should have been confusing, but it made perfect sense. I had to stop with the "shoulds" and "should nots". I was Loki Laufeyson, but I was Loki Odinson as well. Prince of Jotunheim, God of Mischief. Thor's brother. 

 

I swallow past the lump that has risen in my throat, but her gaze does not waver. She is approaching. Swearing quietly, I turn away from her and try to seem less suspicious. She is not buying it.

 

"...who are you," she questions. 

 

Valkyrie. Brunnhilde. I remember. 

 

"Where is Thor? Is he there," I respond, gesturing to the house on top of the hill. At the very edge of the cliff. 

 

"He will not see anyone. Why do you ask? I don't recognize you." 

 

"...It doesn't concern you. I need to speak to m...to Thor. I need to speak with him, so if you would kindly..."

 

"You can try to speak to him, but he has been busy lately."

 

My eyes fall upon the house, but I say nothing to her. My mind is elsewhere. With the Tesseract in hand, Space is mine to control. I knew this. I had to. I had managed to search the far expanses of Midgard seeking other stones in the past. Stupidly, I had walked into this town without the need to. 

 

But, there is a part of me that wanted to see my brother's progress. I am impressed with what he has accomplished thus far, but the awkward nature of the reunion with Brunnhilde left me with my own doubts. Perhaps traveling here, to this time, was a foolish decision. There was no need to come here, but I could not deny how I felt. 

 

"I shall visit him then," I answer. Her brow arches. 

 

"Who are you?" 

 

"That is a difficult question to answer because not even I am sure," I say solemnly, my eyes falling onto her face. She seems surprised by my reply, but she doesn't push. After a second, her face hardens. 

 

"Don't try anything funny."

 

"Of course."

 

Nothing else is said between us as I walk, closing the distance between me and my brother one step at a time. The home towers over me, casting a shadow across my face as I approach the door. There are runes engraved in its oak, and I am reaching for it before I can stop myself. My fingertips brush against the symbols carved into the wood, and I am surprised by their roughness as they kiss my skin.

 

Thor, Son of Odin, King of Asgard, God of Thunder.

 

I do not knock. I let myself into the home silently. The only light inside the room comes from the windows, and it paints everything a depressing color that resembles ash. I see my brother staring outside, and I feel my breath catch inside my throat. I say nothing. 

 

Words do not greet me. 

 

"What do you need, woman?" He questions suddenly, drawing my attention to him. He looks older than when I last have a memory of him. His hair has grown, tangled in dirty locks that rest at his shoulders. Stress shapes his face in clear distinct lines, and I wish to soothe them away with my fingertips or with my lips. 

 

He is not looking my way. Instead, he keeps his eyes glued on the world outside of this room. 

 

"If you wish to be out there so badly, why are you not?" 

 

"...I wish to be alone."

 

"The name you have chosen...New Asgard, well, it is rather obvious. Is it not?" Now, he glances my way. I cannot read his expression as I often could in the past. As far as I am able to discern, he looks tired. 

 

"I have never seen you before."

 

"Yes, I expected that much."

 

"Who are you?"

 

"I will answer your question, but first I must know...what is today? Why do you look so upset?"

 

There is a heavy silence that falls over our heads, and for a moment, I am afraid that I have overstepped my boundaries. He turns away from me, and it takes every ounce of my strength to keep from begging him to look at me. He is not the brother that I knew. He has seen things, experienced things I could not imagine, and he has lost everything he has ever held dear. Loss changes a man in inconceivable ways. 

 

"Today is the anniversary of my...brother's death. The day I lost my people, my home. If you were Asgardian, you would know this. So, I ask again, who are you?" 

 

I pause. I hesitate. 

 

I cannot bear to see him look so broken with his inner light dimmed to darkness, where it should have, instead, been blinding. 

 

"I am Loki...Loki Odinson, as I have come to accept." 

 

Again, Thor turns my way, and I drop the illusion.

 

He drops to the floor.

Chapter Text

Loki's Perspective

I saw him standing beside father. I heard the words that he spoke, and they broke me. Everything that I was began to crumble at my feet. There was no Loki Odinson. I was not my father's child. Instead, I was a lost thing he had collected from the rubble. What he had intended for me, I did not know, but one thing was for certain. He lied to me. He built a life for me, but it was one founded on selfish ideals and deceit. There was no truth, no love, only his plans for the future. He fed me false hopes and dreams where there were none. 

 

And, despite everything that he had done, he expected me to be indebted to him. He expected me to be grateful. 

 

Was I supposed to be? I stood there in the shadows of the throne room, and I listened as my brother told my father that he would kill my people. I had no love for them, no, but I was what the Asgardians despised. Here I was, realizing then that my brother would not love me had he known the truth about my origin. 

 

"Father, when I am King, I will..."

 

The words blend together, losing their meaning as my eyes struggled to focus. My brain struggled against the truth, battling my emotions with logical thought. Of course, it was a simple conclusion. They did not want me here. I was not one of them. I was Prince of Jotunheim. I should be a King. I only studied the Prince's life from the sidelines, watching as he grew up. Watching as we grew apart. 

 

Part of me wondered if perhaps he knew. 

 

He continued his warmongering. I turned away because I couldn't take any more of it. I heard my name as the oak doors slammed behind me with a bang so grand and so thunderous that it echoed throughout the halls of this place I once considered home. I did not look over my shoulder to see if he would follow. 

 

I was afraid that he would stop me. 

 

I was raised to believe that I was Asgardian. From a young age, I realized that I was different, but I never thought twice about it. I figured it was a feeling that every child experienced. How foolish I was, desperate to ignore the truth that was so plainly presented before me. I felt as though I could not hold them accountable for my ignorance, as eagerly as I wanted to. 

 

I was blind because I chose to remain so. 

 

I heard the door from somewhere behind me. There were footsteps fast approaching, but I paid them no mind. It was not until a hand tightened around my wrist that I stopped. 

 

"Loki, did you...hear that?" Thor questioned, huffing and out of breath. I did not turn to look his way.

 

"So what if I did?"

 

"Well, this is certainly not the reaction I expected...I thought you would be on board,"  he answered after a moment. His fingers were still wrapped around my wrist, and I was acutely aware of him straightening his back with a speed that should have made it crack. 

 

"On board?" I asked him softly, feeling my patience grow thin. 

 

"Loki, please, do not play stupid. I know you."

 

"You are warmongering. I want no part of it. You must realize how foolish you sound, pretending to be something you are not," I snapped. He looked surprised, and an uneasy silence fell over our heads. I said nothing, letting the quiet seep into the cracks that were crumbling my facade. It was Thor that broke it, speaking with erratic energy that left my head buzzing. 

 

"What am I pretending?" 

 

"To be King."

 

It was as simple as that. The world around us began to fall away, leaving fractures in our relationship that I would not be able to repair had I wished to. Thor's eyes widened, and I saw as he tried to think of a reply. Any retort he may have had would be lost underneath the din of my blood rushing through my veins with the force of a roaring wave. 

 

With that, I pulled my arm away. 

 

"Brother..."

 

"I am not your brother."

 

                                                                       * * * * * * 

 

"I don't...understand," Thor speaks softly, his voice cracking on the invisible weight his words carry. It is the first thing said since I explained what happened to me, the things that I had down, and his voice startles me out of my reverie. I am sitting beside him silently, studying the lines of his face as my brain tries to agree with my heart. Earlier, he had collapsed into a heap on the floor. I saw my brother cry then, but I had managed to calm him. After he touched my face a few times, he seemed to believe that I was truly there. Suddenly, I feel as though I am fragile. 

 

"Yes, I can see that," I reply after a moment, but that is all I say. I do not trust the things that threaten to spill over. His eyes meet mine. I remember their past clarity when they were clear blue oceans, but I see now that they are a sea in constant turmoil. Darkened by storms, violent waves destroy all in their path. I feel lost inside of them when I look, like an unfortunate sailor being dragged to my death.

 

"Explain it again."

 

"I have already explained it three times..."

 

"Yes, but I don't understand. There is something you still haven't told me. Why are you here?" His question catches me off guard, and I visibly start. The quiet is my only answer, and it prompts him to scoot closer. Before I can argue, his hands grip mine tightly. I see his knuckles bleed into a bone white. "Why?"

 

"...I wished to see you, I suppose. I saw our...futures, and I wished to see it for myself. I did not think it possible." 

 

"What part?"

 

"All of it, but mostly our...relationship. I thought it irreparable." 

 

"It was not," he responds gently, as though speaking to a startled child. I stop that thought before it can take root. I realize he is not attempting to patronize me, but instead, he is talking from a place of hurt. There is a deeprooted pain lost to the naked eye, and it is buried underneath the surface where my fingers cannot reach. 

 

"I saw, but...I did only witness my own side of things. I do not know much about your side of things. I wish to if you would allow me to."

 

"You wish to see my side of things?"

 

"I wish to see what you lived through." 

 

"I don't think you truly want that," Thor answered quickly. I glance at him, surprised by his outburst. The look on his face is one that screams fear. I feel it radiating off of him in waves that leave me breathless. 

 

"I see you, Thor. I see you as you are, and I know that whatever you have gone through..." 

 

"...it is full of nothing but pain, Loki." 

 

"As my life seems to be, yes. I understand what I am asking for, but I wish to know." 

 

"...you came all this way to know. You may, but I warn you...you will not like what you see." 

 

"I...do not doubt that, but I expect that." Without another word, I close the distance between us. My fingertips rest on his temples, and he allows his eyes to fall closed. 

 

"Then you may see," he repeats weakly. 

Chapter Text

Thor's Perspective

The halls seemed to stretch on forever. My steps echoed, ricocheting off of the walls as I hurried down the endless corridors. My eyes scanned the world around me as I searched for something I could not find. My brother had been busy as of late, and of course, I was in need of his attention. Yes, we had our differences. He enjoyed the bickering, or at least I assumed he did. He often started fights just for the sake of it, but I suppose I was equally at fault for keeping the arguments going when I could have walked away. Still, I wanted to see him. I had learned shocking information that I wished to clarify. 

 

I found him reading in the library. Why I did not think to look there first eluded me, but he was there. Sitting with one leg crossed over the other, spine straight, posture perfect. In the back of my mind, I could hear our father scolding us about our table manners. I stood there for a moment, but if he noticed me he said nothing. He, instead, continued to read his book.

 

"You are learning magic with mother?" The words tumbled out of my mouth stupidly before I was able to shut myself up. It was the sudden volume that caught Loki's attention. He said nothing as our eyes locked. The world closed in around us, leaving us struggling to find purchase lest we fall into the abyss beneath. He had been busy, but I was too stubborn to admit to him that I missed his company. Slowly, he glanced back down at the page he was on. A sigh escaped his lips as he closed the book, setting it aside with a carefulness that left my head spinning violently. 

 

"What does it matter?" His response was curt, and part of me was unsure what to say in reply. He turned his attention to me when I did not speak, arching an eyebrow as he stared at me. His expression softened. "I never took you as one that was interested in such things." 

 

"I do not understand it," I explained, shrugging my shoulders. Loki hummed softly in thought, and a small smile spread across his lips.

 

"Yes, you wouldn't, would you?" He was baiting me, but I didn't care. It wasn't that I was stupid enough to be lured in, but his tone begged me to bite down on his hook. I did because it meant that he would speak to me, even if it was only to fuel his ego. 

 

"...You do though, and it is amazing," I answered simply. That was a reply Loki did not expect. I could tell by the way his eyes widened, and his eyebrows rose. He was silent, and I knew that he was struggling to fully process what had been said. 

 

"I'm sorry?"

 

"I said you understand it, and that alone is amazing enough." 

 

"You think it is..." 

 

"Yes, I do. How is it? Studying with mother...? I have heard about the magicks in stories, but I wish to witness what you can do, brother. If able, of course. Perhaps there are rules to this sort of thing that I am...unaware of?" 

 

"No, no, nothing like that," Loki responded before waving a hand dismissively, "Well, actually, yes. There are rules, but nothing about this particular matter. Why are you interested in this all of a sudden? Surely you did not just find out."

 

"I did."

 

"Did you? I never tried to keep it a secret. Were you not even remotely curious as to where I disappeared off to?" 

 

"I was, but I figured you would not say," I explained softly.  Loki did not answer immediately. He seemed to be thinking about what I had said, his brows furrowed and leaving lines creasing his forehead. He eyed the book that rested on the table before his eyes met mine again. 

 

"I suppose that was not far from the truth. There is a good chance I would have told you that it did not concern you."

 

"Yes, I'm sure of that. You are Loki, and that is a very Loki thing to do," I stated, matter-of-factly. He eyed me with an incredulous expression, but he said nothing. I beamed, a wide grin spreading across my lips. "Do enlighten me."

 

"I doubt I should. Your brain would most likely melt, and what a mess that would be to clean up..." 

 

"Loki," I warned, eyes narrowing slightly. He glanced my way before a sigh escaped his lips. 

 

"Alright. Alright. You truly wish to see what I can do?" 

 

"Yes. I have said so." 

 

"...yes, but you may find it not nearly as impressive as you had initially hoped. My magic is...one of subtlety." 

 

"You? Subtle? That is a new one, yes." 

 

"...you big oaf. It is about the cunning, not the...oh, nevermind. I am wasting words on you." 

 

"Brother, I kid. Show me. I am sure I will be far more impressed than you assume," I persuaded. He huffed, but I could see the last of his reserve slipping from him. I meant what I said. Loki was a showy creature. He lived to impress and amaze. It was he that made me confident in my own strengths, bolstering my ego. Perhaps he saw me as the dog under, but I did not care. I knew that he and I were different, but I knew that we both had things we excelled at. 

 

He saw this, despite viewing me as inferior, and he showed me my own light when I was overwhelmed by our father's. 

 

"...I will show you."

 

Those four words meant everything to me. My brother had never been one to show vulnerability or open up in ways he could avoid. It was at that moment, hidden in the tone of his voice, that I realized how important these magic lessons were to him, how afraid he was to mess up in front of me, and how he was trusting me to bolster him. 

 

I would.

 

Forever.

 

He showed to me, then, his magic. His facial features softened, lips thickened. His hair grew, coming to rest around his hips, still consisting of raven black waves. His eyes remained a shocking emerald, staring into my own. Curves appeared where there had been none prior, and my gaze fell to rest on his chest. I saw the faint outline of breasts underneath his thin clothing.

 

I took him in, breathless. My stare locked with his. 

 

Without meaning to, I told him I thought he was beautiful.