He should never have left. He had heard rumors of enemies stirring in the Realms, but, by the time he arrived in each, all resistance had been crushed under Odin’s iron fist. Peace and prosperity still ruled, so he returned to Asgard with only his stories of glorious Midgardian battles. He could hardly wait to tell them to the ladies of Gladsheim.
Heimdall announced his arrival and his father welcomed him with open arms.
“My son,” the Allfather greeted from his throne. “How were your travels?”
Thor nodded absentmindedly, looking around Gladsheim. One of the thirteen seats was gone, which had never happened in Thor’s long lifetime.
“Where is the thirteenth chair, Father?” he asked with a frown.
Odin briefly looked as if he had forgotten his line on stage. After a tense moment the Lord of the Gallows said, “Loki’s seat was removed.”
Rage came to Thor, ready to slay armies and feed ravens. “My brother died for this realm and you remove his seat? You are truly the gallow’s burden.”
“Loki is not dead.”
He stormed through the halls, raising a lightning drenched Mjolnir to anyone who dared stand in his way.
The manicured walls faded into rough stone, and when Thor rounded a corner the walls began to shake as cries of agony echoed through the cavern.
He ran. As soon as he reached the chamber from which the noise was emanating, he fell to his knees.
There, bound to a boulder, was his brother.
Loki was spread eagle with each of his limbs wrapped in slimy ropes that held him against the sharp rocks. Sigyn knelt next to him and held a copper bowl over his face. She was weeping softly, and her arms were shaking with the effort of holding the bowl.
A snake curled around the stalactites above Loki with venom dripping from its fangs. The venom fell into the bowl, quickly filling it.
“Brother...” Thor trailed off in horror.
Before long, the bowl was full again and Sigyn removed it to dump it out. The acid now fell directly on Loki’s face, and he cried out. His screams shook the cavern and Thor rushed over to him.
Thor cupped his hands, attempting to catch the acid until Sigyn returned the bowl. However, when the acid touched his hand he himself yelled, but he didn't move until Sigyn returned the bowl.
He yanked his hands away and quickly washed the acid away with his water skin. Once the acid was removed blisters formed on his hands and still burned. He could only imagine the agony his brother was in.
“Brother, brother,” Thor said as he cupped Loki’s face, turning it towards his own. “Has father truly done this to you?”
Loki only cried weakly, “Narfi. Narfi,” drawing the name out in grief.
“Where is Narfi,” Thor demanded of Sigyn. “Where is your son? Where is my nephew?”
Sigyn sobbed and nodded towards Loki’s bindings. Thor touched one and examined it. To his horror, he realized that these ropes were entrails, those of a child.
A wave of nausea overcame him and he had to turn away and stifle a retch. How could their father do this?
He stood, weak kneed. He took Mjolnir and smashed it against the cord binding Loki’s wrist, but it did not budge. Instead, Sigyn’s bowl shook and acid again spilled into Loki’s eyes.
Loki cried out and Sigyn said in a querulous voice,“Stop! Nothing can break those bonds.” She again had to empty the bowl and Thor moved to block the venom with his hands, but she stopped him. “You are of no use to him crippled.”
Thor balled his fists in his tunic to prevent himself from catching the venom as Loki screamed and shook. “There is one thing that can cut them,” Thor said. “Skofnung.”
Ignoring false hope, Sigyn replaced the bowl and Loki’s screams reduced to sobs. Thor stood and strode out, leaving Sigyn and Loki alone.
He stormed into the hall of treasures, not bothering to hide his entrance. Thor knocked over a shelf of magical shields, unbothered by any damage he may have caused.
On the far end of the room, mounted on the wall with the greatest treasures, was Skofnung. He tore it from the wall and pulled it out of its sheath, checking that the millennia old sword was still intact. It still looked as if it had never cleaved a skull in two or plunged through a heart.
He resheathed it and made for the entrance. At the grand doors, a squad of warriors met him, shouting for him to halt.
Thor unsheathed Skofnung and pointed it at the commander. “You know as well as I what this sword can do. Do not think you can beat your prince in combat.”
The commander raised his hands in submission. “My apologies, your highness. We believed there to be an intruder.”
“There is not,” Thor fumed. “Be gone with you.”
The Hall shook again as Thor made his way back to Loki’s cavern, and he knew his brother was in pain. He sheathed Skofnung and ran in just as Sigyn was returning the bowl.
“You must leave us, sister,” Thor said regretfully. Sigyn had never wed Loki, but she was the mother of Thor’s nephew, so she was a sister to him.
Sigyn shook her head. “No! If I leave who will stop the venom?”
Thor shook his head sadly and said, “No one, but only until I am finished. Then he will be free.”
“I won't leave him to suffer,” she insisted.
“Skofnung cannot be drawn in the presence of a woman!” Thor shouted. “If you do not leave this torment will never end.”
“Please go, dearest,” Loki rasped, showing his first signs of lucidity.
Sigyn sobbed softly and set the bowl down. Loki’s screams followed her as she ran out of the chamber.
Thor unsheathed Skofnung. “I am so sorry, brother.”
Peter shook his head and laughed. “No, you didn't.”
“No, seriously,” Percy insisted. He raised four fingers in an imitation of the scout salute. “Scout’s honor.”
“That's not the scout salute, genius,” Peter teased.
Percy looked at his hand. “It's not?”
“It's like this.” Peter reached across Percy and folded his pinky down. This left the two teenagers face to face, and instead of pulling back, Peter leaned in.
“Door open, boys!” Sally called as she opened Percy’s bedroom door.
The two yanked apart, blushing.
Percy looked at the ceiling and mumbled, “Sorry, Mom.”
She laughed and walked away, leaving the door wide open.
Percy stood up off the bed and Peter took the opportunity to stretch his legs out and steal his spot.
“Mine now,” he said with a pleased smile.
Percy shook his head fondly and said, “You want a soda? I'll go get a couple.”
“Sure,” Peter agreed. “Thanks.”
He grabbed the textbook that they were supposedly studying and started to read a paragraph. Before he could get more than a couple sentences in, however, his spidey sense went mad.
He looked to the doorway and saw a bright flash light up the wall opposite the main living area. He shot to his feet and rushed out of the room. As he rounded the corner, he shot a web to keep Sally in her room, knowing that he and Percy were both better capable of handling any threat.
He skidded into the kitchen and saw— Thor?
In the middle of the Jackson-Blofis’ kitchen were Thor Odinson and Loki Laufeyson.
Percy stood back out of their reach with his sword drawn.
“Th- Lor- Mr. Odinson?” Peter asked, bewildered. “What are you doing here?” He came around to stand by Percy, whose guard stayed up.
“You know these guys?” Percy asked him quietly.
“Seriously?” Peter asked him. “You don't recognize them? This is Thor, like the Avenger. And Loki, like Battle of Manhattan. Well, other battle of Manhattan.” Percy gave him a blank look. “Oh my god you live under a rock.”
“Child of Spiders,” Thor greeted with less exuberance than normal.
Hanging onto Thor’s arm was Loki. He looked, frankly, like hell. He was barely staying up right even while leaning heavily on his brother’s shoulder. The entire upper half of his face was covered in raging blisters and burns. He was a shell of himself.
“Brother.” Loki scrabbled at Thor’s arm while staring intently at Percy. “Who is this boy?”
Thor shook his head with a smile. “A friend. He works with the Man of Iron.”
“What are you doing here?” Percy demanded, noting how Loki suddenly became frantic.
“Nephew,” Thor said with a sad smile. “We are here to ensure your safety, but we have terrible news. Your brother is dead.”
Percy took a step back. “Tyson?” He breathed more than said.
“What?” Peter demanded. He put a hand on Percy’s arm to steady and reassure him, and Loki snapped.
“Do not touch him!” He shrieked, bursting past Thor.
Peter's spidey sense went off again as a green bolt of magic hit him. He crashed into the wall behind him, and when he tried to get back up, he found that the strength had left him.
“Loki!” Thor shouted at the same time that Percy yelled “Peter!”
Loki sent another, larger bolt at Thor, who collapsed before he could stop him.
Percy whipped back around to face Loki, his sword held aloft, just in time to see the man grab his upper arm. The moment the two touched, they disappeared.
Peter tried to call out to Percy, but the most he could manage was reaching out his arm before he, too, fell unconscious.
Peter slowly opened his eyes, groaning at whoever was shaking him. He focused and saw a worried Sally kneeling over him.
“Peter!” she shouted again.
He nodded and carefully sat up, still pushing the fog from his mind. “Wha-”
“Where’s Percy?” she demanded. “What happened?”
He leaned back against the wall and looked at Sally’s door, which was still webbed shut. “How’d you...”
“Window,” she said curtly. “What happened to Percy?”
Peter shook his head as if to clear it and leaned his face into his hands. “Shit.”
Peter cut Sally off. “Thor and Loki showed up, talking about how Tyson is dead? Then Loki lost it, and he knocked me and Thor out and disappeared.”
Sally’s eyes widened and she sat back on her heels. “No!” she yelled, pulling at her hair. “He wasn't supposed to know about him!”
“What? What are you talking about?” Peter asked, clambering to his feet. He went over and checked on Thor, seeing that he was still breathing but deeply unconscious.
Sally followed him and asked, “Did he mention Tyson? What exactly did he say?”
“Thor said that Percy’s brother was dead, then when I touched Perce’s arm Loki started screaming not to touch him and started throwing magic.”
He looked around and saw his bag on the couch then got back to his feet. He only got about halfway there before doubling over. He would have hit the ground if not for Sally catching him and easing him back to sit against the wall. “My bag,” he gasped out.
Sally went and got it for him and he dug inside and grabbed his mask, not pulling it out. “You can keep a secret?”
She half laughed, half scoffed. “Yeah.”
“Good,” he said and pulled out his mask.
“Di immortales,” Sally breathed.
“Karen,” he said as he put it on. “I need to talk to Mr. Stark. Whatever your highest level of emergency code or whatever is, this is it.”
“Activating DEFCON one.”
Percy stumbled back as the light died down.
The man, Peter had called him Loki, reached out towards him before dropping like a stone. He didn't move.
Still brandishing Riptide, Percy looked around frantically. He wasn't in his apartment anymore, and Peter and the other guy were nowhere to be found.
He took stock of his surroundings. It was near pitch black, with the only light coming from his softly glowing sword. He closed his eyes for ten seconds then opened them again, this time having better adjusted to the dark.
Keeping his eyes on Loki, he quickly backed away from him. Once he got about ten feet away, his leg was pulled out from under him. He caught himself on his elbows and looked at his foot.
There was nothing there. He pulled himself backwards, but it was like a chain was wrapped around his right ankle keeping it in place. He stood up, which took some maneuvering with his mobility limited at the edge of his ‘chain’.
Over the next few minutes, he tested where he could go and found that he could stay inside a rough circle centered on Loki. He paced it out and couldn't get farther than nine feet away from the man.
He sat down at the edge of his radius and observed his surroundings. It was a small concrete room with a curved ceiling. One end cut off by a rockslide, cutting off any potential escape from the dead end. Based on the uneasy feeling he had and the water rushing in thin streams over their heads, they were underground. A tunnel. Great.
After a while, Percy has no idea how long, Loki stirred.
Percy climbed to his feet and stood above him, leveling Riptide with his throat. Loki slowly opened his eyes and Percy demanded, “What did you do to Peter?”
The line hadn't even finished the first ring when it was answered.
“Kid?” Tony asked, worry painting his voice. Peter could tell by the way his voice echoed that he was in the suit. “What's wrong? Karen called a DEFCON 1.”
“I didn't know what else to do. Thor’s still unconscious and he took Percy,” Peter said frantically. He was beginning to hyperventilate.
Tony sounded frantic too, though most likely on Peter’s behalf. “What? Thor's there? Why are you in Brooklyn? Who took who?”
Peter just gestured helplessly, but Tony couldn't see him.
“Are you in immediate danger?” Tony demanded, doing his best for his voice to cut through Peter’s panic.
Karen spoke up for him. “Peter’s vitals do not indicate that his precognition is active, and I can detect no current threats remaining.”
“Good,” Tony said. “Karen, reduce audio and visual stimuli in the mask.”
“Of course, Sir.”
The world darkened and quieted, and Peter began to relax and slow his breathing.
“Kid,” Tony tried again. “What’s the emergency?”
“Loki’s back,” he gasped out.
Suddenly his mask was pulled off and he covered his eyes.
“Peter,” Sally said. She had an arm holding him against her. “You were having a panic attack and talking to yourself.”
Slowly opening his eyes, he nodded and said, “On the phone. Mr. Stark is almost here.”
Sally frowned and leaned away slightly. “As in Tony Stark? Iron Man? I don't want the government anywhere near Percy.”
“No.” Peter shook his head and explained, “He’s not with the government anymore. He’ll be the best person to find Percy. Loki is a whole different pantheon, I don't know if the demigods can handle this by themselves.”
Sally was still frowning when Iron Man flew through the open window. She rose to face him and Peter carefully stood up beside her while leaning heavily against the wall.
Tony’s mask retracted and he made a beeline for Peter. “Are you okay?” He looked him over for injuries.
Surprisingly, it was Sally who answered. “He's not hurt, the spell just takes a while to wear off. If he was mort- normal he’d still be unconscious.”
“And you are?” Tony asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Sally Blofis-Jackson,” she said with steel. “It's my son Loki just kidnapped.”
Peter nodded and explained, “Loki and Thor showed up and started talking about how Percy’s brother died? It didn't make a lot of sense. But suddenly Loki freaked out because I was there and hit me and Thor with some spell and disappeared with Percy.”
“You need to sit down, kid,” Tony said, voice full of worry. He kneeled next to Thor and said, “Come on, Point Break. Up and at ‘em.” He tapped his cheek a few times.
Sally went into the kitchen and grabbed a metal water bottle from a cabinet.
“This should fix him,” she said when she came back and opened up the bottle.
“Oh my god, is that nectar?” Peter asked. “You can't give that to him! You don't know what it will do.”
“Yes I do,” Sally said. She opened Thor’s mouth with one hand and poured a thin stream of golden liquid into it with the other.
After a tense moment, Thor shot up and hacked for few moments. He looked around and up at Tony, who was standing above him. “Stark!” He frowned and coughed again. “Why do I feel as if I have eaten far too many of the peppers you humans enjoy?”
Percy held his sword, unwavering.
Loki frowned and haltingly raised his head off the concrete. Percy pushed Riptide forward, forcing Loki’s head back down.
“What did you do to Peter?” He demanded again.
Loki rolled his eyes and said, “You mean the Stark child? He is fine, merely unconscious.”
“Stark child...” Percy trailed off, confused. He shook his head and asked, “Who are you? Where are we?”
“We are somewhere safe, my son,” Loki said softly. He closed his eyes and breathed carefully. “I do not know beyond that.”
Percy lowered his sword and backed up a couple steps. There was that word again. “What do you mean, son?”
“I am your father, Perseus. Has your mother told you nothing?” asked Loki, still looking at the ceiling and not at him.
“No,” Percy said resolutely. “I know my father, and you're not him.”
Loki scoffed quietly. “Humans. Everything must be one or the other for you. You have three parents.”
“No, I don't,” Percy insisted.
“You believing me is inconsequential,” Loki said. “All that matters is that I protect you.”
“I can protect myself.”
Loki carefully sat up and looked at him. “No one can protect themselves from the Allfather. Your brother couldn't.” His voice wavered as if he was near tears.
Percy frowned and, after a moment sat down across from him. “What do you mean my brother?” He asked. “What happened to him?”
Loki wiped at his eyes and flinched when he touched the burns, but said, “He was innocent. He did nothing, nothing! Yet the Allfather punished him for my crimes. Killed him right in front of me and his mother. He did nothing!” He slammed his fist against the concrete, sending small chunks of gravel skirting across the pavement.
Percy didn't know what to say.
“I have to protect you, I have to! I can't let him take another of my children. Narfi was supposed to be my success. All of my other children imprisoned, exiled, and enslaved! I can't let him get to you too!” Loki sobbed and buried his face in his hands, again wincing at the pain of his burns.
Carefully, Percy edged nearer to him and set a hand on his shoulder. Loki looked up at him and he gathered an orb of water from the air into his hand.
“Here,” Percy said. He pressed his fingers to Loki’s temple and the water ran up and over the man’s face, washing away the remaining acid and, hopefully, soothing some of the pain. The water flowed off of his face and into a thin stream that poured through the air and to the far corner of the room.
It must have worked, because Loki sighed and relaxed.
Percy pulled his legs up and rested his head on his knees. “What happened to your son? Nari?”
“Narfi,” Loki corrected fondly. “Everyone always called him Nari, but his name was Narfi. He was almost all his mother, and only the good of me, with none of my bad.”
Percy sat silently, again not knowing what to say.
“My father killed him,” Loki said matter of factly. “He had Valli tear his stomach open right in front of me and his mother. Then he pulled his guts out and bound me to the rock with them.”
Somehow, he was remarkably calm. It was as if he was talking about something utterly mundane, not the horrific death and mutilation of his son. Percy had seen it before. When someone saw their friend gored by a chimera, or their brother’s throat ripped out by a lycan, they somehow calmly described it, forcing the horror down until they were safe enough to fall apart.
“I’m so sorry,” he said quietly.
“Okay, I’m going to need someone to tell me what the hell is going on,” Tony ordered. He presided over the kitchen table where Peter, Sally, and Thor were sitting. They had just explained what happened when Thor and Loki entered.
He pointed at Peter. “How are you involved?”
Peter looked nervously at Sally then said cautiously, “Percy is my... friend. We were studying when they showed up.” Tony noted that he was hiding something, but he would bring that up later.
“Why did you guys come here?” Tony asked Thor.
“We came to protect Loki’s son from the Allfather,” Thor answered. Something was deeply bothering him, as he was nowhere near the friendly giant they were used to. He played with the salt and pepper shakers instead of meeting anyone’s eyes.
Tony nodded. “Why does he need protection from Odin? Isn’t he your dear old dad?”
“Yes, he is,” Thor admitted. He wasn’t happy about it. “My father has changed. Or maybe reverted to his old ways is more fitting. Since my mother died he has become crueler. He-” The salt shaker he was squeezing shattered in his grasp.
“My apologies, Lady Jackson,” he said.
Tony snapped his fingers. “Point Break. He what?”
“He decided to punish Loki,” Thor said, staring at the pile of salt and broken glass. “But he also punished his son, Narfi. Odin had my nephew seized, and-” He took a deep breath to control his temper. “He killed Narfi in front of Loki and his mother. Then disemboweled him and used his intestines to bind Loki.”
“Jesus Christ...” Peter said softly.
Tony didn’t keep his revulsion off his face. “Holy shit, seriously?”
“Odin’s always been a bastard,” Sally said darkly.
“I mean, at least in the stories humans have,” Peter explained, probably trying to distract himself. “He doesn’t really have morals. Just kinda does whatever he wants. There’s a reason he’s the god of outlaws, and in a lot of stories he loves to trick people and kill them.” He looked to Thor. “Is Vali Loki’s son cursed to be a wolf and kill his brother, or Odin’s son rewarded by becoming a wolf?”
Thor shook his head. “Vali is Rindr and Odin’s son.”
“Is Loki going to hurt Percy?” Peter blurted out, unable to hold back the question he feared any longer. Clearly worry was eating him alive.
Tony didn’t want to answer, because he couldn’t stand to worry him more. Sally and Thor both answered.
Thor said, “There’s no chance.”
While Sally said, “Maybe.”
Peter ignored the answer and asked, “Okay, why does Loki think Percy’s his son? We have it on dang good authority who his dad is.”
“Because he is Loki’s son,” Sally explained.
Peter frowned. “Then is Loki his mom? I know he can do that.”
“Wait. What?” That was news to Tony.
“Percy has three biological parents,” explained Sally with a sigh. “Me, Percy’s father, and him were all in a relationship when he was conceived. No, I don’t understand how it worked, but both of them are his father.”
“We know why he took Percy. Now we need to find them,” Tony said.
“That’s crazy,” Percy said. “I don’t have three parents. That makes no sense.”
Loki chuckled softly. “I figured you would not believe me. I just wish your mother had told us about each other. I would have loved to be there when you were growing up.”
Percy smiled at that. It was a nice thought, a dad who wanted to be there. He shook his head. “Why should I believe you? You lying makes more sense, so soccer’s razor says that’s the truth.”
Loki genuinely laughed and said, “I believe you mean Occam’s Razor. You are so much like your other father.”
After a moment of thought, he said, “Come here, I’ll prove we are kin.”
“How?” Percy asked as he scooted closer.
Loki held out his hand, and Percy placed his in it cautiously. Loki pulled out a knife.
“Woah,” said Percy. He tried to jerk his hand back, but Loki held fast. “Not agreeing to anything involving a knife.”
Loki rolled his eyes and said, “I am not going to cut you.” He instead took the knife to his own forearm, cutting a thin slice that welled up with blood.
Percy raised an eyebrow when Loki set the knife down and held his free hand to Percy’s face.
“Spit,” Loki commanded.
Percy gave him a weird look but spat into Loki’s palm.
Loki pressed his palm with the spit in it to his cut and held it there, muttering softly to himself in a language Percy didn’t recognize. He then pulled his hand away and dipped his forefinger in the blood on his arm.
“This seems like a really good way to get hepatitis,” Percy said, but didn’t pull his arm back.
Carefully, Loki drew what looked like a greater-than sign on Percy’s wrist. He then pressed his bloodless thumb between Percy’s eyes and said, “Kaunaz.”
The symbol lit up gold and Percy gasped. It faded to a duller gold after a moment, but didn’t return to blood. It heated up, but didn’t burn. It was like a comforting touch.
“That’s Kaunaz,” Loki explained. “It’s the rune of kinship.” He grinned and leaned in conspiratorially, like he was sharing a secret, and stage whispered, “It’s also my symbol.”
Suddenly, the air above the table began to shimmer. A screen, or more like a window, materialized, and a worried redhead appeared inside it.
“Sally,” she said, not bothering with a greeting. “Is Percy missing?”
Sally nodded and Peter butted into the screens field of view. “You're Rachel, right?”
“Yeah. You're Peter, the mortal,” she responded.
“I could say the same about you,” Peter said. They shared a small smile at the joke, despite the serious situation.
“I know where Percy is,” Rachel announced.
“How?” Tony asked. “Where is he?”
Rachel wrinkled her nose. “Is that Stark? He’s an ass.”
Tony walked into the field of view. “Rachel Dare, is it? I do business with your father.”
“I know,” she said before turning to more important matters. “Percy’s underground. It’s blocked off, there was a cave in. Its below an intersection. There were police there earlier today, they left without anyone else.”
Peter grabbed his laptop and began searching. A few minutes later he had it. “Fifth and twenty-eight. Old prohibition tunnels, they used to do tours but it caved in. Domestic dispute call at 10 this morning, no arrests.”
“Lets go,” Tony said as his mask covered his face. Peter, who was wearing his suit underneath his clothes when he arrived, pulled on his mask.
Percy traced his thumb over the V, or whatever Loki had called it, on his arm. It was still warm. He looked over at Loki, who was intent on a green swirl of light over his hand.
“Um,” he said. “How are we going to get out of here? There’s no way out.”
“That’s what I’m working on now,” Loki replied without looking up. “I am still weakened from my imprisonment, and taking us out of your home drained me. I should be able to get us above ground soon. I presume you will find us a way from there.”
Percy nodded and laid back against the faintly damp concrete. “My mom’s going to be so worried,” he groaned. “And oh man, Peter is going to freak.”
“Peter is the Stark child, yes?” Loki asked.
“Yeah,” Percy agreed. He propped himself up on his elbows and said, “You know he’s not related to Tony Stark, right? He just works for him.”
“It’s immaterial,” Loki said with a wave of his free hand.
Percy laid back down and gathered some of the moisture in the air. He drew the gossamer thread through the air in loops and figure eights.
“And who is this Star- Peter, rather?” Loki asked.
The water fell to the ground with a splash and Peter sat back up. “Uh... He’s my... friend. From school.”
Loki turned to face him, looking vaguely amused. “I don’t care if you two are courting. I think you have bad taste in romantic partners, him working for Stark and all, but it really couldn’t matter less if you enjoy men.”
“Let’s agree never to say someone ‘enjoys men’ again,” Percy said, grimacing. “That sounds so messed up.”
Loki chuckled, “Very well. I believe I will be able to get us out of here soon.”
He sat upright, straightening his posture as he swept his hands around him, swirling the green light around him. Based on the self satisfied look on his face, the light show was for Percy’s benefit.
Before he could finish, however, a circle opened up beneath him and he fell with a short shout.
Percy had not even finished wondering if that was supposed to happen before he was pulled through the hole by his ankle.
The roar of Iron Man’s repulsors echoed throughout the small tunnel as he blasted away the rocks blocking the section of tunnel. The moment there was an opening, Peter swung through it.
He looked around wildly, but no one was in the room. “Where are they?” he demanded no one in particular.
Tony and Thor came through into the empty room. “What is that?” Thor asked, pointing to a faintly glowing sword.
“It’s Riptide!” Peter dashed over to it and reached to pick it up, but as he touched the handle it faded away. “Damn it!”
Tony asked, “What’s riptide?”
“It’s Percy’s sword,” Peter explained frantically. “It returns to him after a few minutes if he loses it.”
“They were just here,” said Thor, understanding. “We missed them by only a few minutes.”
Peter punched the wall, sending a few rocks skittering across the floor. “They’re gone again.”
Percy landed with a thump.
He looked up and saw Loki already standing with two knives at the ready. Getting up, he saw they were in what looked like an old mansion. A tall man in a red cloak held his hands in a vaguely defensive position while intricate discs of light emanated from them.
“Well I did not expect to bring you along for the ride,” he said dryly. “Step away from the child, Loki.”
Instead of obeying, Loki stepped between Percy and the man and sneered.
Percy reached in his pocket for Riptide, but it wasn’t there. He must have left it in the tunnel.
“Percy,” the man said, looking over Loki. “I’m Dr. Steven Strange.”
“Don’t talk to him,” Loki hissed. He held his knife forward, a clear threat should Dr. Strange choose to advance.
Dr. Strange rolled his eyes and waved his hand, sending Loki’s knives skittering across the room. “I want you off this planet, Laufeyson. How do I make that happen faster?”
“As soon as I have a safe place to take my son, we leave Midgard be,” Loki said tightly.
“Woah,” Percy said, stepping forward to address Loki. “You didn’t say anything about leaving Earth.”
Strange puffed out a breath and asked, “Percy, do you know who he is?”
“My dad,” Percy said slowly. “He’s some viking dude.”
Lights flashed out Strange’s hand, and screens appeared in the air around them. Percy stared, slowly turning to see all of the images.
“Loki Laufeyson,” Strange said, pulling a screen showing a glorious city closer to Percy. “Adopted son of Odin, the king of the Norse gods. Although they are not gods in the same sense as your other father.”
“When his father was out of commission, he seized the throne.” Another screen, showing Loki on a throne, came into focus. “He then sent an automaton to kill his brother.” Thor, the man from before, fighting a giant. “He invited his biological father, Laufey, to kill his adopted, then betrayed Laufey and killed him,” Loki stabbing a blue man. “Then he tried to kill an entire world, and all of the people on it.”
Another image. Loki blasting people with energy in a lab, killing them. “His first day on earth since your birth, he killed almost an entire research lab.” Loki pressing a spear against a man’s chest, and his eyes turning blue. “He kidnapped people, controlling their minds.” Loki slamming a man against an altar and shoving a device in his eye. Him corralling and killing people. “Within his first two days on Earth, he killed eighty people.”
More images of death and destruction. Loki killing people. Loki knocking down buildings. Loki commanding monsters. Loki opening a portal and unleashing hell in Manhattan. “Hundreds died. He planned to rule Earth.”
Percy grabbed his head. He looked over at Loki. “You...” He stumbled back a step.
“Percy, no,” Loki pleaded, stepping towards him. “You don’t understand.”
“You murdered innocent people!” Percy shouted, confused and furious. “I’ve killed people for doing less than you! How could- how could?” He shook his head, back pedaling until he reached the edge of Loki’s binding on him and fell.
Loki approached him desperately. “Son, please. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done. I need to protect you!”
Percy pulled Riptide free from his pocket and slashed at Loki’s face. He jumped to his feet as the man stepped back while holding the cut on his face. It was small, much smaller than it should have been given how the sword had struck him.
“I can protect myself!” he snarled. “I’ve been doing it since I was twelve.’
A wall of golden sigils appeared between them, blocking Percy’s next swing.
“Did he tell you why your mother cut him out?” Strange asked, not looking for an answer. “He went to Zeus. Told him about you, about how Poseidon broke the oath.”
“Percy, no!” Loki pleaded.
Strange continued. “He was jealous. Couldn’t stand the thought of sharing your mother with Poseidon. When she refused to leave Earth to be his wife, he turned on her. He hoped Zeus would punish both her and Poseidon. So she faked a miscarriage and told him Hera had killed you.”
Loki didn’t protest. Instead, he hung his head in shame, arms open at his side and offering no resistance.
Percy attacked the barrier, slashing and stabbing at it as he tried to get at Loki. He screamed, blind with rage. He had tried to kill his mother!
With a yell and one final over-head stab, Percy shattered the barrier. The sigils fell through the air, slowly fading like embers thrown from a fire.
He attacked Loki, slashing at him and opening cuts on his arms that he had raised to protect his face. Loki managed to grab his bare arm, and suddenly the world exploded in light.
“What are we going to do?” Peter grabbed at his mask as he paced in the tunnel. He was panicking.
Percy had taken on bigger threats than Loki, but he’d had an army to back him up. It was just him and a genocidal maniac.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and he jumped. Tony had a hand on his shoulder. “Kid, you need to calm down. We’ll find them.”
Tony had glowing blue holo-screens surrounding him, and a piece of the suit was detached and had various apparatuses sprouting from it like bristles.
“What if he hurts him? What if he kills him?” Peter asked desperately.
Tony crossed his arms and looked at him, finally overcome by suspicion. “You need to be straight with me here. What are you hiding about Percy? He’s not just a random friend of yours.”
Peter took a step back with wide eyes. He looked like a deer in headlights.
He was saved from answering by a giant golden circle appearing and a man in a strange robe walking out of it.
“My name is Stephen Strange, Sorcerer Supreme,” he explained, turning to Tony. “If you’re looking for Loki and his son, follow me.”
He spun his hand and another portal opened.
They appeared in a golden flash in a pavilion in Central Park. The various joggers and tour groups scattered in screams.
Percy rolled away from Loki and to his feet, then lunged at him with Riptide.
Loki rolled away, but just barely, getting himself a fine cut on his back for his troubles. “Percy, please!” he cried. “Don’t do this!”
“You tried to kill my mom!” Percy shouted.
Scrambling back, Loki got to his feet and held out his hands in front of him. “Please don’t make me hurt you, son.”
“You don’t get to call me that.” Percy ran forward and jabbed his sword at Loki.
At the last moment, Loki summoned his blades and caught Riptide in an X and threw it away from him.
The ease with which he was overpowered surprised Percy. He stumbled back before attacking again, this time swiping from the side and fainting upward, into Loki’s underarm.
With a grunt, Loki pulled back. Blood began to seep out of his arm and soak his sleeve. He stepped back and quickly threw a hand forward. Warm summer air blasted from it and knocked his and Percy’s weapons away.
When Riptide skittered away across the pavement, Percy screamed and ran at Loki, catching him across the waist. They both fell to the ground and Percy began laying punches into him.
“She trusted you!” Percy shouted, slamming his fist into Loki’s face.
Loki turned sharply, dislodging Percy and rolling so that he was pinning him to thee pavement by the wrists. “Percy, please!” He begged, staring earnestly into Percy’s furious eyes. “I’ve changed, and I just want to protect you!”
“I don’t believe you!” Percy shouted. He brought his legs up and kicked Loki off, throwing him a couple feet away.
Just as he rolled to his feet, he heard Peter’s familiar voice shout, “Percy!”
Percy whipped his head around and saw Spider-Man and Iron Man in full regalia emerge from a glowing portal after Dr. Strange and Thor. He smiled at Peter, overjoyed to see him.
Loki climbed to his feet and held himself between Percy and the new party. “Keep away from my son, Stark,” he hissed.
“Mr. Laufeyson,” Peter spoke up, stepping in front of everyone else, much to Tony’s consternation. “We don’t want to hurt Percy.”
“The only one I need protection from is you!” Percy declared, fuming. “You’re a monster.”
Loki looked over his shoulder, hurt etched across his face. “Son, please.”
“No!” Percy raised his fist and a wall of water rose from the nearby pond, nearly ten feet high. “I’m not going anywhere with you. Whatever magic is chaining us together, undo it, now!”
Tony retracted his mask and stared. “Damn. Did you know he could do that?” he asked Peter.
When Loki didn’t comply fast enough, Percy pulled his fist towards himself and the wall of water moved to loom over them. “Now!”
Loki looked desperately between Percy and the others before relenting and plucking an invisible string in the air. The length between Loki and Percy’s ankle glowed golden for a second before dissolving into nothingness.
Swiftly, Percy backed up, relieved to be outside his former range. He didn’t release the wall of water yet.
Now that Percy wasn’t connected to Loki, Dr. Strange was apparently free to do as he saw fit. He wove his hands in an intricate pattern, and golden-orange bindings appeared around Loki’s wrists and ankles, effectively immobilizing him.
Seeing that Loki was out of commission, Percy finally released the wall of water, sending it flowing back into the pond. He sagged, relieved.
Before he knew what was happening, Peter was hugging him tightly.
“Screw it,” Percy said, pulling up the bottom of Peter’s mask. He kissed his boyfriend, and everything was alright, if only for the moment.