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Last Love

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The birth of an omega is an auspicious occasion. Only a handful of omegas are born each century. Needless to say, when Anthony Stark is born to Midgard, all eyes watch his growth from a babe to a toddler. He is a sickly boy, but once it was deemed that he would live into adulthood, the throne of Asgard laid claim on the child omega.

Of course this child is to be betrothed to Asgard’s beloved golden prince, Thor.

When Anthony is five, the royal family is sent off by the bifrost to visit Midgard, leaving behind King Odin to care for the country. It is the royal families duty to propagate their family relations. It is Thor’s first time traveling via bifrost, so it gives him a headache.

And Loki, the younger prince, he takes it in stride.

Loki does wonder how the bifrost works. It is a magic that his father cannot mimic unless given the proper tools such as Gungnir, the king’s spear. Which is simply a smaller bifrost. The rainbow stratosphere makes the journey seem as if one is traveling next door, but clearly the distance from Asgard to Midgard stretches beyond thousands of boats.

On their planet, Ymir, Midgard lays across the sea from Asgard. The only well traverse trail between nine countries are from Asgard to Vanaheim, for they are sister countries that stood adjacent to each other. As for other countries, very few attempt long travels across the world, save for Asgard with its bifrost. All countries except for Niflheim live in false peace with Asgard. No one ventures Niflheim, the land of the dead.

Landing on Midgard, Loki can smell that the air is different. They are far away from Midgard’s cities for the pollution is bad for Anthony’s health, or so Loki hears. Loki can’t compare it, but compared to Asgard, the air here is clean. Thor races off to the trees, leaving Loki and their mother behind. Tyr, their escort for the trip, runs after Thor. He’s also Thor’s bodyguard.

“Thor, my dear, please do remember why we are here,” Frigga calls out to the blond child climbing up a tree.

“But mother, when we get there, I won’t be able to do as I wish since Anthony is weak,” Thor complains as Tyr stands below, ready to catch the prince if he should fall.

“I know, my son, but he will be your wife, so do try to make peace with him,” Frigga replies.

“Mother,” Loki says.

“Yes, my son,” Frigga smiles as she looks down at Loki. The boy tries to not cower at the attention on him. His stomach rumbles, unsettled. He ignores it.

“May I journey on ahead? I am quite tired from this morning,” Loki responds.

“Alright, but don’t cause any mischief,” Frigga says.

“I would never, mother,” Loki innocently smiles.

Loki bows his head, as he was taught, and walks off on his own. The Stark mansion is in view from where they are. It lies on top of a hill, beyond the woods. It would take an idiot to get lost. Well, maybe Thor would get lost. Despite being twelve, he has no perception of his surroundings and is spoiled to the very last drop of blood within him.

Once out of his mother’s view, Loki walks off the trail. He weaves through the woods with ease. He climbs uphill to the mansion. He runs into a black bird. Thinking it one of his father’s raven, Loki crouches and hides. He stares at it and sees that it’s simply a crow. Mad about being tricked, Loki throws a rock at it. He purposely misses as he’s trying to annoy the creature. The crow squawks and flies away. Smirking, Loki marches on through the woods.

He finds a small patch of flowers. He doesn’t know the name of it, but there are many colors. Midgard is vastly colorful compared to Asgard. He crouches down and runs his finger along the flower petals. A little black and yellow creature flies from flower to flower. It buzzes as it does what Loki supposes it’s supposed to do. Loki stares at it, observing as he always does. Asgard doesn’t have any small creatures.

Bored, Loki stands up and continues his adventure. He glances over to the mansion sitting at the stop. The hill is a little steep to climb without a trail. Instead, Loki climbs a tree. He pounces from tree to tree. He finds a tiny bird nest. The mother bird glares at him, protecting her eggs. A squirrel seems to have issued a formal challenge with Loki, because it starts taunting him with its tail. Loki throws him off the tree with his magic. Once he reaches his destination, Loki hides behind a bush and observes his surroundings.

The mansion is modest, considering that it belongs to one of the richest man on Midgard. The mansion is made out of brick and seems to be able to house a family with a whole set of workers. However, Loki does not see workers fumbling around. At the front of the house, a elderly man dressed in a suit waits at the gate. He is probably there to greet Loki’s family when they arrive, but beyond that, the place looks empty. Loki turns away and looks at the garden. It seems well tended, but still no other persons.

Loki leaves the comfort of his bush and walks out in the open. He reaches the building and walks around it, looking for anything interesting in the secluded area. He finds a little lake near the patch of flowers. There’s an enormous tree stump on one side. The trunk isn’t as big as Yggdrasil though. Absentmindedly, Loki glances around. He finds a window open on the mansion. He creeps up to it and peeps in.

It’s a library. The ceiling is high to accommodate the tall bookshelves. The floor is marble and glosses as if it has just been cleaned. Tall wooden ladders occupy every other bookshelf. The books are in different colors and sizes. Again, the collection looks modest, but Loki hasn’t read many books from Midgard, so it’ll do. It’s new materials for Loki to absorb.

Using his strength, Loki pulls himself up onto the window sill. He is about to jump off until he sees a little boy on the ground, surrounded by piles of books. He’s facing looking Loki, but he doesn’t see Loki because he’s too focused on the open book in front of him.

Loki raises an eyebrow as he observes the boy. He quickly connects that the boy must be Anthony, Thor’s betrothed. Loki settles in on the window sill, waiting for the other boy to notice him. The boy is very young, and if Loki wasn’t the same around that age, he would question if the boy is even reading. The opened book is very advanced for someone who is supposed to be five years old.

His hair is a mess of soft brown curls. He’s a little pale from being cooped up inside due to his sickness. However, his skin looks soft and plump from being well fed. He’s wearing a white one piece, to signify his purity as an omega, typical tradition. On his neck, a red ribbon is tied, covering his scent gland. The bow of the red ribbon is placed on the back of the boy’s neck, allowing the ribbon tails to fall against his back, to the floor. Despite the shield provided by the ribbon, Loki smells the omega. He smells like after it rains. Loki minutely feels the illusion of waking up one morning after a heavy dark storm, and is gifted with a sweet smell of spring morning dew.

Loki pulls himself out of his vision, and refocuses on the boy. The boy’s cheeks puff up as his lips pull into a pout. Loki can see that Anthony is furrowing his eyebrows in concentration. He couldn’t read because Loki is blocking the sunlight. Loki waits for the child to notice. When what Anthony assumes to be a cloud hasn’t left yet, he looks up and his honey brown eyes become wide with shock at the sight of Loki.

Loki has a better view of the little omega. Those honey brown eyes are bright with an innate love of curiosity. Anthony’s cheeks are round with baby fat, and Loki gets the feeling that those cheeks are pinch worthy. His lips relax from his pout and now his lips are glossy pink. His brown curls curves into his face. The only thought that runs through Loki’s head is that Anthony is pretty.

Anthony tilts his head in curiosity. He doesn’t scream at the stranger, nor does he cowers. He simply stares at Loki with his big honey eyes and then smiles. He lets out strings of giggles. Loki raises one of his eyebrows as he watches the strange laughing pretty child. He wonders what kind of world Anthony sees to be able to smile so sweetly to a stranger. It must be beautiful.

Anthony stands up and motions Loki down. He giggles, “Hello, do you want to read with me?”

Loki decides to take it all in stride, as he always does. Restraint is his best practiced trait, so he executes it. He nods as he jumps down the window, “Alright, what are you reading?”

“I’m reading about robots!” Anthony exclaims as he pulls Loki to sit down with him.

“Robots?” Loki inquires as he stares at the pictures in the book. He sees beasts made out of metal with claws and such. He has never heard the term “robots” before on Asgard, nor has he seen such peculiar creatures. The humans of Midgard create the weirdest things.

“Yea, like machines that move on their own,” Anthony explains. “One day, I’m going to make one.”

“Really? Sounds difficult,” Loki replies.

“Yea, but I’m super smart. Ah, but don’t tell Jarvis. He’ll get all cranky again if he found out that I snuck out of my room again,” Anthony tells Loki is a serious voice. “He’ll hang me upside down in a room full of spiders. I hate spiders.”

“Wow, he sounds mean,” Loki chuckles.

“He is super mean,” Anthony smile mischievously. “If you meet him, you have to call him ‘sir’ or else he’ll smite you.”

Loki sees the lie that Anthony says and can’t help but smile. Even though he lied, it wasn’t malicious. It’s the first time Loki has witnessed that. The strings around Anthony vibrate happily before being gently pulled.

Loki is able to see the lies that people speak. He doesn’t know how it came to be, so he assumes the ability has been with him since birth. When people talk, they emit a string from their words. As a child, he thought it to be normal, but when he asked Thor, his brother didn’t know what he was talking about. Either way, these strings disappear with each sentence, and when a lie is told, the string becomes taut, tight enough to break. Depending why the lie appears, be it fear or anger or anything else, the string reacts differently before being tightened, stretched apart. However, he has never seen a string snap.

It goes without saying, Loki knows more than he shouldn’t. The world he sees is dark and ugly. It’s full of lies. However, when he sees Anthony smiling from his lie, the world seems a little brighter. Other children, when they lie, typically do so maliciously to get what they want. While Anthony, despite being sick since birth, is a happy child with no malicious intent. Loki can’t help but think, again, that the world Anthony sees must be beautiful, and he wonders what it looks like.

“Oh, then I’ll have to be careful,” Loki responds.

“Yep, so don’t tell on me,” Anthony laughs. “Ah, you don’t know anything about robots, so I’ll start from the beginning.”

They read together, and Loki learns about the technology in Midgard. All the books about Midgard on Asgard is about their physiology and ecology. Though, Loki thinks most of it is outdated. Despite never having seen any of the materials before, Loki understands it with the help of Anthony’s explanations. The boy animatedly explains the basics of how a machine works.

Apparently, one needs an electrical charge coming from a battery or other power source. In Loki’s head, he can’t stop picturing a battery Thor charging up some imaginative metallic beast with Mjolnir. What a sight it would be. Having Thor being nothing but a battery. Anthony then explains wires and just how many type of wires there are. The electricity will be conducted through the wires to power up what is called a motherboard. Anthony has some difficulty explaining what a motherboard is, but he says that it’s the brain of the machine. Whereas the electricity will be the blood. The wires are the veins. The battery is the heart.

Loki finds it intriguing that humans invented such things to be just like them. Whereas Loki would simply just manipulate the metal with seidr. Either way, Loki nods as Anthony continues to explain how the metal moves. Apparently, a program is needed to be created and then linked into the lifeless creature.

“Do you know what a network is?” Anthony inquires.

“No. Unless you are speaking about networking with future prospects for Asgard’s continued livelihood, I haven’t the faintest idea on what you speak of,” Loki says.

“What? No, silly, not networking,” Anthony giggles. “A network is when two or more machines work together because they are connected.”

“That’s quite of an achievement without magic,” Loki replies, actually surprised.

“Yep! And one day, I’m going to make a network holding all the networks together. I’ll call it the ‘Internet,’” Anthony announces smugly.

“It would be like a library of networks then,” Loki comments.

“That’s right! Isn’t it such a cool idea?” Anthony beams. “And then I can go gather information from all around Ymir and put it in there. I’ll be able to read about dwarf technology any time I want.”

“You like the dwarves creations?” Loki inquires.

“Yea, my dad says that they’re the best craftsmen in the world,” Anthony says. He pulls Loki closer to him and lowers his voice. “One day, I’m going to be better than any dwarf there ever was.”

Loki laughs at the Anthony’s antics. The omega gasps, offended, but Loki simply shakes his head, pushing the omega’s worries aside. Loki tells Anthony, “Well, first, you have to make your robot. If you can do it, I’ll get a book on dwarven creations to start your information gathering.”

“Really?” Anthony giggles in excitement. He holds out his little pink pinky finger. “You have to pinky promise!”

“I am afraid that I don’t know doings of this ‘pinky promise,’” Loki states as he stares at the finger offered to him.

“You have to hold out your pinky and then hold mine with it,” Anthony instructs.

Doing as he is told, Loki intertwines their pinkies. He asks, “Now what?”

“Now,” Anthony mischievously smirks. He shakes their pinkies up and down for good measure. “If you break your promise, you have to cut off your finger.”

Seeing no lie coming from the omega, Loki stiffens. He double checks the air around Anthony, and he still sees no lies. Is this really a ritual in Midgard? How perplexing. Although, without magic, humans would need some other way to form a contract. Losing a finger does seems a bit distasteful. However, Loki was just messing around with the promise. Now it seems like he has to go through with it. He likes having all his fingers.

“Alright, but this has to be our secret,” Loki whispers. If his father finds out about this, he’ll be punished. Encouraging a career path for an omega? No can do, because Asgard is a socially backward country. Not to mention the fact that no one knows he has that kind of magic.

“Okay. But remember,” Anthony whispers back. “If you break your promise, I’ll make you chop off your pinky!”

Anthony falls into a pit of giggles. His words, however, leave Loki even more confused, because Anthony had just lied about cutting his finger. Do humans not cut their finger off in the event of a failed promise? Is it just a baseless threat?

“Hehe, you look so confused!” Anthony continues to laugh.

At the sight, Loki sighs in defeat. It is just a baseless threat. Where does that ritual even originate from? It seems that a five year got the best of him, Loki, the trickster of Asgard. Well, Loki supposes that he can keep up his part of the promise. For now. It would be disheartening to ruin that laugh.

Faintly, Loki hears a booming voice. That’s his cue to head back. If his mother finds out that he went and befriended Thor’s omega before Thor, she would be disappointed. Thor might also see view it as a challenge. His baby beta brother is trying to take what’s his.

“My brother and mother seem to have arrived. I must meet them out in the front,” Loki sighs as he stands up. “You should head back to your quarters for when Sir Javis retrieves you, Anthony.”

“Ah! You know my name! You must be one of the aesir,” Anthony smiles as he jumps up. He grabs onto Loki’s hand as he walks them through the short distance to the window. “Jarvis said that you guys came to play with me!”

“Well, in a way, I suppose that’s right,” Loki smirks with amusement as he takes his hand from Anthony’s grip.

“Yep! Don’t forget our secret! I won’t tell anyone if you don’t tell anyone. And make sure to read with me later!” Anthony whispers in excitement.

“Alright,” Loki smiles as he gives in to his urge and ruffles Anthony’s hair before climbing up the window. A little indulgement every now and then never hurts anyone. Loki looks back to the small omega, nodding his head in goodbye.

“Bye byes,” Anthony says before Loki can jump out the window.

The second prince smiles once more despite there being no one to direct it to. Anthony Stark is a brilliant child. What a travesty it is for him to be wed to Thor when Thor’s coronated. His bright mind could offer much more to Ymir and Yggdrasil. One of the few gems this world has to offer will be tainted by Thor and all of Asgard. Loki shakes his head in disappointment.

Taking one more moment for himself, Loki gazes the clear blue sky. Midgard’s sky is clear, unlike Asgard’s that shines from the emitting light of their golden palace. There aren’t even clouds in Asgard. The land of gods never changes.

Sighing, he walks off back to the bushes. He smells the lingering sweetness of Anthony on him. He messes his attire, creating the false sight of horsing around among the foliage of the woods. With a finger, he digs the dirt and smears it over his scent glands. He picks a fallen leaf and casually places it on his head. He sniffs the air. It smells only of him and nature. Satisfied with his work, the little princeling makes his way to the increasing volume of his dear brother’s booming voice.

Loki weaves through the trees, having care to not trip downhill. At some point, he notices a hole in the ground. After inspecting it, he sees there are baby bunnies huddling together in it. Loki continues his journey down. Once he thinks he’s in a good distance from the mansion and Thor, he walks out onto the trail. He watches for his brother to appear and sure enough, the golden prince walks into view. He’s talking to Tyr, he never seems to know how to not speak. Soon, those cobalt blue eyes fall onto him, and then Loki is receiving a smile.

“Loki! You disappeared!” Thor yells.

“You were taking too long,” Loki rolls his eyes as they approach him.

Loki doesn’t hate Thor. Although, he does fear him. He doesn’t care for Thor’s budding strength or his deadly hammer. Thor could be weak as a twig and Loki would still be in fear. He fears Thor’s attitude. It isn’t like any other fear, no, it’s a fear of dreading doom.

It has been quite some time since Thor lied. In theory, it’s a rare happy occasion for one to not lie, but at ten years old, Loki knows that lying is simply part of nature. It’s why Loki sees it. Thor doesn’t lie because he doesn’t feel the need to. He is the golden prince of Asgard, he can take what he wants and never be wrong. Everything is his by every right. Those who try to deny him anything, he simply smites them and is rewarded for such behavior. Then a feast will be in order to honor Thor and his ever daring personality and all of Asgard will cheer for their golden prince.

What can Loki do? He is but a second prince, a spare, Thor’s shield. He can’t dictate how his older brother should be raised, nor can he simply gift his brother a smarter brain. He can only watch. He doesn’t think Thor to be inherently evil, but he does worry that the golden prince will turn out to be just like his father.

“Dear, I thought you went to the mansion,” Frigga frowns.

“Oh, I was going to, but I found a rabbit hole. There are little bunnies in there,” Loki lies with a truth.

“Alright, but you dirtied yourself,” Frigga helplessly sighs. She bends down, brushing away the dirt and grass on Loki. She picks out the leaf in Loki’s hair. “There. Now you look presentable.”

“Apologies, mother,” Loki innocently smiles.

Inside, he’s in turmoil. He always is. However, the lies are just as important as the truth; no matter how much his body retches from it. Loki has become used to the world of lies. Each waking moment, he sees those string of lies and how they weave together to cover up the truth. Every time he looks upon his mother, he has to smile. With his brother, he has to follow. With his father, well… he has to bear with it.

They make their way up the trail, Thor never ceasing to speak. Loki smiles and nods on perfect cues, waiting for it to end. Talking with others isn’t as easy as talking with Anthony. The booming voice of Thor’s drones on and on. He thinks even his mother is tiring of it. Finally, they reach the stairs. They climb up the steep hill with every step of the staircase.

The Stark mansion becomes bigger and bigger until they are finally standing in front of it. Standing outside the doors is the elderly man from before. At his feet is Anthony who’s clutching onto the old man’s trousers. He looks the same as Loki left him, except for his hair. Someone had it combed until the curls are no longer noticeable. The little omega stands about with a pout. His free hand plays with one of the ribbon tails from his neck.

Anthony, upon seeing Loki, smiles ever so brightly. His honey brown eyes sparkle as if he has just found the lost treasure of the sea. He turns his attention to the old man, talking animatedly. The old man nods, and then Anthony’s gaze is back on Loki. It’s not Frigga, Tyr, or even Thor that Anthony watches, it’s Loki. Ah, really, the world Anthony sees must be beautiful for him to smile at the sight of Loki, the unwanted prince. Loki wishes that he could see his world.

Maybe Anthony would be even more pretty in it.

Chapter Text

The aesir stand in front of the omega child and his servant. The child smiles, waiting to be introduced as omegas aren’t allowed to speak first in new greetings. Afterwards, they are to ask for permission to speak. At that, Loki raises an eyebrow. Anthony was speaking fine earlier. Loki doesn’t like rules and he has a feeling Anthony likes them just as much.

It must be devastating to be so smart at a young age, and yet be born an omega. The horrid fate of an omega looms over the boy. Currently, as the only omega in the world, it’s apparently Anthony’s duty to save the aesir from their own infertility. It took Loki’s parents centuries to have Thor despite their mother being of vanir, natural gods of fertility. With a head like his, Anthony must know that the future isn’t probably what he envisions. It’s fascinating that he still speaks of his future like he has a choice.

Loki believes he should have a choice, but alas, it’s not his decision to make. Nothing ever is. If Loki could choose, there is much he would change.

The elderly man must be the Sir Jarvis that Anthony spoke of. Loki can tell right away that he’s a beta. He’s in a black human suit, tailored to himself. He wears white gloves. He has a mustache of grey to go with his grey hair on top of his head. The man offers a smile on his wrinkled face to the towering aesir. From the looks of it, he is the only servant here. In fact, Sir Jarvis and Anthony look to be the only beings residing in the mansion. Loki wonders where Anthony’s parents are.

“Greetings, your majesties,” the old man bows. Surprisingly, his hips don’t give out with how low he goes. He comes back up, a hand to his heart. “I am Edwin Jarvis. I will be attending to all of you for the duration of your stay. I am the young sir’s caretaker. This, here, is Anthony Stark.”

“My, such stifling manners. You don’t have to bow so low. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Jarvis and Anthony. Please do call me Frigga. We are to be family, afterall,” Frigga says. “This is my son, Thor. My second son, Loki. And over here is Tyr, Thor’s attendant.”

Thor doesn’t say anything and Tyr follows his attitude. Holding in an eyeroll, Loki slightly bows his head. He greets, “A pleasure, Sir Jarvis and Omega Anthony Stark.”

“A pleasure,” Anthony repeats with a curtsey and a tilt of his head. It’s a subservient greeting that’s taught to omegas. A show of neck is a sign of no threat to a dominant being, particularly alphas. “My father calls me ‘Tony,’ so please feel free to do so.”

“How cute,” Frigga coos at the little omega.

“Thank you, ma’am,” Anthony nods. Loki sees how much Anthony isn’t thankful for being referred as “cute” when practicing omega behaviors.

“Frigga, dear,” she corrects.

“Frigga,” Anthony repeats.

“Would you like to come in? Possibly rest from your journey here,” Sir Jarvis interjects at just the right moment.

“That would be lovely,” Frigga replies.

The aesir are led into the mansion. Thor and Tyr run off, touching everything they can. Sir Jarvis lips twitch in distraught at the sight of two unruly children wrecking havoc of what is probably his daily cleaning. Like most servants, he doesn’t comment on it. Neither does Anthony, although he so clearly wants to with the way his lips purse.

Sir Jarvis leads them to a lounging room. The floor is carpeted. The shades are opened, letting the sun reach into the darkest corners of the room. The window view shows the other side of the hill, where a bustling town can be see just beyond the horizon. The furniture is of decent taste. It isn’t as tacky as Loki feared it to be. Frigga settles down on a couch, relaxing her feet.

“Where is Mr. Stark?” Frigga asks, ignoring Thor who runs out of the room. She knows that Tyr will take care of it.

“He has been called away to work, I’m afraid,” Sir Jarvis answers, eyeing where the two children went..

Loki sees that it’s a lie. Based on Anthony’s face, he knows it to be false as well. However, he nods in agreement. Why would the father of an omega not be here to meet royal gods?

“How unfortunate,” Frigga responds.

“I wish to scout the area around this camp!” Thor announces, storming in. “I’ve grown bored of this house.”

“I’m afraid there isn’t much else to see around the Stark grounds,” Sir Jarvis says. “If you are looking for something to fight, there also lacks hostile parties in the woods.”

“Even so, I have never been to Midgard, so I wish to see more besides a house made of rocks,” Thor says in a haughty voice. “If I am to be king one day, it is prominent that I see to all the lands.”

It’s the excuse Thor uses every time when he thinks someone is challenging him. “If I am to be king one day” and so on. Loki inwardly sighs. What is Thor going to do? Kill a helpless man because he’s simply doing his job. Why does his mother never do anything? Then, again, he supposes, Frigga is the goddess motherhood and marriage, so her loyalties lie in her family more than the people.

“Mother, can we go?” Loki asks, shifting the attention.

“Only if Tony attends as well,” Frigga says.

Thor’s glare zeros in on Anthony. The omega flinches and looks at his servant for guidance. Being sickly as he is, it’s no wonder that he would ask his servant to answer. However, that will only lead Thor’s wrath back to the old man.

“Anthony, earlier, I found a rabbit nest. There seems to be babies in there,” Loki tells the omega, trying to pique his interest.

“Really?” Anthony asks.

“Yes. Maybe we can stop by there before venturing off,” Loki suggests as he gives a pointed look to his oaf of a brother.

Thor, taking the hint, nods, “Yes. We should see them before anything else.”

“Can I go, Jarvis?” Anthony looks up to his servant with wide glossy eyes.

“I don’t see why not. However, I ask you to not push yourself, young sir,” the old man replies sternly.

“I won’t,” Anthony declares.

“Let us make haste before sundown,” Thor barks, already making way for the door with Tyr in tow.

“Have peace, brother. The outside will not leave,” Loki mocks.

He waits as Anthony hugs Sir Jarvis. Excited, Anthony trots after the two boisterous aesir. Loki gives a nod of acknowledgement to his mother, and Sir Jarvis, before following behind Anthony. Out on the steps, Anthony hops from foot to foot, skipping on the stairs. Thor and Tyr wait at the bottom.

Loki remains in the back of the group, because he wants to make sure that Anthony is following them. Walking side by side with his brother’s betrothed, when he is present, is a sign of challenge. For the aesir, cheating in secret is proper, but to do it so ostentatiously in public, one has to fight for the honor.

Once they reach the end of the stairs, Thor runs down the trail without direction. He keeps a hand on his hammer, in case a beast should come. Tyr isn’t far behind him, his hand on the hilt of his sword. Loki rolls his eyes. Simpletons.

Anthony goes at a slower pace, so that he wouldn’t agitate his body. The breeze blows his red ribbon tails up and about. The sunlight kisses Anthony’s skin. He spins around, taking in the sight around him. His honey brown eyes brighten at a pair of birds flying and chirping at one another, probably doing a mating call. He goes and touches the grass, grabbing onto a few strands. He giggles as he looks up, trying to see the top of the trees. He glances at Loki. He offers a blinding smile with twinkling honey brown eyes.

It’s like he has never step foot outside his mansion.

Shifting his gaze, Loki tells Thor where to go, reminding him that they are to see the rabbits first. He ignores the heat rising inside of him. He doesn’t want to question it. Not even acknowledge it.

After a short trip, they reach the rabbit hole. Thor stands off to the side, making it clear that he isn’t going to participate in caring for babies. However, excitement is radiating off the omega, so Loki dives straight into it. He sticks a hand in. He takes care to not spook the tiny creatures. Gently, he scoops one little bunny by the belly and pulls him out. The creature couldn’t be very old since it fit in the palm of his hand. Anthony squeals, causing Loki to flinch. He has to bite back smirk as he stands, cradling the creature. He motions Anthony forward.

“Awww! They’re little babies!” Anthony exclaims as Loki hands him the little guy. Anthony positively melts at the ball of fluff in his hands. It seems like the bunny feels the same way as well for it starts sniffs at Anthony’s face. The little omega showers the bunny with kisses. “You are so cute.”

“Are you trying to keep the little creature for yourself?” Loki jokes as he picks up another bunny. Being the nice little brother, he offers it to Thor who refuses to hold it. Loki shrugs his shoulders and holds it for himself.

The little bunny’s ear twitches and Loki rubs his thumb on it to ease away its fear. The bunny slowly closes its eyes in comfort. Its nose starts wiggling, causing its whiskers to tickle Loki’s hand. Loki looks up to see Anthony rubbing his bunny against his cheek. He then pulls the bunny away and starts cooing at the little creature.

“I wish, but their mommy is going to come back for them,” Anthony whines in answer.

“Exactly. Which is why we should put them back and go exploring instead!” Thor exclaims in triumph. Tyr nods in agreement.

That comment breaks Anthony’s moment of adoring the tiny creature. Loki sees the omega hold back a sigh. Anthony pushes his lower lip out in a pout, but he nods, “Okay.”

He reluctantly holds out the little bunny for Loki to put back. The little bunny squirms as if it’s not ready to leave Anthony’s arms. Noticing it, Anthony’s pout becomes more prominent. Loki offer a small smile for Anthony, trying to cheer him up. Anthony returns a tiny smile to Loki. It’s the smallest smile Loki has seen from him today. Carefully, Loki takes hold of Anthony’s bunny and cradles both of them in his hands. Giving them one last look, he squats down next to their burrow and places them in gently one by one into the hole with their siblings for when their mother to comes back and care for them.

“Where should we venture next?” Loki asks Thor.

“I think I saw a pond over there, so maybe there’ll be other creatures to see. Hopefully a more worthy one,” Thor announces.

“If you say so, brother,” Loki shrugs.

Thor runs off, leaving the rest of them to follow. Tyr runs after him. Anthony tries to chase them, but almost trips, so he carefully trudges through the mess of the twigs. Again, Loki walks behind them.

A flock of crows following them. Among them, he sees ravens trying to pass off as huge crows. Their beady eyes are watching their movements or more specifically, Loki. The ravens jerk their gaze away and start pecking at trees, trying to give off the illusion of normality. Not falling for it, Loki picks up handful of pebbles. He flicks a pebble at a crow, aiming to miss. The crows fly away, leaving behind two ravens. These two ravens stare pointedly at the second prince.

Loki contemplates the consequences. He rolls a pebble between the pads of his fingertips. The dusty dirt is making its duty to stain his pale fingers. Loki scoffs. He knows its unwise to do anything, but he has never claimed to be wise.

He raises his head, glaring at the two ravens. He keeps his hand still, making no threatening move. He slowly tilts his head and the two ravens tilt their own. Oh Yggdrasil, he hates these horrid birds. With a sharp flick, he hits one in the chest. They squawk and flap their wings. In seconds, they’re in the sky, but Loki doesn’t do things halfway. He flicks another pebble, hitting the other one on the wing. Now one of them is flying with a limp.

Smirking, Loki drops the remaining pebbles in his clutches. He dusts off his hands. He turns back, and is startled by huge honey brown eyes watching him. He takes a step back, because he needs space.

“What are you doing?” Anthony tilts his head.

“Nothing. Just looking at the sky,” Loki lies.

“Hmmkay,” Anthony muses.

He walks off to where Thor’s voice can be heard. He stops a few feet away and looks back. Those honey brown eyes pulls Loki to start following. They push past the bushes and branches. They come out into an opening. Loki almost runs into Anthony when the omega stops to admire the view.

There’s a clear pond and a field of flowers. Those flowers are different from the ones Loki saw earlier, but they are just as vibrant. In the pond, these weird little creatures swim about, nibbling at what the can. He has never seen such creatures before. The books on Asgard has never mentioned them. The pond is big enough to maybe bathe, but it isn’t big enough to swim in.

“Brother! Tony!” Thor booms from the pond. “What are these creatures in the water.”

Loki follows Anthony who walks around the pond to where Thor and Tyr stand. He looks down to see more of those swimming creatures. Anthony stares into the water and tilts his head in confusion. He asks, “Does Asgard not have fish? Fishes are in water everywhere.”

“What is the purpose of it?” Thor inquires.

“Um… to catch and eat? I guess you can grow them too,” Anthony answers as crouches down and sticks a hand into the water.

Loki drowns out the conversation in exchange of staring at the school of little fishes swimming to Anthony’s hand. The creatures mouth at Anthony’s fingers, attempting to eat it. It must be harmless, because Anthony giggles. Realizing that the hand isn’t food, they fish resume swimming aimlessly.

The fishes shine in the correct light. He hears Anthony mentioning something called scales. The fish move fluidly from side to side. Loki sniffs the air, and it does smell like it can be food. How come Asgard doesn’t have fish?

“Those flowers are so pretty!” Anthony exclaims as he runs to field of flowers.

Despite knowing the flowers are behind them, Loki jerks his head, making sure the omega doesn’t go so far. Thor doesn’t follow. He continues to stare at the fishes. He sticks a finger into the pond like Anthony did.

Knowing he is the most responsible one, Loki follows Anthony. He takes care to not trample over the flowers. The omega settles on a fallen tree where one kind of flower grow from the ground and up to vines. The other flowers seem to be grow away from the tree. Reaching the omega, Loki looks back at Thor. The oaf is still being amazed by the fish, so Loki deems it safe to sit down with the omega.

He hears a familiar buzzing noise. A tiny creature of black and yellow flies from flower to flower. He asks, “What is that creature called?”

“What?” Anthony looks where Loki gestures to. “Oh, that’s a bee. They make honey from flower nectar.”

“Honey?” Loki repeats.

“It’s super sweet. I can only have it every once and awhile. Jarvis is stingy,” Anthony explains.

“Sweet? Does Midgard lack fruits?” Loki inquires.

“No. We have fruits. We just have other sources of sweet things like honey. We get sugar from sugar canes. We have cocoa fruits to make chocolate,” Anthony beams.

“Interesting,” Loki replies. The books on Asgard doesn’t have everything on Midgard’s ecology. “How about these flowers? Do you know about them? We don’t have colorful ones on Asgard.”

“I don’t know much about flowers. They’re just pretty,” Anthony answers. “But I do some of their names.”

“Do tell me,” Loki pleads.

“Let’s see… those over there are carnations. Those tiny ones are alyssums. And then over there are… I don’t know. Maybe some kind of lily? There are so many variants of flowers, but by the shape, I’m sure it’s a lily. I could be wrong though,” Anthony trails off in thoughts.

The omega rambles on about the flowers. The flowers are recognized and named based on the attributes of the stems, leaves, petals, size, and color. The second prince pays little attention, but nods on the right cues. He is coming to appreciate the premature voice of Anthony’s. When he speaks, it’s simply to speak. There are no hidden agendas. He speaks purely because he wishes to share information.

“And these?” Loki inquires as he touches the petals of one of the rich in blue flowers around them.

“Oh, these are morning glories,” Anthony says. “They’re like little bullies; they take over a lot of room. That’s why the other flowers separated from them. They’re pretty though.”

“Would it be alright if I pluck one,” Loki queries as he tenderly wraps his fingers around a lone blue flower.

“Well, they’ll be dead by sundown, so harvesting it would be pointless,” Anthony says.

“All the more reason to take it now,” Loki grins.

He plucks the flower off the vine. He rolls the stem of the pretty blue perennial plant between his fingers. The tube like petal twirls at his will. He brings the flower to Anthony’s face and hooks it on the omega’s ear. He silently casts a spell for it to not fall unless taken off. Loki stares at the contrast of those honey brown eyes and the rich in blue flowers. The sight of the omega is blue gratifies Loki in unknown ways. Loki loses his breath. Anthony is undeniably pretty.

Anthony is silent, but he looks pleased by the flower in the hair. Loki seizes the moment to regain his composure. Quietly, he clears his throat and attempts to breath. Just breath. After an agonizing second, air finally enters his lungs.

“Blue is a nice color on you,” Loki discloses.

“Really? I want to wear a lot of colors, but I’m only allowed to wear white. Now, I have to wear red too,” Anthony sulks as he plays with his ribbon tails.

Because of Thor goes unsaid, but Loki hears it.

“Red is a good color too. It represents passion, strength and courage,” Loki informs.

“What about green?” Anthony questions with a glance to Loki’s cape.

“I don’t know,” Loki falsifies his own knowledge. In recent years, he has realized the representation of his gifted colors. He has trouble in deciding how to feel about it.

“Loki, come! We are going to hunt for this beast!” Thor barks.

The second prince sighs as he gets off the log. Anthony copies his movements, following Loki back to the pond. Loki turns his head to see what Thor’s itty bitty brain is up to now. Thor and Tyr are still standing by the pond, but their eyes no longer watch over the little fishes. They face the trees with excitement.

They have found a worthy opponent in the woods where there are no hostile parties. It’s not a promising set up. Still, emerald eyes settle onto the “beast.”

A four limbed creature is standing on its black hooves, feasting on the grass. It’s painted in short thick brown fur with its underbelly being white. Its tail is short, nose is black, ears sharp. Hearing Thor’s voice, it stops feasting. Its stands up in alert. Behind it, Loki sees a smaller version of the creature, only it has spots. They both display harmless movements. They could never hope to surpass the ferocious level of bestiary that Asgard has, but Thor does have an active imagination.

A hand is placed on Loki’s neck, a familiar gesture. Loki looks towards his brother and those cobalt blue eyes glint with feral desire. Thor couldn’t sit down without a form of honorable activity every other hour like sparring, chewing obnoxiously loud, or hunting. Loki is surprised that he’s abstained himself this long.

“Ready yourself, brother,” Thor orders.

“I doubt you have need of me for this,” Loki wearies. Either way, he palms the hilt of his knife at his hip. He can never break from the responsibility to his brother, can he?

“Please, brother, I always have need of you,” Thor responds.

Another familiar element with Thor. No matter how obnoxious Thor gets, he’ll ultimately say that he has need of Loki. He’ll throw around the “big brother” title constantly, and force the entirety of his friends and Loki to a quest of dangers. When push comes to shove, he’ll, as per usual, thank Loki for his assistance that evidently saves them. Although, certainly not without a jab to Loki’s ways of fighting.

Unhappy, Loki glares to the side, “I know, brother. I always do.”

Then Thor breaks out into a sprint with Tyr, as always, in tow. The golden prince lifts his hammer, ready for blood. Hearing the approaching beings, the creatures are spooked and urgently trot deeper into the woods. Thor and Tyr give chase. Loki is about to follow when he smells distress coming off of Anthony. The little omega is clenching his fists and then he puffs his chest with decisiveness.

“Wait!” Anthony beseeches. “Thor!”

The little omega dashes past Loki. His red ribbon tails whip through the air with his speed. He trips, probably staining his white one piece, and scrambles back up to chase the bloodthirsty prince and his servant. He collides with a branch, but it merely spurs on the omega to run faster into the woods.

Oh dear Yggdrasil.

Loki rubs his forehead in exhaustion. Is a moment of tranquility purely a thing of the past? Shaking his head, Loki rushes after them, particularly the omega, because Anthony shouldn’t even be running.

The omega in hitting all obstacles instead of dodging them. Thor and Tyr are so far ahead. Loki is surprised that Thor has yet to throw mjolnir, but then he remembers that the oaf forgot his gauntlets. The golden prince isn’t going to risk missing in front of his bodyguard, brother, and betrothed.

“Thor! Stop! She has a baby! Don’t kill her!” Anthony loudly begs.

Loki hears the lack of air in his lungs. Without a doubt, Thor hears it as well, but he pretends not to. Loki sees Anthony fall to the ground again. This time, the omega doesn’t get back up. The second prince’s stomach lurches in dismay.

“Thor!” Anthony wails.

The omega’s screaming ceases because he starts coughing. Gritting his teeth together, Loki steps forward. Standing in front of the omega, he glances back at Anthony, who is trying to consume air to breathe. Loki crosses his arms to stop himself from comforting the omega. Instead, he gazes at Thor, knowing what he can do.

He despises it since it would involve him spending extra time with the oaf. He wishes he could stab Thor in the eye and be done with it. Nevertheless, the second prince coerces himself to hold back and stand firmly to the ground.

“Brother! Is it fun to hunt such lowly creatures as these?” Loki antagonizes.

“What do you mean, brother?” Thor bellows as he stops his chase, offended that his little brother would even attempt to question his honor. The two little creatures run away, but Thor doesn’t bother with them anymore.

“Nothing about your honor,” Loki smirks. “It’s simply that… it was just last week we were hunting bilgesnipes. Now, killing these beasts that don’t even attempt to fight back is little… dull.”

“What would you have me do then, brother?” Thor questions.

Good. The oaf is listening. Loki feigns being in thought. He answers, “Perhaps when we return to Asgard, you would rally up your stunning friends and we will hunt for them again. Hopefully, this time, you won’t have a near death experience.”

“I did not die, clearly,” Thor argues.

“Because of me, clearly,” Loki retorts.

Thor laughs, “Alright, brother. When we return, you better ready yourself for a glorious hunting trip.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Loki agrees.

“Now, we should continue to scout the land,” Thor beams.

Once again, Loki glances back towards Anthony. The little omega is still heaving for air. The second prince ponders. He doesn’t know how well Thor will react, but Anthony needs to return home. He used up all his energy chasing the golden prince down.

“Yes, but, your baby beta brother is tired from all the excitement from today. He wishes to go back,” Loki complains for himself in third person. Being melodramatic is the only way to get through Thor’s thick skull. “Your alpha prowess is just too much sometimes, brother.”

“But Tyr isn’t even tired,” Thor retorts in suspicion. Tyr nods in agreement. Loki swears it’s all the beta does, the brainless buffoon: agree with his golden prince. He might be dumber than Thor since he apparently can’t speak. Loki isn’t even sure he can understand their conversations and isn’t just blindly agreeing with Thor.

“Tyr trains all day and night. He doesn’t have princely duties like me,” Loki reasons. “If you won’t take me back, I’ll have Anthony accompany me.”

“Loki, Anthony is suppose to stay with me,” Thor states in a low voice.

“Please, you oaf. You’ll have bonding time tomorrow and even more for eons. What does lost hours today matter?” Loki rolls his eyes.

Loki sees Thor take the bait. He’s already bored of Anthony. The golden prince ponders for a moment and then nods. Thor booms, “So be it, brother, but it better not be one of your tricks or there will be consequences. Have care returning.”

“What *cough* jus-*cough* happened?” Anthony wheezes.

Thor ignores them and leaves them to their journey home. Once Thor and Tyr leave the area to scout out more of the land, Loki, worried about the sickly little omega, unpins the royal insignia button on his cape. He then unfastens the tie of his forest green cape. He pulls the ends of the cloth, making it as big as it can get. He lays it on the grass, smoothing out the creases. His cape is enchanted to never dirty because the cape represents royalty.

“What ar-*cough* you doing?” Anthony coughs more.

“Come here,” Loki orders despite simply grabbing the omega. He lifts the child and sets him down on his cape. “Try not to move so much. I simply persuaded Thor to let us return to your mansion.”

“Why?” Anthony questions.

“You’re in pain, Anthony. It’s because you won’t speak up, Thor doesn’t care,” Loki explains. He runs his hand along the omega’s tiny body.

There are scraps all over the boy’s legs from the fall earlier. Anthony has a cut on his forearm. His bleeding wounds, though superficial, are exposing his body to the bacteria around. The run from earlier took the air from his lungs while simultaneously pumped the his body with adrenaline. Anthony can’t calm down when his wounds only make it worse. He’s going to get a fever soon.

Stupid Thor. Does he wish his betrothed to die? Anthony is a sickly boy and that trait won’t change during their courtship. Loki knows that Thor despises the idea of being wedded to a lowly mortal, but Anthony is still an omega. He should be handled with care.

“Rea-*cough*lly?” Anthony asks. His brilliant honey brown eyes dim from the lack of respect. The air around Anthony changes from hurt to agony. Loki clenches his teeth, trying to not comment on it.

“It’ll be alright. He’ll come around,” Loki says. “Can you keep another secret?”

“Hmm?” Anthony hums in question, unable to form words now.

“I’m going to tell you a secret, but it’s imperative that you don’t tell anyone,” Loki explains. Anthony nods. “Your heart isn’t slowing down, so I’m going to use magic to heal your wounds and soothe your mind. Is that okay?”

Anthony nods again.

With consent, Loki calls forth his seidr. Healing isn’t Loki’s forte, but he does know basic noninvasive spells. A green light emits from his finger tips. Calling forth a gentle spell, Loki slowly runs his fingers against Anthony’s skin. The cells of the human body worked hard to repair itself, but Anthony shouldn’t be able to feel it. The wounds close up, leaving behind heated skin. Loki rests his hand on Anthony’s burning forehead. With concentration, Loki works on cooling the fever away. It’ll come back, but by then, Anthony should be in bedrest.

Loki puts his hand on Anthony’s chest. The omega’s heart is still beating fast. Loki stares at those honey brown eyes. He speaks, “Anthony, breathe. In. And out. In. And out.”

Anthony puts his head towards Loki’s neck. He does as instructed, breathing against the prince’s throat. Loki tries to not stiffen from the touch. Discreetly, he takes a slow deep breath to calm the nerves acting up within him. Within in time, Anthony pulls back and stares at Loki.

The flower Loki placed on Anthony still remains. Loki is satisfied with himself for enchanting it to not fall, because without it, surely it would’ve been trampled all over. Mortal or not, he is pretty. Loki doesn’t know what Thor is thinking when he ignores the little omega.

“Your magic is so pretty. Why is it a secret?” Anthony tilts his head.

“To wield magic is unhonourable in Asgard,” Loki educates on the aesir culture.

“Why?”

“Asgard is a warrior clan. They enjoy their physical fights. Thor and all of Asgard knows I wield basic magic involving misdirection, but for them to learn I know more will do me no good,” Loki explains. “Get on my back, I will carry you home.”

“That doesn’t sound right,” Anthony grumbles.

With tentative movements, the little omega climbed onto Loki’s back. Loki grabs hold of little legs as arms encircle his neck. He moves, adjusting the body on his back. With magic, he calls for his cape to cover Anthony. In the cocoon of warmth, Anthony nuzzles his face against the back of Loki’s neck.

Loki purses his lips. Anthony is an overly affectionate child and it puts Loki on edge.

Loki stands up, testing the weight difference. Anthony isn’t heavy, so he wouldn’t tire himself from the journey back. Falling over, though, is a whole other story. He adjusts Anthony on his back again, making sure his weight is more equally distributed to his sides. Then he starts walking.

“Why are you full of secrets?” Anthony inquires.

“Because that’s the job of the second prince of Asgard,” Loki plays it off, chuckling to lighten up the mood.

“Well, I wish you were the first prince,” Anthony mumbles into Loki’s neck. “I like you better than Thor.”

Loki’s heart skips a beat.

“Thor needs time to become used to you. He’s never met an omega before,” Loki says, ignoring the twitching in his stomach. His midsection burns with need. Need of what? He doesn’t know.

“What! You have?” Anthony exclaims. He blows air out of his mouth, making sounds like he’s passing gas. It makes Loki chuckle from the ridiculousness.

“Yep, in a library, but it’s a secret so I can’t tell you anymore,” Loki snickers.

“Oh, they must be a super nice omega for you to keep a secret,” Anthony giggles as he plays along.

“Hmm, not really. They were a little bratty,” Loki lies.

Anthony gasps, “No way. They are the next brilliant scientist Yggdrasil has to offer. They could never be… a brat.”

“I can attest to that they are a bratty omega,” Loki teases.

Loki feels Anthony puff up his cheeks against his skin. Anthony lacks a witty comeback, making him chuckle in his victory. However, it’s short lived. Anthony blows the air out of his mouth and then open his jaws. He chomps down on Loki’s bare neck just barely missing the scent gland. Loki jerks from the pain while his heart picks up its pace. He shakes the little omega up and down on his back until those teeth leave his poor skin alone.

“You are a brat,” Loki confirms.

“Hmph,” Anthony pouts.

Anthony quiets down as he rests. Loki smiles to himself, enjoying the presence of the omega. Loki carries the little boy through the trees, passing the flowers and pond. He asks if Anthony would like to see the bunnies once more, but he declines. Back on the trail, Loki hears Anthony’s breathing become even. He fell asleep. By the time they reach the foot of the stairs, Anthony’s forehead is burning up again, so Loki picks up the pace. Soon, they reach the top of the stairs.

Loki enters the mansion and is greeted by Sir Jarvis. The beta servant looks alarmed to see a sleeping Anthony on the second prince’s back.

“He fell asleep, and so my brother asked me to bring him back,” Loki lies. “He’s getting a fever.”

“I apologize for the inconvenience, Prince Loki. Please, allow me to take him,” Sir Jarvis steps forward.

“Your apologize isn’t necessary,” Loki replies.

As Sir Jarvis grabs the omega, Loki releases his grip. The man holds the boy to his chest, Anthony’s head resting on his shoulder. Loki rolls his shoulders to rid himself of the tension built up from the trip. He fastens his cape back on his right shoulder. Anthony stirs, waking up from the movements.

“Jar… vis?” Anthony mumbles.

“Yes, it is your Jarvis. You are dirty, young sir. You need to clean up and then back to your bed, you go,” Sir Jarvis says.

Sir Jarvis takes Loki to sit down where his mother is. Then the old man takes Anthony up the stairs. The younger prince greets his mother and relaxes in his spot. His stomach still burns, and now his forehead is hurting in two specific spots. Though, his forehead doesn’t bother him as much as his stomach.

Loki closes his eyes, resting. He his tired from all the excitement today. He’s just about to fall asleep when Sir Jarvis comes back down. The servant has an uneasy face, as if he doesn’t know what to say.

“Apologizes, but… the young sir wishes for Prince Loki to read him a bed story,” Sir Jarvis reports to Frigga. “Normally, I would refuse, but he is very adamant about this. The young sir doesn’t have any friends his age, so he is a bit lonely. I implore you, Frigga, to indulge him.”

“Oh my, how tragic. Such a poor little thing,” Frigga sighs in pity. She glances at Loki and the nods. “I suppose one story wouldn’t hurt. Make sure to leave the door open, Loki.”

Loki desires to inquire what vulgar activities could he do upon a five year old child behind closed quarters, but he holds his tongue. It would not bode well for him to question his mother. Besides, it is about the act itself, and not age.

“Yes, mother,” Loki responds as he stands up. He turns to beta servant. “Lead the way, Sir Jarvis.”

The man bows to Frigga in gratitude, and leads Loki to Anthony’s room. At the door, he takes his leave. Loki, the young prince, stands before the closed door, unsure what to do. He thinks knocking on the door is standard procedure in Midgard, but he isn’t sure. He clears his throat and goes with aesir protocol.

“Omega Anthony Stark, Prince Loki Odinson has answered your summon,” Loki announces.

The door opens and a clean Anthony who incredulously stares at Loki. He baffles, “Why are you talking like that?”

“It is common in Asgard to announce your presence,” Loki explains. He takes notice that the little omega is lacking the flower from before. Sir Jarvis must’ve taken it off.

“Well, when you’re in Midgard, just knock. You sound funny,” Anthony giggles. “Come tell me a story.”

Loki is correct that knocking is what Midgard does. Anthony does his weird one foot by one foot jump to his bed. He climbs onto his mattress and wiggles himself under the covers. Anthony’s room mostly white with one window. The floor is made of wood. There is a table with stacks of books and parchments over it. Besides Anthony’s bed, there is a smaller table with a single book on top of it.

Loki approaches Anthony, not knowing where to be. Anthony pats the side of his bed, signaling for the prince to sit. The prince sits on the bed with his legs hanging on the side. He still has his shoes on, so he doesn’t want to dirty Anthony’s bed.

“I put the morning glory into my book,” Anthony speaks as he grab the book on the table next to him. He opens it, revealing the blue flower between pages. “It’s wasteful to just let it die, so I’m pressing it so I can use it as a bookmark.”

“I see. I was wondering where it went,” Loki says. “Sir Jarvis explains that I am to tell you a bed time story.”

“Yes!” Anthony exclaims as he shuts the book. He puts it back. “Will you tell me a story the aesir tell their children?”

“Most of the common stories are about frost giants and how monstrous they are,” Loki purses his lips.

“I don’t want to hear about those things. Why would people tell kids scary stories for them to sleep,” Anthony frowns. “Is there anything else?”

“It’s a more about the aesir being victorious against the frost giants, but seeing as you are a human, it would be unentertaining. There is a story about how our planet Ymir came to be,” Loki suggests. It’s not a story without violence, but it is certainly more mild than any other stories. The people of Asgard typically don’t read, so the literature is usually knowledge based rather than entertainment.

“Okay, that sounds better, I guess,” Anthony pouts.

“Alright. Do not whine about it later if you don’t like it,” Loki chuckles.

“We’ll see,” Anthony glares into nothing.

Shaking his head, Loki tries to remember the words the story. Anthony watches him with tired eyes in expectation, so Loki decides to be nice. The prince calls for his seidr. He throws up lights of images. The little omega’s eyes stare at the lights in wonderment, his weariness put to the side.

“At first, there were only two storming realms, Muspelheim and Niflheim, and in between laid the void. Fire and ice dripped down on the into the void. From the melting ice of the void, Ymir, the first giant was born. It’s companion Audhumla, a cow, too came from the melting ice. Ymir nursed itself from the udders of the cow and slept. From the sweat of its armpits, Ymir gave birth to more giants. They all nursed from the Audhumla, and she obtained her nutrients from licking the salty ice. From the ice emerged the first god, Buri,” Loki narrates. Anthony looks perplexed from the tale, making Loki chuckle. He continues to wield his seidr, forming lights of humanoid figures. “Buri would lay with a child of Ymir, and have a son named Borr. Then Borr would lay with the giant Bestla, and have three children: Odin, Vili, and Ve. Odin and his brothers would watch as the number of giants increase. The giants were uncouth and destructive, so Odin and his brothers feared that the giants would obliterate their little world within the void. When slumber take over the giants, Odin rallies his brothers to slay the giant Ymir. With all their might, the three gods took Ymir’s life. All, but two, giants would drown in Ymir’s blood. The remaining two giants would flee to safety in Niflheim.”

“Wait,” Anthony whispers in a low voice.

“Yes?” Loki urges him to continue.

“Will I get in trouble if I say this?” Anthony nervously asks.

Upon hearing that, Loki glances out the window. There are no ravens and he does not feel Heimdall’s hateful eyes watching him. He checks the open and senses it empty. Loki shakes his head to calm him down and replies, “No, you’re alright. You can say whatever it is you desire. You can only ever do so with me, though, do you understand?”

“Okay… It’s just that... why do the gods kill Ymir? Without Ymir, they wouldn’t exist. They were living just fine before and then they just killed the giant while it slept. That’s mean,” Anthony grumbles. “The gods drowned them in blood.”

“You sympathize with with the giants?” Loki asks in surprise.

“Well, the giants did nothing wrong. And why are they called giants when the gods can have children with them? Wouldn’t they be the same size as the gods then? And if you gods are the same size as us humans, aren’t we all just tiny people? If giants not the same as us, they’re just only a little bit bigger, right? Maybe the durability of the giants, gods, and humans are different, but on the outside, we’re pretty much the same, right?” Anthony rambles off.

Loki is puzzled. Being told these tales since he was born, Loki never found reason to question the logic of the stories. He knows the aesir believes these stories to be true. Loki simply sees them as stories, whether true or not.

“I can’t give you the answers to any of those. This is simply a story of our forefathers and their decisions. They tell the stories as they wish,” Loki says.

“But King Odin is alive now. Doesn’t that mean Odin will know the truth?” Anthony frowns.

“Maybe. Maybe not. These are just stories, Anthony. History has no involvement in these tales for they are for entertainment,” Loki chuckles. “May I continue?”

“Okay,” Anthony nods.

“From Ymirs body, the three gods shaped the nine realms,” Loki starts where he left off. His magic starts shaping the world. “From the blood came the oceans, rivers, and lakes. The flesh became the land. The bones raised mountains. While the teeth became the rocks. The hair of the giant were shaped into grass and trees. Then the eyelashes was molded into Midgard.”

“So Midgard is the eye of the nine realms?” Anthony asks.

“Yes, that’s why you are the center of the world. Midgard is Ymir’s watchman. Now listen or we’ll never be done with the story,” Loki teases. Anthony pouts, but remains quiet. “Odin and his brothers threw Ymir’s head up in the air. The skull became our sky, while the brain became our clouds. From Muspelheim, they gathered sparks and placed them into the clear sky. These sparks became stars, guiding lights in the dark.”

“But then where’s the sun and moon?” Anthony inquires.

“We will get there,” Loki assures the omega. “Now, when Odin and his brothers were shaping the world, worms crawled out of Ymir’s body.”

“Gross,” Anthony comments.

Before continuing, Loki chuckles, “These worms grew and grew until they became what we know as dwarfs. Worried that the sky would fall, Odin and his brothers sent four dwarfs out to hold the sky. Their names are Nordi, Vestri, Sundri, and Austri. The other dwarfs made their home underground, calling it Nidavellir. The stars shimmered against the water, and from this, elves came to be. The elves skin glowed and the gods found it fascinating. The gods made a land full of trees so that nothing could blemish their skin. This land is called Alfheim. One day, when Odin and his brothers walked along the shore of a beach, two logs came ashore. Odin and his brothers fancied the shape of the logs, so Odin breathed life into them, Ve gave them the ability to move, and Vili gave them shape, speech, and feelings. These two logs became the first humans. Odin gave them the land of Midgard, and vowed to protect them. The sun and moon, you asked about, well, they were humans that shined so bright and beautiful that their father named his daughter Sol, the sun, and his son Mani, the moon. The gods were frustrated with the father’s arrogance so to discipline him, they took the two children and put them in the sky. Sol and Mani are constantly being chased by wolves and that’s how the day changes. With that, the world was complete. All that was left was for the gods to make their home. They traveled through the land, and where life is the strongest, they made Asgard. For benevolence, they were gifted with Yggdrasil, the world tree.”

“Is that it?” Anthony grumbles.

“Yes. What more can the story be?” Loki says.

“I don’t know… better? Nicer? The gods seem a little mean,” Anthony replies from under the sheets.

“How so? They gave the inhabitants of the world homes. Does that not seem nice to you?” Loki argues, poking at Anthony’s brain.

“Do you really believe that? The gods murdered a giant who is basically their great granddad or whatever. Then they chopped off a corpse to make the nine realms. Every time a new species came, they directed them where to live. They made humans to hold power over them, since they just took two children, that offended them, to be the sky. Then they put themselves in the best place possible. ‘Where life is the strongest?’ That’s where Yggdrasil, the world tree, is. There is no way they were gifted with it, they had to have found it. I don’t know, the gods seem a little controlling to me,” Anthony pouts as he reasons his suspicions.

“These are merely stories, Anthony. Nothing to be upset about,” Loki tries to comfort the little boy.

“Yea, well, Asgard’s bedtime stories suck,” Anthony declares. “It’s not even scientifically correct. You should know that Ymir moves around the sun and not the other way. And then the sun and the stars are the same thing. It’s just that the sun is closer to us. I mean, these are new science topics, but they’re super duper accurate. You just have to watch the sky.”

“What makes you say that?” Loki asks, truly not knowing the answer.

“What?!” Anthony exclaims. “You don’t know that?!”

“Asgard is a stagnant country, Anthony. Our views and education doesn’t change over time. The aesir are comfortable with their current lifestyle, so there is no need for anything more,” Loki explains.

“They don’t even do science?” Anthony grimaces in disgust.

“I must say that your science intrigues me, but with the bifrost, Asgard has no reason to put more effort into our sciences,” Loki points out.

“That’s boring,” Anthony yawns.

“You should sleep, Anthony,” Loki tells him.

“Can you stay here until then?” Anthony pleads.

Anthony’s honey brown eyes widen as tears glaze over them. His lips pull into a trembling pout. It’s the same face he made towards Sir Jarvis to allow himself to leave the mansion. Loki squints his eyes at the omega, because something is happening to his chest. It’s as if there isn’t enough blood leaving his heart. For it is improper, he wants to leave Anthony to find slumber by himself, but an invisible pull is forcing Loki to hesitate.

What is this sorcery?

Loki reels in his emotions, and prepares to reject the omega. Yet, when he opens his lips, tears well up in those honey brown eyes, threatening to fall. The prince bites the inside of his cheek, trying to not give in. Those honey brown eyes, though.

“I suppose it wouldn’t hurt,” Loki gives in.

Anthony smiles, his tears disappearing. Those honey brown eyes twinkle in mischief. The omega closes his eyes, waiting for slumber to take him. Hm… has Loki just been manipulated?

When Anthony falls asleep, Loki fixes the boy’s blanket, and leaves through the open door. Walking down the stairs, he stretches his fingers. He used quite a bit of magic today. He couldn’t wait to be in his quarters tomorrow. No one bothers him in there, and he can finally rest.

“He’s sleeping now,” Loki reports.

“Thank you for appeasing his childish desires, prince Loki,” Sir Jarvis says.

“No, it’s alright,” Loki assures the old man.

“If you’re feeling peckish, I shall prepare something,” Sir Jarvis suggests.

“No, I am quite alright. I was wondering if you’ve a library?” Loki questions.

Free from entertainment duty, Loki feels like reading. As he ages, the number of quiet tranquil moments decreases with a brother like Thor. Now, he just wants to see what literature entertainment Midgard has to offer. Even though he knows they’ve a library, it would be impolite of him to go there without permission. Furthermore, his mother would question him.

Sir Jarvis stares at Loki, waiting on answering the simple inquiry. Stiffly, he shifts his body, fully turning his back to Frigga. The old man responses, “No. I’m afraid we are lacking of one.”

A lie. It’s obvious to Loki. The string of lie wiggles and stretches before disintegrating into nothing. It isn’t malicious, Loki knows, it’s vibration is too light. However, it isn’t mischievous like Anthony’s lies. It’s a firm lie with purpose, almost as if it is protecting something precious. Loki sees his mother behind Sir Jarvis, watching them with calculating eyes.

The young prince thinks on the books he has already been exposed to by Anthony. The technology of Midgard is unknown to Asgard. In the near future, Loki suspects it’ll rival basic seidr practitioners. Then he thinks about Anthony and the little omega’s attitude. Outside of formal settings, the omega is improper. Brilliant, but improper. His “science” topics defy the benevolence of Odin and Asgard, punishable by Odin’s law. Sir Jarvis knows that, and yet, he lets Anthony continue his education.

It is, indeed, intriguing.

“How tragic,” Loki says. “In that case, a cup of tea would be lovely.”

Sir Jarvis visibly relaxes. He nods and heads off to, presumably, prepare tea. From across the room, Loki gives his mother a smile. She smiles back at him with a small nod, silently rewarding him for his politeness. Loki sits down on a lounging chair and waits. His stomach jumps in heat, but Loki ignores it. He doubts human medicine would do anything for his body. When he returns home, he’ll search for medicine.