It was hard to be very consistent enemies when you were brothers and had been fighting over stupid little things since before you could walk. You constantly caught yourself sitting down to nurse your bloodied lip or black eye, and glare and gripe at each other like it was mother’s new vase you’d broken in your latest kerfuffle, not the Brooklyn Bridge. And when you just didn’t feel like fighting at all for the day, you ended up drinking each other’s beer and talking about the weather.
Or asking things like, “Can I see it?”
“What you look like as a, you know, a Jotun.”
Loki’s mouth fell open in indignation. “No!” If he’d been wearing anything less than a fully done-up three-piece suit complete with tie and chest square, he would have dramatically clutched at his neckline and covered his arms.
“Come on, I’m your brother, you always show me everything. Even that rash you got when you tried to climb out of Lady Sigyn’s window and fell into that bush.”
“Only because it was the only way you’d leave me alone.”
Thor grinned widely, as if to say, ‘good of you to remember! so, care to get rid of me yet?’.
“And then it turned out your annoyingness had merely changed tacks,” Loki added.
“Come on, I promise I’ll be nice about it this time.”
“Just once, so I can burn it into my memory and never have to see it again.”
“You can keep your clothes on.”
“Just ten seconds.”
“Come oooooon...” Thor whined.
Loki hit him. Repeatedly. Through several walls.
Thor did not give up. Thor never gave up.
Attempt the First: Matchmaking
“Loki, there’s someone I want you to meet. A lady someone.”
“I don’t need to meet lady someones, there’s already a lady someone I’m regularly meeting. A mortal lady someone. With mortal ideas about monogamy.”
“You’ll like this one better, I promise.”
Loki rolled his eyes in amusement. “Fine. You get to explain to Natasha about immortal fidelity, though.”
“Yes, yes, of course,” Thor said excitedly, and dragged Loki upstairs. “Wait here.”
He slipped through the narrowest possible creak of his bedroom door (which wasn’t very narrow at all) and closed it behind him. Loki frowned. Even if he had been intending to ‘meet’ this woman, if she’d been anywhere near his brother in the past decade, she wasn’t touching him with a ten-foot pole.
Suddenly the door was open and a body came hurtling through, straight into Loki’s arms. A writhing, elbow-happy, blue body. Loki pushed the woman away with a yelp.
Thor’s face fell.
The woman fell on her face.
Loki was not the slightest bit blue.
“What the fuck?” he demanded.
The woman writhed in ways that shouldn’t be humanly possible, shucking the ropes Thor had tied her up with, and got as far away from the brothers as the dead-end landing allowed.
“What the fuck?” she echoed.
“I don’t understand,” Thor said petulantly. “Last time you touched a Jotun, you turned into one yourself!”
“Touched a what?” the woman said.
“A Jotun. Like you.”
“I don’t know that word.”
“But you are of the race of the frost giants, are you not?”
“I am of the race homo superior,” the woman hissed, red eyes blazing dangerously.
An awkward silence fell. Then Mystique escaped by trying to kill them.
“That’s it,” Loki announced afterward, turning on his heel. “I’m telling Jane about immortal fidelity. About Sif, and Jarnsaxa, and –”
“Wait, Loki, there’s someone else I’d like you to meet!”
“Oh, for crying out loud, at least try to be subtle about it!”
“No no, it’s just Steve –”
“I know about his little beauty sleep in the ice, you moron.”
“Brother, if you don’t accept my acceptance of your nature willingly –”
Loki threw a lamp at Thor. The next time they battled, Thor threw a Steve at Loki.
Attempt the Second: Recreating the Jotun’s Natural Habitat
Loki hoped there was a rule somewhere against Jotun liking warm, sunny weather, because that meant he had broken it.
He had a secondary evil lair in Malibu, California. Within obnoxiously loud, magically enhanced music distance from the house of Tony Stark, in fact, though of course Stark must never find out. Which meant, of course, that he did find out. Maybe Loki should’ve gone a little easier on the neo-pagan grunge.
At any rate, one fine midsummer morning, Loki woke up, looked through his panoramic bedroom window at the sky, and decided it would be far too beautiful a day for villainy. Ten minutes later, he emerged from the house clad in his stylish Speedos, a sandwich and a towel in hand – and stepped into a blizzard.
He looked around in horror, frozen in place both literally and figuratively. His backyard, angled toward the sun, with its cacti and succulents and eucalyptes trees, and the pool and enchanted ping-pong table, was a lumpy white wasteland. A snowman with a stone eyepatch and one with twigs arranged all over like tattoos had been erected by the door; a wire and electric lights installation shaped like a fat man in a sled drawn by reindeer stood near where Loki’s lounge chair should be. Overhead, dark clouds roiled and raged and spat snowflakes like ineffective, fluffy little projectiles.
The sea beyond the terrace shone merrily in the sunlight.
Loki threw down his breakfast and towel and roared, “THOR!”
“Morning, brother,” came a cheerful voice from above. Loki wheeled around to find Thor beaming down on him from the edge of the roof. “Lovely weather, isn’t it?”
“It was until you fouled it up!”
“But Loki, this is your natural habitat. I thought you’d like it.”
“Get this cloud off of my property right this instant!”
“I even made you a Laufey snowman! Doesn’t that bring out your buried Jotun instincts?”
Loki kicked snowman Laufey’s head off and threw a fireball at Thor.
After that day, Loki no longer had an evil lair in the sun.
Attempt the Third: Changing His Diet
By the tree, it was enough to make a man burn down the broadcasting building. Sighing deeply, Loki heaved himself up out of his couch sprawl of ultimate laziness for a drink.
There was only a neat stack of Häagen-dazs in the cupboard. There was nothing at all under the sink. Oh, right, he’d already emptied that bottle the last time Doom tried to recruit him. The creep.
Wait, Häagen-dazs didn’t belong in the cupboard.
He lifted the containers out and opened the fridge –
Every square inch of space was taken up by Häagen-dazs. Loki stared numbly for a moment, rubbed his eyes, and heaved a deep, deep sigh.
I am too lazy for anger today, he thought to himself. He raised his voice. “Thor, eating ice cream will not turn me blue from the inside out.”
“Damn,” said the broom closet.
Loki turned two of the Häagen-dazs into wine and went back to watching reruns. Thor joined him a moment later with a big bowl of ice cream.
Attempt the Fourth: Appealing To Reason
One day, during battle, Loki was less intent on zapping Thor into a crisp and more with hitting him in the face with pieces of shrubbery. Thor, in turn, was less intent on pounding Loki with Mjolnir than with dunking him in the Hudson. It was a good day, but Loki returned to his evil penthouse lair chilled to the bone from his dive in the icy water and zipping through the chilly autumn air still wet.
There wasn’t a drop of hot water to be had in the entire building and the thermostat was broken. A bucket of ice water came down on his head every time he pushed open a door. All the fuel for the modernist firepit in the living room had vanished. His bed was drenched down to the springs, as were all of his spare sheets, his clothes, towels, drapes, carpets, pillows and every other piece of fabric in the house. The same had happened to every neighbour he spoke to.
Loki tried to controll his rage by thinking of how ingeniously Thor was going about this quest of pestering. Finally the great muscly lump was exhibiting traits Loki could be proud of.
Nope, not working.
Thor was trying to keep him wet and cold and miserable so he would decide that taking his Jotun form was preferable over keeping his Aesir guise, he was sure of it. Most likely he was hovering around outside, swinging Mjolnir from window to window like some absurd, overgrown mosquito to try and get a glimpse of it.
Loki closed all the blinds and curtains and locked himself into his workplace. There he stayed for days, cold and wet and miserable and fuming, until he had revolutionized fire magic, eliminating the annoying, old-fashioned need to be reasonably dry in order to be able to cast it. Then he developed an itching powder literally nine times as strong as the current strongest one in existence, and went to pay Thor’s quarters a visit.
Attempt the Fifth: Beating him Black and Blue
He should have known better than to agree to a friendly snowball fight with the Avengers, of course. But playing children’s games with adult ladies had an appeal he simply could not deny. For a while it was all discreetly naughty fun and some nice slight-of-hand practice besides.
Then a snowball hit Loki hard enough to blacken his eye, and he staggered from the impact. Clutching his watering eye, he spun around. Thor was already poised for another throw. Loki dodged just in time to avoid another direct hit to the face and the snowball hit his shoulder with the force of a full-body punch.
“Thor, this is supposed to be a friendly game!” he yelled. He quickly tried to put some more distance between them, but Thor followed.
“Better than friendly, brother,” Thor yelled back, raising another snowball. “For family! Charge!”
And he threw.
With that, their friendly every-man-for-himself game turned into a two-person persecution. Thor chased Loki wherever he went, ignored everyone else, and kept packing his projectiles as hard as stones. Loki was on the run for most of it and on the defensive for the rest. The snowball that eventually knocked him out cold was inevitable.
He came to to a painful cacaphony of voices.
“He may have a concussion, Thor,” one of them said, tinged with worry. “This was supposed to be a friendly game!”
“I did not mean for it to go this far.” That was Thor, sounding sheepish.
“What were you even trying to achieve?”
“I wished to find out whether I could bring out the Jotun blue if I gave him enough bruises using snow.”
A stunned silence fell.
Broken by Loki’s wild cry as he reared up and went straight for Thor’s throat.
Success: Roll Over and Play Dead
Thor’s latest stunt accomplished the impossible: it caused Loki to go home, to whine to his parents and get them to make Thor knock it off. Odin and Frigga were more concerned with welcoming their lost sheep home in such a way that the wouldn’t immediately run off again, but getting Thor to knock it off was a part of that, so it worked out pretty well. All of this was as much for the sake of the people complaining about his new career as a part-time villain as for the royal family themselves, but Loki couldn’t remember the last time he was the center of attention like this, so he didn’t complain. Thor wasn’t nearly as pleased with the arrangement, but he made his peace with it eventually.
And then he died.
Or at least came very close. It was entirely his own fault, too. There was a reason you didn’t pick fights with fire giants, and that reason was that it made you die a painful and gruesome death.
The healers worked all day and well into the night before his family, milling about restlessly in the anteroom of his chambers, could see him. He was sleeping and would be for most of the next week. He was still in pain from his burns, they were told, but his life was no longer in danger and he would heal without scars.
That night, Loki crept up to his brother’s bedside in secret and looked at his mangled form for a long time. Eventually he sighed, “Alright, have it your way,” and pushed his Aesir form aside to lay a cool, pain-relieving Jotun hand on Thor’s forehead. Groaning, Thor pried one eye open and peered up at him in the dim torchlight.
“Hey,” he croaked, smiling thinly. “I see you.”
“Yes, I suppose you do.”
He drank in the sight for a while before his eye slid closed again. “That feels good.”
“That’s the point,” Loki said, trailing a glistening layer of cold across every bit of bare skin he could reach.
“You don’t look half bad like this, you know. The rash was much worse.”
Loki found himself smiling. “Just don’t be obnoxious about it later.”
But of course Thor was obnoxious about it later. That’s what brothers are for.