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to start and end with the family

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His thoughts had been jumbled ever since the afternoon in his mother’s quarters. He still could not understand why Odin had sacrificed himself for him. He was not that important; the kingdom had needed Odin to rule, had needed Odin’s guidance in these times, with the turbulence ahead that he himself had had a hand in, but Odin had foolishly given his life up for his. Thor could be a good ruler, that was something that he would admit with great reluctance, but Odin would have been better.

But now was not the time to dwell on such thoughts. It was dusk now, and when night fell it would be time for the final farewell of Odin Borson, the All-Father, former King of Asgard. His family would stand tall and proud as his pyre was set alight and sent away to the glory of his forefathers.

And Loki would be among them.

He knew that there were those in Asgard who thought it was an affront. There were rumors circulating on what had happened in Frigga’s chambers, and many had embellishments that were so far from the truth they were laughable. The worst were those which blamed Loki himself, that said he plunged the sword into Odin’s chest himself. Those were the people whose necks he wanted to snap, whose hearts he wanted to freeze. But he would usually find a hand on his shoulder, either Thor’s or Frigga’s, or sometimes, most surprisingly, Sif’s or one of the Warrior Three’s, holding him back. His family he had expected to be by his side, because they had seen the actions of the bastard Malekith and his minion. Sif and Fandral and Hogun and Volstagg...that was more surprising, but welcoming all the same.

And tonight, they would all stand around him in a show of strength to the citizens of Asgard that the family of Odin Borson and those closest to them would avenge him, and that Loki Laufeyson would offer his help in avenging the man who had raised him. The man who, when it had mattered the most, had still called him son.

He adjusted his clothing, giving himself one last look in the mirror. It was strange to see himself in royal finery again, after all this time in the plain clothing he had chosen to wear to distance himself from Odin and Frigga and Thor. Tonight, for the first time, he was purposefully reclaiming his heritage as a member of the royal family. It felt strange, but it felt right, in its own way.

“My dear Loki,” he heard Frigga say from the doorway. He turned and saw his mother standing at the doorway. She was not wearing her normal light colored clothing, instead in darkened attire, and the change saddened him. He had not quite made his peace with Odin, and while his loss was saddening he knew it was not nearly as profound as Thor and Frigga’s. Their relationship with Odin was deeper and not marred with as much heartache and distrust as his was. He knew his mother had lost her greatest love, and would mourn him for the rest of her days. She came close to him, joining him at the mirror and reaching for his hand, grasping it tightly. “It is fitting to see you in these garments again.”

“Fitting, but strange,” he replied.

“You’ll get used to them again with time,” she said, turning her head and pressing a kiss to his temple. She ran her thumb over the back of her hand. “Stay close to me tonight, my son. Thor has Jane with him for comfort. I would like to know I can lean on you, should I need to.”

Loki nodded. “Anything you ask, mother.” He looked in the mirror, looked at their reflections. His mother seemed to have aged years in the span of only a few days, and he felt anger surge in him. It was the Odinsleep all over again, and it wasn’t right. Before, Odin had awoken and all was right with the world, he had supposed. It had seemed as such despite his own mistakes. She had not seemed to age this much before. But this, the loss of Odin, this had devastated her. He would make Malekith pay. He would make him pay dearly, and slowly, and agonizingly, and let Thor or Sif or anyone else try and stop him. No one would hurt his mother like this and not pay.

They simply stood silently as the sun dipped below the horizon, Loki allowing her to draw strength from him until there was a knock at the door. Frigga turned, and then with a slight tug on his hand, she led him out of his chambers. They walked in silence, staying close. Odin had always had Thor, but she had always had him. When this was over, if it was safe for him to stay in Asgard, he would do his best to make amends for what he had done and stay by her side to give her strength as a good son should.

When they made their way out of the palace they were joined by Thor and Jane. He paid little attention to the human but noted that she was doing for Thor much what he was doing for their mother, and he supposed that was for the best. Frigga moved between them, taking Thor’s hand in her other one and grasping it, and Jane moved behind them with Sif and the Warriors Three, who had joined them. When they were in position, they began the slow walk to where the funeral pyre was, to where he knew his father’s body was lying out, waiting to be burned. He kept a firmer hold on his mother’s hand, willing her to keep her strength. She had always been one of the most graceful women he knew, and one of the strongest, and he had hope she would not lose that now.

It seemed to take forever to get to the position where they would observe and be observed by all of Asgard. No one would miss the farewell to the Allfather; it would be sacrilege to. They stood and watched as the pyre was lit by flaming arrows fired onto it, and he felt Frigga squeeze his hand so tightly he wasn’t sure the blood would flow through a moment longer. But he didn’t care. This was what was needed.

As Odin’s pyre was sent away to the great beyond, Loki knew that tonight had been a success. Asgard had needed to see him standing with his family, needed to see Thor and Frigga acknowledge him as a member of the royal family and an equal to them. Asgard had needed to see him honor Odin’s sacrifice in saving his life. And Asgard had needed to know that he would, indeed, honor that sacrifice by going with Thor to take care of Malekith and make him pay for what he had done to the Allfather and what he had done to Frigga and what he had done to Asgard.

And now, he could go and do just that.