- Rough Draft
- Abuse - Child
- Character Bashing
- Death - Major Character
- Discussion - Child Abuse
- Discussion - Murder
- Discussion - Other Trigger Topics
- No Beta
- Alternate Universe
- Time Travel
Additional Warnings for Mind and body control via a spell, and major character illness.
“Puny annoying god; stay down!” The Hulk roared. The sound echoed unpleasantly in his already pounding head, and hurt Loki’s ears. It seemed to take forever before the Hulk generously left Loki in peace with his thoughts. He surprised Loki by jumping out the window with another loud yell. Then mercifully all was quiet. The sounds of the battle were muted by the ringing in Loki’s ears. Loki shook his head to clear it. He instantly regretted it. Forcing himself to concentrate, he took a deep breath and took stock of the situation.
He was frankly, shocked to still be alive. He lay in a heap on Stark’s ridiculous living room where the green monster hand unceremoniously dropped him like so much unwanted trash. He could feel splinters of wood digging into his skin. He was a bit surprised he hadn’t been pushed directly through the floor.
A part of him was mortified that the Hulk had been able to throw Loki around like a rag doll, as if he were not one of the most powerful gods ever known. If his father were able to see him now, he would turn from him in disgust. A true warrior of Asgard would never allow himself to be so easily defeated, not even by a gigantic rage monster. Not that it matters. I’ll never be good enough in his eyes. Loki thought bitterly. After all, if it hadn’t been for his father, he would be in this situation, to begin with.
Loki forced his thoughts back to the present; now was not the time to dwell on the past. In truth he should be grateful, he was thinking clearly for the first time in months. He was finally free of Thanos’ mind control. He had suffered such pain and sorrow at the Other’s hands. It seemed all he’d needed to break free was a hard hit to the head. Loki couldn’t help but be a bit amused by his current circumstances. How was this even his life? His life was like a badly written epic. He smiled slightly at the thought, but it turned into a wince as he struggled slowly to his feet, ignoring his various injuries with practiced ease.
He couldn’t waste any time. He had urgent work he needed to do. This was his disaster to clean up. He could not allow the humans to be subjugated by Thanos. Humans might be primitive and backward, but they did not deserve to be enslaved. He walked out onto the gauntlet and looked up. He could see the enemy streaming through the portal. He needed to close the portal as quickly as possible. It was their only hope. Loki had no intention of dying on Midgard this or any other day.
Carefully, he gathered his magic around him and flew up to the roof where the Doctor he had enslaved was monitoring the Tesseract. Loki made his way toward the Tesseract when out of nowhere the Black Widow came flying toward him, almost catching him off guard.
Loki raised a hand and stopped her in midair.
Damn all the luck he did not have the magic to waste battling this woman. He admired her strength and power, but the Norns knew she had been a constant thorn in his side. Even while suspended in midair and totally at his mercy, she glared at him fiercely, and he had no doubt that if looks could kill, he’d be dead where he stood. He couldn’t help but admire her strength and tenacity. Even in the face of his power she would not show any fear.
He looked Natasha Romanoff in the eye as he spoke.
“I know I have given you every reason to distrust me, but you must believe me when I say I am here to help. We are in more danger than you realize. I do not have the strength to hold you for long. Soon you will be free. I was forced to come here against my will. I was under Thanos’ thrall. I was his puppet.”
Natasha snorted in disbelief. “You’re right I don’t believe you. This is just another of your tricks.”
Loki wanted to scream in frustration. “You must listen. I am being honest with you. I was not in control of myself or my actions. Did you not notice, that many of my activities where ridiculously theatrical? Why did I simply not take what I wanted? I assumed you I had the power.”
Natasha gave a short, humorless laugh. “I just assumed you were an inept drama queen.” She said with a smirk.
Loki ground his teeth in annoyance, but he did not rise to her taunting. He could not afford to let his anger rule him. “I fought the power as much as I could, but I had few choices. I did what I could to thwart my own plans. I even allowed myself to be captured, but eventually, my need to complete my task overwhelmed me. I assure you there was some part of me that wished to be stopped.”
His power began to fluctuate, and his hold on his captive began to weaken. He did not dare try to strengthen the spell as he needed to conserve what magic he had left.
He could see the knowledge of her impending freedom light her eyes, and she began to try to break his hold. Valiantly, struggling against his power.
Without further warning the spell released and Natasha tumbled to the ground. Before Loki could make a move, she had recovered and rolled away from him. In the blink of an eye, she was back on her feet. The scepter held tightly in her hand pointed directly at his heart.
Loki stared at her in disbelief. How had she turned the tables on him so quickly?
She raised the scepter as if to strike him with it. Loki felt his desperation grow. She could do him a great deal of damage. The scepter would respond to her thoughts, though she did not know it. How could he convince her? He knew he needed to choice his words carefully.
He held up his hands in surrender. “I will not fight you. I am the only one who can close the portal permanently. The Tesseract was not meant to be meddled with in this manner. It is a powerful object, far beyond your comprehension. If the Tesseract unleashes its full power, there will be no one who will be able to control it. This entire planet will be decimated by the strength of its power.” He hoped his words adequately conveyed his sincerity. He had no proof.
She frowned at him, menacingly, and Loki was sure all was lost. His heart sank and he wondered desperately what else he could say to convince her. However, before she could speak there was a loud roll of thunder and then Thor stood between them. He stood in front of his Natasha protectively, but his attention was firmly on Loki.
“Brother I will not allow you to harm my shield sister Natasha. This time I will stop you. I will no longer allow our familial bond to stay my hand.” Thor could not hide the pain he was feeling. Loki knew his brother did not wish to hurt him.
Loki had never been so happy to see his brother. He didn’t even have the urge to roll his eyes at his brother’s pontificating and posturing. He felt true hope for the first time. Surely, his brother could be made to believe him. He was not the brightest of men, but his loyalty was unparalleled.
“Thor, you know me. You know I don’t desire to rule over this disgusting planet. We are gods. The human’s do not deserve our guidance or our protection. However, no one deserves to be invaded and enslaved. I may not share your affinity for these mortals, but I will help you rescue them from my unwitting actions. I do regret my part in all this” He willed Thor to believe him.
Both Avengers continued to stare at him in disbelief, but Loki could see a faint hope in his brother’s eyes.
“Look at me, brother.” He pleaded quietly. “You know me better than anyone else. I only wish to fix my mistakes. Please let me. Then I will leave and bother you no longer.”
Thor looked into his eyes, and then he smiled and reached out and pulled Loki into a hug. He could swear he heard his ribs creak in his brother’s grip.
“I believe your intentions are honorable, brother. I am pleased you have returned to your senses. I cannot wait to take you home. Father and Mother will be so pleased.”
Loki flinched, and Thor frowned at him in concern. “Brother…” he began hesitantly, but Natasha cut him off.
Natasha cleared her throat. They both turned to look at her, and she was watching them both warily. Clearly, still ready to fight the moment she deemed it necessary. “Not that this isn’t touching, but we have more pressing matters to deal with. Aliens remember? Apparently, we’re running out of time.” Her voice was hard with anger and distrust.
Thor looked at her his eyes shining with candor. “I believe Loki speaks the truth, and that we should allow him to stop the Tesseract. I will watch him carefully, if he lies I will deal with him swiftly, and I will not be lenient, I promise you. ”
Natasha glared at him. She did not look happy, but she sighed. “Fine, it’s not like we have any other options. I’ll let you turn it off. If you betray us, I will kill you, very slowly and painfully.”
He couldn’t help but smile at her. What audacity to threaten him this way. She really was delightful. He’d remembered the horrible things he’d said to her while she interrogated him, perhaps once his work was complete, she would allow him to apologize. The Black Widow was not someone he wanted for an enemy.
He held his hand out for the scepter, and she reluctantly handed it to him. He walked over to the Tesseract, and carefully began funneling the power back into the Gem. It was a bomb waiting to go off the power had to be turned down slowly and steadily. It took great concentration. It would also take all the strength he had left to accomplish his task. He dared not fail. He only hoped that if he lost consciousness that his idiotic brother would catch him before he hit the ground. He did not think his head could take anymore knocks today.
Loki looked around confused. He was lying on a hammock in one of the gardens on Asgard, but he had no idea how he’d come to be here. The last thing he remembered was lying on a hard cot in the sell he had been thrown after he’d succeeded in his task. Midgard was safe once again, however the human were not inclined toward gratitude. This garden had always been one of his favorite places. He had many pleasant memories of playing in this garden as a boy. They had been a peaceful oasis, where he could be alone. He could feel the light breeze against his face, smell the flowers, and hear the gentle trickle of water in a nearby fountain. The hammock beneath him felt entirely real.
Was this one of Thanos’ tricks? Perhaps, everything that had happened had been one of the Other’s attempts to torture Loki on his Master’s behalf. He had taken sadistic delight in seeing Loki suffer by playing with his mind. Tricking him into believing he was safe only to then rip it away and leaving only agony behind. There were many moments when Loki thought he would lose his sanity completely. Loki felt a stab of fear.
However, his senses told him this was no dream. His surrounding felt completely real. Often memory was inaccurate, and he had learned to see through some of the other’s illusions, but this was different. The last thing he remembered was closing the portal on Midgard, and then there was nothing. How had he come to be here?
He took stock of his physical state. He was completely healed, and he could feel his magic once again thrumming under his skin. He was really home, as unbelievable as it seemed. His heart filled with joy. He never thought to see Asgard again. There was so much he wanted to do. He turned his face up, enjoying the warmth of the sun on his skin.
Then he heard a familiar and beloved voice call his name. He looked up to see his mother walking toward him. He could hardly believe his eyes. He stood as she reached him. She was smiling, and there were tears in her eyes.
“My darling, boy I am so happy to see you looking so well. I have been so worried. After you fell, your brother and I looked for you, but we could find no trace of you. I feared the worse.” His mother looked at him tenderly.
In the next moment, he found himself wrapped in his mother’s arms. Loki wanted so badly to believe it was really her. He reached out with his magic and felt his mother’s flare in response. He recognized it immediately, and knew his mother was indeed speaking to him.
He stiffened with surprise but then relaxed. He returned the hug feeling truly safe for the first time in what felt like years. It was such a wonderfully familiar feeling. “Mother, please tell me it’s really you, and not some cruel joke.”
His mother pulled back to look at him. She was still smiling, but he could see the concern in her eyes. “I found you in a cell on Midgard. But don’t worry, no one will even realize that you are gone. I will return you there. It’s me. I promise you, this is quite real.
“For months you have been hidden from my magic, but tonight I found you easily. I was shocked to find you on Midgard, and so severely hurt. I brought you here, so that could heal you, and so that we could talk in peace. Tell me, what has happened to you?” His mother asked looking at him expectantly.
“It is a long story,” Loki admitted reluctantly. He did not want his mother to know what he had suffered. But he knew her well enough to know she would not stop until she had uncovered the truth. Both he and Thor had gotten their stubbornness from her. “Come, Let us sit and be comfortable” he invited.
He led her over to a nearby bench, and they sat together. He filled his mother in on what had been done to him. When he was done, she was crying openly.
“I am so sorry for your suffering my son. I know fighting the Other’s hold on you was painful, but I am so proud of you for not giving in. I always knew that there is a great strength in you.”
Loki took his mother’s hand and clasped it between his own. He hated to see her so upset. He spoke from his heart in hopes of easing her anguish and reassuring her of his future intentions.
“Mother, please don’t cry. I know I have not always been a son you could be proud of. I have been selfish and cruel, always thinking of myself. My need for power. Before, the Other took complete control of my mind. I had a great deal of time to think about my choices and my mistakes. This experience has taught me much. I have been exposed to true evil, and it has reminded me of what is really important in life.”
His mother simply stared at him for several seconds and then she let out a joyful laugh. Loki could only stare in return. It had been a long time since his mother had laughed so openly in his presence.
“My son, you have no idea how happy you’ve made me. I have waited such a long time to hear you say these words. I knew one day you would discover what you are truly capable of. I had hoped you would become the good man I always saw in you as a boy.”
Loki could hear the love and pride in her voice, and he felt tears dill his own eyes. He had hurt her so often in the past. He had been so angry, and he’d taken it out on all those around him, but especially his mother. It was true that his father often hurt him, treating him more like an unwanted burden than a beloved son.
Odin had never hidden his preference for Thor. Often pitting the two boys against one another in competitions. The ultimate prize had always been Odin’s approval, but somehow Loki had always fallen short. As far as his father was concerned he would always be useless. His mother had tried to make up for his father’s poor treatment, but Loki had pushed her away.
“I am sorry for the way I treated you in the past. I was selfish. I hope you can forgive me, and that we can become closer once again.”
His mother shook her head. “There is no need for you to apologize. I am the one with much to atone for I know how much your father hurt you. In truth, I did nothing to stop him. I was weak, and I allowed myself to be ordered about like a servant. I let my husband rule my actions in the misguided belief that his will must not be defied. I was taught to play the dutiful wife. I fulfilled my role even though I knew it was wrong, she said sadly. She looked away.
He could not bear to see her suffering so. He felt a strong need to ease her pain, and heal the rift between them.
“I will make you a deal,” he said earnestly. “We will forgive each other our past mistakes, and begin again. I do not wish to lose you. You and Thor are my family. I love you both, though if you ever tell Thor, I said that I will deny it, and set his cape on fire for his impudence.” He threatened, but he knew his mother could hear the amusement in his voice.
His mother let out another watery laugh, and Loki was grateful to see her mood improving once again.
“I wish you wouldn’t torment your brother so. He has a good heart, and there is nothing he wouldn’t do for you.” she scolded gently.
Loki wasn’t as certain, his brother had often turned a blind eye to the bullying and derision Loki had endured, but he chose not to say so. He did not wish to upset his mother further.
Despite the lightness of her tone, Loki was disturbed to see shadows still lingered in her eyes. She had a faraway look in her eye.
He squeezed her hand gently to regain her attention. “Mother is something wrong?” he asked quietly.
She sighed and looked down at their hands. “There is something I must tell you, and I fear you will turn from me in disgust once you know what I have done.”
Loki was confused and alarmed. “I can’t imagine what you have done that would make me turn on you now. Please, you can tell me anything. I will listen and help you if I can,” He said earnestly. He gave his mother and imploring look, willing her to speak.
“It is time for you to know the truth. You must understand, I thought I was doing what was best. You had become cold and had a terrible temper. Still, do if I’m not mistaken. Loki could only nod in acknowledge meant. He was often emotional. He planned to work on learning to control his temper.
“I could not see you caring for another. Your father assured me we were doing the right thing and I let him convince me. I let his assurance assuage my guilt. I did not mean to hurt you.”
Her eyes pleaded with him, begging for his understanding. Whatever had happened, whatever his parents had done, it must be terrible, indeed. His father’s motives could never be trusted, and anything he thought best would surely cause Loki pain.
Loki felt himself go cold. He was suddenly filled with a deep dread. He knew the next few minutes would change his whole life. He held his breath as he waited for her to speak. He braced himself for the coming blow.
His mother took a deep breath. “You have a son,” Frigga said quietly. “Your father and I hid him from you, many years ago.”
Loki could only stare at her in shocked disbelief. Her words echoed in his head. However, try as he might they refused to make sense. He would know if he had a child. Unless- the thought was too terrible to contemplate.
“Mother, please tell me you didn’t,” Loki begged. His mother could not have betrayed him in such a manner it was not possible.
She nodded. Her face was deathly pale. Loki wanted to shake the truth from her.
“We removed all memory of the boy and his mother from your memory. Then we gave the boy a new identity and hid him away. I know we have committed an unforgivable crime, and I can only hope that someday you will be able to forgive me.”
Loki felt a tidal wave of rage overtake him, as the meaning of her words sunk in. he stood and turned away unable to look at her, and afraid that he might actually hurt his mother in his anger. He turned away in an effort to gain control of himself. A son. He had a child, out there somewhere, a child who had no idea who he was. Under the anger, there was pain but also the beginning of a fierce joy. There was a small part of him that could understand why his mother had thought he would not be able to care for the boy. He even might have agreed with her reasons, but that did not make the betrayal hurt any less.
It did not matter now. All that mattered was that he had a son to find. He only hoped that his child would allow him to be part of his life.
He became aware that his mother had continued speaking while he was lost in thought.
“His mother is a good woman. I’m sure the boy grew up safe and happy. I made sure she would care for him properly I promise you.”
He could hear the desperate pleading in her voice. She was trying to him. Clearly, she was trying to placate him.
He turned back to her and glared. She seemed to shrink in on herself at the expression she read on his face. Loki could not bring himself to care.
“Where is he?” he demanded coldly. “Where is the son you stole from me?” He spoke calmly, but underneath his emotions were rampaging.
His mother hesitated, and Loki felt his worry begin to rise. What was she reluctant to tell him now? Surely, nothing could be as bad as the crimes had already admitted to him.
“You will tell me this instant! Or I will tear all of the nine realms apart until I find him. I promise you. I will let know one keep me from him” He clenched his hands into fists. His nails dug into his palms, but Loki barely noticed. He had eyes only for his mother.
His mother’s face was still pale, and she looked so very sad, but again Loki refused to be moved. She could not meet his eyes. “He is on Midgard’ she finally admitted softly.
Loki felt his blood run cold. His son grew up in that dirty, dangerous realm? It could not be true.
“He is in England. His mother continued in the same soft tone. “His mother remarried, and she gave the child her new husband’s name. Your son is called Harry Potter.”
Loki sat down again. “You will tell me everything you know about him,” he ordered in a hard tone. He would not meet his son unprepared.
His mother sighed heavily. “There is more, I’m afraid.”
Loki stared at her for a long moment. ‘What else?” he bit out finally. Surely whatever it was could not be worse than what he’d already heard.
His mother faced his anger with a quiet well-practiced dignity. She looked quite regal, even when admitting to her crimes he thought snidely.
Her face was tear streaked and pale. Her pain filled eyes begged him to forgive her, begged him to understand, but he remained unmoved.
“You must understand that I didn’t have a choice,” she insisted. Her eyes pleaded with him for understanding. “I was sure your son would be better off with his mortal parent. It was all I could do to convince your father not to kill him.” she’d explained quietly.
It felt like a punch to the gut. Loki stared at her his mother in disbelief before his anger began to rise once again.
“Why would Odin want my son dead” he demanded. “My son was just a baby. What fault could Odin find with him?”
“I’m not sure. He was furious of course.” She admitted.
Her voice sounded steadier now. She was growing calmer, becoming lost in her memories. “Ranted about you tarnishing the family honor. Our bedroom furnishings took the brunt of his anger. He was careful not to show his feelings outside our private rooms. He insisted no one could suspect anything about your indiscretion.” She twisted in her hands, giving away her true restlessness.
Loki snorted in derision. As if his father hadn’t had dozens, if not hundreds of affairs in his lifetime. He was truly a hypocrite.
However, his mother chose to ignore him and continued speaking in the same measured tone.
“If I hadn’t known better I would have said he was afraid. At first, I thought he feared the scandal that an illegitimate child might cause, but later I realized that it was your son that scared him. Why I have no idea. But he was determined to the child never came into any contact with anyone on Asgard. His mother had to swear an oath on her magic they would never leave Midgard again.it was the only way he would allow them to live.”
Loki made his way carefully out of Asgard. Avoiding his father’s patrols was surprisingly easy. Thankfully, a few of his back doors were still in operation. He could have asked his mother for help, but he decided it was better to make his own way. The less his mother knew of his movements the better. Loki’s mind was reeling with all the information his mother had given him. There was a great deal for him to take in.
After all, it wasn’t every day a man discovered he had an adult son he’d never known anything about. His son. He had a son. The idea still felt foreign and unreal to him. He had never really wanted to be a father. He had no desire to care for another. He had always been far too self-involved. However, now that he knew his son existed, he couldn’t help but feel cautiously optimistic. He had been alone for a very long time.
The thought of having a family was very appealing. Perhaps, he was even a grandfather. He felt a rush of excitement at the thought. He knew he would make an excellent grandparent. After all, who knew better how to spoil a child than the God of Mischief and Chaos? If anyone knew how to have fun, it was Loki.
He longed to see his son, immediately. Unfortunately, his mother hadn’t known where to find Harry. Loki had been furious when he realized his parents hadn’t even bothered to keep track of their only grandchild. There’s no way they would have abandoned Thor’s child, he was sure.
As far as Loki was concerned, it was simply more proof that his parents had never really loved him like a son. He hated to think of his child also suffering from their neglect. However, if his mother was to be believed, it was for the best his father had chosen to ignore the child.
The most incredible and infuriating portion of their conversation kept replaying in his mind, in a never-ending loop. His father had contemplated killing his son. He believed his mother had spoken the truth but it made little sense to him. The All-Father couldn’t be afraid of a baby. It was unbelievable. Loki could hardly credit it, but his mother had insisted it was the truth. However, she was unable to give him any more information no matter how much he probed. He had no choice but to believe her. Could it have something to do with Loki’s true heritage? It was a mystery he’d have to think more about later. If necessary, he would confront his father. He needed to know if his son would need to be protected from Odin’s wrath in the future.
His mother had also reluctantly admitted that she couldn’t lift the block on his memory, without Odin’s permission, as the spell was tied to Odin’s magic. The revelation had made Loki grind his teeth in frustration. Not being able to remember his son’s mother was galling. How had they met? Had she really been a good person? Had he loved her? He had so many questions he wanted to ask her. Perhaps once he found his son he’d get a chance to ask them.
Once safely out of Asgard, he made his way to Midgard. Without the bridge to aid him, it took far more magic than normal. Luckily, he was at full strength. Then he made his way to his cell, which was surprisingly located in one of the labs in Stark Tower. Apparently, Shield Headquarters had been severely damaged during the battle. Loki couldn’t help but smile vindictively at the thought. Those morons at shield deserved that and more.
He made himself invisible, as he entered the lab. He could see his mother’s projection of him lying in the center of another cell that had clearly been created to hold the Hulk. He reached out and instantly felt his mother’s familiar magic make contact with his own. Once the sensation would have been comforting but instead it all he felt was a stab of pain. He wondered how long it would take for the pain of his mother’s betrayal to fade.
She hurt me so, yet I still think of her as Mother and not Frigga. Learning not to love her will be difficult. He admitted to himself. He sighed in frustration. Then he forced himself to return to his task. He had no time to waste. His new family waited. He grinned to himself. The hope that bloomed in his chest at the thought was almost painful.
He was surprised to find he could enter the cell easily, if he’d woken in this cell, even wounded it would not have been able to hold him. That was unexpected. He would have thought Thor would be helping the mortals contain him. Even Thor should be able to see this would not be adequate to hold someone of Loki’s power.
Loki wanted to make sure, that his mother’s spell would hold for the foreseeable future. It would be best to keep the mortals busy for the moment. He didn’t really care for his own sake, but it would be easier to look for his son without the threat of Shield and particularly his brother making himself a nuisance. He didn’t want his son or his son’s family getting drawn into Loki’s problems.
He quickly lent his power to the illusion, his magic mingling easily with his mother’s. Once he was satisfied, he turned to leave. Just then, his brother and the Black widow entered the room.
Loki decided to stay and listen. One never knew when information might prove useful.
The two men stared at Loki inside the cell for several seconds before Thor finally spoke.
“I am most displeased with my brother’s treatment. Fury insists on keeping my brother locked in this cell. Loki has committed many crimes against your people its true, but he proved himself to be a good man in the end. He is injured, and I will not soon forget a child of Asgard being denied the medical care that his people can provide. I have warned Fury he is courting war with my people.”
Natasha nodded. “I understand. It isn’t Fury’s fault. Our World Council is insisting we continue to hold him. I’ll never like your brother. I think he’s a pompous ass, but I agree this is wrong. If you decide to take action, I promise to lend a hand. Stark would probably help too. He’s’ still pouting like a child because Fury won’t let him run some tests. He’s dying to learn more about magic,” Natasha grinned as she spoke of Tony’s unhappiness.
Thor nodded once regally and then bowed to Natasha before speaking.
“I am still considering the appropriate action, as I hope that your government will see reason. I thank you for your offer of assistance, Shield Sister. The sons of Odin will both be in your debt. I will call on you if necessary.”
Natasha nodded and left. Thor stayed behind. He sat in a chair located outside Loki’s cell. Apparently, he was prepared to keep Loki company.
Loki was shocked by the conversation and his brothers’ apparent concern for Loki’s well-being. His brother had never been willing to defend him in the past, yet he was willing to risk war with the Midgardians on Loki’s behalf. Despite his surprise, Loki couldn’t help but be moved. Perhaps, his mother was right, and his brother really did love him. He pushed the thought away; he had suffered so many shocks recently. He really couldn’t bear any more.
Still, this posed a problem. He couldn’t have his brother, ruining his plans. Loki sighed. Why must everything be so difficult? He made himself visible, his brother jumped in shock. In the blink of an eye, Thor’s hammer pointing in his direction.
Before Thor could speak Loki decided to take control of the situation.
“While I am touched by concern for me, Loki said drily. “I assure you I am well. Mother has seen me fully healed, and I am strong once again.”
Thor had lowered his weapon as soon as Loki began to speak.
“Brother!” Thor cried.”
His voice was so loud it made Loki’s ears ring. He managed not to wince, but it was a near thing. It wouldn’t due to show weakness in front of Thor. “I am pleased to see you well. I am grateful you have been kind enough to ease my worry, but why do you return to this place, if our mother has freed you?”
“Thor I don’t really have time to explain, but it has come to my attention that I have some personal business to attend to. I would be easier if the mortals were not looking for me. They can be such a nuisance. I’d rather not have to deal with them.”
For once Thor caught on quickly. “You want to leave the illusion in place,” he said.
Loki nodded. “Can I could on you to keep my secret?” he asked warily. It was never easy to be on the wrong side of his brother’s morality. He could take offense so easily.
Thor looked at him carefully for several very long seconds. “Is something wrong with father or mother?” he asked quietly, crossing his arms over his chest.
Loki shook his head, keeping his face neutral. “No. Our parents are both well. This business does not involve anyone you know. I really don’t have time to explain, but if all goes well, you will be enlightened soon enough.”
Loki felt a strange mix of apprehension and anticipation at the idea of introducing Thor and Harry to one another.
“Can you promise that no mortals will be hurt?” Thor asked.
Loki couldn’t help but smile as some things never changed. “I have no intention of hurting anyone,” he responded carefully.
Thor seemed to be looking into his soul. His silence began to grate on Loki’s nerves, but finally, Thor spoke again. “Very well. I will let you go, and attend to this gravest matter. Do you need my assistance?”
Loki was surprised by the feeling of fondness that swept over him at the offer.
“This is something I must do myself. I am grateful for the offer,” he said sincerely. His brother had turned out to be a far better man than he had ever could have predicted. Perhaps, his time on this miserable planet had changed him for the better, after all. He would die a hundred times before he’d ever admit it to Thor.
He transported himself to his brother’s side, and he offered his arm to Thor in the greeting of warriors. Thor accepted the gesture and then pulled Loki into a crushing hug. Loki rolled his eyes, but he allowed the contact.
“Be safe, little brother.” Thor murmured, and he was lucky Loki was feeling generous enough to let the “little go” … for now.
He grinned impishly at Thor. “You know me. I always come out on top in the end. I am the God of Chaos after all. No one would dare go against me.” He said in his customary arrogant tone.
Thor gave a long-suffering sigh, which only made Loki grin wider. Annoying Thor was always fun.
Then without another word, he transported himself away. He felt a giddy rush of happiness and determination well up in him. He had a son to find. The Norns help anyone who tried to get in his way.
A few days later, Loki wandered through the city of London. It had been almost a week, and Loki hadn’t been able to find any trace of his son. In truth, he had assumed it would be a simple matter of performing a spell used to find lost family members. However, the spell had fizzled and died as soon as he’d cast it. Loki had been stunned, and he’d stood there staring like an idiot at the failed spell for far longer than he’d ever been willing to admit. It was a powerful spell, and he’d never heard of it failing unless all family members of a line were dead.
Loki’s heart had frozen in his chest at the thought that his son was dead. He had swiftly banished the idea from his mind. No, it wasn’t possible, perhaps his father had simply hidden him too well. After all, he would not want to take the chance of Loki ever finding his son. Odin had made it his goal in life to make Loki as miserable as possible. He wouldn’t hesitate to put as many barriers as he could. He’d want to make sure their reunion was impossible.
Loki felt a wave of hatred for his adopted father. He felt certain that if Odin appeared before him, he would be able to kill the old man with his bare hands. Once his meeting with his son was over, Loki planned to have a long over die confrontation with the All-Father. He would pay for keeping his son from him.
Frigga had told him of the mortal wizards. They were apparently isolationists. As far as she knew their magic had developed independently. Loki had been incredulous. Magic on Midgard? It seemed impossible.
Frigga had warned Loki to be careful, these beings had proven themselves to be unpredictable. Loki hadn’t been worried. Surely Midgardian magical could be no match for him? However, he soon realized he could find no trace of them.
He tried to search for any magic on Midgard, but found nothing, except a bizarre man in a cape, who thankfully was not his son. Perhaps these magical had some way of blocking Asgardian magic? If this was the case, Loki would be reluctantly impressed. He resolved to tread carefully until he knew more.
As the days passed, a strong feeling of dread had been building in him. Loki had a feeling he was running out of time. He needed to find Harry as soon as possible. But how? Loki was at his wit’s end.
Then an idea had occurred to him. Frigga had helped him to develop his Asgardian magic, but in truth he was Jotun. His son shared his Jotun ancestor. He would know nothing of Asgardian magic. Their Jotun magic made Harry and Loki unique to this realm. This was an advantage. Perhaps, he could use his Jotun magic to find his son. The magic that ran in families was often similar. Like called to like, after all. In theory, his Jotun magic would be drawn to Harry’s allowing Loki to find him.
The thought of releasing his Jotun self terrified him. He purposefully kept a tight hold on his Jotun magic, suppressing it ruthlessly, Despite Odin’s spell having long since broken. He wasn’t sure if he brought the part of himself forth if he would be able to lock it down once again. He was not ready to face the monstrous side of his nature.
However, he knew that if he wanted to find his son he had no choice. He would do whatever he had to do. It was vital he found Harry, as swiftly as possible. It was now or never. He would deal with the fallout, later. I really have changed Loki thought. There was a time not that long ago I wouldn’t have given more than a passing thought to the consequences of my actions.
He flew until he was high about the city to more easily track his son’s magic. He hoped he’d be able to control his Jotun magic enough to perform the spell. He shielded himself and then allowed his Jotun features to rise to the surface. He centered himself, and then reached down inside himself to find his magical core. His Asgardian magic shone brightly vibrant and strong, but his Jotun magic was dull and withered with disuse. He tugged at it and released a bit of it into his palm. It stuttered, but he put more of his will behind him, and abruptly magic began trickling from his hands. He gave himself a moment to become accustomed to it, and tried a few simple spells to test it.
Much to his relief, the magic bent to his will easily. The more he used it, the stronger it became. It felt quite different for his Asgardian magic, and yet it was familiar to him. Loki felt his excitement building. His heart began beating rapidly in his chest. This was going to work. It had too. Now, he merely had to perform the spell.
However, before he could begin, a large silver stag came flying toward him. Loki reared back in surprise before he could act The Stag spoke to him, a stranger’s voice echoing in the night.
“I don’t know who you are, but I felt you’re magic, so similar to my own. I invite you to enter my home. Be warned that only those that mean me no harm will be able to get past my wards. If you have ill intent, you will be killed instantly. Harry Potter lives at 12 Grimuald Place London.”
As Loki watched, the stag flew around him a few more times and then faded away in a puff of silvery smoke. Loki’s heart stuttered. His son had found him. Loki couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride. Clearly, his son was quite strong magically to have felt him from several miles away. He wasted no time in heading to his son’s home.
Loki materialized in front of a row of houses. He could feel his son was nearby, but he could quite find him. He reached out with his magic once again and found the edge of a ward. He pushed gently, announcing his presence. Much to his surprise, there was a gust of wind, and suddenly there was a house standing before him, which had not been there before.
As he neared the house, the door opened, and Loki quickly walked up the steps. He was eager to set eyes on his son, at last.
Loki shivered in disgust as he looked around the front hall, his excitement diminishing somewhat. This was not what he had expected at all. As far as he could see in the dim light, the house had obviously seen better days. The air around him was damp and smelled faintly of mold. The wallpaper was very old and dingy. At least it was clean, sparkling in fact. However, it was the only decent thing he could think to say about the place. Surely, this was not an appropriate place for his son or his son’s family.
Far more worrying was the feel of the house. It was one of the most unwelcoming structures he’d ever had the misfortune to enter. He could feel the dark magic that surrounded the house. He reached out tentatively with his magic only to pull back quickly. The magic of Grimmauld place felt old and decayed. It felt slick and oily against his skin, and for a few seconds, Loki had to fight the urge to turn back.
He could tell some bad things had happened here. This house reeked of evil that felt almost alive. If he didn’t know better, he’d say the house was hungry. As if to prove him correct, Loki gasped in shock as felt the house trying to feed on his magic. He quickly warded himself against the pull and felt the house reluctantly retreat from him. There was no doubt about it, his son’s chosen dwelling made Loki’s skin crawl.
How could his son stand living in this cursed place? Loki determined right then to see if he could convince Harry to leave, and move somewhere more suitable. Somewhere that wasn’t literally eating away at his magic. No one he cared about would continue to live in a place like this if Loki had anything to say about it.
His protective thoughts drew Loki up short. How had he come to care so much for someone he’d never met? He was already thinking of Harry as his child. He had to remember his son was an adult. Loki could not expect his son to heed his advice, immediately. He needed to be careful he didn’t want to push too hard and scare Harry away.
Perhaps, he could offer to help cleanse the house? It might by him some good will at the very least. I’ll wait and make the offer at an opportune moment he decided. He was pleased with his plan; he wanted his son to have a good opinion of him.
Speaking of Harry, where was he? Loki had expected to be met, but he could find no sign of anyone. Carefully, he reached out with his magic in search of his son, but much to his disappointment he could not feel anything, besides the oppressive magic that surrounded him. It could no longer feed from him, but it still felt alive. Could the house be hiding his son’s magic? It seemed unlikely. His son had to be a very strong sorcerer to live here. He had found Loki with very little trouble, after all.
Another thought occurred. Could his son was watching him, waiting to see what he’d do? Loki ran his hand over his face in frustration. How did I lose control of this situation so quickly? He wondered.
The wards had let Loki pass. This should have been proof of his good intentions. Still, he approved of his son’s caution, and show of strength. Loki felt another surge of pride. Harry had effortless placed himself in control of their meeting. “I mean you know harm. I am willing to swear another to that effect, if you wish he said aloud, his voice echoing slightly in the empty hallway.
The was a long pause, and Loki found himself holding his breath, then there was a loud pop, and suddenly, there was a short and wrinkled female creature with pointed ears glaring at him. She stood with her hands on her hips. She wore a clean dish towel, and an apron, as her only clothing.
“I be Winky. I be Master Harry’s house elf. Master Harry wants to meet you, but Winky not be trusting a stranger near Master Harry. Winky be watching you. Upset my master, and you be very sorry.” The little elf said gravely, and then she gave Loki another glare for good measure.
What in all the nine realms is a house elf? Loki wondered bewildered. He felt a quick rush of anger. Loki made sure to make his displeasure at his treatment known. He glared at the impudent house elf in annoyance. Who did she think she was to order a prince of Asgard around like a servant?
Loki had met many elves, and aside from the pointed ears, this being did not resemble them at all. Feasibly, she might be some sort of distant cousin. However, Loki had never heard anything like this being before.
He was intrigued in spite of his irritation. He’d like to know more about them. He clearly had much to learn about Midgardian magic. Loki was seriously coming to regret his short-sighted ignorance when it came to Midgard. He should not have dismissed the planet so readily. It kept surprising him most unpleasantly.
He was tempted to put her in her place, but instead, he forced himself to calm down. He could not allow his temper to get the better of him. Surely, his son would be angry if Loki hurt his servant. She was obviously well cared for. Norns! It was a constant struggle to keep himself in control. He’d always considered his passionate nature one of his best qualities, and he’d never tried to contain himself before. Clearly, he still had a lot to learn on many levels.
Winky looked entirely unimpressed by his glare, and she continued to watch him carefully.
Loki was reluctantly impressed. This Winky had spirit. Loki admired any female who was willing to stand up to him. She was also very protective of Harry, which Loki approved of wholeheartedly.
Perhaps, a little flattery might help. After all what female didn’t appreciate a little flattery. “I’m sorry my presence here disturbs you, Madame. Your… pillowcase is a lovely shade of white. It suits you” Loki said grandly, and then he bowed for good measure.
The house elf did not react as Loki had expected. She should have been terrified, but she wasn’t. Much to Loki’s continued annoyance; she raised one eyebrow at him, and continued to look singularly unimpressed by his actions. A severe frown crossed her ugly little face.
“Of course my clothing be clean! Master Harry takes very good care of Winky! So Winky makes sure to always look her best for him. I is a good house elf. You have no manners.” Winky chided, wagging her finger at him. “I not sure I should let you near the master. You will upset him.”
Loki suppressed a grimace. Well, that had not gone well. Evidently, his smooth tongue would not serve him well in this situation. He needed a new tact. He could not afford to let matters escalate further. He decided to be as truthful as possible. “I can promise you I mean your Master no harm. I have come a very long way to find him. I can’t promise my presence won’t upset him, but I can promise that I will treat him well.”
Winky still looked wary, but she did look a little bit happier. Loki considered it a win, at this point he would take whatever he could get. Now, if only he could finally see his son. Maybe things would finally start to go his way. He looked at Winky’s still frowning face. Somehow, he doubted it.
He and Winky stared at one another. She did not seem inclined to produce his son. Dare he inquired where his son might be? Loki was gripped by indecision. He didn’t want to annoy her anymore. She had the power to prejudice his son against him. He couldn’t have that. Yet, he needed the information.
Then Loki mentally rolled his eyes at his own ridiculous thoughts. What was happening to him? Where was the confident man who wanted to rule Asgard? He was a royal prince! He needed to act like it. All servants were meant to bend to his will. She would do what he wanted.
He was about to demand Winky take him to his son immediately, just as the elf also opened her mouth to speak. Loki glared at her. He was determined to speak first. She narrowed her eyes at him glaring in return. They were locked in a strange battle of wills. A battle Loki would win.
However, before either of them could say anything, a voice from above them caught both their attention.
“Stop harassing, the poor man Winky. I’m certain he means me no harm.” The man held notes fond and amusement. He obviously cared for his elf. Loki recognized the voice from earlier in the evening.
Loki’s eyes flew up to the landing eagerly. He was anxious for his first glimpse of his son. Suddenly, it seemed to him that he’d been waiting for this moment his whole life. Maybe everything, he had suffered at the hands of Thanos’ had a purpose. It was a comforting thought.
After all, it was entirely possible that until recently, he would have made an utter mess of things. He would not have appreciated having a son at all. In the past Loki would have dismissed Harry out of hand, choosing to push him away or ignored him entirely. The thought of what his son would think of Loki in the past filled him with renewed shame.
Thank the Norns, I am able to appreciate the gift I’ve been given, he thought.
He looked up at his son and drank in the sight of him. The first thought that popped into his mind, he was sorry to admit was, Harry is so short. Far shorter, in fact, that Loki would have expected, given his genetics. Loki was quite small for a Jotun but still taller than the average for a mortal or even an Asgardian. It was rather odd. He felt a vague concern for his son niggling at him.
The second thing he noticed was his hair. The color was similar to Loki’s own. Despite, the fact, he knew it was a coincidence, it pleased him to see it. His eyes were an amazing shade of green. He wondered who Harry had inherited them from.
His thoughts were interrupted by Winky who disappeared with a loud pop, only to reappear on the landing next to Harry in the next instant.
“Master Harry.” She chided. “You know you shouldn’t be getting out of bed. I is bringing the rude blue man up to you. You just needed to be patient. Back to your room you go.”
She tried to make Harry turn around, but he held his ground and silenced her attempts to move him, with a look. Winky gave a frustrated huff but stopped tugging on her master’s robes.
Loki could well imagine the disapproving look on the little Elf’s face, and he didn’t envy his son at all. Then Winky’s words registered. Loki was startled Blue, how did she know? He looked down at himself, and it was only then he realized he’s forgotten to replace his Asgardian glamour. He was standing in his son’s front hallway in his Jotun shape.
Loki felt his cheeks grow warm, and he wondered if he was turning an even darker shade of blue. He was so embarrassed. It was a wonder Harry wasn’t terrified of him in this form. He replaced the glamour, and watched with satisfaction, as his skin turned back to its normal color.
“There’s no need to hide on my account,” Harry said still sounding gently amused. “I assure you I am quite familiar with your form. I have one of my own, after all.” He gestured toward himself.
What does he mean? Loki wondered. No, it can’t be…
Harry seemed to waver for a moment and then his skin turned blue. Unlike Loki, he did not grow any taller. He did have horns. Loki could see that Harry’s skin was a few shades lighter than his own, and Harry looked more human in his Jotun form than his father did. Loki felt a stab of envy, and he couldn’t even bring himself to be ashamed for it.
Harry turned to Winky. “We’ll be having tea in the sitting room Winky. I’ll be going downstairs, and I don’t want any arguments, all right? Winky nodded, but her little shoulders had tensed up. Harry slowly and carefully made his way down the stairs. Winky walked behind him, one hand out as if she were ready to grab him if it became necessary.
Loki felt the apprehension he had been ignoring rise to the surface again. Something was wrong here. Loki focused intently on his son. As Harry drew closer, Loki could see how pale he was. There were dark circles under his eyes. As he reached the bottom of the steps, Harry had to stop to catch his breath. He was clearly winded.
He looked up at Loki and smiled. It was tired and didn’t reach his eyes. Loki couldn’t help but smiled in return. He could hardly believe his son was finally standing before him. The joy he felt was tempered with a growing apprehension. He could see know that Harry was dangerously thin; the robes he wore were hanging off him.
His son was seriously ill that much Loki was certain of. He felt fear grip his heart. Unaware of Loki’s thoughts, Harry motioned toward one of the rooms off the front hallway.
“Please follow me he said. I’m sorry for Winky’s attitude. She’s kind of overprotective.” He turned and smiled at Winky, who was still walking by his side.
Loki frowned. His son’s voice was strangely flat. He showed very little emotion towards Loki. It was upsetting, to say the least.
“It’s my job to be taking care of you Master Harry. I just want to see you well, and happy. She assured him gently.
Harry, who was still in Jotun form, flushed. He looked shyly pleased to Loki’s eyes Loki couldn’t help but think that his son looked far better in his blue skin than Loki did. He also seemed remarkably comfortable in this form, something Loki didn’t think he’d ever share. Loki followed him through a couple of dank and depressing rooms.
At last, they entered what Loki assumed was the sitting room. He was surprised how different this room was from the hallway. It was bright and cheerful. The furniture looked comfortable and inviting. There was a nice cheery fire, around which were placed comfortable chairs. The oppressive atmosphere of the house seemed less severe. Loki felt himself relax. He hadn’t realized how horrible the house was making him feel, until now. The instantaneous reliefs made him feel a bit giddy.
“Please sit down,” his son invited. “Winky will bring us some tea.” They sat by the fire. The heat felt wonderful on Loki’s skin. However, he was surprised his son was comfortable so close to the fire in his Jotun form.
The elf nodded eagerly and popped away.
Once they had both sat down, an awkward silence fell between them. The silence was broken when Winky arrived with tea and biscuits. After what seemed an eternity, but was most likely only a few minutes. Harry said “I love the fire. I am always chilled these days, even in this form.” Then Harry chuckled quietly. “Merlin, that was stupid. I’m sorry. I’ve imagined this moment so many times over the years. I rehearsed what I would say to you if one of my kind ever showed up. But now that I have you in front of me, I can’t seem to think properly. I must be making a terrible first impression.” Harry added sounding rueful, but he still didn’t seem at all happy to see Loki.
Loki didn’t know what to think about his current situation. This evening had been so confusing thus far. It was as if his son had been waiting for him, but how could this be? One thing Loki was certain of, he did not like the way Harry was putting himself down.
“Did you know who I am?” Loki asked hesitantly. Have you been waiting for me?” He held his breath as he waited for the answer.
Harry shook his head much to Loki’s disappointment. “I’ve always known I was different, even from other wizards. The blue skin kind of gives it away, I’m afraid. Harry’s lips twisted up in a parody of a smile.
“When I first arrived in the Wizarding world, I thought I would find others like me, but I quickly learned that even among wizards I was different. A freak, as my uncle would have said.” Harry continued. Oblivious to how his words caused Loki pain. His son should have been cherished not ridiculed.
Loki felt a stab of anger at this uncle. Whoever he was he deserved to be taught a lesson. Loki’s heart hurt for Harry. No one knew better than he how it felt to discover you were different. He was also surprised that Harry had been able to manifest his Jotun form from a young age. Surely, Odin would have locked him into his human form, as he had Loki. How had the glamour been broken? It should have shielded him from the mockery of others.
Loki forced himself to shake off his thoughts. He would have to remember to ask Harry later, but right now his son needed him. Loki would care for him, the way he should have been all his life.
“You are not a freak, Harry! Loki said fiercely. Maybe too fiercely for Harry looked startled and leaned back in his chair. “You are my- Loki stopped, suddenly afraid. He was a fool. How could he not have stopped to think that this news might not be welcome? What if Harry didn’t want to get to know his father?
Surely, he had loved his adoptive father? Or given what he learned, maybe not. It was a strong possibility that his stepfather treated him badly. If so, Loki would take pleasure in killing him, and anyone else who had caused Harry pain.
Loki’s emotions were all over the place. Every answer he received only brought up more questions.
“I’m your what?” Harry asked quietly, but he did not seem entirely interested in the answer.
Loki took a deep breath. He could not turn away now. Looking Harry straight In the eye, he spoke the words he’d been longing to say. ‘You are my son, and my son is not a freak,” Loki reiterated firmly.
Much to his shock, Harry burst out laughing. This time the laugh was genuine, although it did not sound happy. He laughed for several seconds until there were tears rolling down his cheeks. Loki found he was deeply hurt by his son’s hilarity. This was not the reaction he’d expected at all.
“You find this amusing?’ He asked Harry stiffly. He was careful to keep his voice expressionless. Would you prefer it if I left?” Loki asked. He would retreat for now if his son wished, but Loki would not give up. More and more he was realizing that there was more to this situation than met the eye. His instincts were screaming at him.
Harry stopped laughing abruptly and shook his head. He looked a bit worriedly at Loki. He tried to take a deep breath, which turned it into a cough. The coughing wracked Harry. His whole body shook with the force of it. Loki felt an instinctive urge to help Harry. He was a renowned healer among his people second only to Frigga. The truth was he was not sure his help would be welcome. As he watched, the fit seemed to go on and on.
Finally, in alarm Loki decided to act, he stood and reached out to touch his son. As his magic touched Harry, a shield went up, and Loki found himself blasted across the room. Even as he was flying through the air, Loki found himself impressed by his son’s power. He hit the wall and blacked out.
Loki came to and found himself lying on the floor trussed up like a turkey for a feast, with Winky standing over him. He blinked in confusion for a few seconds, and then he remembered what had happened. He felt himself flush. It was immensely embarrassing. How long had I been unconscious? he wondered. It could not have been long. Could this day get any more absurd? Loki thought exasperated. He was making a terrible first impression. He glared at Winky.
She looked like an ugly little avenging angel, as she frowned heavily at Loki. “Nasty, rude, blue man attacked Master Harry. Winky will not let you hurt him!” She then thwacked him several times with a wooden spoon, that had materialized seemly out if thin air. He tried to twist away to no avail and grunted in pain after a particularly hard smack.
She looks angry enough, to kill me, Loki thought only mildly alarmed. Surely Harry would rescue him. This was what he’d been reduced to, a prince of Asgard at the mercy of such a small insignificant being. If Odin were able to see him, Loki would never have lived down the humiliation. He could well imagine the sneer on his father’s face, as he mocked him.
Don’t think about Odin, he chided himself. I can’t let him goad me anymore. His opinion no longer matters to me. Loki was adept at recognizing lies, but if he kept saying maybe someday, it would be true.
Winky, stop hitting him,” Harry ordered. His voice sounded like it was across the room.
Winky instantly stopped hitting him, and the spoon disappeared from her hand. However, she made no move to untie him, Loki noted feeling frustrated. He would need to find a way to make peace with Winky, as soon as possible. I might not survive or next encounter otherwise, he thought wryly. The thought restored his good humor for the moment. Winky was aggravating, but he did appreciate her protectiveness of Harry. She clearly loved him so he would play nice.
Loki looked around for Harry and saw him making his way slowly over to them. When he arrived, he stared down at Loki for a moment. Loki gazed at him pleadingly but refused to beg for help. He still had some pride after all.
“Hold still,” Harry ordered. “I need to check you out.” His son stood over him. He was frowning in concentration, though his lips were turned up slightly at the corners. Loki felt his magic probing him. He relaxed and allowed it. He wanted to show Harry he trusted him. Though, he wished his son had not witnessed his humiliation.
Finally, Harry spoke. “Winky, let him go. He was only trying to help me, but my magic reacted instinctively, and attacked him.” Harry said calmly, but Loki could hear the genuine amusement in his tone. He was a little jealous; Winky seemed to elicit positive emotions in Harry when Loki could not.
Winky seemed reluctant to comply, but Harry nodded at her encouragingly. She finally released him. The ropes slithered away from him and then disappeared out of thin air. Despite, the situation Loki was surprised by Winky’s display of magic. These house elves are intriguing in their way, he admitted reluctantly to himself.
Harry offered his hand and helped Loki carefully stand up. Harry sent Winky away. She protested, but Harry gently insisted. With one final scowl in Loki’s direction, Winky popped away.
“I am so sorry. She tied you up before I could stop her” Harry said. “I did not mean to attack you. I don’t react well to unexpected magic. It was an instinctive reaction. There are certain habits I simply can’t break.” Harry suddenly looked very tired. “In any event, I could not find signs of injury. You should be fine.”
Loki was still focused on the revelations about Harry’s magical ability. If his spell had been intentional, Loki would have already been fascinated by his show of control and power. However, if this reaction had been involuntary, then it indicated Harry’s magic was extraordinarily strong! Far stronger than Loki had first thought. Loki felt excitement course through his veins. What other magical feats was his son capable of. It was interesting Odin had chosen to hide him rather than try to use Harry’s power for himself. He could understand why Odin might indeed be afraid of his son. The power Harry displayed was a bit frightening, even to Loki.
The news also made him wary. The information Harry let drop was disturbing. Why did his son need to be so vigilant? His reactions were those of a hardened warrior. What kind of life had he led that he needed to protect himself like this?
Loki took a deep breath, he wanted to demand answers. His emotions were in chaos, but he needed to be able to think clearly. You need to be patient he reminded himself. Loki knew he needed to earn Harry’s trust.
Loki decided to keep his thoughts to himself for the time being, and only nodded his acceptance of the explanation.
His son led him back over to the fire, and the resumed their seats.
“I’m sorry I upset you. I didn’t mean to laugh; it’s just that of all the things I imagined. Of all the theories my friends and I threw around about my strange origins when I was younger. I never considered I might be part alien. This is just too weird even for me.” Harry said looking away from Loki and into the flames. He seemed lost in thought.
Harry’s tone was self-deprecating, and Loki hated to hear it. His son looked so small sitting in his chair. It wasn’t right that someone with Harry’s power and lineage have such a poor sense of self-worth.
He supposed he shouldn’t be surprised Harry knew who he was. He was quite infamous on Midgard. He felt the need to comfort Harry, but he was afraid Harry would reject him. Harry’s behavior was far more telling than he likely realized. Loki was beginning to have some serious and infuriating suspicions about his son’s childhood. Still, he knew it was dangerous to jump to conclusions, he needed to learn more.
Please let me be wrong, he thought desperately. He was not equipped to handle this. Suddenly, Loki wished Frigga were here. Her calm, gentle presence would undoubtedly soothe Harry better than Loki could. There were times when Frigga had been a good mother to him.
“You’re right you are unique. I would think that your unique origins make you special.” He ventured quietly.
Harry smiled softly. “You sound just like a parent,” he said. However, there was something off about the tone of his voice. He sounded as if the idea made him sad. It was not what Loki had been expecting. He’d expected anger or joy or disbelief, not this sad resignation. He didn’t know what to make of it.
Abruptly, Loki was hit with the feeling that everything he was experiencing was just slightly wrong somehow. His son’s reactions were off. Despite, his obvious sadness, Harry was taking this all remarkably well, perhaps too well.
“I’m very surprised you’re not more surprised to see me.” Loki gently prodded.
Harry shrugged. “It’s not really surprising. I have my mother’s eyes you see. Everyone says so. I knew it was likely James Potter was not my father.”
Loki did not know what to say. His son had already suspected the truth. He did not seem overly upset although, Loki wished he were a little more pleased to meet him. Instead, it seemed to hardly matter. Perhaps, Harry was just overwhelmed. In time his son would come to care for him. Loki clung to that hope. He was accustomed to getting what he wanted.
“Besides, after the life, I’ve led. Finding out I’m part alien doesn’t really seem like such a big deal. It’s par for the course really. Although, I’m not pleased to have a mass murderer for a father, to be honest.” Harry gave him a measured look, but his eyes were hard.
Loki felt as if he’d been slapped. “I was under the mental control of another being. I would not have willingly hurt all those people for no reason.” He hastened to explain. ”I was tortured. It was the only way to get the pain to stop.” He added quietly. He allowed his son to see his weakness. He wanted their relationship to be based on honesty.
As he’d hoped it would, Harry’s gaze softened. “I’m sorry to hear that. Being tortured is no fun is it? I wouldn’t ever want to go through it again myself.”
Harry had been tortured. Loki felt a wave of rage wash over him. “Who hurt you? he exploded. I’ll kill them with my bare hands!” He rose from his chair and began to pace.
Harry seemed unimpressed by his display of emotion. His face was blank, the emotion of a few moments ago wiped away. “It’s not a big deal. It was a long time ago. Honestly, it wasn’t the worst thing that ever happened to me.” He looked off into the distance, once again lost in thought.
Loki was shocked, and still shaking with fury. “Not the worst thing” he started to say, but then cut himself off. He wanted to demand answers, but he knew it would be counterproductive. He forced himself to sit down. Though he was still angry, he tried to look calm. The last thing he wanted was for Harry to shut down.
He decided to try a differ tact. He forced himself to relax, and he kept his face open and friendly. He’d find out what had happened, and then, all those who had hurt his son would feel the full wrath of a God upon them. It would be very satisfying to hear them scream
“Anything you’re willing to tell me I’ll listen.” He offered sincerely.
Harry shrugged again. “There really isn’t that much to tell.” He denied evasively.
“I’m sure that’s not true.” Loki argued, “It might do you good to talk about it. He wanted to shake Harry, to force him to react.
Harry hesitated. “There are lots of things, in my past, I never talk about. If you’d shown up yesterday, we would have had a lovely but meaningless chat, and then I would have sent you on your way.”
Loki felt a stab of pain at Harry’s words. His son did not care about him. He didn’t want to get to know his father. Loki’s face must have given him away because Harry leaned forward with an apologetic look on his face.
“I’m sorry. Please don’t be hurt. I didn’t stop to think how that would sound. It’s not I don’t care about getting to know you. It’s me. I can’t seem to bring myself to care about much of anything these days. You can probably tell I’m ill. He did look apologetic. His eyes were flashing with concern.
Loki noted Harry seemed to have flashes of normal emotional responses every so often. He filled the information for later. There might be a pattern.
He was also pleased Harry trusted him with this information. He was relieved they seemed to be connecting. Loki knew it took time to build trust. Even so, he worried about his son’s mental health. Something was very wrong. Loki needed to scan him as soon as possible. He needed to convince Harry to let him.
He gave Harry his most reassuring smile. “I can see you’re not feeling well.” Loki agreed easily. “If you’ll allow it I might be able to help you. I have some experience in the healing arts. If I may be blunt. I’m not really surprised. He gestured at their surroundings. “This house is tainted with the worst kind of evil. It is probably making you ill. If not the constant need to shield your magic, and keep it from being eaten must be draining.”
Harry looked startled and then his face paled dramatically. “Eating my magic?” he asked faintly.
It was Loki’s turned to be startled. “I. yes, this house eats the magic of those around it, in order to keep its wards strong. It is a barbaric form of forbidden magic. Quite frankly whoever performed the spell must have been insane.”
Harry sagged in his chair. “That explains so much. I had no idea, I swear. I mean I’m always tired, even before I got ill, but I never connected it to the house.”
Loki could only stare at his son in bafflement. How was that even possible? Harry should have felt the drain on his magic the instant he first entered the house.
Suddenly, a sense of recognition niggled at the back of Loki’s mind. If only he could think more clearly. He was missing something important, he’d been aware of it since he’d first walked in, but it continued to elude him. It was maddening.
“Surely, there have been others living in this house. Others must have noticed.” Loki asked, truly curious about how his son lived.
Harry shook his head. “If they did they never said anything.”
That didn’t make sense. It was almost as if Harry had been purposely left here to rot. Why would anyone want to cause him damage? That couldn’t be right. Loki felt as if he landed in a nightmare. Only the nightmare was real, and Harry was actually the one living it. This was unbearable.
Loki wracked his brain for another explanation. Then something occurred to him.
“Are you alone here? Do you not have any family or friends who come to visit?” he asked. Although he thought he already knew the answer.
Harry’s face filled with pain and Loki grimaced. He wasn’t going to like what was coming next.
Harry shook his head. “No, all my family and friends are dead. It’s just Winky and me now you see.”
Harry’s loneliness was written all over his face, and Loki’s heart broke for him.
Harry looked thoughtful. “I wonder why Winky hasn’t said anything? I know she would never purposefully hurt me. We’re bonded. A bonded house elf can’t hurt its master.
A distressed look crossed Harry’s face. Is she being hurt?” he demanded harshly. It was the most animated Loki had seen him yet.
Harry looked more concerned for the health of his elf than for his own. Loki felt irritated with Harry, he seemed to care so little for his own well-being. Then it gave way to alarm. Why wasn’t Harry more worried? After his initial shock, he was now eerily calm.
In truth, Loki was a puzzled by this whole situation. However, knowing what he did about magic, he could think of one possible explanation for Winky’s behavior. “It’s possible your magic is protecting hers from being drained.” He offered glad to be able to offer some explanation.
Harry looked relieved. “Thank Merlin, for that,” he said, looking happier at least. His smile lit up his eyes; Loki was thrilled to see it. His green eyes looked remarkable against the blue skin of his Jotun form.
“You need to get out of this house. Loki said bluntly. “I can help you if you have nowhere else to go. We can spend some time getting to know one another. I’d like to show you I’m more to me, than the crazy man on your television.” he added hopefully. All he wanted was a chance.
Harry smiled sadly and waved his concern away. “Thanks for the offer, but it hardly matters now. It’s nice to know why I’ve been so tired though. I am grateful for your concern. Of course, you can stay if you like.”
Loki was bewildered yet again by the easy dismissal of the danger. Harry should be worried at the very least. He was beginning to think nothing would ever make proper sense again. It was like he was feeling his way around in the dark, unable to find his way out. He needed to get out of this house, and soon. It was affecting him or than he realized.
“What do you mean?” he asked alarmed. “Of course it matters. Don’t you understand, the constant drain could kill you if you let it?” Loki demanded. He ran his hand over his face in agitation.
Harry looked faintly amused “Yes, I’d gathered as much, but like I said it doesn’t really matter. You know, I was amazed when I felt your magic nearby. What are the odds you’d show up today of all days? That’s why I let you in. I knew it had to be more than coincidence. You see, I’m afraid I’m already dying.”
Loki felt his blood run cold. His mind stuttered and stopped. He felt suspended in time, for a long moment, frozen in horror.
Harry said the words without inflection. As if his imminent death, was just a fact, nothing more. It was as if he was talking about the weather. Harry simply didn’t seem to care about his own life. His son was clearly extremely damaged. His son was still young. He should be embracing life, not dismissing it out of hand.
What had been done to him that he could not even bring himself to care about dying? Loki could think of many possibilities, each one worse than the last. It was clear his son had been abused in some manner. He’d been hurt, and he’d had no one to protect him. Loki longed to pull his son into his arms and keep him safe. He would not allow Harry to be hurt ever again.
“Harry, I want you to listen to me very carefully. “I know I haven’t given you much reason to trust me so far. But believe me when I say if there is any way I can save you I will. You will not die on my watch. You aren’t alone anymore.” Loki held his son gaze. Hoping Harry could see how serious he was.
Harry only stared at him. “I really don’t think there’s anything you can too.” He denied. “I just have to accept my fate.” He said tonelessly. It sounded almost as if he were repeating someone else words.
Harry’s response made Loki grind his teeth. He wanted to grab his son and take him immediately to Asgard for healing. His mother would know what to do. He didn’t care what his parents had done, not right now. For Harry’s sake, he would beg if he had too. He would do whatever he had to save his son. Harry would live. Loki would accept no other outcome. He would simply have to convince Harry of it too.
Loki sat in the kitchen eating the breakfast Winky had provided him everything was delicious, but Loki barely took the time to appreciate it. He was practically vibrating with anticipation. He had been at Grimmauld Place for nearly a week. He and Harry had been getting to know one another, at Harry’s suggestion.
Harry had reluctantly agreed to let Loki try to help him. In truth, Loki had gleefully jumped at the chance to get to know his son. However, Harry was worried that if Loki tried to scan him, Harry’s magic might kill him in self-defense. Loki had been forced to admit, it was a possibility. Therefore though he chafed at the delay, he agreed they should take some time to get comfortable with one another.
Loki hated that the chance to raise his son had been taken from him. His father had much to answer for. However, he was not the only one to blame for Harry’s current circumstances. Loki was keeping a list. He did not want to forget those that had hurt his son so badly.
Harry had talked a bit about his past. Particularly, the war and his role in it Loki was only sorry this Voldemort person was already dead. If not, Loki would have taken great pleasure in eviscerating him slowly. Voldemort had attacked an innocent baby and killed his son’s parents. From what little he had gathered from Harry the adults in his life had a lot to answer for. They had expected a mere child to save them, and then once he had they had abandoned him to his fate. He didn’t talk much about his childhood home or his family.
He had told Loki that he’d been raised by his aunt and uncle. The Potters had seemed like good people, and they had tried to protect his son. For that Loki honored them. Loki had gleaned enough to know his childhood hadn’t been a pleasant experience for him. Harry showed signs of abuse, even as an adult. The fact that his child had been hurt by those that should care for him almost made him practically homicidal with the need for vengeance.
He found himself fantasizing what he would do to the Dursleys, particularly his Uncle Vernon if he only had the chance. It was only the fact that Harry had declared them off limits that stayed his hand. It was frustrating, but Loki accepted it. Perhaps, in time he could wear Harry down. Loki was nothing if not persistent.
Loki knew that Harry had to be his focus now. The fact that his son had needed him and Loki hadn’t been there was incredibly painful. He was determined to try, and make up for his absence as best he could. Harry would have someone he could depend on. There was nothing he could do about the past, but he would give Harry a future. He would pay any price, to see his son healthy and happy.
Loki steadfastly ignored the fact that Harry firmly believed there was nothing he could do. Loki refused to accept that his son might die. Loki was one of the most powerful magic users in the nine realms; if magic couldn’t help Harry then surely Asgard technology would do the trick. They had plenty of options to explore.
First, he needed to see exactly what he was up against. Today was the day he had been waiting for, he could hardly wait to get started. Harry had consented to allow Loki to scan him with his magic. He believed he trusted Loki enough to keep his defensive reaction under control. Loki had felt a rush of warm affection at the news. He and his son were building a relationship. Nothing was going to get in the way.
Loki thanked Winky for the food as he rose to leave. She nodded looking pleased with the praise. She was still a bit uneasy around him, but at least she no longer considered him a threat. It was a vast improvement as far as Loki was concerned. Then a thought occurred to him, and he turned back.
“Winky,” he said quietly. Would you be willing to answer some questions for me?”
Winky nodded. “Maser Harry says I can trust you. You be his father and won’t hurt him. I answer questions if I can.” She nodded several more times emphatically. Loki couldn’t help but smile at her enthusiasm.
Loki felt his heart lightening at this further proof of Harry’s trust. They were very protective of one another. Loki appreciated the trust being placed in him by both of them.
He led Winky over the table, and she sat down across from him looking uneasy. He had learned house elves hated to be idle.
“Winky, you know I am trying to help Harry” Loki began. “Something very strange is happening to him. He is very ill, and he grows worse by the day. You know him better than anyone. Are you aware that the house is hurting him feeding on his magic?
There was a long pause, and then Winky nodded slowly, but she didn’t speak. Loki could see fear in her eyes.
Loki had suspected as much, but he was confused too. “I know you love Harry, but I don’t understand why didn’t you tell him?”
Much to his shock Winky burst into tears and began pulling on her ears in obvious distress. “Winky bad house elf. She let Master Harry get hurt. She should punish herself, but Master Harry says no punishing, not ever.” Winky clearly did not consider the ear twisting punishment. Loki wondered what else might have slipped through the cracks of Harry’s order. He’d have to look into it. He did not want their house elf hurting herself.
“Winky try to help best she can, but the bad man told Winky if she said anything he would kill Master Harry. He said it would all be Winky’s fault. I is sorry!” She sobbed even harder. Her little body shook with the force.
Loki pulled out a handkerchief and handed it to her. “It’s alright Winky don’t cry. I know you love Harry, and no one doubts your loyalty, I promise you. Can you tell me who threatened you?”
Winky shook her head. “The nasty man put on a spell. I can’t say his name or mention anything about the conversation to anyone in the Wizarding World.” She wrung her hands and pulled at her ears again.
Loki was furious at being thwarted. After a moment he realized something was wrong. Winky said she had been forbidden to speak, but she had just mentioned that someone had threatened her. How? Then something occurred to him. Could it really be that simple?
“Winky, you’re speaking to me now.” Loki pointed out urgently. “Have you ever been able to get this far before?”
Winky froze and gaped at him. “I- no! I never be able to speak at all before.” Her little face filled with hope.” She took a deep breath visibly steading herself. Then she spoke in a rush “It be Dubleydore. He be the nasty man that hurt Master Harry. She gasped as if waiting for lightning to strike, and when nothing happened, she burst into tears once again. However, this time she was smiling, so Loki felt safe in assuming they were tears of happiness.
“I was able to tell. Winky is able, to tell the truth!” she wailed. “Thank you, Master Loki. I be so happy! The nasty bad house is hurting Master Harry. Draining his magic, and making him weak. To keep him trapped inside this horrible house. It is how Dumbleydore kept him under control. I stay with him, protect him best I can, but I not strong enough.”
Loki reached out and awkwardly patted Winky’s shoulder. “It’s all right. I understand you did the best you could. Harry will too. It’s a lucky thing I’m not part of the Wizarding world, isn’t it? I’m sorry you had to go through that Winky. You are a credit to Harry, and the house of Odin.”
The fact that the arsehole’s spell had been undone by something so simple filled Loki with satisfaction. Sometimes magic was refreshingly and elegantly straightforward.
Headmaster Dumbledore, another name for his list. The way Harry spoke of him Loki knew his son had admired the man. He had even shown Loki a picture that was proudly displayed in his bedroom. Instead, the old man had betrayed him for his own ends. Meanwhile, his son had been none the wiser.
The thought made Loki feel ill, and his stomach rolled. He forced himself to breathe deeply.
Still, why had no one else ever noticed? Surely, there were other adults who must have known about the wards. Perhaps, Dumbledore had forced them all to keep silent like he had Winky. Hopefully, an exam would give Loki the answers he needed.
Winky was tugging on his arm excitedly. Thanking him. “You will help Master Harry?” she asked. An anxious look crossing her face. Loki found it surprisingly difficult to see it. She had been very brave today and served his family well.
“I promise,” Loki assured her gently. You and I will take care of Harry, together.” He said. He was somewhat surprised to find he meant it.
Winky beamed at him in response. “Can I be getting you anything Master Loki?” Winky asked enthusiastically. “What be your favorite meal Winky make it for you.” She looked at him eagerly. It was an experience having the full force of the house elf’s enthusiasm turned on him. Just then Winky hugged him around his knees, it was very awkward, but Loki allowed it.
After making sure Winky was all right, he thanked her and made his escape from the kitchen. He made a mental note to see if he could free her from the magical oath completely. After, he’d taken care of Harry. He made his way quickly upstairs and knocked on his son’s door.
“Come in,” Harry called, but his voice sounded weak. Loki closed his eyes for a moment and braced himself. He made sure his expression was unconcerned and cheerful. He did not want Harry to see his concern.
He entered the room quietly. Harry lay on the bed. He was quite pale. Over the last few days, Harry had found it more difficult to get out of bed. His magic had also grown more sporadic. His control would occasionally slip. Spells should be stronger or weaker than he had intended. He tried to hide it at first, but one morning he’d nearly taken Loki’s head off trying to perform a simple shaving spell. After that he’d come clean. Loki had already suspected because Harry changed from his human form to his Jotun without much effort, and there had been times he had not seemed aware of the change.
Loki had observed carefully and taken as many notes as he could. What he wouldn’t give to have access to the library in Asgard. He had checked the Black Library, but many of the books refused to open for him. It was incredibly frustrating. He had found a spell he thought was similar to the one that had created the wards on the house. It was as dark and dangerous as he had feared. Grimmauld Place was an abomination, and he longed to raze it to the ground.
He looked over at the breakfast tray Winky had fixed for Harry. It was mostly untouched. Loki felt another rush of dread hit his stomach.
“You’ve barely touched your food, Harry. You know you need to keep up your strength. Your body needs fuel” despite his concern Loki was amused at himself. Norns, I sound just like my mother, he thought.
Harry threw him an annoyed look. “Stop fussing,” he grumbled. “I don’t know who is worse you or Winky.” Loki was not nearly offended by the comparison as he might have been.
He grinned at Harry, keeping his voice light. “Thank you, I take that as a compliment. Winky and I both love you, as difficult a task as you make it.”
Harry raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Oh no don’t tell me you two are going to be ganging up on me even more now? Haven’t I suffered enough? I tell you it’d not fair.” Harry gave an exaggerated pout.
Loki smiled. It was wonderful to see Harry so animated. Even though he knew it wouldn’t last. He was learning it was important to enjoy the good moments when they could.
There may not be many more his inner voice whispered, but Loki resolutely pushed it away.
He managed to cajole Harry into eating and drinking a bit, though still far less than Loki would have liked. He really would need his strength for the scan.
Finally, they were ready to get started.
Loki had spent several hours the night before preparing himself. He needed to remain calm and centered. Harry was so powerful that this would likely be very draining for Loki. He moved over to the bed until he was standing next to Harry. He knelt down, so they were at eye level, and grabbed his son’s shoulder. He hoped it was comforting to Harry.
He looked his son in the eye. “You just need to relax and let me in. I believe you’ll be aware of my presence, but try not to fight me. You must remain as calm as possible. The experience might be a bit unpleasant, letting another near your magic can be uncomfortable but, I will not hurt you. If you need me to stop, call my name, and I will hear you. But please only call if it’s an emergency. This needs to be done. You will feel tired afterward, but there should be no other after effects.”
Harry sighed heavily, and let himself fall back onto his bed. He looked amused not truly upset, so Loki ignored his dramatics pointedly.
His son grinned unrepentantly. He had seemed a little more carefree these last few days. Loki was thrilled to see it.
Loki knew the wave of emotion his son was experiencing would pass as it always did. It saddened him, but in this instance, it could work to their advantage. The last thing they needed was for Harry to get upset.
“I know, Loki. We’ve been over this several times. I haven’t forgotten what I have to do since last night. I’m ready as I’ll ever be,” he added with a shrug.
As they’d previously discussed, he dropped his human form and lowered his shields. Loki instantly felt Harry’s magic flowing out toward him. He let his own trickle out in response. Their magic mingled gently, and Loki felt Harry’s magic accept his. Something clicked inside Loki. He released a relieved breath. They were over the first hurdle. This was going to work.
Loki took a moment to pray that there wouldn’t be any unexpected surprises.
“Good Harry. Our magic is linked,” Loki said. He was quite proud of Harry for not fighting him and pleased that their magic had merged so easily. “I’m going to use our link to get a look at your magical core now alright?” Loki kept his voice calm and reassuring.
Harry nodded, but he seemed preoccupied. Loki couldn’t blame him; this was not an easy thing most magical people to handle. One’s magic was unique and deeply personal. A person instinctively protected their magic from interference. Granted some were more successful than others, but the instinct was a primal one.
Scanning another’s magic could be dangerous, and was only done by trained healers in extreme circumstances. It required a certain level of trust on the part of the healer, so some considered this test very impractical. It was also very efficient when done correctly, and they didn’t have time to waste.
Loki was powerful, but during the scan, he would be more vulnerable than normal. Someone as powerful as Harry, even in his current state could literally rip Loki apart, and he wouldn’t even need to try all that hard. So far, he seemed to be all right, which was a start. However, the hardest part was yet to come.
He reached out and brushed Harry’s mind with his own for this to work both their minds and magic had to be connected. Harry let him in, but Loki could tell that Harry wanted to fight him. He sent out a wave of reassurance and affection. I won’t hurt you, he reminded Harry mentally. Harry didn’t answer, but abruptly the connection between them snapped into place. That’s good, thank you. Loki praised.
Loki took a moment to center himself. He closed his eyes and searched inside himself until he found his magical core. It burned brightly. He was surprised to see his Asgardian magic had begun to meld with his Jotun magic. He poked at his magical core a bit and tried to unwind part of the two magics, but the magic both resisted him. Loki realized they wanted to be intertwined. He really wasn’t sure how he felt about that. He had been working to accept his Jotun self, but his true ancestry still felt foreign to him in many ways.
Loki made himself pull back. He was getting distracted which he couldn’t afford. He could look at his own magic later. He reached out along his magic until he found the threads that were connected it to Harry’s. Most of the magic Loki was feeling was Jotun magic, which felt very much like his own, but there was some mortal magic threaded through it. He touched it and felt a jolt. The magic was very different from what Loki was used to, but it was more than that, it felt wrong somehow. If Loki had been able to feel his body, he knew he’d be shivering. He reached out with his mind to Harry, but all he got back was a feeling of calm and slight discomfort.
Loki was even more worried about what he might find, but he could not turn back now. He needed to know what they were up against. He grasped Harry’s magic and followed it to its center their mental connection allowed him to see Harry’s magical core as if it were his own. The shift was a bit jarring, and it took Loki a few seconds to get his bearings.
When he got his first look at the state of Harry’s magic, Loki very nearly turned around and fled from the sight. He felt horror, but he quickly pushed it down. Afraid his son would feel it, and panic. However, Harry remained calm.
Loki knew he needed to remain calm. He could not let his emotions rule him.
Harry’s Wizarding magic was twisted and sick there were no other words for it. It took him a moment to understand what he was seeing. Harry’s magic was attacking itself. He could see Harry’s Wizarding magic being drained from his body, the house feeding on him no doubt. However, there was more. Loki could see Harry’s magic was interwoven with several dark spells. He didn’t know all of them, but he recognized at least three separate compulsion spells.
There were also spells that regularly caused Harry pain, at random intervals. His son was being tortured by his magic. The spell was feeding off Harry’s own magic. It was a heinous violation of magical law. He reached out to touch one of them. He hoped to be able to heal it. It felt slick and oily. It tried to invade his mind, and attach itself to him. Loki released it in self-defense.
Harry’s magic was trying to free itself of the dark taints, but instead was only succeeding in hurting Harry further. The more magic fought, the more the spells latched on. This was the downside to such powerful magic. The situation was far worse than Loki had imagined. Harry should already be dead.
Then he realized what was most likely keeping Harry alive. He could only hope the core was still functioning.
Thank the Norns, Loki thought as he looked Harry’s central magical core. His Jotun magic seemed to be in much better shape. It still showed vibrantly at its center. It was almost as if his Wizarding magic was protecting Harry’s Jotun magic by taking the brunt of the damage onto itself. However, even Harry’s Jotun magic was beginning to show signs of deterioration around the edges. It was only a matter of time before his Jotun magic was affected.
Next, Loki looked at Harry’s body, and grief nearly overwhelmed him when he saw that the strain was causing Harry’s organs to fail, as well. No wonder he was so sick. He estimated only a few weeks before his organs would fail completely. Perhaps, he could help some. He reached out with his magic to try to heal Harry’s organs, but while he was able to improve the blood flow to his heart somewhat. There was just too much damage. He did not have the power to heal everything on his own; even if he had succeeded, it would only buy Harry time. His magic would continue to fight itself, and destroy his son in the process.
There was nothing else he could do. Loki felt another wave of despair. This time Harry responded and Loki forced himself to send as much positive and soothing emotion back as he could. He began to pull back. He touched Harry’s mind again. He knew Harry still felt his concern for him, but luckily he had remained quiet. He began trying to disconnect their minds, but instead, he was pulled deeper into Harry’s mind against his will.
Before he could stop it, Loki was drawn into one of Harry’s memories.
He was very small. He was three years old, but his cousin Dudley was much larger than him. His cousin was mean, and Harry was afraid of him. He was hungry and cold, and so very tired. He was standing on a chair at a sink. He was washing a plate that was much too small for his little hands. If he finished soon maybe there would be something to eat. He decided to hurry just a little. The plate fell and broke with a loud crash. He felt a wave of terror overtake him. I’m going to be in so much trouble he thought. He jumped off the chair and began to pick up the pieces of the plate frantically. Suddenly a man came barreling into the room, and began yelling at him “Boy he shouted how can you be so clumsy! That’s it no supper for you.”
Loki wanted to cry. It would be his second day without food.
“Uncle Vernon please he heard himself say. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” he lisped his words, voice quavering with fear. He sobbed. The man picked him up and threw him into a cupboard the door locked behind him. Loki curled up on the small cot. Shivering and crying. He was so hungry, and now there would be no dinner.
Loki wanted to cry out in pain. This was unbearable, but he’d lost control. He could only hang on for dear life. The memory faded away, and another began
Loki watched in horror as Sirius fell through the veil. He was frozen in place as his only family was taken from him. “He can’t be dead,” Loki thought desperately. “He was going to let me live with him, now no one else will ever want me,” he thought. A wave of despair shot through him. Loki wanted to die. Sirius, he screamed. He tried to follow, but a hand grabbed him, holding him back and forcing him to live. Mercifully he passed out, as the pain and loss overwhelmed him.
Then there was another shift, and another memory began.
A parade of dead faces passed in front of him he recognized each one Fred, George, Ron, and Hermione. All his friends were dead. All taken from him. Loki was so sad so alone. He knew he was destined to lose everyone he cared about. He could not even feel sad anymore. He felt nothing except a numbness that seemed to leave him frozen on the inside.
Then there was blackness. Loki almost sobbed in relief, but before Loki could catch his breath, he was pulled in yet again.
Then Loki was standing on a battlefield. He looked up and saw Voldemort staring back at him. He knew what he had to do. Dumbledore had told him this was the only way. There was nothing more to live for. He closed his eyes. He felt almost relieved that his suffering would finally end. Avada Kedavra Voldemort shouted. When the spell hit him, he let it happen. Loki let himself be murdered. In an instant, his life slipped away from him.
Then there was nothing but darkness. He felt himself being pushed from Harry’s mind in a rush. With a sharp cry, Loki woke. He was lying on the floor. He felt tears streaming down his face. His heart ached, and it hurt to breathe. He felt his son pain as if it were his own. It was one of the worst experiences of his life. He was so furious he wanted to tear all those who had hurt his son apart. How had his son survived? Loki was in awe of his strength.
“How could you! Harry’s voice shouted above him. “I trusted you!” His voice shook with anger. Despite the reason why Loki felt a surge of happiness, at his son’s emotional displays.
Loki looked up Harry stood over him his face ashen, He shook with fury. Loki was shocked Harry had not blasted him across the room.
“Answer me. Harry demanded. “Why did you invade my memories like that?” His eyes flashed with anger and betrayal.
Oh no, what had he done Loki thought. He could not bear to have his son pull away from him now, he sat up and tried to reach for Harry, but Harry pulled away Loki gasped at the pain it caused him.
“I’m sorry, son. It was an accident I swear. He said frantically, willing Harry to believe him. “Your mind pulled me in I couldn’t stop it. I would never invade your memories without your permission I swear.” Loki said sincerely. He willed his son to understand.
That seemed to bank the fire of Harry’s anger abruptly. He suddenly looked exhausted. “Do you promise?” he asked softly sounding lost and suddenly very young. Loki longed to comfort him. He longed to go back in time and keep his son safe. If only that were possible. He thought wistfully
Loki stood carefully. His head was pounding. He felt like he’d gone ten roads with a griffin.
He walked over to his son. “I promise Harry. I will never knowingly betray you.” he reached out and hugged his son tightly, as he’d longed to do for so long. His poor Harry had suffered so much, and yet he survived. Loki felt he would burst from the pride and love that filled his heart.
After a long moment, Harry returned the hug leaning heavily into it. Loki heard him sigh. He relished the show of trust and affection. He was grateful their relationship had not been damaged. The stood like that for several minutes before Harry finally pulled away.
“Are you aware of the memories I saw?” Loki asked gently.
Harry grimaced unhappily. “Yes I saw them with you. I could feel you in my mind with me. It was really rather odd.”
Loki nodded. “It was I’ve never experienced anything like it. I’m sorry you suffered so much. Lost so much. I’d do anything to change it for you.”
“I know you would. No one but Sirius has ever offered to take care of me.” Harry smiled shyly. “I suppose it’s just as well. It hardly matters now does it?”
Loki flinched, but he kept his voice even. I’d love to hear more about your Godfather or anything else you want to tell me. You might find it helps to talk about some of the good things.” He suggested gently.
He didn’t bring up what he’d found just yet. He didn’t want to upset Harry. They both needed to rest. A trip to Asgard was in order. They were out of options. Loki knew convincing Harry would not be easy, and he’d need to secure safe passage for them both. Somehow, Loki had no idea how to help his son. The truth hurt to admit. They had so much that need to discuss, decisions and plans to make, but it could wait until tomorrow.
However, first, there was an important matter Loki had to address. He was hopeful this time the answer would be different. He looked his son in the eye and smiled winningly, “Are you sure I can’t kill the Dursleys? he asked. I’d consider it a perfect early Yule gift.”
Harry’s answering laughter was wonderful to hear. Although, Loki had been entirely serious. Seeing his son happy was a gift in and of itself.
Loki pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes resting them for a few seconds. He was exhausted, and a headache was building. He sighed in frustration and set down the book he’d been reading. It was pretty much useless just like all the others he’d tried. He was desperately trying to find a way to buy Harry more time.
His son was growing worse by the day. He might have less time than Loki had initially thought. For the last three days, he’d used his own magic to take some of the strain off Harry’s organs, but the effort was exhausting him.
He tried not to let on, what a difficult time he was having, but Harry wasn’t an idiot. He knew something was wrong. It was only a matter of time, before he put it together, and refused to let Loki do any more healing magic on him. His son had a distressingly strong noble streak. As if I wouldn’t trade my life for his gladly, Loki thought fondly.
He stifled the urge to get up and pace. Loki hated waiting, but he had no choice. His first thought had been to try to sneak Harry into Asgard, but he knew that he couldn’t take the chance with Harry’s life. Despite, his growing sense of urgency, Loki knew he needed to be cautious; he couldn’t afford to act without thinking his actions through carefully.
He needed to try to get his family to help him willingly, no matter how much it galled him to do so. Who would have thought I’d be willing to ask them for their help so easily, he thought. Somewhat amused at himself. Being a parent really had shifted his priorities. He acknowledged his decision also rose from a desire to make Harry proud of him. Harry would not be happy if Loki started breaking laws on his behalf. Loki sighed. Caring for someone with morals could be so tiresome.
Of course, that didn’t mean he wouldn’t lie, steal or cheat to get what he needed, if necessary. He would do whatever he had to do, and honestly thwarting his father could be so much fun. However, bribing his way in would take valuable time he didn’t have. People could also be very unreliable, not to mention stupid. He’d rather not put his trust in others. There were too many risks involved. The diplomatic route really did seem to be the best option for now.
He’d sent his brother a message, hoping Thor would be willing to act as an intermediary on his behalf, but he had yet to hear anything back. It was just like his brother to disappear when he was needed the most.
Loki didn’t want to leave Harry, but if he didn’t hear from Thor soon, he might not have a choice. He’d go to Asgard himself. He did need Frigga to make this work. She was the best healer on Asgard. He also knew Odin would not be willing to help him since he hated Harry. However, his mother had a way of getting what she wanted from his father. With her help, he might be able to get Odin to cooperate. After all, how would people react if they knew Odin had a vendetta against a little baby, and his grandson no less?
He figured, if all else failed, his family’s cooperation would make sneaking into Asgard much easier. He’d kidnap his mother, and steal the healing bed and bring it down to Harry if he had too.
Loki stood and stretched. Harry should be waking up from his nap soon, and Loki needed to try to get him to eat something. His son had definitely gotten his stubbornness from him.
Just as he reached the stairs the health monitoring spell, he’d put on Harry began to sound. Harry was in distress. Winky screamed Loki’s name a moment later. Loki transported himself up the stairs in an instant, ignoring the way the wards tried to take his magic as he passed through them. He rushed into Harry’s room.
Winky was standing in the doorway, wringing her hands in distress. “Master Harry can’t breathe’ she cried. Loki pushed past her not even bothering to acknowledge her statement in his rush to reach his son.
As he drew closer, he could tell Harry’s breathing was shallow. It had a rattle he recognized well. His son was dying! They had run out of time.
Loki’s heart seemed to stop, and the world slowed down. He could only stare for a few precious seconds, frozen in shock. Abruptly, time started to move again, and he sprang into action. He immediately cast the most powerful healing spell he knew, only to have it dissolve instantly when it came up against Harry’s magic.
Now, that Harry wasn’t actively controlling it, his magic was doing its best to protect him from outside threats. Unfortunately, that still included Loki. It would not allow any of his spells effect Harry. Harry’s magic was too strong for him to fight. Loki wanted to scream in frustration. He knew trying again, would be useless and only weaken Harry further.
When a magical person died, they’re magic would drain and eventually be absorbed back into the Earth. Harry’s magic would eventually leave his body, but by then it would be far too late to do his son any good.
It couldn’t end like this. He’d only just found Harry, and he’d promised to help him. Instead, he was going to be forced to watch him die. Later Loki couldn’t really explain what happened except that he went more than a little crazy. He picked Harry up and tried to take him up to Asgard, but he found himself rebounding against the wards uselessly.
He tried again and got the same result. Loki realized with a sinking heart that the wards would not allow him to leave the house with Harry. He decided to try simply walking out the front door, but when he reached the doorway, he found he couldn’t walk through it. Loki closed his eyes and took a calming breath. He needed to think this through.
He couldn’t continue like this. He was only hurting his son with every attempt. His attempts to save Harry were only bringing him closer to the brink of death. This all felt like some sort of terrible nightmare. Loki would give anything to wake up.
He carried Harry into the sitting room and lay him down on the sofa. He’d go to Asgard himself, and bring back help. However, he couldn’t bear the thought of leaving Harry alone. He couldn’t let his son die alone in this terrible place.
When this was over, I will burn this abomination to the ground, he promised himself. The blaze would be glorious to behold. Loki acknowledged the ridiculousness of his thoughts he was getting hysterical. He tried again to think clearly. He became aware that someone was crying nearby. Harry, he’s awake, thank the Norns was Loki’s first thought.
He turned quickly and found Winky standing in the doorway tears running down her face. Her little body heaving with sobs. His disappointment gave way to relief that his son would not be alone. Loki had completely forgotten about their house elf. Until now, he’d only had eyes for Harry. He was so grateful to have her assistance in this, he felt tears sting his eyes, once again.
“Winky, stay with Harry and watch over him. I don’t want him to be alone. I’m going to go and bring back help.” Loki said. He was very surprised his voice was not shaking.
“Winky nodded, looking sad but determined. “I stay with Master Harry, don’t worry. Winky take care of him”
Loki nodded. He squeezed Winky’s shoulder and then he turned back to his son. Harry’s breathing was labored, but it didn’t seem to be any worse for the moment. He walked over and kissed Harry gently on the forehead. “I’ll be back as soon as I can. Please hang on.” Loki’s voice broke. “You will not die on me. I forbid it,” he added sternly.
He stood, and gathering his power. He tried to go through the wards only to bounce off them and materialize again in the sitting room. No, this could not be happening. He tried again putting more effort into it, this time he felt the wards feed off his magic, and power the drain forced him back down. He wanted to try again. His desperation driving him, but he realized he was only wasting his magic. He could not help his son this way.
He carefully reached out and tested the words. They felt stronger, how was this possible? They shouldn’t have the power to keep him here. Unless, now that Harry was unconscious, the wards had begun consuming his magic at a faster rate. The idea that they could be gorging themselves on his son’s magic made Loki feel ill and furious. He had never felt so powerless.
There was nothing he could do. They were trapped. Harry was dying, and Loki was helpless to stop it.
Loki’s legs suddenly felt like rubber. With a defeated sigh, he lowered himself gently to the floor, right where he stood in the front hall, and cradled Harry in his lap. His son was pale, and his lips were tinged with blue. He wasn’t getting enough oxygen. He watched his son’s labored breathing carefully. He knew he wasn’t imagining that it was slowing down, the space between each breath growing longer.
He ran his hand over Harry’s forehead gently brushing his hair back. ‘It’s alright sweetheart. Relax. Everything is going to be fine. I’m here with you. Don’t be afraid. Loki’s voice broke, and he took a shaky breath.
No there had to be something he couldn’t give up on Harry. He refused to let Harry down. Loki’s mind raced trying to come up with something, anything to save Harry.
“I think he’s suffered enough don’t you?” a soft musical voice said from above him.
Loki looked up to find a beautiful woman who looked to be in her mid to late twenties standing over him. She had long black hair, and she was dressed in a long flowing white dress. There was something familiar about her, but Loki couldn’t recall where he’d seen her before. She radiated power.
Loki instinctively reacted to her. He set Harry down gently, and then stood, watching her warily.
“How did you get in here” he demanded harshly. “Be warned, if you mean us harm. I will not hesitate to kill you.”
“That wasn’t very nice. The woman chided. I’m here to try and help you, and this is how you react? It wasn’t easy getting permission for this you know.”
Loki found he was having trouble caring what the woman wanted, as long as she wasn’t a threat to Harry or himself. She just didn’t seem important in the face of losing his son. Then it dawned on him she’d gotten past the wards easily.
“Can you get us out of this god’s forsaken house? he asked eagerly. “My son needs help, He‘s dying. Loki knew he was pleading, but he didn’t care. He was desperate, and he’d beg if he had to.
“Yes, I can,” the woman said with a regal nod of her head.
Loki’s chest hurt, at the rush of hope he felt, he was almost giddy with relief
But then the woman spoke again, “But I won’t” she added coolly. As if Harry and Loki were above her notice.
The relief was swiftly replaced by rage. How dare this woman defy him? Did she not know who she spoke too? “Why not?” he demanded. He’d asked nicely, and she’d refused him. He was done begging if this woman wouldn’t help them, then Loki would force her to.
Loki tried to freeze her with his magic. He didn’t want to hurt her but he would if he had too. She had invaded Harry’s home, so she was clearly powerful. He needed her help, and he would force her to do what he wanted if he had to. His stomach twisted a little at the thought, but as soon as they were free of this cursed house, he’d let her go on her way. As long as she didn’t try to hurt them, he couldn’t care less what she wanted.
“I am ashamed of you Loki Odinson, you have learned less than I had hoped, the woman said sharply, How dare you try to force your will upon me I am Skuld, the Norn of necessity, and I can crush you like a bug should I so desire,”
Loki was completely shocked. A Norn, he had just tried to attack one of the most powerful beings in all the realms. The Norns were the guardians of time and fate. Even, Odin respected The Norns and worked hard not to get on their bad side. He had just seriously fucked up. Despite, the extenuating circumstances, he did feel a little ashamed. His first reaction had been one of violence and force. His heart hurt when he thought what Harry’s reaction would be.
He knew he needed to fix this. Never had he regretted his impulsiveness more. He had almost ruined his best chance to save his son. He wouldn’t have believed it possible, but the Norns could make this situation infinity worse if they were so inclined. If Loki played his cards right, maybe he could convince them to save Harry’s life. Loki would need all his charm to pull this off.
Loki bowed low in a show of respect. “I’m sorry my lady. He said as sincerely as he could. “I did not recognize you. I did not mean any disrespect to you or your sisters. I’m afraid, I was overwrought I’m afraid I wasn’t thinking clearly. Surely, you can understand a father wanting to save his son’s life no matter the cost.”
Skuld raised an eyebrow. “I believe you mean that, but you have seen first-hand how much your son suffers. You know in your heart, there is no hope for him. Yet, you would try to deny him the relief that death can give him.”
Loki felt his blood run cold. “You don’t know that there is nothing that can be done. There might be a way to save him.” he insisted striving to remain calm. “My mother will help me find a way,” he assured her. “I beg of you, please help me to save my son.”
The Norns eyes flashed with anger. “Your words are pretty but false. You beg for my help with one breath, and yet you imply I am lying with the next. Your brother is not coming. You are alone.
Loki opened his mouth to protest, but she held up a hand. Loki felt his despair rise.
Skuld continued, “I assure you I am intimately familiar with the course of your son’s life. There is only one path left open for him. I’m afraid your father has seen to that. You must let him go.” She spoke gently, but with great authority.
“No.” Loki denied fiercely. “I assure you, Lady. I mean no disrespect. But I cannot accept that you speak the truth. I will not do that! I will not give up on him, not until there is no other choice. I have to keep trying. Can’t you understand that?”
His heart was hammering inside his chest. It could not be true. The Norns could be trying to trick him; perhaps she was working for his father. They had to know he would be willing to believe his father was behind Harry’s illness, and the horrible hand that fate had dealt him.
She sighed in exasperation, but her expression softened a bit. “Yes I can, but you have to understand it is pointless. His fate has been sealed. You will try over and over again, and the entire time your son will be made to suffer. There is no way to heal his magic, and your son will not survive its removal if you were to succeed, which even in the best of circumstances is highly unlikely?”
Loki felt his heart drop; he worked hard not to let it show. Removal of Harry’s magic had been his best idea for how to heal him. He had been afraid it would kill him outright. “With all due respect, my Lady, how do I know I can trust anything you say?” he asked quietly. “The Norns are known for having their own agenda. You only work with those who serve your own ends. You cannot blame me for being skeptical.
Loki found himself shoved up against the wall. The breath knocked from his lungs. He was dismayed to realize he could not move.
When she spoke, Skuld’s voice was quiet, but her actions betrayed her growing temper. “Loki Odinson, your arrogance will be your undoing. I can understand your misgivings. For a parent, there is nothing worse than the death of a child. Your obvious love for Harry Potter has saved you, from my wrath. However, I will only forgive your disbelief in my words, for so long. Your son will die. That is certain, but there is still a way you can help him if you will only listen to me.”
This gave Loki pause “What do you mean?” he asked cautiously. He ruthlessly buried the hope that wanted to rise once again. Nevertheless, he found himself holding his breath as he waited for her to speak.
“You’re son’s life has been ruthlessly manipulated by others who wished him great harm. He has been denied the life he should have had, and yet he remained honest and true. He did not let his suffering twist him or turn him dark. He is pure of heart. This is a very rare thing in this universe, indeed. His courageousness has earned him a boon. I am here to give you a chance to change his fate, for the better.”
Loki could only stare in confusion. “What do you mean change his fate? He asked suspiciously. I thought you said there was no way to save him.” However, he dared not take his eyes off Skuld.
Skuld huffed and gave Loki an exasperated look. “I said there is no way to change his death in the here and now. However, his fate can be changed in the past. What was is not set in stone. Decisions can ripple forward and backward across the timeline. A person can change their destiny by making different choices I am offering you the chance to choose a different life for yourself and your son.”
Loki took a deep breath, trying to remain calm. He ruthlessly squashed the hope that tried to overtake him again. He needed to think clearly. He tried to appear unaffected by her words. “What exactly are we talking about here? I beg you to speak plainly.”
Skuld looked amused, and she smiled at him. “Such bravado. Even now you are attempting to appear in control of this situation. However, I know what is in your heart. You already suspect what it is I am about to offer you. I promise you it is no trick.” She waved a hand and Loki unexpectedly slid down the wall and ended up sprawled on the floor.
Relieved he could move again, he gathered his dignity around him and stood up. He dared not complain about his treatment.
Then Skuld’s words sunk in. Loki’s heart stopped for one long moment before it began racing so fast he felt light-headed. Could it be? He remembered his wish to go back in time, but he hadn’t really been serious. It had been a passing fancy, nothing more. Time travel wasn’t possible, was it?
Before he could speak his thoughts, Skuld continued “Tell me if you had the chance to raise your son from infancy would you take it?”
Loki didn’t even have to think about it “Yes” he said simply. He met Skuld’s gaze wanting to prove how serious he was. Her gaze was mesmerizing. The colors in her irises seemed to swirl. He could get lost in them. Cursing himself, Loki tore his gaze away. It had been a foolish mistake.
The Norn smiled at him. This time it reached her eyes. His answer had pleased her. She did not seem too upset that she had not been able to ensnare him.
“So sure of yourself aren’t you? I admit you are stronger than I thought. However, changing time is a dangerous thing,” She warned seriously. “Unpredictable, not even my sisters and I can be sure of what will happen. You may indeed change your son’s life for the better, or you could make things worse in the long run. We will not interfere. Your destiny and Harry’s will be up to you. Your future will be what you make it.”
Loki fought back a snort. She was oversimplifying things a great deal. He knew that the course of a person’s life was not solely based on their own choices but of those around them as well. His father would still have the chance to destroy Harry. Loki would have to work hard to keep both of them safe, from harm. It would not be easy, but it was more than Loki had ever dared to hope for.
“I don’t care what the consequences are.” He answered honestly. “Saving my son from this horrible existence is all that matters. I accept your offer. What do you want in return?” He wasn’t stupid enough to think there wouldn’t be a price to pay.
Skuld smiled coldly. “You are smarter than I thought. There will indeed be a price. However, you may not know what it is ahead of time. One day we will ask something of you, and you must obey without question. That is all I can tell you. In return, you will be given a chance to change the course of your son’s life, and your own in whatever way you see fit.”
Loki frowned. This was an obvious trap. He would have expected more subtlety for a being as powerful as this. What else is she hiding? he asked himself. His instincts told him, he should wait and learn more, but then he dared to look over at his son. Harry’s lips were tinged with blue. His breathing had slowed even more, and Loki could tell death was near. In the end, there was really no choice to be made. The chance to be with Harry, to see him happy and safe was worth any price Loki would have to pay.
Still, there was something he needed to be sure of first. Loki nodded decisively. “I accept, but on one condition.” He indicated Harry with a wave of his hand.
Skuld frowned. “You dare to give me an ultimatum? She demanded furiously. “I should kill you where you stand for your impertinence!”
Loki shrugged negligently, striving to hide his apprehension. Her magic was pushing down on him; the room seemed to shrink suddenly. However, Loki stood his ground. He knew she could still decide to kill him at any moment. He was truly taking his life in his hands, but Harry was worth the gamble.
“Clearly, you need me for this mysterious task. I don’t believe for one moment you are helping us out of the goodness of your heart. My request is simple. I will do whatever you ask of me when the time comes. However, my son is not part of this bargain. Whatever price I must pay, whatever danger must be faced. I will face it alone. My son will be free to choose his own path. Do I have your oath?”
Skuld hesitated, looking like she’d like to crush every bone in his body. An oath from a being such as her was magically binding and not given lightly.
Skuld glared daggers at him. She all but vibrated with fury. Loki stared back at her giving her his best-unimpressed look. The one he’d practiced in the mirror as a young boy. Practicing for the day he’d win the right to be King. It served him well.
At last, she nodded. “I accept your terms” she bit out. “Your son is free of your debt to us.”
Loki grinned in satisfaction. His son would no longer be anyone’s puppet. He would be free to choose his own life.
He knew that other issues would probably pop up, but he dared not push his luck any further. “I accept your terms” he agreed.
Skuld nodded regally, there was a gleam in her eye which Loki did not like, but he ignored his apprehension. He would handle whatever issues came up. He would not fail.
“Very well, we will leave now.” She motioned him forward impatiently.
Loki hesitated looked over at his son and Winky watching over him. He realized that Winky had not reacted at all to Skuld’s presence.
As if sensing his thoughts Skuld said. “I did not wish to alarm the small one, so I hid my presence from her. There is nothing more you can do for your son. Leave him be.”
Loki shook his head. “I can’t just let him die alone” he protested. Harry has been alone for far too long.”
Skuld sighed. “Save me from the stubbornness of the young.” She muttered sounding newly exasperated.
Under other circumstances, Loki would have preened at his ability to so discomfit such a powerful being. He was still the God of Mischief, after all.
“I will not leave him, he repeated. “I beg you to have mercy for Harry’s sake. He tried to sound as meek as possible.
From Skuld’s look, he did not succeed. “You are trying my patience Loki Odinson, Tread carefully. However, for your son’s sake, I will allow you to say goodbye to him one last time. I cannot risk waking him, but I will allow you to link minds.”
Loki wanted to sag at the wave of relief that swept over him. He nodded eagerly. “I thank you, Lady,” he said sincerely.
“Sit with your son.” She waved Loki toward Harry. Once Loki was seated, she placed one hand on Loki’s forehead and the other on Harry’s. “You must hurry; we do not have much time.” Then it grew dark.
The next thing Loki knew. He was sitting in the stands around a pitch of some kind. Off in the distance, he could see a set of rings; he looked around and realized there was another set at the other end. Perhaps, they were goals of some sort. But where’s Harry? he thought puzzled. He could see no sign of his son.
Then he heard a cry of joy from somewhere, and he looked up. He could just make out a small figure flying on a broom of all things. How bizarre, Loki thought. Mortal wizards were even stranger than he first thought. Loki was glad his son would grow up free of their influence.
He assumed the person on the broom was his son. He watched Harry do another barrel roll, and his stomach rose up into his throat. How was Harry staying on that thing? He wondered. Surely, it wasn’t safe. Harry was ill after all. He should be more careful Oh for Norn’s sake, listen to me he thought. I’m worse than my mother. I’ll have to be careful not to smother him. Loki thought amused.
He did a quick spell and amplified his voice. “Harry Potter, come down here this instant,” Loki spoke normally, but his voice boomed out in the open air.
Harry turned toward him, but rather than come straight down the brat did a few more tricks before finally landing on the grass near Loki.
“I’m an adult you know. I’ve been taking care of myself for a long time,” he called out, but he sounded amused. He propped his broom on the lowest bleacher, and then walked up and sat next to Loki.
Loki shrugged, but he smiled brightly at his son. “I’m your father, it turns out worry comes naturally. Let me fuss and get in a few fatherly demands in while I can hmm.”
Harry grinned happily. It was wonderful to see so much emotion on his face. Loki took a good look at him. Harry looked healthier than Loki had ever seen him. His color was good, and he looked strong. Loki felt the sting of tears. He had thought he’d never have the pleasure of seeing his son looking so well.
“This was always one of my favorite places to be,” Harry told him. “I’ve always loved to fly. It’s so freeing. I’m glad I ended up here and not the train station.”
Loki shivered at the reminder of why he was here. Harry had told him what he’d seen the last time he’d “died.” Loki had his doubts about what Harry had described, but he’d kept his thoughts to himself.
“Do you know why I’m here, son?” he asked gently. Putting his arm around Harry’s shoulders for a quick hug.
Harry nodded. “I know I’m dying, Loki. I’m glad I got a chance to say goodbye to you, one last time.
Loki felt tears threatening again, but he pushed them back, afraid he wouldn’t be able to speak otherwise.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t save you. I’m sorry I failed you.” His voice broke, and Loki had to stop speaking. He looked away.
He felt Harry put his hand on his arm “Dad, he said. It’s alright. I’m ready. I really am.”
Loki looked over at him in shock. Then a bittersweet joy filled his heart constricting his chest. He’d never thought he’d be lucky enough to hear that particular appellation from his son. He spontaneously reached out and pulled Harry into his arms and hugging him tightly. Harry returned the embrace easily, and Loki truly felt his heart was going to burst. They sat like that for a couple of minutes before Harry pulled back, Loki let go reluctantly.
Harry looked at him sternly. “Listen to me. You didn’t fail me,” Harry insisted passionately. None of this is your fault. For a long time, I blamed myself. I thought I deserved to die alone, but you’ve helped me to see how people have taken advantage of me. I feel better than I have in a long time. Like a weight has been lifted. I don’t want to go back. I’m tired of suffering. I’m tired of the constant pain. Please don’t be afraid to let me go,”
Loki nodded. He felt a sense of peace wash over him. It was selfish to want to keep Harry by his side. Harry was ready, and it wasn’t as if they would see each other again very soon.
Harry suddenly looked sad. “It’s almost time dad. You have to go.”
Loki suddenly didn’t feel ready at all. “Wait there’s something important I need to ask you. If there was something in the past you could change what would it be?” he looked at Harry intently, trying to memorize his face.
Harry looked surprised then thoughtful. He was quiet for a few minutes before speaking. Loki was glad he was taking the question seriously.
“There are lots of things I’d do differently. But mostly I’d save the people I love, Sirius, Remus and Hermione especially. I would have said Ron, but I’ve been thinking, and I’m not sure all the Weasleys can be trusted. They helped Dumbledore, keep me locked up, and they helped convince me to go along with his plans for me.”
Harry looked heartbroken, and Loki felt terrible. He had hoped to spare Harry this pain.
“I’m sorry so many people you trusted hurt you so much.” He told his son. Soon he would erase all his son’s suffering. He felt truly grateful to Skuld, though he could not fully trust her.
Harry nodded. “I was a fool,” he said bitterly. “I see that now, but there’s nothing we can do. I know I need to let it go,” Despite his words, Harry looked preoccupied. Loki was sorry to have ruined his son’s good mood, but he knew it was necessary.
Loki realized Harry hadn’t mentioned his parents and mentioned them.
Harry blushed “Oh I forgot. I’d save them too if I could. It’s just they aren’t real to me you know. I’ve only seen pictures. The truth is I miss Sirius more.” He looked at Loki a bit guiltily. “And I have you now,” he added with a shy smile. Some of his happiness returned to his face.
Loki tried to smile, but he knew it wasn’t his best effort. “You certainly do. I’m sorry I didn’t have any memories of your mother to share with you. My father stole that from both of us. I’d give her back to you if I could.” He said sincerely. He reached out and squeezed his son’s hand.
Harry nodded, squeezing back. “I know you would. It means so much to me.”
Loki became aware that he was cold. He looked around and realized it was getting dark. Harry looked around as well He looked at Loki alarmed. “It’s almost time. You can’t be here when it happens. You have to leave now. Take care of Winky for me, please. Goodbye dad, I love you.”
Loki opened his mouth to return the sentiment, but he was unexpectedly being pulled away. It was growing darker, Harry was all he could see now. “I love you too, son.” He called, and then there was darkness again.
Loki slowly opened his eyes and sat up frantically looking around for Harry. He was surprised to realize he was no longer in Grimmauld place. It was such a relief to be away from that house. He felt better rested and refreshed than he had in a long time. He looked around. He was sitting in the middle of a field of flowers. He looked up and saw that he was lying under a large tree. Its branches and beautiful green leaves rising above him. As he watched the leaves rustling in the wind a feeling of peace swept over him.
He stood carefully. Where am I? He thought puzzled. He looked to his left, and he realized that the tree was not growing out of the ground it was growing out of a large well. Loki gasped as it dawned on him. The Well of Urd. The tree wasn’t just any tree, it was Yggdrasil, the tree of life, where each of the nine realms rested. It was truly beautiful; Loki never imagined that he’d have the honor of seeing it in person.
“It’s magnificent isn’t it?” A familiar voice asked startling Loki out of his awed contemplation.
He turned around and saw Skuld standing nearby watching him. She seemed to glow with an ethereal light. She looked even more beautiful, something Loki would have said was impossible until now. Her power rushed over him gently. It felt comforting rather than dangerous, but Loki knew he must remain alert, even now.
“It truly is glorious,” he murmured. “I am honored, by this gift my lady.”
Skuld smiled brightly, and it was a beautiful sight. “I am gratified by your appreciation for that which gives us all life. There may be hope for you yet,” she added wryly. Loki couldn’t even be bothered to be annoyed by her implied insult. This moment was too important.
He looked at her. “My son is dead isn’t he?” Loki just needed to be sure.
Skuld nodded. “I saw to his body myself. I laid him to rest with his mother and stepfather near his childhood home.”
Loki nodded. He was sad, but much to his surprise the grief was muted. Perhaps, it was this place or perhaps he had finally accepted the inevitable.
”I thank you for seeing to him,” he said sincerely.
“You are most welcome, Loki Odinson. It was the least I could do for him. We failed him most grievously. I hope you can correct the wrongs that have been done to your son.
She did not wait for him to answer, for which Loki was glad. He didn’t know what he would have responded. He would never have expected a Norn to speak in such a manner.
“Come,” she placed her hand on his back, and he allowed himself to be led. “The well of destiny awaits you.”
She led Loki over to the well, and Loki looked over the side into its dark depth. He realized it was not totally dark. She watched there were swirls of light and color swirling in the water. It was mesmerizing.
“You must jump into the water and make your request. The well will read your heart’s true intention. If she considers your cause just and true, then you will be transported to your time.”
Loki gulped, his previous calm deserting him. Jump in the well of destiny? It sounded insane.
He looked away from the water to gaze at Skuld. “And if the well decides my wish is unjust?” he asked quietly. He knew he would not like her answer.
“Then you will be lost in limbo forever.” She said gravely. ‘Loki gaped at her. She couldn’t be serious.
“I told you there could be grave consequences. This is only the first of many dangers you will face.” She said calmly.
Loki felt the sudden urge to punch her Norn or not. How could she talk so casually about ending his life? If he failed not only would he suffer for all eternity, bit all hope for Harry would be lost as well. You knew there had to be a catch he reminded himself sternly. Still, he didn’t really have a choice, did he? He’d set himself on this path. He would not turn back now.
Then something important occurred to him. “Where will I end up?” he asked
Skuld shrugged again, but this time she looked at him sympathetically. “I do not know. The well of Urd will decide the best place for you; it is out of my hands.”
Loki wasn’t sure he believed her. He hated not knowing where he would land. What if he got there too late, and Harry had already suffered? It was a terrible thought, but Loki knew better than to complain. In truth, there was little he could do in any case. He was quite literally subject to the will of fate. Loki chuckled humorlessly at the thought.
“Here take this.” Skuld held out a little gold ball with wings. “It is called a snitch. This toy means a great deal to your son. If your wish is granted, cast a locating spell on it, and it will lead you to him.”
Loki reached for it, and he realized the ball was soft, a child’s toy indeed. When he shook the ball, a little bell inside jingled, and the little wings flapped. He could feel his son’s magic in it, new and wild. It looked worn and well loved. He squeezed it gently relieved to have it.
He hadn’t given any thought to how he would find Harry. He was a bit ashamed of his lack of forethought, but he had been extremely busy. He carefully placed the toy inside the pocket of his tunic for safe keeping. He looked at her. He suspected that for all her cold and careless words Skuld wanted him to succeed. Best not to comment on it, he thought. He settled for nodding his thanks.
He turned away from the Norn and looked in the well once again. There was no time to waste. He used his magic to gently life himself over the side. Throwing caution to the wind, Loki released his magic, jumped into the well. He landed smoothly in the water. It was eerily silent, and there was no splash. Loki shivered. A heady combination of fear and anticipation coursing through him.
“I ask permission to save my son, who has suffered many injustices, He said formally.” I wish to raise him and give him the happy life he never had. He will know nothing but joy and acceptance form me I swear it.”
There was no response for several minutes. Loki began to fear he’d been denied. Then Loki felt the water begin to heat up, a strange magic invaded his body. Loki felt as if he was burning from the inside out. The water began to swirl, and Loki felt himself being pulled down beneath the surface of the water. For one panicked moment, Loki thought he was going to drown. His lungs burned. He hoped he’d get to see his son again one way or another. Please, he thought desperately. Destiny accept my plea, I beg you. Then as if in answer, there was a flash of bright light, and Loki knew no more.
Loki awoke abruptly. He became aware he was lying on a hard surface. He felt grass beneath his hands. He sat up carefully, looked around. His whole body ached. He appeared to be in some sort of park. For a moment, he was confused. How had he come to be in this place? Then his memory came crashing back. I really have to stop losing consciousness like that he thought stupidly. Then his next thought was of Harry His wish had apparently been granted. He was going to find his son!
Loki felt excitement and joy shoot through his veins. He realized the more important question was when was he? What time had the well sent him back to? Loki took out the strange stuffed toy. Thankfully like Loki, it was perfectly dry. Then casting a locator spell, and the toy began to glow very softly. The closer he got to Harry, the brighter it would get. He held it out in all four directions, and as he pointed it to the west, the light suddenly grew brighter.
Loki wasted no time in starting off. There was much he needed to do, plans to make, and things to procure, including a place to live. He also needed to find Winky. He would need her help. However, first, he wanted to see his son. He needed to make sure Harry was safe. He made himself invisible and then he allowed himself to rise into the air. His heart was far lighter than it had been in a long time. He flew swiftly toward his son and their new life.