Continuing Tales


A Marvel Movieverse Story
by startrekfanwriter

Part 14 of 26

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"Loki's preparing to die!"

In the training room of Avengers Mansion where Thor is pummelling a punching bag, Darcy's voice rings through Thor's ears. Or maybe it is ringing in his heart. Thor is a magical being as much as Loki, though his magic lies in his strength, in his honesty and his courage, and in healing. Occasionally, he hears prayers, and that is essentially what Darcy's cry is.

With a grunt he gives one last punch to the bag and sends it hurling towards the wall. He is in Midgardian workout gear, but as he turns to the door he reaches into the air for Mjolnir. The hammer springs into his hands, and armor ripples outward from his chest as he strides up the stairway and down the hall.

"What are you talking about?" says Steve out of Thor's line of vision.

"Jotunheim," says Darcy. "The moon shuttles are going to Jotunheim. And Asgard...they'll use the Bifrost to shoot them out of the sky!"

So. It is today. He suspected the Stark merchants trip to the moon was a front. Thor steps at that moment into the room, his face hard, his hand tightening around Mjolnir.

Darcy's eyes go to him. "Won't they?"

"Yes," says Thor.

"Take me to Stark Tower!" says Darcy. "We have to stop them."

"No," says Thor. He walks past them towards the doorway to that leads to the backyard.

Running after him, Darcy says, "They're using Loki!"

Thor tilts his head. He is quite sure Fury and Stark think they are using Loki. But Loki is too sane now to be anyone's puppet. If anything, he suspects the opposite is occurring.

Frantically grabbing his arm, Darcy says. "They're sending him to kill Heimdall - aren't they? Aren't they? And Heimdall will kill him!"

"Heimdall may kill Loki, but I doubt Fury has assigned Loki the task of assassin," says Thor. Fury will seek to minimize diplomatic damage. And Thor doubts Loki's first instinct will be to kill Heimdall, anyway. Loki's lived among humans too long and grown as soft as Thor. Besides, as antiquated a weapon as Heimdall is, he is still a weapon. Loki's will not want to leave Asgard defenseless. Sigyn, his sons, Hoenir, and their mother still dwell there.

Holding out a hand, he knocks through the door to the outside.

"Why aren't you calling down lightning, why aren't you going to confront Stark and Fury!" Darcy says following him out, Steve close behind. Tearing at his arm she screams. "Why aren't you angry?"

Turning quickly, Thor grabs her wrist. "Lady Darcy. I am furious. But not at Stark or Fury, or my brother."

For decades he's warned Asgard this day was coming. For years he warned Asgard that their policy of denying humans access to the larger universe was folly and hubris. And for years Asgard told him humans would be no match for them. As close as they watch this world, they do not understand it.

Now he looks up at the sky and scowls. He is worried for his people, on Midgard and in Asgard. He is worried for his brother.

But he's not particularly sorry.

How strange it is, the intersection of human myths and reality. In myth Loki leads the creatures of Hel to bring about Raganok. In mythology Hel is populated by the weak, those who did not die in battle. In this reality Loki is leading the people of Earth, most of whom have no aspirations to die anywhere but in bed.

Lifting his head to the sky, Thor roars. "Father! Heimdall! If you hear this, bring me home so I might lessen the damage!"

There will be damage to Asgard, Midgard, Heimdall - and to his brother.

There is no reply.

x x x x

There is a place in the universe where the threads of space entwine so closely that the difference between here and there, now, before, and later are so miniscule they almost don't exist. Of all the places in the universe, slipping between realms is easiest here.

It is the place where Heimdall the Gatekeeper's vision is most acute, where he can most easily see from Asgard to any of the nine realms, and to the dark places, and the uncharted places as well.

This place is paradoxically where Heimdall's vision is weakest. The shifting strands of space and time make it difficult for Heimdall to see the here and now, and even the gatekeeper can be confused and see before or later and there.

The place is Asgard's Observatory, gateway to the Bifrost, and Heimdall's gatepost. And it is where Loki is hiding. He does not hide in shadow. He literally hides in light, letting the photons bouncing from one gaudy golden wall to another pass through him.

He's been here since the morning he left Darcy - three days ago, and in the twisted time of this place, an eternity. Eternity is a long time to think about things, and the place inspires plenty of things to reflect about.

This is where Heimdall watched the Chitauri torture Loki, but kept it from Thor on Odin's orders for fear the golden son would destroy himself trying to rescue his fallen brother. It is where Heimdall must surely have seen what Baldur was, if not by looking at him directly, by seeing his deeds. Baldur - who fornicated with nearly every woman in Asgard, and some of the boys as well by duplicity and force. Baldur who met his end trying to steal Nanna, the beloved of the human warlord Hothur. The human only prevailed because Loki slipped to Hothur in shadows and gave the secret of Baldur's one weakness, mistletoe. Baldur who sent Aggie running from the palace into the rain...Baldur who killed Helen for letting the world see him for what he was - the dream of the perfect prince.

Loki pointedly does not think of Darcy, or Franx and Max, and how they remind him so much of his own sons. And he doesn't think of his sons, Nari and Valli, so very close. Or even Sigyn. She's moved on to another, but they did not part on poor terms. He never did say he was sorry, though. If he thinks of the good things he might be tempted to walk away. And he can't. Too many lives are depending on him.

Besides, this is his masterpiece. His greatest work of chaos - and most likely his last.

So he remembers all the injustice that is Asgard. There is plenty to think of. Even Odin banishing Thor to Midgard, not wanting to let his sons wreck havoc on his own realm.

Odin is pacing before the raised dais Heimdall stands on, guarding the Biofrost control. Loki isn't surprised they are suspicious on this day. It is why he slipped in earlier, when their guard was down.

Slowing his pace, Odin says, "The three vessels that the merchant Stark plans to send to Earth's moon? Their destination is set?"

Arms crossed, Heimdall does not move from his post. "The three vessels are docked at the space station, orbiting Earth."

Loki can see the space station in his mind's eye. It is nuclear powered, a cone, with 12 spokes springing out to a wheel. Docked to that wheel, at 12, 4 and 8 o'clock are three vessels. At all other positions are thrusters.

Heimdall's voice booms. "All human crew have left the station. The engines of the station are engaging and it is changing position so that the ships' trajectories are in-line with the most efficient path to the moon. Aboard the vessels all crew are prepared to go to the moon. None foresee any other destination."

Odin leans on the staff Gungir and sighs wearily. "If they go to any other destination you know what to do."

"Yes, my king."

"They are too young a race, they know not what they do," Odin says.

"No, my king. The vessels are now disengaging from the station."

Loki tenses.

"Any sign of Loki?" says Odin.

"No, my king."

Loki's shoulders relax a fraction.

"As soon as the humans have reached the moon, resume your search for him," says Odin.

"As you command," says Heimdall.

Odin's eyes scan the Observatory, and for a moment Loki holds his breath. But then the old warrior exits. Loki nearly sighs aloud.

Odin has not been gone ten minutes when Loki's phone starts to ring. Specifically, it starts to play Beethoven's Ode to Joy.

Heimdall turns immediately in Loki's direction, spear upraised.

Smirking, Loki steps out of the light, in his full Jotunn form, and casually turns off the ringer on his phone. He wears Stark Industries armor of vibranium fiber reinforced Kevlar. At his side hangs his sword. He is weak from days spent in magical hiding, but this won't take long. "That's my cue," he says raising his eyebrows.

He reaches out with a hand and the great door of the Observatory closes with a clang that must resound throughout the Realm Eternal.

Heimdall lowers his head, "You only delay the inevitable, Trickster. I will put an end to any mischief your mortal friends are up to as soon as I am done with you."

Clenching his fist, Loki smirks again. "You'd best get to it, then."

Neither of them move.

Heimdall sighs. "You do not have to do this, Trickster. You can go back to your mortal plaything and love her before she withers and dies."

Loki's fist clenches again, and he feels an ache at his core, but he does not waver.

Heimdall shakes his head. "I had hoped that you had grown during your banishment on Midgard."

Loki smirks. "I have grown." He lets the smile drop. "You don't have to do this either, Heimdall. You do not have to be Odin's puppet. You can help establish new order - it will be needed if my tricks work."

Scowling, Heimdall's voice rises. "You admit that your schemes, if they succeed, will bring chaos to Midgard and Jotunheim, the realms you claim to owe debt to, and yet you still pursue them!"

Loki shrugs and smiles with all his teeth. "It will be chaos. But it will be their own."

Heimdall lunges forward, spear upraised. Lævateinis in Loki's hands and blocking the Gatekeeper's onslaught without any conscious thought.

x x x x

"This is all about Prometheus, isn't it?" Darcy says, wind whipping her hair, Steve standing just beyond her.

Thor looks at the two humans. They are so very young.

"No," he says. "It isn't just about Prometheus. Various governments and merchants have launched probes - even manned ships in the past decades, through Einstein-Rosen bridges. They've all been shot down by the Bifrost."

Steve's and Darcy's jaws both drop.

"Don't be surprised you haven't heard of it," Thor says. "No government is going to want the 7 billion inhabitants of Earth to know that there is an alien weapon aimed at their hearts that can be used to end their existence in minutes."

Thor smiles bitterly and looks skyward. "After each attack, I begged my people to reconsider." He tilts his head. First he'd begged, then he'd raged. "They told me to be pleased they are enlightened enough not to destroy your world outright."

Darcy scowls and her lips tremble. "But even if Loki kills-takes care of Heimdall, the Bifrost can still be used to destroy Earth."

Thor shakes his head. "Your people are far cleverer than that." He gazes at the alien cerulean blue vault of Midgard's sky. The humans cast Loki as Thor's sidekick - he thinks even Loki believes it. Thor knows better. Very quietly he says, "And my brother is far cleverer still."

Behind him he hears Steve say, "Darcy, let's go to Stark Tower."

He hears their footsteps leave the garden. Keeping his eyes on the sky, he waits.

x x x x

Heimdall's spear swings down over Loki's head. Loki barely raises his sword in time.

"You grow weary, Laufeyson," Heimdall hisses.

Denying it would take energy Loki doesn't have. Instead he lets himself fade to a whisp of green. Before Heimdall has a chance to swing his gaze to the heavens, Loki re-materializes just a few paces away behind the gatekeeper. "Yoo-hoo, over here." With a smirk he blows the gatekeeper a kiss.

Heimdall grunts and turns but does not advance. His eyes narrow. "What foolery is this?"

His eyes flicker upwards, and for a moment Loki's breath catches in his throat. But the gatekeepr's gaze went to the wrong direction, and he doesn't turn away from Loki. Nor does he engage. Loki has to keep him focused on the present for just a few more minutes, but he doesn't have energy to do much more than parry at this point.

With a smirk, Loki says, "Heimdall, the universe knows the story of your nine mothers, but did you know that there is a story among humans that I am your father?" Not that Loki believes it; in that particular myth he also had the head of a dog. That would be something he'd remember.

Heimdall almost snarls.

Loki looks upwards and smiles. "Nine women at know that is something I would do..." Heimdall takes a step forward, spear at the ready.

Tilting his head back down to Heimdall, Loki says darkly, "And all of Asgard knows I am often the father of monsters. And if you're half frost giant, I guess a monster is what you are."

Heimdall swings his spear wide. Loki doesn't have energy to transport again. He raises Lævatein in a shaky defense.

The next moments move in slow motion. Sparks dance off their weapons. Loki tries a few times to create illusions of himself, but his strength is nearly gone, and Heimdall sees through each trick. It's all he can do to hold his own.

And then Heimdall swings his spear and Lævatein flies from Loki's grasp across the room. The gatekeeper moves forward so quickly Loki falls backwards and hits the floor. He scoots back on his hands as Heimdall advances, the blade of his spear near Loki's throat.

"It's over, Loki," Heimdall says, his lips curled in a snarl.

From a few feet away the Ode to Joy starts to play again. Heimdall and Loki's gazes both sweep to where Loki's phone lies on the floor. Closing his eyes, Loki laughs. "It is over,Heimdall; look above."

The snarl falls from Heimdall's lips, and he lifts his gaze. His mouth drops.

Loki cannot see through the observatory walls, but he knows what Heimdall sees. The space station that had hovered above Earth, that had been the docking point for the vessels bound for the moon - and to Jotunheim, is a space going fortress. And now it is above Asgard.

"If you try to shoot it down," Loki says, "you may succeed. But it will release Midgardian nuclear weapons on Asgard. The same goes if you try to destroy Earth or Jotunheim, or any vessel that travels between them."

Heimdall staggers as though he's been physically struck. "If the humans try to invade Asgard..."

Panting, Loki smiles and shakes his head. "There is nothing here they want badly enough to invade Asgard for." No minerals. No technology that couldn't be gleaned from their alliance with Jotunheim. The only thing Asgard might be good for is tourism. Imagining humans with bum packs roaming the golden streets, Loki bites his lip to restrain a laugh.

Snarling, Heimdall steps forward. "You have planted the seeds of destruction for the Realm Eternal!"

And that may be true. Loki has shifted the power in the Nine Realms from Asgard to Earth and Jotunheim. It won't be long before the Vanir, elves and the dwarves try to establish relationships with humans and to re-establish ties with the frost giants.

But leaning back on his arms, Loki rolls his eyes. "Yes, Realm Eternal, ever since we stole it from the Vanir."

He never did know when to keep his mouth shut.

With a cry of rage, Heimdall charges forward. Loki calls Lævatein to his hand, and lifting his body he swings. Pain shoots through Loki's midsection as Heimdall's head flies through the air.

Panting, Loki's torso is back onto the floor. Glancing down he sees Heimdall's spear protruding from his abdomen. Grimacing, he rubs his face. Ah, the myths, not quite right. In the myths it was Heimdall that cut off Loki's head.

He feels warmth below his back and realizes blood has begun to pool around him on the floor. The world goes black.

He sits on Darcy's couch. Darcy is above him gasping, and he is spent. It is their last night together. As they'd stepped through her door after their dinner with Jane and Thor, he meant to kiss her gently - he wanted to take it slow, to make every moment last. But as soon as his mouth had fallen on hers he'd begun to lose control. His hands had become frenzied; he'd fallen to his knees pulling off her dress. And then everything had gone so fast.

Darcy wraps her arms around his shoulders and laughs. Their bodies are sticky. The cushions below him are soaked. He presses the side of his face against her breasts and listens to her heart.

"'s like life," she whispers. "Chaotic...and..." she sighs. It is a happy sound. He can't see her face but he imagines her eyes closing, a smile on her lips.

"Yes, I suppose it is," he says.

Pounding at the door of the observatory pulls Loki back to consciousness. He's in agony and strangely numb at once.

Tony Stark's voice is coming from the floor a few feet away. Loki looks to the side and sees his phone. "Loki? Loki? Can you hear me? Can you teleport up to Naglfar. The shuttle to Earth is standing by...we've got it on robot pilot, all you have to do is get there. Loki, do you hear me?"

Naglfar, they mythical ship Loki supposedly charted to Asgard at Ragnarok, the end of the world...and the beginning of the new. Loki doesn't have the energy to chuckle at the name they've given the station. Swallowing, he says, "I don't think that will be possible, Mr. Stark." His eyes start to slip closed.

Suddenly, Darcy's voice floods the room. "Loki! Loki! Don't you dare die on me. Loki! Do you hear me! I swear, I'll kill you -"

Loki does chuckle. "So nice to hear your voice, Love." And it is. He didn't want her to know about this - well, not until later, but he finds he's rather glad she's at the other end of the line.

Darcy's voice rises to a wail and it is the most beautiful thing he's ever heard. "Loki! Lo-"

There is the sound of shattering plastic. For the first time Loki notices that the pounding on the door has stopped.

Suddenly Sif's face is above his own. "You killed my brother. You will pay, Monster. Don't think for a moment I will let you die."

And then Loki's world goes mercifully black.


A Marvel Movieverse Story
by startrekfanwriter

Part 14 of 26

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