Chapter Four: Odin
Their journey to the palace was mainly silent, and tense. Natalie could sense how nervous Loki was, and surreptitiously took his hand. She felt his fingers curl around hers as they entered the palace, and Thor led them to what Natalie assumed was the throne room. The guards there let them in, but they looked strangely at Natalie. She pointedly ignored them as the doors closed behind them.
When they entered, Natalie saw a large man with an eye-patch sitting on a throne. A woman with blonde hair and blue eyes sat on a throne next to him, but Natalie ignored her in favor of giving Odin the 'if looks could kill' death glare. "Natalie McKenzie, do you know why you are here?" Odin asked.
"I only know that you apparently wanted to meet me," Natalie said, not letting up on the glare she was giving him. Then she added, "But I would have come whether or not Thor said I could, if only to make your life a misery."
Odin chose to ignore that last comment and said, "I have called you here for an unbiased opinion of Loki's crimes on Midgard. Thor has informed me that you did not participate in the battle on Midgard, but were aware of what transpired."
"In other words, you don't trust Loki to tell the truth and you want me to tell you what happened, correct?" Natalie asked bluntly.
Odin didn't look happy, but he said, "Yes."
Natalie shrugged and said, "Alright. The first thing you should know is that someone was controlling Loki to attack New York City, Thor, and the Avengers. I don't know who it was, but I have confirmation from the Avengers that Loki's eyes had changed color while he was being controlled, and they were the same color as the eyes of people he put under his control. Someone used mind control on Loki, which is why he attacked New York. What this person was hoping to gain is beyond me, since I don't know who it was. I don't believe that any of the crimes Loki committed were his fault."
"Even the crimes he committed here?" Odin asked.
Natalie went from cool and collected to boiling mad in 1.5 seconds and snarled, "Those can be chalked up to your terrible parenting methods. I could tell within a few minutes of meeting and talking to Loki that he had been abused, and the way he spoke when I asked him why his family didn't care about him only cemented that fact. Whether or not he is adopted does not make it right to abuse him to the point where he will commit crimes for attention. Anyone with half a brain could see that Loki had a terrible childhood, and I know it continued into his adulthood, simply because you have this twisted belief that Thor is 'better' than Loki. News flash- no one person is exactly like another. Just because Thor is the stronger warrior does NOT mean that Loki is weak. He is special in his own way, and your inability to see that led to disaster, time and time again. Committing crimes and similar activities are nothing more than a plea for attention- something you seem unable to give to Loki. Your blatant favoritism of Thor created a rift that may never be fully mended. You spent Loki's childhood punishing and abusing him simply because he didn't match up to your standards- which, by the way, are totally screwed up. How exactly do you figure that Thor is 'better'? Loki is brilliant, and Thor, while he's a fairly nice person, is an IDIOT. Any good warrior should be able to strategize as well as fight- like Loki. Thor just smashes everything in sight, and while he's probably physically stronger than Loki, mentally is a totally different issue."
"Loki is a Jotun; it is not the same," said Odin through gritted teeth.
Thor was actually edging away from Natalie, trying to get out of the crossfire that was probably going to happen soon. Natalie didn't even notice as she snarled, "So you're a racist as well? Just great. No matter what Loki is or isn't, you didn't have to abuse him to the point where he actually started believing that he deserved the abuse. Maybe you weren't the only one, but it doesn't change the fact that as his father, you NEVER should have abused him. I'm fairly certain that if you had done this on Midgard, you'd be getting a nice long prison sentence, as child abuse is totally illegal. As it is, you should be grateful I haven't castrated you yet, because I despise you to the depths of my soul for what you've put Loki through. People who abuse their children or ANY children are the lowest kind of SCUM I can imagine. It speaks well of Loki's character that he's actually still alive; a lot of abused children end up committing suicide or dead by their parents' own hands. Those that don't are generally scarred for life, and often need therapy to help them get over the trauma. I don't know why it even MATTERS that Loki is a Jotun; he's still Loki, and contrary to others' beliefs, he is NOT a monster. I don't care what you and your people think; just being a different race does not make someone a monster. I'll have you know that personally, I don't care whether Loki is human, Jotun, Aesir, or some kind of cat. He's the same person he's always been, and I think he's wonderful."
Odin was bright red and steaming, while Frigga was looking at Natalie with an odd expression. She looked almost… proud, reminding Natalie of her own mother looking at her when she first performed in gymnastics.
Finally Odin spoke, and he snarled, "If you are so interested in Loki, you may have him! Thor, take those two back to Midgard, and make sure they never darken this realm again!"
"Yes Father," Thor said, and motioned to Natalie and Loki. Natalie was tempted to flip Odin off, then remembered he would most likely have no idea what it meant, and followed Thor and Loki out.
Out of earshot of the guards, Thor finally said, "I cannot believe you are still alive after that, Natalie. Much less that you managed to ensure my brother will be safe. I thank you for that."
"You're welcome," Natalie said. She looked at Loki, who was quiet, seemingly thinking. "What's on your mind?" she asked him.
"I have been banished; what will happen to me now?" Loki asked.
"You can either ask Tony if it's okay for you to stay with him, or you can move in with me," Natalie said. "I don't mind either way- though if you're staying with Tony, I want you to visit."
"I prefer the idea of staying with you," Loki said after a moment.
Natalie grinned broadly and kissed Loki's cheek. He smirked and said, "I take it you like this idea also?"
"Very much so," Natalie said happily. "Now we just have to see about fixing my window…"
"I will gladly help you fix your window, as it is my fault it is broken!" Thor proclaimed.
"YOU will stay far away from breakable things in general, and I'll call someone who actually KNOWS how to fix windows," Natalie said. Loki started laughing.