He Without Sin

Loki and Thor Finally Talk

"No more dinner dates with your villain friends," Tony said once they were back in Loki's room.

Loki chuckled. "No need to be so hasty," He said. "All things considered, it went rather well."

"And next time, a little head's up about drugged food would have been nice!" Tony exclaimed.

"I would not have allowed you to eat it if it were truly dangerous," Loki assured.

"That's not the point!" Tony yelled. "Well, that's not only the point. " Tony made a sound of exasperation. "This is what I get, right? For getting involved with a God Of Mischief?"

"It is only downhill from here," Loki agreed, sitting himself on the bed. His smile lessened as he continued. "Though I will say, it was... not what I was expecting, precisely. I did not anticipate that their esteem of me would cause such a reaction."

"What was with that?" Tony asked.

"I failed to take into account that they worship me," Loki said thoughtfully. "Mortals can be rather possessive of their gods, after all. Mystique, at least, probably would not have been so vocal without the truth serum."

"So it wasn't just my food?"

"That would have been inefficient of him," Loki said in a matter-of-fact tone. "It isn't as if he could guarantee what you would and would not eat."

"The fact that you can so easily justify him is a little worrying," Tony said.

Loki barked out a laugh. "I am the god of chaos, Anthony. Victor's tricks and the resulting uproar are absolutely delightful to me."

Tony just sighed, sitting beside Loki on the bed. Loki let himself fall back onto the bed. "I have to speak to Thor," He said quietly.

"Is that why he's here?" Tony asked.

"Yes," Loki answered. "It is why you are both here. Victor meant you to be a distraction to keep me from fleeing the confrontation with Thor, which he means to force upon me for my own good." Loki paused. "I do not wish to talk to Thor."

"I can see why, but you know, he felt terrible about what he said to you. He cursed himself for it not ten seconds after you left," Tony explained.

"Perhaps," Loki replied. "But that is the problem with Thor. I cannot fear what he thinks so much as I fear what he says, for he will always do the one before he does the other."

Loki was a coward.

Victor had been right to condemn him. He had been right to trap and trick him, to force him to the confrontation with his brother. Loki had already been dealt a blow far too great to wish to face Thor once more without such things.

Victor would never admit that he was a coward, as well. They were weak in the exact same way. They needed armor to pretend that they could not be wounded. Since coming to Midgard, Loki had embraced himself as his own armor. In Asgard, he had to pretend that nothing could touch him. That being a prince, the son of Odin, the brother of Thor, was enough to protect him from hurt. He hadn't had any of those things since coming to Midgard, though, so tricks had to be enough. Loki was a trick, after all, and his body could be armor when he wanted it to be.

Loki was in his female form when he returned to the dinning room. It couldn't hurt not to be Thor's brother, if he couldn't be called a brother at all. And Thor was simple, too simple at times, he would be much too distracted by Loki as a female to remember that Loki was also a monster. Loki had not appeared before Thor in the form often enough for his brother to automatically associate it to Loki, so it would be like tricking Thor into talking to a stranger. Like it wouldn't be Loki at all.

Loki was a coward.

Amora was waiting for Loki when she entered the room. The goddess was seated on the table before Thor, whose eyes still gleamed with her magic. Amora had one foot planted on his chest as if she were about to kick him away, but her hands were gripping tightly at his throat, holding on. Loki thought the imagine suited them well. If only Thor had Mjolnir in hand, his other hand stroking The Enchantress' cheek, it would portray them perfectly.

"You'll need more force to actually do him harm," Loki said as she entered the room. She hovered in the doorway. Distance wouldn't mean safety, Loki knew that words could wound from any distance, they were often her weapon of choice, after all, but the illusion helped. All the illusions helped.

"I know," Amora said. Her hands were shaking where they held onto Thor's throat. Amora was never very hard to read and most times she didn't try to be. Anything she wanted to hide, she usually did so by falling to her defaults, seduction and complaints and vanity, but she couldn't ever hide things when Thor was concerned. Her body language was practically a scream of frustration, she was practically crying, though her face was much more still and steady than Loki had seen in some time when she was in Thor's presence.

"You are looking better, Amora."

"Yes," She replied softly, her grip loosening around Thor's throat. "Doom offered himself at my alter."

Loki's eyes widened slightly. "Oh?"

"He does not know it, of course. A favor, he called it!" Amora barked out a laughed. She moved further back on the table, separating herself from Thor entirely. Skurge caught Loki's eyes then, watching intently from the corner of the room, frowning. He wouldn't like this. Not the situation with Thor, not the castle, and not having to share his mistress' attention with mortals. Loki turned her attention back to Amora. "He came to me after Thor's rejection. I told him I needed... and he offered himself."

"Ah. It's no wonder that you are looking so much better. I had thought that Thor may cause too much harm if things went on."

"Thor has already caused too much harm," Amora replied, her voice heavy. "I might have his soul for myself, but I would take his heart for you." Amora turned to look at Loki then. "Only I don't know what he has done to you. I don't know why you've run from Asgard. I still don't know anything, Loki, and I feel as if everyone else does."

Loki's eyes wandered the room then and she began to pace a bit, unable to keep herself still beneath the scrutiny. "Victor is changing, have you noted it?" She asked lightly, changing the subject. "Before we came here, I was sure he would be mine, but he so quickly took to your influence instead. Interesting, isn't it? How they worship us even when we don't try?"

"I am the least of his favorites. Half of me is comprised of his fears. That is what surprises me."

"You think he fears the flesh?" Loki asked.

"I think he fears the passion," Amora corrected. "He wants to keep us here, but he fears to have us close. He wants to open us up and yet hates deeply any moment without his own armor. He acknowledges us as gods and fears being unable to control any situation."

"You know him, then?"

"Of course, I do!" Amora snapped. "He offered himself to my alter, offered everything to me. Of course I took it. I took all the secrets of his flesh. The fears and the passion and the loss of control that any mortal has when being pushed over the edge by a god. It's..." Amora sighed. "It hasn't been this good in years, Loki. I cannot even remember the last time I took a mortal to my alter. To have them and they not break beneath me."

"Yes, I understand," Loki sighed. "Of course I do. I do not know whether the mortals of this time are extraordinary or if we have simply come across extraordinary mortals. Shall you become his patron?"

Amora sighed. "I don't know. It would not be wise for one such as Doom, though I have considered the captain, if things go well. He reminds me of--" She cut herself off and looked away. Loki understood her regardless.

"Yes," Loki agreed. "He does."

"Do not think that you distract me, Loki," Amora told him, turning her back to Thor to watch as Loki paced around the room. She paused a moment, before adding, "He told me... Thor said that he would not love me because I am like you and that he does not need me trying to take your place."

Loki froze in place, turning to look at the other woman. "I... I am sorry," She whispered.

"Right now, I hate Thor more than anyone. And I love him so much it makes me sick. I can only imagine how you feel, afraid and wanting, without knowing what you fear or what you want."

"I want... I want Thor," Loki said quietly. "I want him to be my brother as he always has been. I am unworthy of him now. I am a monster, Amora, and you don't even know it. Before, I was at least worthy to be in the shadow of his sun, to be loved by him. I don't know if I am worthy of anything now, especially not to Thor. I tried to kill him, Amora! I tried to kill him so that Odin would want me. I tried to steal love from our father by giving him only one choice. One son. And all I would have accomplished is that he would have had none."

Amora slid off the table and approached Loki. "You are not making sense again, Loki. You have to tell me the story or I won't know what happened."

"I am not Odin's son!" Loki exclaimed. "I am a Jotunn! I found out... I found out..." Loki stopped unable to continue as she watched The Enchantress' expression. Amora's eyes widened in surprise and she took a step back from Loki.

"What?" Amora gasped.

"The All-father has been lying! I was never his son. I am the son of Laufey! Odin took me, raised me, so that he could place me on the Throne of Joutunheim when the time came. That is why I left. That is why I ran from Asgard. He wanted me to rule them and I refused." Loki allowed herself to slide to the floor, staring at Amora with imploring eyes, arms wrapped tightly around herself.

Amora backed up into Skurge, who had come up behind her and wrapped her in his protective embrace. The man was looking at Loki with suspicion. Amora was still just shocked. "But you... you said it was a spell!"

"The spell trapped me in that form, it didn't put me in it," Loki explained. "Amora..."

"How long," Amora whispered. "How long have you known?"

"I learned of it before I came Midgard," Loki told her.

"God of Chaos," She whispered and Loki flinched, feeling the words like a curse.

"Amora!" Thor's voice boomed across the room and they turned to face the Thunder God, freed from Amora due to her own inattention to her spell. Skurge moved in front of her, but seemed unable to decide which sibling posed the bigger threat. "I suggest you contemplate your words before you speak them."

Amora back away from Loki as Thor crossed the room toward his sibling, not wanting to be in the Thunder God's path. Her eyes went to Loki, again. "I will leave you to your talk," Amora told them before she and Skurge disappeared.

Loki watched the spot she vanished from tearfully. Thor was upon her in moments, falling to the floor beside her and wrapping her in his strong embrace. "I didn't know, Loki." Thor's voice was a rough whisper, as if holding back his own tears. Loki couldn't help the need to cling to him. Thor had always been her older brother, after all.

"I wasn't suppose to tell you," Loki said softly.

"No!" Thor yelled. "No more of this, Loki! No more secrets for the All-father's sake. I love you, Loki. You are my brother."

"I am not, though," Loki said, feeling sick inside over the necessary truth.

"Sister, then," Thor corrected, knowing it was not what Loki meant but barreling on anyway. "You have always been family to me, Loki. I need you, Loki. I am too much a fool without you. You have been my best and most loyal friend. I do not know what to do without you."

"But you said--"

"You know that I am no good at words," Thor told her. "So let my actions speak!" He tightened his arms around Loki, embracing her fully. "I love you, Loki. I would never want to do you harm. That father has done so much ill to you kills me. If he was not our father, I would strike him where he stood!"

"He is not.." Loki whispered. "He's not my father. I wanted him to be. I wanted him to love me like he loved you, but he only ever wants to use me. And I can't stop, Thor! I don't know how not to want his love. I don't know how to stop trying to be a good son. Even now, even knowing he wants to send me to that horrible place, to rule monsters as the worst kind of exile, I still want to please him!"

Thor just held Loki closer and said the one thing she didn't expect to hear from him in this situation. "I understand, Loki."

She felt as if a crushing weight had finally been lifted from her. She hugged Thor tightly, clinging, relief like she couldn't fathom how to express flooding through her. She wasn't alone in this. She wasn't hated.

"I missed you," Loki said softly.

"And I, you," Thor replied.

It was over an hour later that Loki returned to his room with Thor, startling Tony who was sitting beside a Loki clone. "Wha?"

Smiling, Loki waved her hand to dismiss the clone. "My apologies, Anthony, I had to speak to my brother, but I didn't want to leave you alone."

"Not cool," Tony objected vaguely.

"My friend, what are you doing here?" Thor boomed. Loki's eyes looked vaguely wet as she smiled, and Tony noted that Loki was a she again and that Thor was keeping close to her.

"So, you two... made up?" Tony asked cautiously.

"Yes! We have come to an accord!" Thor announced.

Loki didn't correct him, but Tony assumed by the small smile that he wasn't wrong. "I intend to take the two of you back soon, but first I thought that I should inform Thor of my plans."

"Plans?"Thor questioned.

"First, Thor, I thought it imperative to inform you that this form is unknown to your friends and I would like it to stay so," Loki explained. "I do not wish them to panic if I attempt aiding them in this form."

"Very well," Thor agreed. "But tell me Loki, where are we?"

Loki paused a moment. "That is not of importance," She told him. "I would tell you of my planning, if I could count on your silence."

"Of course, Loki! But why use tricks? I am certain if we speak with them--"

"And they are to trust me, why?" Loki interrupted impatiently. "They see me as nothing more than the would-be conquer of this realm. They know me not and trust me little. Any truth I would offer would be dismissed outright or else scrutinized so long it will be of no more use."

Thor considered this briefly. "You are right. Forgive my hastiness."

"I realize that you may be... upset by your earlier interaction with Doom, but I would rather if you would stave off your revenge, as well as taking care when you fight beside your Avengers," Loki began to explain. "The mortals need to hone their own skills in preparation for the coming storm and relying on your strength will do them no favors. In that vein, opposition is beneficial."

"Is that why--?" Tony began, but Loki interrupted him with a curt, "Yes!"

Thor ignored that. "As you say, brother. I shall endeavor to let my comrades fight more."

Loki nodded. "I shall return you both to the Tower, if you wish?"

"Hey!" Tony objected. "When can we..." He trailed off, not sure how to ask about when he'd next see Loki and not sure if he should ask in front of Thor besides.

Loki smiled at him. "Later," She promised. Then they were teleporting away.

Loki teleported Thor and Tony, along with the Iron Man suit, to the top of the building across from Stark Tower. A warning sound from the suit prompted Tony to step into it, immediately commanding, "Talk to me, J."

"It seems there is an emergency at Shield," Jarvis reported.

"What's happening?" He questioned.

"It seems that there has been a break in from Extremis soldiers and the mutant prisoners are trying to escape."


Loki, or rather Luna, was watching him closely. "What is it?"

"Emergency at Shield," Tony told him. "Extremis, mutants," He shrugged, a completely ineffectual action in the suit.

Loki paused. "You should go to their aid," She told them. "You as well, Thor."

"As you say, Loki," Thor nodded. "Come Man of Iron!"

Natasha was still in Shield's base when all hell broke lose.

She jumped to attention as an alarm started blaring. Moving quickly, she headed towards the area that the alarm was coming from, running into a few agents on her way. "What's going on?" She questioned.

Melinda May had fallen into step with her, determination in her gait. "There's a break in near the holding cells where the mutants are," She told her.

"Damn," Natasha muttered to herself.

A door exploded off it's hinges right before them and Sabertooth stepped out a moment after with a few Extremis soldiers in tow. Sabertooth smiled at them dangerously. "Hello, Ladies," He said before lunging at them.

Natasha ducked out of the way and Melinda moved to the opposite side of the hallway doing the same.

"We don't have time to play with them," One of the soldiers said.

Sabertooth growled at the soldier, but his focus stayed on the two women as they moved into fight ready stances. "I don't take orders from you!"

"We don't have time--" The soldier began, but Sabertooth wasn't listening. Growling, he leapt at the girls, swiping widely at them both as they ducked away. Melinda went on the offensive, quickly charging at him and dropping down as he tried to swipe at her once more. She kicked his feet out from under him and rolled away as he gabbed for her leg.

"Take the soldiers," Melinda called, but Natasha had already got her fire arm out, shooting at them. The bullets wouldn't be of much use if they healed as fast as she recalled, the shoots had to count.

Before she could shoot however, the gun was ripped out of her hand as were any other metallic weapons on her. Similarly, the weapons on Melinda were ripped away. The other woman turned around in time for a needle to shoot into her neck and within a few moments she was screaming on the ground.

Natasha turned around quickly to see Magneto hovering nearby. "Seems you are outnumbered," He told her calmly. The gun loaded with Extremis was hovering beside him. "I'll give you a choice, girl. I can give you the serum and you can hope you are worthy of becoming one of us, or you can die as one of them. Choose quickly, I am not a patient man."

Mystique was pouting. Doom knew it well, though she pretended as if she followed him to his lab to actually watch him work. She was sitting at one of his unused tables, head resting on the table top as she stared irritably into space. Doom was content to ignore her. The occupants of his house spent far too much time distracting him from his work.

As if hearing his thoughts, (could they hear his thoughts?) a call came through from the trickster god. Doom tossed the phone in Mystique's direction before returning to work. The mutant seemed to catch it out of reflex, but frowned at him right after.

"You can't be bothered to answer your own phone?" She asked him.

Doom didn't bother to respond.

Mystique gave him another irritated look, placed the phone on speaker, and reached over to his work table to slid it back toward him. "Victor?" Loki's voice called.

Doom sent Mystique an annoyed look she couldn't see behind his mask. "What?"

"There's an incident at Shield. I was going to get you a sample of Extremis to work with, if you are prepared for it."

"Should you be getting involved with them alone?" Doom asked. "I have Doombots in place if needed."

"That will not be necessary."

Doom paused a moment. "When you return, I will have you in my lab. I need baselines for you and Amora and I plan to upgrade your trackers so that I can remotely monitor your stats."

"Such an obsessive man you are, Victor," Loki said lightly.

"Silence!" He commanded. "Do as you will!" He hung up.

Mystique was staring at him. "You're really--"

"I do not need your commentary, Mystique."

She stared at him a while longer before deciding to stay silent.

Svadilfari kept watch over the mortals that were searching for Loki and he came to a very simple conclusion: Loki was invested in these mortals. His allies sought them out and he could feel traces of the second prince near their dwelling.

The mortals that sought the second prince were not as easily defended as Loki's allies, but he was certain that he could just as easily use them to lure the prince into the open. It was amusing to watch the mortals besides. Though if any of them got in his way again, he was done with playing with them.

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