Loki stood in the middle of some unknown forest on the Olympic peninsula, staring balefully at the thunderous sky. He was dressed in his battle armor and with his new staff at hand, he was ready to put the final pieces into place and begin his war.
This, however, was not part of his plan.
He had places to be and a small town in Washington was not one of them. This was a rather inconvenient disruption of his schedule and if there were someone around to punish, he would surely be doing so.
Thanks to his mighty staff, he had managed to gather a useful group of people to carry out his bidding. He was confident that should he call, someone would be sent immediately. However, he had no means of contacting them in the middle of this wilderness. His first step would, unfortunately, have to be to find civilization.
Loki stepped forward, the sound of his boots sloshing through the mud nonexistent. While not quite as physically strong as his brother, he was rather light on his feet. He could sneak up on anyone with ease that came as naturally as Thor's brute strength.
Thoughts of Thor brought a sour taste to his mouth. Although he now knew they were not brothers, he often found himself forgetting that. In fact, when Thor brought up their kinship, he rarely acknowledged their lack of blood in particular, instead refuting any ties to their father.
He shook those thoughts away, refocusing on the task at hand. He would not think of his former brother—he had his war to contemplate. There would be plenty of time to deal with Thor, who would undoubtedly come to fight for the humans.
A laughable notion—the mighty demigod standing up for what were merely ants in their eyes.
Still, Loki recognized the small bit of jealousy he held toward Thor for his bond with the humans. They looked up to him as his own people had and their loyalty rang the same. When Loki had taken over the physicist's mind, he had noted the man's devotion to Thor.
Loki, who had been betrayed by his own family, thirsted for that kind of loyalty.
The demigod stiffened as the sound of voices filtered through the silence. He knew it could not be Thor, whose appearance was never subtle, but he wondered if SHIELD had managed to find him after all. He smirked at the thought of delivering a good blow to the organization's forces.
As he moved his way closer, he became aware of two voices—a male and a female. The male's voice was calm and cold, while the female sounded hollow.
"Bella, I don't want you to come with me."
Loki, with his heightened eyesight and hearing, managed to look on the discussion from several yards away.
The female appeared on the verge of collapsing as she waited for his answer.
Loki had never been particularly fond of the humans—he found them too inferior to care about, really—but watching this exchange bothered him. Although these humans petty problems were of no matter to him, he knew what it felt like to be rejected.
"Don't worry. You're human—your memory is no more than a sieve. Time heals all wounds for your kind."
"And your memories?"
"Well—I won't forget. But my kind...we're very easily distracted."
Loki quirked an eyebrow at the exchange, turning his gaze to the male. Now that he focused on him, he did notice the differences between the two. The male's skin was very pale and even from this distance, Loki could see that there was an unnatural strength beneath the surface.
When the male fled the female at an unusually fast speed, Loki recognized the potential threat he posed. My kind—he had said, which meant that there were more of them.
Loki grimaced, annoyed to discover an unanticipated factor.
His gaze shifted to the female as he watched her stumble after the male, her desperation evident. He would reach civilization if he took the path behind her, but he decided to follow her instead. Although he knew this would set back his plans even further, he felt the strangest urge to see where this led.
It didn't take him long to reach the female, who had by now collapsed. As she knelt there, staring brokenly in the direction the male had gone, Loki felt an odd emotion.
The female was insignificant, but she had been abandoned by the one she cared about like Loki had. Seeing her look so shattered brought his own pain to the surface, forcing him to acknowledge his lack of worth—and love.
He raised his staff, certain that he would kill her. She represented his weakness and for one insane moment, he thought that if he destroyed her, he would be rid of it. He circled the female, wanting to administer the blow in front of her, so that he could watch her die.
Loki was satisfied when the female lifted her head at the sound of his approach, but her expression gave him pause. She didn't look at the staff in his hand, the weapon that would end her life. Instead, her gaze remained focused on his own.
What made him pause was the way she looked at him, so hopeless and empty. It was the look of someone who had lost everything they ever held dear. Faced with that reality, he found that he couldn't kill her.
Killing her wouldn't mean the death of his weakness—it would mean the death of himself.
He stepped forward, pointing his staff at her heart. Although he doubted she would prove a useful ally in the war, he would give her the strength of a new belief and someone far more deserving of her loyalty—himself.
Loki felt the staff's energy seeping into the female's heart and marveled at the strength he found. This girl—despite her current appearance—had a strong heart. He could see into her very soul and what he found amazed him. He knew he had made the right decision in sparing her.
Loki watched the female—Bella—straighten as her eyes glazed over. He lowered the staff to his side.
He was shocked when her eyes suddenly cleared and she fell forward.
"What have you...done to me?" she gasped, staring up at him in a combination of terror and amazement.