Title: Halfway to Hell
Author's Notes: Takes place during Thor. I've never thought Loki was evil, just misguided and hungering for his father's approval/love.
Summary: What started out as a bit of fun turned into something dark and dangerous with dire consequences which Loki could never have foreseen.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and places are the property of Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studios. This form of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
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He was doing it again.
Sulking like a sullen child, thought Loki with a scowl as he watched his brother from behind the relative safety of the over-sized column. This is why he is not yet ready for the responsibilities that would be laid upon his shoulders as king of Asgard. He's far too immature to rule others when he cannot even rule his own temper.
There was a terrible roar and a loud, echoing crash as Thor upended the table in frustration, scattering the food and all of its other contents across the floor, no longer making the slightest attempt to control his percolating anger as it boiled over the surface.
So wasteful, mused Loki with a shake of his head, and all because Father spurned his pride.
Loki sighed, long and hard. He hated to see his brother in such a black mood, but he knew that he had done the right thing by showing the Jotuns the way into Asgard. His brother was reckless yet with a short fuse and a hot temper. Thor thought he knew it all, he thought he was ready to be king and lead his people, but Loki knew, just as their father did, that Thor still had much to learn. Too much for Loki to allow his brother to ascend to the throne on this day. There was far too much at stake, the least of which was Loki's wounded pride at always being forced to stand in Thor's shadow.
It had all started as a bit of fun, a way to ensure that Thor would prove himself to be as yet unfit to hold the crown, but also as a way to satisfy Loki's dire need for amusement at his brother's expense. After all what sort of god of mischief would he be if he did not indulge his inner trickster on the grandest of stages. He never meant for it to get out of hand the way that it clearly had.
However, watching his brother throw a temper tantrum befitting an adolescent only served to reinforce Loki's belief that he had done the appropriate thing by disrupting Thor's crowning ceremony. The last thing Asgard needed was a boy king with a hot and unpredictable temper. They would be at war and halfway to hell before the sun had set over the horizon on his first day as king, and that was not a prospect that Loki cared to dwell on. Loki liked to have fun, to cause a bit of a stir from time to time, just to keep things entertaining, but he wasn't cruel and he wasn't a fighter.
Still, it did not escape his notice that Thor would not let the matter die a quiet death as their father had. Thor would not rest until he uncovered the truth behind the Frost Giants clandestine infiltration of Asgard and the weapons vault. Loki was not afraid of his mischief being discovered because he knew his brother would never delve deep enough into the matter to discover his involvement, Loki had been careful and covered his tracks well, but he was concerned that Thor would do something stupid and cause Loki's bit of fun to turn into something decidedly unpleasant and perhaps deadly.
Loki did not wanted war, but he had failed to take his brother's proclivity for disregarding their father's orders into consideration. It was one thing to defy their father and eat all the sweets before supper, but it was another thing entirely to defy their king and start a war. Loki did not know if his brother was truly that irresponsible, but he had learned long ago never to underestimate Thor. Or his temper. Or his inability to walk away from a challenge.
Yes, Loki had made a mistake, but perhaps he could expound upon it and use it to his advantage. Where his brother had fallen, Loki could finally see a way to make their father notice him, to make him proud of him. All he had to do was manipulate his brother into doing something rash and then swoop in and save the day without anyone getting hurt. It was simple.
Loki allowed himself a small smile as he waited for the worst of his brother's anger to pass. He delayed until his brother was seated and brooding upon the steps to make his move. He forced a grim frown upon his face and walked slowly around the column to join him. He sat down next to him, ready to play the part of the supportive little brother and offer false words of condolences, whatever it took to goad him into action. They did not call Loki silver-tongue for no reason.
"It's unwise to be in my company right now, brother. This was to be my day of triumph." Thor's voice was infused with anger and frustration; the whining's of a spoiled prince.
Loki nodded sadly, indulgently.
"It'll come," he said, offering support and encouragement before slipping in the knife and twisting it, "in time."
Truth be told, Loki fully expected his brother to offer a scathing retort at his words, but Lady Sif and the Warriors Three chose that moment, the most inopportune of moments, to stride into the room.
Damn them. He thought viciously. They could ruin everything.
"What's this?" Asked Volstagg incredulously at the sight of the food strewn across the floor. Such a spectacle was surly a sacrilege to his eyes, and no doubt to his belly.
Loki fought the urge to roll his eyes and decided to ignore them for the time being. His endgame had not changed because their friends had arrived. No doubt they might prove a complication but there was nothing Loki could do about that now. He still wanted to provoke Thor into doing something rash. All he needed to do was give Thor a subtle push in the right direction. He need to merely hand his brother the rope, Thor would hang himself with it.
He leaned in close to Thor and whispered, almost conspiratorially, "If it's any consolation, I think your right. About the Frost Giants, about Laufey, about everything. If they found a way to penetrate Asgard's defenses once who's to say they won't try again. Next time with an army."
Loki twisted the knife a little deeper with carefully calculated words. "There's nothing you can do without defying father."
Thor climbed to his feet, determined and resolute, and Loki knew his plan had worked. His brother was not one to shrink from a challenge, even one that was doomed to failure from the beginning.
"No, no, no, no, no, no. I know that look," said Loki, feigning shock and horror.
"That's the only way to ensure the safety our borders."
"Thor, it's madness," pleaded Loki with false sincerity, but he knew that it was the truth nonetheless.
Loki should have known that his brother would be fool enough to try and go to Jotunheim, and he should have had a plan for that, too. Unfortunately, he had not considered that Thor would be quite so reckless. He had thought Thor might go on a tear through the palace in a fit of anger, or that he might take his anger back to the Allfather and Loki would be able to intervene with a cool head and drag him away before he did too much damage to his reputation. Going to Jotunheim was suicidal and would no doubt cause a war. He had to stop him, but how?
"Madness? What sort of madness?" Interjected Volstagg.
Loki watched as Thor left him sitting on the steps to go gather support from his friends and convince them to undertake the journey to Jotunheim with him. He used the intervening moments to devise a strategy that would ensure they never reached Jotunheim. Loki was all for a little mischief, but Thor was dead set on causing real trouble. Luckily, Loki came up with a suitable contingency plan for their current situation. He was good at thinking on his feet.
"My friends, we are going to Jotunheim." Announced Thor after rallying his friends to his cause. He was obviously pleased with himself because Loki could hear the smug sound of victory in his voice. He knew that Thor was grinning, a huge self-satisfied smirk, but his brother was standing with his back to him and Loki could not see his face.
Loki swallowed hard and shook his head. This was not good and not the result he wanted at all, but he still saw a way to salvage the situation and prove to his father that he was the sensible one. Perhaps he would even make his father proud of him for once. That was all that he had really wanted all along, but Thor always managed to muddle things up for him and get in the way of any glory Odin may have lavished on his youngest son. But not this time. This time Loki was prepared.
Thor and their friends left to gather their armor and weapons. Loki always kept his weapons tucked away into the sleeves of his shirt. Just in case. Instead of returning to his chambers, he set off toward the stables. As he slipped into the hallway, he beckoned one of the guards over.
"We're leaving," he whispered, "and once we have left, I want you to go straight to Odin and tell him where we have gone. Tell him that we've gone to the Bifrost, that Thor is set on traveling to Jotunheim, and that I tried to stop him but Thor would not heed reason."
The guard nodded his understanding and Loki smiled to himself. This day might yet turn itself around. Odin would get word of his brother's intent and their father would stop them before they ever set foot on Jotunheim. No real harm would be done and Odin would see that Loki was the reliable son. Mischief managed.
Really, what is the worst that could happen now?
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