Chapter 14: Preparations
Harry sat excitedly in the front of the boat. The cool air of Alfheim was flowing through his curls.
He glanced back to his mum. Loki flashed him a wide smile. The black haired god was so happy, and it made Harry happy to see him so. His mum had been rather morose in the months they had spent in Asgard. He tried to hide it from Harry but Harry could still see it. Loki didn't like being back in Asgard. Harry hoped they would be able to go back to visit Midgard sooner rather than later.
Harry missed his friends. He missed Hogwarts. But he was thankful for getting the chance to come to Asgard. Harry had seen things he never would have imagined. He'd been to different planets, something he hadn't even thought was possible a year ago.
His eyes darted about the beautiful landscape all around him. It was too pristine and otherworldly for it to be a place on Earth.
Their small boat rapidly approached the tree-covered island set in the middle of the massive lake.
"What's Fenris like?" Harry thought he remembered Jormungandr referring to him as 'grumpy'.
"He is strong and fierce. Protective and caring. He is very cunning," Loki smiled fondly. "It has been many years since I've been able to visit him. I used to do it all the time. I didn't want him to be lonely. However, Fenris eventually asked me to stop coming so frequently. He claimed it was too painful everytime I had to leave."
"Now when we leave, he's coming with us," Harry smiled at his mum.
"Yes, he is," Loki smiled back.
They docked the boat on the rocky shore of the island, and clambered out.
"This way," Loki took the lead.
Harry followed along behind him. The thick leafy canopy from the trees kept them in mostly darkness. The two of them had only walked a few meters when the landscape around them altered. The towering trees they passed were covered in claw and teeth marks. Some massive beast ripped into the large trees, and Harry feared he knew exactly what massive beast had done it. The paw prints in the sod were nearly as long as Harry was tall.
"Exactly how large is Fenris," Harry couldn't help but be a bit worried.
His brother was essentially being kept in solitary confinement here on this island, and that wasn't good for the mind even an immortal one.
"Larger than most Midgardian dragons," Loki answered.
"Don't worry, Harry, your brother will not harm us."
No sooner had his mother spoken the words than a menacing growl rippled through the trees. Harry froze and instinctively moved closer to his mum.
"Fenris! Do not worry my son. It is only your father, and your brother," Loki called.
"I do not have a blue eyed brother," a deep growling voice answered.
Harry's head twisted around to the source of the voice. In the darkness Harry could see large golden eyes the size of dinner plates hovering between the trees.
"Once you did not. However, now you do. Take in his scent you will recognize him as your kin," Loki had also turned to face the golden eyes.
"Hmm, so he is," the deep voice rumbled. "What is your name, little brother?"
"Harek Thorson," Harry answered.
"Thorson?" Fenris questioned, surprise clearly evident in his tone.
"Come out from the shadows, and I will explain everything. I have some very good news to share," Loki's green eyes shown brightly.
After a moment the golden eyes shifted, moving closer to where Loki and Harry stood. Much like it had with Jormungandr, Harry's mouth dropped open at the sight of Fenris.
Harry's wolfish brother was utterly massive. He was even bigger than Hagrid's three-headed dog, Fluffy. His head was larger than SUV, and his body was taller Number 4 Privet Drive. Fenris had sharp, curved black claws on each of his paws, and his long, sharp white teeth were longer than Harry's arms. He had thick black fur that helped him blend in seamlessly with the darkness. Only his glowing gold eyes and white teeth gave him away.
Hagrid would have loved Fenris.
With a surprising gentleness Fenris lowered himself to the ground, and bumped his snout into Loki in greeting.
"Hello, my son," Loki stroked Fenris's black muzzle.
Fenris turned his golden eyes to Harry. They flickered over him in an assessing manner. Unconsciously Harry stood up straighter.
A deep chuckle rumbled from Fenris's massive chest. "Well met, littlebrother."
"Nice to meet you, Fenris," Harry gave a little wave, daring to move out from behind his mum.
"Now about that explanation. It has been quite a long time since our last visit, and I sense quite a lot has happened since then," Fenris tilted his head.
It was such a dog like movement that it made Harry smile.
Loki quickly launched into the story of Harry's conception, Loki's fall from the Bifrost, Thanos, and eventually Fenris and Jormungandr's freedom.
Fenris was still and silent for several long moments after Loki finished his tale. "I am to be freed?"
"You are," Loki smiled.
All at once, Fenris exploded onto his feet. He howled in rage, the sound ringing with terrible force throughout the trees. Fenris swiped a gigantic paw at a nearby tree felling it with ease. Loki swiftly moved in front of Harry.
"Fenris! Calm yourself!" Loki shouted.
"All of these years! Odin has kept me imprisoned all of these years! Now when he has need of me, he deigns to release me to be his guard dog!" Fenris growled.
The massive black wolf stopped knocking over trees but he kept pacing and growling. The sound was like thunder and his steps caused the ground to tremble.
"I know you are angry. You have every right to be. You never should have been locked away. However, at the moment it will do you no good to attack the All-Father. He will just send you right back here. I am sorry for not fighting harder to have released before now. For not stopping him from imprisoning you in the first place," Loki lowered his head in shame.
Harry wanted to say something to comfort his mum and brother but at the same time he felt like he would be intruding if he did. So he just continued to watch from the sidelines.
Fenris halted his pacing. "Do not blame yourself for Odin's failings. I do not blame you."
"I don't know how you couldn't."
"Because I know you tried despite the fact that you didn't have any power to stop it from happening," Fenris continued.
"Let me finally free you," Loki begged.
Fenris's sides heaved and slowly he returned to Loki's side. He folded himself back down to the ground, and twisted his large head. For the first time Harry caught sight of the thin silver chain that was wrapped around Fenris's huge neck.
The chain looked too fragile to keep a being as powerful as Fenris restrained.
Loki pulled the scissors Odin had given him. Harry's mother confidently strode forward, and with one quick snip cut the chain around Fenris's neck. Harry's brother instantly stood, and shook himself all over.
"I don't know if I can even return to an Aesir form," Fenris murmured. "It's been so long."
"I will help you if you get stuck," Loki assured.
Fenris nodded his massive head. The large wolf closed his eyes, and his body slowly began shrinking in on itself. The black fur shed itself from Fenris's body, and soon a more humanoid form took shape.
Fenris in his human was as tall and broad as Harry's father was. He had thick wildly curly black hair just like Harry's but his eyes remained a wolfish gold. Fenris was also completely naked.
Loki quickly transfigured some nearby branches into some pants and a shirt.
"I was so close," Fenris complained.
His wolfish brother's voice had the same deep rumble when he was wolf only slightly quieter.
"I can't even shift into an animal yet," Harry sighed.
"I have told you it takes a lot of practice, and at the moment you don't have the time for such a thing," his mum ran a hand through his black curls.
"Don't listen to him it came natural to Jor and I," Fenris winked at Harry.
"And look where transforming into giant monsters got the two of you?" Loki glared.
"Wait, so can I transform?" Harry's eyes shot wide.
"Not yet, not without me there to assist you," Loki commanded.
"I'd definitely prefer practicing transforming than going to all my lessons," Harry groused.
His magical education had been put on hold for the last several months as he had a million other Asgardian things he needed to catch up on before he could refocus on magic.
"You're not getting out of your lessons," his mum eyed him.
"I figured," Harry sighed.
"We'll get back into magic eventually," Loki promised with a gentle smile.
"I know," Harry smiled back.
Fenris snorted. "I'm ready to get off this island."
Loki grinned. "Let's be off then."
The three of them walked back towards the small boat. The addition of Fenris made the space in the small boat rather squished. But none of them minded. Fenris's eyes were practically glowing as they sped across the clear blue lake.
When they reached the lakeshore Loki called for the Bifrost, and the three of them were instantly pulled up through the multi-colored beam of light. They landed in the golden dome. Heimdall greeted them in his typical stoic manner.
"Has Thor freed Jormungandr?" Loki questioned.
"He has," Heimdall nodded.
"And the Mind Stone?"
"Unfortunately, he has been met with some complications on that front," Heimdall answered.
"What sort of complications?" Loki demanded.
"It will be better if I explain it to everyone. I was simply awaiting your return," Heimdall answered.
The four of them made their way back into Asgard and were admitted to the throne room. Harry's grandmother greeted them all warmly while Fenris and Odin glared at one another. Fenris was even growling under his breath. Luckily, they didn't start fighting. The information about what was happening with Harry's dad and the Mind Stone was far too important.
"You have news of Thor and his mission?" Odin questioned.
"The Midgardians have misplaced the Mind Stone," Heimdall answered.
"Misplaced?" Loki's eyes widened in shock.
"Yes, there seems to have been an internal struggle within the Midgardian organization known as SHIELD. They were over taken from the inside by a force known as Hydra," Heimdall explained.
"Hydra? We learned about them in primary school. They were the rogue Nazi science division. But they were all destroyed after World War II when the Red Skull was defeated by Captain America," Harry spoke up.
Heimdall nodded. "Apparently they were not completely destroyed. They merely went underground. Growing within SHIELD until they saw their moment to retake control. They were once more stopped from total control by Captain America but not before destroying the majority of SHIELD and taking off with the scepter containing the Mind Stone. Thor has rallied the Avengers to help him search for the staff, and explained the direness of discovering the scepter."
"Can you locate the stone?" Odin questioned.
"As I have discovered even my eyes have a hard time looking upon the stones. I cannot stare at them directly, and unfortunately because of this I have not been able to locate the other stones," Heimdall stated regretfully.
"Hopefully, Thor and his Avengers will be able to locate the Mind Stone sooner rather than later," Loki murmured.
"Yes," Odin agreed. "We will give Thor and his Midgardians a chance to collect the stone. If they fail I will send Asgardian warriors to retrieve it. Until then we must prepare. Loki you will choose members to a form a committee to prepare for Thanos's inevitable arrival. You will be in charge of this committee."
Harry's mum looked stunned by this command. It was obviously a pretty big deal for Odin to ask Loki to do this.
"I will do my best," Loki nodded.
Frigga smiled widely. "I am sure you will do an admirable job."
Over the next couple of weeks Loki gathered Asgardians to form the committee Odin requested. Together the group created plans and strategies to fortify Asgard. Or well fortify more. Asgard existed at the edge of space. It was very difficult to reach without access to the Bifrost or the Tesseract aka the Space Stone. However, Thanos had been able to connect to the Space Stone before with the help of another Infinity Stone. There was a fear that it might happen again if Thanos managed to get his hands on one of the three still missing Infinity Stones.
Odin's vault was heavily warded from outside influence. But no one was quite sure if that would pertain to Infinity Stones. There wasn't a lot of information known about them since they were so rare.
Sif and Volstagg had moved the Aether or the Reality Stone to Alfheim. In fact it was now locked in a securely guarded vault on the island Fenris once inhabited. Alfheim was another planet that could only be accessed by the Bifrost. But only a select few knew of where the Reality Stone had been placed.
Harry continued with his lessons. He missed his dad. Thor made his lessons more entertaining, and his mum was really busy trying to protect Asgard. It was nice that all of his brothers were now in Asgard. Heimdall had brought Jormungandr to Asgard when it became apparent it was going to take Thor and the Avengers a lot longer to retrieve the Mind Stone.
It had been great to see how happy his mum was to see all four of his sons altogether for the first time. Jormungandr and Fenris's reunion was also great. The two of them were the only one who were full siblings, and they had grown up together before Odin had imprisoned them.
Jormungandr liked to show off by transforming and swimming about in the water that surrounded Asgard. He also may have liked scaring the unsuspecting Asgadians.
Fenris spent all of his time in the training yard. His wolfish brother tried to pick up where Thor had left off with Harry's training. But Fenris didn't have Thor's patience, and he tended to treat Harry roughly without meaning to. Sleipnir had stepped in.
Harry's horsey brother had been spending more time in his human form now that he was officially released from being Odin's royal steed. Before that Harry hadn't really spent a lot of time with him.
Sleipnir was the calmest and most patient of Harry's brothers.
"Well done, Harry," Sleipnir praised.
Harry turned to grin at the tall, lean man.
Sleipnir had black curls like Harry, Fenris, and Loki. But his eyes were a pale gray. In his horse form he had charcoal gray coat, and a black mane and tail. Then of course he also possessed eight powerful legs. Sleipnir was also a bit larger than a normal horse.
"I like the staff," Harry twirled the long wooden staff Sleipnir had suggested he use.
"I thought you might," Sleipnir looked smug, making him look more like their mother.
"Will you teach me how to transform myself? Fenris said it came naturally to him and Jor," Harry had been thinking about since they freed Fenris.
He figured having a giant animal form to turn into would be a huge help if Asgard ended up being attacked by this Mad Titan, and it sounded really awesome.
"Aren't you supposed to wait for Mother? I didn't think he wanted you transforming just yet. Something about not alienating the Asgardians when they're still getting used to the idea of you," Sleipnir quirked an eyebrow at him.
Sleipnir sent him an unconvinced look.
Harry sent him his best winning smile.
"All right, just don't tell Mother. We'll fit in some practice during our weapons training. It will be our secret," Sleipnir smiled conspiratorially at him. "Besides I'm sure you'll catch on quickly."
Harry grinned back. He was thrilled that Sleipnir had agreed to help him.
The next several weeks Sleipnir trained Harry on how to shape shift. So far Harry had only been able to sprout a few feathers. But it pleased him to no end.
Thor eventually returned from Earth after two months. But he returned without the Mind Stone, and a story about how Tony Stark somehow created an army of robots. Harry honestly didn't know what to make of it.
It was clear Odin didn't know what to make of it either. Well, he clearly wasn't pleased with the information that the Mind Stone was now attached to an artificial life form and would be remaining on Earth.
"How can you be certain the Midgardian will be capable of protecting it?" Odin ground out.
All of the members of the royal family were in attendance at the moment. Harry was happy that all of his brothers were included in that group. His mum was also very pleased by the situation.
"With the Bifrost restored Midgard is only a short trip away, and the Avengers are formidable warriors. They repelled the Chitauri attack," Thor argued.
"They are impressive for mortals," Loki admitted.
"And I have told them of Thanos. They are going to prepare themselves as well," Thor added.
"Very well, nevertheless, we will closely monitor the situation," Odin still didn't look pleased but there wasn't exactly anything else he could do. Sending Asgardian warriors to retrieve the Vision would only put them at odds with Earth. It would turn allies into enemies. His classes on politics and battle strategy with his mum had taught him that much.
Time passed quickly. Harry's fourteenth birthday came and went. He had a party with all of his family but he couldn't help but miss his friends and Hogwarts. Harry had been in Asgard for over half a year now. The realization had stunned Harry. Time felt like it passed more slowly in Asgard. Asgardians didn't rush about as much as humans did. Harry supposed it was because they simply had more time.
Asgard continued to fortify itself, and gather information about Thanos. Loki started having more free time to spend with Harry, and quickly caught him up on his magic lessons. Thor spent sporadic time in Asgard. He, Sif, and the Warriors Three were traveling through the galaxy in search of the other Infinity Stones.
But his dad always made sure to spend a lot of time with him when he was in Asgard.
It was around the time when it would be September on Earth that Harry was feeling especially nostalgic.
"Do you think we could take a visit to Hogwarts sometime soon?" Harry asked his mum.
They were working on some fire spells together.
"I think that would be a wonderful idea. I could use a break from all of this planning, and it would be nice to check in our wizarding friends," Loki smiled. "Give me a week to take care of some things, and we'll take a trip down for a little while."
"Brilliant," Harry was thrilled by the news.