Hello, everyone! Yes, I'm back and I bring with me a new chapter of Hadrian Lokison. I'm sorry for the delay, I know two years is a long time. Truthfully, I had not planned to continue this story till I finished the other ones I had started. However, this seems to be my most popular one to the date and so I couldn't just not write anymore.
I was so excited when I saw how well received this story was! I certainly didn't expect this when I posted it. I mean, it's got more than one thousand favs and over one hundred reviews! It may not seem like too much to some, but it means a lot to me.
It's taken me a long time, much longer than I intended, to write the second chapter and I'm not really all that happy with how it's turned out but if I wait anymore I will end up leaving it as a one-shot. I'm afraid Thor: Ragnarok and Infinity War made me reconsider some things...
So, as a reader, I know long author notes are not really welcome, but please bear with me for a little longer.
I announced in the first chapter that the story would be slash. Although that won't happen yet for obvious reasons, I was turning around in my head the possible pairings and although, at first, I had wanted to write a Harry/Tony pairing and favour it because it's what I first had in mind, someone that asked for Tony/Loki made me realise that there were other pairing that I may also enjoy writing. I wanted to give you the chance to have your say in the matter. Just to let you know, if I do a Tony/Loki I will still pair Harry with a male and focus on him and obviously if I do Harry/Tony there will be no Tony/Loki. Other males I am considering would be Peter Quill, Doctor Strange, Peter Parker... Tom Riddle...
One last warning: my updates, as with all my stories, won't be regular. It could as well be two weeks as two years till the next chapter, especially since I am right now in the middle of university exams, but I will try to update when I finish them.
On the matter of our dear not so dear headmaster... well, we'll have to wait for a bit yet for him to make his appearance, but it will eventually happen, hehehe.
For those of you who may prefer to read in French, there is an author, Elrika, who has been so kind as to devote some of her time to translating this story and I will be of course letting her know of the new chapter. Thanks, Elrika!
Finally, I would like to thank everyone that left a review (thanks, because if not for that, I probably would not have updated in many more years...). For the first time, I cannot really answer them one by one since there are so many, but I would like to answer to some in particular:
Loveless Demon: okay, I admit it, I laughed when I read what you had imagined. I laughed and my friend that was sitting next to me looked at me as if I were crazy, but it was worth it. I can certainly imagine something like that happening, though we'll have to wait a little bit till Harry feels a bit more comfortable and confident. Hope you like this new chapter!
nightlyreader: You raise a good point in that a normal child would have been able to simply see the news and recognise Loki, but there is the fact that Harry was abused and in no way allowed to watch the TV, to the point that he learned to keep his eyes and ears shut to it lest his uncle even think he was being lazy. Then there's the fact that he was ostrisized in school. Even if he did hear something about him, he couldn't really ever be sure that it was actually Loki as in his father. Also, the authorities wouldn't listen to him with the Dursleys spewing lies about him and even if they did believe him... well, he is the son of a man who tried to take over Earth, almost succeeded and killed quite a number of humans. Hope that answers your question.
Faiien: I'm happy you enjoyed the first chapter. About Harry's upbringing... define corny, hehehe. There will probably be bashing, though I'm still not sure whom all I will be bashing or on what level, but certainly Dumbledore, maybe Ron and Hermione and not the twins, Neville, Luna or maybe Draco. It also depends on what role they fulfil. I was going to approach the topic of Loki's fall and a few other things in future chapters... I'm not going to write anything yet, but if you really can't wait to know you may PM me and I'll answer your questions. I will let you know, though, that Thanos has not been killed and although they know Loki was being controlled (Odin removed the sceptre's hold on him and let him go to Midgard under his brother's watchful gaze), they do not know who it was that controlled him. I think that's all? Hope you like the next chapter and keep on reading this story :)
Harry Albus Potter Dumbledore: I'm sorry the idea of the slash does not appeal to you, but everyone has their own tastes. I did not really like even the idea of slash till a few years back when I read by mistake a really good story that turned out to be slash in the end so I understand you not wanting to read it. Still, thank you for having read the first chapter and leaving a review; I'm glad you got to enjoy it.
.Wonderland.8510: I don't know where to start answering your review, hahaha. I suppose you'll just have to keep reading to discover the answer, because I'm still not sure as to the answer to at least the last two.
Halimede: I'm so glad to hear you found it so interesting. I loved writing it and I also loved having the Avengers support Loki, though I look forward even more to writing about their future interactions, hahaha.
kirallie: I'm afraid my answer to you is that those matters will be addressed in the next chapters, when I actually write them. In fact, I'm still thinking of what angle to go with in the matter.
I really consider most of this chapter to be kind of a filler, but I hope you still like it. That said, I'm tired and grumpy and just want to update and I'm sure you all just want me to shut up and get on to read the chapter so, please, enjoy reading and thank you so much to all of you for your support to this story and your reviews.
When they arrived and the Bïfrost closed, Loki was grateful he was carrying his son. The child would have fallen flat on his face, if his dizzy expression was anything to go by.
"Oh, that's right, you never really got to see the Bïfrost, did you?"
The child shook his head a little and continued looking around with wonder. His eyes widened upon sight of the tall figure of a man with heavy gold armour.
The man gave a half bow and greeted them, his eyes settling on Hadrian almost immediately.
"Prince Hadrian, let me be the first to welcome you back to Asgard."
Hadrian smiled shyly and muttered a small 'thank you' that made the stern guardian's eyes soften slightly, even if his face remained blank.
"There are horses outside waiting for you, my Princes."
Thor and Loki nodded at the man and left with a farewell. As Heimdall had said, there were two horses outside and they didn't lose any time on mounting them.
Hadrian sat back to chest with Loki and the man smiled when he saw his son's hand hover over the horse's crest.
"You can touch it. It's not going to bite you." Whispered Loki.
Hadrian smiled and petted the animal before burrowing in the god's chest but still looking around with wide eyes as the city seemed to get closer and closer.
Loki dismounted swiftly and helped his awed child do the same. Instead of a group of servants as they had expected, they found the Warrior Three and Lady Sif themselves waiting for them.
"Thor! Welcome home!" said Volstagg in his usual booming voice.
"How good it is to see you on this bright day, my friends!" replied the Thunder God.
"It is without a doubt a joyous day the day of your return. Your parents will be happy to see you. And the ladies as well." joked Fandral.
"It is not my return which brings joy this time, Fandral." said Thor with a giant grin.
The Warrior Three and Sif looked at him in confusion. However, they soon understood and were left speechless when they finally realised there was a child present.
The child had a black mop of silky black hair, pale skin and beautiful emerald green eyes. He was half hiding behind the Trickster God's legs, his small hands fisted on his black pants and his head peeking out shyly to look at the present warriors.
With everyone's gaze on him, Hadrian hid more behind his father, who looked down at him with softness and put a hand on his head.
"It cannot be… can it?" whispered Sif.
Hogun looked at Thor for confirmation, which he got only seconds later.
"It is indeed a bright day in Asgard when all its princes finally return home. My friends, this is my nephew, Prince Hadrian Lokison."
For a few moments there was only silence. Then, Sif walked towards Loki and fell onto a knee in front of the child.
"Well met, Prince Hadrian. Welcome back."
The child peeked around his father's legs and blinked before giving a small smile, still nervously clutching the god's pants in his tiny fists.
"Thank you, Lady Sif."
Her eyes widened at his words and she thought back on all that had been said, but couldn't remember her name having been mentioned even once.
"How?" breathed the warrior woman.
"Hadrian has what Midgardians call an 'idatic memory'." answered Thor fumbling with the words of the unfamiliar term. "He can remember everything since he was born."
"Eidetic memory, Thor." corrected Loki rolling his eyes. "But yes, that's basically what it means."
Sif turned her attention back to the child.
"Then you can remember me?"
"You were always with Grandma when she told me stories." said the child with a small nod.
"That is true." replied Sif with an upward tilt of her lips.
As one of the Queen's guards, she had often been present when Frigga told a new tale to her grandson.
"I think it would be wise for us to escort you to the throne room, lest the Queen learn that we held her grandson from seeing her even just a second longer than absolutely needed." said Lady Sif looking at the child with unusual gentleness in her eyes.
"You're right, of course, Lady Sif." boomed Thor.
"Don't tell me you're now afraid of a woman, Thor." joked one of the God of Thunder's friends. "My, my, your time in Midgard has turned you into a big softie."
"I'd like to see you go against my mother, my friend." replied Thor uncaring of his teasing words.
Fandral —or at least Hadrian thought it was Fandral as he had only ever seen the man in passing when he lived in Asgard— shivered at the thought of opposing the Queen in any way.
The Queen was beautiful and gentle, yet she could also be the scariest woman ever. Not even Lady Sif scared him so much.
"Let's not make your parents wait, Thor."
Loki shook his head and picked his child up before following after his laughing brother and said brother's friends.
Hadrian rested his head on his father's shoulder and tried not to show how nervous he was about meeting his grandparents again. Tony's reassurance had calmed him down considerably, but he hadn't been about to meet his grandparents.
His gaze wandered over to Lady Sif, who walked one step behind them. The warrior woman gave him a small smile and Hadrian returned it. Would Grandma and Lady Sif tell him stories again?
Hadrian's return home was met with tears from his grandmother and a gentle hand on his shoulder from his grandfather.
The child didn't understand why yet, but his father had seemed leery of letting the King near him. The older man had looked a bit sad at that.
The youngest Prince was currently in his grandmother's arms, feeling rather content despite his previous fears of not being loved anymore. It was obvious that wasn't the case.
"…there are so many things we have to do. You need new clothes —we'll have to contact the royal tailor—, new toys… birthdays! We've missed so many birthdays…"
Hadrian appeared to be overwhelmed by her uncharacteristic display of raw emotion. Seeing that, Loki decided it was time to intervene.
"First Hadrian needs to be seen to by a healer."
The Queen's head snapped up so fast Loki almost thought he had imagined her having been looking down at his child.
"Why would he need to see a healer?" she asked with a hard glint in her pretty blue eyes.
For once, Thor chose to keep quiet and let his brother talk. He would handle the situation much better; he could only hope.
However, Loki had other ideas.
"I'm sure Thor can explain the situation while I take Hadrian to the healing chambers."
The God of Mischief couldn't help feeling slight vindictiveness at his brother's horrified stare, but it wasn't the main reason why he would have him be the one to explain everything to their parents. He was simply in no mood to deal with the uproar that would result and he was anxious to have an Asgardian healer take a look at his child.
With that in mind, Loki strode forward and gathered his son up into his arms. The little Prince made himself comfortable in his father's arms and smiled shyly at his grandparents, waving at them over the god's shoulder as they walked out.
They weren't even two corridors away from the throne room when Lady Sif caught up to them. Loki raised an eyebrow at her.
"The Queen has asked I accompany and assist you in anything you may need."
"She has ordered you to guard us and tell her everything the healer says." translated Loki in a rather dry voice.
The woman shrugged. It was basically the same thing.
"…will have to follow a specific diet to get him up to the weight he should be at. I'm afraid I can't do much about the scars. There's an ointment that may help them fade a little, but he'll always have them. Otherwise he seems healthy, considering his situation."
Loki listened to the healer while keeping an eye on Hadrian. They were standing outside the half-closed door whilst the child sat on a bed. Lady Sif was currently entertaining him with tales of her battles with Thor and the Warrior Three.
He was furious to know not all the physical damage imparted by those animals could be completely corrected, but they could at least try.
"And the scar on his forehead?"
The healer hesitated before answering and Loki narrowed his eyes.
"It is just the Royal Protection. It, of course, took the shape of a lightning bolt in representation of his status as an Heir-Prince of Asgard in direct line of inheritance."
"And?" pressed Loki sensing a 'but' coming.
"There is something strange about it. There seems to be some kind of energy emanating from it that I cannot quite pinpoint the origin of."
"Will it harm him?"
"It doesn't seem to be affecting him in anyway."
"Is there a way to remove it? Just in case it is actually harmful." Sighed the god dragging a hand through his hair.
"I'm afraid not. Without knowing what it is, trying to remove it could have severe consequences. It could… well, it could even kill him."
Loki tensed at those words and swallowed. His child's laugh reached his ears and he closed his eyes for a second.
"I can try to find out where it comes from, but the removal is not possible at the moment."
"Then do that."
Hadrian stayed quiet as the royal tailor took his measurements under his father's and grandmother's watchful eyes. He was still a bit anxious at being near his grandmother, but she had soothed most of his fears of rejection.
It didn't take long for the tailor to finish and Hadrian stepped down from the stool he had been standing on.
Frigga was giving the tailor a long list of garments she wanted to be made for Hadrian. Loki approached him and smiled slightly.
"Is there anything else you would like, Hadrian?"
The child bit his lip, uncertain, but in the end, spoke at his father's encouraging look.
"May I have some trousers and T-shirts like the ones Tony bought for me?" he asked shyly.
Loki didn't hesitate. He immediately turned to the tailor and ordered some clothes like the ones the child was wearing but in different colours.
When the man left, Loki kneeled in front of his son and pushed a rebellious lock of hair out of his eyes.
"Next time we visit your uncle's comrades we'll bring back some of your clothes so our tailors can copy the style, alright?" said the god completely sure the Man of Iron wouldn't mind.
He didn't actually like the kind of clothes Midgardians wore, but his son did and he would do anything to keep his son happy.
Hadrian nodded enthusiastically. He had liked everything Tony had bought for him, even if he had been overwhelmed by the sheer number of things. The billionaire certainly hadn't held back.
"Are you feeling hungry, Hadrian?" asked his grandmother. "Lunch will be served soon and you are much too skinny."
The child blushed and hid behind his father, who released a soft amused laugh before steering both his child and his mother out of the room.
Odin and Thor were in deep conversation when the rest of the family walked in.
They had been talking about the preparations that needed to be made before bringing the Dursley family to Asgard in order for them to be judged, but they stopped as soon as they saw Loki, Frigga and Hadrian. Little Hadrian was in his father's arms, his face on his shoulder and clearly exhausted.
Frigga went to sit next to his husband as Loki took a seat next to Thor with his son on his lap. Immediately, servants poured in and begun to serve the dishes.
Seeing Loki was keeping Hadrian busy enough by filling his plate with foods the healer had recommended, Frigga took the opportunity to talk to his husband.
"Did you finish with the preparations?" asked Frigga.
"Almost, dear. We have reached the conclusion that the Jötuns must get involved as well, so we will have to send an emissary to Jötunheim before we go any further with the preparations. After that, everything will be ready for Thor to go back to Midgard and collect them."
"Good. It's time they pay for their crimes."
The King of Asgard almost shuddered at the cold look on his wife's eyes. She was the most beautiful and scarier woman he knew, and he loved her all the more for it.
That night, Loki showed his son to his own room. Hadrian's was still being set up, connected to his chambers by a door as per his instructions, so they would have to share his until it was ready.
Not that Loki was complaining.
His personal rooms were, frankly, magnificent. It was to be expected of Asgard's royalty. However, Hadrian was too tired to take in any of the details and Loki was too used to them to pay the luxurious rooms any mind.
The Jötun helped his son change and ushered him to the enormous bed.
"Yes?" asked Loki as he tucked the yawning child in.
"Why am I a Prince of Jötunheim?"
Loki stood still for a second, having forgotten about his son's lack of knowledge of their ancestry and his promise to explain once they were back in the safety of Asgard.
"Let me tell you a story."
Hadrian nodded eagerly even as his mouth opened in another silent yawn. Sighing heavily, the god sat on the edge of the bed and busied himself with smoothing down the blankets covering his son as he thought of where to start.
"A long time ago, so much that few remain who remember it, two warring realms collided in war. Asgard was the realm of a people acclaimed as gods, strong and honourable. Jötunheim was home to tall and strong warriors that moulded ice as if it were the air they breathed and despised weakness above anything else." Loki paused, trying to find the needed words. "Before the war against the Frost Giants, Asgard had conquered realm after realm, and ruled them fairly as if they were their own people. Then, Jötunheim attempted to conquer Midgard."
"Earth?" interrupted Hadrian in a small voice. "The Frost Giants wanted it? Why?"
"I do not really know, little one. All I know is when they did attack, the King and the army of Asgard fought them back. They chased them away from Midgard and all other realms, back to their frozen lands." Loki stopped to take a deep breath and swipe some hair from the child's eyes. "The last battle of the war was fought right in Jötunheim and Asgard won the war when they invaded the Jötun temple and took their most powerful artefact, the Casket of Ancient Winters, which allowed them to travel between realms much like the Bïfrost does."
Hadrian listened enraptured, his sleep forgotten for a bit as he got lost in the story.
"However, the Casket was not the only thing the King of Asgard took from the Jötuns. As they were about to leave, the King had found a baby, small and blue. It was the son of the Jötun King, Laufey, abandoned at the temple because he had been born small, and by Jötun beliefs, weak."
Loki almost sneered at the thought that such an advanced race could have such backwards beliefs. If Laufey had not cast him out, he would have had a son with strong magic. It was laughable how, like Asgard, Jötunheim valued physical strength above the possibility of magical strength.
"King Odin, believing he would someday be able to unite both realms thanks to that child, brought him to Asgard. With magic, he hid the baby's parentage even from the child himself and raised him alongside his real son, Thor."
Hadrian's eyes were wide with understanding.
"You are a Jötun?"
Loki cringed at the words, but nodded nonetheless.
Finding only curiosity in his son's eyes after facing the scorn of their people was like a soothing balm to his wounded soul.
"So, am I a Jötun too?"
"Only half, little one. You are half Jötun half Asgardian and I know you've got the best of both worlds."
"Will I turn blue? Do you turn blue?"
"I do." answered Loki with a chuckle. "I had never thought on whether you would, though. I suppose we'll be finding out soon."
Hadrian smiled sleepily, the tiredness making itself known now that the excitement of the story had faded.
Loki blinked in surprise. He hadn't expected his son to take it so well and he found himself once more grateful for the stories his mother had told Hadrian.
Making sure the child was wholly covered by the blankets but for his head, Loki bent down to place a kiss on the small child's forehead.
"Love you, daddy." muttered Hadrian rapidly falling asleep.
"I love you too, my little one."
Loki stayed there for a while, watching the rhythmic rise and fall of his son's chest as he thought of his origins.
His son had easily accepted their nature with an open mind and a healthy dose of curiosity. Maybe it was time Loki did the same.
The next morning, Loki and Hadrian had just sat down for breakfast when they were informed by Frigga of Thor's early departure for Earth.
Hadrian seemed slightly put off that he hadn't got to see him before leaving, but he was soon enough too distracted to dwell on it as he watched Loki pile up food on his plate, keeping in mind the diet the healer had recommended.
Hadrian stared at the full plate with wide eyes, before looking up at his father and the man couldn't help but laugh at his expression.
"You don't have to eat it all, Hadrian. Eat what you can and leave the rest."
The relief he felt was clear in his face before he picked up the fork and brought some meat to his mouth. The child's happiness at the taste brought to his mind one of the first times they ate together at the Avenger's Tower.
It had been just a couple days since they had got Hadrian out of the Dursley's hold and it was almost time for dinner. Stark had wanted to get some pizza whilst Rogers argued that was no proper meal for a child.
Ignoring both men, Barton had asked Hadrian what he wanted to have only to learn that he had never eaten pizza. Everyone had fallen silent at that.
From what Loki understood, not having tried pizza after living for so long on Earth was almost unheard of.
The discovery had prompted a round of questions about what the Dursleys had allowed him to eat, which consisted on a short list of disgusting and poor in nutrients foods and an alarmingly low quantity too.
Stark, his hands fisting in hidden fury, had smiled widely at the child before ordering all sorts of take away.
Hadrian hadn't eaten a lot, but he had enjoyed immensely trying everything there was, even when he found he didn't like something. His delight at such a simple thing had been infectious.
Loki looked away to hide his sadness and felt some gratefulness towards Sif when she engaged the child in a talk about how different Midgard was from Asgard.
"So, my brother has gone to get them?"
"Yes, he seemed impatient to bring them to Asgardian justice. Specially after last night…"
"What happened last night?" asked Loki with a frown.
Frigga and Odin exchanged a gaze before his mother placed her hands on her lap and decided to let the talking to her husband.
"The people are baying for blood in behalf of their young prince. There is no doubt the outcome will be a death penalty."
"No!" exclaimed Loki.
Everyone at the table startled at the Jötun's shout and he had to clench his jaw to replace his thunderous expression for a more placid one.
"Sorry, Hadrian, I was just startled." soothed the god caressing the child's silky black hair. "Go back to your food."
The child looked doubtful, but obeyed and went back to his plate and talking with the Lady Sif.
Once sure he was suitably distracted, Loki turned back to the surprised King and Queen and lowered his voice.
"They cannot receive a death penalty."
"You do not want their blood?" asked Odin with his only visible eye staring intently at him as if he didn't quite believe him.
"I did not say that." countered Loki silkily. "I do not want them to live, but neither do I want them to find reprieve in a quick death. They made my son suffer for years and they should suffer accordingly." The god elaborated. "Has someone been sent to Jötunheim? It should not take long for my brother to return."
"The Warrior Three left early this morning." explained Frigga. "They should be back at midday if everything goes well. Everything will be ready by the time Thor returns."
A small hand tugging on his clothes made him look down into the shy bright eyes of his son.
"When will uncle Thor come back?" asked Hadrian having perked up at Thor's name.
"Soon, little one. Soon."
"What is it, my little Prince?"
"Where is Alana?"
Loki thought back to the snake pet his son had had as a child. She had been an unexpected addition to their household.
'Loki had decided to take Hadrian to see the market outside their palace and they had already visited stalls full of sweets, toys and clothes.
It was whilst talking to one of the vendors that the child slipped from his hand and toddled way. When he noticed, Loki became frantic.
The Prince called on the guards to search for his lost son. After almost half an hour, Loki heard giggling and hissing coming from the back of one of the stalls near where he had last seen him and went to investigate only to find the toddler sitting on the floor with a snake wrapped around him as if it were a scarf and hissing back at him.
"Hadrian!" exclaimed the worried God. "Do not move!"
But the child simply looked up at him and smiled before showing him the snake.
The snake looked at him and flicked its tongue out, tasting the air, before turning her attention back to the child and nuzzling his chubby cheek. Hadrian giggled again and hissed and that's when Loki finally understood what had happened.
His son was displaying the variant of the All-Speak that allowed some gods to talk with animals. And from the snake's behaviour there seemed to be no danger to him since they understood each other.
After the scare of losing the child in the market and finding him with a deadly creature wrapped around him passed, Loki paid to purchase the snake. She would make a good pet and guardian for his son.'
Brought back to the present by Hadrian's hand tugging on his sleeve, Loki looked down and smiled at him.
"She is still in our palace; the servants there were tasked with looking after her." he explained. "She was rather distraught after your disappearance and she wouldn't allow anyone near but for bringing her food. I shall have her delivered here, if you wish."
The child nodded enthusiastically. Yes, she had been a good guardian and Loki would make sure she resumed such a position.
Loki frowned as his mother took Hadrian with her to the Library. She wanted to see how advanced he was and hire a tutor appropriate for his level.
The god had no doubt that she would be surprised; the Man of Iron certainly had.
Still, he didn't like separating himself from his son. He hadn't liked it in Midgard, even knowing the Avengers would rather lay their lives down than allow any harm to come to his child, and he didn't like it now in Asgard, knowing his family and guards would do the same.
The Jötun fidgeted before he caught himself and stood straight. It was the first time he had been alone in Odin's presence in a long time.
"My brother is back, then?"
"Yes, he is. Heimdall announced his return. He is now bringing the prisoners to a cell."
"Why not have them brought here immediately?" asked Loki, his frown deepening.
"The Warrior Three have news we must first listen to."
"They are back too? It took them longer than expected."
"Indeed. I expect they will explain the reason why."
Loki hummed, but said nothing else. He didn't even look at Odin, instead keeping his eyes trained on the door as he stood rigidly on the dais mere meters from the King.
He ignored the memory of the pointed look Frigga had sent them both over Hadrian's head before leaving them alone or the way Odin's eye was fixed on him as if he waited for something.
"Yes?" he asked in a controlled cold voice.
Odin sighed, but the God of Mischief didn't spare him a glance.
"Loki, son, we must talk."
"I am not your son." replied the younger god. "And there is nothing to talk about."
Another sigh. The Jötun gritted his teeth. He couldn't stand being treated as if he were an unruly child.
"You want to talk?" snapped the black-haired man turning around with a click of his heels, his face turning from its calm façade to a mask of fury. "Fine, then. Let's talk. Let's talk about how you lied to me all my life, making me believe I was something I was not, punishing me for being different, for thinking different and behaving different when, well, surprise, surprise, I am different. How about we talk about the time you let the Frost Giants attack my palace without offering any military support which in the end just served to make me lose my son for six years and for him to spend them in that hell-hole in Midgard with those animals?" he didn't let Odin interrupt as he so obviously wanted to; he was on a roll and he wasn't going to stop until he had said his piece. "Or how about we talk about how you didn't even notice the man you claim to be your son was being controlled when he attacked another planet, the one where he believed his lost son to be stranded in, in fact, and simply blamed him for it? You want to talk about that?"
The Asgardian seemed to become older before his very eyes with each word the young god uttered.
"I recognise I made some mistakes-"
"Some mistakes? That's what we're calling it now?"
"You are not exempt of blame, either!" thundered the King getting to his feet. "Yes, I made mistakes, but so did you, Loki!"
The God of Mischief recoiled as if struck, but the fury in his face didn't vanish.
"You weren't being controlled when you let those Frost Giants into Asgard to stop your brother's coronation! Or when you killed Laufey and tried to destroy Jötunheim!"
"No… no, I wasn't, but I did it because Thor wasn't ready to be King and you wouldn't listen! And the Frost Giants were the reason Hadrian disappeared in Midgard!" the younger shouted back. "But when I was controlled you didn't even contemplate that there might be something behind my actions!"
"What did you want me to believe? Your track record didn't exactly inspire trust, Loki."
"I wanted you to behave like a father would! But it was apparently too much to ask because you didn't doubt for a second that ambition and revenge were my only motivation! You didn't even notice my eyes were different. If not for mother, I would still be rotting in a cell!"
They stared at each other in silence for a few minutes, weighing both what had been said and what hadn't.
"My mistakes were more grievous than I wanted to see." sighed the older god. "Although that does not excuse you from your past actions, Loki, I can see that you are also right. I failed you as a father many times now. What can I do to make it up to you for an old man's mistakes?"
Loki stared at him blankly, his magic warning him of the approaching people.
"Nothing. You can't do anything now." He finally said before turning around to greet the new arrivals.
The Warrior Three knelt and brought a hand to their chests in respect before the All-Father. Having apparently arrived with them, Thor stood next to them. The Prince was serious for once and his eyes alternated looking between his father and his brother with an unusual sharpness.
"My son, I trust everything went well in Midgard." greeted Odin smoothly, previous feelings being put aside in favour of the more pressing matters.
"More or less." replied the Thunder God with a half-smile half-grimace. "Fury was glad to release the Dursleys into our custody, the Man of Iron sent some things for Hadrian and the team cannot wait to see him again. SHIELD is still surveying that Dumbledoor character."
Loki didn't bother correcting him at the mangled name.
"And yet you do not look happy, brother."
"They didn't relinquish the Dursley child." he confessed with a small frown. "They sent him to a place of punishment for children on Midgard. We reached an agreement. If he does not become a productive part of their society, he will be released into our custody upon his turning eighteen."
Loki was not happy about it, but the promise of a future chance to take revenge managed to appease him. And if he so wished, he knew he could pay a visit to Midgard and find the boy.
"You got the other two?" he asked just to be sure.
"Yes, I left them in the dungeons. The guards were happy to welcome them." smirked Thor.
"And what news do you bring from Jötunheim?" demanded Odin from the Warrior Three.
"The Jötuns do indeed offer their support to the young Prince." Answered Fandral. "However, King Helblindi wishes to arrange a meeting where he will be able to negotiate personally the conditions and a New Peace treaty."
The God of Lies blinked in surprise at the name of the new King of Jötunheim. Apparently, Laufey's youngest son, Helblindi, hadn't lost any time in organising his own coronation over his older brother's. Or what was more likely, over his older brother's corpse.
"And what took you so long, then?" snapped Loki.
"The Jötuns weren't sure what to make of your child since you tried and almost succeeded at destroying their Realm." snapped back Volstagg. "They couldn't really decide whether they wanted to attack and kidnap the young Prince or to ignore his existence entirely as they have yours."
Loki glared at him, but the Warrior ignored him and simply glared back.
"Enough." ordered the King. "The meeting will be arranged. You will return to Jötunheim and negotiate a date at the earliest time of convenience with the Jötun King. Leave."
Loki stared out of his room's window at the darkness of the night that seemed to cover everything. He needed to sleep, but he had found it impossible as soon as he had closed his eyes.
The meeting with the Jötuns would be in the morning and he found his mind wandering to what could happen then.
Rubbing his eyes tiredly, the God of Magic cast one last look at the darkness outside and turned around intent on trying to get some sleep.
He hadn't even reached the bed when a scream sliced through the silence of the night.
Loki was running through the door into the next room as soon as it started and his magic lit every light there after sweeping through the room and making sure there were no hidden threats.
His son was crying out in his sleep, tossing and turning with tears falling from his closed eyes.
Loki hurried to his side and knelt on the bed as his magic enveloped Hadrian's and calmed it with its warmth and familiarity.
"Hadrian." he called. "Come on, little one, wake up. Hadrian…"
Teary green eyes opened slowly and Loki swept aside dark strands of sweaty hair with the utmost care.
The child flung himself at him and the god wrapped his arms securely around him, pressing his small head closer to his chest with a gentle hand. The muffled sounds of his crying tore at his cold heart and he leant down to kiss the crown of his little one's head.
"It's alright, little one. It was just a nightmare. Everything is alright now."
Slowly, painstakingly so, the little Prince's crying trailed off until it stopped. Loki's arms around him loosened, but he didn't completely let go.
"Tell me about it." asked Loki gently as he had done every time he had had a nightmare.
The small black-haired child trembled as he sniffed and burrowed more into his arms. Loki petted his head slowly. How he wished he could just erase all his suffering even if it meant taking it into himself.
"I thought… I thought I was… back in Earth," he cried. "that you were angry with me and had left me there. You said you didn't… want me anymore… and you left me… I-I-I'm sorry, daddy, I'm sorry! I'll be good, I promise! I-I'll be good!"
Loki felt his heart clench in his chest and pressed the child tighter to his body. He didn't want his child to see the tears coursing down his own face.
"No, Hadrian, no. There's nothing for you to be sorry about." his breath hitched painfully as he tried to contain his pain. "I would never leave you, my child, my little one. Never. I would suffer a thousand deaths before I allowed anyone to take you from me."
A shiver wracked the small body in his arms and the half Jötun suddenly started to struggle, trying in vain to get free.
"No, daddy! No! I don't want you to get hurt!"
"Calm down, Hadrian." soothed the man. "I would never let anyone get you or hurt you, I would fight them with all my strength, but I promise that I will also do everything in my power to make sure that I never leave you."
"I promise I will be good, daddy."
Loki shook his head sadly and discretely wiped his tears away before leaning back and bringing Hadrian's chin up to look him in the eye.
"You do not understand, do you, my son?" the little Prince looked confused, his eyes red and his face covered in tears. "I do not want you to be good." Hadrian's eyes opened wide, unbelieving of what he had just heard. "I'm your father, Hadrian, and I love you. I want you to have anything you wish for; I want you to be anything you wish. If you wanted to see the world burn or if you wanted the stars themselves to worship you, I would still love you as much as if you wanted to be a warrior or a scholar and I would help you achieve it to the best of my abilities."
"But- but they said… they said bad boys didn't deserve to be loved."
"Didn't we already agree that whatever those animals did or said was wrong?" whispered Loki with a small soft smile he reserved for his son; his hand reached out to clean the fresh tears spilling from the child's eyes. "Besides, you are not bad, far from it. And as I've told you, I would love you no matter what. You could be the worst being in the whole universe and I would still love you more than anything. You are my son, my little Prince, the light of my life, Hadrian, and I will love you till the end of time."
Speechless and exhausted, the child blinked at him once, twice, and thrice, before a timid and tired smile spread across his lips and he leaned forward into his chest.
With a sigh, Loki put a hand on the back of his chest and kissed his head before laying him sown on the soft bed.
"Sleep, Hadrian, and remember they can never hurt you anymore."
"Daddy, can I… can I sleep with you?"
Without more prompting, the man picked his son up and carried him into his own chambers where he opened the bed and settled him carefully. Tucking the child in, as he had been doing every night, he released a low laugh at the sight of him half-buried in blankets with his black hair sticking up in every direction.
"Sleep, Hadrian. No nightmare shall disturb your rest."
The sun seemed to crawl at a snail's pace from behind the mountains for the sleepless God of Magic. He had been restless and spent the night watching over his son, making sure he didn't have anymore nightmares.
Breakfast time rolled around and Hadrian didn't seem about to wake up anytime soon. Although he didn't want to wake him, Loki ended up having to do just that or risk them missing breakfast entirely because of the meeting with the envoys from Jötunheim.
The God had helped him get dressed and picked him up to bring him to the breakfast-hall when he sleepily got too close to walking into the door.
However, all that tiredness disappeared once he saw Thor sitting at the table for breakfast.
A bright grin lit up the blonde's face at his cry and the Asgardian Prince stood to greet them.
"Nephew!" saluted the man taking him from Loki's arms to envelope him in a careful hug, mindful of the child's fragility.
"When did you come back? What did you do on Earth? Did you see Tony? And the others? How are they?"
Thor let out a booming laugh at all his questions and ruffled his hair as his father took him back.
"Slow down, little one." chuckled Loki. "Your uncle already has enough trouble answering one question; let's not make it more difficult on him."
Hadrian blushed slightly whilst Thor huffed at his brother's jab at his intelligence, but the blonde Prince did not retaliate and took it good-naturedly. Their parents did not miss that.
"Come on, you big oaf. You can answer Hadrian as we have breakfast." Said Loki settling the child on a chair and taking a seat next to him. "If, that is, doing both things isn't too much for you."
"Oh, Loki, the Hulk sends greetings. He said he can't wait to smash things around with you."
Loki hid a shiver and looked at his smugly grinning brother with distaste.
"Always so violent, brother. Anyone would believe you grew up in the wilderness."
Hadrian looked between both adults with confusion, but he was relieved to notice he wasn't the only one. Of all the people in the room, only the brothers seemed to understand what they were talking about.
"Boys, let's have at least breakfast in peace." scolded Frigga.
Loki simply rolled his eyes and piled some food on their plates, but his son's attention was still on his brother.
"Uncle Thor? Did you see Tony and the other Avengers?"
"Oh, indeed I did! My comrades send their regards and miss your presence in the tower." that brought a small smile to the child's lips. "They are all in good health, although the Man of Iron complains about being bored lately."
"I miss them too." muttered Hadrian. "Will we visit them soon, daddy?"
"It's been less than a week to us since we left." replied Loki with amusement.
"To us?" picked up the perceptive child.
"Time passes differently in Asgard. Magic allows Asgard's King to control how much time passes in comparison with the other Realms. In the case of Midgard, time goes slower in Asgard." explained Loki patiently.
"Yes, I believe it has been a couple months in Midgard since you left." confirmed Thor.
"Oh… but we will still visit them, won't we, daddy?" pleaded Hadrian with wide eyes.
"If that is your wish." sighed the God, always ready to provide anything his son wanted.
"I almost forgot. The Man of Iron gave me these for you." said Thor pushing a stack of books that had been resting next to him on the table towards his nephew.
"Tony sent them?" Hadrian leaned over them and moved them to read the titles. "They're books on mechanics!" exclaimed excitedly when he saw them. "Look, daddy, this way I can keep learning what Tony was teaching me!"
"I see." nodded Loki feeling grudgingly grateful for the millionaire's thoughtfulness. "It was kind of him."
Hadrian beamed at him before looking longingly at the books.
"You can read them later, alright?"
The child nodded and finally tuck into his breakfast under his father's watchful gaze.
"That reminds me… did you go over everything you needed to yesterday, mother?" asked Loki.
"Yes, dear; I have the perfect tutors in mind, it is just a matter of contacting them now." answered Frigga. "I must admit I found myself surprised at how advanced Hadrian is, although now that I think back on it maybe I shouldn't have. You were always a bright child and your son always took after you."
As Hadrian blushed at the praise, Loki grinned proudly and thought back on Stark's ―a veritable genius― surprise at his son's intelligence. Yes, his son was smart, probably more than anyone realised.
As the King of Asgard greeted and exchanged pleasantries with the recently arrived King of Jötunheim, Loki ignored the glares sent his way by some of the other Jötuns and squeezed comfortingly his son's shoulder.
"Is this him?" asked King Helblindi finally looking at Hadrian and totally ignoring Loki's very existence.
It was no wonder, though, since Loki had been the one that had killed his father Laufey, almost destroyed their planet and killed a great many Jötuns in the process, including apparently his older brother and said brother's son and heir. Not that he thought the Jötun was all that angry about the last as he had been fast to seize the crown for himself.
"This is young Hadrian Lokison, Prince of Asgard and Jötunheim." smoothly presented the All-Father.
The child looked back at him, curiosity prominent between the many emotions warring to prevail in his face. Unexpectedly, the instinctive fear of Asgardian children towards Jötuns was absent, even if nobody could tell whether it was because of his father's presence and protection or the knowledge of his own heritage.
Helblindi inspected him from head to feet with a keen gaze and Loki tightened his grip on his shoulder, a gesture that did not go unnoticed by the Frost Giants.
"He doesn't look like much." grunted one of them.
"Must take after his runt of a father." mocked another.
"A father that managed to almost wipe your race out of existence." silkily countered the God of Magic.
As the Ice Giants tensed and the two who had mocked them bared their teeth in a silent snarl, the Jötun King signalled for silence, his eyes not having moved from the child.
"Jötunheim will back Asgard in the protection of the young Prince. However, as it is given under his status as a Prince to my kingdom, there are certain conditions." his gaze was hard and unforgiven as his voice. "Conditions that are not negotiable."
Odin narrowed his eyes at him, a gesture that Loki unknowingly mirrored.
"What would those conditions be?"
"The child will be fostered in Jötunheim periodically, allowing him to learn our ways and traditions and fulfilling his duty as a Prince."
"Over my dead body." snarled Loki placing himself between Hadrian and the rest of the room.
"It will be a pleasure." threw back one of the Ice Giants jumping forward.
A command from both Kings halted the fight before it even begun.
"You cannot be even contemplating such a thing!" protested Loki glaring at the All-Father. "I will not allow my son to be placed in their grasp and get hurt for my own cri-"
"Silence, Loki." ordered Odin.
The God opened his mouth to protest further, but a small hand tug on his sleeve and, when he looked down, it was to find his son looking at him in worry. The man bent down and picked the child up before straightening and glaring out at the Jötuns.
"Father, my brother is right. The Jötuns-"
"I said silence, Thor!"
The blond gritted his teeth, but stood down and allowed his mother to place a hand on his arm. She tried to look cold and unaffected, but her eyes betrayed her worry to those that really knew her.
"My sons, however hot-headed, do pose a good point." continued Odin. "How can we be sure of my grandson's safety, Helblindi? Our past interactions have led to less than desirable outcomes."
Helblindi nodded, already aware of it. He turned his gaze from Hadrian and onto the All-Father.
"I do not wish for war; it would bring nothing but death and I have had enough of that. Jötunheim is not ready to face a new war against Asgard." some Jötuns hissed at what was basically an admission of their current weakness. "He is also a Prince of Jötunheim, my only Heir currently and a member of my household. He shall not be harmed under my protection. However," he continued before anyone could protest. "I would allow two Asgardian guards to come with him if necessary and I'm sure your watchdog could bring him back in the blink of an eye if he thought there was danger to him."
The comment about being Heir to the throne of Jötunheim made Loki frown. Maybe there was more to those whispers of the now King Helblindi being unable to have children than mere rumours.
"How long would he be fostered?" asked Odin.
Loki hissed and tightened his arms around his son. He couldn't believe the old man was really considering this! If he had known the price of Jötunheim's protection… no, he would have done it all over again to make sure Hadrian stayed safe. Maybe he would have looked for some leverage, though.
"Daddy? I don't want to leave you." whispered Hadrian scared of being separated from his father.
"A few weeks every few months, perhaps. We will see after his first visit and the rate at which he learns."
Odin hummed thoughtfully. It was a good opportunity. It would bring both Realms that much closer and give added protection to his grandson. And if Helblindi never had children, Hadrian would be the one to inherit the throne… It would bring them one step closer to unifying both Realms.
"Another meeting will be arranged to discuss the details." finally agreed Odin. "Hadrian is seven; he still has a whole year before he is of an age to be fostered."
"Then, when the time comes, I will be going as Hadrian's protection." firmly demanded Loki.
"You" spat Helblindi finally acknowledging Loki for the first time since his arrival. "will not be allowed to accompany him. After your crimes against Jötunheim, you are not welcome between my people. Any other may be chosen as the young Prince's guard."
Loki growled and stormed from the room, knowing he had no chance of winning this time. It was a good chance, he hated to admit, for his son to receive the whole protection of a Prince of Jötunheim. It did not mean he had to like it in the least.
"There is another matter left." said King Helblindi after his blood-brother exited the room taking the child that had caused such a ruckus with him. "I was told by your warriors that the young Prince was hurt whilst in his… absence. What will be done to punish the offenders?"
Odin fixed his eye on his fellow King and prepared to explain the punishment Loki had chosen on for the Dursleys.
"They are currently being held in the lower dungeons. I will give them over to your custody to do with them as you please, so they may suffer and hunger as they did my grandson, provided that in twenty years they be returned still alive to be executed under Asgardian justice."
The Jötun mulled over the offer for a minute before nodding slowly.
"Agreed. Two Jötuns will come for them in three days' time and bring them to Jötunheim, where they will serve as slaves in the Ice Moors."
Odin nodded once to show his agreement to the terms. It was a good deal. Provided the Jötuns did not go back on their word. But, he supposed, that was what Heimdall was for.
"Yes, little one?" asked Loki, his scowl disappearing and his lips turning up into what was almost but not quite a smile at the sight of the fidgeting child sitting with one of Stark's books in his lap.
They were in his chambers after he had spent a good half-an-hour comforting his son with the knowledge that, even though he would eventually have to go to Jötunheim, it wouldn't happen anytime soon and it would only be for a really short time.
Once he had calmed down, the child had been even a little bit excited at the idea of seeing all the wonders Frigga had described for him from Jötunheim.
"Will I be able to bring Alana with me?"
Loki thought of the snake that was surely wrapped in front of his son's room's fireplace and shook his head sadly.
"I do not think so, little Prince. Snakes are cold-blooded creatures and Jötunheim is a cold Realm. She would get sick and she could even die."
"Oh." muttered Hadrian disappointed.
He hated seeing his child look like that so he blamed those feelings for the next words that fell out of his mouth.
"I was thinking perhaps we could go to Midgard for a visit sometime soon." drawled out the God of Magic. "What say you, Hadrian? Would you like that?"
The child's face lit up at the thought and he looked at him with wide eager eyes.
"Could we really? Could we visit Tony and Bruce and Steve, Natasha, Clint and the others?"
Loki laughed at his enthusiasm. The idea, it seemed, was more than welcome.
"Well, I said at breakfast that we would, didn't I? We'll arrange something with your uncle and go for a short visit. We could get you some more clothes and books, if you want."
Hadrian's smile was more than worth putting up with the Avengers for two or three days. And if it also took their minds from the matter of Jötunheim and his blood-brother, well, who was he to complain?