This story is what I've taken to calling an "interactive" fic. I'm interested in exploring certain fan-theories, and I'm curious if they seem plausible to anybody else or if there are major things I've missed. Very open to discussion.

This story is not a cohesive one with a beginning and an end. If you are looking for that, look elsewhere.

When I conceived the idea for this story, I envisioned something near the 15000 (roughly 30 pages in the font/size I prefer) mark, following a very specific psychological spiral of two of my favorite characters across any genre, sparked by the years I've spent thinking about it (unhealthy, but – I comfort myself – not uncommon) and a couple fan-theories I came across that mirrored my thoughts exactly.

Then a couple other head-cannons of mine protested that I was never actually going to pen them stories in their own right. Thus this 30000+ word monster.

It's currently both completed and edited, with 36 chapters of varying lengths (none particularly long) that I plan to publish every day or two. Consistency isn't my greatest strength, but we'll see what I can manage ;)

Like I said, it's completed and edited, but I'm open to suggestions of other fan theories that I ignored, or other head-cannons, possibly to be included in some second-volume. Feel free to leave any thoughts/arguments (positive or negative) in the reviews.

All of it takes place pre-Thor.

Oh, last thing. The title is from a song by Linkin Park. It's one of my favorites by them. I'm not good at titles, and the lyrics are…well, a little close. And I don't know who did the picture I chose as the cover. I found it on Pintrest and I fell in love with it. If by some miracle they discover this mess, I hope they are not upset.

"Once," the king's voice was low, pitched only for the two boys to hear, their small hands tight in his own, "mankind accepted a simple truth, that they were not alone in the universe."

He would teach them to love the lesser world of man as he had grown in his youth to love it, would quash in them any attempt to crush it.

"Some worlds man believed to be home to their gods. Others," he kept on, "they knew to fear."

The boys, young and exuberant as they were, knew enough not to interrupt. And this tale was a new one. They listened eagerly as they followed their father through the darkened hall of the Weapon's Vault. Mother never let them down here.

"From a realm of cold and darkness came the Frost Giants," he tightened his hold on the hands of both boys, "threatening to plunge the mortal world into a new ice age. But humanity would not face this threat alone."

Behind his one remaining eye he saw the flash and gleam of Asgard's golden forces as they had been, "Our armies drove the Frost Giants back into the heart of their own world. The cost was great."

They needn't yet know how great. They would learn enough when they were older. They need not yet know the truth of war and conquest. They were yet boys.

"In the end, their king fell. And the source of their power was taken from them. With the last great war ended, we withdrew from the other worlds and returned home to the Realm Eternal," the Golden Realm, their home, "Asgard. Here we remain as a beacon of hope, shining out across the stars. And though we have fallen into man's myths and legends, it was Asgard and its warriors that brought peace to the universe. But the day will come when one of you will have to defend that peace."

He looked at the darker boy as he said this. Being the elder, the throne would go to his brother, but, young as they both were, Loki was the more steady. Thor had ever been given to violent fits of temper. And though an uncertain child, and equal to his brother in rashness, Odin had seen Loki many times talk his brother out of some fit or sulk where all others had failed.

Such skill was bound to prove unendingly necessary as the years wore on.

Ever hungry after new knowledge, Loki pressed forward, "Do the Frost Giants still live?"

Thor interrupted him, "When I'm king, I'll hunt the monsters down and slay them all!" He turned, beaming and proud of what he felt certain to be the proper answer, "Just as you did, Father."

"A wise king," Odin looked at both his sons. The darker, then the fairer, "never seeks out war," a lesson he had been taught well from his own father, "But, he must always be ready for it."

There was a pause as he walked between the two boys, leaving the relic he had chosen to illustrate his history behind them. There was the patter of feet as Thor came up and snatched back the hand he'd let fall to his side.

"I'm ready, Father!"

Loki was bare moments behind, taking his other, "So am I!"

They were dear boys both, "Only one of you can ascend to the throne." He was fiercely proud of them. Both of them. "But both of you were born to be kings."

"Begin at the beginning." It's the beginning of the movie, and I thought it was a nice one.

I promise I don't quote the movie throughout. This should be pretty much it until the last couple chapters. Stage-setting. Little else.

Okay, far as points on the text go, I read up on Odin's backstory in the Marvel site. To save breath, space, and time, I'll quote it here.

"Bor taught his son to fight, think, rule and serve, but most importantly, Bor taught Odin how to defend the dreams of his father. What Bor should have educated Odin in is what it meant to have dreams of his own, for when Odin did dream, he dreamt about Earth. He wanted to make a legacy for himself there, so Odin created man. Bor was not pleased with his son's decision, and he unleashed every punishment upon the mortal plane within his power to bring.

"One fateful day, during a great war between the Asgardians and the Frost Giants, Odin would have his chance to continue his plans for mankind. Bor was among those fighting but left the main battle to pursue a fleeing giant. Bor stumbled into a trap set for him by a powerful sorcerer who turned Bor into snow. Odin came upon his father as the wind was pulling Bor's form apart, but before he was completely gone, Bor asked his son to find a sorcerer strong enough to restore him. He told Odin his spirit would rest in the snow until he was recalled. Odin told the other Asgardians his father had perished and was proclaimed king the same day. Each winter, Odin could swear he would hear the voice of his father calling to him, but more and more Odin would ignore the voice until he could no longer hear it."

Also. After reading that, I watched the scene, isolated from the rest of the movie, just Odin telling his two little boys a story. The 'both of you were born to be kings' line hit me so differently, for whatever reason. The tone made me think 'God I love the two of you and you make me so proud' rather than, 'now I will insidiously set up your life-long rivalry'. Which is weird, 'cause I've pretty-much always been an on-and-off Odin-hater.

Thoughts? Arguments? Counter-arguments? Remember, the entire point of this fic is to argue a point and I can't do that alone ;)