Here we are again. I know I should be working on other things (which I should just stop saying. I KNOW I have duties. Matt Damon, grapes and bathrobes are more fun), and I promise they're on their way.

Until then, this is my - more than probably misguided - attempt at humor.

Double bubble disco queen headed to the guillotine
Skin as cool as Steve McQueen, let me be your killer king
It hurts until it stops, we will love until it's not
I'm a killing spree in white, eyes like broken Christmas lights

"Well," Hoder drove the rack home with a clangorous thud. "The way I see it, no Einheriar either of us know is stupid enough to bypass the proper chain of command like that and go directly to the AllFather."

"True as that might be," Vidar allowed, "it proves nothing."


"Hoder!" Vidar exclaimed, following his companion from the storage halls to the bath houses, "What you suggest is madness!"

"Is it unheard of?" Hoder asked. His blue eyes flashed.

"Well…no, but…twice?"

"I'd say it's more likely to happen again if it happened once."

"But Hoder, if word gets out – whether you're right or not – it's treason."

Hoder nodded his head unconcernedly as he walked. "But mark my words," he said, glancing back, "The prisoner isn't dead."

My touch is black and poisonous.

And nothing like my punch-drunk kiss
I know you need it, do you feel it?

Drink the water, drink the wine

"But did you hear what the AllFather said?" Hanna stretched the sheet between her hands and folded it with a snap. Her eyes sparkled.

"I know! He's hardly been himself lately," Gefyon agreed. The light breeze that played about the wash-pool behind the palace flicked through her hair. "The peace must rest very lightly on him."

Hanna did not answer for one moment, and when Gefyon did not pay her hesitance any mind, she put out her hand to hold the sheet Gefyon meant to take from the line. "There is another explanation," she said ominously, "for a man not acting like himself."

Gefyon cocked her head a little to one side, then took the sheet from her, folding it briskly.

Hanna let her have it and went back to her own duties.

"Is there humor that I do not understand behind your words?"

Hanna gave a light laugh, "Not in the way you think."

"Witchcraft, then?"

"Of a sort."

Sighing, Gefyon let her hands fall momentarily still on her lap. "What is it you are suggesting, Hanna?"

"Don't look at me like that."

"Then don't be a fool."

"I'm only saying that a possible explanation for a man's not acting like himself might be that he is not himself."

Gefyon looked at her. Then she shook her head. "It is not possible."

"Not for many," Hanna gave a little smile. "But there have always been people who had…shall we say, singular gifts."

"Are you suggesting the lost prince?"

"He's come back from the dead once before, Gefyon."

"Don't be a fool. Treason is treason and all makes its way to the throne in time."

"Not since Heimdall's replacement," Hanna said cheerfully. "Heimdall and the prince were never friends."

"True," Gefyon allowed. "And I'm not saying that I agree with you – merely for the sake of conversation – what then became of the AllFather, if this is not he? Is it not simpler to assume that the man Prince Thor pronounced dead is dead, and that the man whose form we recognize is the man he claims to be?"

"I don't know. Maybe he's in the dungeons."

Gefyon gave a soft snort. "You seem remarkably callous about it."

Hanna tossed her head, "Why shouldn't I be?"

Gefyon only looked at her.

"What good befell me that I haven't already experienced twice over in these past months? What good were the AllFather's wars to me?" Hanna dimpled. "And there have been ever so many more festivals."

"Hush, Hanna!"

"What, treason, again? Do you think he cares, Gefyon? Whoever he is, I'm praising his rule. I would think he'd be flattered."

"To receive the praises of a wash-maid?" one slim brow quirked on Gefyon's forehead.

"I don't see what's less valid about my praises than those of some foreign dignitary. In fact, I think they should count for more. It's I who keep the crown's linens in order."

Which response was so brazen and unexpected that both girls started to laugh. And their laughter flitted about the courtyard pools and was swept on by the wind.

I'm like a scarf trick, it's all up the sleeve
I taste like magic, waves that swallow quick and deep
Throw the bait, catch the shark, bleed the water red
Fifty words for murder and I'm every one of them

My touch is black and poisonous
And nothing like my punch-drunk kiss
I know you need it, do you feel it?
Drink the water, drink the wine

"Who goes there?"

Sif dismounted from her horse in the doorway of the Observatory.

Distaste puckered her lips. The man who had been placed in Heimdall's old role was an incompetent and insufferable fool. Taking what she needed from the horse's back, Sif bade it return to its stables. The AllFather was not himself, these past months. Something was wrong, and Sif could no longer bear to sit and do nothing.

"Oh," Scourge said, coming down the low steps. "It's you. What can I do to pleasure you today, my Lady Sif?"

The Queen's death had taken a toll on all of them, but the AllFather most especially. He was old. The War with the Dark Elves and the resulting renovations had proven too much for his mind. Something was drastically wrong, and the feeling had been growing stronger and stronger within her that it was only a matter of time.

Sif's jaw tightened. "I need to leave this realm," she said.

Should Heimdall have held his old post she would only have needed to ask him where Thor was. She could have asked that she be placed there, or that some other messenger be sent. Heimdall had always been both competent, and kind. She missed him greatly.

"Have you an order from the AllFather?" Scourge asked.

She hadn't dared to share her suspicions with any, not even her closest companions.

Her chin jerked up, "I leave on a personal errand." She told him.

Hogan knew. He'd seen her as she left and, across the courtyard, their eyes had met. He'd given a deep nod that was like a farewell and Sif had lengthened her stride, the knowledge secure inside her like a little flame that she bore with her the good wishes of her friends.

"All right," Scourge shrugged, "Sounds reasonable enough. Where would you like to go?"

"Vanaheim," she said.

There were people she could go to there. Old friends. They could get her the means she needed to travel where she would amongst the starts without Scourge's help. She could find them. They would help her.

As she took her place, something stopped her and she glanced back the way she had come. At the Citadel where it stood gleaming in the sun.

Squaring her shoulders, she turned back to the stars and let the pull of the Bifrost take her. Asgard would always be there for her to come back to.

They needed Thor.

Oh we gotta turn up the crazy
Livin' like a washed up celebrity
Shooting fireworks like it's the fourth of July

"You've been away from home a long time, then?" the woman asked him as she rolled loose bandage about her hand.

Thor's fingers stopped on the rough fabric she'd tied around his upper arm. Looking at her, he gave a slight frown. "How did you know that?"

"You're travel-worn," putting her long, heavy hair over one shoulder she glanced at him and gave a slight smile. "And I also can sense certain…things, through physical contact. I'm sorry. I should have told you."

"It's not a…problem." Thor said. He shook his head, trying to focus on what she said instead of her smile. "You read my mind?"

"No. Only certain emotions. They beat," she said. She laid aside the bandage she'd rolled in a cupboard that stood just above her head, "just under the skin." She glanced at him, "like a pulse, for those with the skill to feel it."

"What did you learn from me?" Thor asked. He tried to smile confidently, but any number of things that made him nervous slid incriminatingly through his mind again.

She smiled. "Little of importance, I think," she said. "You seek items of power, you miss your home…you think I'm pretty."

"You are quite beautiful," Thor grinned.

She flushed gracefully. "You're father," she said. "He is quite old? You thought of him, I think. You worry after him?"

"No," Thor said certainly. "My father holds the throne as he always has."

"Trust," she said at length, "the thoughts of your heart. I can give you no better guidance than that. It speaks true for those who can listen."

"Can you see the future?"
She gave a slight laugh. "No," she said. "It is only that I know that the old do not live forever. Even the very wise."

Thor thought of that. He looked at the worn carpet on the floor. He did not know what to say.

"Duly noted." Thor decided. Girls always giggled when Stark answered in that way.

She gave him a soft smile.

"I thank you for your healing," he told her, "and your wisdom."

"Travel safely," she said. Then, softer, smiling shyly, "I would not be adverse to meeting you again, Odinson."

Tonight we are victorious

Champagne pouring over us
All my friends were glorious
Tonight we are victorious

"Haakon my good man," Dain threw down a handful of coins on the bar as he drew up beside his companions. "I think you may be right."

"Was is the statue that gave it away?" Haakon's eyes laughed.

He was sitting with several of the Einheriar, gathered about a low table in the pub nearest the palace. It was their favorite haunt after they came off hours.

"Amongst other things," Dain said, languidly dragging up a chair and seating himself within their circle.

Berring and his dark eyebrows, who sat directly opposite Dain's chosen place, glanced up from the cards in his hands. "Shall we deal you in?"
Dain stowed his helmet carelessly beneath his seat. "Why not? The summer is warm and – thus far – my luck's been good."

"Speaking of luck," Haakon said, setting aside an apple to get a look at his cards. "We've started a pool."

"A pool?"

"Yes. We each choose a day and the nearest to it when he comes clean or is found out gets the pool."

"Are you in?" Berring asked, lowly.

"Count me in Lads!" Haakon said. He stretched his arms and folded them behind his head. "Like I said. My luck's been good. What's the nearest date you've had set so far, I'll take a month nearer."

Which bold boast was met with laughter.

"So little faith you have in our sovereign," Lucca commented.

"So little faith have I?" Dain sat straighter, putting a hand to his breast and meeting the eyes of his detractor on the right. "You wound me. So little faith has he of our basic intelligence. I give him a two-month. At most. Because none of the rest of you have the common sense to guess at anything nearer than that. For myself I'll be impressed if he makes it a fortnight."

"And I thought I'd done the impossible when I won old Berk over!" Haakon jostled the older warrior.

Berk was older than these others he chose to associate with. Grim and battle scarred, he took a mighty swig from his tankard. "The way a man moves is native to who he is," Berk said. "And this is not Odin. His fosterling – on the other hand – that I believe."

"Fosterling?" Dain asked.

"Were you gone so long that you missed it?" Haakon asked incredulously.

"Not to worry," Lucca said. "It's performed every few days for the good-will of the people."

"A play," Berring explained in his dark way to the bemused Dain. "The Tragedy of Loki of Asgard."

"Turns out the prince," Lucca cut in, eagerly, "was a runt of Laufey's siring, taken in out of pity by Odin AllFather during the wars."

"That's…" Dain looked at him suspiciously, "a bit much."

"Why would he lie?" Lucca shrugged. He lifted his tankard. "I'll take you to see it tomorrow. He shows it – amongst others, though this is clearly his favorite – at his own expense."

"Everyone knows, then?" Dain said.

Setting his tankard on the table Haakon nodded his head. "I suppose so."

Lucca laughed. "If they have an ounce of sense to them."

"Which," Haakon said. "Let us not forget, does exclude our dear Scourge."

"He's won over by it?" Dain asked in what he knew to be foolish amazement.

"Of course he is!" Haakon laughed.

"We went up to visit him," Lucca leaned forward, "last week, and – just to see where he'd go with it – I asked him. 'So Scourge,' I said. 'The AllFather's been acting rather odd lately, wouldn't you say?' And he's all, 'Oh me and the AllFather go way back,'"

Holding his arms at an odd angle, Lucca did a convincing caricature of Scourge's manner that made the rest of them – even Berring – laugh.

"'You know,'" Lucca kept it up, "'he spoke directly to me, once, even before I was elevated to this illustrious post. It was after the Battle of Hyrrokin–'"

This met with groans. "Not that one," Old Berk said, laying a hand on Lucca's arm. "Not again."

Out of the rippling laughter, Dain raised his head. "Should we…" he asked, slowly, like he was still trying to feel out what he was saying. "…do something, about it?"

No one said anything. The younger Einheriar looked from one to another.

Berk took a long pull at his tankard and set it down noisily. He rubbed at an aged scar that stood out on his chin. "Best not to," he said.

Dain looked at the weathered soldier. "Why?" he asked.

"He's not hurting anyone," Berk shrugged. "What good would it do?"

"I'll drink to that." Lucca said, abruptly.

And they all laughed.

Tonight we are victorious
Champagne pouring over us
All my friends were glorious
Tonight we are victorious

"No. Thank you. You've done very well. Good night."

Loki shut the door. Firmly. Some of his Councilors did not take kindly to refusal. Their persistence could be staggering.

The silence of his private chambers after his unwelcome companion had been driven out was welcome.

Checking his wards, Loki found them secure.

Giving a long breath, Loki let his guise down and he stood in Odin's rooms in his own shape again. It was a great relief to be rid of the blasted guise. He hated always seeing the world through Odin's eye. He hated moving and speaking only through Odin's body.

But his deceptions rested on his maintaining Odin's shape a while longer.

The Councilors were fooled by him, as were the soldiers and all the people. He had rather expected it to be more difficult.

He poured himself a drink from the decanter he kept at Odin's private desk and he went with it to the window.

Looking out on the city below, Loki smiled.

It was all too easy.

Oh we gotta turn up the crazy
Livin' like a washed up celebrity
Shooting fireworks like it's the fourth of July
Until we feel alright
Until we feel alright

Tonight we are victorious
Champagne pouring over us
All my friends were glorious
Tonight we are victorious

A friend of mine pointed out to me after seeing Ragnarok that the surprise after Loki's 'big reveal' seemed more polite than panicked. This was my attempt at writing that.

Also, I had to hypothesize about what happened to Sif, who was conspicuously absent from the film.

The title and lyrics throughout are from a song by Panic! At the Disco. Their insertion into the script of the story was a late addition, because I thought it made the whole thing more entertaining. I'm still not sure if it worked, but I didn't like it knocking around on my desktop.

Let me know if it worked for you, and thanks for reading ;)