A/N: Hey, everyone, I'm back! Dang, it's been awhile, but my mental health has been slipping a little. It's been really hard to make myself do things like homework, sleeping, and writing. I've decided though to start by sleeping more, then working on homework, then working on writing, so for those of you who are waiting for me to finish The Fantastic Adventures of Loki and Thor, it'll be a little while still. I already had this one written up, though, so here you go! Enjoy!

I own nothing from Marvel.

As soon as the spear entered his chest the plan began to form in his mind.

The Kursed meant to kill him, but Loki had enough magic left to heal the wound. It was painful, yes, but the fallen prince was no stranger to agony. He quickly activated the beast's implosion device before the monster pushed him away. There. Now Thor could follow the elves to Midgard and stop them. Loki had held up his end of the bargain, and the universe would be saved. He had no doubt that his brother would be able to stop the elves, and seeing as he didn't need Loki anymore, Loki had to act quickly if he wanted to avoid being thrown back into a cell.

He lay where he'd fallen and looked on impassively as the Kursed walked closer.

"See you in Hel, monster," he spat before the device detonated, ripping the creature apart. Then Loki let the pain show on his face as Thor rushed to his side.

"No, no, no, no, no," Thor murmured as he took Loki into his arms. "Ah, you fool, you didn't listen."

"I know," Loki gasped. "I am a fool." He grimaced as the blade's poison reached his heart, but he couldn't heal himself yet. If he was forced back into captivity, he'd truly go mad. "I'm a fool!" he hissed again in pain.

"Stay with me, okay?" Thor said gruffly, cradling Loki's cheek as he used to before everything had changed. Before he'd know what Loki was. But Loki couldn't stay with him, for to stay would be to submit to the cage, and that was the path to despair.

"I'm sorry," he whispered as he felt his skin harden and crack. The pain and denial in his brother's eyes almost made him give up the plan right then and there, but he couldn't do it. He needed to do this. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry," he repeated. He was starting to lose himself to the pain.

"Shhh," Thor breathed. He tried to smile, but the hurt on his features stole its warmth. "It's okay. It's alright."

Loki's breathing slowed and he locked eyes with his older brother. Why did he have to be dying for Thor to finally care about him?

"I'll tell Father what you did here today," Thor said firmly, but Loki shook his head softly.

"I didn't do it for him," he replied truthfully. Frigga's death had been his fault. He wasn't going to let Thor perish because of him as well. Then he went limp, letting the pain take him.

"NOOOO!" Thor wailed, and Loki wanted nothing more than to open his eyes again, tell him the truth, and plead for his forgiveness. But he did not. It was better this way. He wouldn't have to fight Thor again. He could stop running.

Tears dripped onto his face as Thor wept, but Loki could barely feel them. If his brother didn't leave soon and let him heal, he really would die. Wouldn't that be ironic? To be literally killed by kindness. The trickster would have laughed if he wasn't playing dead.

Eventually, Loki heard the mortal woman approach and murmur something to Thor. Loki couldn't hear her words over the rush of blood in his ears, but she was surely reminding his brother of the universe's impending doom. However, Thor only gripped him tighter.

Loki suddenly wondered if he'd made a grave error. What if Thor insisted on taking his body with him? What if he intended to burn his corpse in a proper funeral? The thought should have bothered him more, but an ominous lethargy had overtaken him, and he was finding it difficult to care at the moment. Would it be so bad to slip away forever? He could finally stop fighting. Be at rest. It sounded so peaceful.

Then he felt Thor lay him gently back down on the ground and there was a tug at his hair briefly. Oh. Thor had taken a lock of his hair to remember him by. That was… oddly sweet. If he'd still been physically capable of it, he would have opened his eyes then and admitted the deception, but the weight that had settled in his bones prevented him from carrying out the foolish urge. It was probably for the best though. This way he could be free.

Thor left then. Loki waited for another long moment to ensure he was out of sight, then, with the last of his strength, he freed the power within him. And as the wind carried sand across his fallen form in the beginnings of a storm, Loki slipped into a healing sleep and knew no more.

When he awoke, he was alone. The storm, as well as Thor and the mortal were gone. All was silent and still.

Loki propped himself up on an elbow and inspected his chest. The wound was fully closed, though he had a rather nasty scar. Ah, well. That's what illusions were for. It was hardly his first.

Relief flooded him and he lay back with a sigh. It had gotten far too close there at the end. He was lucky to have survived at all, in truth.

He only rested for a moment before anxious thoughts began to crowd his mind. What now? Would Thor return for his body? How long should he wait? Where would he even go after this? He really should have thought things through a little better before enacting this plan. It wasn't as if he'd had the time, though.

Before he could come up with an answer to any of the questions, he heard a ship approaching. Leaving an illusion of his dead body behind, Loki got up to see who was coming. An Asgardian ship carrying a guard approached, and Loki's teeth clenched as he recognized the man on board as one who had enjoyed withholding food from the imprisoned prince.

Loki watched through narrow eyes as the guard disembarked and began to look around the area, checking all of the bodies. When the soldier saw Loki's body he paused, before slowly walking over and kneeling down to inspect the illusion. Then he stood.

"Good riddance," he sneered and spat on 'Loki's' face.

It went through, disrupting the magic and leaving only rocks behind. His eyes went wide, but before he could do anything, Loki drove a dagger into his back as he dropped the charm concealing him.

"The feeling is mutual," he hissed as the man gasped and struggled. Loki held him still until he was certain of his death then let the corpse fall to the ground. With a wave of his hand, he switched their appearances before strolling to the man's ship. Looks like he was going back to Asgard.

When he found Odin, the king was solemnly regarding his shattered throne as if it could tell him the secrets of the universe. Loki smothered a snort at the thought. If the seat held more than the terrible burden of ruling, it did an excellent job of hiding it.

"Forgive me, my liege," Loki spoke up smoothly. "I've returned from the dark world with news."

Odin turned slightly, but didn't quite look at him.

"Thor?" Odin asked hesitantly, obviously afraid of the answer.

Loki's stomach tightened in anger, but he forced himself to remain outwardly unphased. Instead, he shook his head lightly, acting as if he regretted this answer (though he most certainly did not). "There was no sign of Thor," he continued evenly. "Or the weapon, but…" He let his voice trail off as he slowly began to move closer to the man he'd once thought his father.

Odin looked at him fully then. "What?" he asked.

Loki stopped his forward motion and settled, looking Odin full in the face as he spoke. "We found a body."

If he mourns, I'll spare him, he thought, surprising himself. Not once had he considered letting Odin live in the feverish daydreams that had sustained him during his imprisonment, but reality had a different song to it, and Loki found himself hoping that Odin would mourn. Perhaps for once...

He let the thought trail off as Odin's eyes flickered away, processing.

Loki looked down, false regret coloring his stolen features.

"Loki," Odin stated, his voice hard.

And in that moment, Loki knew he would kill him. He'd never been loved. Never respected. The All-father's coldness was like a spear through his heart, and Loki couldn't stop a cruel smirk from gracing his lips as he glanced up with fire in his eyes.

"Yes," he hissed.

In a smooth move, he attacked.

Loki brought a hand up and grasped Odin with his magic, throwing him against the wall. The elderly king crumpled to the ground, but the trickster didn't give him a chance to recover. He leapt across the distance and was on him in an instant. Tendrils of emerald power surrounded the old man, and Loki pushed him into the ground with a thought.

But it seemed he'd been worried for nothing. Odin was unconscious, and while Loki knew not if it was the odinsleep or something altogether more serious, he found himself not caring either way.

He snarled, pulling a knife out of his pocket-dimension and holding it to the other man's throat.

"Is this all the great king of Asgard can do?" Loki scoffed. "Shall you truly be taken down so easily by a mere Jotunn?!"

But the slumbering man gave no answer. In truth, Loki was surprised. Never in his wildest dreams had he imagined he'd defeat Odin so easily. It shocked him to see the man he'd once looked up to so weak. So old.

He pressed his lips together and shook his head lightly. No matter. He'd known Odin was not the man he'd thought he was. This was simply further proof.

He pushed the sharp blade to Odin's throat until a thin line of red appeared.

Do it now, a voice in his head whispered. Before he can awaken or anyone comes across you like this.

He gritted his teeth and pressed harder until a drop of blood oozed down the elder's skin.

"I hate you," he growled, before he clenched the knife tighter and pulled back to slash the man's throat open.

But still he hesitated.

Loki looked down at the face of the man who'd raised him. The man that Loki had been so desperate to please that he had killed his own birth father. The man who'd looked down at Loki when he hung over the abyss and rebuked him. The man who'd been willing to throw Loki in a dungeon for the rest of his long life and never let him see the light of day or another person ever again.

And for some reason, Loki couldn't kill him.

He held the knife above his head for one last moment, before he admitted it to himself. He couldn't kill him. As much as he hated Odin, he still yearned for the man's love and acceptance, though he knew he would never get it. Perhaps he was simply still grieving Frigga and did not want to harm the man that she loved. Or possibly he was thinking of Thor and the fact that if he went through with this, his brother would be an orphan. Maybe he was just tired of being responsible for the deaths of his various parents. He did not know, in truth.

Loki sighed and lowered the blade. With a wave of his hand, he cleaned it and vanished it back into his hold. Then he turned and regarded Odin. What to do now? He couldn't just leave. The trickster still firmly believed that Odin was no longer worthy of his throne, and besides, if it was discovered that he'd faked his death, he'd be hunted throughout the realms.

He sighed again and hid his face in his hands, allowing himself to be weak for a moment, before he turned back to the king.

Loki let a ribbon of magic flow over the man's skin, healing the blade's mark. Then the trickster bit his lip. He really needed to make up his mind soon. Loki had confidence that Thor would soon vanquish the dark elf before returning here immediately after. He needed Odin firmly out of the way by that point.

Loki paused then, his quick mind spinning. Thor… That was it. A devious grin split his face and he peered at the downed Asgardian with unabashed glee. Oh, what sweet irony would it be to banish the Allfather to the same planet where he'd abandoned his golden son?

"Perhaps it's time for a taste of your own medicine, old man," he remarked, grabbing Odin by the head.

In a moment, he'd woven an intricate spell over the monarch. It was simple in theory, though difficult to keep in place. Loki used his magic to fog his father's brain so that he would be unable to remember who he really was or the truth of his origins. Hopefully, it would also work to block Odin from his magic, but Loki wasn't certain he was capable of that. Then he picked up the man and used his abilities to enter the shadow paths known only to him.

Loki strode quickly through the ever changing landscape of the between-worlds and made his way to Midgard. They ended up in New York. He hadn't really had a set destination on the planet in mind, though of course he had most likely been subconsciously considering the last time he was in the realm. It was no matter, however. Any city would be fine.

Loki changed his shape so that he would not be recognized and altered both his and Odin's dress so that they appeared to be regular humans. It was but a moment's work to craft a wheelchair out of nothing with his magic, and Loki settled the king- former king in it, covering him in a blanket. Then he set out.

Loki pushed Odin along for several blocks until they came across a nursing home. He eyed its beaten down exterior critically but shrugged after a second's contemplation. It was not befitting a monarch of Asgard, but Loki didn't really think he would find a place that was, and he was not overly concerned with that fact. Let Odin feel the plight of poverty for a time. It would do him some good.

It was a simple matter to get the Allfather taken into their care. After all, a little magic and a plethora of money goes a long way. Despite his hurry to return to Asgard before the king's absence could be noted, however, when the moment came to leave, he hesitated. The same brew of confused emotions that earlier had stayed his hand, now stopped his departure.

"Take good care of him," he stated in a low voice to the nurse, avoiding the young man's eyes.

"Of course," he said comfortingly. "Your father's in good hands."

Loki swallowed hard and looked at Odin's unconscious form for another long moment. Then he took a deep breath. It was foolish, leaving the Allfather alive. But a new plan was already forming in his mind. He'd go back, offer the throne to Thor, train him in leading the kingdom for a while, then "Odin" would die, peacefully, and Loki would be free once more to go where he pleased.

He smiled at the thought, then pursed his lips and looked back down at the man who suddenly looked all of his five thousand years. Hesitantly, he lay a hand on his shoulder and squeezed gently.

"Well, I must be off," he whispered, unsure of why he spoke even as the words exited his mouth. "Goodbye." Then he turned on his heel and strode away.

He didn't look back.

A/N: Just an FYI, I'd love to have a Beta to work with, not exactly to help with structural story errors, but more as someone I can use as a sounding board for ideas, or who can read over what I have and tell me if it sounds right. My main fandoms right now are Buffy, Harry Potter, and Marvel. Send me a message or leave a private review if you're interested. Thanks.