An Anachronistic Retelling
Loki was bored.
If, in any event or circumstance where Loki becoming bored was discovered, the natural inclination would be to flee and expect Hel.
Fortunately for most, today when Loki became bored, it was within the confines of his own home, so there was no immediate risk. The reasons for his boredom were numerous in number, starting first with his inability to get the stovetop to turn on, which meant no tea. Without tea, he was cranky and being cranky without a way to channel or subdue this crankiness made him both irritable and bored all at once. Being irritable without anyone to immediately lash out at was another thing that made him bored and even more irritable. He knew that that and all the other reasons for his boredom would go away if he could just get the blasted stovetop to light under the kettle! But he couldn't!
Blasted! There's a thought! Except the last time he'd blasted the kettle, Sigyn had torn into him with a fury that would have made Týr seek out a hippie colony.
And there was another cause for boredom to add to his list: Sigyn wouldn't let him destroy things.
Sometimes he rather got agitated with his (dearest, darling, most certainly sweet) wife. Hel, he got downright furious with her half the time! But, he couldn't ever bring himself to hurt her like he did to some (okay, all) of the other Æsir. But, sometimes, every now and again, he resented the fact that he couldn't dispel his boredom with her. Oh, he used to, but that was how he ended up with Váli and Narfi, and though, thank the gods (ha!) they hadn't turned out like most of his...other children, he wasn't in the market of having more kids running around underfoot.
He refrained from kicking the oven, because that wouldn't accomplish anything but making Sigyn upset with him and no matter how bored he became, he did not want that.
It was at times like these when he rather regretted some of his life choices and, to an extent, his very nature; boredom is what made him originally leave his primordial role as a fire god for one of chaos. Thus, it wasn't as if he could still just snap his fingers and spark the burner on! Doing so would probably blow up the kitchen! If he was still the god of fire, the stove would never have dared to treat him like this, he was sure!
He contemplated the copper kettle filled with cold tap water and huffed. He didn't want to use the microwave to heat his water. For one, it didn't make it nearly as hot as he wanted, and secondly, the microwave was a wedding gift from Heimdallr and he avoided using it whenever he possibly could.
This left him with one option: ask Sigyn to light the burner.
Oh how it wounded his pride to do so! But it wasn't the first time he'd had to go to her for help, and he figured it wouldn't be the last, either, so with feigned weariness and real boredom, he made his way to the living room where he found Sigyn sitting in her cushy leather recliner. She was watching one of her reality shows, though whether it was Dutch Dynasty, Raiding with the Stars, or some other mindless program he didn't care about, he couldn't say.
"Darling," he said clearing his throat. "I need you."
Sigyn waved absently in acknowledgment of him. She paused the program and turned to face him with a raised eyebrow. "Really? In the middle of the day?"
Loki blinked, realized what she meant, and turned as scarlet as the bottom of the kettle should have been at that moment. (You know, from contact with the burner he couldn't light.) "No, not quite like that," he said, flashing a smile in the direction of his clearly not amused wife. "I need you to light the burner."
Sigyn did not laugh at him. She used to, but this had become such a common occurrence that she only acted all surprised and treated him like a toddler that just learned how to use the toilet whenever he.actually did manage to light it without her help.
"Hold on a minute, we need to talk," she said. She then pointed at the ottoman in front of her recliner and Loki knew in that moment that it would be a while before he got his tea, if he even got it today at all. Dutifully, he sat down.
"What did you want to talk about?" he asked innocently. He hoped Narfi hadn't ratted him out; he'd taken all the golden Ásgarðrian roses in the back garden and turned them into Venus flytraps. Normally he didn't mess with Sigyn's garden, but Thórr's punk kids kept climbing over the back fence to steal the flowers, so he found his actions justified...even though he knew that if (when) Sigyn found out, she'd be less than impressed. Well, he had hoped he'd get to see at least one of the Thunderer's children eaten by the monstrous plant before Sigyn made the discovery, but it looked as if—
"We need to talk about Váli."
Loki blinked. He'd not expected that son to come up. Unless Narfi'd told Váli and Váli had been the one to rat him out to his mother...
Sigyn sighed, "You need to curtail how much time he spends around Thórr, Týr, and them."
He hadn't expected that at all. Normally, Sigyn was all for the boys spending time with the war gods of Ásgarðr. In light of this, he gave her a scrutinizing look. "Why?"
"It's not healthy for him," she said shortly.
"Well, for one, he's still scared of the dark! And do you know why?" Loki shook his head, no, and Sigyn huffed in exasperation. "It's because of all those stories Thórr's been telling him about Fenris!”
"He's twelve. Lots of adults share the same fear," Loki pointed out. It was a reasonable observation, but by the flush on Sigyn's cheeks, his wife clearly wasn't having it with any of his excuses.
"Yeah, but most adults don't sleep with Winnie the Pooh nightlights," she retorted, and Loki was forced to concede the point with an agreeing nod.
This was normally how discussions went in the Loki/Sigyn household. And none of the other Æsir or Vanir knew about it. If they did, they'd either deny the possibility because it just was not like Loki to be so submissive, or they would laugh him out of Ásgarðr and down the roots of Yggdrasil itself.
"I'll speak to Thórr," he told her, knowing that it would ultimately end up being Sigyn herself who confronted the God of Thunder over just what he told her precious baby.
"Good," she nodded. By the glint in her eyes, he surmised that she'd reached the same conclusion as he had on the subject. "Now," she went on, "Stay and watch Keeping Up With the Völsungs
Loki nearly made a derogatory remark about one of his wife's favorite reality shows, but then decided that that was the sort of thing he'd say only if he wanted to sleep in the kennel with Óðinn's wolves for the next week. Instead he shook his head, "No, thank you." He paused, remembering his boredom and his inability to relieve it with the woman sitting before him, and went on, "I want to get out. I feel as if I'm getting cabin fever."
"Why don't you go see what Thórr is doing?" Sigyn suggested good-naturedly. In between the lines, he heard, 'Do what I ask of you for once!'
Loki waved his hand dismissively. "He's off somewhere in the east. Probably throwing lightning bolts at the Greeks or something."
Sigyn looked skeptical about that idea for a moment (he suspected she was trying to tell if he was lying or not, which was a common reaction from people when they were talking to him) before her face lit up. "Freyja told me that they're holding a little get together at Ægir's. Practically everyone's there!"
"Are you going?" Loki asked, intrigued.
"Nah, this is a new episode. Plus the boys shouldn't be left here alone." Loki, for his part, didn't think Váli and Narfi could possibly get up to anything, good or bad, while absorbed in their game station, but this, too, he chose not to point out to his wife, for fear that the questioning might somehow lead to her discovery of his remodeling project in her garden.
"Well, all right then," he said rather uselessly.
Sigyn nodded, then paused. "Be good, okay? Don't do anything there that'll make Frigg and Freyja lock me out of Vingólf on poker night," she told him warningly. As he stood to leave, she grabbed at his sleeve, halting him. "Do you want me to make your tea before you go?"
He was surprised she'd thought to ask, and was touched by her consideration, but, nonetheless, he shook his head in the negative. "Not now, no. I'm quite sure Ægir will have mead aplenty. You know how Thórr and Týr got him that special cauldron." He gave her a look.
"Ah, yes, well! Don't be out late!" And she released him.
"Of course.” He gave her a reassuring nod, and, after kissing her delicately on the mouth, he straightened up and strolled into the foyer. He grabbed his coat off a hook and pulled it on, then, opening the door, he stepped out onto the golden streets of Ásgarðr. Ægir, however, didn't live in town, rather, he lived out off the coast on an island. Loki sighed. He hoped all the good mead wasn't gone by the time he got there.
Loki was complicated.
Having had three wives, a drastic change in domain at some point, several monster kids, and, on top of that, his very mixed-up relationship with his neighbors in the golden city of Ásgarðr, he was a bit more layered in character than say, Thórr. Thórr, who was generally single minded in whatever pursuit that lay before him. That way of thinking was sometimes quite good (especially when it served Loki), but it was also very often quite bad (usually when it did not serve Loki).
The complications of his relationships with the many Æsir and Vanir that were in attendance at Ægir's party were proof enough for how everyone thought of him.
Getting in wasn't all that difficult, really. He took his place amongst the gods and goddesses, even as they shot him disgruntled and suspicious looks. Óðinn clapped him on the back once in greeting, and that seemed to satisfy the lot of them, though they didn't offer him anything to drink.
Loki was not satisfied, and not only because they didn't have Snickers at this sham of a party either.
He tried to wave down one of Ægir's servants, but everytime he did, one of the other gods called to them and they'd go scurrying off to do their bidding over his.
Loki was sick of it.
"Ahem," he cleared his throat. Several times. Many times. After which, he was still ignored. Well, then.
It didn't help that the others would not SHUT UP about FEMA—Figglehopper...Fimafeng! and his amazing plate spinning skills.
"Do it again!" cried Freyr.
"Again! Again!" chorused his sister and his servants.
Loki was ready to hurl.
So he hurled...one of his shiny little daggers right across the room where it embedded itself in Fimafeng's neck. The servant seized up, convulsed a bit, and then, as everyone was watching, he fell to the ground and died following a few rather dramatic spasms.
It was like everything Sigyn had said to him that morning on being good and blah, blah, blah, had gone in one ear and straight out the other. Hel, it was like it hadn't even touched his ears!
All was silent for a moment, before, as if it were for added punctuation, all the plates that Fimafeng had been spinning around crashed down on top of his dead body, shattering with an almighty din worthy of Thórr!
But Thórr was not there, Loki was, and it was then that Loki realized exactly what he'd done. He also decided that he did not care either.
"Loki...WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE PEACEFUL AND NONVIOLENT HERE!"
The God of Mischief turned and faced the rest of the gods, and their servants and elf buddies. All of them looked thoroughly ticked off.
"Ah, well, I'll just be going then, shall I?" And Loki hightailed it out of Ægir's hall and into the surrounding woodlands faster than you could say Ginnungagap!
Unfortunately for the Æsir and the others, Loki wasn't very good at staying away when he should. He was bored, and with the death of what's his face, this party suddenly became quite promising, especially since they'd all be mad at him! (What else was new?)
He snuck back to the entrance of Ægir's hall, where he discovered the sea god's other servant, (Eldar, Elder...Eldir!) standing guard outside.
Eldir jumped practically a mile high.
"Ahh?!" his scream took on a confused note when he realized that it was Loki who stood before him.
"Yeah, hi, shut up." The Jötunn made a zipped lips motion.
Eldir stared at him.
Loki rolled his eyes. "Say, you're a smart little bugger. Tell me, what's the scuttlebutt in there?"
Eldir glared at him. "They're talking about nukes, weapons, and all sorts of warfare." His glare intensified. "They're also trash talking you."
"Figures," Loki shrugged. "All right!" he went on, stretching his arms dramatically and cracking his knuckles. "Okay, I'm going in there! It's time for mischief to be managed!"
"Dude! They'll kill you if you go in there and start something!"
Loki waved off the weird little servant (he could definitely see why everyone had liked Flibbertigibbet better than him; this dude was weaselly). "Shut up, you moron! What're you going to do? Try and stop me?" The weaselly servant looked awfully determined. Loki rolled his eyes in exasperation. "You do realize I could kill you, too, right?"
Eldir scowled at him darkly, but moved to open the door for the god. Loki nodded to him in satisfaction, and entered the hall.
All was noisy and merry inside when Loki entered; it was like a giant party of kindergartners all hyped up on sugar, but instead of sugar, the Æsir, Vanir, and the elves were all hyped up on alcohol. Everyone there was getting wonderfully, smashingly hammered and Loki wanted in on that.
He stood in the doorway and, clearing his throat, made his presence known. As if controlled by the pause button on Sigyn's television, everyone gathered in the hall literally froze and went silent at the sight of him.
The awkward silence lasted for a very long, very stifling moment, before Ægir himself stood up.
"How did you get in here?" he demanded.
Loki rolled his eyes. "Intruda window? Through the door, oh great host!" He said this last part with a dashing smile. Disgruntled, Ægir plopped back down next to his wife, who, Loki couldn't help but notice, rolled her eyes at the exchange. "Now," Loki went on, spreading out his arms, "Here I am! It is a long journey to these halls and the original Skywalker is here and he is quite thirsty!"
"Dad. Daddy. Daaaddyyy."
Loki resolutely ignored Narfi as the four year old tugged at his pants. His nose was buried in the newest issue of the Ásgarðr Daily Saga and if he were to have it his way, it would stay there.
But no matter how persistent Narfi became, he—
Loki let out a breathless sigh and, folding the paper, turned to look at the elder of his two (blessedly normal) children.
Narfi took that as an invitation to scramble up into his father's lap, sending the newspaper to the floor in the process. Loki grunted in discomfort, but caught hold of the child before he could teeter backward and fall. A question of what Narfi wanted was on his tongue, but before he could ask, the little boy thrust a DVD case into his face.
Loki took the case from his son and held it back. He nearly groaned when he saw the giant gold lettering on the cover.
"Star Wars, Narfi? Again?"
"Yeah!" The four year old then made himself quite comfortable, and Loki resigned himself to another afternoon of watching Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance stop the evil Galactic Empire.
"You know," said the Trickster absently as he maneuvered his son off his lap so he could get up and put the DVD in. "I'm the original Skywalker."
There was a squeal and Narfi appeared at his side again as he stood in front of the television. "Really?"
After his proclamation, Loki strolled to the center of the great hall, looking in turn to each of the gods gathered as he went. "Would anyone be so kind as to get me a drink?"
In the distance, he could here a trio of crickets playing little violins.
"Why so silent, oh great gods?" he asked in contempt. "Did you think that I had left you for good? Either give me a drink or tell me I'm not wanted, but do not be so fickle as to not answer!"
In his seat, the god Bragi stirred. Seeing this, Loki turned to him. "Yes?"
Bragi stood up. "We're not inviting you to our parties anymore," he declared hotly. "You're not the sort of person we want in our crowd."
Loki was tempted to tell Bragi to go back to whatever class he was skipping to hang out with the grownups, but held his tongue. Instead, he turned to the high seat where the All-father sat.
Óðinn had greeted him before. Now it was time to see if his blood brother would hold out on him or not.
"Hey, Óðinn," he called, approaching the high seat. "Do you remember that time we both got drunk and gave each other friendship bracelets?" Óðinn squirmed in embarrassment as a few people snickered. "Do you remember," the God of Mischief went on, "How you said you'd only get drunk if I could get drunk too?"
Óðinn sighed into his beard, and Loki knew he had won that round. The All-father turned to his son, Viðarr, who sat beside him. "Pour him a drink." Viðarr looked at him like he'd gone crazy. "It's best to appease the man. We don't want anymore of his sort of trouble here," Óðinn told his son.
Viðarr still didn't look convinced, but nonetheless, he got up and filled a goblet with mead. He then presented it to Loki, who took it with a nod.
With his mead in hand, Loki looked around at each of the guests in the hall, all of which were staring at him with varying expressions of disgruntlement and suspicion, and Bragi was not the least of them. He raised his goblet to them in a toast, but there was no smile or kind look on his face; his eyes were hard and to everyone else, he looked a bit unhappy.
Loki was not happy.
“Hello, gentlemen, ladies! I raise my glass to all of you in greeting! Except,” —and here Loki lowered his goblet and instead gestured lazily with his empty hand— “for Bragi, who, might I add, apparently has horrendous posture!”
As if on instinct, Bragi, who had slumped back into his seat when Óðinn greeted Loki, straightened his back and scowled at the Trickster. “Hey, would you shut up before we decide to make you our new punching bag?”
Loki snorted, but said nothing.
“Look here!” Bragi cried, jumping back up from his bench. “I'll give you my motorcycle and a new set of steak knives—and a ring, too, if you'll shut up and leave us alone!”
This time, Loki laughed outright. Bribery? Please. “I am flattered that you would offer me presents, but shouldn't your wife be the one you offer a ring to?” Then Loki smirked darkly. “Well, we would all expect for you to give her those sorts of things if you had them, but you can't even afford car insurance, much less a ring or new kitchen ware! And you're the grandma who won't go above 20 miles an hour on the interstate! Do you honestly expect us to believe that you have a motorcycle?”
“If I had you outside, I'd run over you with my motorcycle!”
“You can't even run someone over properly with a motorcycle!” Loki then addressed the rest of the gathering and, jabbing a finger toward Bragi, said: “Look at Bragi, everybody! He's like a little old lady, stooped and delicate! If you've got something you would like to prove here, Bragi, then get up off your butt and do so instead of spewing words like a bragging bum!”
Bragi made as if to charge, but Iðunn caught his arm and pulled him back to their shared seat. “My darling, he is right—if you hit him while on a motorcycle, you'll go flying off over the handlebars and you'll die! Think of me, of our children! I beg you, don't provoke Loki further, not here!”
Before her husband could answer, Loki cut in. “Oh, shut up, Iðunn! It's not like you'd miss him if he died! You're by far one of the most promiscuous women I know. Hel, you even made out with the man who murdered your brother! I've seen your—”
Iðunn ignored him. “I've already asked Bragi to be quiet. I will not push the matter further,” she stated to the assembly.
“What's the point of this?” the goddess Gefjon asked her. “We all know Loki is a liar. Engaging him like this will just encourage him to be worse.”
In the middle of the room, Loki sipped at his mead and scrutinized the keeper of the golden apples and her companion with a frown. Once Gefjon had spoken, he addressed the maiden goddess: “Worse, Gefjon? You're one to talk. You're the liar! You broke your maiden oath for a necklace!” He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket (conveniently ignoring the notification for two missed calls from Sigyn), and, after pulling up a webpage, he held it up for all to see. “You posted about it on Facebook!”
Then Óðinn, who for all his knowledge, couldn't even turn the television on, decided to add his two cents. “Loki, you’re nuts! Gefjon is a sweet, innocent girl! And you shouldn't really treat her like this, you know. She's just as good with computers as I am! She can easily delete your social media accounts for this!”
“Dad, you broke the computer,” Viðarr reminded him.
Óðinn ignored him.
Loki raised an eyebrow at the All-father. “You think you're so just, so fair, Óðinn? You, who always rigs games and competitions in favor of the weaker party!”
Óðinn took a long drink from his mead while Loki spoke. Even when Loki fell silent, Óðinn continued to down the contents of his goblet. After a long silence filled with nothing but the sounds of the All-father practically inhaling alcohol, Óðinn finally lowered his cup and answered. “That is true,” he said, much to the surprise of everyone (except Loki, who merely rolled his eyes). “However!” he went on, “You spent like, a million years hiding out, pretending to be a woman and nursing babies...or were you pretending to be a cow…? Whatever, you're a girl.”
Beside him, Viðarr face planted on the table and Frigg sighed.
“Well, you dress up as a witch on every single Halloween, so I think you're the one who's a girl!” was Loki’s less than stellar retort.
“All right, boys!” Frigg said, rising from her seat at the high table to stand over her husband and his blood brother. “No one here wants to hear about any of this! There's nothing to be gained from dredging up the events of the past!”
“Uh, Mom? Dad comes out of the bathroom looking like a witch every morning,” interrupted Viðarr, but Frigg ignored him too.
Loki scoffed. “The events of the past, Frigg? Really? Let's talk about how you cheated on Óðinn with not just one, but both of his brothers!”
Óðinn burped, but otherwise looked nonplussed even as his wife paled. “Well!” exclaimed the Queen of the Gods. “Say what you want, Liesmith, but if I had a son here, if my Baldur were here, you wouldn't get off so easily!”
Viðarr coughed, but was continually ignored. (As if it mattered, he wasn't really Frigg’s son. But, still.)
At the mention of the dead god, a twisted smile wound its way across Loki’s face. “Was that an invitation, Frigg? I can tell you all about your beloved Baldur...and how I'm the one who arranged things so you'd never see him again!”
Sigyn's voiced drifted through the dim shadows of the study, over to the cluttered desk where her husband sat, fashioning something from wood.
Once her voice had faded away, the study became eerily silent. Then Loki heard a faint rustle of fabric before Sigyn appeared at his side. A moment later, there was a soft intake of breath and the God of Mischief knew that his wife had seen what he was working on.
“What is that for?” she whispered, breathless.
“Baldur has invited the gods to come and throw anything they like at him,” he said, examining his handiwork.
“But why do you need a special dart? What's more, why do you even have to be a part of this stupid show?”
“Sigyn, my darling,” Loki murmured soothingly. He rose up from his chair and took his wife in his arms. “It’s just a bit of harmless fun, after all, Baldur is impervious to harm! Besides, I'll not be the one to throw it.”
“This is foolish, Loki,” the Ásynja in his arms grumbled.
Loki eyed the dart of mistletoe sitting innocently on his desk. “It's just a bit of fun, really.”
At Loki's words, Frigg sat down, hard, looking like she'd been run over by Óðinn riding Sleipnir. Viðarr handed his stepmother a new goblet and the goddess, taking it, downed it all in one go.
Freyja, on the other hand, rose to her feet in anger. “Are you really so stupid that you'd boast about what you did to Baldur? Just because she doesn't talk about it doesn't mean that Frigg doesn't know about your involvement!”
After all, Frigg was a seeress in her own right. How could Loki forget? He scowled. “You'd know, wouldn't you, Freyja? You know what everyone here thinks about in the dead of the night, because you're with them.”
“What are you insinuating?” the goddess demanded, her hands on her hips.
“You know very well what I'm insinuating!”
“No, I don't, because whatever it is, it's a lie! You're digging yourself into a hole!” Freyja cried, stomping her foot in anger.
Loki waved her words away with a harsh laugh. “You're disgusting. You beguile and sleep around like a common strumpet. And if that wasn't the worst of it, you were caught with your own brother! And then you fart—”
Freyja colored a brilliant shade of red. She opened her mouth as if to make a comeback, but her father, placing a hand on her wrist, pulled her back to her seat before rising himself. “Does it matter what a woman does?” Njörðr asked. “Freyja, and for that matter, all of the other goddesses, are independent women that make their own choices and we cannot judge them for that.” Freyja nodded at his words in approval, though on Njörðr’s other side, the Vanr's wife, Skaði, gave him a look. Njörðr stared at her for a solid minute before his mouth made an 'oh' and he turned back to the waiting Trickster. “Real women are better than this girly drag queen who nurses babies!”
“Oh my gosh,” giggled Freyja. Skaði clapped her husband on the back, causing him to wiggle.
Loki stared at the trio, the two Vanir and the giantess, and crossed his arms. “At least I wasn't held hostage after the war.”
Njörðr shrugged. “And?”
Loki swished the contents of his goblet about. “Let's not forget that that directly led to the incident where Týr’s dozens of sisters took turns using your face as a waste basket.”
Njörðr turned around and made to run off like Loki had earlier, but his wife and daughter both turned him back around to face the grinning form of the God of Mischief. “Uh—OW!” There was a collective snort as Freyja jabbed her father between the ribs.
“C’mon, Dad, don't let him get away with that!” she hissed.
Njörðr squared his shoulders and puffed out his chest. Personally, Loki thought he looked stupid. “Well,” began the Vanr, “be that as it may...I was glad to be Óðinn's hostage! It's not like he had me chained to his couch to act as his TV remote or anything...but enough about me! Have you met my son?” Like a flash of lightning, Njörðr had Freyr beside him, his hand on the boy's elbow, preventing him from running away. “He's amazing and everyone loves him more than you!”
“Dad…” Freyja groaned, as she and Skaði both tried to break Njörðr's death grip on his son, who, to Loki's amusement, looked utterly mortified.
Beside the struggling family, Týr the one handed war god stood up. He pointed his nub at Loki threateningly. If the nub were to start shooting laser beams or knives, then perhaps he'd be intimidated, but as it was, it only looked comical, and Loki let out a bark of mad laughter at the sight.
“Yes? And what would you like to share with the class?” the Jötunn asked him.
“I've nothing to say on behalf of my sisters,” began Týr, “because they're all young and stupid and they're obsessed with glitter, but Freyr ís my bro and I'll defend him until the Twilight of Ásgarðr.”
“Thanks bro!” came Freyr’s muffled yell. (Njörðr had climbed up to wrap around his son's head like a hat. Don't ask how.) The God of Spring managed to free a hand from the tangle and extend his fist out.
Týr fist bumped his friend with his nub before addressing Loki. “Freyr is the awesomest dude I know. He's never cheated on his wife and he doesn't creep on anyone, and—and he frees captive people from pirates!”
“I didn't know Freyr was in the British Royal Navy,” Gefjon said aside to Iðunn.
“I wonder if he knows any handsome officers,” the apple keeper sighed dreamily.
“Iðunn!” Bragi whined.
Loki gave the assembly a pointed look, seeming to ask, ‘Do you not see what I'm talking about?’
They ignored him as Týr continued to ramble on about his new favorite subject. “Freyr’s like, ‘let's make love, not war,’ and I'm a war god, but dude, that's deep.”
“Do you know what I think?” the Trickster suddenly interrupted him.
Týr stared at him. “What?” he asked slowly.
“Whatever you're trying to accomplish here, you're not a great hand at it.”
Týr gasped and held his nub to his chest. “Dude!”
Loki’s mouth made an ‘o.’ “Oh, that's right, you lost your hand, didn’t you? Poor baby!”
The war god looked as if he were about to burst into tears, but Freyja kicked him, and he sobered up with a final, dramatic sniffle. “The day I lost my hand, you'll remember, Silvertongue, you lost Fenrisúlfur and now he's bound till Judgement day!”
“Judgement day is more of a Christian thing; we're all about Ragnarøkkr here,” Snotra cut in from where she sat at a table further back.
“Shut up!” Sága hissed, elbowing her benchmate in the ribs.
Loki pinched the bridge of his nose. “Just, shut up.” Then he peeked up at Týr with a smirk. “You know, your wife was very lucky to sleep—”
“THE GREAT WOLF!” cried Týr, flailing his arms (and knocking Njörðr off of Freyr’s head), “will remain bound in chains like a prisoner at the mouth of the great river Andúin until Saruman goes on the back of a great eagle to free him!”
Everyone stared at the one handed god.
“Have...you been binge watching The Lord of the Rings while smoking again?” Loki asked apprehensively.
“No!” Týr cried defensively.
“He has,” Heimdallr snickered.
“Really?” The God of Mischief raised an eyebrow in interest.
“He hasn't!” insisted Freyr, increasing the distance between himself and his father to come to his bro’s aid. “Bite your tongue, Liesmith, and quit spreading lies about my bro Týr! Or else we'll chain you up, too!”
“You're so quick to come to his defense,” observed said Liesmith. “And yet you have no sword! Now where did you put it?” He tapped his chin with an exaggerated air. “Ah, that's right! You gave it away when you bought your wife off her father! What will you do, oh great Freyr, when the fire giants come to meet you in the Mirkwood? You have no blade, you idiot!”
“Oi!” one of Freyr’s servants jumped up. “Oi! If I were half as noble and brave as Lord Freyr, I’d beat you within an inch of your life, you whinging crow!”
“Who the Hel are you?” snorted Loki. “Haven't I seen you whispering in people's ears and peeking up Freyja’s dress?”
The goddess in question squealed and flattened her skirt to her legs.
“I'm Byggvir Barleyman!” the little Vanr puffed his chest out proudly. “I'm always out for a good time, and everyone knows that!”
“You're a freaking Hobbit!” laughed the Jötunn. “You never give anyone their full helping of dinner because you've eaten it all already and when a fight breaks out, you're hiding under the table like a frightened rabbit!”
“He sure knows a lot about him for someone who didn't know the guys named,” Gefjon commented. Iðunn and Víðarr nodded in agreement.
“Dude, chill,” Heimdallr said. “We get it, you're drunk. We're drunk too. Ain't no one's gonna watch their bloody tongue here, but, c’mon, don't insult the Burrahobbit! It's not cool!”
“Of course you'd relate to them,” the God of Mischief scoffed. “Your life is just as boring and menial! You do the same thing all day and never sleep or take a break. Who’d you get to watch the Ásbrú bridge while you came to this party? Nanna? Little Hnossa? I don't see either of them here.”
“You're funny, Loki Laufey’s son.” He turned to see Skaði facing him, despite holding her husband down in his chair. “But you won't be laughing long once you're bound to a boulder with the entrails of your own son.” At that, the Goddess of Winter smiled sweetly.
Loki started, and rolled off the couch. “What?”
Váli ran into the living room with Narfi hot on his heels. Loki raised himself from the ground just in time to catch the five year old in one arm before his brother barreled straight into the other. “What in Óðinn's name are you two doing?” asked their father in tired bewilderment.
“Narfi’s being scary again!” wailed the younger of the two.
“Am not!” Narfi whined in protest.
Loki sighed and pulled both boys back onto the couch with him, Váli shooting daggers at Narfi all the while. “What were you two doing?” Loki asked his eldest, bowing his head between them to form a pseudo barrier.
“Well,” the child replied, suddenly bashful. “Um…”
“He was being Fenris again!” Váli cried. He turned to face his father so rapidly that they nearly knocked heads. “Daddy, make him stop!”
Deep down, Loki felt a pang at the idea of one of his children being scared of their elder brother, but he smothered it down for the moment. It was something that could be worried about later. “Narfi, You know what we've said about scaring your brother.”
“I know,” he grumbled.
“And?” his father prompted.
Narfi sat there with his arms crossed for a long while before Loki gave him an expectant look that Sigyn would be proud of. “I'm sorry…” he said at last, reaching out to his baby brother.
Váli hesitated only a moment before reaching out and latching onto his brother. “It's okay.”
Loki sighed and settled back into the couch cushions with his children.
And several hours later when Sigyn came in and found all three of them piled together asleep, she only smiled and left them to rest.
The God of Mischief scoffed. “Even if you were to imprison me like that, I'll still have the satisfaction of knowing that it was I who led the party that captured and killed Thiazi!”
It was Freyja and Njörðr's turn to hold Skaði back as she made to charge at the smug faced Loki. “If you're the reason my father is dead, then I'll make sure that every follower of mine curses your name! And if any of them are apart of your Tumblr army, I'll flog them!”
“I don't have a Tumblr army,” sniffed Loki. “That's the other guy. The knockoff version with great cheekbones and pianist's fingers.”
In harmony, Iðunn, Gefjon, Freyja, and several other goddesses let out a collective dreamy sigh. “I love Tom Hiddleston…”
Loki's face contorted into a weird expression. “That's wrong on so many levels…” he whispered, leaning away from them. He nearly jumped into the air when someone came up and tapped him on the shoulder.
Sif, Thórr's wife (and the mother of the punks that ritually ruined his and Sigyn’s back garden), had come up to him. When he looked at her, she smiled innocently. “Hi, Loki!” she greeted, prying his empty goblet out of his hand and holding up a crystal cup full of sparkling clear liquid (was that vodka?) as a replacement. She coughed, then said, “Wilt thou take this goblet to quench thy thirst? Tell me, doth thou not find me alone in this mighty host to be without guilt or a mind toward the weird?”
Loki took the cup and sniffed the contents. Ahha! It was vodka! Pleased, he threw back his head and downed the contents in one gulp. Sif looked on eagerly as he did this, but her smile quickly turned upside down when Loki tossed the empty goblet at the door, where it smashed above the lurking Eldir’s head, sending Ægir's servant scurrying back outside in fright.
“You're really something, Sif,” the Jötunn told her. The goddess looked at him bashfully. “But,” he went on, and her frown slowly returned. “You'd be really special if you acted with everyone as you did with most. We've seen your bad attempts at Shakespeare: they suck, but does anyone else know what a filthy mouth you have?” Sid’s eyes widened in horror. “There's only one thing that can draw the Lady Sif away from the arms of her beloved husband, and that would be Call of Duty. She plays it every night when Thórr's asleep! And boy, should your hear the language she uses over the servers!”
“Oh my gosh, how doth thou know'st?” The goddess clamped a hand on her mouth in horror.
“I'm Skywalker0209, dummy,” Loki sneered.
“You're the one who keeps shooting me?” Sif cried in dismay.
Loki only smirked.
“What just happened?” Viðarr asked.
“I think Sif is leading a double life,” mused Sága.
“You're not supposed to believe anything he says!’ groused Skaði.
“We're a Modern Warfare family. What's this about Call of Duty?” Óðinn asked with a hiccup.
“Um, what was that?” Byggvir asked suddenly.
“That was Óðinn, duh,” Heimdallr said.
“No, I don't think so,” Byggvir shook his head. His wife, Beyla, frowned and went to the nearest window to listen.
“It's thunder,” she said after listening a moment. “That can mean only one thing, Thórr's coming!”
“Oh shut up, Beyla!” snapped Loki in irritation. “You're just as bad as your husband: a lazy, nosy Hobbit who's scared of their own shadow! Why, it's scandalous that either of you are even here amongst gods and goddesses when you're good for nothing but mucking out a stable!”
Everyone started and turned to see Thórr come thundering into Ægir’s hall. He marched up to Loki and waved his mighty hammer in the stunned Trickster's face. “Shut up, you tosser! You'd had better watch your mouth, you dirty son of a dog, or I'll whack your head off with Mjölnir as easy as if I were playing Whack-a-mole!”
With a delicate finger, Loki tried to push the hammer out of his face. Failing that, he back away. “Well, well, well, look at the mighty Thórr, god of bullies! You're tough now, Mr. Chuck Norris Wannabe, but wait until you watch Fenris gulp down Óðinn like a chicken sandwich!”
“Bro!” Óðinn spread his hands out like, 'What did you just say?’
“Shut up, you tosser!” yelled the Thunderer. “Or else I'll use Mjölnir like a golf club and send you flying so far into the east that we'll never have to deal with you again!”
The Trickster's mouth quirked in condescension. “I’d watch what I say about the east if I were you. I was there when You got motion sickness riding in that giant’s glove. You were so sick that you forgot your father, your wife, your own name...why are you back so early now? Did the Olympians kick your butt out of Greece?”
Thórr's face turned scarlet with anger and embarrassment. “Shut up, you tosser!” He poked Loki's sweater clad chest with his hammer, causing him to let out a low, 'Oomph!’ “Or I'll use Mjölnir to beat you into a pulp! I've done it before and I'll do it again!”
“For all your threats of violence with your hammer, I have a feeling I'm going to live a long while yet. Don't you remember how, on that same journey eastward, when you tried to open Skrýmir's can of Pringles, You failed? Miserably at that! You had to go without dinner! Actually,” the Silvertongue mused thoughtfully, “That may be why you got motion sickness…”
Suddenly, Thórr grabbed him roughly by the collar of his coat, and, hoisting him into the air, shoved his hammer under Loki’s chin. The Trickster gulped. “Shut up, you yellow bellied, horse loving, girly tosser! Or I swear I will use Mjölnir to pound your bones straight to Helheim!”
“Ah, I see, well,” Loki began to squirm. “I believe we’ve all had fun today, but I know when I'm not wanted. I'll just, ah, go…” With that, he slid out of his jacked, landed unsteadily on the floor, and quickly made a beeline for the door. Once there, he snapped his fingers and his jacket vanished from Thórr's hand and reappeared in his. “Now, Ægir,” called the Silvertongue to the stunned host. “You have brewed some fine mead and have hosted an even finer party, but such a party you'll never hold here again. Your hall will be gutted by an inferno and all you own will be burnt to ash and your body will be filleted by flaming tongues.” Rán and Skaði rose from their seats, even as Thórr began to prowl toward Loki. At the sight of this, the Trickster spun around and quickly left the hall with half of his jacket dangling off his arm.
In his wake, the gathering of the Æsir and the Vanir looked at each other in anger. All except for Óðinn, who was busy cutting into a piece of steak.
Frigg gaped at her husband. “Where did you get that?” The only reply she received was a shrug.
“We need to go after that little bilgesnipe!” Rán declared angrily.
“I don't want to burn to ash,” her husband whimpered. The sea goddess looked around to find him rocking back and forth like a baby. “I don't want to go…”
“Get a hold of yourself!” Freyr snapped. “Loki can't even light a match anymore! How's he going to destroy this place with fire? Besides,” he added, “We're going to catch that son of a gun and string 'em up!”
Óðinn continued to munch on his steak. “We're not going anywhere before we're done eating,” declared the All-father.
Several of the gods and goddesses groaned. Except... “That's great!” Bragi grinned. “You all chase down the Liesmith, and I'll clean up the dinner dishes!”
“Oh my gods, Loki was right!” Iðunn buried her face in her hands in dismay. Beside her, Gefjon awkwardly patted the apple keeper on the back.
Skaði stood off to the side and gazed out the window, appearing deep in thought. At last, she turned and called out for Eldir. When Eldir came to her, she asked, “Where did Laufey's son go?”
Nervous, Eldir squirmed. “He took the path back to Ásgarðr.”
The Goddess of Winter smirked. “Excellent.”
“Skaði?” her husband called.
As the rest came to face her, Skaði’s smirk curled into a delighted sneer. “I know just what to do.”
“Oh dear…” Sif began to bite her fingernails.
Loki was clever.
He was known for his wily plans, cunning, quips, and a plethora of associated things. But Loki was not always wise in the ways he chose to use his clever mind. Actually, sometimes he acted as if he wasn't even using it.
This would be one of those times.
He burst into his house to find Sigyn setting the dinner table while Váli and Narfi bickered over which bag of corn chips to use. At Loki's harried entrance, his family froze.
“Dad?” Narfi frowned.
Sigyn slowly set the bowl of nacho cheese down on the table. “Loki, why haven't you been answering your phone? ...why are you so out of breath?”
At the sight of his family standing in front of him with varying looks of confusion and concern, Loki realized two very important things: the first was that he had done exactly what Sigyn had said not to do, and the second was that he should not have come back to his house. He began to back away.
*I need to, I need to leave, I need…”
Sigyn's eyes opened wide in startling realization. “Oh, Hel, Loki...please tell me you didn't murder someone else?”
“Boys,” their mother said, still watching their father. “Go hide in the cellar…”
“Oh, there's no need for that, Sigyn darling.”
The whole family started and looked to the door, only to find Skaði, Thórr, Týr, and several others gathering in their foyer.
“Let us take this murderer and we'll leave you and the boys be, Sigyn,” the God of Thunder tried to reassure the golden haired Ásynja.
“No,” she shook her head and reached for her husband, but no matter how hard she tugged at Loki's arm, the God of Mischief did not move. He seemed frozen in place, staring down the gathering gods. “Please, I'm sure we can work this out.”
To her surprise and dismay, it was Loki himself who denied her. “Stay out of it, please,” he told her softly. “Let me…”
“Ah ah ah,” Skaði cooed, coming far too Loki and his family for the Trickster's liking. “Your silvertongue is what began this mess, Liesmith, I don't think we will let you continue to use it.”
“Mom?” Narfi grabbed Sigyn's arm, his voice laced with fear.
The Goddess of Winter looked down at the elder son of Loki, who gazed back in silent terror. “He's your favored child, isn't he, Laufey's son?”
“Skaði, don't—” began Freyr, but his stepmother hissed at him.
Váli, in all his adolescent bravado stood up to the frozen queen. “Leave him alone!”
“You're a brave little wolf, aren't you?” the giantess smiled coldly at the boy. At the mention of wolves, he backed away behind his mother.
Loki pulled Sigyn to him, the boys following after her as he positioned himself in front of them like a shield. “Skaði, I know you're angry with me, but leave my family out of it.”
“He's right,” Víðarr spoke up. He looked as if he'd swallowed a lemon. “Father said to take Loki; he never said anything about Sigyn or the children.”
Skaði ignored him and the rising murmur of the Æsir and Vanir behind her. “You recall my threat?”
Skaði snapped her fingers.
In the little house on a tidy golden street in the great city of Ásgarðr, chaos broke loose.
In a dark cave deep within a lonesome mountain near the edge of the world, the faint sound of sobbing echoed.
Between three stone pillars was Loki, bound to them with iron chains. These chains were not forged by any dwarf, but by love and passion born between two parents.
The Goddess of Winter had not been light with her threat and the All-father had not contested her wrath.
“They were...so, so sc-scared...when she changed him, he, he was terrified. His screams! And then when Narfi...his own brother...oh, oh, my baby, my babies…”
Even as she sobbed, Sigyn held a basin above her husband's head. Once Narfi was dead and Váli was sent howling in the form of a wolf toward the wastes of Jötunheimr, Skaði had taken her mockery of Loki and Sigyn still further by hanging a great venomous snake over where the Æsir had bound him with Narfi's chains.
“I'm sorry,” Sigyn whispered as the basin became full. When that happened, she had to take it to the mouth of the cave and empty it, leaving Loki exposed to the drip drop drip drop of the serpent’s poison. He couldn't scream, for as the Æsir bound him and the snow goddess ripped apart his family, the Vanir sewed his mouth shut. With every drop of venom that fell, Sigyn could feel the ground shake as Loki shuddered in pain.
She wanted to hate him for doing this to their family. She wanted to leave him for being the reason her children were taken away. She also wanted to free him just to anger the other gods who had had a hand in her heartbreak. But she couldn't, she couldn't, she…
Sigyn nearly dropped the bowl down the cliffside (and if she had, what would she do? Use her shoe?). She held it to her chest and slowly turned around to find a tall woman standing next to the cave entrance. Her hair was as black as night and her skin as white as snow. And half her body was that of a skeleton, hidden by a sweatshirt and skinny jeans...and a white opera mask over half of her face. She looked nothing like her burning red and summer eyed father, but Sigyn knew the woman at once.
“You know, it's just Hel, but as y'all keep using it as a swear word…”
“What are you doing here?” the grieving mother asked. Her eyes opened wide. “Is Narfi—?”
“Yes,” the Goddess of Death said wistfully, looking forlornly into the distance. “He’s fine.” She bowed her head. “And Váli as well.”
“Oh, thank you!” Sigyn's shoulders sagged with relief. She knew they were dead—Hela was the Goddess of the Underworld after all—but that they were in the care of their sister was all the reassurance she knew she'd find there. It was all that she could find to keep her sane.
Hela nodded vaguely. “You can't free Father,” she told her stepmother.
“I don't know if I could break the chains,” the golden haired Ásynja admitted weakly.
“You're not meant to,” Loki's daughter explained. “When the winters have come and Fenris breaks free, time will break Narfi's chains and Father will bring Ragnarøkkr to the Nine Realms.”
Sigyn opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Beneath their feet, the ground trembled as Loki thrashed in his bonds in a vain attempt to escape the falling poison. With a gasp of horror, Sigyn rushed back into the cave, her basin in hand.
Hela remained on the cliffside.
As Sigyn tended Loki, she was aware of Hela watching, but soon her attention was engrossed by the serpent, and she shuddered. When they had first been left there, she'd tried to pull it down, but the snake would have none of that; now her right hand.appeared withered and burnt from contact with its poison and she dared not touch it again.
How long had it been? Hours? Days? Years? Sigyn's shoulders shook and she began to cry once more.
Hela could feel their anguish.
Sigyn's heartbreak. Loki's madness. Narfi's brokenness. Váli's horror...she could even feel the impatience of Fenris and the stirring of Jörmungandr in the world sea. She used to be able to feel her own mother (the mother of her birth, not the mother of her heart) far away in the Iron Wood with her cult of witchy giantesses, but she'd cut that off long ago. She couldn't handle the disgust.
She feared she couldn't handle the pain, either.
Loki's daughter had lied. Of all the Liesmith’s children, she alone possessed his talent in spades, though it wasn't necessarily always a good thing. Neither brother by Sigyn was really okay. Narfi, who was broken and unconsolable, and Váli, who had been ripped apart by frost giants and would not move or speak from his place beside her fireplace, were just as pained in death as their parents were in half life.
“They'll pay,” she hissed, looking toward golden Ásgarðr faraway in the distance. “Dearly.”
If Loki was often bored, Hela was always busy.
If Loki was complicated, Hela was a labyrinth in herself.
If Loki was clever, Hela was brilliant.
If Loki was once a God of Fire, Hela burned with a thirst for revenge.