Date Finished: 5/4/2022
Keywords: Pregnant Loki, Female Loki, Doctor
Spoilers: Thor: Ragnarok, Infinity War, maybe
some for Endgame, but not really.
Disclaimer: These versions of these characters
are probably unrecognizable to anyone who knows the canon better
than me, but they still belong to Marvel and Stan Lee. Any elements
taken from the original mythology technically belongs to no one and
Summary: Thor returns to Asgard after the battle
of Sokovia to find Loki occupying the throne. As a Queen. A very
beautiful, very pregnant Queen. It's a long story...
Author's Notes: This was swirling in my head
since I recapped the first Avengers movie and it solidified a few
days after seeing Ragnarok. I am not at all well versed in this
canon and this is my first MCU story, so apologies for all the
things I will no doubt get wrong. I'm learning.
Destiny - Part 2
by Diandra Hollman
Pregnancy made using certain powers difficult to impossible for Lorelei.
Her body was slower and limited to its present form. Replicating and
astral projection were too difficult in her state. She could still
levitate and she was sometimes tempted to demonstrate her superior
physical strength to Stephen just to see the expression on his face, but
these were never talents she particularly enjoyed using. She had always
happily left tasks requiring brute force to Thor, preferring the far more
refined mental abilities her mother taught her. Stephen didn't need visual
demonstrations to learn, however, as she discovered she could help him
hone his replicating skills without having to perform the trick herself.
She had felt a rush of pride mixed with fear when he first successfully
replicated himself. Pride for obvious reasons. Fear because she realized
he was right. She was falling in love with him.
She suspected Stephen was capable of learning most of her abilities and
she thought she may well enjoy teaching him if she had the opportunity.
She stood in front of the attic window of the sanctum, dressed only in a
robe, looking out at the city and waiting to feel the next contraction.
She couldn't see into the future, but she was beginning to suspect she
knew why none of her plans were affecting changes. She would not survive
It was fitting, really. Hela would kill her as she had killed Hela. It
made sense. Her daughter would never know her destiny, even though it was
already written. She would never know who her birth mother was. Lorelei
still didn't know how she had traveled so far back into Asgard history to
become Odin's eldest adopted child, but that would be Stephen's concern.
Obviously he would find a way.
She felt Stephen's presence in the room before he made it known, but she
didn't let on. She hummed as he swept her hair aside and wrapped his arms
around her, kissing the bare curve of her neck and nuzzling behind her
"Did I hurt you?"
She snorted. "With what? Your tongue?"
"Mmm. Thank you for not yanking my hair this time."
"I couldn't reach your hair if I'd tried."
He smiled and ran his hands along the curve of her abdomen. "You've gotta
be getting close now."
She sighed. "Closer than you think."
She twisted in his arms, a smile twitching her lips as she noted the way
his eyes darted briefly to her exposed breasts. Human males were so easily
distracted. She draped her arms over his shoulders. "I think I might be
He went still and she saw a moment of panic flit across his face before
his medical training took over. "You think? How far apart are they?" His
hands were on her abdomen again, prodding gently.
"Very. I wasn't sure they even were contractions and not just
lingering...spasms. I've given birth before, but not in this form so I
don't really have a frame of reference."
Stephen blinked, opened and closed his mouth, shook his head. "Okay,
well...let me know when you feel another one so I can time it. For now you
should rest. Get some sleep if you can."
He waved a hand and they were transported back to the bed she had left not
long before. She could teach him to do that much more efficiently, she
thought as she wobbled, slightly dizzy.
He supported her as she sat on the mattress.
She reached for the drawstring of his sweatpants. "We have time..."
Stephen brushed her hand away. "No."
Humans were such prudes.
She let him tuck her beneath the covers. He climbed in after her in an
approximation of the position they had just been in vertically.
"So...what form were you in the last time you gave birth?"
She smiled. "I was a mare. I had no way of telling how long I was in
labor, but it couldn't have been longer than five or six hours. Humans and
Asgardians take considerably longer."
"For a first pregnancy, yes, but if you've given birth before..."
"Not in this body."
Stephen was quiet for a while. "So is there a horse running around
"No. He died long ago."
Stephen winced. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be. He died of old age. Even on Asgard, a horse rarely lives more
than about a hundred years."
"Forgive me if this question is as rude on your world as it is on mine,"
Stephen said after another long silence. "But...how old are you?"
"Mmm...just over 1,500."1
Several thoughts hit Stephen at once. 'What is that in human years?' 'This
is why ancient humans thought they were gods.' 'Even if I used dark energy
to lengthen my life, I wouldn't see him reach his 2,000th birthday.'
The one he settled on, however, was "how old were you when you first got
Lorelei covered his trembling hand on her abdomen. "In human terms? A
teenager. I didn't mean for it to happen. I was just trying to seduce the
horse. I thought I could outrun him." She saw the growing horror on
Stephen's face and realized she had said too much. She hadn't talked about
Slepenir and the manner in which he was conceived in recent years and
never with a human. She reached for the extra pillow they kept on hand and
Stephen automatically helped her arrange it between her knees. She would
rather prop her leg on his hip, but she knew that would be just as
uncomfortable as nothing after a few minutes. "I had a choice then as I
did now. I don't regret it. He was magnificent. The finest stead Odin ever
"Wait...he was Odin's horse?"
"Well...he made an excellent war horse and I wasn't a warrior."
"Odin rode his own grandson into battle?!"
"Calm down, Stephen."
"I am calm! I..." Stephen realized he was practically shouting and took a
"I was his mother, but he was still a horse. He was well cared for." Her
breath caught as a cramp gripped her. "Yes, this is definitely labor," she
A watch appeared in Stephen's hand and he made a mental note of the time.
"Gotta be very early stages. At least twenty minutes apart." He gently
brushed her hair back and curled his fingers around the back of her neck,
brushing her cheek with his thumb. "You're sure this won't last longer
than human labor?"
She had already assured Stephen that her prolonged pregnancy would not end
with an equally prolonged labor. Even though she had absolutely no idea
what constituted "normal" in this exact circumstance, she knew that labor
lasting longer than forty-eight hours was rare for both humans and
Asgardians. Frigga had always claimed her thirty-six hours giving birth to
Thor was due to him being stubborn from the very beginning.
She twisted her head around to kiss his palm. "I'm sure."
Christine Palmer wished she could remember a time when life had been
normal. When her friend, former coworker and occasional fling couldn't
just show up in the hospital as if he had appeared out of thin air and fly
around the room as an "astral projection". When they didn't have to worry
about attacks from alien beings and humans with abnormal abilities.
When Stephen had appeared weeks ago and pulled her into a private room to
"discuss a situation", she hadn't known what to expect. His story about a
woman he had impregnated four months earlier but who could possibly give
birth any day now to their ten month old fetus had left her in stunned
silence. And that was before he told her the woman was the same
shape-shifting alien that had attacked New York years earlier.
"He was working on behalf of a bigger enemy then. Probably not entirely
Christine had blinked stupidly. "He?"
"He's a she now, obviously. Shapeshifter."
"Not that I don't believe you, but...are you sure the baby is yours? How
is that even possible? His...her DNA is completely alien - how is it
compatible with yours?"
"I don't know," Stephen had admitted. "But it happened. And I need your
She had agreed, even though she never met the patient. And weeks later a
very frazzled looking Stephen had appeared in her apartment.
It was early in the morning - she hadn't even left for the hospital yet -
and Stephen said Loki had been in labor for more than twenty-four hours
and was only just entering active labor.
"I know it's normal, but she can't rest and she won't let me do anything
for the pain," he babbled.
Christine hadn't attended many childbirths since completing her residency,
but in almost all cases she had witnessed this sort of panic in the
father. This desperation of a man watching a loved one suffer and being
helpless to ease their pain. She caught his trembling hands and ordered
him to breathe, giving him a minute to calm before prompting him for
medical details and retrieving the supply bag she had kept on hand since
he told her about the situation.
She barely had time to take in the mansion she followed him through a
portal into before her attention was drawn to the woman on her hands and
knees at the top of a staircase, naked except for a robe hastily pulled
Stephen was at her side immediately, bending to help her up. She yanked
him down on the floor with her instead, one hand twisted in the fabric of
his shirt, and a deep moan vibrated through her.
Christine stood back and marveled as Stephen pulled the woman he claimed
had once attacked their planet into his arms and murmured "it's okay,
honey. I've got you. Breathe."
When the contraction ended, Christine noted the time and offered to help
Stephen get their patient somewhere more comfortable.
"You must be Doctor Palmer," the woman said wearily.
"Er...yes." Christine held out her hand to shake.
"Help me up," the woman said in the manner of someone accustomed to people
obeying her orders.
"Okay," Christine said meekly, mostly because Stephen was already
following the command.
They each took a side, supporting her as she insisted on walking. "Should
I call you Loki, or..." Christine's voice trailed off uncertainly.
"You can call me whatever you like," Lorelei panted. "Seeing as you'll be
wrist deep in my cunt, I think we can dispense with formalities."
Christine shot Stephen a look, but he was averting his eyes uncomfortably.
"Okay, well...speaking of that...have you checked her dilation, Stephen?"
"About five centimeters," he muttered.
'Still a ways to go,' Christine thought. "Stephen tells me you won't take
anything for the pain."
"I said she wouldn't let me DO anything," Stephen corrected. "I found
something far more effective than an epidural."
"It works faster, too," Lorelei muttered. "Not. Yet."
"Well, it's your decision, but there's no sense in suffering if you don't
have to," Christine said with the sort of gentle authority well practiced
on difficult patients.
"I am not suffering. I've handled far worse pain. I won't prolong this
just to get temporary relief."
"Will you at least consider the bath again," Stephen asked.
"Mmm...only if you join me again," Lorelei purred.
"Knock it off, Loki,"
"Tell me, Doctor Palmer, are all humans as ashamed of their own sexual
desires as this one?"
A contraction seized Lorelei before Christine could formulate an answer.
She grunted and staggered a step before pulling away from Christine to
wrap both of her arms around Stephen, burying her face in his shoulder to
muffle her pained whimpers.
"Breathe, honey," Stephen murmured in her ear, his annoyance with her
behavior instantly evaporating. He swayed with her instinctively as she
rode out the wave.
Christine checked her watch and waited.
Minutes later, when the laboring woman sagged in Stephen's arms, she
helped him get her the remaining steps to the bed so she could perform her
"Are the contractions getting stronger," she asked, taking Lorelei's
Christine pulled a latex glove from her bag and put it on her right hand,
then coated her gloved fingers with KY. "I'm sorry, this will probably be
uncomfortable," she said as she worked. "I'll try to be gentle."
"Oh, please, don't be."
Christine hesitated and shot her an incredulous look.
"Stop it," Stephen muttered tiredly.
Lorelei sighed and leaned back on her hands, spreading her legs, the open
robe falling unceremoniously to her sides.
Christine's eyes were drawn momentarily to the full, bare breasts above
the swollen abdomen. She averted them quickly, embarrassed by the sudden,
intrusive and entirely inappropriate thoughts she was having. She steeled
herself and - quickly and carefully - pushed her lubricated fingers into
Lorelei's birth canal, feeling the opening of her cervix.
Lorelei winced and almost instinctively closed her legs. She was pretty
sure Stephen had been far more gentle when he'd examined her earlier.
"Still just a little over five centimeters," Christine declared, removing
her hand and pulling the glove off. "You should let us give you the
epidural. Or...whatever it is Stephen is offering, which I'm assuming is
safe." She added the last part as a warning. She didn't think he would try
any crazy, experimental drugs on OTHER people, but there was no telling
what a person might be willing to do for someone they cared about as he
obviously did for this woman. "This baby is going to come when it is ready
to come and refusing pain relief isn't going to make that happen any
faster. If you can take something now, maybe both of you can rest before
you need to start pushing."
Lorelei brought her legs back together and gathered her robe around her
naked body slowly. She glanced at Stephen as she debated with herself. She
had wanted this to be over as quickly as possible - both for her sake and
for Stephen's. But it was becoming obvious that nothing about the birth
would be easy and she didn't really relish the idea of spending all of who
knew how many remaining hours screaming in agony. She nodded at Stephen
and he sagged with relief.
Christine turned to Stephen expectantly, but all questions of what he
needed her to do to administer the pain relief died on her lips as he
pressed a hand to Lorelei's back and she groaned softly, her body
"That's...that's it," Christine spluttered. "What did you do?"
"Too difficult to explain," Stephen muttered. "But you were right - it's
perfectly safe. And it will last as long as we need it to."
Christine was silent for a while, standing back as Stephen helped Lorelei
arrange herself comfortably on her side, bunching pillows around her and
between her legs.
She had another contraction once she was settled and Stephen stroked her
hair as she grunted softly. It was an odd feeling - pressure and
discomfort, but numbness where there had been sharp pain before. She
wondered if she had been wrong to refuse the treatment sooner.
She fell into a fitful sleep before the next contraction.
Christine kept watch over Lorelei while she slept. Well...she and the
creepy cloak that moved by itself and, she was pretty sure, Stephen's
astral form. He had disappeared somewhere to sleep, but she was pretty
sure she had felt his presence while she was setting up the electronic
fetal monitor he'd "borrowed" from the hospital.
Lorelei managed to sleep through several contractions, occasionally
emitting a soft whimper. Whatever Stephen did was working wonders.
She had barely entered transition when Christine felt a gust of air and
both the cloak and the presence disappeared. She called Stephen's name
tentatively and briefly considered leaving Lorelei to look for him. But
then Lorelei whined, her eyes fluttering. She was waking up.
"It's all right," Christine whispered, rubbing her shoulder. "You're doing
It took two more contractions before awareness fully returned to Lorelei.
"Stephen," she moaned.
"Do you want me to get him?"
Christine jumped as Stephen breezed into the room suddenly, a very tall,
very muscled man with a patch over his right eye trailing behind him. She
made room for Stephen to kneel beside the bed. He bent so his face was
level with Lorelei's.
"Can you hear me, honey," he asked, stroking her hair.
"It's okay." He kissed her cheek. "Everything's fine. You're doing great."
"...ihzit time," she mumbled sleepily.
"Not yet. Is the spell still working?"
She hummed noncommittally.
As Stephen seemed to have forgotten them in his concern for the laboring
woman, Christine decided it was up to her to introduce herself to the
She held out her hand. "Doctor Christine Palmer."
He was slow to respond, focused on the woman on the bed. "Thor," he said,
shaking her hand.
"Thor," Christine repeated slowly. "As in..."
"Loki's brother," Stephen interjected. He spared her a glance and
shrugged. "Figured we could use an extra set of hands."
'Yeah, sure,' Christine thought. 'It's not like this can get any weirder
than it already is.'
"You're...the one with the hammer, right?"
For an hour and a half, Christine and Thor played catch up between periods
of helping Lorelei shift positions and checking her progress. She was
barely aware of them and she mistook Thor for Odin once in her delirium.
She mostly drifted in and out half draped over Stephen, who had taken to
singing quietly in her ear to soothe her. Pink Floyd, Bread, Poison, Earth
Wind & Fire. It seemed to be working, but midway through a rendition
of "Wildfire" she ordered him to stop on pain of death.2
She was still numbed from the spell, so Stephen felt the change almost
before she did. The powerful, unending contractions suddenly eased and the
far-away look in Lorelei's eyes shifted. He called to Christine
calmly, not taking his focus from Lorelei, petting the long black hair
that was becoming limp and matted.
"What's wrong," Lorelei asked, her voice strained.
"Nothing's wrong," Christine assured from between her legs. She pulled her
hand free and smiled. "You're fully dilated. You can start pushing on the
Twenty minutes and two attempts at pushing later, Lorelei ordered Stephen
to break the spell that had kept the pain at bay for the latter stages of
labor. Stephen did so reluctantly, though he knew his hesitance was partly
his own selfish desire to not watch her suffer. He produced a steady
supply of damp cloths to wash the sweat from her face and neck in a
helpless bid to comfort her as she strained and writhed and cried in
Thor's supportive hold.
For a while they worked as a team. Christine coaching her through each
push. Stephen reminding her to breathe and offering reassurance. Thor
holding her steady and squeezing her hands, unflinching as her nails dug
into his skin.
Lorelei was too focused on the pain and overwhelming need to push to be
horrified by her helpless state. She didn't remember feeling so
overwhelmed when she gave birth to Slepenir, but that had been more than a
century ago. And she had been a mare.
"I see her head," Christine announced just before Lorelei's water broke
and the cushion around her daughter's body disappeared. She wailed as the
burning pain spiked, barely aware of the arms around her, the hands
rubbing her trembling thighs. She didn't know whose they were and she
"Out...get her out," she heard herself sob. For a horrible second she
feared she was projecting herself out of her body and clawed frantically
at Thor to ground herself.
"It's all right," she heard Stephen say in that calm but urgent tone he
had been using for hours. His hands stroked her face. "You're doing great,
honey." His voice was warbling. She could feel the anxiety he was trying
to control, the empathetic pain and distress he tried to hide.
A long, blood curdling cry ripped from her as the burning increased until
she was sure she would pass out from the pain. And then suddenly it
"The head's out," she heard Christine say from a distance. "One more big
Lorelei gathered every ounce of strength she had, clamped down on Thor's
hands and curled around her abdomen, focusing everything she had on
pushing. She barely heard the encouragements they continued to offer and
barely felt the hands helping guide her daughter into the world. She was
only distantly aware that she was screaming.
And then suddenly it was over. The horrible, burning pressure eased and
she fell into her brother's arms, limp.
"Strange," Thor called, alarmed.
Stephen tore his attention from the newborn, who was taking her first
breaths and crying wetly, to look to Lorelei, who had become alarmingly
"Go," Christine prompted. "I've got this." She wrapped the baby in towels
and retreated from the bed.
Stephen helped Thor lay Lorelei back, piling pillows beneath her. He took
her pulse and gently pried her eyelids open to check her pupils. "Talk to
"Ihzzshe...mhm..." Lorelei slurred.
Stephen gathered her hand in his, fighting back tears. "She's fine.
Perfect. You did it, honey."
Lorelei hummed weakly. "Love..." Her hand went limp, her head lolling on
Thor made an alarmed noise and gathered the already soiled sheets,
pressing them between Lorelei's legs. "She's bleeding!"
Post partum hemorrhage. Stephen froze for a moment, not quite
comprehending how he could be losing her like this. Berating himself for
thinking he could do this so far from a hospital. She was bleeding out.
There wasn't enough time to get her into surgery.
He projected his astral form from his body almost before the thought had
finished forming in his mind and raced to the Sanctum library, searching
through texts for the spell he needed. He knew he had time to find it. His
body had barely begun crumpling to the bed. But he moved quickly,
frantically. And by the time he returned to his body, it had barely moved
"Stand back," he ordered.
Thor stumbled back obediently after only a moment's hesitation and watched
in amazement as the wizard bowed over the dying woman on the bed, pressing
his hands gently to the sides of her head. The air around them seemed to
warble and, like an image coming into focus, the feminine curves of the
body on the bed flattened, realigned and shifted into a shape Thor
recognized as his brother.
Except he was blue.
"Oh my god," Christine gasped, clutching the cleaned and swaddled newborn
to her chest and watching, wide-eyed from the corner as Stephen nearly
collapsed on top of the blue skinned man lying where Lorelei used to be.
Thor reached to steady the sorcerer.
Stephen blinked at Loki in surprise. He had seen pictures of the trickster
god responsible for the Chitauri attack, but this creature with ridge
patterns in his blue skin didn't quite match that image.
Loki's eyes opened and an instinctive spike of fear ran through Stephen.
They were blood red.
He calmed as he realized the eyes were unfocused, terrified and, despite
their alarming color, entirely familiar. He cupped Loki's face between his
hands gently, wincing at the unnatural coldness of his skin. "It's all
right," he murmured, though the creature was obviously barely aware of his
surroundings. "You're safe. Rest, Loki."
Loki made a garbled noise, as if he had forgotten how to speak, and the
blue tint faded, his skin warming beneath Stephen's hands, his eyes
turning back to their former greenish blue before he lost consciousness.
"I've never seen him in his Frost Giant form before," Thor murmured.
'Jotun,' Stephen thought. He had seen a picture of one once in an obscure
text. They were, essentially, an artifact of Asgardian history. Loki was
the last one. He verified that Loki was stable and conjured some boxers to
preserve his modesty. Assuming he had any.
Assured that there was nothing more he could do for Loki for the time
being, Stephen turned his attention to his daughter, fussing quietly in
Christine's arms. "Is she all right?"
Christine, still staring at the man on the bed and trying to process that
he had given birth to the perfectly healthy, seemingly human child in her
arms, startled. "Uh...yeah. Yeah, she's...she's fine."
She gently transferred the infant into Stephen's outstretched arms and
smiled as tears sprang to his eyes.
The smile froze in confusion as he asked "can you get bloodwork for a DNA
"For her? Why? Do you think something is wrong?"
"I don’t know," Stephen admitted quietly. "Just...take a sample and give
it to Thor."
Christine glanced at the Asgardian king hovering beside his brother's
insensate form, whispering softly to him. This was why Stephen had brought
him. She wanted to ask, but she doubted Stephen would give her any
"Okay..." She rubbed Stephen's arm comfortingly. "Do you have a name for
Stephen didn't look up as he answered "Hela."
In the moment between consciousness and full awareness, Loki wondered if
it had all been a dream. He reached instinctively for the swell and found
only a flat abdomen. He opened his eyes and took quick stock. He was still
in the New York Sanctum, but he was back in his male body. And he was
He frantically tried to recall the events immediately preceding his loss
of consciousness. He remembered feeling the strength leave his body, the
warm rush of blood, Thor yelling in alarm and then Stephen's voice
soothing him. He had been dying.
He dragged himself upright. Someone had dressed him and changed the
bedding, but he could still feel the dried blood between his thighs.
He staggered from the bed and conjured his old, familiar leathers around
him before he went searching for Stephen.
He found the sorcerer sleeping in a chair beside a crib. Or rather, waking
up in a chair beside a crib. Loki wondered if Stephen's astral form had
been standing guard over the infant.
"Loki." Stephen moved toward him, reaching out.
Loki took a step back. "Don't touch me."
Stephen hesitated and let his hands fall back to his sides, but he didn't
back away. "How do you feel?"
"Alive," Loki sneered.
An awkward silence stretched between them until Loki spoke again.
"Is it her?"
"Thor took a sample for Doctor Banner to test. We'll know for sure soon,
but..." Stephen let his words trail away. He didn't need to say the rest.
They all knew the baby could only be Hela. "Would you like to hold her?"
Loki grimaced. "No."
He turned and retreated from the room before Stephen could say anything
Construction of the mirror dimension was one of the few spells Stephen had
been able to teach Lorelei. Thankfully, Loki remembered it and had the
consideration to use it before taking out his rage on the Sanctum.
Stephen stepped tentatively into the dimension and took a moment to
appreciate this good fortune as he surveilled the damage. Everything had
been upended. The floor was littered with books, broken pottery and
shattered glass. Part of the banister had been ripped away.
Loki sat slumped at the foot of the main staircase, his hair mussed and
wild, his eyes red-rimmed.
Stephen knelt beside him and reached to brush a lock of hair back. Loki
slapped his hand away. Stephen sighed and sat on the floor - close enough
that Loki could lean on him if he chose to, but not actually touching him.
"Why," Loki asked after a long pause in a rough voice - a quiet
Stephen debated prompting him further, but decided it was pointless.
Instead, he answered with a question of his own. "Did you actually want to
Loki sneered. "You think I had a choice?"
"You think you didn't?"
"It was my FATE. All this talk of destiny and choice, but when it really
matters you cannot accept the necessary sacrifices that must be made."
"What makes you think you were a necessary sacrifice? Hela didn't know who
her real parents were. How would dying change anything?"
Loki made a noise that might have been a laugh if it weren't so bitter.
"Is that how you've worked it out? You tell yourself your savior complex
is justified because there's a chance I can still alter her destiny?"
Stephen bristled. "Savior complex? You think I saved you out of a
compulsive need to be a hero?"
"No, I don't think you want to be a hero. I think you want to be a god."
Stephen flinched. He knew there was some truth to that accusation. All
doctors felt the rush of successfully defeating death. But that wasn't why
he had saved Loki. "I didn't save you out of some twisted sense of self
glorification. I saved you because I couldn't bear to watch you die!"
Loki snorted. "You still think you love me."
"No," Stephen snapped. "I *know* I love you. And if it makes me a selfish
asshole who ripped a hole in the fabric of spacetime because I couldn't
let you go, then I guess that's my fate."
Loki was silent for a while. Then he pulled away from Stephen and climbed
to his feet.
Stephen followed, sensing the impending collapse, catching Loki as he
staggered and muffling a pained yell when the god slapped his hands again
a little too hard.
Loki froze at the garbled sound. He had been so mindful of Stephen's
injured hands when he'd been Lorelei. Even in the throes of labor. But in
the heat of the moment he had forgotten himself.
"Look..." Stephen held his hands out in a non-threatening gesture. "You're
exhausted. Even if you've healed, you lost a lot of blood. You should
Loki stopped fighting and allowed Stephen to escort him out of the mirror
universe. He said nothing until he was seated on the bed and a glass with
a milky fluid was pressed in his hands.
"Are you drugging me again?"
"No. It's just coconut milk. It's good for replenishing fluids."
Loki stared at him.
"Okay, I might have laced it with a pain reliever, but it's only enough to
take the edge off."
Loki sipped at it tentatively and grimaced.
"I'll draw you a bath."
"I'm fine," Loki protested.
"Yeah, maybe, but you smell awful, so..."
Loki almost laughed at that. He sniffed at the "milk" again and did a
quick spell to change it into a mug of tea.
Stephen gave him a displeased look.
"What? It was revolting. Too watery to qualify as milk and too cloudy to
Stephen gestured and the mug turned into a glass of orange juice.
Loki sighed and drank while Stephen disappeared into the tiny bathroom. By
the time the Midguardian returned, he had drained the glass, refilled it
(lacing it with a generous doze of Asgardian pain relief) and drained it
again. He waved away the hand Stephen offered to help him up. "I can
He stumbled into the bathroom, closing the door before Stephen could
follow. He hesitated when he saw the way Stephen had arranged everything
for him - the shampoo, conditioner and soap lined up in easy reach of the
tub, a soft towel and robe draped over a rack on the wall. He thought of
how Stephen had fretted over him...her...the last time she had been in
that tub. How he'd soaked his t-shirt holding her laboring body and
humming soothingly in her ear.
Loki shook himself of the memory and removed his clothing, easing his body
into the warm water. Stephen didn't love him. He loved the illusion Loki
had created for him. The beautiful seductress who bore his child. He might
believe he could love the man "Lorelei" had turned back into, but that was
only a delusion.
Loki cleaned his body slowly and methodically. He washed his hair and
carefully worked the tangles out with the conditioner. By the time he was
finished, the painkillers had fully kicked in and he relaxed in the
cooling water as long as he could stand.
He startled when he heard the baby cry and instinctively crawled from the
bath before he remembered that Stephen was watching her. The crying
stopped and he stood frozen for a moment, stunned by the evidence of a
He dried himself, wrapped the robe tightly around his body and crept
quietly back to the room he had found them in earlier. The makeshift
Stephen had his back to the door. He was singing softly to the bundle in
his arms, swaying gently. "We're gonna have a good time and no one's gonna
take that time away. You can stay as long as you like. So close your
eyes...you can close your eyes, it's all right. I don't know no love songs
and I can't sing the blues anymore. But I can sing this song, and you can
sing this song when I'm gone."3
The words trailed away until he was just softly humming the melody. He
kissed the baby and tucked her back into her crib, watching for a moment
to make sure she had settled.
Loki debated fleeing the room before he was caught hovering in the
doorway, but he knew it was pointless. Stephen already sensed his
presence. Their eyes met as Stephen turned.
"How can you do that," Loki blurted.
Stephen blinked, thrown by the question. "Do what?"
Loki gestured vaguely at the room. "You act as if you don't know what she
will become. How she will die."
"What am I supposed to do? She's a baby, Loki. None of that matters."
"It does matter! She will destroy Asgard and most of our people. She will
die a wretched monster."
Stephen gestured for him to quiet down before their argument woke Hela and
sighed. "Yeah, maybe. But right now she is a *baby*. Our baby."
"You still think you can change it? You think you can save her from her
Stephen threw up his hands in exasperation. "What do you want me to do?
Nothing has changed. You want me to use the time stone right now and
deliver her to Odin before we understand how or why or if that's even the
way it's supposed to happen? For all we know that would only make it
Loki's eyes slid away from Stephen's, focusing on a random spot on the
wall. He knew Stephen was making a valid point, but he was tired of
feeling helpless, trapped by preordained events. Thor was right: his plans
always managed to blow up in his face in the end. If he hadn't come up
with his scheme to secure the throne none of it would have happened.
Maybe that was the answer.
"Would you use the time stone to prevent us from ever meeting?"
Stephen's breath caught in his throat. "No," he said quietly when he was
able to speak.
Loki's eyes returned to Stephen's face, anger flashing across them. "Why?
We would all be better off."
"Don't say that," Stephen pleaded, moving toward Loki, reaching out to
Loki dodged his hand deftly. "Don't *touch* me. You only think you love me
because you were taken in by the illusion I created - the seductress. And
now you think you can defy fate and fix everything, make us into some sort
of perfect family. It won't work!" He squared his shoulders as his resolve
hardened. "If you won't do it, then I will be forced to do it myself."
Stephen visibly panicked. "You can't..."
Loki was already moving, changing back into his leathers as he walked. He
knew where Stephen kept the Infinity Stone. He and Wong had explained the
history of all the stones to Stephen one day and Loki had partially
explained how Thanos had used him to obtain the most powerful of all of
them in an ultimately failed attack on Earth. Loki let them think the
Tesseract had been destroyed with Asgard.
Stephen appeared in front of Loki. "Please don't do this."
Loki replicated himself and ducked around Stephen before he had time to
identify which clone was real.
"You don't know how much damage you could do," Stephen tried when he
caught up again.
Loki slipped past him again and reached the podium where the artifact
encasing the stone was kept. Stephen's hands covered his as he reached for
"You will remember everything. Dormammu killed me a thousand times and I
remember every death. How it felt to be suffocated, crushed, impaled on a
spike, torn apart...the stone doesn't erase your memories."
Loki looked into Stephen's desperate gaze. He had never attempted to
manipulate time in this way before, so this was not a detail he had
considered. It gave him pause, but only for a moment. "Then I will
remember why it had to be done," he said.
He tore his hands from Stephen's grip, opened the Eye of Agomotto and
His plan was to intercept Lorelei on her way to meeting Stephen for the
first time. He would convince her of the folly of her plan - tell her it
was doomed to disaster. She would believe him. She *was* him.
But as he waited for her he thought about the look in Stephen's eyes when
he realized he couldn't stop him. Would *he* remember any of it when the
timeline changed? He was never supposed to know Lorelei's true identity.
He was never supposed to know about the baby. Everything had become
complicated once Thor had discovered his plan and forced Lorelei to return
What would it be like, he wondered, to remember something that had never
really happened? Would it be like a dream? Like he was remembering a life
someone else lived?
How long would it be before the memories faded? Would they? He didn't
think he could ever forget the look in Stephen's eyes as their bodies
entwined. The gentle reverence of his touch. The feel of the first
stirrings of life inside him. The agony of birth.
He thought of Hela again. Much as he wanted to believe she was an
irredeemable monster, he had recognized her for what she truly was. A
broken, damaged soul desperate for Odin to see her as worthy. Wanting to
be loved, but convinced she didn't deserve it. She was his daughter. He
had been blind to not see it before.
Loki looked at the glowing time stone and recalled all the conversations
he'd had with Stephen in the months before Hela's birth. If he was
successful in changing the past, would Hela simply cease to exist or would
her progeny merely change? Would she become the true child of Odin and
Frigga as she believed herself to be? Or if Ragnarok truly could not be
stopped would another take her place entirely - one that was beyond
He slowly spun time forward again until he found himself back in the New
York Sanctum and returned the artifact to its pedestal.
He found Stephen on the bed, dressed as he had been when he'd left, curled
protectively around the sleeping bundle he had retrieved from the nursery.
Waiting for her to disappear. He startled when Loki sat on the bed and
blinked up at him with red-rimmed eyes.
"I couldn't," Loki said softly, an answer to a question that hadn't been
asked. Trembling fingers wrapped around his wrist and he ignored his
instinct to pull away.
Stephen felt the tension in him anyway. He stroked the soft leather that
almost covered everything below Loki's neck, including the backs of his
hands. "Why don't you want me to touch you," he asked softly.
Loki didn't respond. Didn't move.
Stephen sighed and cast a spell to send the baby back to her crib the same
way he had gotten her out of it without waking her. He tugged Loki's
wrist, coaxing him to lay down, then continued stroking the inside of his
arm. "I didn't fall in love with Lorelei," he said after a long silence.
"She seduced me, yes, and in the heat of passion I might have confused the
lust I felt for her with love. But I have fallen in love with the person
beneath the illusion - the one I have gotten to know these past few
months." He stroked down the arm until he could take Loki's hand in a
loose grip. "I know it can't last. You are still young by the standards of
your people and I am already middle-aged by the standards of mine. I know
it's foolish to think you would want to stay with me, but...please. Just
let me have this a little bit longer."
"You haven't seen the real me," Loki muttered.
"You mean metaphysically or the blue-skinned creature you turned into when
I tried to get you back to this form?"
Loki stared at Stephen. The moments before he passed out were fuzzy. He
didn't remember taking his Jotun form.
"I mean, the red eyes were kind of spooky, but otherwise you looked the
same as you do now."
Loki cringed. "I am a monster."
Stephen let go of his hand and gripped his chin gently, coaxing him to
turn his head until their eyes met. "No, you're not," he said softly.
Loki was silent until Stephen started to lean closer with the clear
intention of kissing him. Then he blurted "do you really remember dying a
Stephen hesitated, then slowly eased back, letting his hand fall.
"Uh...yeah. I mean, after the first six hundred they sort of started to
blend into each other a little, but...yeah.
"Why did you keep coming back?"
"Because my world needed me to hold the line. Because my life..." Stephen
stuttered as he realized the significance of what he was about to say. "My
life was an acceptable trade for the lives of everyone on the planet."
"A necessary sacrifice," Loki said dully.
"It's not the same."
Loki sighed. "I know." He thought for a moment, then seemed to switch
gears. "The pain lingers when I change form. Sometimes for years, even
though the scars are long erased. Thanos never laid a hand on me. He
always got his 'children' to do his dirty work. The worst was Ebony Maw.
He is a sadist and his devotion to Thanos borders on religious worship. He
delighted in making me scream and grovel until I vowed to do anything
Thanos asked of me just to make it stop."
"Including leading the attack on Earth and retrieving one of the infinity
stones for him."
"I thought I could double-cross him. I suppose in a way I have, even if it
wasn't quite what I had planned. Thor took one of the stones back to
Asgard and Stark put the other in his android. Since the loss of neither
was my doing, he cannot blame me." He was saying too much. Revealing a
weakness. Admitting he was afraid of Thanos and his "children". But he
couldn't lie to Stephen anymore. The man who had cared for him tirelessly
and pulled him from the brink of death. The man who looked at him as no
one had ever looked at him before - who had seen the monster hidden
beneath his skin and still claimed to love him.
The scarred fingers that had been stroking his arm transferred to his
abdomen. "Does it still hurt," the doctor asked in a gentle, low murmur.
There was no point in denying it. His chest ached despite the fact that he
no longer had breasts so full of milk that they felt ready to burst like
overfilled balloons. Everything between his ribs and his groin felt like
it had been removed and reinserted wrong. He had dreaded cleaning between
his legs in the bath as he still felt like he had been torn open - like he
should still be bleeding. He nodded.
His breath caught as Stephen bent over him, peeled back his tunic and
kissed his abdomen. He had performed the maneuver only days ago, when the
skin had been stretched around their daughter. Emotions welled in Loki
that he couldn't quite understand and he feared for a moment that he might
Stephen straightened and captured Loki's lips in a brief, tender kiss. He
settled beside the Jotun, being mindful of where their bodies touched so
he didn't cause him any pain. Loki was both grateful and annoyed by the
gesture. He remained quiet and still as Stephen traced his features with
light, trembling fingers.
"Is this really the form you are most comfortable in?"
Loki bit back a sigh. He had known this was coming. "You preferred me as a
"I meant Asgardian."
Loki blinked. The human was annoyingly determined to defy his
expectations. "It's the body I've had most of my life. I suspect my birth
mother was Asgardian, but the only parents I ever knew were Odin and
Frigga. Whatever my birthright...this is who I am."
"Well...I meant what I said. You're still you no matter what form you
take." He traced Loki's jaw. "You're beautiful."
Loki captured the wandering hand and pressed his lips into Stephen's palm.
"I'm afraid," he murmured into the scarred flesh.
"I know," Stephen replied softly. "I am too. But whatever happens -
whenever it happens - we will get through it together. Just promise me one
"Don't ever do something like that again. TALK to me before you go off
half-cocked on some crazy plan. Especially if it involves using the time
Loki's lips twitched in a half-hearted attempt at a smirk. He nodded,
though he doubted that was a promise he could realistically make. He
twisted his body closer to the humans and let his leathers melt away,
replacing them with more Earth appropriate attire. He noted the relief
that flickered in Stephen's eyes.
"You are correct that this cannot last," he murmured, reaching to gently
run his fingers over the streak of white in Stephen's hair. "But not for
the reasons you believe. Human lives are much too short. You will leave me
long before I could ever grow bored of you."
A slow smile crept over Stephen's face as he realized the meaning of
Loki's words. It was as close to a declaration of love as either of them
had ventured. He eased his arms around the god, tugging him closer.
"Rest," he whispered. "I will give you some more pain meds when you wake
Loki didn't really want to sleep, but his brief burst of energy was
running out and the exhaustion of nearly two days of labor was creeping
back in. He would have to face his destiny sooner than later, but there
was no sense rushing it. And he did not have to face it alone.
He closed his eyes and focused on the feeling of Stephen's arms around him
- lips occasionally pressing gently against his temple - and allowed
himself to fall asleep.
He woke in a cold sweat from a nightmare about his time at the mercy of
"What is it, baby," Stephen slurred, barely opening his eyes.
"Nothing," Loki said quickly, breathing deeply, calming as the dream
loosened its hold. "It's all right. Go back to sleep." He brought the
sorcerer's hand to his mouth, pressing his lips to the knuckles.
Stephen hummed and closed his eyes again, easily giving in to the pull of
Loki lay awake, listening to Stephen's breathing deepen, his thoughts
running wild. Thanos was coming. He could sense it. Of course, he'd known
about the Titan's quest to gather the Infinity stones in a deranged plan
to save the universe by destroying half of the beings in it, but he hadn't
really cared before. He hadn't had anything to lose and Thanos wouldn't
bother with him anymore after that botched mission.
The Tesseract had fallen into Loki's possession again. Lorelei had stolen
it before Asgard was destroyed and only he knew where it was hidden, but
it was only a matter of time before Thanos realized that.
Did Thanos already know Stephen had the time stone? He must. Yet he hadn't
come to collect it yet. He had been inexplicably quiet since the attack on
Earth and nobody but him and possibly his children knew why. It was
possible he was waiting until he knew the location of EVERY stone so he
could gather them all at once and complete his plans before anyone could
mount a defense to stop him.
This must be why Hela ended up the daughter of Odin. Stephen would send
her back in time in a desperate effort to save her as Thanos laid waste to
his world. Would they both die fighting the Titan?
Loki slipped from the bed carefully so as not to wake the human and crept
to the nursery.
Hela was awake and just beginning to fuss. Despite the evidence of a
mothering instinct he had discovered earlier, Loki was unsure as he lifted
her from her bed. He didn't have any experience with caring for infants.
Nursing Slepenir for a couple weeks before retaking his Asgardian form
Stephen's cloak was just as lacking in confidence of his abilities as he
was. It had been standing guard in the corner, but it moved closer as Loki
picked up the baby and he could have sworn it was poised to snatch her
from him should he do anything suspicious. Loki did his best to ignore it,
as he always did.
He used magic to change Hela's diaper. No sense getting his hands dirty if
he didn't need to.
She continued to whimper and fuss as he replaced the onesie Stephen had
dressed her in. He picked her up carefully, uncertainly. "Shh," he
whispered. "It's all right. It's..."
'Your mum?' he thought, swallowing.
He cradled her, trying his best to mimic the stance he'd seen Stephen use
when soothing her. "It's all right," he repeated. "I'm here, darling." It
was what Lorelei had called her on the occasions she spoke to the child
growing inside her. Whether because she recognized him somehow or simply
by coincidence, the infant quieted.
For a moment, he simply looked at her in wonder. At the tiny fists
swinging aimlessly. At the features that were a perfect combination of his
and Stephen's. At the eyes that he could no longer deny were the same
steely blue as the woman who had tried to kill him - only failing, he now
realized, because she had to, or else she wouldn't have been born.
Thor had been right, much as Loki hated to admit it. He couldn't change
anything. He had to let her fulfill her destiny. He wasn't sure there was
anything he could do to stop it anyway anymore. She was the child of two
very strong willed beings from races inclined toward violence. Odin tried
to focus that energy for centuries before she became too powerful for him.
She changed him, Loki realized. If it hadn't been for her, Odin might have
treated him differently and he may never have wound up where he did. He
may never have come up with a plan to take the throne of Asgard without
bloodshed by seducing a sorcerer into giving him an heir.
Her destiny had been written the moment she had been conceived.
Loki kissed her forehead, inhaling the scent of her deeply, shakily. This
was why he couldn't have known his daughter's true identity until after
Ragnarok, he realized. If he had known who he was really raising Sutur
against, he doubted he could have gone through with it. He wished he
hadn't known until after she had been sent back to Odin, but he had a
feeling he needed to know that part now. Because if Thanos was really
coming, Loki understood why he had to send her back. If she was left to
survive the Titan's attack on Earth - an orphan among the rubble - Thanos
would raise her as one of his slavish "children". Odin's parenting skills
may have been flawed, but they were a far better alternative. An
alternative Loki may never have considered if he didn't already know it
"You won't believe this," he whispered. "But I love you. And I'm sorry."
Hela blinked up at him innocently and then slowly drifted to sleep in his
arms as he sang a lullaby he remembered his mother...their
mother...singing to him when he was a child.
He tucked her carefully back in her crib and nodded at the cloak that
continued to stand guard. Part of the collar waved back at him and he
wasn't sure if it was a nod or a far less charitable gesture, but he was
inclined to believe the former as it seemed to have relaxed since he had
first entered the nursery.
He crawled back into the bed carefully so he wouldn't wake Stephen.
Although really, what Loki wanted to do was wake him by kissing him
breathless and then invite the human to explore this new body and see if
he could illicit the same responses he had days before with filthy
promises to return the favor in kind. He wanted to make the most of what
limited time they both had left (together or, in fact, at all).
But it could wait until morning.
He closed his eyes and listened to Stephen's breathing for a few minutes
before deciding he wasn't going to sleep anytime soon. And, he thought as
he reached for Stephen, he was never much for delayed gratification.
1. This number is based on research I did a
few years ago on how old all the Asgardians were. Both Thor and Loki were
supposedly somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500. Except now Nick Fury is
saying "almost a thousand" in the "What If" series, so...whatever. I'm
sticking with this.
2. For anyone who doesn't know the song...it's about a girl dying in a
"killing frost" looking for a horse that may or may not be a ghost.
3. You Can Close Your Eyes, by James Taylor, 1971.