Warnings: bad grammar XD
Fill for the prompt from my dear accomplice vardek on Norse!Kink.
(I had a similar idea for a long time, so it was indeed a crime not to try to fill it *brow wiggle* )
Work is in progress, so I would be grateful for any ideas or criticism or pokes for mistakes ( work is unbetaed, so all mistakes are mine).
P.S. If you have an idea how to title it- please tell me, because all my titles are epic failures XD
Chapter 1 part B.
The humans never ceased to surprise Loki.
As the procession left the twilight desert, agent Coulson joined Aesir in the main carriage and talked them through the main principles of negotiations.
Aside from anticipated “based on mutual respect” and “willingness to cooperate on important topics”,
Coulson asked them to follow one most important guideline- discretion.
What an interesting choice.
Coulson explained that his troops needed time to ease the main population into the state of things. Since the Aesir haven't visited the Earth for quite a long time, their sudden appearance, no matter how peaceful their intentions were, could be perceived by people as an act of aggression and cause massive panic.
“To avoid those undesirable consequences we humbly ask you to refrain from displaying any sort of “magical” powers in public, unless you are in imminent danger.”
A rather provocative request from Loki's point of view, but son of Coul managed to convince him in the importance of it after a short debate.
Thor got rather pissed when he realized that he was not going to get a royal welcome he waited for.
There were no plans for any ceremonial feasts or acts of praising, no gift exchanging or even balls thrown in the name of the honored guests.
The visit would be kept simple, fast paced and down to business, at least until the sides would reach an agreement.
Loki on the other hand was secretly relieved.
He hated all those burlesque and honey-mouthed displays of mutual gratitude. He shunned away from those in Asgard, preferring to slip into the shadows and disappear to the library or the garden far from noise and flows of mead and flattering lies.
May be it was because he could see through those masks of insincerity and lies the foreign diplomats put on and see their sulked and feral faces when they lied to Aesir. Or may be because those lies were never directed to him. The ambassadors chose to shower his father or Thor with songs of adulation, usually overlooking the second prince.
Was it because they knew he wouldn't fall into their cajolery? Was it because they knew he was only a second in line to the throne and hence not that important? Or was it because he simply didn't have anything to be praised for?
Whatever reason was it was no longer important. Now though, Loki thought, I have to be grateful for son of Coul for saving me from that ordeal.
He would rather prefer to bypass all the formalities and get straight to business, especially since he had so many questions swirling in his head, so many things he wanted to learn, so many things he wanted humans to show him...
They have progressed enormously. Not only were they able to make a high-quality steel, they managed to make it move in any direction without applying their own force or using horses to drag it.
They still lacked knowledge on many secrets of the universe, of course, but judging by the lady Jane's tales they didn't just make a step, they leaped forward.
Loki felt like he was a man in a desert under the scorching sun, looking for the spring of water, only his water was knowledge.
Thor, however, was not at all excited. His displeasure grew and he was not gentle in displaying it. Loki silently commended agent Coulson's patience, because Loki himself was fuming at his brother's misplaced and mistimed tantrum, while Coulson didn't even twitch an eyebrow.
The agent instead asked lady Jane to accompany them into their next carriage- the one that flew through the sky, when the procession stopped.
The maiden was rather inspired by the invitation and immediately started bubbling with Thor, asking questions, telling stories about Earth and its people and its science. Thor immediately eased and diverted all his attention to the woman.
A very smart move from the son of Coul.
Loki would have been worried if he didn't see how sincere Jane's emotions were. She was clearly interested in all that was happening around her and wasn't hiding anything behind her facade.
It was still incredibly concerning turn of events though.
The woman got into the process by fortuity only, and yet she managed to completely divert Thor's attention away from negotiations themselves.
Loki feared what would have happened if her place was occupied by someone sent intentionally, some woman who was specially trained in pleasing the men, a sort of smart and cunning courtesan perhaps, bound on mission of deceiving and spying in favor of the earthlings.
Oh, that would have been bad, very bad.
If Thor was a king, he would have been already duped and Asgard would fall by the swing of earth woman's hips.
Speaking of deceiving...
Loki agreed on Coulson's elucidation for the need of discretion, though he was assured that something more was behind that request.
Loki could feel that humans didn't trust them even in slightest.
An extremely wise choice for the race considered inferior by all other eight realms and expected to be able only to fall to their knees and worship at the first sight of Aesir.
Humans might not have been that stupid after all.
As the flying carrier landed- helicopter, as humans called it- Loki realized the true reason for asked discretion. It was used as an excuse to hide the guests from the world in a secluded location, away from the civilian population, somewhere, where they could be tested and if humans didn't like the response, dealt with.
With the first rays of dawn they landed on a military base.
“What do you think?”
Agent Coulson glanced briefly at Rogers who stood at his side silently, enjoying the morning sun, then turned back to watch their guests walking through the main alley while a crowd of assistants were busy explaining basics of earth weaponry to the princes.
Both men had shed their flamboyant costumes from the previous night, including their breast plates, chain mails and capes. All for the sake of discretion, as they were assured by the agents.
In reality though, Coulson just thought they looked completely ridiculous and therefore needed to redress.
Now both princes were in the earth-stylized apparel and blended into the crowd of civilians perfectly.
Thor wore light-blue jeans, plaid shirt and a red blazer that made him look like an American football star on mid-season vacation.
Loki spotted black jeans, dark green t-shirt and a black leather jacket with spots of aged gold metal.
The new attire made him even leaner and more elegant, accentuating his naturally graceful movements and lithesome walk. The younger prince looked like an exotic dancer, or like a sober rock-star.
Thor was constantly flocked by several S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents playing the role of bodyguards and/or babysitters, navy personnel as the guides, and ms. Jane as Thor's earthing.
She didn't want to go but had to accept the prince's insistent request through the clenched teeth simply out of consideration of hospitality, and now was hanging on Thor's massive arm as a dead weight with an expression of utter boredom on her face.
Her assistant bailed out earlier, declaring unconditionally that since she got to the base full of nice pieces of military asses, she should use her time in full and start enlisting staffers into her new harem.
Coulson chose not to press the matter, just confiscated Darcy's tazer and let her go in peace, thinking that the farther she is from the princes, the less damage she would inflict.
The blond prince moved through the street with indifference on his face, clearly enjoying attention more then the information he's been given.
Loki, at the other hand, seemed genuinely interested, but had a hard time keeping up with the guides because he had been constantly pushed aside by the crowd of his brother's adjutants.
The prince didn't seem to be bothered by it though, as he used every possible moment to stop and thoroughly examine another piece of equipment by looking at it, touching it and occasionally smelling it.
Steve took a moment to appreciate the spectacle.
“Amazing. I didn't know you had a talent of a personal stylist.”
Coulson let out a dramatic sigh, “Another career path I had to give up for my country.”
The agent paused for a second, “ I don't remember getting prince Loki any leather jackets though...”, then continued,” Anyway, what's your intake on Thor?”
“I don't like him.”
“And why is that, Mr. Rogers?”
Steve shrugged, “ just look at him, what kind of a diplomat is that? He is a pompous, self-absorbed boor who thinks of his mission as a joke.”
“I would say, more like a paid vacation. “
“I wish we had only to deal with Loki.”
Coulson let a small smile curve his lips. “Oh, you favor the younger prince then?”
Steve blushed a bit, clearly uncomfortable with the topic. He was, after all, only a soldier, and not a politician, he had no talent or knowledge of international and more of that, interstellar relations and couldn't boast great experience in establishing personal connections. And yet when it came down to people's characters, his heart's judgment never failed him.
“All I'm saying is, Loki does seem to be a decent fella. He is at least respectful and compassionate.”
Both men watched silently as the cavalcade was interrupted by a small girl running through the street after a balloon that got carried away by the wind.
Thor stopped for a second as the blue ball flew into the nose of a jet-fighter and exploded, then turned away and continued walking, motioning for one of the assistants to take care of it.
The man patted the child on the head and took off to catch up with the others, leaving a heart-broken girl standing in front of the plane, clenching her tiny fists in attempt to hold back tears.
That very moment Loki tore himself from the display far behind and tried to come up with his brother, but stopped dead in front of the girl.
He bended down and said something, and when the girl pointed her finger to the shreds of the balloon, smiled and nodded.
Then Loki cautiously glanced around, checking if anyone was watching, and an instant later pulled out a big pink balloon from behind his back.
The girl gaped in surprise, then took the balloon and giggled happily.
Steve felt a smirk crawl slowly onto his face, “I believe, that only proves my point.”
Coulson nodded in agreement and smiled, watching as the little earthling grabbed the startled Aesir by the hand and started shamelessly bossing him around the field.
The agent was the first to break the silence.
“We move out first thing tomorrow morning. I want you to accompany us to the shooting range.”
“What are you planning to do?”
“Nothing fancy, just a little demonstration of the power to show our guests what Earth has to offer. We, of course, expect the same from them.”
Steve turned to Coulson and tilted his head, “You are really not that excited about all this alien thing, are you?”
Phil nodded, “We simply need to make sure that Earth will benefit from this alliance.”
“Oh, c'mon, don't tell me you weren't amazed by that lightning yesterday!”
“I was.” The agent's poker face gave out no emotion whatsoever, “But not that much.”
“Who will be commanding the operation?”
“Captain Alex Iceman. He just got back from the Gulf.”
Steve felt his jaw hitting his chest for a brief second it took him to recover from surprise.
“He got into a dispute with a certain dim-witted admiral and said admiral ended up with several bones broken. US Navy of course was going to sentence and discharge the captain without honors, but we...provided them with suitable alternative.”
“Doesn't it concern you in the slightest, that he broke the chain of command?”
“Trust me, that disobedience was definitely called for.”
“ Still, seems like a risky choice to me. The person of that character and Thor's arrogance is a dangerous combination, don't you think? The captain might just not be able to stand it... ”
“Oh, I'm actually counting on that.”
Coulson smirked as Steve's mouth opened in surprise, then closed, then opened again.
“It not a test for our commander, my friend, it is a test for our guests. We will not bind ourselves by an agreement without proving first that our allies will not only be able to carry out their part of the treaty, but do it respectfully and according to our expectations.”
Steve shook his head, he felt quite uneasy with the whole situation.
“You know you are playing with fire.”
“We are simply doing our job.”
“But what if Thor freaks out? What if the situation gets out of control? It could end in a bloodbath.”
“That is exactly why the demonstration will take place in the open sea, away from the civilian population.” The agent paused again, letting Rogers absorb the information.
“By the way, your alien friend seems to have disappeared.”
Steve looked around the plaza but Loki was nowhere to be seen.
“I'd better go and find him then,” the blond man murmured, trying not to sound too worried, but failing miserably under the attentive gaze of the agent.
Coulson as usual was an ideal example of calmness and just gave Steve a curt nod.
“You do that.”
The Midgard lacked the glory and majesty of Asgard, its skies incrusted with myriads of stars and constellations visible even during the day, its imposing outlines and grand palaces that staggered the viewer by their eternal beauty; and yet, the human realm was warm and welcoming and Loki felt...as if at home.
The humans didn't seem to be bothered at all by a tall dark haired stranger in their midst.
At first Loki attributed that lack of attention to their natural low thinking capacity, but had to dismiss the idea almost immediately.
After all, the earthlings managed to reach incredible highs in all aspects of science and technology in a relatively short period of time without any help from outside. Of course, their inventions were rather crude and simple for his delicate taste, but they were nonetheless impressive.
Loki suddenly realized the urgency of Odin's decision to make the contact.
Asgard was old, the oldest of all nine realms, and the most powerful. It's strength relied on artifacts and knowledge of the universe, but they were all fruits of the past.
The Eternal Realm had grown and blossomed and reached the heavens of peace and prosperity, but at some point the movement stopped.
Loki had spent countless hours in the libraries of the Palace since he learned how to read, and always seeked information from the teachers his father sent to him, and all that time, all those years he hadn't come across anything new. The books were old and covered with dust of centuries, the teachers spoke of the past, and every time he tried to invent something or propose a fresh idea, his efforts were treated rather...coldly.
Loki knew the history too well to understand that that was a first sign of stagnation.
Every civilization followed a cycle of life and death, and now Asgard, the most glorious of all, reached the peak of its power that would be followed by slow but sure decline.
It needed a push, it needed a new source of energy like an old man needs something to continue living.
And what could be better reason to go on then taking care of a child?
It could be the purpose and means for Asgard to rejuvenate.
And even if not, even if that grand plan failed , Odin still had to ensure the life continued as it was his sacred duty as the Father of all, a protector of the Universe appointed by the Higher Powers.
The earth was puerile and didn't yet become bitter after thousands of years of existence like other realms of Yggdrasil, it still was a piece of wet clay ready to be shaped by a knowing hand of a master.
This realm would be the best choice for Aesir to inherit Asgard's knowledge and mission of leading the other realms when the time comes. But still, the earthlings are a rather bloodthirsty race, their best minds were set upon discovering new means of confrontation and waging war.
Loki chuckled, father clearly needs to ensure they won't destroy themselves before we can teach them anything important.
The mission was critical indeed, and Loki realized he prepared himself to do anything for it to be successful.
His musings were interrupted by the girl who climbed him as if he was a tree.
And here we have another wonder.
Loki never favored children because they were noisy and irritating and had a tendency to break things, but he didn't share his sibling's cruelty of indifference.
He couldn't simply stand there and watch a child cry her eyes out if he could do anything to stop it. He knew too well how much it hurt to be neglected by the adults in favor of someone they considered more important.
Thor would mock him into the old age for being such a softie - the elder prince had always stated that children were their mothers' business and not a responsibility of a warrior.
But at least Loki had a good excuse this time- as though the child was small, she was nonetheless - a woman.
“Mommy, mommy!” the girl cried out happily as her mother ran to them from the other side of the street.
Loki smiled at the reunion and turned to leave, when earthling caught him by the sleeve.
“Thank you, thank you so much for finding her!”
“Please, don't mention it, she is a precious little one.”
Woman's features relaxed and she let a sigh of relief escape her lips.
“Oh god, I was so worried...Thank you again for finding her!”
The woman quieted for a moment, then brightened up and smiled at him.
“Me and my husband were going to grab something to eat, would you like to join us?”
A very unexpected invitation that made Loki's skin tingle with unfamiliar sensation. He could have sworn he was surprised by this display of gratitude although he knew it was only a polite request and the woman didn't mean it. Perhaps another weird midgardian tradition?
Loki shook his head, “Forgive me, but I have to decline. I need to go and find my brother before he realizes I'm missing.”
To his great surprise woman looked sincerely disappointed.
“I understand. But thanks again!”
Indeed, this realm is full of wonders.
Steve rushed about the streets of the compound but Loki seemed to vanish without any trace.
He stopped for a second to think where the prince could have wondered off, when a splash of pink caught his attention.
It was the girl with her new balloon.
Steve sighed in relief – the girl was safe, wiggling in excitement in her mother's arms. But then he realized that Loki was no longer with her.
He ran towards the crowd and slowed down, hoping the girl's mother would know where prince had gone.
“Oh, I think he headed towards the dockyards.”
“Thank you, ma'am,” Steve said and immediately took off for to find Loki before he meddled into something bad.
Of course, the people were hospitable, but it still was a military base, and it was packed with danger.
Loki found himself in the hangar of enormous size on the edge of the water, where huge hoisting cranes lifted machinery off the boards of cargo ships and mounted it onto a giant conveyor so the maintenance crew could finish the assembly.
He knew he wasn't allowed inside, but couldn't help himself and watched the process.
He almost drifted back into contemplative state of mind again when a rather rude voice hailed him from up above.
“Hey, dude, you are not supposed to be here!”
Loki lifted his head to face the speaker- one of the crew members on the crane spotted him gaping at the assembly line and didn't appreciate the sight.
“Oh, what's with the pouty face, beautiful? Have you lost your mommy or something?”
Loki frowned, trying to restrain his annoyance. Mission or not, he wont allow anyone to insult him.
“Do watch your tone when speaking to me!”
“Oh, I see.” The man's brows climbed up his sweaty face and lips curved into a grin as he heard Loki speaking, and a second later he bellowed to his fellas, “Hey guys, looks like we have a British here!”
Short barks of laughter sounded off from the top, but quickly died out as the senior engineer called it in on the radio.
“Watch the relay, you bloody idiot!”
The warning came a bit too late, as the jib carrying the cargo container missed the spot and started swinging away from the conveyor, slowly picking up speed. The momentum carried the container off the course and into the heavy brick wall.
The crash wasn't too bad itself, just a gentle smash, but it gave the handle enough shove to break the locks on the cargo open. The container tumbled down on the trench with thick metal cables that most likely were used to drag the ships into the dock for repairs.
The mechanism screeched and burst into cascade of sparkles, but continued moving, dragging the damaged container along towards the end of the platform.
Loki traced the trajectory of the movement till the ending point, where two enormous hydraulic wheels were putting the whole system in motion.
Well, that is unfortunate.
One of the engineers rushed to the transistor and killed off the switch, blacking out the entire compound, but apparently, it had a back up power supply, as the lights twitched a little and turned back again.
And then Loki saw the reason why humans faces were untransformed by horror- a designation plate on the top of the container that said “AGM-65” and next to it in smaller letters, “Maverick.”
He wasn't too familiar with the code or the letters, but he remembered that nickname, “Maverick”, which humans preferred to call one of the armaments on their flying war birds.
He haven't seen it in action, but judging by the guide's excited story and abundance of gestures, it was pretty dangerous, a small metal cylinder packed with explosives.
If one of those gets crushed under the wheel, it's going to take out the dockyard. But with the whole container of those cylinders...The entire base will be leveled to the ground.
Loki cursed aloud, not even bothering to conceal his anger about human's neglection and stupidity, and called out an invisibility spell.
Several seconds later he, no longer detected by human eyes, was rushing forward to the dropped cargo, thinking on the way of the means to restrain it from falling under the wheels.
There were not too many options. Most of the spells he could use were accompanied by a release of energy, and he couldn't risk using them because he simply didn't know how those cylinders would react.
It left him with only one acceptable choice- to stop the container with his own physical power.
The prince ran to the trench and grabbed the end of the container, trying to shift if off the course.
The weight was enormous though not unbearable, and yet the more Loki struggled to lead it astray, the more his knees buckled from the strain and muscles screamed in pain, the more apparent it became that his attempts were futile.
His efforts delayed the advancement of the dreaded cargo, but it was too hard even for him to lift that weight and resist the dragging force of two giant wheels at the same time.
The container clearly had hooked on one of the cables as no matter what Loki did or where he tried to move himself, he still kept on being dragged with an unavoidable determination closer and closer to the end of the platform.
Loki started to consider the last option – to run away from the trench and lay a containing spell on the building, sealing the explosion inside.
He wasn't sure how strong it would be, but he was certain he would be able if not to keep it all inside the dock, then at least to minimize the damage.
That very moment he felt that the resistance of the mechanism eased and the box shifted, as if another pair of hands released it from the metal trap and now was lifting it off the trench in unison with Loki's own efforts.
How nice of you to finally show up, my dear brother, Loki thought both in irritation and relief.
He hissed his breath out, applying all his strength to mirror his helper's movement and shifted the container off the trench and on the ground.
Shaking slightly from the tiredness, Loki swept the sweat off his forehead with one swift motion and dismissed the spell, emerging back into the world.
“What took you so long?”
His question was met with silence.
Loki turned around the corner and tried to catch up with his brother, but saw only a glimpse of blond hair and a shadow that sneaked out of the docks through the small maintenance door.
What kind of a weird game is this?
Loki rushed after the culprit, darting out with his hand and grabbed the muscled arm, but stopped dead
as two blue eyes stared at him in shock.
Those eyes were not stormy blue with sparks of lightning, but gentle blue like the Midgardian sky resting in the warmth of the afternoon sun.
Steve Rogers gaped at the prince in surprise.
The prince let go of the arm and took a step back, processing the information.
“I see, so that is your little secret, captain? You are a super human.”
Steve shrugged Loki's sarcasm off, “it is not so much of a secret. I just...don't like to talk about it.”
“Oh, is it so? Are there more people like you? May be, all of you in the S.H.I.E.L.D.?”
Steve looked in Loki's eyes without any hesitation, a shadow of something resembling pain crossed his features for a split second. “No. I am the only one.”
“Is that the truth?”
“Why would I lie to you?”
“Oh, I don't know, perhaps because I am considered an enemy?”
Steve frowned, confused by Loki's logic, “an enemy who just risked his life to save humans he doesn't even know? I don't think so.”
“Then why you approached me instead of Thor when we arrived?”
Rogers considered Loki for a moment, not sure where the conversation was going and why exactly the prince looked so pissed and disappointed. Of course, Steve didn't tell him about his special “powers” , but it surely wasn't the reason to be so angry with him, because- lets face it, even captain Rogers with his enhanced physique had a little chance in a fight with an Asgardian, no matter how hard he would have tried. It surely couldn't bother Loki that much...
“Because you were different, not like your brother...”
No, it couldn't be, how dares he? How dare they, those pitiful humans!
Loki snapped, “A weakling, is that it? You thought I was weaker then Thor and therefore would be an easy target?!”
Steve backed off a little, startled by Loki's anger.
“That's not what I meant!”
“Then what it is? Do entertain me, Mr. Rogers!”
Steve shivered a bit under the scrutinizing gaze of emerald eyes. He could have sworn those eyes were like daggers, piercing right through his body and into his soul, making his hidden emotions boil over and surface.
“You want me to be honest? Fine. I greeted you instead of Thor because I don't like your brother even in the slightest. “
Loki frowned, perplexed by unexpected answer.
“How can you be so sure? You haven't even spoken to him once!”
Steve held his ground and leaned forward, as if trying to support his words by the actions of his body, getting into Loki's personal space and unintentionally making the prince feel uncomfortable.
“I don't have to speak to him to see what kind of person he is. Remember how Coulson greeted him upon arrival? Yes? Now do you remember how Thor greeted him back?”
Steve had a jolt of a guilty pleasure looking at Loki's confused face.
“I bet you don't, because he didn't. Thor didn't even blink in response. He doesn't know what respect is. He treats my people like his personal slaves, but we are not slaves, Loki. He even treats you, his own brother, like dirt. I saw myself how he showed you out of the way without giving a second thought. He might be a first-born but it does not make him a better person. He is a bully, Loki, and I don't do well with bullies.”
Loki's features relaxed involuntarily as the captain spoke of his thoughts.
The prince watched the other man's face intently, looking for any signs of lies, but found none. He perfected the art of deception over the years and could detect any miniscule indications of insincerity, but there were none at all. Could he be wrong about this human? Could Rogers really be speaking the truth?
“I see, so, my brother is a bully and a brave captain decided to intervene and offer hopeless Loki his protection, is that what you are saying?”
“Well, I don't know, do you need my protection?”
Loki sulked, all his attempts to sabotage Steve's demeanor were unsuccessful so far, which could mean only one thing- captain indeed was speaking the truth.
“I do not. I just...”
Steve observed for a second as Loki faltered, not sure what to do next...
Steve made the decision for him.
“Look, all I wanted to do is to...well, I don't know, make you feel like at home perhaps? I thought you might use a friend here since all of your own were left in Asgard...”
I don't really have any friends in Asgard, they are all Thor's.
“... and since I don't really fit here either so we might be...”
Loki stared at him at shock. “You really want me to be your friend?”
Steve blushed profoundly. “Why not? Our worlds are going to be allies so why can't we become friends?”
Loki felt like he was burning, but sensation was pleasant and he indulged in it for a second.
“ I guess, we can.”
The prince smiled and held out a hand in a gesture Rogers showed him the day before, and Steve's face immediately split into the brightest smile Loki had ever seen.