The Allfather had been... rather put out with his youngest son over his latest bit of mischief. It wasn't that Loki was malevolent. Not yet. But the things he did for the sake of his own amusements, and for the sake of revenge on those who had slighted him...
“You have gone too far, this time, Loki,” Odin informed his son. It was just the two of them in the throne room. A private audience, but a very much official one.
“Have I?” Loki questioned absently.
“You have no compassion!” Odin snapped angrily.
“I was not within my rights to exact revenge on Fandral for his slight against me?” Loki questioned delicately.
“Fandral meant nothing by that comment,” Odin censured, “and even if he had, Loki, you went too far.”
Loki was silent as he considered that, and considered his father. “What will you do then, Allfather?” he asked lowly.
“Your mother and I have woven a spell,” Odin said. “A spell that will reduce you to a babe once more, and allow you to grow and age as a human – among whom you shall be placed, with no memory of your home here. When you meet your death on Midgard, the spell will return you to Asgard, your form restored to its current state, though you will retain the memories of your time on Midgard.”
“I have a request,” Loki said.
“Speak it, I do not promise to grant it,” Odin answered.
“Don't force me to endure Americans,” Loki requested frankly.
Odin shook his head, bemused. “This, will I grant,” he agreed.
Loki was sent to England as a babe, and the couple that he was 'born' to were called Charlus and Dorea Potter.
“So you don't get along with your family?” James Potter asked Sirius Black once the howler from his mother had finally – finally – shut up.
That sort of abuse should be illegal, especially on the very first day of school.
Sirius shook his head.
“Well... my mum's a Black, which means we're related. You can share my family.”
Sirius smiled gratefully.
“We figured it out,” James informed Remus Lupin gently.
“W-what?” Remus asked, wide-eyed and frightened.
“You're a werewolf,” Sirius stated plainly.
Remus slumped. “Are you going to petition for me to get kicked out of school?” he asked, already depressed.
“Nah,” James scoffed. “We're gonna learn to be animagus, so we can keep you company on full moon nights without having to worry about, well, being made into your midnight snacks.”
Remus looked back and forth between his two smiling room-mates in disbelief, and then his expression slowly morphed to mirror theirs.
“Having trouble?” James asked as he sat down next to Peter Pettigrew.
“Like you care,” Pettigrew grumbled as he hunched further over his homework.
“Course I care,” James answered. “According to the Prophet, there's dangerous times ahead, and I'd hate to see any Gryffindor not be able to take care of themselves if things get worse. So, want some help?”
Peter smiled, just a little, and nodded.
James had just taken Sirius to the hospital wing. He'd been hexed by his cousin, apparently, and they'd made him tell Snape about the secret passage at the base of the Whomping Willow.
Now he was running as fast as he possibly could to save the life of the undeserving best friend of the girl he really liked.
He made it just in time.
“It's him Lily,” James whispered frantically to his wife of two years. “Take Harry and run.”
“Go!” he insisted. “I'll hold him off.”
“Well, Loki,” the Allfather greeted. “Have you learned compassion in your time on Midgard?”
Loki turned haunted green eyes on his father. “I have learned many things in my time on Midgard,” he answered with quiet solemnity. “But now, Allfather, if you have any compassion, you will send me back ,” Loki requested, stated, heavily.
Unlike the last audience he'd had with his father, this one was public. His mother was there, as was his brother, and his brother's friends, and a number of other members of his father's court. They all gasped in shock at this request.
The Allfather wore an expression of confusion. “Why, Loki?” he asked, clearly caught by surprise at the request.
“So that I may be with my son!” Loki bellowed back, and promptly turned and left the hall, not even waiting for an answer. He would collect his belongings from his room, and then he would go and see Heimdall. Heimdall had never really cared for Loki's presence in Asgard, and he was not alone in that, but Heimdall was the one who controlled the Bifrost, and it was Heimdall that would enable Loki to return to his son. Or deny him.
“Heimdall,” Loki greeted when he reached the gatekeeper.
“My Prince,” Heimdall answered neutrally.
“I wish to return to my son on Midgard,” Loki stated. “I do not anticipate a swift return.”
“He is with your late wife's sister,” Heimdall supplied without any particular feeling, and moved to open the Bifrost for him.
Loki hissed at the very idea of his beloved child being in the charge of that spiteful woman, but thanked Heimdall for this information all the same, and then he was swept away, back to England once more.
Loki, with all of his memories intact once more and his full powers restored to him with them, stepped up to the front door of number four, Privet Drive, wearing a charcoal grey suit, with matching tie, over a white shirt and with a green and gold scarf hanging over his shoulders. A mortal lifetime of denying anything green that wasn't Lily's eyes against centuries of it being his favourite colour had come out with that compromise.
With deliberate calm, he rang the doorbell.
“Ye- You! No, it can't be, you're dead,” Petunia gasped, her face going very pale as she stared at him in shock. “The letter from your headmaster said so.”
“Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated, sister-in-law,” Loki informed her, not even a hint of a smile on his face. “I've come for my son.”
Leaving him on the doorstep, Petunia Dursley ran from him. She didn't run upstairs though, or even into another room. She ran to a small door under the stairs.
Loki's eyes flashed with rage when she bent, retrieved something, and revealed that something to be his son when she stood once more.
“Vernon put him there,” Petunia informed Loki. “And he hasn't made a sound, so I left him,” she added in admission, though she didn't seem to repentant. “We never wanted him.”
“And you will never see him again,” Loki promised, and took his son, his precious baby boy, all that he had left of his wife, into his arms. “Goodbye, sister-in-law.”
Petunia nodded silently, and just watched as Loki turned from her and disappeared. No trace was left behind, no sound signified his passing, none of the neighbours even seemed to notice that he'd come and gone.
His priority had been to collect his son, to hold him in his arms once more, but now that this had been achieved, Loki had other things that needed to be done. After all, the location of the house in Godric's Hollow had been betrayed, and only their secret keeper would have been able to do such a thing. For all the compassion that Loki had learned in his time on Midgard, he would still demand his due when he had been so wronged. He had greater lifetimes of claiming his right to vengeance, after all.
With Harry still cradled in one arm – Loki was not going to be letting go of his son any time soon – the Asgardian marched into the Ministry of Magic and headed directly for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
“Mr Potter!” exclaimed Crouch in shock. “We were all told you were dead!”
“An exaggeration,” Loki stated. “Unconscious, but not dead. I wish to press charges against the man who betrayed my family.”
“Of course Mr Potter! The hunt for Sirius Black -” Crouch started, a smile on his face.
“Why would you be hunting Sirius?” Loki asked, cutting the man off. “He'd sooner kill himself than betray me or my son.”
“But... the man was your secret keeper! He betrayed you to -” the man started.
“Sirius was the diversion,” Loki said with a sneer. “We both knew he was the obvious choice. The simple fact was that he was too obvious. Peter Pettigrew was the secret keeper. He, not Sirius, betrayed the Potters. Sirius, I suspect, has probably already started hunting the little rat.”
Crouch deflated. “Oh...” he said weakly.
Loki, for all that he cared for his friends, did not wish to face them after having retrieved Harry from Petunia.
Sirius, for whatever reason, hadn't immediately taken Harry in. That might have been because Dumbledore interfered, or it might have been because he'd immediately gone off to hunt down Pettigrew. Loki didn't know, and with a few extra centuries of cynicism once more in his mind, he found that he didn't much care. Harry had been left with Petunia .
As for Remus... well, between the war and his 'furry problem', Moony had been crawling slowly into the bottle, hoping it would all end. Sooner, rather than later, and if it only ended for him because he'd taken a suicide mission for the Order, then Remus didn't seem to mind much. It didn't even matter to him how much it hurt his friends to see him like that.
No, neither of his human friends were exactly in Loki's good-books right now. He sent them both letters from Gringotts, when he went there to make sure the goblins knew the status quo – including that they were not to pay a Hogwarts tuition, as Harry would no longer be attending there – but beyond letting everyone who needed to know that he wasn't dead and he was taking Harry into hiding, he told them nothing more. He had one other friend on Midgard though, one who he was prepared to turn to at this time.
“Jormundgandr!” Loki called out over the white cliffs of Dover.
Below, the sea rippled at his calling.
Loki's relationship with the Midgard Serpent was not one of paternity. That was a different Loki, the Loki for whom he had been named, for reasons beyond his own comprehension. He, unlike his brother, had been attentive to the lessons of their father in matters of the Codex Regius, records of the time before Ragnarok.
Oh yes, Ragnarok had already come once, and Odin was the only Aesir who remembered. He was the one who had written the Codex Regius, and the one who had passed it down to the humans – a new breed on Midgard at the time – so that they could learn from the mistakes of Asgard's past. It was unfortunate that the Aesir as a whole were so very dismissive of anything that was not a show of physical strength.
Loki had learned though, and was not much like his namesake. Well, he wasn't one to call magic “woman's work”, that was certain. He had learned its value from Odin and Frigga both, as well as, now, from Hogwarts and his Lily Flower.
As for his own relationship with Jormundgandr, back when he was young, and Midgard was younger, the people of Asgard had visited Midgard more often. Loki had, purely by chance, met and befriended the giant snake that circled the whole planet.
Jormundgandr had been pleased to meet him, though he knew that his father Loki was not the Loki before him, but still Loki and the great serpent had been friends since then.
And now... Loki waited for his friend to hear his calling. Jormundgandr heard much of what crossed the seas, but it took him a bit of time to rearrange his coils around the globe and get his head in the right place to answer when someone had actually called him.
“Loki,” Jormundgandr greeted, a smile in his tone since the face of a snake wasn't really meant for showing expressions. “It has been a long time, my friend.”
“It has,” Loki agreed. “Too long, but I'm afraid I'm only asking for directions,” he apologised.
“Oh?” Jormundgandr enquired. “I don't even get an introduction to the tiny -” he flicked out his large, forked tongue. “- half-mortal child you're carrying?”
“My son,” Loki said softly, holding the child a little closer again and gently stroking the mop of black hair the infant already had. “Harry.”
Jormundgandr nodded. “When that child is old enough to hold a conversation, I hope you will let me know. Any child of yours will be worth knowing,” Jormundgandr said with an only slightly nostalgic smile. He was a child of Loki himself, after all, though he was older than the man before him.
Loki nodded, but was otherwise silent, any words choked by emotion. An unusual state for the silver-tongued god, and Jormundgandr knew it.
“You said something about asking directions?” Jormundgandr asked, redirecting their conversation, as he'd realised Loki was in no state to direct it himself. Ah, the joys of parent-hood, the Midgard serpent mused to himself. Capable of completely polarising a person.
“Yes,” Loki said, quickly swallowing down everything that had prevented him from speaking a moment ago. “I need to find the Greeks.”
“You don't mean to -” Jormundgandr started, shocked by the request.
“They're all sex-obsessed, self-important buffoons, but I very much doubt their dalliances ceased with the changing of the times, and their children have always been at least a few degrees more sensible,” Loki stated plainly. “And those children are never that far from where the Greeks are keeping themselves.”
Jormundgandr nodded as he accepted his friend's explanation.
“The Greeks moved to America,” Jormundgandr disclosed easily.
“Damn,” Loki cursed shortly. “Of course they did. Damn them.”
Jormundgandr chuckled at his friend's reaction. “With the amounts of debauchery, violence, and self-importance in that country, it was a perfect match,” he explained. “Their young are gathered together these days, rather than scattered. For their own protection, I believe.”
Loki snorted in mild disgust. “Their numbers draw attention to them, but they'd only be killed in ignorance otherwise. This realm does not produce the warriors it once did.”
“Agreed,” Jormundgandr allowed, a hint of derision in his tone as well. “You'll find them on Long Island. I believe they call the place 'camp half-blood'.”
“Ha!” Loki scoffed. “Half the pantheon had a less than 'godly' parent themselves! Have they been so long drunk that they have forgotten? Oh, but it is rich,” he allowed. “I am leaving behind England and the Asgard because they care too much for the purity of pedigree in a person, and now I am to go to the cesspit called America where they will doubtless have a different sort of elitism.”
“It's mixing the Greeks with Americans,” Jormundgandr stated with disdain. “Naturally, they think they're the best thing to have ever happened to this Realm.”
“Them and their 'Western Civilisation',” Loki agreed with a nod. “Regardless of how much of a headache I'm going to endure just by going to America, let alone dealing with the high-and-mighty Greeks, it is still a better alternative, for now,” Loki replied with a despairing sigh. “Thank you, my friend.”
Jormundgandr shook his head. “Oh no, you're not going to just magic yourself over there, or use any of the human contraptions to take you. I will take you to them. I can then be assured that you have arrived safely on that shore, and I shall have your company for a while longer.”
“Thank you, my friend,” Loki repeated, genuine gratitude lining his entire frame.
It was dark when Jormundgandr brought Loki to the shores of Long Island, and they were able to exchange their farewells unseen before Jormundgandr returned to the ocean depths. Loki would have to go on foot from there.
Ten minutes of walking later, and he'd found a path. Ten minutes more, and a somewhat arbitrary looking gateway – there were no visible walls attached to it, after all – came into view. There was a farm-house sort of building a bit beyond that. He was a mere fifteen feet from that gate when a roar sounded out from behind him.
Loki turned, careful to keep his son shielded as much as possible as he held the sleeping toddler between his left arm and his chest.
“Ah, the Minotaur,” Loki murmured to himself. “It's still kicking around? How quaint.”
Loki was frequently recognised as the god of mischief. He was often mistaken for the god of lies – he was a silver-tongue and had a way with words, but he wasn't really interested in lying. Lies had a nasty way of catching up with a person. Disseminating the truth, on the other hand, was much more fun. It was a frustratingly common misconception that he was a god of 'evil'. He wasn't. Well, not as such. A trickster was not automatically evil, and evil was a very different thing to wicked. The tricksters just laughed when others fumed and struggled to regain their dignity, and were almost unhealthily fond of orchestrated chaos. There were some who thought he was a god of madness. He was, technically, but that was more the 'previous' Loki, and he'd inherited the title. Still, his antics were forever driving those around him crazy, so it wasn't completely unmerited for himself. It was regularly forgotten that he was also the god of the hearth – and of fire.
Loki conjured a fireball in his free hand, took a moment to consider its size as the Minotaur continued to charge at him, and then threw it at the beast. With the deft flick of one who prefers throwing knives, or indeed any knives, for their weapon, the fireball flew straight and true into the massive torso of the beast.
Loki watched dispassionately for a moment as the monster burned, but didn't care to witness its expiration and cremation. He had places to be.
Calmly, unerringly, and without looking to the left or to the right, Loki walked up to the blue farm-house-like structure that had been visible from the arbitrary gate near where he'd disposed of the Minotaur. If he had cared to look around, he would have seen one or two young people halting in their tasks to stare at him in confusion.
“Chiron,” Loki greeted when he reached the porch that surrounded the building. “Dy,” he added with a nod to the second figure there.
Both blinked in shock to see him.
The one Loki had addressed as Chiron, he actually only knew through reputation. They had never met. Still, there was only one centaur in Greek 'myth' that did anything more serious than cavort. Chiron was, in fact, most particularly known for his part in training certain demi-gods. A task that, judging by his presence at 'Camp Half-Blood', he was still performing.
“Loki,” returned 'Dy' after a moment, his voice hoarse with shock, and his violet, bloodshot eyes wide in his plump face. “Wh-what are you doing here?”
“Oh relax Dy,” Loki instructed dismissively, and waved his free hand at the man. “I'm not here to kill anyone. I'm settling down for a while, build a hearth and home, and raise my son. I thought I'd settle here,” he explained with a sharp little smile that said “and you're not going to complain about it or else.”
“Elmer!” Dy yelled out across the camp.
Within seconds, a satyr was scrambling up the path towards them, and drew himself to shaky attention when he reached the edge of the porch.
“Elmer, find a space where Master Loki can set up a hearth for himself,” Dy instructed. “I mean, cabin. Give it a bit of space away from the others.”
“I'll stay in Hera's until I've finished building,” Loki said once the satyr had scurried off.
“In Hera's?!” Chiron exclaimed, shocked. “But, Hermes has always been -”
“No,” Loki cut in firmly. “Hermes and I do not get along. Hera, however, would understand my current situation.”
“And what situation is that?” Dy asked warily.
“A complicated one,” Loki said shortly. “If she wishes me to explain my presence in her cabin before I have completed the building of my own, then I will, but not to you.”
Dy nodded in acceptance of this, and Loki turned, leaving the man and the centaur alone together as he moved further into the camp.
“Dionysus,” Chiron said, turning to 'Dy'. “Who is that person?”
“He is Norse,” Dionysus answered shortly, then conjured a glass of water for himself, which he drained, before he continued to elaborate. “I suggest, strongly, that you treat him with the respect due to my father. The Norse are the Old gods. Older than Kronos, more powerful, and not in the least bit bound as the Titans were.”
“How is he able to be here?” Chiron asked, suddenly extremely concerned.
“Because we never thought we'd need to make wards against the bloody Norse!” Dionysus snapped back, sweat beading all over his face. He conjured another glass of water for himself, and again drained it. “I'm not sure one would work if we tried,” he admitted.
While Dionysus and Chiron were having that discussion, Loki had found Hestia stoking the camp's central hearth.
“Hess,” he greeted with a smile. She was one of the few Greeks he actually cared for at all. The 'maiden' goddesses were all a bit better than the rest of the Greeks. Less inclined towards drunkenness and debauchery, and Hestia and he had a duty in common. “Delightful tease,” he added as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and gave her a quick squeeze before he stepped back.
She had a reputation to uphold, after all.
“Loki,” she greeted in return, a surprised but pleased expression on her face. “What brings one of the Norse to the Olympic Nursery?”
“Hess, I'd like to introduce you to my son, Harry James Potter,” Loki presented quietly. “His mother, my wife, was recently murdered, and I have decided to settle down on Midgard to raise him.”
Hestia smiled more gently. “Blessings on you and your small family,” she bid, laying a hand each on Loki's broad shoulder and Harry's round little head. “You don't need my help for building your hearth, I am certain,” she added as she withdrew her hands.
Loki chuckled. “You're quite right,” he agreed. “But I am being very cheeky and staying in Hera's cabin until I've built my own residence here. Will you let her know?” he requested. “I'd prefer to not offend her, but I'd also much rather not have my son around the other young campers too much at this stage.”
Hestia hesitated only a moment. “She'll want to know the particulars, but since you were actually married to the mother, I think she'll be alright with it,” she said at last, and gave a nod. She would tell her sister.
“Thank you Hess.”
Hestia smiled back. “We hearth gods need to stick together,” she declared happily. “Even if you're not the standard sort of hearth god.”
Loki laughed. “Indeed,” he agreed. “Indeed.”