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The Fifth Child

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He was running again this time through the shadows and dark spaces meant for sneaking. He could hear them still thrashing about behind him but none of them were fast enough his father had made sure of that. Vali remembered how odd The All-Father had thought it to see him run the same paths over and over again. Now though he would understand, Father had always worried about them. The All-Father had declared the children of Loki monsters, only three of them had been allowed to live on Asgard and poor Sleipnir was stuck as their grandfather's mount. Other Asgardians had considered he and his brother, Narfi, lucky but luck had nothing to do with it. Vali had always been wary of the others and had tried to make Narfi understand that he had to be careful. If only he had known that it was him that would bring about their downfall.

In a way he supposed it was a familiar tale to the members of his family who paid attention. A magical brother and a warrior brother running about the palace always brought comments of how like Father and Uncle Thor they were from Grandmother. She would draw them close and hug them tight so tight it felt like she was trying to memorize them. In a way Vali supposed she was, Father had been so good for so long she must have known that he would do something to anger the All-Father soon. He and Narfi had been having their lessons when a guard had arrived to take them to see their Grandfather. Narfi had been confused by all the people that were there and at seeing Father in chains but Vali understood. Today was the day when their fates would be met.

Poor Mother had been crying, her arms held back so she could not go to them. Vali had missed much of what the All-Father had said as he looked around the crowded room. He recognized one of the women standing next to his Grandmother, she advised the court on matters of magic. He could feel it when the magic began to swirl around her and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Vali had learned quite a bit of basic magic but what she was doing was far beyond his skills. As she moved forward focusing her magic toward them Vali snapped into action diving in front of his younger brother. He couldn't describe the pain with any real words. He could feel things shifting and moving in ways he'd never felt before.

Vali had to choke back tears as he thought of what came next. He had turned on his brother, his precious little brother, and had torn into him. No matter what he did he could not stop this wolf like form from draining the life of the person who had always been at his side. As Narfi took his last breath Vali could feel himself changing back and turned his blood covered face toward his father. His father had been silenced  but Vali understood him well when he jerked his head toward the doors. He shoved himself to his feet and took off through the doors a chorus of voices echoing behind him. 

"Run," his father had always said,"Run to Midgard and never look back."

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Vali jerked awake, still feeling the pounding of his feet and his heart. He ran a hand over the stubble on his face as he sat up and looked around his bedroom. He hated dreams of Asgard, they were a reminder of what he once had and what he would never have again. Vali stretched and headed toward the bathroom. It was only a dream but he could still feel his brother's blood staining his skin. He would never forgive Odin for what had happened and what he had done. The sins of the father should never have been used to punish his children. He turned on the sink and bent down to wash his face, needing to feel as clean as he ever would. Of course he and Narfi had not been the only children to pay all of his older siblings were still being punished to this day as far as he knew. Vali rubbed his face dry with the hand towel before looking at himself in the mirror. Some days he barely recognized himself, expecting to see the child he'd been instead of the man he'd become.

His father's green eyes were the first thing he noticed every time. He could remember when his grandmother would tell him how she was glad he'd gotten his father's beautiful eyes and he had been so proud of them. Now they looked back at him from a tired face, his curly hair was kept short but first thing in the morning it was always a mess. He definitely didn't look like an heir of Asgard.

Making his way out of the bathroom, Vali headed to the kitchen to make himself some coffee. He may have the day off but once he woke up there was no going back to sleep for him. Once the machine got going he picked up his phone and flopped down on the couch to see if he'd missed anything important. With no new texts he moved to Facebook and forgot how to breathe as his uncle's face beamed up at him from the screen. Vali managed to take a gasping breath as he tried to calm himself down. Thor was here on Earth, Thor was here on Earth and with Darcy. Funny Darcy he'd met while on vacation was with his uncle who had always seen the people of any realm but Asgard as beneath him and taking Facebook pictures of him. Maybe he was still dreaming and this wasn't real, he could close his eyes and when he opened them again he would no longer be seeing a face from his nightmares. Vali closed his eyes rubbing at them before looking back at his phone screen, wishing with all his might that the image would change.

Thor was on Earth and he was more afraid than he'd been since he'd first arrived on the planet as a blood soaked child all alone. He needed to know why his uncle was here. Was he looking for Vali or was he here for something totally unrelated. As far as he knew nobody had come looking for him at all but he couldn't be sure. He sent Darcy a message as quickly as he could type, telling her to message him the minute she could. He needed to make sure she was ok and see if she had any idea why Thor was here.

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After a couple of hours of not hearing from Darcy Vali started leaving more and more urgent messages. He needed to know that she was ok and that Thor hadn't hurt her or her friend Jane. He paced as he texted and tried to call. Something was happening, something very very bad was happening. After a couple of hours Vali finally had to admit to himself that he wasn't going to get an answer and that the news wasn't going to offer him any clues. He wanted to be brave and take off to see what Thor was doing on Earth but his fear kept him in his apartment too afraid to risk his uncle's wrath.

It was nearly a day later before Vali got any kind of update from Darcy and it was a selfie of her and Jane but it was enough to have him dropping to the couch with weak legs. Right as he got the picture his laptop let him know that Darcy was available to Skype. He nervously clicked the video call button giving her a nervous smile when she appeared on screen.

"So, I think there might be a few things we should talk about Vali."

He ran his hand over the stubble on his face nervously, he knew his messages would definitely let her know he knew some things about her new friend.

"Darcy, where did you find that guy? Darcy, answer please. Darcy, that guy is dangerous get the hell away from him,"Darcy stared at him reciting just a few of the messages from her phone.

"Darcy, there is a lot I can't talk about.Thor is one of those things I don't want to talk about,"Vali sighed,"He is dangerous though."

"He was nice, at least after a little lesson in manners. I might have also tasered him. I know there are things we don't talk about as a rule but how you know about an actual alien who fell out of the sky is something we can't really gloss over."

"Can we first talk about the fact that you didn't answer for nearly 24 hours? Because that was a little nerve wracking I've got to say."

"Oh, the MIB's took my phone and then we had to have long talks about not talking about what we saw. I'm guessing the same conversation everyone who meets an alien probably gets,"Darcy shrugged like it was no big deal.

"Wait they had your phone when I was texting you?" Vali knew that was not good news. His messages made it clear that he knew Thor even if he didn't exactly say he knew him.

A knock at the door put a stop to any answer Darcy might have had for him. He got up from the couch and walked over to the door taking a quick look out the peephole. An average looking man in a suit stood there looking at the door. He took a steadying breath and opened the door. The man offered him a small smile and held up his id.

"Mister Vali Lang? My name is Agent Phil Coulson and I'd like to speak with you if you have a moment."

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For a moment Vali thought about turning him away, the agent wasn't following the proper protocol to talk with him after all. There was paperwork and scheduling involved and Vali preferred to have a say in who he was dealing with but Nick always spoke highly of Phil Coulson so he supposed it couldn't hurt.

"Alright, come on in. Don't mind the mess I wasn't really expecting company,"he stepped back to let the agent into the apartment. He wondered if the Director of SHIELD even knew his agent was here. Hopefully he did as Vali didn't really want to have to tip toe around what was going on. Someone who knew the basics at least was just a time saver.

"I know that you and Miss Lewis are friends but I would like to discuss your knowledge of the man calling himself Thor. I would also like to discuss what you might have told her about your...situation,"Coulson said looking around the room as if he was going to be tested on it's contents.

Vali rubbed his face tiredly before making his way back to the couch to sit down. He offered the agent a seat with a wave of his hand, he did have some manners after all. He took a moment trying to decide if there was a good way to start or if just blurting it all out would do.

"Let's start with Darcy, that's the easiest part. She knows that I am not exactly what I appear to be but she doesn't ask and I don't tell. Apparently I had a nightmare once and did something your average human couldn't. She's a good friend like that. As for Thor he is my Uncle. As far as he and the rest of the family are concerned I am dead and I would really prefer to keep it that way. In fact it was part of the deal with SHIELD before they were SHIELD. I don't act like an asshole and you guys keep my existence quiet."

"I am aware of your agreement with SHIELD and with the original tests done on your abilities. The results seem to be a little lacking considering the show we just saw with your Uncle and the machine he called the Destroyer."

"The Destroyer was here on Earth and Thor fought it? Your sure he said Destroyer? Because that would mean he seriously pissed off someone in charge," Vali was amazed by the thought.

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"So Thor fought the Destroyer and then what? I mean the only stories I have heard about it said it didn't stop until its target was destroyed," Vali leaned forward watching Coulson closely.

"During the fight, Thor went out to face the Destroyer and for a moment it seemed like he had died. Suddenly his hammer flew to his hand and he won the fight. He and his friends left to return home," Coulson's tone was flat not letting on to how the events had bothered him.

Realizing just how many Asgardians had been on Earth at once was upsetting to Vali. He was glad he had not seen even one photo of Sif or the Warriors Three from Darcy.

"Honestly besides checking to see what Darcy knew I'm not sure why you came. What little I could tell you about Thor is terribly outdated and from the point of view of a child that loved and hated him in equal measure. He helped torture my older brother and held my mother back as my little brother was murdered. I would have been happier had he died."

Coulson stood, waiting for Vali to stand before he spoke.

"We would like to request a real briefing about him anyway. This situation has let us know that there are areas of defense that need to be adjusted."

Vali stood and made his way to the door, opening it to let the agent out.

"I'll arrange something with Nick. Less background to cover with him. Goodbye Agent Coulson."