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(Just a warning up front — this is fanfiction…not the normal thing I’ve used this blog for! It’s the first chapter of a story in my head that I’m not certain I’ll ever actually write. I’m putting it here — one of three actually — for those folks who are reading the main story I have going on ff.net, as a convenience to share it, without committing to necessarily finishing it, which is what putting it on ff.net would signify to me. I am here on ff.net.)

This story, essentially, addresses what it was like for Odin and Frigga — especially Frigga — to raise a child who was, well, not like any other. Chapter One is really just an intro. (By the way, if you’re reading my other stories and think in some ways this doesn’t jive…it does…some things change between this and later…saying more would give away the plot.)

Like Any Other Child

Chapter One: Not Like Any Other

Loki looked like any other child. The combination of black hair and pale skin was uncommon, but no one would look at him and suspect he was anything other than the three-year-old Aesir child he appeared to be, the son of the king and queen, the younger brother of the heir. Only the father who’d taken him from a cold and unforgiving land, the mother who accepted him into her arms, the gatekeeper who’d seen it all happen, and the healer who treated him knew that he was not like any other child.

He was born in a very different form, his skin a deep indigo blue, his eyes a gleaming red, his scalp entirely bare, his body marked with symmetrical lines of darker pigmentation and areas of thicker skin. He was a healthy baby, tightly grasping his mother’s finger when it brushed his palm soon after his first breaths of cold air. When he latched onto her breast, though, she had too little to give him, even though as a queen expecting an heir she’d received extra rations. But her homeland had been embroiled in war for years, and was now losing badly; even an expecting queen was not immune from deprivation.

Even a queen could not avoid sacrifice. For the baby was healthy, but abnormally small for his kind, despite all her efforts, despite the intensive intervention of magic. He would require extra care that would be difficult to provide, and he would invite ridicule on his father, who already faced the humiliation of defeat at the hands of their enemy. It was best for them all, the baby’s mother decided, if he did not survive. And so, in a long-honored tradition in her society, she rent her own cloak and wrapped him in a piece of it, then carried him to the high temple, the sounds of battle audible in the distance over the jutting ice. After whispering words of comfort, she left the baby there for his maker to take him to a better life.

He was taken to a better life, but not by his maker.

And though he now looked like any other child in his new homeland, anyone around him long enough knew that he was different.

His special abilities, instinctive and innate, were exceedingly rare among both the homeland of his birth and the homeland of his adoption, found in perhaps one child in a thousand years. Others could, to varying extents, learn to do what Loki did. Loki simply did.

At around four months, when other children began reaching for and holding objects, Loki sometimes reached, and sometimes held out his hand and the object came to his open palm.

At around 18 months, when other children were learning that an object removed from sight still existed, Loki was learning that if he didn’t want to see something anymore, he could make it disappear. It took another few months for him to realize that it still existed, and he could then make it appear again, if he wanted to.

And if he exasperated his parents and other caregivers – and eventually his barely-older brother – he also stole their hearts with his sweet smiles and giggles, his gentle, placid nature, and the obvious and infectious delight he took in every bit of affection shown to him.

His mother could not scold him without laughing, and when he began making his brother’s toys disappear – and not always returning them in the same number of pieces they’d been in to start with – she would simply see that the toy was replaced. The older boy didn’t usually mind terribly much; he rarely got attached to any particular toy and was easily satisfied with a new one. And it wasn’t as though the boy’s parents – a king and a queen like his birth parents, but victorious instead of defeated – were unable to afford replacements.

No one was laughing, however, when one day it was not the older brother’s toys that disappeared, but the older brother himself. No one was smiling at all then except for Loki.