Capes, Cups, and Glittery Things @potionmistress95
Loki's Frosty Wonderland

17

Loki's Frosty Wonderland

The silent drifting of snowflakes is a magic that enchants and delights, like gems fallen from heaven ~ Loki

"Snow day! Snow day!" Loki could hear the chants of the children as they came off the school bus even before they came stampeding like a herd of wild goats through the front door. He had known hours before that the snow would be coming, and that despite the first gentle flakes, it would soon grow to become a swift and glorious storm, causing school to be cancelled. The snow was in his blood, and he could always tell when snow fell how long it would last and how much would accumulate, better than any weather bureau on Midgard.

The weather forecast had called for eight to ten inches of snow in New York City but Loki knew that was wrong. They would end up with twelve to fifteen inches of dry snow, perfect for playing in. He had been watching the snow falling for two hours now, while Max and Aleta napped with Mischief on the couch. The kitten was unimpressed by the snowflakes falling outside the window, much preferring to curl up inbetween the two tots and slumber away the afternoon.

In contrast, the snow excited Loki, and he succumbed to temptation and slipped out the back door to stand in the yard and catch snowflakes on his tongue, unmindful of the swirling wind that dusted him with fresh snow and made his ebony hair glitter with ice crystals.

He didn't bother with any cold weather gear, he needed none, for his frost giant physiology was unaffected by the cold. He stood outside in his new green Princess Bride shirt, jeans, and a pair of moccasins, grinning and already planning how to turn the mounds of snow they would be getting into a winter wonderland for the children and himself to play in. The kids loved the snow, though Loki would have to convert Nate's wheelchair into a snow ski one so the little boy could join his siblings in their games.

While his neighbors complained and cursed the winter weather because they had to dig out cars and shovel driveways and sidewalks, Loki just laughed. In the first place, his van was in the garage, safe from the snow, and the second place Loki could easily send the snow from the driveway and sidewalk to the backyard, thus negating any need to shovel it.

Most of his neighbors relied on the city crews to help them clear driveways and sidewalks, or were young enough to do so themselves. But eighty-year-old Mandy MacAllister would need help. The old woman would never ask outright, but Loki would send Samantha, Hunter, Belle, Serena, and Vince over with enchanted snow shovels to clear her walk and drive. Mandy lived alone except for her small Pomeranian Mystic, and she loved when the children came by to visit.

Loki quickly put together a bacon mac n' cheese casserole to send over with the kids when the snow quit falling. Hopefully there would be no power outages with this storm. But Mandy had a generator, so she would be okay. Loki's own house was warded to prevent such occurrences, ever since his pipes had frozen the first year the kids had come to stay and resulted in no water for a day until he mended them.

He made two other casseroles, one bacon mac n' cheese and the other a shepherd's pie. All the kids liked them and that together with a salad would be fine for dinner. For dessert he made s'more icebox cake, another favorite.

He had just finished all the prep and had to bake them for thirty minutes when his older kids arrived home, all psyched to be out of school.

"Dad, the school closed early and we're probably not gonna be open tomorrow cause it's gonna be a blizzard!" Nate announced.

"I figured as much, racer," Loki said, his green eyes twinkling. "We're going to get about a foot and a half of snow this time."

"A foot and a half!" Serena exclaimed. "But the weather reports all said we'd only get ten inches."

"The weather reports are often wrong," Loki said confidently.

"Serena, I'd take Dad's word any day over a meteorologist," Belle insisted. "He'd know, he's a frost giant."

"Cool! That means we might not have school for two days!" cheered Vince.

"You know what this means, don't ya, daredevil?" Hunter asked gleefully.

"Laufeyson Snow Wars!" they all chanted.

"Shuddap! M' tryin' to sleep!" a cross little voice yelled from the den.

"Sorry, Aleta," Lucy said contritely.

But Vince scowled and said, "You oughta sleep in your bed, then you wouldn't get woken up!"

Max came into the kitchen, rubbing his eyes. "Why're you home from school, Vince?"

"School was cancelled cause of the blizzard," his brother replied.

"It's still snowing?"

"Yup! Look outside!"

Max ran to the bay window and peered out. "Whoa! So much snow! We can build a snowman!"

"Max, we can build a whole army of snowmen, buddy," laughed Hunter.

Max cheered, then ran in to tell Aleta. But his little sister was quite annoyed at being woken up before she was ready and cried, "Maximus, go' way an' lemme alone!"

"But Aleta, you gotta see the snow . . ."

"No! Daddy! Max won't leave me to rest!" the little girl wailed.

"Max, leave Aleta alone," Loki called. "She's cranky and you know what she's like when she doesn't get her beauty sleep."

"Yeah. A royal pain in the butt," Hunter snorted.

"Keep it down, guys," their father ordered. "Go play video games or something. I don't need to deal with a tantrum today." Aleta could not only give a firecracker noise lessons, she could out scream a banshee when she got into a mood. Loki hoped that as she grew older she would outgrow her tendency for tantrums when she was overtired, stressed, or upset. So far she had gone a record of four days without a meltdown and he wanted to keep it that way.

Max padded back into the kitchen. "Dad, can we build a snowman?"

"Yes, but after the snow stops. It's too wet right now. Why don't you paint a picture for the art wall in your new paint by number book?"

Max agreed, and went to get the new watercolor book Loki had bought him when they were out shopping yesterday. It had lots of mythical heroes in it, and Max always enjoyed painting.

Belle went to write in her journal, Serena had a math puzzle book she could do, Hunter and Nate went to play Xbox, Samantha had a sewing project she was trying to finish, and Vince wanted to work on his Star Wars Legos. Lucy went to watch cartoons in her room.

With his little zoo occupied, Loki took advantage of the quiet to sit down in his recliner and read. Mischief came and sat upon his lap, purring and nudging his hand until he petted her. The Asgardian made his tablet hover so he could pet the kitten and turn the pages at the same time.

Half-an-hour later his little spark woke up in a much better mood, and asked for peanut butter and apples for a snack. Loki had small packages of sliced Honeycrisp apples and mini containers of peanut butter, he gave this to Aleta with a small glass of milk.

"Thanks," she said and ate two slices hungrily while watching Sofia the First.

He was just about to read the next chapter of Centennial when Aleta came up to him and shoved an apple slice coated in peanut butter in his mouth. "Mmfff!"

"Here, Daddy. I'll share with you," his baby girl declared.

"Mffmhh," he managed a garbled word since the peanut butter was now sticking to the roof of his mouth.

He quickly summoned his glass of iced tea and hastily drank it down. When he could talk again, he said, "Spark, next time ask me before you shove something down my throat."

"But I was sharing!"

"That was wonderful, but you also nearly choked me, honey," he remonstrated.

"Don'tcha like apples n' peanut butter?"

"Yes, but I can eat them myself. Next time just hand it to me, okay?"

"But you were busy," she argued.

"Not that busy. Go wash your hands if you're finished eating," he reminded her.

"Kay. You want the rest?" she asked, gesturing to the remaining three apple slices and container of peanut butter.

"Yes. Can you bring them here, please? I can't move, I've got feline paralysis," he joked, indicating the sleeping kitten on his knee.

Totally missing the joke, Aleta ran and brought him the rest of her snack, then trotted into the kitchen to wash her hands, using the stepstool to reach the sink.

There was a lull in the storm around dinner time, and the kids devoured the casseroles and dessert then kept watch out the windows to guess the snow totals.

"Dad, how long will it keep snowing?" Lucy asked. "It's already up to the windows!"

"A few more hours," he replied. "Then it'll stop, but the wind will blow and drift the snow."

"When can we build the snowman army?" Max wanted to know.

"Tomorrow," answered Hunter. "Snow'll be dry then. Good for building and stuff."

"Aww!" Max looked put out. "What are we gonna do till then?"

"Why don't we play Monopoly?" suggested Samantha.

"But Aleta and I can't read or count like you," Max objected.

"No, but I can, and you can be on my team," Loki offered.

"Okay, who's playing?" Hunter asked.

"I am," Samantha said.

"Me too," said Serena.

"I'm in," Hunter reminded.

"Vince and I will be a team," Nate declared. "Speed Racers."

"And Lucy and me," Belle said. "Bookworms."

"Dad and us are the Imps of the Frost team," Max announced.

Samantha got the Monopoly out of the closet and they all chose a piece.

There followed a rather good-natured, teasing, yet cut-throat game, with each of them trying to out-do the other. In the beginning, Hunter was ahead, but Loki's team soon caught up and surpassed him when they bought the Boardwalk and Park Place.

"Oh my gosh, Dad, you're killing me!" groaned Samantha every time she went down that side of the board. "I always land on you and you have four hotels on the property!"

"Yeah it's like horror street!" Serena remarked, though she owned half the property on the other side.

"Yay! We're winning!" Aleta clapped her hands.

"Not yet. Game's not over," Hunter disagreed.

"And I have three railroads," Belle reminded.

"Yeah tell me about it," Nate grumbled. "I pay every time I land on one."

Loki rolled the dice. Then he said, "Max, pick a card from the Community Chest. The orange one."

"I got this one, Dad," Max showed him it.

"The Get Out of Jail Free card! That's the best card, scamp! Gimme five!"

Max slapped his palm.

"How much you want for it?" Vince asked.

"Nice try," laughed the frost giant. "Get your own."

The game continued, until it was down to Serena and Loki's team for the win.

Hunter just shook his head. "You might as well give up, moon pi," he said. "Good as you are, even you can't beat Dad."

"Wolfling, don't discourage her," chided Loki. "This game is pretty close."

"It's not over till the fat lady sings," Serena stated.

"The fat lady's singing," Vince yodeled.

"This could go on all night," observed Samantha.

"Who cares? No school tomorrow," Serena reminded. She passed Go and collected two hundred dollars.

But finally it was nine-thirty, and Loki saw his three youngest were falling asleep in their chairs. "Okay, moon pi. Time to wrap it up. Let's count up our bank accounts."

Serena counted hers first, adding rapidly in her head. "I have almost $5,000."

"Here. Count mine," Loki said, and handed her all of his money.

Serena did so, then said, "You won. By $10."

"See? I told you," Hunter gloated. "Not even Uncle Tony can beat Dad in Monopoly."

"But you almost did, and that's more than I can say for your uncles," Loki said. "That was fun, but now I have to put these three to bed."

Belle helped Lucy upstairs and Loki picked up both of his little ones and climbed rapidly upstairs.

"I'll help you," Samantha offered, and followed.

Loki handed her Aleta to change while he put a sleeping Max into Buzz Lightyear pajamas. He tucked his small son into bed then crossed the hallway to see if Samantha needed help.

"She's out like a light," his eldest said. Then she yawned. "I think I'd better get to bed too. Gotta get my sleep for the Snow Wars."

"Night, butterfly." Loki hugged her and kissed her forehead.

Soon all the kids went to bed until the only ones stirring were Loki and Mischief, who was normally up and prowling at night.

Loki remained awake watching the snow fall, feeling in his blood the snow would end in about half an hour. When it did, he too sought his bed, sleeping soundly until the dawn.

By then the storm had blown itself out, and as predicted, the snow had drifted during the night, until the house was nearly obscured by huge mountains of snow. Waking before anyone in the house, and before any of his neighbors, Loki went outside and used his magic to remove the snow from his porch, walk, and driveway, transporting it to the backyard, where he used it to make a few snow sculptures and a pretty castle and made hills and valleys so the kids would have plenty of places to play. He made a large hill on one side of the yard so they could sled or toboggan down it.

He used his icy affinity to create cool lattice icicles along the roof and a lacy ice fence around the porch.

He cleared the snow off the tree house, knowing that it and the ice castle he'd made could serve as snow forts for each side. He already knew that half of his team would be composed of Aleta, Max, and Lucy, because he didn't trust his older kids to watch properly so they didn't get harmed or in trouble during the Snow Wars. He knew that Hunter or Sam, he had a feeling Samantha would change to Sam for this activity, would be the captain of the other team, and Belle would be on their side because she could even things up with her magic against his own. The rest of the children would choose a side.

Of course, he would limit his magic to mild illusions and elementary ice spells, otherwise it wouldn't be any fun. But any pranks, magic or otherwise, were fair game. Oh yes, they were going to have a glorious time! Then he had an even better idea, and texted Thor, asking if his brother, Tony, Tasha, and Clint wanted to come over and join them.

Thor texted back, asking about a time, and Loki replied he'd let them know, they were still asleep and he needed to help out Mrs. MacAllister.

I await your summons, brother.

Now there's a first! He texted back, thinking that he had to play this great prank on Thor once he arrived, but he would have to get him to leave his phone unattended. But that shouldn't be too hard, no one wanted their phone to fall in the snow and risk getting damaged. He would suggest everyone, including himself and his kids, leave their phones on the kitchen counter.

But first there was breakfast and snow shovels to enchant and his kids to awaken.

Loki quickly cast the simple charms of lightness and sharpness over the shovels, to ensure that the snow could be easily picked up and also would be light as a feather when the children shoveled as he didn't want any strained muscles or too much exertion.

Breakfast was cinnamon raison oatmeal with bananas, quick, easy, and filling. He set the pot on the stove with a warming spell on it, made coffee, and drank his usual two cups while meditating before going to wake up his brood.

He found Belle awake, no surprise there, the girl was never one to laze about in bed, even on a day with no school. "You're up early, morning glory," he teased, noting she had her flannels and sheepskin-lined boots on.

"Who could sleep when we can play in the snow?" she responded, smiling. "Never mind, Serena could sleep through a hurricane." She gave him a kiss on the cheek, then asked, "What's for breakfast?"

"My cinnamon raisin oatmeal with bananas," he replied. "It's warming in the pot, help yourself."

"Yum! Looks like it snowed just as much as you said. So we gotta dig out Missus Mandy," his thoughtful daughter remarked.

"You will, after breakfast. Now let's see who else I can wake up," her father said gleefully.

"You might need a Frost Giant Freeze to wake up the number cruncher, Dad. Either that or a fog horn," Belle giggled.

Her sister was famous for sleeping till noon—if Loki would allow her to.

Belle skipped downstairs, a wicked smirk on her face as she heard he father begin to sing his standard wake-up song at the top of his lungs.

"It's time to rise and shine, rise and shine, and say hello to Mr. Sun!"

Doors slammed and the sound of several voices raised in protest echoed through the house.

"Aww, Dad!"

"No school, so why're we getting woken up at the crack of dawn?"

"Five more minutes!"

"No, an hour!"

"Hurry up, Max! I gotta go potty!" Aleta shrilled, banging on the bathroom door down the hall.

"Me too, so keep your crown on!" her brother yelled back.

"I can't wait that long!" the three-year-old sobbed, crossing her legs.

"C'mere, spark!" Hunter picked her up. "You can use Dad's bathroom." He ran down the hall to Loki's room, which had its own master bath. "The last thing Dad needs is to clean up a puddle on the rug."

"Thank you, wolfling," Loki said to his eldest boy when Hunter emerged from the master suite.

"No problem, Dad. Gonna go downstairs and use the other one. And feed Mischief," he added as the kitten meowed and wound around his ankles. "C'mon, kitty! Race ya!"

As they thundered down the stairs, Loki slipped like a ghost into Serena's room. His Elsa-look-alike still slumbered, her head beneath her comforter, like a bear in hibernation. But not for long, her father chuckled wickedly.

He yanked off all the covers and opened the window, letting a gust of wintery air flow into the room.

Serena groaned and whimpered. "Cold!" she groped for the covers, and not finding them, sat up, a scowl riding her face. "Where did my covers go? Belle, I'm gonna beat your butt with your book! Or whoever did this! M' freezing!"

"Hello, darling!" Loki greeted.

"Dad! You did this!" she accused, tossing her platinum hair out of her eyes. "You're terrible!" She opened her mouth to say something than closed it.

He giggled, clearly amused. "Let me guess. You wish you could beat me for waking you up, Miss Sourpuss."

"No fair," she grumbled. "I ought to be able to sleep past sunrise."

"Look out the window, moon pi and you'll see the sun was up long ago. It's nine AM, my little vampire," he pointed out and began singing his wake-up song.

"No-o-o!" Serena grabbed her pillow and put it over her head. "Dad, stop!"

"Not till you get out of bed, sleepyhead!"

"Ahhh! D-a-a-d!"

"You can sleep later, Miss Grouchy-pants," he argued.

She turned her back on him, her head still covered. "You're evil!"

Then she yelped as his ice-cold fingers tickled the backs of her knees.

"Did you just call me evil? Guess I'll have to prove you right, huh?" he twitted, and then he tickled the back of her neck and ribs.

She shrieked, but there was nowhere she could hide from his lightning quick hands.

Until she rolled over and jumped out of bed.

"There! Was that so hard?"

She glared at him. "I hate mornings!"

"Get dressed and come eat breakfast," he laughed. "I'll be back up here in five minutes and if I catch you sleeping, sweetheart, I have a Frost Giant Freeze waiting for you."

"No!" she yelped in horror.

That was his threat of last resort, and it was a pail of icy water that drenched you from head to toe. He'd only used it once on his reluctant risers and none of them ever wanted him to repeat it.

He teleported downstairs to find Belle, Hunter, Lucy, Sam, and Aleta already at the table eating.

"She never learns," Sam just shook his head.

"Serena's like Sleeping Beauty," Lucy put in. "She could sleep for a hundred years."

Belle made a face. "Not me. Think of everything you'd miss being asleep for that long."

"Daddy, can I have more cinnamon in my oatmeal?" Aleta asked.

"Of course, spark." He sprinkled some extra cinnamon over her cereal and added some cream because he sensed it might be too hot for her to eat. "How's that?"

"Mmm! Your oatmeal's better than the Quaker guy's," his toddler declared.

"I hope so. I've been making it a lot longer," the frost giant told her.

"Yeah like millennia," Hunter remarked.

Soon the rest of his children came and ate, then afterwards, he had Sam, Hunter, Belle, and Vince take their enchanted shovels and head over to the MacAllister house next door. While the kids shoveled, Loki brought the casserole he'd made over, once the walk had been cleared, taking Aleta and Max with him. He wore a black coat, gloves, and a hat, though they were for show, though his children's weren't.

He knocked on the door, calling, "Mandy, darling, it's your friendly neighbor snow patrol."

He heard Mystic bark in welcome, then the door was pulled open and a spry little old woman with her silver hair in a bun wearing a blue cable-knit Arran sweater and gray pants with pink sheepskin scuffs greeted him, her sharp dark eyes sparkling. "Hello, Loki, dearie! Come in, don't stand out on the porch and freeze, boy!" She ordered Mystic, her black Pom, to stay and allowed Loki and the two little ones to come inside.

"Why, look who's come to visit, Mystic!" she cried happily.

"Hi, Missus Mandy!" the two imps chorused and gave the old woman hugs.

"Take off your coats and stay awhile, dearies!" she invited. "Loki, you sit down and have a cuppa while your little ones play with Mystic."

"Hang your coats on the coat rack," Loki instructed his children, doing so himself. "And no touching anything!"

"We know, Dad!" Max said with the air of having heard the same instructions ten thousand times.

"Oh, pish tosh, Loki! I don't have anything they can hurt," Mandy said. "This house and whatever's in it is old, like me, so no worries."

"I hope you have insurance," he joked as the kids went to pet Mystic, who jumped up and licked their faces.

"Smart mouth!" she scolded. "Go sit down, boy. There's nothing your two littles have done that I haven't seen before."

"Wanna bet?" he teased.

"Oh hush, you imp!" she scolded. "Don't make me get my cane."

Loki roared with laughter. "Yes, ma'am!" He held out the casserole. "Where shall I put this?"

"What did you bring?"

"Just a bacon mac n' cheese casserole. This way you can just heat it and eat it."

"Loki, you shouldn't have, dearie!" she shook her finger at him.

"Why? I had extra, so I didn't want it to go to waste," he returned.

"Liar!' she snorted, and gave him a gentle whack on the behind. "Boy, you don't fool me for an instant."

"Wasn't trying to," he grinned. Then he put it on the counter. "Just pop it in the microwave for a minute. Oh, and my kids are shoveling your driveway and walk."

"That will earn them about ten dollars each," Mandy said, going to put the kettle on.

"You are not paying them," Loki argued.

"Loki Laufeyson, I most certainly am!" she insisted. "I'd have to pay someone to do it, so I might as well pay your kids."

"Mandy, they don't need money," he objected.

"Payment for services rendered, dearie," she said firmly.

"You're impossible, Lady MacAllister! We're just being neighborly."

"So am I. Now, do you still drink your tea with honey and a splash of milk?"

"You know me too well," he smiled, allowing her this small victory. Mandy MacAllister treated him and his children like the grandkids she no longer saw since the rest of her family was all the way across the country, and she had refused to move with them, saying she had been born here in this house and would never leave it.

She served him his tea, and then herself, also putting a plate of Scotch shortbreads out.

"Max, Aleta, would you like a cookie?"

The two scamps ran into the kitchen to receive their cookies.

"What do you say?" Loki prompted.

"Thank you, Missus Mandy," they said.

"Can Mystic have a cookie?" Aleta wanted to know.

"She can have a dog biscuit, dearie," Mandy said, and pointed to the box of them on the small shelf on her baker's rack.

Aleta went and got two, handed one to Max, and then had Mystic sit up, shake hands, and dance for her treats.

While the two played with the little dog, Loki and Mandy drank their tea and ate their cookies, and Mandy asked Loki how his business was doing.

"It's coming along. My new game will be ready to launch before summer. Have you heard from your daughter-in-law and son? Are they going to come here for Easter?"

Mandy shrugged. "Well . . . Sean said he was busy and didn't know if he could fly out, he's an accountant, you know and this is tax time . . ."

"Is he going to send you a ticket at least?"

"I don't know. You know, I don't want to impose, dearie. Tracie is always so busy with her projects and what in the world would I do rattling about in that big house in California?"

"You're his mother!" Loki snapped. "His only family and you ought to be with them for the holiday. How can—"

Her hand closed over his. "Loki, dearie, no need to get all steamed. 'Tis the way they've always been. I don't want to be a burden on them, and we've never really seen eye to eye, my daughter-in-law and I. She thinks I speak my mind too much and maybe I do."

"I'd like to give them a piece of my mind!" he said angrily.

"No, dearie. That would only give them more fuel for the fire. They want me to give up this house and move into an old folks home, but that isn't happening till I've gone to Jesus. I might not be as fit as I used to, but that doesn't mean I'm ready to be stuck in some room and forgotten!"

"I'd never let that happen. I'd sue the ass off them first," he declared, his eyes flashing.

"Language, dearie!" she scolded. "Little pitchers," she indicated the two toddlers, who were blissfully petting the dog on the floor.

"Sorry, but I meant what I said," he told her.

"You've a good heart, boy. Your mama raised you right," she said approvingly.

"I'm adopted, you know that."

"So? Adopted or no, your mama did a good job."

"Well, she tried, I'll give her that," laughed the God of Mischief.

"If things don't work out with your relatives, you're coming to my house for Easter," he told her firmly.

"Loki, you have your own family—" she began.

"Who would be quite happy to have you with us," he argued. "You're like their grandmother."

"You're sweet, dearie!" she smiled at him. "And if I were forty years younger I'd be getting you to put a ring on my finger."

He laughed again. "Don't let my brother hear you say that. I'm the family black sheep, you know."

"Humph! I've always liked a bit of a rogue, dearie! And so would any woman with eyes in her head and brains to go with them."

"Hey, don't you be matchmaking!" he coughed. "A woman would have to be crazy to take me and nine kids."

"Oh she's out there, my boy! You just haven't met her yet, dearie!"

"Because she doesn't exist, Mandy."

"Don't be sassing me, boy! You might be a big video game designer, but in this one area I know more than you, Mr. Laufeyson. When it's time, you'll meet the right one, and she won't care if you come with nine hundred kids, she'll love you and them forever."

"Mandy, you're an incurable romantic."

"You'll see," she vowed.

Just then, the older Laufeysons knocked on the door, to tell their father they were done, and Mandy gave them cookies, tea, and a ten dollar bill apiece, even though the kids tried to refuse.

"Missus Mandy, Dad says we're not supposed to get paid—" Hunter began.

"I've already talked it over with your dad, dearie, and it's okay," the old woman said firmly.

"She twisted my arm," Loki drawled.

"Loki, behave!" Mandy ordered, and he laughingly dipped his head in acquiescence.

The children thanked her and giggled at how she could make their indomitable father listen. Then they headed back home, and Mandy waved through her screen door as they departed.

Loki texted Thor and soon his brother, Tony, Tasha, and Clint showed up at the house ready to start the Snow Wars.

Loki appointed himself captain of one team, and Tony volunteered to be captain of the other, then Loki picked Lucy for his army. Tony picked Nate, and Loki chose Tasha, while Tony picked Clint. Loki chose Aleta and Max, then Tony chose Belle and Thor. Vince joined Loki's army, Serena was on Tony's team, probably planning some mischief against her dad for waking her up early. Sam was on Loki's team and Hunter on Tony's.

Loki's team tied green sashes on their arms and Tony's red ones. The rules of the war were simple—three hits with a snowball and you were out for five minutes, only mild illusions and ice spells allowed, and fun pranks. Nine hits with a snowball or prank and you were eliminated. Special consideration was given to Lucy, Max, and Aleta due to age and injury.

Loki transformed Nate's chair into a ski chair so he could participate easily in the games. The war would last until one side was defeated, or until dinner time, whichever came first.

"Now let the third annual Laufeyson Snow Wars begin!" Loki chanted, and shot off a blue sparkling streak of energy.

"Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!" called Tony, and he and Loki chose to determine who went first.

The Asgardian chose paper, which beat Tony's rock, so his team went first.

And the first thing he did was conjure a snowball and smash it right in Tony's face. "Think fast, Iron Drawers!"

"Loki, you—" Tony sputtered.

"Score one for our side!" cheered Sam.

Loki beckoned his team into the ice castle, which would be their base of operations. "Start making some ammo, darlings," he told his older children. "Lucy, here's a special weapon for you." He handed her a silvery metal gun with a large opening.

"What's that?" she asked.

"Snowball gun," he answered. "You can fire it one handed, and it'll fire one, three, or six snowballs at a time before it needs a minute to make more."

"Cool, Dad!" her sea-green eyes glittered.

"Do we get one too?" Vince wanted to know.

Loki shook his head. "No, only Lucy, 'cause she's injured. You all can use your two hands and your eyes." Then he beckoned to Max and Aleta. "My Mischief Making Imps, c'mere and let me enchant your boots so you can walk on the snow so I don't lose you in a drift."

He promptly cast a spell that let the two glide like they had skis on top of the snow.

Then he had them begin making snowballs too, and those his kids had already made he multiplied with a simple increase spell.

"Is that permitted?" Tasha asked.

"Of course. Belle's doing the same on her side," Loki said with a sly grin. "That's one of the advantages of being a mage, darling. We don't need to rely on brute force."

"What are these?" Vince asked upon seeing several blue sacks along the walls of the ice castle.

"Snowball holders. There's one for each of us except Lucy. Start filling them," Loki ordered, then followed suit.

Once they all had their sacks filled with snowballs, Loki, Tasha, and Sam plotted their strategy.

It was decided they would send out Max and Aleta first as a decoy, because Tasha said Tony would be reluctant to hit them since they were so little. "He'll hold back."

"My kids won't," Loki predicted. "But we can cover them, and with that enchantment, they can run really quickly."

"And while they're busy trying to hit Aleta and Max, the other half can sneak up behind them and hit them right where it hurts." Tasha grinned.

They all slapped palms. "Let's do it!"

"Okay, scamps, you know what you gotta do, right?" Sam asked his little siblings.

"Uh huh!" Aleta nodded.

"Yup! We're gonna 'stract them so Daddy n' you can hit 'em in the butt!" Max asserted.

"That's my boy," Loki praised. "And don't forget to run if you see a snowball coming."

They split up, with Tasha, Sam, and Vince covering Max and Aleta, while Loki and Lucy crept around the back of the ice castle and silently through the ice "forest" until they reached the tree house.

As predicted, Tony held off trying to hit the two babies, though Serena, Nate, and Hunter opened fire, using gentle tosses.

Max and Aleta ran about yelling like banshees, Clint taunted Tasha to come out and fight like a girl, and Thor yelled to Loki that he had better quit hiding like a wimp.

Thus distracted, the others were unprepared for Loki and Lucy to use the back ramp to sneak into the tree house. Lucy cut loose with a barrage from her snowball gun, scoring hits on Nate, Belle, Serena, Tony, and Clint. Hunter ducked and she missed him, but Loki slipped up behind Thor and gleefully shoved a snowball down his pants.

"It's a snow wedgie!" he crowed.

"LOKI!" Thor bellowed. "By the Nine, when I get my hands on you, you little sneak-!"

"You always fell for that!" the Master of Mischief whooped, then he drew his cloak about Lucy and they vanished from view, enabling them to escape from the treehouse despite the missiles aimed at them.

For now, Loki's Slippery Serpents, as they had called themselves, was winning against Tony's Crimson Tigers. The Laufeyson Snow Wars was off to a brilliant start.

A/N: who will win? Submit your guess with your review!

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