Who Stole My Loki Charms?
Bifrosted Loki Charms! They're mischievously delicious! ~ Loki
Loki picked up Mandy after the doctor released her from the hospital, saying she could recuperate at home, especially since the flu was growing to epidemic proportions at the hospital. He had briefed his children that Mandy would be coming to stay for awhile until she was better, and to try and remember the manners he had taught them.
The doctor recommended she stay in bed and keep hydrated, take a prescription pain pill and Tamiflu, and she should recover within two weeks. Loki drove up to the house and helped Mandy out of the van and into the house. Christine, Sonya, and Mikaela were there taking care of the kids, who seemed to be improving more every day. Especially his magical children, whose immune systems seemed to be able to throw off the virus quicker than his normal ones. Belle was hardly coughing at all after three days , Vince said he felt better after three days also, and Aleta no longer had a fever and was driving everyone crazy asking when she could go outside and play.
Loki carried Mandy's suitcase upstairs, and placed it in his master suite, having already decided before picking her up where she would stay. He then went downstairs and said, "I figured I would put you in the best room in the house so you could get well quicker."
"Loki, you're too kind, dearie," Mandy smiled at him.
He coughed, slightly embarrassed, then he said, "You don't mind if I carry you up to your room, do you? There's a lot of stairs and I don't want you to exhaust yourself."
"Loki, I wouldn't want you to hurt yourself," protested Mandy.
"You hardly weigh more than a feather," he chuckled. "No worries." Then he gently picked her up in his arms and climbed the stairs. "Your room, my lady MacAllister!" he announced.
Mandy gasped when she saw Loki's master suite. "Oh, Loki! I can't stay here! This is your room isn't it?"
"Yes, it is and of course you can stay here. It has the most comfortable bed in the house. And a bathroom right inside here." He carried Mandy over to the bed and laid her on it.
"But where will you sleep?"
He shrugged. "There's a pull-out bed on the sofa downstairs. It'll do."
Mandy sighed. "Perhaps I should take the pull-out bed, dearie. I don't want to kick you out of your own bed."
Loki shook his head. "You aren't, and my mother would beat me with a switch if she ever found out I let you sleep on a pull-out bed when you're so sick. No, Bestemor, you are sleeping right here. The better the bed, the better sleep you will have, and sleep is the physician of all pain."
She squeezed his hand. "I swear, by the time I'm well, I'll be spoiled beyond belief."
"You could use some pampering, Bestemor. And that's exactly what I intend to give you." He gestured to the bathroom. "There's a whirlpool hot tub in there as well as a walk-in shower with a built-in seat. Feel free to use them whenever you wish. My three aides, Christine, Sonya, and Mikaela will be happy to assist you with whatever you wish. Just ring this bell."
He pulled a small wooden handled service bell from his nightstand. Steve had gotten it for him as a joke last Christmas.
"I can manage, Loki. Been doing just fine all these years," Mandy began stubbornly.
"But that's the point, darling. You don't have to manage by yourself. Let me and my aides and even my kids help you." Loki persuaded. He whistled and a familiar black Pomeranian bounded into view. "Mystic, look your mama's here!" he told the excited little dog and picked her up and gave her to Mandy.
"Hello, baby girl!" Mandy cooed and Mystic licked her face with her tiny pink tongue.
While Mandy reunited with her furbaby, Loki turned down the bed, plumped up the pillows, and retrieved the remote for the TV and placed it within easy reach on the nightstand.
"Would you like some ice water? Tea?"
"That would be lovely," Mandy smiled. She scooted up and lay back on the pillows, luxuriating in the softness of the bed. She kicked off her slippers and said to Mystic, "We're living in high cotton for now, little girl."
The dog lay on her lap, tail wagging, clearly happy her mistress was with her.
Loki departed to fetch the water and tea, as well as a small sweet roll he had bought at the bakery this morning.
When he returned he found not just Mandy and Mystic on the bed, but Mischief too. The cat was ensconced upon the other pillow on the other side of the bed, purring like a washing machine gone berserk.
"I see you've met my cat, Mischief."
"She's adorable with those large ears," Mandy said.
"If she starts to bother you, I'll take her out and close the door," he offered.
"Don't be silly, Loki. I love animals and have no problem with her visiting. Even Mystic doesn't mind her."
"She seems to get on well with Mystic," Loki remarked. "I think because Mystic is older and more on a size with her so she doesn't feel threatened the way she does with Odin."
Mandy reached out to pet Mischief. "She's a champion purrer, Loki. That will put me to sleep better than anything."
"If you want to watch TV, here's the remote. Just ring if you need anything. And I do mean anything."
He bid her a brief goodbye then went to see how the kids were doing. He planned to send Mikaela in later to unpack her suitcase. He would have done it himself but didn't want to make Mandy feel awkward.
After checking on each of the children, Loki decided to eat a quick lunch of tuna on honey wheat bread, popcorn, and a small salad. Then he took a brief nap in the recliner.
He woke to find a text from Thor on his phone. Loki, I just got back from visiting Father and Mother. Need to discuss something with you. Heard all your kids were sick. Nine Hells, brother! Coming over now.
That had been five minutes ago. Judging by how fast Thor could fly, Loki anticipated he would be here in another five if not sooner. No, it would be five, since Thor didn't want anyone to see him. So he would land a few blocks away in a deserted alley and walk up to the house.
Sure enough, the doorbell rang five minutes later. Christine answered it and then came into the den. "Mr. Laufeyson, your brother is here."
"Thanks, Christine." Loki said, not bothering to rise from his recliner. He suspected Thor had a lot to tell him and it would be best if he were sitting down. "Could you please keep the kids occupied for an hour or two? My brother just got back from a long flight—" like to another world—" and we have some private family matters to discuss about our parents."
"Of course, sir," Christine said and then she went upstairs along with the other two aides.
Loki cast some privacy wards about the room so that even if someone did happen to hear something, it would be muffled and sound perfectly ordinary. "Hello, Thor. Long time no see."
"I came back as fast as I could," his brother said, and hugged him.
Loki smirked. "Miss me much?"
"You look like Hel, brother. Bruce told me about all the children getting sick and then Steve and Tony are sick too. It's like a plague."
"Yeah, you could say that. My neighbor Mandy is staying here too. I had to bring her to the hospital yesterday." He quickly detailed what had gone on while Thor was in Asgard.
"By the Nine, Loki! No wonder you look like you need to sleep for a month," Thor said feelingly. "I'm sorry I wasn't here to help, but you know Father. When he calls he doesn't do so just to say hello and how are you."
"What did he want?"
"To ask my advice on a treaty with the remaining Dark Elves. He thought you wouldn't be impartial enough given that Malakith killed you so he called me."
"How very thoughtful of him!" Loki sneered.
"Brother, he meant to spare you pain," Thor began.
Loki's lip curled. "I can handle pain, Thor. Been doing it my whole life. But of course Father wouldn't think it important enough to have my input on something so vital as a treaty between Asgard and Svartalfheim."
"Loki, you nearly died last time you came to Asgard!" Thor objected.
"Oh, who gives a damn? What's done is done. I'm better off here anyway." My real family is here, he thought but did not say aloud.
"Anyway, Mother woke up while I was there and she was healed finally-"
"Mother is awake and you didn't think to inform me?" Loki cried, hurt.
"I'm sorry, brother, it all happened so quickly," a guilty Thor murmured.
"Of course. And Father probably figured why bother sending his Jotun son a message right away after all I'm not on the need to know list," Loki snapped, anger roiling in his gut.
"Loki, it wasn't like that," Thor sighed. Then he said, "But Mother insisted that she come to visit you here on Midgard. So she and Father are going to come here for Easter."
Loki nearly fell off the recliner. "They're coming here? To my house?"
Thor nodded. "I suggested it. Because Easter is the time for family and renewal."
"By the Nine, brother! Now I have to get my house in order not just for my Avenger family but for them too. Oh, Nine Hells!" he groaned.
"Loki, I thought you'd be happy . . ."
"Oh, I'm happy, Thor. So happy I'm spitting rainbows and smiley faces," the Master of Mischief said sarcastically. "Got any other good news for me?"
"Well, while I was there I visited our old rooms in the palace that we used to have as boys. And look what I found!" He reached into a pocket of his cape, which was magically designed to hold many things, and pulled out a red box of—
"My Loki Charms cereal!" Loki gasped. "I had forgotten all about that!" he took the red box from Thor, and smiled nostalgically at the picture, which was of himself as a thirteen-year-old, gesturing with a flourish to a bowl of cereal with the title Bifrosted Loki Charms. The cereal featured magical marshmallow bits of a scepter, a Tesseract cube, a shield, a horned helmet, Thor's face, and a growling wolf. The caption beneath read They're mischievously delicious! And another on the opposite side said Fortified with long lasting magical energy!
There was a starburst advertising Free Magical Charm Necklace Inside!
Loki opened the box and saw to his delight that the cereal was still fresh, thanks to the preserving spell, and it still contained a small glowing cube necklace, which he removed. There was only a minor enchantment of protection on it, but still he didn't want anything with his magical signature falling into the wrong hands. "I cannot believe you found this after all these years," the Master of Mischief smiled. "I was thirteen when I created this based off some silly Midgardian cereal ad I saw in Father's seeing globe. It was supposed to give me extra magical energy after I ate it."
"Did it work?" Thor asked.
"Yes, but not as well as I hoped. The energy boost only lasted for three days and it didn't magnify my powers the way I'd hoped. So I put it away in the closet and forgot about it," he recalled.
"Can you still eat it?"
"Yes, it's preserved with magic so it's still fresh. It's made with Asgardian kithra wheat and frost mallows. You remember how we loved frost mallows as kids right?"
Thor grinned. "You always liked them more than I did. They were too airy for me. And I hated kithra porridge. So dry and bland."
"This isn't. I added honey to it and coated the pieces," Loki told him. "So it tastes good. Here, try it."
He handed Thor some cereal.
The Thunder God munched it. "Hmm. Not bad. I feel stronger already."
Loki rolled his eyes. "It doesn't work like that for non-mages, Thor. It's just cereal for you." He ate a handful. "But for me, it will briefly increase my magical energy." He felt the cereal create a warm glow in the pit of his stomach which spread through him like a bubbly wine. "Not bad. But I should have tweaked it a bit more. The energy transfer is a little too quick and leaves me feeling a bit giddy like I've drunk too much mead. Oh well. Nice to know Father didn't tell the servants to throw everything out like it was junk in my room."
"Mother wouldn't let him," Thor said.
"That explains it," Loki remarked. He clutched the box of cereal tightly. "Guess I'd better put this away. It's not something I want my kids getting into. Asgardian magic doesn't react well with mortals." He rose gracefully to his feet. "Be right back."
He teleported into his room, luckily Mandy was asleep. He set the cereal box on top of his armoire, intending to open it and put it in his workroom, but then he heard Sonya yelling, "No! Bad dog!"
Odin what have you gotten into now?
He spun on his heel and left the room, not wanting whatever was going on to disturb Mandy who needed her rest, leaving the box of Loki Charms on the top of his armoire.
The weekend came, and Loki sent the three aides home, saying that he and Thor could handle things for a few days, after paying them a generous bonus and saying he would see them again on Monday. He introduced Thor to Mandy, who told the blonde god how his brother had saved her life, and she had adopted him as her honorary grandson.
"So that's why he calls you Bestemor," Thor mused. "I had wondered."
"I can adopt you too, dearie," she said with a twinkle in her eye. "A woman can never have too many grandsons."
Thor smiled. "Thank you. I never knew my grandparents. They were gone before I was born. But you also have all nine of Loki's children to be great-grandchildren."
"Such sweet little imps," Mandy laughed. "I hope they're all recovering."
"They seem to be. Thank goodness." Thor said fervently. "How are you feeling, Bestemor?"
"Oh, it'll take some time for my old bones to mend. I'm not a spring chicken anymore," Mandy smiled. "No doubt those kids will be well before I am. But I'm shooting for Easter. I hear your parents are coming from Norway to celebrate it with you."
"They are," Thor confirmed. "I fear my brother feels a bit . . . overwhelmed."
"Having your relatives over can be, but I'm sure Loki will handle it fine. He's very resourceful."
"We shall manage it together," Thor stated. Then, noticing Mandy was growing sleepy said, "I shall take my leave of you now and let you get some sleep. Loki would punch me out if I ruined your recovery."
Mandy chuckled. "Go on then, boy! I guess I am a wee bit knackered." Then she closed her eyes and within moments was asleep.
Mystic came and jumped on the bed and curled next to her mistress. Thor left the old woman and the Pom resting and went to see what else Loki needed him to do.
"Just keep an eye on the kids for me for a bit. Right now they're all sleeping still. I gave them doses of their medicine earlier this morning, so when they wake up they can have some breakfast, nothing too heavy—toast, fruit, oatmeal, or cereal is fine. But I need to take a walk." He ran his hands through his long hair. "I haven't been out of this house except to take Mandy to the ER in days. I'm going a little stir crazy."
Thor recognized the signs and said softly, "Go fly, brother. Take all the time you need. I shall mind the younglings and the animals."
Loki flashed him a grateful smile, then walked into the backyard. In moments a peregrine falcon soared into the blue vault of the sky and disappeared from view.
Thor found a package of Oreos in the pantry and took it and a container of milk into the den. He turned the TV on and began to watch reruns of Highlander, a favorite show of both his and Loki's. Soon half a package of Oreos was gone and so was half the gallon of milk. Thor found himself nodding off in the middle of an episode and before he could say "Bifrost" he was snoring, the combination of the snack and the quiet house serving to send him to dreamland.
Max woke and wondered where everyone was, the house was so quiet. He slipped out of bed and attached his gold cape to his Loki pajamas and padded over to Aleta's room, but she was still asleep, the children's Tylenol tended to knock her out. Then he wanted to ask his father something, and he went over to Loki's bedroom and opened the door, forgetting that Mandy was now using it.
"Dad, I'm hungry," he said, then looked over towards the bed and saw Mandy snoring with Mystic next to her. "Ooops!" he put a hand over his mouth.
As he backed away from the bed, his eye was caught by a red box on top of the wardrobe. His eyes widened when he recognized it was a cereal box. "Maybe Dad forgot to put it away in the kitchen," he whispered to Mystic. He looked around for something to get it down with, then found one of Mystic's balls on the floor and threw it at the box, trying to knock it off the armoire.
Max had pretty good aim and the box was right on the edge of the shelf.
The ball hit it and it tumbled down into his arms.
"Yay! New cereal!" the little boy grinned. Holding it in one hand, Max ran out the door and into Aleta's room, shutting her door as he did so. "Aleta, wake up! It's morning and we gots new cereal with Dad's picture on it!"
"Maximus, whaddya want?" growled his sister crossly.
"You gotta see this!"
She scowled. "What is it? M'sleepy!
He held out the box of Loki Charms. "Lookit!"
She rubbed the sleep from her eyes. "That's cereal. So?"
"Dad's on the box." Max pointed.
Aleta stared. "But he's little, like Hunter! How come he's on here?"
"Dunno. Maybe cause they wanted him to be?"
Aleta shook the box. "What kinda cereal is it?"
"One with marshmallows, silly!"
Aleta opened the box. "Mmm! I like how it smells! Let's eat some!"
"Okay. Lemme get some milk. You got spoons n' bowls?"
"In my play kitchen," Aleta said and went to where she had a pretend kitchen set up in the corner of her room with plastic utensils, food, and serving dishes. They were sized for a toddler.
Max headed downstairs to get some milk. He found the container right out on the coffee table and his uncle was snoring on the couch. He grabbed the milk and ran back upstairs with it, happy it wasn't that heavy.
In her room, Aleta had poured two bowls of cereal and was waiting impatiently for Max to return.
Just as her brother reached the landing, Vince came out of the bathroom and spied him. "Max, what are you doing?"
"Getting milk for my cereal," the little boy answered.
"What cereal?" Vince queried.
"The one Aleta and I are having," Max shoved open the door. "Aleta, I gots the milk!"
"Hurry and bring it here, Max. I'm hungry."
Vince followed saying, "What kind of cereal are you eating? I want some too."
Then he saw the box on the floor. "Cool! It's Loki Charms! I think Dad made cereal now! Where'd you get this?"
"It was in Dad's room. He forgot to put it in the kitchen," Max replied, pouring milk into his cereal and Aleta's.
"Neat! Hey, Nate! Look at this!" he took the box and went to show his brother.
Nate wheeled his chair over. "What's that? It's Dad on a cereal box! Must be some new campaign thing." He read the box. "Hey, where's the magic necklace?"
Vince shrugged. "Aleta and Max say there wasn't one. Maybe it's gonna get put in later? Anyway, let's eat some! I'm hungry."
"Go get us some bowls."
Soon Vince returned with some bowls and spoons and retrieved the milk from Aleta's room. "How's it taste?" he called to his small siblings.
"Really yummy!" they chorused. "It's the bestest!"
"Vince, this says fortified with long-lasting magical energy," Nate remarked. "Could the cereal be enchanted?"
Vince shook his head. "You can't sell enchanted cereal, Nate. Besides, it won't do anything to you even if it was. . . you don't have magic." At least he assumed it wouldn't.
He poured two more bowls. Now half the box remained.
They were just about to eat when the rest of their siblings showed up and asked where the party was and why they hadn't been invited.
"Hey, share the wealth, bros!" Hunter said, and took the cereal box. "What the heck is this?"
"It's Dad's new cereal—Loki Charms!" Nate replied.
"Loki Charms? Must be doing some ad campaign," Samantha said. "Give it here, Hunter, don't be a pig."
"What? I only have one bowl!"
"Hey, we want some too!" protested Serena, Belle, and Lucy.
Luckily there was enough cereal for all nine children to have a bowl, though afterwards the box was empty.
All of them dug into their bowls, enjoying the sweet crunchy taste and the funny shaped colored marshmallows that melted like spun sugar on their tongues.
It was Aleta who first noticed something funny after she had finished her bowl. "Max, I feel kinda warm," she giggled. "And fizzy."
Little did she know the enchanted cereal was increasing her magic exponentially.
She felt her magic sparkle through her like ginger ale fizz, then she decided to try something she had always wished to do.
She narrowed her eyes and concentrated, then said to her small army of stuffed animals and dolls, "Tenhut! I command you all to march!"
A glowing ball of light exploded from her fingers and settled over the army of toys. In a twinkling all of the toys stood up and began to march around the room.
"Max! Max!" Aleta yelled excitedly. "I made my dolls n' animals come alive! Look!"
"Cool!" her brother cried. "Now we can play with 'em!" But before he could do so, he said, "Aleta, I feel weird."
"Like sick?" his sister asked.
"No, just . . ." Suddenly a blue light enveloped him and he began shrinking until he was only two inches tall. He was so shocked he tripped over his spoon and landed in his cereal bowl with the milk.
"Help! Help! Aleta!" he shrieked, splashing about in the bowl as if he were in a pool. "I can't swim!"
"Max!" Aleta yelled. "How come you're small?"
"How should I know!" her brother squeaked. "Get me outta here!"
Aleta reached in her hand. "Quick climb on my hand! Or should I get Rescue Barbie?"
Max managed to scramble onto Aleta's hand, which was like a raft to him.
His sister looked humungous to him.
"Max, you're like the size of a mouse," Aleta squealed.
Max covered his ears. "Not so loud, Aleta!"
"Sorry!" she whispered, then she set her brother down. "You're all wet."
"I know," he said grumpily. "Got a towel?"
Aleta handed him a tissue. Max took it and rolled about on it until he was dry. "Max, you better be careful, you could get stepped on."
"I know," the miniature boy sighed. Suddenly Minx ran up to him. "Hey, can I ride Minx?"
The lokitty nodded and Max jumped on her back. "Yeehah! I'm a cat rider!"
"Everybody, follow me!" Aleta ordered, putting on her princess helm and taking her plastic wand in her hand. Then she marched out the door with her entire army following, including Minx and Max.
Across the hall, Belle noticed something occurring with her magic after she had eaten the cereal. She felt suddenly stronger and as if she could run a marathon. "Vince, something's happening to me. My magic—it's like overflowing!"
She stared at her hand, which now ran with rivulets of rainbowed light. "By the Nine!" Experimentally, she flicked the rainbowed light just as Mischief ran by.
The light caught the black kitten and made her fly in the air.
"Mischief!" Belle cried, shocked.
The kitten was now running on the air, all her fur on end.
"Belle, get her down!" Samantha cried.
"I . . . I don't know how!" her sister cried. She flicked her hand again, only this time she felt her own feet leave the ground and she too soared up in the air. "Yggdrasil's Roots! I'm flying!"
Vince felt something odd happening to him too. "What the—?" He stared at his left hand, which had turned blue and waxy.
Serena screamed. "OMG! Vince, you're like a zombie—half of you any how!"
"Really? Neat!" He ran in the bathroom to look at himself in the mirror.
What he saw was that half of his body, including his hair, had become blue skinned and dark long hair sprouted from one side of his head. Vertical white stripes cover the blue half of his face, and he whooped in delight. "Serena, you idiot! I'm not a zombie—I'm a frost giant! Well, half a one!"
Just then Max on Minx and Aleta ran into the room.
"OMG. What happened to you?" Serena cried, horrified. "You're like a mini Lego figure!"
"Max shrank!" Aleta told her. "And I made my dolls come alive!"
Hunter gaped at his siblings. "How is this happening?"
"It's the Loki Charms!" Vince cried. "Has to be!"
"How come it's not working on the rest of us?" Lucy asked. "I wanna fly like Belle!"
No sooner had she opened her mouth then huge feathered wings sprouted from her shoulders. "Whoa! I'm a Valkyrie for real!"
Nate frowned. "What'd you do, Lucy?"
His golden-haired sister flapped her cream-colored wings. "I just wished I could fly and this happened!"
"Well, I wish I could walk," Nate said, and suddenly a thrilling tingling went through his paralyzed lower half and he pushed himself to his feet.
"Nate, you're standing on your feet!" Vince cried.
"I . . . know . . ." his brother cried, amazed.
"Take a step," Hunter encouraged.
"I'll do better than that!" Nate yelled. He suddenly jumped the entire length of the room and climbed up the wall.
"Look out Spidey! There's a new wall crawler in town!" hooted his Ghost Speaker brother.
Hunter felt a tingling in his own limbs then suddenly he morphed into a large gangly black wolf with white feet. "I'm a wolf!" he cried.
Suddenly, Serena began to cough, and colored bubbles blew out of her mouth. "Hey!" she shrieked and more bubbles flew out.
Hunter barked and jumped at the bubbles.
"Cool!" Lucy cried. "You're like a bubble machine!" She flew into the air and began popping the bubbles.
Samantha, who had eaten last, was the last one to show the effects of magical cereal. Her hands began to glow and the bedpost she was leaning on turned to spaghetti. "What the heck?" She pulled her hand back and stared at it.
"Touch this!" Vince picked up a tennis ball, and handed it to her, and it became a meatball.
"Wow! Instead of everything I touch turning to gold, it turns to food," Samantha whistled. "And now I sound like a tea kettle!" She tossed the meatball to Hunter, who devoured it in two seconds.
"When does this wear off?" Serena asked, more bubbles exploding from her mouth.
"Who says we want it to?" Nate said, now walking on the ceiling. He was delighted with his new magical powers.
"Nate, this can't last," Belle said, finally managing to get down on the ground. She held Mischief, who was shivering in her arms. "I'm not sure, but I think this is only temporary. So you'd better come down before it wears off."
"Killjoy!" her brother yelled, then flipped upside down and landed on his feet. "I feel fine!"
"Look what I can do, Nate!" Vince picked up his brother's bed with his blue frost giant hand. "Super strength!"
"Vince, watch it!" Lucy cried circling her brother in the air. "You might drop it!"
As if that were a premonition, the bed slipped sideways and crashed onto the floor.
Mandy woke up. "Lord have mercy! Was that an earthquake?"
The kids glanced at one another in horror. "We can't let her see us! She doesn't know about magic."
Odin rushed upstairs, barking.
"What in Hel is going on?" they heard Thor bellow. He came thundering up the stairs. "Okay what broke?"
"Oh no!" Belle said as they heard Thor's heavy footsteps coming up the stairs.
"We're in trouble now!" Samantha said.
Thor stormed down the hallway. Four minutes later he appeared in the doorway and saw the smashed bed. "By the Nine, what happened in here?!"
Odin came in behind Thor as he sniffed the floor and headed for the cereal box. "No! Odin! Don't eat that!" Max shouted and Thor turned to look at the cereal box lying on the floor.
"Is that...?! No! Keep it away from the dog!" Thor shouted.
"Get the box!" Aleta yelled to her dolls, who nearly trampled Minx doing as she ordered.
The dolls startled Odin and Thor when they grabbed the cereal box and ran over to Aleta.
"Aleta! Be careful! You nearly knocked Max down!" Belle said.
"Sorry," Aleta said, taking the box from the dolls, but Odin was determined to get the sweet smelling treat.
"Give it here!" Nate said as Aleta tossed him the cereal box and Nate started climbing the wall.
"Odin's Good Eye, you can use your legs?!" Thor gasped.
"Uh, yeah, I can," Nate said as he watched Odin barking at him and tried to jump up to get hold of the box.
Hunter gave a play growl and jumped on the shepherd and the two wrestled across the floor, knocking Vince's skateboard to the ground.
"Hey! Watch the board, Hunter!" Vince cried.
"Sorry, Bro,' Hunter said and Odin playfully barked and wiggled under Hunter.
"Nephew, you're a wolf?!" Thor exclaimed.
"Uh, yeah," Hunter said with a grin.
"Right. Hand over the cereal. Now!" Thor said with a look Loki gave them when they misbehaved.
"Will someone please tell me what's going on?!" Mandy yelled and Thor looked at the doorway. "Now look what you've done."
"Uncle Thor, you'd better tell her something quick," Samantha whispered. "Before she comes over here." She hid her glowing hands behind her back,
Sighing, Thor left the room then he went to Loki's bedroom and saw the worried look on Mandy's face.
"Thor, what was that noise? I thought the house was hit by an earthquake!"
"No, no. Odin got excited and chased Mischief on top of a . . . err . . . dresser and it tipped over. But everything's fine, Bestemor. I can fix it." He put an arm around the tiny woman. "Now why don't you get back in bed? You'll catch a chill standing here."
"Was anyone hurt, dearie?"
"Oh no. Except the dresser," Thor reassured her, and ushered her back to bed.
"He went out for a walk," he told her. "Do you need anything? Some tea or soup?"
"Some tea would be wonderful. And one of those scones if you have any more," Mandy said.
"I'll go check." Thor promised and then hurried from the room, shutting the door behind him. Phew! That had been close!
Thor hurried back to the other room as he saw the children trying to keep Odin quiet and he sighed.
"Is Mandy ok, Uncle Thor?" Samantha asked.
"Yes, I told her a dresser was knocked over while Odin was chasing Mischief," he said, looking at Odin and Hunter curled on the floor and Odin was sleeping peacefully.
"That was good thinking," Belle remarked, letting the kitten down. Mischief sniffed and looked frazzled.
"I am going to make Mandy some tea. Do I have your word there will be no more surprises?"
"Yes, sir," Vince sighed. "But we didn't know what the cereal would do till after we ate it."
"Why would Daddy allow them to make a magic cereal to begin with?" Belle asked.
"They didn't make the cereal," Thor said then smiled. "He did."
"Daddy made a magic cereal?!" Max asked.
"Aye. He wanted to make something to briefly increase his magical energy. It didn't work like he wanted and the power only lasted three days."
"I'm going to be able to use my legs for three days?!" Nate asked with a wide grin.
"That's great for you, but what about me? I'm Samantha the Magic Food Buffet!" his sister moaned. "How am I gonna do anything like this?"
"What are you talking about?" Thor asked and Sam showed him how she can turn anything into food by turning a sock into a slice of pizza.
"And look, every time I talk, I spit bubbles!" Serena wailed.
"And I can make my toys real!" Aleta said, pointing to her dolls and they waved at Thor,
"What about the rest of you?" Thor asked.
They told him what they could do as he sighed and wondered how Loki would react once he came home.
"Where's Dad?" asked Nate.
"He went out flying," Thor explained. "But he ought to be home any minute now."
Loki loved being able to fly when in falcon form. The world was spreading out before him and he was one with the wind. He wondered if this was what it was like when Thor flew and dipped his wings to the left. He soared over the treetops when he noticed an older gentleman sitting on the bench and he was feeding the ducks some seeds. Curious, Loki landed on the top of the bench as he watched the older gentleman and noticed he was wearing warn clothing, a large brim hat and sunglasses. The older gentleman didn't seem to notice him at first when he smiled and turned to look at him. "Hello, friend," the older man said with a grin. "Are you hungry?" Loki just looked at him when the gentleman sighed and looked at the ducks.
"I guess not," he said and looked at the two ducklings who were fighting over the seeds. "See those two? They remind me of my sons. The large one is always overshadowing the little one and the little one feels like he is worthless. He's not. He has gotten in trouble in the past, but he has also proven he isn't the villain people thought he was. Not anymore. He has taken on more responsibility then even I could handle and is doing a remarkable job. He is a better father as well. I know I wasn't the best, but I tried. I just hope he can forgive me at some point for what I've done because I do love him." Loki looked at the gentleman as he blinked then the elderly man slowly got to his feet and wiped the seeds off his hands. "I also hope he will welcome me when I come see him over Easter," he said then ambled away.
Loki was stunned when the older gentleman vanished in a flash of light then changed back to his normal self and smiled. "You're always welcome, Father," he said then turned back into a falcon and flew away.
"Is he going to be angry with us?" Hunter asked.
"Oh, yes, he is going to be angry, but only because you meddled in something you didn't understand," Thor said and Max sniffed while tears appeared in his eyes.
"I shouldn't have touched the cereal without asking," the tiny boy wept.
Thor felt sad for the little boy as he picked him up and held him against his chest.
"How was we supposed to know it was bad for us?" Aleta asked, looking upset. "It was good cereal!"
"Yes, but just because something looks good doesn't mean it is," Thor said and Max found comfort in the loud gentle thumping of his uncle's heart.
"Yeah, somethings care really hurt you if you eat it," Hunter said.
'I shoulda known better when I read the box," Vince admitted. "It DID say magical fortifying."
"What do you think Dad will do when he finds out?" Sam asked.
"We're gonna get scolded into next week," Serena hiccupped and rainbow bubbles floated all over the room.
"And be put in time out forever," Aleta said.
"I don't want to be in time out forever!" Max sobbed.
"I'll tell him it was my fault," Vince volunteered. "He can take away my skateboard and ground me to my room."
"No, I'm the oldest," Sam said. "It will be my fault."
"Like that'll ever work," Hunter snorted. "I'm the one usually giving him an attitude, and stuff, so I'll take the blame."
"Guys, you're all forgetting something. None of us can lie to Dad. We all promised not to and-and he'd know anyway." Lucy reminded them.
"Yeah, so I guess we'll just have to hope he...," Belle said.
"I'm home!" Loki called out and they looked at each other.
"Thor, where are you? This tea kettle is boiling over!"
"Coming!" Thor said as he left the room and headed down the stairs.
"Were you making tea and forgot?" his brother queried. "Good thing my tea kettle won't burn. I put a charm on it. How are the kids and Mandy?"
"Mandy is feeling better and that's who I was making the tea for," Thor said as he pouted the water into one of Loki's best tea cups and placed the tea bag in the cup.
"And the kids?"
"They're fine," Thor said and quickly left the room with the tea.
Loki frowned. Something felt wrong here. "Thor, what aren't you telling me?" He hurried up the stairs, wondering if Odin had made a mess on the carpet or something.
He saw Thor go into his room when a cold chill moved through him and he followed. Mandy thanked Thor for the tea when she looked at Loki and smiled. "Hello, dearie," Mandy said.
"Are you all right?" Loki asked.
"Yes, but I did have a scare. There was this loud noise and I thought we were having an earthquake."
"Really?!" Loki said, looking at Thor.
"It turned out Odin was chasing poor Mischief and knocked over the dresser."
"He did?!" Thor now understood what the children were talking about Loki knowing when someone lied and he nodded.
"Well, I'm glad you're feeling better," he said then looked at Thor. "Brother, may I have a word?"
Thor followed Loki into the hallway. "Loki, there's something I need to tell you . . ."
"I'll say. Starting with what in Hel happened here while I was gone?" his brother frowned sharply.
"I just want your word you will not punish them harshly."
"Why would I punish them?"
"Well, you see, Max found your cereal..."
"He found your cereal and he and Aleta had some."
"By the Norns!"
"Then the others had some."
"They all ate it?!"
"Aye, and, well, things happened."
"What sort of things?"
"Magical ones. That's why I told Mandy about Odin knocking over the dresser. Because no one except family can know what really went on here."
"I see," Loki said with a nod when something tugged on the cuff of his pants and he looked down to see a two-inch-tall Max.
"By the Nine!"
Loki picked up Max as the itty bitty boy gave him a sad look and tears rolled down his cheeks. "I'm sorry, Daddy," Max said and Loki felt an ache in his heart. He knew he should be angry with his youngest son, but he also hated seeing Max so upset.
"Max, how did you even get my Loki Charms, son? I put them up where you can't even reach," sighed the frost giant.
"I used one of Mystic's balls and knocked it down," Max said.
"Maximus, what have I told you about touching anything in my room?"
"That I'm not supposed to," he said with a sniff.
"And what happens when you do touch something?"
"I get put in time out."
"Then why did you?"
"I was hungry and couldn't find you."
"You could have woken Sam up."
"I almost woke up Missus Mandy."
"And you knew she was sick."
"Yeah," Max said with a nod.
"So now everyone has some sort of magical power and we need to keep her from finding out. She doesn't know we have magic and might not understand."
"Would she be scared of us, Daddy?"
"I don't want her to be scared of us."
"Neither do I," his father sighed.
"What are you going to do?"
"I want to talk with your brothers and sisters and see if I can't fix this."
"They're all in Vince and Nate's room," Thor coughed.
Nodding, Loki carried Max back to Vince and Nate's room and looked at his miserable children. "Hey, Dad," Hunter said when Odin woke up and headed for Loki. He sniffed Loki's foot then sat down and panted. "Well, what do you have to say for yourselves?" Loki asked and they looked at their feet. Loki then noticed Nate was standing and his eyes widened.
"Nate, you're standing?"
"Yeah, and I can do this!" Nate said and started climbing the wall.
"I am!" Nate said as he climbed along the ceiling then looked down at his dad. "Hi, Dad!"
"Hello. Now please come back down before I have a heart attack," Loki said with a grin. After Nate climbed back down, Loki walked over to him and gave him a hug. For the first time, Loki noticed how tall Nate was and silently wished he didn't have to take this gift away from him.
"It's okay," Nate said as if he knew what Loki was thinking. "I know you want me to do this all the time, but I'm happy the way I am. And I'd have to give up the cool chair Uncle Tony built. Some of the best things only last a little while."
"If I could, I would let you remain like this," his father whispered. "But even my magic can't fix everything."
"Uh, Daddy," Belle said and he turned to look at her. "Uncle Thor said we're going to be like this for three days. Maybe, if we're careful, no one will find out."
"Missus Mandy might. She's just down the hall. If she sees Nate walking, she might ask questions," Vince said.
"Then I'll just use my chair," Nate said.
"And what about Max? He might get squished or stepped on," Aleta said.
"You could look after me," Max said. "I can stay in your dollhouse."
"Speaking of dolls," Thor said as the dolls started heading out of the room.
"Get them!" Lucy shouted.
"Hey! Report back to me, troops!" Aleta called. "On the double!"
The dolls quickly turned and marched back to their mistress and stood at attention. "Whew, that was close," Serena said.
"Where's my Loki Charms?" her father asked.
"Here, Dad," Vince said as he handed him the cereal box and Loki handed Max to Vince.
"Brother, maybe I should take the cereal to the mansion? Maybe Stark will know a safe place to hide it," Thor said.
"Ah, no," Loki said with a shake of his head.
"Yeah, that's all we need. Uncle Bruce on a sugar high," Samantha sighed.
The sudden image of a rampaging Hulk on a sugar high moved through Loki's head as he shivered and held the cereal box against his chest. He peered inside and noted nearly all of the cereal was gone. "Odin's Spear, how much did you eat?"
"Uh, nearly all of it," Lucy said.
"I'm amazed none of you got sick, considering what mischief you all managed to get into with just one bowl of cereal each." He eyed Vince and said, "How did the bed get broken?"
"Uh... That was me," Vince said. "I'm really strong."
Vince walked over to Thor and lifted him carefully off the floor.
"By the Nine!" Thor said then laughed.
"Put him down," Loki said and Vince put Thor back down. "Jotun strength," murmured the God of Mischief.
"I can do this," Sam said and turned a pen into a banana.
"Transformation spell," Loki said, softly.
He also included Nate's wall crawling and Max shrinking down to two inches to the list of things they could do then looked at Hunter. "You're a wolf, wolfling!"
"I'm a Valkyrie!" Lucy said, and spread her wings and flew up to the ceiling.
"Those are all shifter powers," the master mage mused.
"I can do this, Daddy," Serena said and blew out some bubbles from her mouth.
"And I made my toys come alive!" Aleta said and the dolls saluted Loki.
"And what can you do?" he asked and looked at his little lore keeper.
"I can fly, too," Belle said and lifted off the ground.
"No, that's more like levitation," Loki said and Belle frowned.
Then he said, "I think I figured out why you all have the magic you do. All of those effects are spells I was studying when I did this experiment. Well, except for the shifting and the Jotun strength, I always had those. But the other enchantments . . . I was an apprentice when I made this cereal, and I was trying to figure out a way to make my spells stronger."
"You wanted to shrink, Daddy?" Max asked.
"Not really," Loki said and looked at Thor. "I wanted to make someone else feel small."
"You wanted to shrink me?" Thor asked. He then remembered the times he belittled his little brother and how he must have felt two inches tall.
"Brother...," Loki said, but Thor shook his head. "No, I understand. I must have made you feel small with all my teasing when we were young. For that, I do apologize."
Loki smiled at his brother as he nodded and Aleta looked at her dolls. "Why did you want your toys to be alive?" she asked.
"I... I didn't have many friends as a child. I wanted ones who would do what I wanted and would do as I said," Loki said and she ran to her daddy and hugged his legs.
"I would play with you, Daddy," she said.
"What about the bubbles?" Serena asked.
"That was just something silly I added."
"Because magic should be fun and not always serious," Belle smirked.
"Why did you want to fly?"
"He wanted to fly because I could," Thor said.
"Yes, I wanted to soar through the sky alongside you," Loki said.
"What about climbing walls?" Nate asked.
"It would come in handy if I wanted to spy on someone."
"Why did you want to be a Valkyrie?" Lucy asked.
"Because they had special magical horses that were their bondmates. I have always loved horses. But no one is allowed to ride or to touch a Valkyrie's horse except a Valkyrie." Loki said quietly. He had tried, of course. His insatiable curiosity had earned him one of the worst switchings of his life for daring to "defile" one of the sacred horses from the Mistress of Swords.
"Oh," Lucy said. Loki walked to her and she gave him a hug and he kissed the top of her head.
"It was a long time ago," he said and she smiled up at him.
"Are we still in trouble?" Aleta wanted to know, her lower lip trembling.
"You are. But your punishment is to learn how to live with your magical gifts until they wear off, and to make sure that Missus Mandy doesn't find out about them. As well as remember to never eat anything you think is magical without checking with me first. Because next time the magic might not be so amusing, but could harm you. Am I understood?"
"Yes, Dad!" they all replied.
Loki heaved a sigh. "You hooligans are gonna drive me to drink with your shenanigans!"
"We're sorry!" they said contritely.
"You should be. But I forgive you." He held out his arms. "Group hug!"
All of them ran to him and hugged him, with Vince making sure Max wasn't crushed by putting him on Loki's shoulder. Loki looked at his brother. "You too, Thor."
Thor clasped them all very gently in his huge arms.
"Okay, now I need to eat something because I'm starving," Loki declared, releasing his children and sibling.
"Have some Loki Charms," Thor teased. "They're mischievously delicious!"
Everyone howled with laughter, including Loki. He then sent the box of Loki Charms back down to his workroom, out of the reach of curious hands.
"I think I need a stiff drink," Loki muttered to Thor as they went downstairs. "That and a maple bacon and egg sandwich."
"I can supply the mead, brother," Thor offered. "But the sandwich . . .. umm . . ."
"Never mind, Thor. I'm not eating charcoal," Loki twitted.
And so ended the saga of the missing Loki Charms.
A/N: Thanks to ninewood and Kat King for their assistance. This chapter was inspired by a shirt my nephew bought for me with Loki Charms on it. Hope everyone has a Happy St Patrick's Day!