When dealing with a two-year-old you need to have fortitude, patience, humor, and a bottle of tranquilizers handy~ Loki
It had been a week since Frigga and Odin had departed for Asgard, and the Laufeysons were studying for end of the semester exams and Loki was preparing for their camping trip in the Catskills at the beginning of the summer. He wanted to use that time to show his children how to live without all their electronic gadgets and learn survival skills they would need when they went across Bifrost to Asgard for the rest of their vacation. He was currently making a list of everything he would need to purchase for the trip when he got a frantic call from Tony.
"Loki, we have a situation here, buddy!" Stark said, sounding almost panicked.
"A situation? What do you mean? Are you under attack at the mansion? Is someone hurt? Like Thor?" Loki queried rapidly.
"No, we're not under attack. Well, that is to say the team as a whole wasn't. But err . . . this does involve your brother," Stark coughed.
"Involve? Explain, please."
"Uh . . . well, you see Thor went to see about some kind of electromagnetic disturbance over in Queens. Something odd was going on and he decided to check it out himself. But when he got there he found an old acquaintance of yours from home—Amora the Enchantress. She was holding some people hostage, and Thor managed to get them released, but she insisted he . . .date her and when he refused she zapped him with some spell that . . . turned him into a two-year-old!"
There was dead silence on the other end of the phone.
"Loki? Did you hear what I just said?"
"Yes, Tony. I heard you," the Asgardian responded. Then he swore softly in Old Norse. Damn you to Hel's deepest pits, Amora! "My brother is now a two-year-old thanks to a regression spell. Where is he now?"
"Here at the mansion. But Loki, he's . . . um . . . kind of wrecking the place."
Loki's eyebrow rose. "What?"
"You see, he kinda found Bruce's stash of double fudge cookies and Kit Kats and ate them—all of them. And then he drank Clint's Big Gulp he left on the counter so now he's bouncing off the walls on a—"
"—sugar high," Loki groaned. "Nine Hells, Stark! Don't you know you have to watch a two-year-old?"
"Laufeyson, none of us—well except maybe Clint, and he just got here—know how to deal with a two-year-old Thunder God. He's quicker than greased lightning and he's into fifty things at once and when Clint tried to take the candy away he threw a fit like you wouldn't believe—"
"Oh, I can believe it, all right," Loki snorted. "You forget I grew up with him."
"Anyway, please can you come and help us out? Before we don't have a house left."
"It's sitting on the floor. None of us can wield it and neither can he. Oh, and he doesn't remember any of us. Did Amora tamper with his mind?"
"Just leave the hammer where it is. As for him not remembering you—that's because of the regression spell, Stark. When you regress, you remember people who were part of your past life, not your present one. So Thor wouldn't know his Avenger family, just his Asgardian one," Loki explained.
"So he'll know you?"
"Yes. And our parents and Balder, Heimdall, and anyone we had contact with in childhood. None of whom are here except me," Loki sighed. "I'm coming over. Just let me tell Sam to keep an eye on my twin troublemakers."
He hung up the phone and explained to his eldest he had to run over to the mansion and help Uncle Tony with something. "Can you watch Max and Aleta till I get back?"
"No problem, Dad. They're in the den watching Frozen."
"I'll be back soon," he promised, then teleported away.
When he arrived at the mansion, things were in a state of chaos. JARVIS was running about with a feather duster and a broom, trying to sweep up crumbs and candy wrappers, a lamp shade was knocked askew in the den, and Tony was muttering and pacing in the front hall.
"Oh, good, you're here!" he exclaimed. "Thor climbed on top of the bookcase and is refusing to get down. Is there any way you can reverse the spell, Loki?"
The master magician nodded. "What magic does, magic can undo. However, I need to see exactly what spell Amora cast on Thor. There are more than one type of regression spell, and some of the nastier types can become permanent if you don't know how to reverse them or do it too soon."
"You mean he could be stuck as a kid forever?" Tony cried in dismay.
"Not forever, until he grows up again," Loki told him. "However, I'm not going to let that happen. Where is he?"
"In the library. Uh, excuse the mess," Iron Man said as he led Loki through the house. Cushions were strewn all over in the den, something looked like it had spilled on the floor, and various things like shoes, clothes, and hockey equipment were scattered across the floor.
"What the Hel happened in here?" Loki asked.
"Thor. He got mad when Clint wouldn't let him play with his bow. Started throwing whatever he could get his hands on."
"And you just stood there and let him?" the God of Mischief frowned.
"No, but it took us by surprise and by the time we reacted he'd run off and climbed the bookcase. He keeps yelling something about flying. Pepper and Tasha are in there, terrified he'll try and jump off the bookcase and hurt himself, but he won't come down. And all of us are too big to climb after him."
"Oh blessed Yggdrasil!" Loki rubbed his temples. Then he went to corral his troublesome brat of a brother.
In the library he found Natasha and Pepper standing in front of the bookshelf, holding a toy rubber hammer and a plate of cookies. Several books had fallen from the bookcase and lay upon the floor. Loki winced to see precious books treated so uncaringly, but he said nothing to the two women. Instead he looked up to see a familiar toddler with long blond hair, bright cerulean eyes, wearing a blue shirt that was too big, perched precariously on top of the bookcase.
"C'mon, Thor, let's play with Mjolnir," Natasha called, waving the hammer.
"Look, Thor, we have cookies!" Pepper urged, holding them up. "Nice warm chocolate chip ones! You can have one if you come here."
"No!" the irrepressible toddler yelled, his cherubic face screwed up in a pout.
"Take those away," Loki ordered Pepper. "He's had enough sweets for one day, plus he's misbehaving. You don't reward that."
"Loki!" cried Natasha. "Help us!"
"I am." Loki walked over to the bookcase. "Thor Odinson, what do you think you're doing up there?"
The child stared down at him, his little brow wrinkling as he tried to remember who this was. "Playing," he replied.
"You don't play on bookcases," Loki remonstrated. "You could fall. Do you know who I am?"
"Daddy?" came the puzzled response.
"Norns forfend!" muttered Loki. "No, little brother. I'm Loki, your older brother." For now, anyway. He had to admit he liked saying that.
"Loki?" Thor repeated.
"Yes. Now come here before you fall and get hurt," Loki ordered. "You're not supposed to climb up there."
Thor gave him a scowl worthy of a mule. "Don' wanna! Wanna fly!"
"Listen, scamp. You can't fly." Loki informed him. He knew that part of his brother's mind was confused, equating his younger self with his grown-up one, and believing he could fly the way he normally could.
"I can too!" the child insisted, his chin jutting out.
"Wrong," Loki said flatly, not about to get into an argument with a toddler. "Now come down, young man."
Thor shook his head.
Loki huffed. "Okay. Then I'm going to come up and get you." With that, the Master of Mischief levitated the eight feet to the top of the bookcase and plucked the stubborn imp off it.
Thor immediately began to scream. "NO! NO! Loki, lemme GO!" He tried to throw himself backwards out of Loki's arms, but Loki held him firmly.
"Stop it, Thor!" Loki snapped, trying to hold onto the wriggling two-year-old without hurting him. "Oww!" he yelped as the struggling toddler's foot connected with his stomach.
"Bozhe moi!" Natasha exclaimed in shock. "He's a little savage!"
Loki grunted and then shifted the howling child, tucking him under his arm where Thor's flailing feet and fists couldn't connect with any of his vulnerable body parts. "Enough, young man!" he snapped. "Quit fighting me. You won't win."
The frustrated little god threw his head back and howled, making the rest of the Avengers wince and cover their ears. Loki wished he could do the same. He fixed Earth's Mightiest Heroes with a disapproving glower. "This is what happens when you give a toddler too much sugar. Especially my brother."
"We didn't give it to him, Loki," protested Clint. "He found it and ate it."
Loki shook his head. "Never mind, Barton. But that's part of the reason he's out of control like this."
"What's the other reason?" Bruce wanted to know.
"He's Thor, Crown Prince of Asgard," Loki sighed. "I'm going to take him home now. If I can get him to sleep, then I can examine him to see what spell Amora cast and see about reversing it."
Thor continued to kick and bawl, still trying to free himself from Loki's grasp.
"Good luck, Loki," Tony offered. "I'll come by in a day or two."
"Thanks, Stark," The Asgardian said sarcastically. "Let's go, little brother. You and I need to have a talk."
"Uh oh," Clint muttered. "When my dad said that, it meant his hand was gonna talk to my butt."
"I'm not your father, Hawk," Loki said evenly. "I say what I mean." Then he blinked away, leaving the Avengers to clean up the mess their teammate had made of the mansion.
Arriving in the small breezeway between his house and Mandy's, Loki took his brother and held him so he was looking at Loki's face. "Thor, you need to quit this, you little drama queen. You're not getting your way, understand?"
Thor sniffled and hiccupped. "Down, Loki," he whined.
"I'll put you down once we go inside. But first you need to listen to me. All right?"
The toddler slowly nodded, then hiccupped again. Loki held him against his shoulder, patting his back firmly. "See? All that screaming and crying gave you nasty hiccups." He walked up and down the breezeway, patting Thor's back. "In a little bit we're going to go in my house and meet your nieces and nephews. They'll play with you."
"Play now, Loki!"
"Not yet. First you are going to get some new clothes and wash your face. Then, if you're good, you can play with Max and Aleta. Understand?"
Thor nodded. "Wanna play, Loki."
Loki sighed. "You have a one-track mind, kid. Stubborner than ten goats. But stubborn or not, you're going to learn to mind me, by the Nine."
He then walked over to the front porch and opened the door, calling, "Hey, kids, I'm home! Everyone come into the den for a family meeting."
All the Laufeysons came running and seated themselves in the sofa, chairs and the floor, looking at their father and the blonde child he was holding with unabashed curiosity.
"Daddy, do we got a new brother?" Aleta asked frankly.
"You adopted another kid?" Sam asked, startled.
Loki held up a hand. "Not really. This is actually your Uncle Thor."
"Uncle Thor? No way!" Hunter gasped.
"He's a little kid!" Vince cried. "Younger than Max and Aleta."
"How did it happen, Dad?" asked Belle.
"Your uncle ran into an old enemy of ours, Amora the Enchantress. She cast a regression spell on him and deaged him to two years old. He doesn't remember anything about his adult life. He only knows me because I was there during his childhood the first time."
"Can you fix him, Dad?" Max wanted to know.
"I'm going to try. In the meantime I need all of you to help me watch him. Since he doesn't know you, I'm going to tell him he's your little brother. He already believes he's mine."
"How long will it take you to reverse this, Dad?" Belle wanted to know.
"I have to determine what spell was cast, little raven. Then I can figure out an antidote," Loki explained. "But first, I need you all to introduce yourselves to Thor."
The children did so, with Lucy and Serena cooing over how cute he was, and Vince rolled his eyes and said, "Oh brother!"
Odin came running into the room and went to sniff the new addition to the family.
"Doggie!" Thor cried, and went to get off Loki's lap and pull the shepherd's ear.
"No, Thor. You don't pull Odin's ear," Loki said. He took the toddler's hand and placed it on the puppy's head. "Pet the puppy nicely." He moved Thor's little hand gently down Odin's back. "Nice."
"Nice!" Thor squealed.
"Aww!" the girls sighed.
"Okay, little Donner," Loki said to his brother. "It's time for you to get changed and get washed up."
"Dad, you called Uncle Thor a reindeer name!" Lucy giggled.
"Actually, Valkyrie, Donner in German is thunder," Loki told her. "So it fits."
"What's Blitzen mean?" asked Max.
"Lightning," replied Loki. "Okay, go and play or finish your homework. I'm going to be busy with Thor for awhile."
He teleported upstairs and went into Max's room, figuring he could borrow clothes from his son's closet and shrink them to fit Thor, and he also set up a small bed with light blue sheets and a red comforter with a fluffy pillow. "There, look, Thor," he told the toddler, who was exploring Max's room. "A nice superhero bed for you."
Thor looked at the bed, then crossed his arms over his chest. "No! No nap, Loki!"
His brother raised an eyebrow. "That seems to be your favorite word, little brother. That and "I want"." He held some of Max's jeans and a T-shirt that had a growling dinosaur on it up to Thor and said, "Hmm. You aren't all that much smaller than my son. These just need slight alterations."
He twitched a finger and the clothes shrank to the right size. "Okay, now let's get you washed up."
He brought Thor into the children's bathroom down the hall and wet a washrag with warm soapy water and cleaned the chocolate stains from the boy's chin and hands.
Thor went to protest, but Loki made silly faces at him and the toddler quit whining and laughed instead. "Loki funny!"
The God of Mischief grinned and said, "When you aren't being a royal brat, you're adorable, brother."
He removed the too big shirt, recognizing it as one of the Avengers own, cut down for the toddler. He also found that Thor was wearing what looked like a cloth diaper, and said, "I think I have some Pull-Ups in the closet from when Aleta was being potty trained. That'll be better than this."
He summoned one and laid it on top of the clothes on the counter, then gently washed the little boy all over. "I'd give you a bath, but you've had enough excitement for one day."
He was about to dress the scamp when Thor said, "Loki, pee pee."
"Wait, little brother!" Loki said, and then quickly placed the child in front of the toilet and waved a hand to lift the seat. "Go on."
He helped the child, praising him afterwards. "Good job! Now let's get dressed."
Once in his new clothes, Thor seemed to want to run about, and Loki brought him downstairs to play with his new "brothers" and "sisters".
While Thor played with Max and Vince, Loki started supper then surreptitiously examined his brother with his Sorcerer's Sight, trying to determine what spell Amora had used.
But it was difficult because Thor was like a whirlwind, never still long enough for his magic to get a good reading. Sighing, Loki determined he would have to wait till the two-year-old fell asleep.
Just as the macaroni and cheese was done, Lucy came into the kitchen. "Dad, something's the matter with Thor."
"What do you mean, sunshine?"
"He's holding his tummy and crying. I think his tummy hurts."
"Darn!" Loki muttered. "I was afraid of that. All that candy and cookies was too much for his stomach to digest."
"Dad, I thought you Asgardians didn't get sick," Lucy frowned.
"We don't, but we can get tummy aches from over eating or other things," Loki explained. Like hangovers. "That's what Thor has, a tummyache from too many sweets."
Lucy winced. "Ouch! That's no fun."
"No. I need to make some digestive tea," her father said, and put on a pot of water to brew, then stuck a teabag of peppermint and chamomile tea in a cup.
Then he went to find his brother.
Thor was curled on the sofa, holding his belly and groaning. Loki swore under his breath at the irresponsibility of the Avengers in not watching his brother.
Max watched worriedly. "Dad, Uncle Thor's sick."
"Yeah, his tummy hurts," Aleta said.
"I know, kids," Loki said, and went to sit down next to his brother. "Hey, buddy. I bet your tummy hurts from all those cookies and candy, huh?"
Thor whimpered. "Oww, Loki!"
Loki gently stroked the flyaway hair and said, "I know. Let me see." He gently removed the little boy's hand from his belly, and put his own there, gently pressing.
"Oww!" Thor wailed.
"Shh, little brother." Loki soothed. His touch, imbued with magic, told him the little boy's stomach was distended with gas and from being stuffed with sugary sweets. "I'm going to make it better. Now relax." He gently rolled Thor onto his side and began to rub his back, patting up and down the way you would a baby. The repetitive motion caused Thor to belch loudly.
"Hey, you is supposed to say excuse me!" Aleta told her uncle.
"That's right, spark, but he's sick so don't worry about it," Loki chuckled. "Why don't you and Max go play in your room?"
"Okay. Max, you wanna play rescue pet heroes?"
"Okay, but I get to be the horse," Max told her and they ran upstairs.
Lucy eyed her father and small uncle and said, "Can I help, Dad?"
"You can. I want you to go and get me a can of ginger ale," Loki said, and his daughter went to go get one from the pantry.
Thor was still moaning, and Loki gently rubbed his back some more. "It's okay, little brother." He gently extended the little boy's legs, saying, "You need to stretch out, Donner. Curling up like that is keeping all that gas in your tummy."
"Loki, owwie!" Thor cried.
"Shhh." Loki bent Thor's legs, moving them up and down, trying to release some of the pressure.
Thor passed gas loudly.
"Eeeww!" Lucy cried. "It stinks in here!"
Loki wrinkled his nose. "Mimir's Beard, Thor!" he coughed, waving a hand. "Just set the ginger ale down on the table."
"Here," Lucy said. "I need a gas mask!" and ran out of the room.
Loki summoned some air freshener and sprayed it. Then he picked up the ginger ale and opened it. "C'mon, Thor. Sit up and sip this. It'll make you feel better." He helped the child sit up, cuddling him on his lap, and coaxed the soda into his mouth. "That's it. Little sips."
Once he had drank some of the ginger ale, Loki let Thor snuggle in his lap. When the tea kettle whistled, Loki used his magic to pour hot water into the mug and let the peppermint chamomile tea steep for five minutes before summoning it and a spoon to him.
But when he tried to give some to Thor, the little boy shook his head. "No! No med'cine, Loki!"
The magician laughed. "This isn't medicine, you stubborn little thing. It's tea for your tummyache. But even if it was, you'd still be taking it."
Thor shook his head.
"Oh yes!" Loki said firmly, and tapped him on the nose. Then he began to sing "Pop Goes the Weasel" and when he got to the "pop" part he tapped Thor's nose and the boy opened his mouth and laughed.
Loki promptly popped the spoonful of tea in.
The startled Thor swallowed it.
"See? You'll take what I want you to take, brother," Loki said slyly. He made a game of feeding the cranky toddler the tea, and soon had gotten half the cup down the boy without hardly any fuss at all.
Then Thor yawned, for the tea was starting to make him sleepy, as well as relieve the pain in his stomach. Loki picked him up and held him against his shoulder, then sang softly to him the same lullaby he sang to his own children and Frigga had sung to him and Thor long long ago.
Thor popped his thumb in his mouth and sucked sleepily. In moments he had drifted off and Loki waited until he was sure the little thunderer was asleep before bringing him up to his bed in Max's room.
"Sleep well, alskling," he murmured, then kissed his brother's cheek.
He found Max standing behind him. "Daddy, is Uncle Thor gonna sleep in my room?"
"Yes, son. Do you mind? If you want, I can take him into my room. But I thought you might want to share like your big brothers do."
Max looked thoughtful. "Dad, is Uncle Thor younger than me as a kid?"
Loki knelt and nodded at his youngest son. "He is, imp. He's two to your four."
Max's emerald eyes glittered excitedly. "Yay! I finally get to be the big brother!"
Loki started laughing. "Oh, Max, I know exactly how you feel!" He swept his son up into a hug. "So can you be the big brother tonight and share your room?"
Max grinned, his smile lighting up his whole face. "I can, Dad!"
"That's my big boy," his father praised.
"Dad, can I wear my Loki pajamas tonight?"
"Yes, I washed them yesterday. Now let's go eat, I think the mac and cheese has cooled enough now."
At bedtime, Max got into his pajamas and crawled under the covers. Loki tucked him in and read Where the Wild Things Are until he fell asleep. Then he bid his other children good night and went to sleep himself.
Only to be awakened some four hours later by his son tugging on his arm.
"Dad . . . Dad wake up!"
"Huh? Max?" Loki sat up, wide awake. "What's the matter?"
"Uncle Thor keeps waking me up," his son whimpered.
"Why? Is he crying?" Loki pushed back his covers.
"No . . . he wants to play and I'm tired, Dad!" Max said in aggrieved tones. "I told him to go to sleep until morning but he keeps getting outta bed and poking me and asking me to play."
Loki sighed. "Climb up in my bed, scamp and go to sleep. I'll deal with this."
He padded down the hallway and found Thor trying to grab Mischief, who hissed and scratched him.
Papa, this rude boy pulled my tail! The black kitten spat, growling.
Thor began to cry. "Bad kitty! Loki, kitty 'cratched me!" he held out his hand, which bore a small scratch on it.
Loki knelt and said, "Thor, did you pull Mischief's tail?"
The little boy nodded.
Loki gave him a Disappointed Look. "That's why the kitty scratched you. Because you hurt her. That was mean." He picked up the child. "Come on, let's clean that scratch and then you are going to sleep, mister."
He washed the scratch with soap and water and put some salve on it, then carried the overactive scamp back to bed. "Time to sleep."
"Not tired. Wanna play!" his brother said stubbornly.
"This is not playtime, Thor. This is bedtime."
His brother shook his head. "No, Loki!"
Loki was tired, and not up to dealing with the obstreperous toddler. He also didn't want to engage in a battle of wills and wake up the whole house. So he resorted to his magic, and sprinkled sleep dust over his brother, and Thor instantly fell asleep.
He gazed down at the angelic looking child and said, "You might look like an angel, brother mine, but you have a devil in you too and these next days will be interesting." He cast an identify spell on the boy, trying to figure out what spell Amora had used, and when he finally did he had several choice words in Old Norse to say about Amora.
For her spell was one of the more insidious kinds, and he would need to prepare a special elixir to combat it, one in which he would need ingredients from Asgard. But he would worry about that tomorrow. Right then he was too tired.
The half-Jotun returned to his bed, and slept curled about his son, until his alarm woke him up.
At breakfast that morning, which was scrambled eggs, maple bacon, and English muffins, Loki conjured a high chair for Thor and set him in it, saying, "Time to eat, Thor," and then giving the boy a plastic plate with some eggs, cut up English muffin, and pieces of bacon.
"Yum!" Thor dug right in, not too surprisingly, though Aleta stared at him and cried, "Daddy, he's using his fingers! He's supposed to use a fork!"
"Good luck trying to teach him that, princess!" Loki giggled. "Took your grandma a couple years."
"Here, Uncle Thor." Aleta said primly. "Watch me." She put some eggs on her fork and ate it. "See?"
"Me do!" Thor said, and Aleta gave him her small fork.
Five seconds later, Loki heard, "No, Thor! You is supposed to eat it, not wear it!"
"Eat it and wear it!" Thor yelled, banging the fork on the high chair.
Loki glanced up from getting his own breakfast and burst out laughing. "Oh, where's my phone?"
His brother had scrambled eggs in his hair, bits of bacon, and butter and crumbs smeared all over his face and his pajamas.
Loki's phone whirred as he snapped several pictures. "I ought to send these to Mother. She'd think they were adorable! After I tell her why you're a toddler again."
"Daddy, he's a mess!" Max said.
"I know. But messes can be cleaned." Loki said, and waved a hand and Thor was clean. Then he sat down to eat his own breakfast. "Let's think of things you can play with your uncle today," he encouraged his own mischief makers.
"We can color." Aleta said.
"What else?" Loki prompted.
"I can let him play with my toys," Max offered.
"That's very generous of you to share, Max."
"I'm the Big Brother I can share," his son said proudly.
Suddenly there came a yelp from Odin.
"What the—" Loki turned around to see Thor sitting beside the shepherd's dish happily eating the puppy chow while the puppy sat there and cried. "Aww, by the Nine, Thor! No!"
"Eww! Daddy. He's eating dog food!" Aleta squealed in disgust.
"He's Uncle Thor, Aleta. He eats everything," Max reminded his sister.
Loki rolled his eyes. Then he scooped up the toddler, who was happily crunching and said, "No, Thor! That's not your food!"
Loki ignored him, saying to Odin, "And you! You just sat there and let him eat it?" Odin wagged his tail. "Never mind. I'm just happy you didn't bite him, though he'd have deserved it."
"Mine!" wailed Thor, reaching out for the dog bowl.
"Gross!" Aleta cried.
"Max, go bring Odin and his food out in the yard," Loki said, then looked at his brother. "You really will eat anything, won't you?" Then he cast a spell that would lock up and dangerous or poisonous substances, and put a shield over the kitty litter also.
Loki sat down with his brother on his knee and began to try and finish his breakfast.
"Mine!" Thor whined and grabbed a piece of bacon off Loki's plate.
"Norns, does that ever sound familiar!" Loki muttered. He quickly ate what remained of his breakfast, then fed Thor the rest of the eggs and bacon in the pan.
Once they were dressed. Loki took a moment to teleport down to his lab and set up a cauldron and what ingredients he had to make an antidote. Nine Hells, I have to go to Asgard soon to get the rest of what I need. I'd better call one of the Avengers to babysit.
He teleported back upstairs to find Thor and Max engaged in a shouting match over Max's plastic Loki helmet.
"That's mine!" Thor roared, tugging on one horn.
"No, it's mine! Dad gave it to me for Easter!" Max yelled. "You can wear the Viking one."
"Mine!" Thor bellowed.
"You is supposed to share, Thor!" Aleta put in.
Good luck with that! Loki thought and came into the room, saying, "Thor, how about this helmet?" and held out a plastic winged helmet very like his brother's actual one.
Thor looked at it, then yelled, "Mine!" and kept pulling on Max's,
"Dad!" Max looked as if he were about to cry.
"Max, quit pulling on that and come here," Loki ordered.
"But Dad! That's my special helmet!"
"I know. Just come here and pretend you want this one."
"Okay," his son muttered, then said, "Cool! Can I wear that?" He went and took the helmet from Loki and put it on his head.
Thor suddenly dropped Max's helmet on the floor. "Mine!" he cried and toddled over to grab the winged one off Max's head.
"You wanna wear this?" Max asked. "Here!" he put the helmet on Thor's head. Then he ran to get his own. "We traded, Dad!"
"That's my boy!"
"Daddy, Thor needs to share," Aleta declared.
"I know, spark. But he's a baby, he doesn't understand that."
"I can teach him," his intrepid daughter declared.
"Go ahead and try," Loki laughed. "Maybe you can."
His phone vibrated. "Keep playing nicely," he told the three toddlers and walked into the hallway to answer it.
"Hi, Loki. How's Thor doing?"
"He's being Thor when he was two," Loki remarked.
"Have you figured out how to reverse the spell yet?"
"Yes, but it takes time. I need some special ingredients from Asgard . . ." As Loki explained what he needed and asked if one or two of the Avengers could come babysit, he heard the sound of little feet running down the stairs. "Hang on, Steve. The scamps just went downstairs."
He followed, but not before he heard Aleta shout, "No, Thor! You eats marshmallows, not puts them in your nose! Daddy!"
"By the Nine! Steve, I'll call you back. I have to go."
"My brother. If you find a babysitter, send him over," Loki said and hung up.
He found Thor in the kitchen, holding a half full bag of marshmallows from the pantry, some of which were spilled on the floor. But he saw that at least one was sticking out of Thor's nose.
Loki face palmed himself. "Of course you would do this! I thought my days of using one of these was over." He said regretfully, and summoned a metal tool called an alligator to him. He picked up Thor, saying, "Brother, you aren't going to like this, but it's the only way to get these out. Unfortunately, I'm not a healer who has magic to deal with this."
He carried Thor over to the table and put a pillow down.
"I just hope Mandy doesn't call the cops," Loki murmured. "Now stay still." He muttered a spell to hold the boy on the pillow. "I'm sorry, kiddo."
The next sound heard was a child howling.
"Last one, Thor," Loki crooned over the boy's screeching. Loki was fast, and the alligator didn't truly hurt, but it was unpleasant and Thor hated being restrained and having the metal tool in his nose.
"What the hell are you doing to the kid, Loki? Torturing him?" came Nick Fury's voice from behind him.
Loki turned with the alligator in one hand. "No, though it sounds like it. He shoved five marshmallows up his nose and I had to remove them with this."
"Why didn't you just bring him to a doctor?"
"Do you know how many times I would have had to run to a doctor when my two youngest were in that phase? I would have been back and forth every two days. So I learned how to do this myself. Saved me a lot of aggravation waiting for a doctor to do something I could accomplish in five minutes."
"Your magic wouldn't work?"
"Fury, magic isn't the cure all for everything. My magic isn't healing for something like that. I could hurt more than help. Like anything else, magic is a tool and used wrongly can do more harm than good. This is as effective and has less risk." He waved a hand and Thor could move again. "All done, little donner."
His brother got to his feet and glared at Loki, rubbing his nose. "Loki bad!"
His brother ruffled his hair. "Yeah, I know, I'm the bad guy right now. But if you don't shove marshmallows up your nose, you won't have to get them taken out."
"Loki bad!" sniffled the child. Then he looked at Fury. "Hi!"
"Hello. Do you remember me? Nick?" Fury said.
Thor shook his head.
"He doesn't remember anyone from his adult life." Loki explained. "Did Stark brief you on what happened?"
"Yeah. He did. He said you have to go to Asgard for some kind of potion ingredients in order to change him back."
"I do. Is that why you're here?"
Fury nodded. "How long do you think you'll be?"
"Not long. I have what I need in my work room back in Asgard. I figure a few hours."
"We'll be fine."
Loki nodded. "Let me tell Aleta and Max you're going to watch them. Then I'll leave."
After admonishing his twin scamps to behave for their Uncle Nick, Loki transported himself to his workroom in Asgard. Once he had retrieved what he needed, he went briefly to speak with his mother and explained what had happened with Thor.
"Loki, will you be all right watching your brother and your own?"
"I'll be fine, Mother. I know what Thor is like. And once I brew the antidote, he'll be back to his old self."
"How long will that take?"
"About a week to a week and a half," Loki said. "It has to steep slowly."
"When your father gets back, I'll send him down to help," Frigga said. "He was never home when you two were little. I think it's time he experiences what it's like dealing with a two-year-old god."
Loki started laughing. "Mother, you are so evil! I love it!"
She hugged him. "Give Thor a kiss from me, dear."
"I will. I'll send you a message when he's back to normal."
Then he transported back to his house. To his relief he found the house still standing. The children were playing in the yard, and seemed happy. Thor was running through the grass chasing Odin. Fury was sitting on the back porch, watching the kids and looking relaxed. Loki breathed a sigh of relief. He teleported down to his lab and set up the potion, chopping the ingredients and adding them in the correct amounts to the cauldron along with the pure water he had gotten from a spring on Asgard. Then he lowered the flame magically and let the potion simmer.
He reappeared beside Fury and said, "Looks like they behaved for you."
Nick started. "Damn, Laufeyson, give a guy some warning!"
Loki chuckled. "Thought you SHIELD agents were always aware of your surroundings?"
"Not when you magic types sneak up on us." He clamped his cigar in his teeth.
"You really shouldn't smoke those."
Fury snorted. "Your daughter's already been at me, Mischief Maker. Told me I was gonna die if I smoked anymore."
"She gets that from watching TV. I just don't like smoke around my kids."
"I wasn't smoking in the house," Fury replied. "Did you get what you needed?"
"Yes, and I've started the potion brewing. In about a week and a half, maybe less, you'll have Thor back."
"Good, because I know he's your brother and all, Loki, but that kid is like a cyclone. Touching everything."
"That's Thor for you."
"And he doesn't like to be told no. Gets all ticked off."
"He never has. But part of that comes from how he was hardly ever told not to do something when he was that age. But this time will be different. Because he'll be playing by my rules now."
"Better you than me," Fury said. "Well, I gotta run. See you around."
Fury left, and Loki turned as his children spotted him and raced over, screaming," Daddy! Daddy!"
"Hello, scamps!" he knelt and hugged them.
Thor followed a moment later with a panting Odin. "Me too, Loki!"
Loki released his two so he could hug his small brother, saying, "Miss me, troublemaker?"
Thor threw his arms around Loki's neck and hugged him. "Loki home!" he smiled sweetly and kissed Loki on the cheek.
"Yes, I'm home now. Are you hungry?" Loki smiled at Thor, thinking that he was adorable at times, when he wasn't being a whirlwind of destruction.
"Yeah, we are," Max said. h
"Hungwy, Loki!" Thor said.
"Can we have grilled cheese and bacon, Daddy?"
"And chips!" Max sang.
"All right, let's go inside."
After lunch, Max and Aleta wanted to color, and Loki suggested they show Thor how to, and got out the coloring books and crayons. For awhile things went well, with all the children coloring quietly. Loki washed up the dishes from lunch and was putting a chicken pot pie in to bake when Aleta said, "Thor, can I have that red crayon?"
"No! Mine!" the two-year-old cried, his chin jutting out stubbornly.
"Thor, you gotta share with Aleta," Max told him. "Look, here's a blue crayon." He tried to get the younger boy interested in a different color.
"Yeah, sharing is caring, Thor," Aleta recited. She reached for the red crayon.
"NO!" Thor bellowed. "Mine!"
"Thor, we share in this house," Loki began, coming over to the table.
"Yeah, now let me have it," Aleta ordered.
Thor glared at her. "You're a little f$# bag!"
Max's mouth dropped open. "Oooh! You said the Real Bad Word!"
"Daddy, Thor is swearing!" his daughter tattled, as if Loki hadn't been able to hear what had just been said.
Loki stood over his brother. "Thor Odinson! You don't say that word, ever!" He bent and took the red crayon from Thor's fist, handing it to Aleta.
Thor wailed. "No! You're a little F# %bag, Loki!"
I'm gonna kill Fury! Loki thought angrily, for he knew the director of SHIELD had a very salty vocabulary and had probably said this in Thor's hearing.
"He said it again!" Aleta declared.
"Yes, thank you, Aleta." Loki scooped up his brother and said sternly, "I warned you, young man. Little boys who say curse words get their mouths washed out." He summoned a small bottle of aromatic bitters from his fridge. Loki didn't use soap to correct filthy language, instead finding this worked as well and was not harmful to the child, but would get his point across. He put a drop of the red liquid on his finger and when Thor opened his mouth to yell, rubbed it on his tongue. "Never say that again!"
The little boy screwed up his mouth from the bitter taste. "Yuck! Ugh!" He went to spit it out but Loki tilted his chin up and said, "No, that's going to stay there for ten seconds."
"Yeah you don't say bad words to Daddy!" Aleta scolded.
"He said it to you first," Max reminded.
Thor began to cry.
"Are you going to say that word again?" Loki queried.
The little boy shook his head. "No. Sowwy!"
"You're forgiven, little brother." Loki then gave him a spoonful of honey to erase the bitterness and a hug. Then he sat down with his imp of a brother on his lap and said, "Thor, we're going to practice sharing. You can't have everything you want. . . "
With Aleta and Max helping, Loki taught the small thunder god the rudiments of sharing. He showed Thor the sticker chart, and explained that each time he shared with Aleta and Max, he got a gold star on the chart. He also got stars for no tantrums, playing nicely, listening, and taking a nap.
Gradually, Thor settled into a routine, and learned the meaning of boundaries. Loki was patient, until his brother was playing on the third day with Max, the two were playing explorers while Aleta used her Bedazzler, and Thor hit Max with his toy hammer.
"Oww! You don't hit, Thor!" Max cried, holding his arm.
"Gimme!" he indicated Max's sword.
"No way! You have your hammer!" Max said stubbornly.
Thor's sunny countenance turned story. "Gimme! Now!" Then he launched himself at Max, knocking the slender four-year-old on the floor.
"Oww! Dad! Thor's hitting me!"
Loki heard the commotion from the kitchen and teleported into Max's room. He saw his brother on top of his son, and that triggered a long ago memory of himself getting beaten up by his brother because Thor wanted a toy he had, and their nurse saying, "Now, Prince Thor it isn't nice to hit your brother." Thor had just ignored her and kept right on punching Loki.
"Thor! What are you doing?" Loki snapped. He pulled Thor off Max, holding the angry toddler under his arm.
"Max, are you okay?"
Max sat up. "I'm okay. Are you gonna put him in time out?"
Loki nodded. "Max, go help Aleta decorate."
His son ran out of the room.
Then he turned back to his little brother. "Thor, you hit Max! That was very naughty!" Loki scolded. "We don't hit each other in this house. And because you did, now you're going in time out."
He carried the angry child over to a small chair and said, "You sit here for three minutes and think about how you hurt Max, young man!"
Thor, of course, had never been disciplined like that before. And instead of staying on the chair where Loki put him, he jumped up and tried to run out of the room.
"Oh, no you don't!" Loki said and moved quicker than a serpent to snatch the child and return him to the chair. "You stay there, Thor, until I say you can get up."
"No! No!" the toddler howled, and once more tried to get up.
Loki put him back, then said, "If you won't stay on your own, I will make you," and he caused Thor's behind to stick to the chair. "Three minutes, and you think about what you did."
Thor began bawling and kicking the chair. "Nooo! Noo! Loki mean!"
"No, you were mean for hitting Max," Loki said. He began timing him with his watch. "Little boys that hit get time out."
Thor cried and kicked the entire time, and Loki just rolled his eyes and said, "I know you don't like it, but you have to learn."
Finally the three minutes were over and Loki released the spell and picked up the toddler and hugged him. "All's forgiven. Next time don't hit Max. Okay?"
Thor sniffled. "Okay, Loki. I sowwy."
Loki wiped his face with a tissue. "That's good, but you need to say sorry to Max."
After apologizing to Max, Loki took Thor into the den for some story time, and read him Green Eggs and Ham, doing all the appropriate voices.
"I will not eat them here or there, I will not eat them anywhere! I do not like Green Eggs and Ham! I do not like them, Sam-I-Am!"
Thor giggled. "Funny! Funny, Loki!"
Loki grinned. Then he ticked the boy's tummy, making him squeal with laughter. "Grrr! It's the Tickle Monster!"
Thor squeaked and tried to jump off the couch. "No tickle!"
"Oh yes! I have a tasty morsel right here!" Loki caught him and ticked his knees and neck and ribs, making the child scream with laughter.
"Help, Max!" the two-year-old yelled.
"I'll save you!" Max said, and came in and tackled Loki.
"Me too!" Aleta said, and soon all four of them were rolling on the floor, laughing and tickling each other.
That was a good day.
But then a few bad days followed, when Thor turned into a stubborn goat and refused to listen or play well with others, and touched everything he wasn't supposed to.
Tony arrived right in the middle of Loki putting Thor in time out again for touching his helmet and throwing a fit when Loki took it away.
"Loki, you put him in time out?"
"Yes, Stark. This is the fourth time in two days."
Tony gaped at him. "What did he do?"
"Would you like a list?"
Loki laughed. "Tony, if you thought my brother was some kind of model child, think again! He wasn't. And most of the time he was allowed to get away with behavior I was punished for because he was my father's favorite son. So he thinks he can tell me what to do, like he used to our nurses. Only that's not the case with me. He's in my house and what I say goes."
"God, sounds like you have a fight every day."
"He's only been here a few days, Stark, so he's testing me . . . a lot. But I expect that. When he acts up, he gets in trouble. But he isn't always like that. Like my scamps he can be sweet and funny."
"Guess they don't call 'em the Terrible Twos for nothing, huh?" the Avenger shook his head.!
"No, they don't. But I've been down this road before. My brother is as stubborn as his goats-but so am I. Guess which one is going to win?" Loki asked, then he called to Thor, "You can come out now, Thor."
The little boy jumped off the time out chair like he'd been bitten in the butt by a bug and ran to Loki. "M'sorry!" he sniffled. His speech had improved in the four days he had been there, because he listened to Aleta and Max talking. He hugged his brother about the knees.
Loki hugged him back, saying, "Next time behave! Now say hello to your Uncle Tony."
Tony knelt and said, "Hi, Thor. Gimme five!" he held out his hand.
Thor smacked his palm into it, having been taught that by Vince.
Tony laughed and picked him up. "Hey, rugrat, you wanna go to the park?"
"Yes! Yes!" Then he looked at Loki. "Loki go too? An' Max n' Leta?"
"Okay, little brother. We'll all go."
Running about at the park tired all of the kids out, and Loki was able to put them down for naps without a fuss, though Tony helped by telling Max and Thor a story while Loki sang Aleta to sleep.
"Man, they tired me out!" Tony said. "I feel like I just fought Kang and fifty minions."
"They'll do that to you, believe me." Loki chuckled in agreement. "Especially Thor. He just goes and goes like the Energizer Bunny till he falls over."
"How do you deal with three kids if they all misbehave?" Tony whistled.
"They all get time out," Loki replied. "But it's funny. Since Thor came and he's been misbehaving, my two scamps haven't been, for the most part. Max takes his role as the big brother very seriously, and he seems to be trying to teach Thor how to behave. Aleta too has tried to teach him manners."
"Does it work?"
"Sometimes. My brother is stubborn, but smart. He understands more than you think, even at this age. But his good days are slowly starting to outnumber the bad ones."
"How much longer before that potion is done?"
"Four more days," Loki answered.
On the sixth day, Loki had a surprise visit from Odin.
"Hello, Father," he greeted the older man, who was wearing a gray hoodie and jeans with a black eye patch.
"Loki, your mother told me that Thor was in danger, and to quote her, she told me to get my wandering ass down to Midgard and help you. Where is he?"
"In time out. For playing with the stove."
Loki opened the kitchen door and showed his father Thor sitting in the time out chair against the wall.
"My beard! Who?" Odin stared at his tiny blonde son.
Thor looked up and saw Odin. His eyes lit up as he recognized the older man. "Daddy! Loki is mean!"
He jumped off the stool and ran to Odin.
Odin frowned and pointed back to the chair. "Sit back there and think on what trouble you caused!"
"I don't wanna! I wanna play!" his son pouted, his sunny countenance turning stormy.
Odin was not amused. "THOR ODINSON!" he yelled. "Get back in that chair this instant or else you're going to have a sore backside!"
Thor's face crumpled and he started sobbing. He gazed at his brother. "Loki, Daddy yelled at me!"
"Because you're not listening. Now go!"
Thor trudged back to the chair. "I hate time out!"
"Next time don't play with the stove!" Odin scolded. "Is he always like this?"
"In trouble? No, but he has good days and bad days," Loki replied. "Today . . . isn't such a good day."
When the time out was over, Thor got a hug from both Loki and Odin. The child was delighted that his father was there, and ran to draw him a "pitcher" while Loki and Odin discussed the antidote Loki was brewing and how it would work to bring Thor back to his older self.
"Why does it take such a long time?" Odin wanted to know.
"Because several of the ingredients need time to mature and ripen. They do that when they are heated and allowed to steep. Kind of like a good tea," his mage son explained.
"Daddy, look! I drawed a pitcher for you!" Thor tugged on Odin's sleeve.
Odin looked down. "Thank you!" He stared at it. "What by the Norns is it?"
Loki peered at it. "Thor, tell, Daddy what's in the picture."
"A rainbow an' a cat an' a horse, an' Loki."
Odin coughed. "Loki's in this picture?"
"I think I'm the green scribble figure," Loki chuckled.
"I'm going to give this to Mommy and she'll hang it up on the wall," Odin told the blond moppet. He tucked the picture in his pocket. "Now go play. Daddy's talking with Loki."
He turned back to Loki and began asking more questions about the spell that was cast, and vowing to find Amora and punish her.
Thor scowled, as he wanted Odin to pay attention to him and not Loki.
"Not now, Thor! Daddy's busy!" Odin shooed him away.
Thor's brows drew down in a scowl that always meant mayhem. But the two adults weren't paying attention.
"I am not sure that will work Father... OWW!"
"What in the Nine happened?"
"Thor just bit my leg." Loki said, then gave the sneaky little boy a glare. "You don't bite, young man!"
"Sit in the corner young man! Three minutes!" Odin ordered.
Thor shook his head, sniffling. Then he dragged his feet over to the time out chair.
"I am starting to think this does not work for him." Loki sighed. "None of my children were biters."
"Then maybe a smack will," Odin suggested.
"No, Father. Fear isn't good. Let me think."
Loki thought for a minute. He suspected Thor was jealous that he wasn't being paid attention to. However, he needed to learn that such aggressive behavior was unacceptable.
He whispered something in Odin's ear. His father nodded and whispered, "Will that work?"
"We have nothing to lose by trying," Loki replied, then he promptly sat down on the floor and put his face in his hands and began crying.
Odin came and hugged Loki saying in a scolding tone, "Look what you did, Thor! You HURT your brother! You ought to be ashamed!" He patted Loki on the back. "Poor Loki!"
Thor studied the two, his blue eyes filled with puzzlement. "Loki sad?"
"Yes. Loki is crying because you bit him," Odin scolded. "See?" He pointed to the teeth marks in Loki's leg. "That hurts!"
On cue Loki sniffled and cried some more. Thor's lower lip trembled.
"Loki no cry!" Abruptly the toddler threw himself at his brother and began bawling. "M'sorry, Loki! No more bite!"
Loki lifted his head from his knees, his face wet with tears. "Do you promise?"
Thor nodded. "Pwomise!"
"Are you going to behave?"
"Uh huh. Loki no cry!" He hugged the God of Mischief about the knees.
Loki wiped his eyes. "I won't if you stop biting. Okay?"
"'Kay. I tiss it better," Thor lisped and then he bent down and kissed the red marks. "All better?"
Loki picked up his brother and hugged him. "All better, scamp."
Thor hugged him. "Love my Loki."
"I love you too, Thor," Loki smiled.
Odin gaped at him. "By the Norns! How did you know that would work?"
"I didn't. But thank Yggdrasil it did!" Loki said in relief, carding the toddler's flyaway blond hair. Thor put his head on Loki's shoulder and popped his thumb in his mouth.
"Looks like someone is sleepy." Loki murmured.
"No!" Thor's head popped up a mulish scowl on his face.
Loki patted his bottom. Then he began to sing, and Thor yawned and put his head down again. By the time the song was done his brother was sleeping, his thumb in his mouth.
"Will you be all right?" Odin asked.
"Yes. Trust me, Father. This I can handle. However, if you wouldn't mind watching him while I go and check on the draft I'm making . . ." He handed the sleeping two-year-old to his father.
Odin held his son, thinking how it had been too bad he had missed all these years with Thor and Loki. Then he thought about Loki's cleverness in getting Thor to understand how biting was wrong, and figured his patience would have snapped by now and he'd have resorted to his typical punishment, and perhaps caused Thor to hate him the way Loki had out of fear.
"You're better off with Loki, son. He'll do right by you," Odin murmured and kissed his sleeping son on the forehead. "Your mother will be pleased you two are finally getting along."
Loki returned, saying, "It's coming along nicely. It should be ready in another three days." He gazed at Thor. "Come, let's put him upstairs. I have him sharing a room with Max."
"Max doesn't mind?"
"No. Max is over the moon that he's not the little brother anymore. I told them to treat Thor like he was their brother, and they have. Both Max and Aleta have enjoyed being the teacher for once."
"I thought they'd be jealous that you have another little one to care for," Odin said, surprised.
"Only a little. But Max is surprisingly unselfish and so is Aleta. They understand that Thor is only little for awhile and so they can share me."
"I'm sure they can't wait for him to grow up again," Odin laughed.
"Probably, but they'll never forget this. And neither will I." Loki said feelingly.
It was odd, but he had enjoyed this time with his brother, despite all the mishaps, and he would miss the little blonde imp. Admit it, Laufeyson. You're also going to miss being the older brother. But to everything there is a season.
Three days later, the potion was complete, and Loki fed it to Thor with his dinner. The potion made the child sleepy so Loki held and rocked him and then put him in his king sized bed.
As Thor slept his body rapidly aged, and he whimpered in his sleep, growing from a toddler to a ten-year-old in moments.
"Shh! I know this hurts," Loki soothed. "But it will be over and you'll be back to normal in ten minutes."
Sure enough, the magic returned the God of Thunder to his proper age in moments, and then Thor opened his eyes. "Loki? Where am I?"
"Welcome back, brother," Loki greeted.
Thor sat up, examining himself. "I'm—I'm big again!"
"The antidote worked." Loki smiled. "How do you feel?"
"A little sore but good!" Thor said, then he coughed and added, "You took care of me . . . I can't remember everything but I do that. You were very good to me."
"Did you think I wouldn't be?" Loki asked.
Thor just smiled. "No, but you could have just called our parents and let them deal with me."
"Father was here, but he doesn't know how to deal with a two-year-old who continually defies you. Or to put it a different way, you'd have had perpetually sore backside."
"Never mind! I'm glad it was you, brother."
Then he caught Loki in a bone-crushing hug. "Thank you."
"By the Nine, Thor, I need to breathe!" Loki coughed.
"Sorry. My memory's fuzzy."
"It'll come back to you."
"Well, I guess I'd better go back to the mansion. I've abused your hospitality enough," he said with a laugh.
"You kept me on my toes," his brother acknowledged, then waved as Thor summoned Mjolnir and flew back to the mansion.
Later that night, Loki's phone rang. "Hello, Thor."
"Loki . . . I just remembered what happened. I don't . . . I put you through torments of Hel! How did you not kill me?"
"I drank heavily." The Master of Mischief joked. "No, seriously, I counted to ten and walked away and reminded myself that you were two and this would eventually pass. And Mother would be mad if I turned you into a frog or a garden gnome. But it was a close thing!" he added.
"Loki, I wouldn't blame you if you had. I BIT you! I kicked you and had tantrums and wrecked your house."
"Yes, I know. In short, brother, you were a terror. Like any and every two year old child. And I thought about shipping you off to Asgard. But I didn't want Mother to have a relapse. So I dealt with you. And we both survived. By the skin of our teeth, but we did."
"I owe you, Loki."
"You do. So start packing, because you're coming with us to the Catskills, Thor, and we're going on a family camping trip."
'I'm bringing a keg of mead."
"Better make it two with the way you drink."