Recalibration AKA that awkward moment when you fall in love with your spouse Chapter One: You Can Call Me Lola
Summary: In this timeline, Loki finds out the secret of his heritage long before Thor’s coronation. Tensions and frustrations lead Frigga to suggest Loki take a vacation for a few years, and he decides that Midgard would be the perfect place to lay low from expectations. The last thing Loki expects is to find herself falling in love with someone she can’t help but find familiar.
Author’s note: This story was born out of me reading a shit ton of Frostiron fic and Iron Dad fic and it all mishmashing in my brain. Two that definitely stood out as influences though are the amazing And When It Does I’m Already Gone by qwanderer, roseapprentice (if you have read that you will likely be able to spot some influences pretty quickly) and Threads, Celestial and All-Knowing by nattox. That said while I definitely took inspiration from both of those fics (which is why I marked them as inspo on Ao3) this is definitely its own story that I have done my best to put my unique spin. I’m still working on Snap Back to the Past and Of Stolen Hearts and Silver Tongues, but this story possessed me I swear. I sat down after work and wrote the first three chapters in one sitting. I’m going to be releasing the chapters once a week and hopefully I will keep up my buffer so that I am able to keep releasing consistently.
Chapter One: You Can Call Me Lola
December 10 2000
Loki had enough of Thor. His brother was nearly three and a half centuries older than him and yet Loki often felt as though he was the elder sibling. Once again Thor had managed to make a fool of himself, this time pissing off an entire diplomatic contingent from Alfheim, and Loki had spent the better part of two weeks soothing ruffled feathers.
“I am tired of this mother! Thor’s antics are exhausting, and I am always the one cleaning up after him!” Loki ranted as he paced Frigga’s quarters. Her rooms were truly the only place he felt free to speak his mind, as he knew they were warded against any intrusion, even Heimdall’s gaze. Not even Odin was allowed here without her express permission. Loki was not unaware that his parents were not exactly… close. He knew that they put on a good show for the public, but it was honestly a wonder that they had managed to have two children.
“Perhaps it might do you some good to go travelling for a while?” Frigga suggested.
“I don’t know mother. I shudder to think of what could happen in my absence. And right before the midwinter holiday?” Loki replied doubtfully.
“Peace, my son. The Kingdom will not fall to ruin without you. The Allfather is still King, and I am by his side.” She paused. “I know that you think that we would not be able to cope without you, but perhaps, simply take a few years to yourself? You could use the time to reflect.”
Ah, and there it was. Loki knew she was still worried about how he felt about the revelation that he was not, in fact, of Asgard, but of Jotunheim.
“It has been over a hundred years, mother. Things are… better now.”
Surprisingly enough, he had. Loki had been surprised when Frigga had called him into her chambers in hushed tones, and told him that she had a great secret to reveal, only that he could tell no one.
“A great wrong has been done, my son. And I perhaps have done better to tell you sooner, but I have long struggled with the way.”
Frigga had been bound by Gungnir to never tell Loki of his origins as the crown prince of Jotunheim. What she could tell him, however, was a story.
“I am going to tell you a story. And you are going to consider its implications.” Frigga took a deep breath. “Once there were two lovers who led their kingdom in a time of war. On the last day, hours before the last battle, the one gave birth to a babe. Shortly after, the king rode off to battle, leaving the babe to the care of their father in their most holy temple, protected by a relic of their people. Yet the battle was lost. The conqueror slaughtered the child’s father and seized the relic. He took the child, and found that the child mimicked his appearance, the child’s very shape changing in its own defense.
“Despite himself the conqueror took a liking to the child, and he knew he could not bear to kill it, for despite the fact that he was at war, the child was his nephew. He had recognized the father of the child as his own war-bride’s twin brother, and knew he could never kill it. The conqueror used his own seidr to lock the child into the form he had taken before secreting back to his castle. He presented the babe to his bride and wove a story of how he had found her brother dead and the child abandoned in the temple.
“She knew his words to be false, for she was a seer and been using a mirror to scry for her brother and seen all. Still she agreed to take in the babe, to raise him as her own, to pretend to all the court as though she had been hiding a pregnancy all this time. And so the second prince was said to have been born on what they called the day of victory.”
Frigga’s voice fell silent and Loki stood stock still. He could see what she had done. Odin had forbidden her from telling Loki of his origins, but he had not forbidden her from telling the story in general terms. She had not said any names, had not given any details, but he could read between the lines. He knew that her twin brother, Frey, had been banished from Vanaheim for reasons that no one ever spoke about. Apparently at least part of the reason was that he was the lover of King Laufey of Jotunheim. Or perhaps it was reversed? He was banished so he sought sanctuary in Jotunheim? Not that he could ask her. She was clearly still bound. And Loki was not Aesir and Vanir as he had always thought. He was Jotun and Vanir. He hardly knew what to think.
“Why would you tell me now?”
“Odin has fallen into the Odinsleep.” She replied simply. “He can still hear and see everything that happens in his chambers around him, but his access to the Odinforce is limited. I wield Gungnir as Regent in his stead, and I have the limited power to tell stories. He will most likely sleep for another month or so, I expect. Perhaps this might be a good time to explore realms you have not had a chance to see before. I know that you are an accomplished skywalker.” She looked at him meaningfully. Loki’s mind swirled, but he got the message. There was no more that she could tell him. He would not get the answers he sought on Asgard. Not from her, and certainly not from Odin.
To say that Laufey and the other Jotnar had been surprised at the visit from Odin’s second son was an understatement. They were proud people who had been brought low by the removal of the casket, and everywhere Loki went on Jotunheim he could see the effects of the devastation that had been wrought by its loss.
Loki had been unsure about whether to go at all, unsure about whether Frigga’s story had any truth to it. Yet when he got back to the privacy of his own chambers and wards, he was able to examine himself and find that there was indeed a geas on his magic, a restriction on his ability to shapeshift.
Not anything that truly stopped him from shifting, but it subtly changed his perception of what his true form was. After the centuries he had spent training his seidr, it was a simple thing to pluck out the invasive bit of seidr and reveal to himself his true form.
Loki had found himself surprised by the fact that he was not as repulsed by his form as he thought he would be, but over the century since then he had honestly found it to be much more comfortable than his Aesir—or rather what he now realized was actually closer to Vanir—skin.
That first visit to Jotunheim had been meticulously planned. Just because he did not find himself believing all the tripe that the Aesir sprouted about the Jotnar—and thank Frigga that she had never let that hatred for Loki’s own people take root in himself or Thor—did not mean that he was not wary of them.
Yet for whatever reason Loki was allowed an easy entrance into the halls of King Laufey. Loki remembered clear as day staring up at the king—who he now knew to be his mother , and found himself with nothing to say. His silvertongue had failed him.
“I find it curious that the second son of Odin would wander into Jotunheim alone and unprotected to beg an audience with its king only to say… nothing.”
Loki could hardly tell if he was amused or disgusted from his tone.
“I am no son of Odin!” Loki was surprised by the vehemence with which he spat the words.
Laufey cocked his head to the side, curious. “Who’s son do you claim to be?”
Loki hesitated before slowly shifting back to his base form, taking a deep breath. “As I understand it, my father died defending me. So I do not think he would deny me calling myself Freyrson.”
Laufey froze. “Leave us, and do not say a word, or I will have your tongues.” He bit out towards the two guards that had initially entered the room with Loki. They each gave a sharp nod, obeying without question. Laufey stood from his throne and approached Loki.
“I would call this trickery, but no Asgardian mage could replicate my lines so faithfully, nor the way they intersect with Vanir lineage.” Laufey stopped a few paces away from him. “What is your purpose in coming here? My lost son?”
There was pain and emotion behind those words, Loki could tell. He had always prided himself on being good at reading people, and Laufey had the look of someone who was preparing himself for heartbreak.
“Frigga was bound by Gungnir not to speak the truth, but she found a way around it to give me enough vague details that I knew to come here and learn more.” Loki hesitated. “I would like to know more about you. About my father. About who and what I am.”
“It is a long story, and not a happy one. But I will make the time to tell it, for you.”
“And I will listen.” Loki dipped his head in acknowledgement.
Things were tense, because of course they were. Loki and Laufey’s relationship was tentative and only in its infancy. Odin had destroyed what they should have had, but that did not mean that they could not build something new. Loki was also getting the opportunity to get to know his younger brothers, Helblindi and Býleistr.
They were neither of them of age when he met them, the children of Laufey and Farbauti. It was a shock to Loki when he met them, to realize that he had siblings other than Thor, and that they liked him, and wanted him around, and wished he could be there more
It would be an understatement to say that Laufey was feeling more than slightly murderous toward Odin ever since the truth was uncoveredt. Yet he knew, as Loki did, that the time was not right. The fact of the matter was that Jotunheim was dying. They could not afford to go to war with a major power like Asgard at the moment. What they needed was an opportunity. Loki saw it in Thor being crowned as king. He was almost certain that he would be able to convince Thor to return the casket of ancient winters, and with it, Jotunheim would be able to flourish once more.
The largest shock, however, had come a few decades prior, when Helblindi came of age and announced that he did not want the title of the crown prince of Jotunheim, and thought that the title should go to Loki, and Býleistr agreed, though he was not yet of age and able to officially confirm his approval.
They had been keeping Loki’s visits to Jotunheim private among the family, not wanting any part of the wider populace to know that there was a third prince. But with everyone expecting Helbindi to be announced as crown prince now that he was of age, there would be many questions about why that was not happening.
It was something that they were putting off for a while, as Loki, who was still catching up on Jotun culture and history from a Jotun perspective rather than an Aesir one, did not want to commit to ruling a realm that he scarcely knew well.
Frigga, he knew, did not have the whole story. But when she told him to go “reflect” well… he could not help but think that she knew more than she let on. He did not dare share too much with her, however, knowing that she would be forced to share anything she knew with Odin, should he ask, though she would never volunteer the information.
Still, it was better to keep his cards as close to his chest as possible.
He wondered where he would go for his travels this time. He could always go to Jotunheim, but there he would find pressure to take the throne, and while he loved his family, they could be overbearing in their efforts to overcompensate for his initial loss.
He could always go to Vanaheim or Alfheim, as he was well-liked in both places, but he was unfortunately also well- known in those places. He supposed… there was always Midgard.
December 20 2000
One of Tony’s best-kept secrets was that he actually hated parties. He was good at schmoozing, at shaking hands, at getting people to do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted… but he hated it. Sometimes playing the game was fun, but other times it just tired him. And tonight… tonight he was tired.
“Scotch, on the rocks.” He asked the bartender, leaning on the bar and grinning at the woman he found himself next to. “And what can I get you, gorgeous?” God, he was tired.
“Hmmm. I could do with another drink. You look like you could use a nap though,” she replied pointedly. Was it really that obvious? He hadn’t thought his exhaustion was particularly visible.
“Me? Nah, I’m awake enough I could keep you up all night if you wanted me to,” he smirked.
“Is that a promise?” her eyes sparkled.
“Maybe,” he winked and as the bartender returned with his drink he turned to him. “Thanks. Reorder her drink and transfer her tab to mine.” He flashed a smile at her. “Who’s drinks am I paying for tonight?”
“You can call me Lola.”
Ending up with Lola in his bed at the end of the night was probably the least surprising thing that had happened to Tony that week. Waking up with her in his bed was. Waking up with women was not a thing that he did. He did not do mornings after. And yet here he was, doing the morning after. He had fallen asleep (rookie mistake) but surprisingly it was… nice. He was comfortable with her curled into his side. And when she woke up and started kissing him and another parts of him woke up, well, then he really could not complain.
In another strange turn of events that had him feeling like he was in the twilight zone, he rather hesitantly found himself inviting her to stay for breakfast. They were… talking. Not just flirting, but actually having a back and forth conversation, and Tony was shocked at having someone that he could connect with as easily as Rhodey, Happy, or Pepper.
“Well I can’t exactly go home for… Christmas right now, so I am probably just going to spend it at the hotel, go see a movie or something.” Lola shrugged before taking another bite of her pancakes.
“Why can’t you go home?” Tony asked curiously. “If you don’t mind me asking.”
“Well, my brother and I are fighting and father took his side, as always. Mother cannot go against father, so she suggested I travel for a while. I think that she intended that I go spend time with my birth family, but my younger brothers have been pressuring me to take on the family business once our mother passes, and I have no desire to do so.
“They grew up with it, and I did not. I have been learning but it makes no sense for me that they would want me to rule.” Lola let out a frustrated breath. “I do not want to deal with that. So I decided it would be better to be on my own.” She shrugged, taking another bite.
“You could stay with me,” Tony blurted out, and she looked at him strangely. He had to admit that he had no idea why he had said that. Something about her just seemed… familiar in a way that he could not quite place. He wanted to be around her more than he wanted to be around anyone else.
“Do you not have your own family?” she asked, curiously.
“I mean, I’ll sometimes drop in on the Rhodes family, but I don’t always like to draw attention to them. It can make things difficult, with me being who I am.”
“Right, you are famous in this realm, are you not?” Lola hummed.
“Yeah, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.”
“And yet you would invite a stranger to stay in your house for Christmas?”
“Well yeah. You shouldn’t have to be alone for Christmas.” Tony pointed out, trying to sound reasonable, ignoring how incredibly reckless he was being. She was right, she was a complete stranger. He had not even run a background check. Crap, he didn’t even know her last name. “What’s your last name by the way?”
Lola giggled. “You are an odd one, Anthony Stark.” He liked the way his name sounded coming out of her mouth. “Yes I will stay for Christmas.” She paused. “It’s Freyrson, by the way.”
“Oh, cool. Great. Um, more pancakes?” he offered.
“Yes please.” She held out her plate with a smile and Tony realized that he might be slightly fucked.
Loki had no clue what she was doing. She had skywalked to a random city on Midgard and gotten herself a hotel under the name Lola Freyrson, a name that she occasionally used on Midgard and so was practiced in setting up an identity for. Things had changed in the past few years, but not too terribly.
She settled into being a Midgardian within a few days and watched television in her hotel room to try and get acclimated to the way that they spoke here. Allspeak could do a lot, but it could not translate phrases and slang very well, and so she always liked to try and pick up what she could from the native languages to figure out how people truly spoke wherever she went.
She saw a notice about a fundraising gala that piqued her interest and decided to go. She always did love an excuse to party in an elegant fashion, not in the barbarous way that her brother preferred. She made her way to the bar and was just finishing her second drink when a man came up next to her and ordered a drink of his own.
He was incredibly flirtatious, and she had no qualms about going home with him. It had been a while since she had found anyone worth her time, and he seemed to have a spark within him, despite the fact that he was mortal. Something about him also struck her as incredibly familiar, though she could not quite place from where. He also had a deep exhaustion to him, one that she could read on his soul. Some deep part of her cared for him, and she was not quite sure why.
Still, she let him charm her into his bed, and furthermore somehow let him charm her into staying with him throughout the holiday that the Midgardians referred to as Christmas. True midwinter had actually passed already, but she did not mind engaging in this tradition with him that seemed significant to his culture.
It was odd how fond Loki had grown of this Midgardian. One day she woke up and realized that it was February, and she had not left his side. The excuse of a job she had given to Anthony was that she worked for her adoptive father’s company in the finance department and was on leave for a few months. Why had she not yet left? Or better yet told the truth? She had bigger secrets than just her heritage at this point, secrets that Anthony deserved to know.
February 2nd 2001
At this point, Tony was fairly certain that his girlfriend was an alien. Or at least, he was fairly certain that she was his girlfriend. Honestly he was slightly more certain that she was an alien than that she was his girlfriend. They lived together, they had fantastic sex all the time, they undoubtedly held some kind of affection for each other, but they had never actually said the words.
But she was definitely hiding something. She was still super secretive about her family and their “family business” which he still knew nothing about. He had never met any of them, and only knew some of their names. The way that she spoke he sometimes wondered if they even were their real names. He wondered if Lola was her real name.
She hid it well, but sometimes got confused by the most simple and basic things, like how to use a washer and dryer, and not in the way that belayed never doing one’s own laundry, but in the way that indicated that one had never seen it before or understand how it worked. He would often catch her asking questions like “but how do you do that without magic?” with complete sincerity, as though magic was real.
Sometimes he almost felt like some of the things that she did were magic. Just small things like how the food she made was always perfect in taste, temperature, and texture. Food also never spoiled, even if it had been left out. It was never too cold or too hot. She had near perfect hearing and sometimes could be somewhere so quick he could swear she had teleported. Also, once he saw her touch some snow and could have sworn that for a second, her hand had turned blue.
So, his girlfriend was most definitely a witch, or an alien, or both. Though he was still not entirely clear on the girlfriend thing. He was going to have to confront her about it soon… as soon as he finished making this custom engagement ring.
Author’s Note: Huge rant about Asgardian aging incoming!!! I just might make this an individual post on here, just WATCH ME.
Asgardian aging is fucking weird fam. I know that the common understanding is to make it proportional to human aging but that just… doesn’t track for me? One still lives all of those years and develops all of that experience. Also the idea that years work the same in space is bananas when the standard way for people to track earth years is currently based on the Gregorian calendar but also that’s not even consistent. (Don’t even get me started on October 5th-14th 1582.) But anyway, my point is, tracking Asgardians based on human years hurts my brain and I admire people who try to be accurate about it but tbh I cannot be arsed. This is all to say that I think saying that Thor is developmentally in his 30s and Loki in his 20s when they have lived for centuries is weird, so I am going with that they are aliens who have brains that are wired completely differently from us so trying to track their “development” is impossible.
When humans are considered adults varies from culture to culture, and from country to country and even states within countries laws can be different. Consider how the ages to vote, serve in the military, drink, buy guns, buy marijuana, rent a car, all vary, and also the ability to do any of those things at all vary across state lines in the US. And don’t even get me started on how the laws on the age of consent differ and also how they change based on the ages of the people involved. I am not going to get into any of my moral opinions on any of these issues, and please keep all of your opinions about the morals of them out of the comments—I always keep a close eye and I will not hesitate to enforce moderation. I am just pointing out that the ages for all of these restrictions change and vary, so assuming that the ages of adulthood change.
This is all to say, that we should consider 400 the age at which an Asgardian is considered an adult, no longer expected to live with their parent/guardian, and able to strike out and make their way in the world without hindrance. The Aesir tend to stay close to home, however, and the 400s-900s are considered to be on the younger side of adulthood. From ~900 to ~3500 is considered to be on fairly even footing, to the extent that people who are disparate ages in adulthood are on even footing. 3500+ is an elder. Once someone is 900+, aesir do not consider age gaps of more than 1000 years to be more of a raise of the eyebrow, though under 900, keeping things within the 200 year range is more appropriate. Dating mortals is something of a grey area because mortals age faster, so their shorter lifespans make their age number wise not as much of an issue. It is just seen as setting oneself up for heartbreak because it is so rare to get permission to extend a mortal’s lifespan and elevate them to the level of an aesir. Of the other race in the Nine I am taking the viewpoint that the Vanir are the same as the Aesir and the Jotnar live about 10,000 years and are on a similar scale to the aesir, with the shift to 600 the age of official adulthood and 1000 the start of when someone is considered an established adult. 8000+ is an elder.
Those who are of mixed heritage will generally take on the longevity traits of the dominant parent. I won’t get into the specifics for the other species in the Nine, but assume that they also live for ranges in the thousands. If I decide to make major characters that are another species in the Nine I will clarify.