What if Thor was a Lannister and Loki was a mutant runt Other masquerading as a Stark.
“Thor of Lannister, golden-hair,” Anthony Stark points from the parapet, balanced precariously on the edge with his sister Virginia at his side, their dire wolves Ferrum and Hera clustered panting and excited beside their masters. Loki Snow tilts his gaze over the cold stone with more dignity than his full-blooded siblings, his albino dire wolf Fenris equally sedate at his heels.
“Were the two of you not meant to be in the courtyard with our father to greet our royal guests and their entourage?” Loki tries again, not for the first time, and has to stifle an impulse born of frustration when Anthony merely flashes a bright, carefree grin at him over his fur-lined cloak.
“Oh, come on, Loki. If we were really meant to be there, Father would have had someone ferret us out by now.”
“Yes, if we hadn’t actually reached this position via skittering over the rooftops and avoiding all reasonable methods of ingress-“
“He’s as handsome as they say,” Virginia sighs dreamily, following the crimson cloaked Kingsguard as the progression filtered through the gates of Winterfell. ”Like the lion of the crest of his House.”
Both of her brothers, full and half blooded, bristle instantly, ignoring their usual ongoing feud to unite in a wall of brotherly disapproval. ”He probably has a long string of mistresses,” Anthony declares, ignoring for now the hypocrisy of that particular criticism. Anthony is but eighteen this year, and has already left a string of broken hearts behind him as long as the White Knife.
“He’s part of the Kingsguard, he can’t have heirs,” Loki adds, glowering at the tall, broad-shouldered Ser Thor on his bay stallion, and his rather tasteless gleaming gold and black armor.
“He looks like a shiny thug,” Anthony continues.
“And I’m sure that his swordsmanship cannot compare to our father’s.”
Virginia rolls her eyes, the only precious daughter of Howard Stark and bane of her brothers’ existence, and beside her, Hera huffs, ears flicking forward, then back. ”I was just making an aesthetic observation… oh,” she breathes, with a giddy smile, as for some reason Thor glances up, at the parapet, and sees them. He smiles, leonine as his crest, startlingly handsome, seemingly good-natured, and his piercing eyes sweep past them before dropping back to glance at his King.
Loki bites down on his lower lip, a chill curling through his spine, even as Fenris nudges his knee anxiously. Thor had looked past the full-blooded Stark children to him, and had winked.
Thankfully, his siblings seem embroiled in argument and haven’t noticed; Virginia has abruptly decided that they should have been in the courtyard ‘all along’, after all, and the parapet escapade is fully Anthony’s fault (untrue). Loki relaxes, with a slow breath, and tangles his fingers in Fenris’ ruff.
“If we head west and keep our heads down we should be able to descend through the eastern guardsman’s tower and into the barracks, and head through that to the Great Hall,” Loki suggests, having planned a quick return on necessity, knowing his siblings’ tendency towards distraction and strife.
“Brilliant,” Anthony declares, and hurries in the wrong direction, and has to be hooked absently over by Loki. ”Come on, Pepper. You too, Loki.”
“I was not meant to be presented to the King,” Loki reminds them patiently, which was the reason why he had wanted to come up to the parapet, to look at the guests. He had also meant to come up here alone.
“Well, if you’re not going to be presented to the King, then I won’t be, either,” Anthony decides, folding his arms, and that’s how their father’s steward Jarvis finds them, with Loki arguing with Anthony and Pepper peeking over the parapet at the milling, steaming horses and their shivering riders.
“Your father expects you and Lady Virginia in the Great Hall,” Jarvis addresses Anthony wearily, rather too old a man to be clambering around the outer wall and haring after wayward Stark children. ”Now, if you please.”
“What about Loki?” Anthony demands, and Jarvis sighs, his breath puffing white in the chill.
“You know that-“
“Just because he’s-“
“Just go, Anthony,” Loki snaps, “Before you get all of us into trouble. Again.”
Anthony sucks in a sharp breath, and glares at him, then he stalks off, over towards the guard tower. Virginia glances at Loki, her warm brown eyes liquid with worry, then she sets her chin and hurries after Jarvis, the dire wolves at their heels.
Loki waits until they are gone, then he leans his elbows on the parapet, Fenris pressed tight against the back of his knees, pulling his coat more firmly over his shoulders, looking out over the vast expanse of the snow-cloaked world beyond the walls of Winterfell, allows himself to feel the tug deep within his soul, like a homebound call.
Tomorrow, perhaps, or the day after.