Author’s note: I do not own the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Please don’t sue me for using it.
This story is set after Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Although I’ve labeled this story as a complete one-shot, there is a possibility that I might develop it into a full story. If anyone else wants to have a shot at it, please, go ahead.
It was a question that had bothered Natasha for a long time. Why would Loki, an Asgardian (if not by birth), invade Earth?
She had heard many explanations. Because Loki had thought that Earth was a softer target. Because it was where the Tesseract was. Because his brother Thor liked Earth, and Loki would do anything to spite him.
Natasha didn’t buy into any of those theories. Loki had not seemed opportunistic or petty. She had always thought that he had some other reason for acting the way he did. She would expect nothing else from the God of Lies and Mischief.
When she heard that Loki had died, Natasha thought that she could finally answer that question.
If Loki had succeeded in conquering Earth, all well and good – he would have a planet under his control. But if he didn’t, then he could be certain that his brother Thor, do-gooder that he was, wouldn’t kill him. Thor would make sure that no one else would, either. He would bring Loki back to Asgard.
This was exactly what had happened. But it wasn’t until Natasha heard that Loki was dead that she began to suspect that that had been part of Loki’s plan all along.
As a Jotun (if only by birth) Loki could live for an obscenely long time. He could bide his time and wait for an opportunity to escape. If enough time went by, he could even fake remorse and earn his release.
However, what better disguise for a master of illusion was there than being thought dead? Natasha knew full well the benefits of such a subterfuge. As long as he was careful, Loki could do anything he liked. He could assume the guise of just about anyone and walk around Asgard as a free man. He could advance whatever machinations he had up his sleeve with no one else knowing a thing.
It was some months after the fact that this news reached Natasha. She didn’t know if it was because Fury had been keeping the information close to his chest or if S.H.I.E.L.D. simply hadn’t known, but it wasn’t until after HYDRA had emerged and S.H.I.E.L.D. disbanded that Natasha heard about it.
While this meant that she couldn’t relay her theory to Fury and possibly take a team to Asgard in order to try and oust Loki, it did
mean that she was free to go herself. She’d thought she had beaten Loki at his own game once before, when she had revealed his plot to use the Hulk to wreak havoc. As it turned out, he’d been using her. She would like to have a chance to get her own back.
The fact that she would have to go to an alien city was just a bonus. Now all she needed was a way to figure out how to get there.