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This won’t work if you don’t calm down.

She inhaled and focused on keeping her breathing smooth. The crease in the middle of her brow had to disappear first, and she had to relax her eyelids. She knew this; if her face was tight so was the rest of her body.

Loki scoffed at herself.

The feminine body felt like home, if she had been away from home for a while. Comfortable, natural, but just a little unexpected, like she might bump against a corner if she walked through without paying attention. The body was hers, but she was so accustomed to it being masculine that little things about it needed…practice.

It was not often that “practice” really meant “self-indulgent fun.” It was also not often that self-indulgent fun made Loki so anxious.

She tried not to think about the thing she was holding on one hand and relaxed her shoulders. Her shoulders, which were just a touch narrower than his shoulders. Her breasts, which she liked but kept startling her, moved with her chest. She thought about the furs under her back, how soft they were, how pleasant the warm air felt on her skin. Loki rarely tolerated so much vulnerable nudity anymore even behind locked doors, but for the moment she tried to revel in it. She would not think about anything else; she knew it was not advisable to try any intentional seiðr the first few times. This was just practice. Seiðr always took practice.

She had received the instructions for…this rather uncomfortably. Mother had been matter-of-fact and gentle, of course. But any conversation with one’s mother about sex must be uncomfortable, and the masturbatory aspect combined with the anatomical situation had made the discussion awkward for Loki. Even if he had been the one to ask.

She trailed the fingers of her unoccupied hand lightly over one of her breasts, wondering what she might find she liked. The underside seemed more sensitive; she cupped it and squeezed lightly. It was pleasant, but did not do much for her otherwise. She tried something else, pinching the nipple delicately. Oddly, that seemed erotic but not particularly pleasant. She felt a slight change between her legs and tried a lighter touch on the same hardening nub of skin. Her neck arched involuntarily, and she swirled her finger. Not bad.

She wondered if she should spend longer here, but she was impatient. She moved her hand down.

She already knew she was not going to do any magic. She believed Mother when she said that Loki would need to learn himself (or herself) before trying this use of the seiðrstafr for magic. Loki would have to know how to make the experience pleasurable; that was the point. Raw sexual power could be channeled, but if Loki was tense there would not be much sexuality there to channel. Further, to accomplish anything, she would have to direct her thoughts without distraction. Right now, skittish and uncertain, she was lucky to keep her thoughts on anything for more than a few seconds. Much better to learn to pleasure herself with the smooth wooden rod before trying to use it for anything more abstract.

She did not mind practice.

Loki would learn to pleasure himself this way later, but for now the process felt less overwhelming in a feminine body, even if she did not know this body quite as well. Most descriptions of the process talked about vaginas, and völva were far more frequently women than men. She felt strange enough about this without also going off-book.

The hair covering the soft jut of bone where her legs parted felt the same as always. She had known that before starting. Her fingers moved lower.

She had already felt the outside of the folds during more innocent uses of this form. It was just the outside of her body, not at all surprising. It was fine and familiar. Soft, warm, dry. Nice, maybe. What was between those outer folds would be new. The tip of her middle finger dipped in. It was warmer. The skin was smoother, but the folds more numerous. She had not really expected that. It was not wet, just a bit damp. She spread her legs wider.

Definitely smoother skin. She moved the outer folds apart with her fingers, feeling the thinness and elasticity in her fingertips. The skin registered her ministrations acutely. Enjoyable, if not pleasurable. The inner folds felt hot between her fingers. She found the little bump she searched for there and rubbed it, guessing that she knew what to expect.

She inhaled sharply. She had guessed wrongly; her fingertip felt harsh against her clitoris. She flinched and, embarrassed at not feeling what she should, moved on. That didn’t matter right now anyway.

A little lower still and Loki found what she had been working toward. Between all the soft, dry, warm, sensitive folds, some wetness. Slick and viscous, not unlike the texture of semen, with which she was more familiar. There was not much of it, but it spread easily. Her jaw tightened in determination. She applied pressure to the wetness and wiggled her finger, trying to find the opening. Rather than welcoming the finger, though, her pelvic muscles clenched against the invasion, closing in response to her sharp poking. She squeezed her eyes shut tighter in discomfort. How stupid she must look, naked in her bed, clinging to a piece of polished wood, pained by her failures to pleasure herself.

Sudden panic that she had not locked the door properly surged in her and she froze. What if someone caught her? She was jealous of her body and preferred to keep it to herself; she did not share it with lovers, and certainly would not like to display it to anyone who might wander unsuspectingly into her chambers. To be caught would be devastating. This was too private. More than that, it was too strange; people did not know of Loki’s changeable body, and if they saw it they would surely mock or recoil.

What she intended to do with this body, with any body, would not be better received; no one could know that Prince Loki would willingly violate himself like this. Mother could understand; no one else would. It was degrading. Shameful. Even what honor the powerful magic might recover was lost because she was too inept even to enjoy herself. Loki was already Odin’s less admired son; how much more would Thor’s shadow eclipse him were he ever found doing this? It was bad enough he practiced seiðr at all, much less this kind. Loki’s cheeks burned in humiliation just from the thought.

You’re fine. You locked the door. No one will see, the voice of reason reassured her. She reminded herself that she had checked the door at least three times before trading her boy’s body for this one, at least twice again before disrobing. She had been meticulous. She relaxed her jaw and breathed deeply. It would be all right; she just needed to keep trying. Learning anything worth knowing took patience.

She went back to her surface exploration, delicately spreading her slick through the fleshy creases. Her muscles loosened again. She would not think about magic this time, but should she think about something else? She tried to call up erotic mental images the way she did when she touched her cock. Kisses on her throat, breath on her lips, strong jawlines and powerful legs and long hair to tangle in her fingers; a fleeting mess of pieces of imaginary lovers. The wetness seemed to increase. Should the fantasy be male or female? The skin around her nipples tightened as her mind guided her towards thoughts of nimble fingers to teach her and round breasts for her to touch, high breathy sounds of pleasure she could draw out of her lover by touching her like she touched herself. Her own breathing echoed the girl’s in her imagination. This time when she rubbed accidentally against the sensitive bump of flesh between her legs with more slick on her fingers she flinched in an altogether better way. She pressed harder, fast, slow, up and down, around in circles, assessing what felt best as she went, feeling both her real flesh and the ghost of her cock in the hardening bud that was making her tense up again in greed rather than anxiety. More.

She left her rubbing for the moment and slid her fingers back down to the aching source of the now considerable wetness that coated her. Impatient again but trepidatious too, she pressed the opening with one finger. The tip slipped in easily. The finger felt alien, not really good or bad. She thought about this for a moment, but a spot deeper inside her demanded more, and she repositioned her arm to sink in completely. There were some ridges, some unfamiliar sensations, but she was so smooth, so unbelievably smooth, like tight walls made of warm butter, and her back curled when she found the swell inside that so wanted to be touched. More. She withdrew her finger and coated a second with slick before sliding both together inside herself. Good. She spread the fingers fluidly apart against the resistance of her body. More.

Her other hand tightened around the polished wood she had forgotten and she paused, considering how impossibly thick it felt. She knew it was not large; it was smaller than her own cock, which should theoretically fit inside her if she could somehow be her own lover. Maybe she could some day, somehow, with practice and the right twisting of her thoughts.

Practice. She licked the rod and withdrew her fingers.

For the first time since she started this exercise, she opened her eyes and looked down at her body. Her white skin was lightly flushed, and she could see the soft ripples of her abdominal muscles holding the tension of her enjoyment and returning anxiety. She held the tip of wooden rod against herself. It had seemed reasonable to her when she had made it, but now it looked far too large to fit where it must go if this was to continue. It felt rounded but too blunt; she rocked it gently against her entrance, testing herself. She knew the rod was relatively small; if she could not take even this, she would never be able to take a real flesh-and-blood lover.

She questioned if she could do this. A smaller rod could be made for the purpose of seiðr, but Loki had spilled blood for magic before, ingested unpleasant substances, made painful mistakes, and never hesitated longer than a second. Why was she having so much trouble now?

She teased that electrifying little bud between the folds again, returning to what had worked so well before. She watched herself shudder gently at her own touch. Good. She concentrated, imagining the wooden rod was made of flesh, that it was attached to the warm body of someone lithe and magnetic between her thighs, holding her hips in his strong hands, responding perfectly to her body’s every command.

She closed her eyes for a moment, lip unconsciously finding its way between her teeth. She did not allow her fantasies to wander here often – she thought about men, of course, but differently, with hands and tongues and rolling hips, or with imaginary legs wrapped tightly around her – his – Loki’s waist, and not the other way around. Even in the privacy of her own mind Loki avoided this particular impropriety. But if she could not weather the fantasy then she surely could not weather the physical reality, and she goaded her imaginary man closer to penetration.

Ergi, growled a harsh combination of archetypal paternal and fraternal voices in her head. Right on cue.

A prince should not do this to himself.

Loki grimaced.

A man should not want this for himself.

Her mouth tasted bitter, suddenly. This was why her fantasies did not drift here often. The chastisement was not worth it. The accusations of weakness were too difficult to dismiss. Shameful. Argr. She loosened her hold on the wood.

They’re right, his own voice hissed to her beside the others. And we’ll do what they are unwilling to do because they are too ashamed, and be more than they ever can because we are not. Some of the concern smoothed from her face as she listened to herself drowning out the cruel others. They are too fragile. Their jealousy deserves no place in our thoughts; this is for us alone.

He was right – she was right. The doubts did nothing but keep her tethered to values not her own, belonging to ones who resented what frightened them. This was for her own advancement. Her jaw set dutifully.

The imaginary hands on her legs trailed ghostly fingers over her skin and her thighs fell farther apart in unconscious response. This is for us, not for anyone else, and not for duty. Who are we – not dutiful, surely. This is self-indulgent fun, remember?

She felt her grip tighten on the wood in her hand once again even as the rest of her relaxed at her own words.

No duty to anyone else, not even – hands of the faceless lover she had conjured vanished, replaced by the ghosts of Loki’s own as he whispered his soft encouragement through her lips. She did this in the service of no one else but herself, not even an imagined lover.

We are enough; we are our most by ourself. Yes, yes, who else could teach her but herself? More, demanded her body.

This wonder is ours alone. She rubbed the rod against her opening again, feeling how slick she was against it now. What could be better than to imagine the wood as his own cock? She felt it almost warm against her, and fluidly sank it into herself in a single motion.

She gasped, head falling back against the pillow, flesh tingling electric and surprised. She breathed deeply through the novelty, pride swelling in her chest and curving her mouth into a smile.

 See? echoed the gasp of his thoughts. We learn quickly. This is not shame; this is power. She moved the rod and bit back a moan.

The rhythm came to her effortlessly; intuition told her how to angle the rod to send shivers down her spine. She had never felt anything like this before, this stretch and fullness, this incredible intimacy with herself that radiated through her with every stroke. Her ragged breathing was tinged with laughter, giddy tears stinging the corners of her eyes. Without thinking, her other hand started rubbing quick circles into her wet folds and the bud that made her hips buck with the rod thrusting hard inside her. Jagged, flaring pleasure and power, sensations combining so she imagined she could feel himself inside of her and that he could feel herself around him at once.

This magic comes so easily to us, his own shaking voice said in her head as her lips silently formed the same words, imagine what we’ll do when we actually try.

Loki had never heard of this, this use of one’s own body as seiðrstafr, this looping of sexuality between oneself as giver and taker. But she was unique; neither had she heard of anyone able to switch so completely between male and female as she could. She wondered in flashes if this might prove useful in the future, if perhaps receiving from oneself might have advantages no one had yet discovered. She imagined the teeth in her mouth sharp on her collarbone, her own other hands on her breasts, on her ribs, on the backs of her thighs, her own cock driving pleasure into her and pulling pleasure from her impossibly at once, every touch stirring power that echoed between herself and himself simultaneously. She didn’t care if this was ergi; this was strength, this was magic. Most of all, this was hers, unique and private and exhilarating despite its impropriety – maybe even because of its impropriety.  

Everything about her was tight. She shuddered with every move of her arm.

We are…so good – good – yes…the thoughts came incoherently in both Loki’s voices. Singular purpose, doubled and unified feeling. Her fingers sang through how wet she was, sending jolts of heat through her over and over. Her throat was closed to keep herself quiet, but her mind was nothing but pants and moans and yes yes yes, her face screwed up in concentration, her hand clenched around the rod like her life depended on it. All she could do, all she could do with this some day…she had not known it would feel so overwhelming. This power, too much to be contained, radiating in her loins and her cheeks and in the air around her, she could feel it, all for her, all from her, all hers, all hers, oh yes, oh yes, oh yess…

The air crackled like sparks and her ears rang, a strangled whine escaping her lips as her body clenched around the wood, waves and waves of pleasure coursing through her. She saw white, everything contracting and releasing at once, shocked motionless outside but writhing exquisitely inside.

Slowly, slowly she relaxed, sinking drunkenly into the softness of her bed, breathing returning to normal in quiet sighs.

Something tiny tickled her nose but she could not move to brush it away. The same feeling tickled her cheekbone, her chest. She finally blinked her eyes open when the faint scent of o-zone drifted into her nostrils.

Tiny particles of…something – ash or snow, she wasn’t sure – seemed to have materialized out of the air and were now floating down in a fine dust inside the room. She glanced around blearily to see if there was a fire somewhere, but there was nothing but a few stray sparks coming from the fur she lay on.


They smoldered out quickly, at least, and the particles stopped falling soon. No fire, no cause for alarm…but no explanation evident. Like magic.

Just like magic, she heard like a smirk inside her head, and felt her lips curl up to match it.

This will be inconvenient if it happens every time.

Eventually someone might notice if she smelled like smoke or singed her hair, and that certainly wouldn’t do. This was hers alone, after all, as she had just proven so satisfyingly that she had spilled out magic without even trying. She laughed weakly to herself, proud and spent. We’ll have to learn to control that. It will just take a little practice.

Loki did not mind practice.