Actions

Work Header

Axiom

Work Text:

Thor laughs and trots around Loki’s study with lightning crawling across her chubby hands. Odin has aged by centuries in the few short decades since Thor was born and her powers growing beyond her own control is not helping matters. Sunlight pours in the open windows and Loki’s eyes are drawn to the bright silver hairs on his brother’s head, more and more of them all the time, chasing away the brown.

“We can’t give her Mjolnir, Loki, you saw what it did to Hela, what it cost us.” He rubs the sunstone stone set into the ring on his pinkie.

Frigga wore it on her thumb.

Loki sighs and holds his tongue. Telling Odin the truth won’t help. His brother has never listened in the past, and he surely won’t listen now. Thor needs Loki’s help and his protection. He hoped the things he has to protect her against wouldn’t include Odin, but this is why Loki doesn’t hope for things.

He turns and looks at Thor, happily unaware of their conversation, a smile rounding her soft little cheeks and bright blue eyes curious of anything within her toddling reach. Part of Loki wants to tell Odin the truth, damn the consequences, but he has no power to protect himself if he does.

Instead he turns back to his brother and says, “the hammer Mjolnir is simply a tool, it doesn’t possess any innate ability to transform someone. It can focus them, yes—”

“Like it focused my first daughter?”

“But, if you’ll allow me the luxury of finishing a thought, it doesn’t change them.” He winces when Thor sets fire to a seven thousand year old tapestry and snaps his fingers to undo the damage. “She needs something, and sealing her power would be cruel. I can transfigure the hammer into an amulet that she can wear, and when she’s old enough she can be taught how to wield it properly.”

Odin watches her, a sadness in his remaining eye that Loki knows, feels. He strangles his anger and displays nothing but calm patience.

“I can’t watch my only child become what… I can’t, Loki.” Odin shakes his head and begins moving to Thor.

Loki steps in front of him and places his hands on Odin’s shoulders. “Odin, brother, I know you distrust me at times, and sometimes you’re right to—”

“Loki—”

“No, listen to me,” he squeezes Odin’s shoulders and keeps his brother’s focus, “you remember I was the one who found Frigga slaughtered. I was the one who protected Thor and nearly died distracting Hela while you found a way to defeat her. This may be the only time I am ever entirely honest with you, but I need you to understand that I love Thor and I will never do anything that could endanger her.”

Odin searches him, sole eye darting across his face. He reaches up and grabs Loki’s shoulders in kind and he remembers his first days on Asgard, with Odin bright and young and powerful, calling him brother and dragging him along on adventures.

“Okay,” Odin says, quiet, he nods, “okay, Loki.”

A chair explodes and the arm of it hits the back of Loki’s skull and bounces off.

Loki hears Thor’s tiny body fall over as her squealing laughter fills the air.

She stares up at him, wide-eyed and amazed as he fastens the transfigured hammer onto a gold chain.

“That’s for me?”

He grins and crouches down to slide it over her head. She gasps when it hits her skin, the metal surely warm, connecting with her spirit as it greets its new companion.

“Uncle Loki it’s talking to me.” She grabs the pendant, longer than her own tiny hands, and blinks at it owlishly.

“What’s it saying?” He tucks a stray lock of hair back behind her ear then re-ties her left shoe, perpetually untied and the cause of many tumbles to the palace floors.

“I don’t know. It feels like… like it knows me.” Her voice is quiet, awed.

Loki tips her face up with a finger under her chin. “Well, it probably does. The hammer Mjolnir is enchanted, you see. Only the worthy can wield it and claim the title of Thor.”

She smiles up at him, two teeth missing, new ones coming in slowly. “That’s me!”

Loki’s heart breaks. This hammer will save her, make her stronger and focus her incredible power. The same weapon almost killed her, though, almost destroyed everything. It’s taken years to cleanse it, to change the magic inside to be linked to Thor’s soul so that she’s the only one who can lift it now.

The enchantment will enrage Odin if he ever finds out, but Loki has to do what he can to protect Thor. She’s all they have left.

Thunder cracks in the sky, the clouds rolling fast and fierce, thick and dark enough that the warm afternoon sun is blocked. Thor throws one of the Einherjar across the training fields and Loki watches the man fumble his landing, feet tripping over each other as he tumbles to the ground. He’s fine, Loki’s seen far worse falls shrugged off by the elite guard, but then Thor’s opponent holds his hand up, yielding. Thor whoops and crows in her triumph, but it’s false.

They’re letting her win. Disgraceful.

Loki clenches his jaw and puts a light curse on the warrior. Nothing like a few days of hallucinations to teach someone a lesson.

Loki wanders to the edge of the field as he always does and observes the cleaning up and the comings and goings. Thor remains, talking to the other warriors, joking with them as they flirt with her.

A sour taste crawls up Loki’s throat.

They flatter her by improperly training her, let her win to make her feel strong and proud, and then they try to seduce her. He can’t tell if it’s working, but he hopes it isn’t.

Loki projects his voice into the ear of the unit captain.

“I see you,” he whispers.

The man startles and whips his head around, then spots Loki on the other side of the field. His face blanches and Loki can see his frame go rigid. Thor frowns, then follows his gaze and perks up, a smile lifting her lovely features. She runs right over to him and abandons the men clamoring for her attention.

Loki smiles to them and watches them run off to the baths.

“Uncle Loki! Am I late for my history lesson?” She’s barely sweating, her skin not even flushed from exertion.

Loki shakes his head and makes his decision. It could go wrong, of course, but he’d rather her know that at least one person in her life will be honest with her.

“You train with the Einherjar every afternoon, don’t you?” Loki takes slow steps into the arena, the sandy soil soft beneath his feet. The sun is starting to break through the clouds above.

Thor nods. “Father told them to put me through my paces. I want to be a great warrior queen, like my mother was.”

Loki grits his teeth and clasps his hands behind his back, turns and looks at her, so keen and bright, but underestimated.

“Pardon me for saying, dear niece, but a great warrior queen would notice if the warriors training her were letting her win.” Loki holds his head high.

Thor tilts her head, her eyes narrow, and a flush crawls onto her cheeks as her anger visibly rises. The sun disappears again as quickly as it had returned.

Good.

“Letting me win?” Thor takes a step toward him, her fingers twitching.

He estimates about seven seconds before she calls her hammer.

“Yes,” he says, “I can prove it, if you like.”

Six.

“How?” She asks.

Five.

Loki smiles. “Fight me. I’m not a warrior,” four, “I’m a sorcerer. You should be able to knock me down.”

Three.

She glares at him, eyes hard. “Alright.”

Two.

Loki stays as he is, hands at his back in his heavy robes.

One.

Her hand opens and Mjolnir slams into her palm. She lunges, stance far too wide and her entire body moving too much as she runs. No one has even gone over proper running stances yet, he can tell by the way her head bobs up and down, energy wasted that could be going toward her forward momentum.

She swings too wide, projects the move clearly and Loki easily dodges. Thor whips around to face him and leaps toward him. He grabs her wrist and throws her, watches as she tries to flip and land on her feet only to hit the ground wrong. Something snaps when she ankle rolls and she screams, but she stands back up, heaving breath and white-knuckled grip on the hammer.

Thor uses her good leg to push off into another lunge, but she has no idea how to turn her size into speed yet. He steps to the side when she gets to him and turns to follow her when she keeps moving. She’s too slow, she isn’t pivoting to mirror his movement, doesn’t know how to compensate for the injured ankle.

Loki kicks her in the back when she goes a step too far and sends her flying. Thor lands face-first on the ground and bounces. Mjolnir falls from her hand and he hears her shrill scream muffled by the dirt.

He runs for her without thinking and kneels beside her when she rolls onto her back. Blood is pouring out of her nose, her lip is split and one of her teeth is cracked. She must’ve hit a rock.

Tears run from her eyes and she’s hissing, holding one of her wrists. Her hand hangs limp, wrong. Loki numbs her pain with a spell, then checks her injuries. Along with the ones he can see she has several hairline fractures in her skull and a bad concussion.

Maybe he went too far.

Loki cradles her head in his hands and heals her. Thor remains still, relaxing into the touch and blinking away lingering tears.

As soon as his hands leave her face she bolts upright and summons her hammer. She stands over him covered in drying blood, sniffing against her running nose.

“Train me,” she says, “you have to train me. They’ve all been lying to me, I can’t trust them.”

Loki nods and stands, looks down at her and smiles gently. “We’ll begin tomorrow. For now, you have a history lesson.”

She bites her lower lip, licks some of the blood off. “Okay.”

Thor isn’t what Loki would call patient, but she’s doing well enough as he finishes grading her translation homework.

“You missed three words in the last paragraph,” he says, underlining them as he speaks, “all verb tenses. Easy mistakes to make when you’re rushing.”

He glances up at her and raises an eyebrow, but she just shrugs at him.

“I was getting bored. This is too easy.”

Loki leans back in his chair and considers her. She’s growing into a fine, strong young woman. These are normal, standard lessons being given to an exceptional student. No wonder she’s bored.

Thor sighs and a stiff breeze blows in through the window and disturbs stray hairs all over her head. Some have fallen out of her braids, others are short flyaways. They glow like gold in the morning sun and Loki can’t help but smile the longer he looks at her.

“What?” Her voice snaps him out of his reverie.

He clears his throat and grabs a book from the shelves behind him, then hands it to Thor. “Read this aloud for me.”

She glances at the cover, then opens the book and begins reading the first page. “A history of exploration and study of the Jotun Ironwood forests by the Vanir monks of—”

Loki holds his hand up and cuts her off. “Who taught you to read this dialect?”

She frowns. “Um, no one?”

He scoffs and watches her fingers as they trace the edge of the cover. “You’ve read this dialect of Vanir script before?”

Thor shakes her head. “Not before now.”

“Then how do you know how to read it?” He crosses one leg over the other and sets his hands into his lap.

She doesn’t even realize how remarkable she is.

Thor knows better by now than to ask what he means. Her eyes scan the first page from top to bottom, then back up.

“Well,” she begins, looking up at him, “since it’s written in the opposite direction of the primary Vanir dialect, I just assumed that the tense markers had been switched to the beginning of the words. All the roots are there, and the verbs are mostly the same. I mean, kanna has a strange conjugation here. Maybe research instead of explore?”

Loki watches her as she reads the text again, then looks back at him, her certainty spelled out in the set of her mouth.

“That is a more accurate interpretation, yes. Go to page seventy-six, read the fourth paragraph to me.” His eyes track the shifting light of a skiv flying by outside, the quick flash highlighting her cheekbone.

“In the second week our guide begins by taking us to a fjord to study bioluminescent algae. This prince, Loki,” Thor stops and stares at the page, frowns and takes a long breath, then her eyes slowly slide up to meet his, “but I thought you were adopted as a baby.”

Loki tilts his head. “Who told you that?”

Thor looks back to the book. “Can I borrow this?”

“Of course,” Loki smiles, “go ahead and pick a few chapters to translate and we’ll count that as your xenolinguistics final. Unless you’re still curious about learning Groot.”

She’s barely listening, he can tell, because her eyes are scanning the page faster and faster. “Sure. I’ll bring it back when I’m done.”

Loki doesn’t know when this became the plan, to turn Thor against her own father, but Loki knows Odin better than anyone. He will not watch Thor worship Odin and be corrupted and used, turned into a weapon whose self-worth is linked to her power and whose appetite cannot be controlled.

He won’t go through that again.

“Uncle Loki,” Thor whines, “can you help me?”

He looks up at her and opens his mouth, but she cuts him off before he can speak.

“Will you help me?” She corrects.

Loki laughs under his breath and sets down his pen. “I wasn’t actually going to correct you on semantics, I was going to ask what you need.”

Thor deflates where she stands and runs a hand through her hair. It’s grown so long, now, more than halfway down her back.

“No one will teach me the Vykandelar maneuver.” She has the annoyance Loki expects from a teenager.

He hums and thinks of the move, the twists and the landings required. “Well, I’m not surprised.”

Thor chews her bottom lip and shifts on her feet. “Will you teach me?”

“You understand if the maneuver is performed incorrectly it can result in a broken back, fractured ankles and legs, yes?” He holds her gaze and sees the fire within her heart, the foolhardy determination and the power beneath it. A true queen.

She nods.

“And you understand that performing a maneuver incorrectly is part of learning to do it properly, yes?”

Again she nods. “You can heal me, though, right?”

Loki smiles despite himself. “I will always heal you if you injure yourself in training.”

Thor's eyes light up and she takes a long step forward, close enough that she nearly bumps into his desk. “Then you’ll teach me?”

“You know the Valkyrie’s lunge, don’t you?” He stands from his desk and grabs a book filled with illustrations of various fighting forms.

He sets the book down and finds the right section, then snaps his fingers to animate the ink on the page.

Thor watches the illustration as it moves. “Of course.”

“It’s the lunge with a twisting backflip, a mid-air kick, and landing on one foot,” he explains.

Thor scoffs and looks at him, one brow raised and a lopsided smile on her lips. “I can do that.”

Loki grins and looks at her face as she goes over the move and shifts on her feet. She probably can.

Spring wind whips through the grass around the training grounds. Three braziers have been blown out in the gusts and Loki’s had to tie his hair back to keep it out of his eyes. Thor grows stronger every day. He’s down to training her part-time, the Einherjar have long pulled their heads out of their asses and started to treat Thor like the warrior she is.

She grits her teeth, bares them, and surges forward. Loki steps to the side, grabs her arm and feels her weight shifted too far forward. He leans away and tosses her into one of the smouldering braziers. Mjolnir drops from her hand on impact. Even from where he stands he can hear her bones snap. A cry of pain pierces the air after.

It can be healed, he reminds himself.

Thor rolls, shakes embers off of her body and out of her hair, now filled with ash and soot. She picks Mjolnir up in her off hand and breathes hard. Her broken arm is cradled to her chest, snug inside her vambrace, which is severely dented.

“Do you yield?” Loki asks.

She tightens her grip on her hammer, then falls to her knees. “Yes.”

He forces himself to walk slowly. Thor doesn’t want him to fuss over her too heavily, he knows, she wants to be treated like any other warrior in training. She isn’t, she never will be, but Loki will do what she asks of him.

He kneels at her side and gingerly undoes the ties to her armor, exposing her broken arm. Now he can see she’s also fractured her collar bone. She’s swelling horribly, skin bulging against leather ties and metal.

Loki reaches into her with magic and heals everything. He’s always been amazed at how easily her body accepts his foreign power, at the way she must trust him for it to be so simple. “I threw you because you put too much weight on your front foot. Your center of gravity sat too far forward, you made it easy. You have physical power and size, but you have to remember your speed, as well, because it will be more useful in a fight than your sheer brawn.”

She nods. “It won’t happen again.”

He grins. “I should think not.”

She watches his hands as he heals her, eyes tracking the paths of his fingers where they soothe and repair. Loki treats her with as much impartiality as he can manage, but he loves her far too much to allow the pain to linger.

“Thank you,” she whispers.

The wind is dying down.

He checks his work once he’s done and fixes her armor. “Would you like to try once more?”

She’s on her feet and kicking him in the face without a word. Cartilage snaps and blood pours out of his nose. His senses are overwhelmed by the smell of copper and the blinding pain of his nose breaking.

Thor will be the fiercest warrior in all the realms. He’s so proud.

The showers are filled with noise, bodies jostling as men rinse off. There are twice as many men as there are shower heads, but the two to his right at still unoccupied.

They laugh and joke, a few touch each other innocently and otherwise. Loki would prefer to bathe in his private chambers, but the heat is so oppressive he can’t wait. It happens sometimes. Plus side of being a Jotun, he can turn into an eleven foot tall giant who can freeze things with his bare hands. Downside, he’s very prone to heat stroke.

Cool water runs over his skin, bringing his temperature down nice and easy. No one pays him any attention beyond keeping their distance. It works for him. They respect his authority just fine, but no one is ever friendly to him by any means.

He takes a moment to track the flow of cold water over his body. Laufey sold him to be Bor’s ward when he was barely more than a boy, and now all he really remembers of Jotunheimr is swimming in a river. Sometimes he wonders if it would be worth it to go back. Asgard should be his home, but he’s never felt like he’s meant to be here. Jotunheimr probably won’t be any different, he knows this, but a part of him wonders incessantly.

Someone gasps from the doorway. Loki cracks an eye open and sees Thor standing there wearing nothing but a pair of linen shorts and a ratty tunic.

As soon as he sees her she’s turning and running away down the hall. Loki opens his eyes fully and glances around the room, tries to see if he can figure out which of the soldiers has drawn her attention to such a degree that she’d risk that kind of impropriety. They all flirt with her still, all flatter her for her incredible beauty and her growing skill. They’ve long stopped coddling their princess and Loki thinks their attempts to seduce her have only grown more bold in the time since.

Having a crush isn’t uncommon, especially when she trains with these warriors day in and day out. Any one of them could be so lucky.

Not that any of them will have have the chance to test her young feelings.

Loki would slaughter the entire army of Asgard to keep Thor from being hurt.

Thor groans and rolls her eyes. “Why do I have to entertain this?”

Odin drinks his ale and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. “He’s made a very generous offer for your hand, Thor, it would be rude to refuse without at least inviting him for a visit.”

She crosses her arms over her chest and Loki smirks around the edge of his cup.

“I’m not saying yes, so there’s no point to him visiting.” She looks off to the side and sighs, her jaw working, then she freezes and looks back to her father. “You didn’t say yes for me, did you?”

Odin shakes his head. “Of course not, do you think me daft?”

Thor mutters under her breath, something that sounds like ‘sometimes’ and Loki swallows down his laugh.

Loki doesn’t know when Thor grew into such a beautiful woman, but he has a feeling that now he’s noticed he won’t be able to stop.

He forces his eyes back to his plate and tries a neutral tone as he speaks. “What reason will you give for declining him?”

Odin hums and eats half a leg of fowl in one bite. Gods how is he not the fattest king in all the realms?

Thor clicks her tongue, then gasps and Loki looks over at her, sees a very bright look in her eyes. There is something perpetually rough about her. Even though she’s a princess she’s always covered in bruises and scrapes, her hands are rough and callused, nails clipped short and dirty more often than not. Her hair almost never leaves a braid and so it’s grown long and luxurious, her blonde so naturally bright it nearly glows. She’s granted her own wish from when she was a girl; to be a warrior queen. Of the two titles, it’s clear which comes first.

She’s looking right at him and his heart skips a beat. Norns no wonder this prince is trying to give her half of his planet and three armies.

“I have to protect Asgard and the realms as queen, yes?” She leans forward and Loki can already see her plan unfolding.

She’s never going to marry if she follows through with this.

“You do,” he confirms.

“Then I’ll challenge them to combat. If he can defeat me, he can marry me.” She thumps back into her seat with a pleased smile on her full lips.

Odin chuckles. “Loki, send correspondence, let them know.”

Loki nods and feels a fluttery heat in his belly and thinks that, well, he’s the only person who’s ever beaten Thor in one on one combat.

Thor is going to be declared to the whole of Asgard and all the realms as a woman. She’s been an adult for nearly a decade, but this makes it final. This solidifies her status and opens up an entire world of possibility.

Loki heard her laughter in his dreams last night, saw her face smiling at him, felt her body against his.

The morning is soft, but he’s not.

The sun is still below the horizon, the sky only hinting at light far off in the distance. He sees it over the bottom edge of his balcony, thinks about walking with her on the beach.

Loki closes his eyes and allows his mind to wander. Thor’s joy is everything. He doesn’t think she knows how to restrain herself, how to hide precisely what she’s feeling and to what degree. When she laughs it is as raucous as the thunder she wields and it strikes into his heart just as surely as her lightning.

His cock throbs, demands he give in. This is a game he’s grown accustomed to playing over the last year or so. It’s a tease, a test. How long can he wait before the last of his decency breaks?

Something in him has changed, but for his life he can’t pinpoint exactly when. He cannot follow the string of his unravelling mind to find the slipped stitch in his sanity where the desire to love his niece in a way he shouldn’t first began.

It’s too late to fight off entirely now, he thinks, he’s too far gone and she’s too important.

This is a game he plays with himself, and this is the morning he loses.

He wraps his hand around himself and squeezes. A memory fills his mind, her eyes bright with happiness, her smile utterly delighted as she listened to a story he was telling. Is this worse? That her joy arouses him? That it isn’t some base, shallow lust for her body or her power?

He strokes himself quickly, pleasure brighter than it’s been in longer than he can remember. This isn’t going to take long.

Loki allows his thoughts to go wherever they want. It’s all Thor, every single second while he plays with his foreskin and palms his leaking cockhead. His heels dig into the bed and he rocks his hips involuntarily. A traitorous, sinful part of his mind thinks maybe Thor is still a virgin. Maybe he could be the first to worship her body.

That thought shifts his mind from memory to fantasy and he pictures himself between her thighs with his mouth pressed right up against her, tasting her and pleasuring her until she’s done with him. She could sit on his face, use his silver tongue for something more important than spinning lies. He’ll make her scream, make her happy. There is so much he could give her that no one else can.

He will.

Loki gasps and cums all over himself, legs shaking as he soaks his sheets and hand, the sticky drip of it running onto his stomach. He holds himself as he goes soft and tries to calm his racing heart.

He listens as the first birds begin to sing and asks an unanswerable question. What has he just done to himself?

Loki is losing himself. He watches Thor glide across the dance floor and he feels his heart pounding in time to her steps.

Her hair cascades down her back, loose and wavy where it has fallen from her braids. There isn’t an eye in the hall that isn’t watching her. The lights are set low, their rosy glow soft and intimate, and Loki’s heart breaks every time he hears her laugh above the gentle conversation. So strange that beauty could cause this much pain.

When did he become like this? What kind of irredeemable creature is he?

Sif drags Thor away from the dance floor to stand at the edge of the crowds, walking toward the dais from where Loki stands next to his brother. Bodies part around them and heads turn. Loki could track their every movement by simply watching how the crowd behaves. They all yield to Thor, yearn for her. Who wouldn’t yearn for her? Who doesn’t?

They stop at the bottom steps and Loki can smell Thor’s perfume from here. He bought it for her just for this occasion.

Thor turns away from Sif and grabs a horn of ale when it passes by on a tray. In those scant seconds Loki studies her face. She’s flushed from activity and drink, skin glistening with sweat, hair stuck to her forehead and cheeks. The deep, sapphire blue fabric of her dress brings out the color of her hair and her stunning eyes. Loki wonders if she’s figured out that he commissioned the gown. Surely if she thought it was one of the princes who’ve asked for her hand she’d have worn something else.

She laughs again and tosses her head back and Loki finds his eyes drawn to the curve of her throat. He can’t help but want to lay kisses there, to worship her. If any of their number can be called a god it should be her.

The neckline falls off of her shoulders and drops in the back, exposing the beauty of her strength. Loki sees the creeping lines of her tattoos as they wind in from her ribs and slowly begin to wend their way toward her spine. His mouth waters and his fingers twitch. If he were allowed he would dedicate hours to studying their curves.

Thor slams her horn to the floor and it shatters into pieces, a wave of applause and cheers following the sound. Loki smiles and then catches himself and forces his expression back to its normal severity.

She’s looking at him, though, and the farce is ruined. He grins at her and inclines his head.

Sif takes a partner and joins the throng of revellers once again, leaving Thor alone. Hands reach for her, offer upon offer and she ignores them all. Loki holds his head high when she ascends the stairs.

His breath is locked in his chest when she kneels for a moment before Odin, then rises again and stands at his side. Loki wonders where her shoes are, because she didn’t start the night barefoot. She leans into him, resting her head on his shoulder. They’re of a height now so she has to use her entire body just for this one lingering girlhood indulgence.

Odin raises his eyebrow and Loki shrugs his other shoulder. Thor hums with the tune of the music and spends three dances beside him. On the second she lifts her head and switches to simply leaning her bulk against him. If he weren’t a giant he’d be toppled. He still might.

Whispers flutter on the air beneath the violins and flutes. He turns his head and looks at her, takes a moment to savor the details, then looks back to the dance floor.

“You’re depriving the party of your presence, Thor. This is a celebration for you becoming a woman, after all.”

She chuckles and pulls away. Loki feels cold in her absence and he hates that it bothers him. This is so dangerous.

Thor stands tall and proud, glorious. “Then dance with me and I’ll stop depriving them.”

Loki’s heart skips a beat, another, then hammers within his chest. He hopes his smile isn’t as honest as it feels.

He holds his hand up and feels a spark on his skin when she takes it. They make their way to the floor and face each other. The music stops, then begins again and Loki leads as bright, cheerful notes create a bouncing rhythm. Thor giggles and goes where he takes her, spinning and twirling.

Everyone has stopped dancing. They watch.

Loki lifts Thor into the air and she laughs like she did when she was a child. As she comes down Loki moves his arms, one under her thighs and the other behind her back, he cradles her to his body as she falls and hears a faint gasp, sees her eyes widen and her cheeks go ruddy with a heavy blush. Then he turns and sets her back on the floor, pushing just enough to make her spin, only to grab her hand and reel her back in.

Applause breaks out among the spectators.

Thor is panting as they finish their dance and the sound of it, the feeling of her breath washing across his face, is embedding itself in his mind and altering him, it has to be.

Her fingers are digging into him hard enough to bruise by the time the music fades out. The crowd cheers for them, exclamations shouted in their praise. Loki feels pain blooming hot and sick in his stomach as he releases Thor and steps away.

This won’t do. He can’t live like this. A decision is made without thought, against his volition, or perhaps above it. Maybe this is fate.

Loki needs her. He has to have her.

Thor screams and kicks the visiting prince in the chest and sends him flying. Pieces of his armor litter the ring, his staff is splintered into shards, having exploded after Thor struck it with lightning.

He rolls foot over head when he lands, his body bounces and he ends up on his back. Blood bubbles up from his mouth in a froth.

Oh, she punctured his lung with one of his own ribs.

She must not like this one.

Odin smirks, then covers it by sighing and calling an end to the match. Thor doesn’t even look at her opponent as she leaves.

Loki leans down and whispers into his brother’s ear, “how long until she accidentally kills one of these princes for asking to marry her?”

Odin chuckles. “We can only wait and see, I suppose.”

Loki stands and offers an apologetic smile to a member of the prince’s retinue. His chest is warm with pride, but he’s beginning to suspect that Thor will never marry at this rate.

That’s going to be a problem.

Loki loves solving problems.

The seventh offer for her hand in a year, and the seventh very swift defeat. Rainbow light splits the universe open as the latest defeated prince returns home. Thor is more adamant than ever that no one is worthy of her. Odin doesn’t seem to care much, which is good, because if he did Loki would be in trouble.

They’ve all stopped counting the number of princes and lords and kings, even a few criminal warlords, that have asked for Thor’s hand in marriage. She’s laid them all on their backs and left them bleeding. None have even come close to making Loki worried that he’ll miss his opportunity.

He’s been studying Asgard’s laws and customs, researching as far back as he can to find anything that would stop him from being able to have Thor for his wife.

Loki has learned two things during his studies. Firstly, he could legally marry Thor even though he’s her uncle but as it stands now he would need Odin’s permission, and he isn’t fool enough to think there’s a single chance of that happening. Ideally Loki would ask Thor directly. Let her be the one to decide if he’s worthy the same way she’s decided with everyone else. This can’t happen until she becomes queen and is out from under Odin’s thumb.

Knowing this the second thing he’s learned, which is incredibly important, is that she is of no obligation to marry before she ascends as queen, though it is unprecedented. Loki still doesn’t know if Odin would coronate her before she’s taken a husband. Maybe. Maybe not. Sometimes Odin’s prerogative is as shifting as Loki’s.

Another thing he’s learned, and he holds this kind of information more dearly than anything, is Thor hates gifts of jewels and jewelry. She doesn’t want to be treated like ornamentation.

He thinks about all of this, about his plans, his timeline and his options, and watches her pace across his chamber floor. Her hair is loose, wavy locks bright and so soft looking as they frame her face and fall down her back. She showed up an hour ago and she’s  still ranting about the last suitor.

“You know, it’s not even that I don’t want to marry,” she stops walking and Loki stops breathing, “I just want someone who understands me. Someone who is worthy of me.”

Loki swallows and clasps his hands together to hide the way they shake. “Do not settle for anything less. Never. Do you hear me?”

His tone is harsh and she startles a bit, then smiles gentle and sweet and nods. “I know.”

He feels like he’s running out of time.

Thor, Loki knows, is beautiful. As a child she was bright, clever, and generous, and these attributes have only grown with her. It’s been difficult to hide his feeling and control himself since she’s become an adult and been presented to the realms, but he’s managing. Or at least he has been.

This trip to Vanaheimr is testing his patience. Frigga’s father asked for Thor to visit, to learn about the other half of her ancestry now that she’s a woman. Loki knows the king also wants to introduce Thor to men he feels are worthy of his granddaughter. No doubt she knows this. She loves a good fight. It’s a shame no one here can give her one.

Except. Well.

Loki pauses at an herbalist’s stand and spies a pile of dried whisper root, their ruddy red color out of place among the more delicate herbs and flowers. He hasn’t seen it in years. Jotunheimr isn’t exactly known for its exports.

The shop keep shifts on her feet, but smiles at him. The heat is giving him a headache and they’re a few hours out from him having a chance to take a cold shower. This should help the inflammation in his joints and his aching head. He buys a handful and pops a piece into his mouth to chew. The woman behind the stall goes wide-eyed and glances up and down the street and Loki wonders what he’s done to make her so nervous.

Even dried it has a pleasant flavor, something rich and little bitter. If the plant grew on Asgard he could use it to make teas, to spice his wine and stews, there are even a few spells he could improve with it if he were so inclined. For today chewing it will be enough.

Thor is ahead of him, halfway between two stalls when she ducks into an alley. Loki leaves the nervous merchant and jogs forward to catch up to his niece. He finds her smiling to a child with purplish skin and unblinking eyes, handing over a few coins. The boy has an assortment of broken pottery in front of him and big, fat tears rolling down his cheeks.

She gives the boy one more smile before she stands and heads back for the busy market street.

Loki walks with her, heavy black hood pulled up over his head to block out the sun that climbs higher and higher. “You know it’s a trick, don’t you?”

Thor chuckles. “He’s still begging for money in the street, though, isn’t he? Who would I be if I kept walking?”

Loki stops and she turns to him, her head tilted in question. He keeps wondering when she’ll stop surprising him. Not today, it seems.

He turns and finds the boy still weeping in the alley, and now he sees the thin set of the boys wrists, the gauntness of his cheeks. Loki walks forward and kneels down over the shattered cups and vases, whatever other pieces of trash the little one has managed to accrue for his scheme.

“Do you know how to pick pockets?” Loki asks.

The boy squints at him, but nods.

“But you’ve been caught, haven’t you? Some people have spells to protect themselves, some don’t. It’s hard to tell which, isn’t that right?” Loki weaves an incantation with his fingers, quick and simple, just enough to give the boy a good push.

He taps the boy on the forehead and watches the magic as it washes over his eyes, then settles.

“There, that should help,” Loki says, then stands back up, “try to use it for more than petty thieving, hm?”

The little beggar blinks up at him owlishly and nods, then begins looking around him, clearly amazed by the amount of magic he can now see.

Loki finds Thor waiting for him where he left her, and she smirks.

“Did you teach him to pick pockets?” She bumps her shoulder into his.

“No,” he says, “I just gave him the tools to not pick the wrong ones.”

Thor laughs and brushes her hand against his and Loki can’t force the smile off his face.

Thor isn't laughing, she's squealing like she used to as a very small child. It would be adorable if they weren't trying to have a nice lunch in the royal Vanir gardens.

The sun is oppressive above them, but there's a gentle breeze blowing. Guests sit at four person tables, the benches intricately carved and stained with a beautiful onyx dye. Flower petals have been preserved in their surface, giving the illusion that the petals are floating on the wind at night. It’s incredible, a touch of beauty that Loki has missed since Frigga’s passing.

Thor tosses her head back when a shield maiden says something, Loki hopes it’s a joke, and as she laughs the wind picks up.

People are staring and all Loki can do is drink more wine.

He goes over everything he's seen Thor eat or drink in the last day and he can't place anything unusual. Unless. Oh.

Whisper root. She tried a small bite of his whisper root to see how it tasted, but she'd spit it out because the flavor didn't agree with her.

Beside Loki sits a duke built like a war horse. Gerald is the nephew of a lower Vanir king who’s cousins with Thor. Loki has researched his family tree back for ten generations. All very fine warriors, mostly undefeated, including Gerald’s son Galen, who has asked for the chance at Thor’s hand.

Loki has been shadowing him for almost their entire trip. The duke and his son are both highly intelligent and kind-hearted. Galen and Thor fight in a few days and Loki is counting each second despite himself. No one has had a decent chance before now.

He leans over to Gerald and keeps his voice low. “Can I ask you something? You may be more familiar with Vanaheimr than I am, I’m afraid. I'm curious, Thor and I went walking this morning and  I saw an interesting merchant in the low end of town. She was selling herbs mostly, and I remember one had a strange, reddish color. I haven't seen anything else like it. Do you know it?”

Gerald looks at Thor, then at Loki. “You think the princess got into some Jotun eye?”

Loki frowns. “Beg your pardon?”

The duke pales and laughs nervously, then coughs as if to cover it. “Just, it's just the name because of the color and the fact that it only grows on Jotunheimr. Some people use it recreationally.”

Loki sighs and whispers a quick thanks. That would explain it.  He grunts when Thor drops into his lap. She throws her arms around his neck and buries her nose into his hair, smelling him. Intensely.

King Freyr sits not too far off from them, a worried set to his brow that deepens the wrinkles in the corners of his eyes. He clears his throat and Loki nods, then stands and cradles Thor in his arms to take her inside. They can have lunch with her grandfather after the fight in a few days to make up for this.

She's giggling like a child and squirming in his arms. “Uncle Loki! You're so strong!”

He rolls his eyes but smiles despite himself. “Well I am a frost giant, if you recall.”

“Mm, blue.” Thor smells him again.

He walks directly to the guest rooms and only looks ahead as he does. Thor is making people laugh, at least, instead of causing a less desirable reaction. It’s unseemly for a princess to be high in the middle of the day, but Loki knows she’s well-loved enough that this won’t sway anyone’s opinion of her.

A servant opens her bedroom door as they approach and Loki spares a quick nod, kicks the door shut, then walks over to the bed and drops Thor without warning. She laughs as she bounces and grabs his arm tight enough that he can't pull away.

“Uncle Loki!” She gives the end of his name about six syllables.

“Yes Thor?” He sits at the edge of her bed and brushes her hair out of her face with his fingers.

She grins the way the drunk and happy do, unreserved, unafraid. “I love you.”

Warmth floods Loki's chest. “I know, Thor.”

She pouts suddenly and looks distraught. “No you don't.”

He squints and considers asking what she means, but who knows if she can answer in her current state.

“Uncle Loki I'm never gonna get married!” She exclaims, joy returned with force.

Loki laughs. “The way you fight you may not.”

She hums and smiles, relaxes against her pillows. Her eyelids droop then close, and her grip on his wrist goes loose as she falls asleep. It’s good she didn’t have more than that small taste of his whisper root.

He lingers a moment, watching her as she settles. The curtains are drawn tight over her windows, casting everything in a reddish hue. Thor’s hair is loose and Loki can already see tangles forming as she lays on it. With a thought he uses a bit of magic to untangle it and put it into a braid. Neat and tight, the way she always does it. Then he leans in and presses a kiss to her forehead. The warmth of her skin on his lips confirms what he already knows.

He's in love with her.

Loki wishes this woman were a little quieter. She’s making it difficult to maintain the fantasy in his head, and he can’t risk using magic. Not for this. The Vanir are gracious hosts and salacious gossips.

He snaps his hips forward and she cries out, squeezes his cock, and when her voice dips low he can almost hear it, what he needs. His balls draw up and he pulls out, strokes himself twice and cums all over the bed spread.

The woman looks back at him over her shoulder, panting, ass still in the air. “Oh, you didn't finish in me?”

She took a fertility draught with her breakfast, he can smell it on her breath.

“You didn't say I could.” He sits on his heels. This isn't satisfying. This isn't who he wants.

His bed mate is sweet, and she's plenty warm inside, but he's bored of her already. She reaches over to the puddle of spend soaking into the cotton. Loki bats her hand away from it.

“Dress and leave, please.” He waves a hand to banish the mess and scratches at an itch near his hip.

She smiles, the curve of it tight,  and rolls out of bed. “Of course, Highness.”

She goes to the bathroom first, rinsing up and cleaning off. Her clothes are still hung where he told her to leave them and she closes the door as she gathers them and redresses. Loki climbs out of bed and slips into a pair of light silk trousers, still too hot for anything heavier. This realm is damn near tropical compared to Asgard, and it’s the furnace of Hel compared to Jotunheimr. He hopes Thor beats her suitor tomorrow so swiftly and severely that the rest withdraw.

It won't happen, but a man can dream.

He walks to his desk and grabs a piece of whisper root for his head. The merchant was more than happy to sell him their entire stock, so he can even take some home. After the picnic he knows why.

His door opens and the heavy steps that meet his ears are all the greeting he needs, but Thor's voice calls out anyway.

“Uncle Loki?” She rounds the corner and his stomach does a somersault.

She's wearing some very old training clothes and they cover almost nothing. Her tank top is cropped, the bottom tattered and hanging loose around her torso, exposing her soft belly. The shorts, too, are old. White lace-up linen barely better than bloomers. Thor hasn't tied the laces shut so Loki sees a tempting vee of her belly fat where it sits in a perfect little pooch, just beginning to form a roll. He wants to sink his teeth into her richness. Stretch marks crisscross her thighs and arms, her muscles still obvious under her luxurious figure. So much of her wondrous golden skin is on display and even though he just came he can feel his blood rushing south.

“Yes?” Somehow his voice is even.

Thor strides in and sits on his bed, then scoots back a bit and oh, fuck, she's sitting right where he came. It's clean, there's nothing there, but all he can focus on is that she's lounging right where he was just fucking some courtesan.

Who chooses now to exit his bathroom. She and Thor look at each other and Loki wishes that Ragnarok would just come take him already.

“Don't worry, Thor, she's just leaving,” Loki says, dipping his voice a bit so the woman understands that he means now.

The woman, Gilda or Grida, does a quick curtsey and all but runs out of the room. Loki glances at the door as she leaves and stops, stares at his overcoat sitting on the floor in a crumpled mess.

“Well, how did that happen?” He walks over to the garment and finds wrinkles have settled into the wool.

It can't have just fallen.

Thor follows him and leans against the wall that divides the bedroom from the antechamber of the guest apartment.

“What's wrong?”

Loki hangs the coat back on the hook and checks his security spells. No breaches.

“I hung this coat up this morning when I came back from the market, but just now I found it on the floor. Someone was in here and I didn't know it.” He glances around the room, trying to find anything that's not right.

“Maybe it was a courier? I've had gifts delivered almost daily and our rooms are side by side. Maybe they walked into your room by accident, realized their mistake, and knocked it off when they left.”

Loki frowns. “Or there's a spy trying to steal my private correspondence.”

Thor scoffs. “Loki, really.”

His heart jumps. She's never used his name by itself. She always calls him uncle. It feels different, having her speak to him so casually, like an equal.

Maybe she’s right. He can check more thoroughly later, once she’s gone.

He forces a laugh and walks away from the door, back toward his desk. “Or there's a clumsy courier.”

Thor smiles and Loki doesn't know why he bothered with the courtesan. No one else will ever compare.

The Vanir are fine warriors, and the princes who have met Thor are surely very skilled, but Thor has an advantage they don't have: desperation.

Loki never realized it before, but she really doesn't want to marry any of them. He thought maybe she did truly just want to test them, but this match is showing something different. She wants to punish them. With each of these fights it’s looking more and more like she’s trying to use trial by combat as a deterrent.

Thor might not have been in her right mind, but she told him she was never getting married. If she has to kill someone to make sure of that, it seems she will.

The young duke she's fighting now hasn't hit her once. This is Galen, the last of those that asked to have her as his queen. Loki knows this man’s skill, knows he’s fighting as hard as he can. So is Thor. Of the two of them she’s superior in every way.

Gerald rushes to Loki's side, red in the face and hands clenched at his sides and hissing as he speaks. “Will you tell her to ease up?”

Loki looks at the elder duke, meets his eye directly and allows his Jotun blood to surface just enough for his vision to run red.

Gerald gasps and backs off with haste. His mouth falls open and his eyes go wider and wider. This is the kind of fear for the Jotnar that Loki expects from little children.

Thor screams and buries Galen’s own spear into his belly, then shoves it down through him and into the dirt below.

“I'll elect to forget that disrespect against my niece and do you the favor of not telling her what you said.” Loki blinks and returns his eyes to their Aesir green.

The trumpets sound and the fight is over.

Thank the gods. They can finally go home.

Loki watches the flame in one of the dozen candles that provide light for their dinner. Everything is soft and rosy, and if Odin weren’t also sitting at the table Loki could slip into a fantasy, run it alongside real life events and indulge in his desire. Thor is glowing, happy to be home, happy to have good, hearty Asgardian foot, just… happy. She drinks her mead and smiles, lips glistening, begging to be kissed and tasted. Loki wants to commission a portrait of her.

Odin clears his throat and draws their attention. Family dinners grow more and more rare as Thor has grown and taken over certain responsibilities of ruling. Loki doesn’t want Odin to take up so much of the precious little time they have with whatever surely genius thought this will be.

“I’ve been thinking, Thor,” he begins, “since you’re now a woman, and since you’re now approaching twelve hundred years, perhaps we should consider coronation.”

Loki takes it all back. Let Odin take up as much time as he needs.

Thor’s brows shoot up and she exhales slow and steady through her smiling mouth. “Really?”

Odin nods. “Yes. We’ll have a transition period, a time of co-rule between us, but you’ve grown into a woman that would make your mother incredibly proud.”

Loki’s eyes burn, and he sees Thor blinking back her tears.

She clears her throat and take another breath, then nods. “I would be honored to bear the title my mother held, father. I will be the greatest queen in Asgard’s history.”

Loki nods and raises his glass. “To our new queen.”

Odin bangs his fist on the table and gives a raucous cry, and Thor and Loki laugh together.

To the new queen, and her future king.

The feast has already lasted ten days and Loki knows it can easily go ten more. Thor was coronated in her armor, but she’s down to just her padding as she strolls the balconies at his side, both of them trying to walk off some of the preposterous quantities of food they’ve eaten.

She throws Mjolnir into the air, twirling and juggling the mythic weapon. Loki wonders if the magic he set into it has changed at all over the centuries. How have they grown together? How have they enhanced each other? He reaches out with seiðr just enough to feel the shape of the spell. Mostly the same, but stronger now. The hammer’s power feeds into Thor’s and draws from her at the same time. They’re unified entirely.

He switches his focus and studies her as the sun sets. Its light reflects off of the Bifrost below and some of their colors stain her eyes. Perhaps she is Asgard. In her strength and her power, she is everything.

Loki stops at a place where the balcony railing is cracked and runs his fingers over the broken stone. “Your father ordered that this never be repaired.”

Thor frowns at it. “Why?”

Loki looks up and meets her eye. No one ever told her. He doesn’t suppose they would. What would the point be? He finds himself glad that she doesn’t know, that she’ll hear this story in his words.

“Because this is where your mother died. This exact spot is where Hela drove a blade through her heart.” Loki feels his throat constrict as he speaks and swallows to banish the feeling. There will never be a time that this loss doesn’t hurt.

Thor reaches out and lays her hand over his and he can’t tell if only he’s the only one shaking or if it’s both of them.

“What happened to my sister?” She speaks softly, her whisper out of place among so much revelry.

Loki clears his throat and glances to the party, sees everyone still quite occupied with feasting. “Would you like the historical account, or my opinion?”

“Your opinion,” Thor answers without hesitation.

“Then you must promise not to tell your father. He could have me tried for treason.” Loki looks her in the eye, knows that she understand he isn’t joking, this is serious, there are things even he cannot and should not tell her.

But he will.

She nods. “I promise.”

“Your grandfather began the building of our empire, and your father finished it. He treated Hela and her power as a weapon from the time she was very small. Your mother and I, we tried to teach her balance, but Odin taught her to love war. Bloodlust was something she could never quite shake. When you were born your mother put her foot down, and Odin actually listened,” Loki smiles as he remembers Frigga’s fury, “he saw himself for what he was and knew he had to change. Not just for you, but for Asgard.”

“Hela didn’t want to change?” Thor asks.

Loki shakes his head. “I don’t think she could, really. It had been too long, she’d grown too used to the bloodiest parts of her power. Odin tried to imprison her, but it didn’t work. She broke out and she came right back home. The Valkyrie and Heimdall evacuated the citizens, and I was to evacuate yourself and your mother. I waited at a meeting place in the basement kitchen, but Frigga didn’t come. I was too late, she was already dead when I got here.”

Tears spill from his eyes, running down his cheeks and dripping from his chin onto Thor’s hand where it still rests over his. As many times as he's cried over the loss of his dearest friend he still mourns.

“Anyway,” he continues, “I was able to protect you and hold her off until Odin could kill her. And now we’re here.”

Thor pulls her hand away only to reach up and brush his tears off with her thumb. Loki closes his eyes and feels himself shattering to pieces on the inside. Is he wrong for his love? Is it madness?

“Thank you,” she whispers.

Loki shakes his head and grabs her wrist, presses a kiss to her palm and only opens his eyes as he releases her. “If I had never done anything else right in all my life, saving you would have been enough.”

She smiles and looks back at the cracked stone, at the hole where Hela’s blade had been lodged.

Loki clears his throat. “So, enough of the past, let’s talk about the future.”

Thor leans against the railing. “What about it?”

“Well, you’re queen of Asgard. Do you think you’ll marry?” He hates even asking, but he needs to know how to proceed with his plans.

She sighs and tips her head back, exposing the long line of her throat. Her hair blows in the wind, the style falling apart and coming undone under its own weight. Loki wonders if he’s the same.

“Maybe,” she says, hesitates a moment with her mouth open, “can I ask for your counsel?”

“Of course, you’ll always have that.” Loki grabs a thick, wavy lock of hair on a whim and sets about braiding it.

She looks at his hands as they work. “If you were in love with someone you couldn’t have what would you do?”

Loki’s heart stops for a moment and he understands the true meaning of silence before the pain shocks it back to life.

“Who says you can’t have them?” He forces his fingers to keep steady despite the rush of adrenaline filling his veins.

“It doesn’t matter, I just… what would you do?” She runs two fingers down his forearm and he can’t fight the goosebumps that prick up in her wake.

He takes a breath and tries not to lose himself in the pain that blossoms in his belly. “I would try to have them anyway.”

Thor’s touch lingers on the back of his hand as he finishes braiding. “You would?”

He nods, can’t make himself let go of the braid. “Yes.”

“Why? What if going after them is a great risk?” She is still touching him and he’s still holding her hair. Time is frozen around them, a pocket dimension holding them suspended.

Loki looks up into her eyes, finds their blue nearly silver where the sun shines into them. “We may have the gift of a long life, but we still only have the one. The length doesn’t matter if you don’t utilize it properly.”

Thor smiles. “Is that so?”

Loki squints, then realizes what he just said and finally drops her hair as he laughs. Thor laughs with him, leaning into him and grabbing him by the bicep.

“I’m sorry, Loki, I didn’t mean to—”

He waves her off and smiles around his words. “Don’t apologize, I should have phrased that differently.”

Their little pocket dimension has been popped, but he can’t find it in himself to be upset. Better to keep moving.

This part of the library is all but abandoned. No one has been down in the basement level in decades, maybe longer, so he’s shocked that the books haven’t all rotted to dust. If there is a definitive answer to be found it will be within these stacks. He’s read and reread all of his books on law and tradition and hasn’t learned anything new since he started. There has to be something he’s missing, something that will solidify his claim when he makes his proposal.

It’s been nearly four years since Thor ascended and the council has begun to float the idea of a political marriage to her, hoping perhaps she’ll pair off for the good of the realm and stop embarrassing all of their allies. She’s stubborn, always refusing, and he loves her for that, but still. He’s waited long enough.

He spies a well-preserved tome on a shelf just above his head and pulls it down. Magic must have once been used to protect the book, but the spells have long since failed and worn away. It’s covered in dust and so fragile in his grasp.

The cover is blank, no script that he can see. It’s bound in leather that looks like it was red at one time, but is now just a dull warm grey. As he holds it the material falls apart, pieces crumbling and littering his shoes. The inside has fared better, some of the protection spells are still intact, though so weak they’ve long stopped working at the strength this book needs. Faded ink greets him when he carefully flips the cover open and the first page already looks promising.

Laws Governing the Crown

He sits down on the floor and lays the book in his lap and dims his witch light as he reads on reflex, then turns it back up. Shadows dance in the shifting light, Loki feels like he isn’t entirely alone.

This dialect is so old he’s only seen it twice before, and both times it had already been translated by someone else. The words are half-faded in places, the ink broken or blurry. Some of the pages are entirely illegible, but the center of the book has held up well enough.

The text is unfamiliar, but he parses it together as best he can. At least it’s not so far removed from the current dialect as to be a different language. He’s tempted to take the book back to his study. This is like speaking to the dead, reading the way the first Asgardians governed themselves, the foundations they set up, many of which are still in place and practice.

He stops on a chapter heading.

Marriage

He takes a breath, then another, calms his racing heart and begins reading the text below. These pages are completely preserved, nearly untouched by time and book mites. If there’s any legal ground on which he can stand when he asks for Thor’s hand, it will be in these pages.

Ceremony, requirements, matters regarding consent, no marrying siblings together and on and on. All of this he already knows. Then a phrase catches his eye, once he hasn’t seen before. He flips back through the section, tries to see if it’s appeared before, but it hasn’t.

Gentle ruler, perhaps. But that isn’t quite right. He continues reading to the end of the section, gathers context for the words, then gasps when their meaning becomes clear.

Loki runs his fingers over the delicate leaves of parchment, traces the words that form laws written when Asgard had barely begun summoning the Bifrost. This book is older than the observatory, older than the palace in which it sits, and Loki feels exhilaration running like sparks through his veins as he parses through the old Aesir tongue.

"If it should be that a fair crown will ascend alone, the voice and shield to the left of the throne shall join her to ensure that royal blood does not die," he whispers, his smile growing wider and wider with every word.

The library is silent around him. There is no fanfare for his discovery, no disgust over what it means. Just soft, complete silence cocooning him as he looks into his future. To be king, to be husband to his niece, the most mighty and beautiful in all the realms.

Thor will be his.

Thor sits directly across from him in the counsel chambers now. He is at Odin’s left and she is at Odin’s right. Loki wants to restrain himself, to keep himself in check, but gods she’s too beautiful. She sits with her shoulders back and her head high, a little smile on her lips. All he can do is watch her. He’s sure it’s obvious to everyone that he’s staring, including Thor, but he can’t stop.

The meeting is nearly over, everyone else slouching after hours of tedious business, but she still sits so proudly. Loki has to do this now or he never will.

“Any other items of business?” Odin asks.

Loki stands, his heart pounding. He takes a deep breath and keeps his eyes on Thor’s.

“I do have a request of our queen, actually,” he licks his lips, breathes again to keep his voice from shaking as he continues, “I would like to ask for the queen’s hand in marriage.”

For a moment, for one solitary moment, there is a perfect silence in the aftermath of his words. Then Odin stands so quickly his chair falls.

Odin is every bit the man their father was. In stature, in power, and in temper. Loki had never quite earned the name Borson, but Odin easily filled every space he lacked.

“I will not allow this, Loki!” He slams Gungnir on the floor, the sharp crash of the spear end against stone has the entire council wincing.

Loki doesn’t recoil at the sound, he doesn’t shrink in on himself, and he can hardly believe he’s built this much strength. Thor isn’t looking at either of them.

He meets Odin’s eye and knows he should feel fear, but all he feels is exhilaration. “I wasn’t asking you.”

Odin growls at him. “I am her father!”

“And you crowned her queen; you emancipated her, made her your equal and declared her co-ruler under the law. I asked our queen, not our king. You have no say.” Loki is risking so much more than his position as advisor, more than his place as prince, but what he stands to gain is worth any risk to his life or reputation.

“It’s illegal.” Odin is barking more than speaking, and his face is turning red as a summer berry.

Loki shakes his head. “No, actually, it’s entirely legal. There’s a very old provision for when a queen ascends to the throne unmarried that allows the left-hand advisor to marry her. I’ve studied the laws, no one ever overturned it.”

“Does this law apply even when the advisor is the queen’s uncle?” Odin spits.

Loki nods. “Even then. I’m adopted anyway, by our oldest laws I don’t even count as family.”

Thor backs her chair out from the table and stands with them, her face devoid of emotion. “You’re asking for my hand?”

Odin slams the staff again. “Thor, no!”

She glares at him and lightning shoots from her fingers, burning winding fractal paths into the table, highlighting her face from beneath and showing her to be as terrifying as she is beautiful. No one moves, Loki isn’t even sure anyone is breathing.

Finally Thor turns her head and looks Loki in the eye. “You’re asking for my hand?”

He holds his head up and doesn’t falter as he answers, “yes.”

Thor nods. “My answer to you is the same as everyone else: fight me for it.”

Loki grins, then inclines his head. “So be it, my queen.”

Odin has come alone to his study and Loki doesn’t know if this means he’s more or less likely to die at his brother’s hand.

He sits on the edge of his desk and watches Odin examine his various pet projects. Mostly illusion spells, some healing spells. A courting gift half-finished.

“When did you become this way, Loki? Wanting to marry your own niece?” Odin’s tone is mild for words that convey so much disgust.

Loki sighs and thinks about it, knows he could probably find the precise moment he began to desire Thor, but since when does he owe Odin an explanation for anything he does?

“Not until she became an adult, if that’s what you’re really asking.” He crosses his arms and resists the urge to set fire to Odin’s hair like he used to when they were boys. There’s not much left, it would be a small flame.

Odin sneers at him and walks up to his desk, examining the contents at his back, then the bookshelves behind them. He re-bound the book from the basement, but he’s sure Odin could still spot it if he tried. Loki keeps his eyes forward, grinding his teeth at the invasion of his privacy.

“You asked me once how long it would be before Thor killed one of the men who dared to ask for her hand,” Odin says, then turns his head and speaks right into Loki’s ear, “I do hope this is the time it happens.”

Loki smiles and looks Odin in the eye. They’re nose to nose, so close that Odin’s face is blurry. “Well, I do so love to disappoint you, brother.”

Thor stands in his receiving room without expression, without sound. He’s shocked she even answered his summons. She’s been distant since he proposed. Loki never realized how much of his life she occupied until she was absent. It must be a rather confusing surprise for her to have her own uncle ask for her hand in marriage. That is to say nothing of the fact that Loki can and will beat her. Surely Thor must know that.

He wonders how it feels for her, to go from looking up to him as her teacher to seeing him now after this chaos he’s planted. Does she question their every interaction, is she trying to pinpoint the exact moment his looks and his touches changed?

Loki has. A satisfactory answer has yet to present itself to him.

The dress she’s wearing, Loki realizes, is the one he just had made for her. Gold satin drapes across her curves, thin straps displaying her broad shoulders and the thick swell of her biceps. The skirt ends about halfway down her thighs. The evening sun reflects off of the fabric and Loki is struck by her beauty, as he always is. The dress makes her glow, her skin and hair accentuated, radiant.

Every other time he commissioned a dress for her he gave it to her without word, but he had a handwritten letter delivered with this one. He wanted her to know it was him, to know why. Maybe she’s not as opposed to the idea as he thought. Or maybe she just likes his sense of taste.

Loki finally gathers hold of himself and stops gawking at her. “Thank you for coming, Thor.”

She smiles briefly, but it doesn’t quite reach her eyes. “Tell me something.”

“Anything,” he promises.

“Is this all just some scheme of yours? Some plan to get yourself more power?” Her voice shakes and Loki wonders when he ever gave her the need to fear his motivation, to doubt his love.

When didn’t he, would perhaps be a better question. Thor has always received the best of him, and even that has been tainted by his mercurial nature, hasn’t it?

He walks to her and takes her hand in his, lifts it to his lips and kisses her knuckles. “No, Thor. I asked for your hand because I love you.”

Thor is quiet in front of him, stoic and regal as any queen of Asgard before her. He reaches up and slides his hand into her hair, leans into her space and presses his lips to her cheek, her jaw, then her ear. Her hand is still held tight in his and he’s reminded of when they danced, when he spun her around the floor and held her body so close, just like now.

“I will prove my worth to you in battle,” he kisses her ear again, “and when I am your husband you will want for nothing. Not for love and attention, not for pleasure,  not for food or wealth, not for power. For the rest of our lives you will have me, all of me in my every form,” he pulls back and looks into her eyes, sees his own reflection in her blown pupil, “I will serve you as king as dutifully as I ever have as your advisor. I swear it by Yggdrasil and the Norns.”

Thor shudders, reaches up with her other hand and mirrors him when it slides into his hair and cradles his skull. “Don’t promise me here, promise me out there with your daggers.”

Loki wants to kiss her, wants to ravage and worship her, take her as his wife here and now on the floor if she’d let him. Instead he releases her and backs away.

“I have a gift for you, before I make good on my promises.” He turns and grabs the hand-bound book he’s made, offering it up with both hands.

She takes it with a raised brow and a small smile. “What’s this?”

“Open it and find out.” He watches her fingers trace the stitches along the binding, then the embossing in the leather.

She flips through the first couple pages, then stops. Her head snaps up and her mouth drops open. “You wrote this?”

He nods. “You’ve always asked me about who I was before I came here. I don’t remember much of Jotunheimr, but what I do remember is in those pages. No one else knows these things about me.”

She closes the book so gently, as though it’s fragile and its contents precious.

She strokes the book’s cover and stares at it, not looking up as she speaks. “I won’t hold back, Loki.”

Pride swells in his heart. “I should hope not.”

His blood must be thin from his centuries on Asgard. It's the height of summer in Utgard but even in his giant form, his true form, the cold is biting. Wind howls and whips snow up from the ground, the flakes stick to his hair and his horns. Winters in Asgard are so mild he thinks they barely exist when compared to this.

The old ironwood calls to him, the depths so dark they beckon to an adventurous part in him he’s never outgrown. He wishes in this moment that Thor were here. She’s the point of this trip, anyway, the reason he’s here to dig up relics of a parent he barely remembers.

The tomb stands just ahead of him, thirteen stories tall for giants and for him as tall as a mountain. The ice is ancient, as deep blue as his skin. It makes Asgard’s sky look dull, it makes most everything he’s ever seen look paltry and cheap. This is his history, his people. He stops on the path in front of the stairs and looks at the doors. This language speaks to his blood. Even after being stolen, being erased, this is his heritage and home. Loki is a Jotun. Why is it before the dead that he finally feels it?

He is watched, he knows. Dozens of eyes track him as he stares up at the gates of the tomb.

Before he can even think of how he will traverse the steps he feels the ground shaking. He turns and finds that he is just a little more thank ankle height to the giant before him. The king. His younger brother.

Loki looks up as Helbindi stoops down, down, down until his massive head is close enough that Loki can reach out and touch. He’s the same height as his brother’s face. If he counts his horns.

“Hello, Helbindi-king,” he greets with cheer.

Helbindi grins and exposes a mouth full of teeth carved into points. “Hello little Loki-prince. You've come home?”

“Not for good, I’m afraid. I’m only here to grab something of my mother’s.” Loki hopes it’s still here. He wouldn’t want to break a thousand year treaty to walk out empty-handed, not when he and Thor fight in mere days.

Helbindi nods slowly and Loki hears the cracking and shifting of ice behind him. He turns and sees what he came for, an ax carved out of a dragon’s tooth, imbued with ancient Jotun spells and reinforced with glimmering uru metal. The weapon is nearly as tall as Thor, but he knows she will be able to wield it. Sometimes he wonders if her power has any limit at all.

Helbindi’s breath disturbs his hair as it washes over him. “She had this made for you when you were a baby, so small she says she almost couldn’t see you in your crib. Father said they had to listen for your cries instead.”

Loki grabs the ax and feels its weight. His mother intended for him to be raised as a giant, even though he’s so small. The mice here are probably bigger than he is. But this weapon was crafted for him, made for him with love he never had the chance to feel before his mother was dead and he was shipped off to a foreign court. This is the only tie he has to his ancestry. This is his only inheritance. It’s perfect for Thor.

He turns around and finds himself unprepared for Helbindi’s massive hand coming right for him, gently grabbing him by one horn and lifting him from the ground.

“What are you doing?” Loki resists the urge to flail his feet and instead settles for glaring at his brother with the ax clutched in his fingers.

Helbindi laughs. “Will you be king of Asgard, little runtling?”

Loki can feel the muscles of his neck and shoulder cramping up under the strain of Helbindi’s hold. “Yes.”

“Don’t forget us when you’re on that pretty golden throne,” Helbindi says.

Loki isn’t sure if it’s a threat, all he can do is bare his teeth and growl.

Helbindi nods approvingly and drops him.

The arena is unusually silent. Odin watches from his favored place, and at his side a newly promoted noble is standing where Loki has faithfully stood for years. He ignores the sting in his heart, the way it burns him. As much as he’s tried not to, as much as he shouldn’t, he still loves Odin. Still yearns for some kind of acceptance. It hearkens back to their childhood when Odin showed him how to be Asgardian, how to fit in.

He never thought about every way Odin was erasing his Jotun blood. Right down to showing him how to disguise himself with pink skin and green eyes. Only his hair color was acceptable.

Loki hasn’t had need to wear his armor for years. He’s surprised the leathers still fit. His helmet is heavy, the horns curving up to the sky, a mockery of a crown.

Thor stands across from him in her armor, her helm freshly polished, the surface mirror-smooth. The skies are overcast and the air is thick. Everything is in her favor today.

Loki will not lose.

The trumpets blast and Loki slips through the ether, moves where Thor cannot see and appears behind her. His blade slips neatly between her ribs. Blood pours out as she screams, coats his hand wet and hot. Her hammer crashes hard into his side. He takes the dagger with him when he rolls across the dirt. She comes bearing down on him, blood flowing down her side. Loki teleports at the last second. The hammer strikes the dirt where his head was.

She said she wouldn’t hold back and she isn’t and oh, how he loves her for it.

He reappears on his feet and summons another dagger into his other hand. Thor lifts Mjolnir into the air and calls down her lightning. If he tries to attack her now he’ll be struck, but if he does nothing he’ll also be struck. Loki needs to separate her from that hammer if he’s going to win. She points the head of the hammer at him and he sees it, just a second, but she hesitates.

Loki runs, but he knows it’s futile.

The full brunt of her lightning wraps around him before he can dodge.

His body seizes, he can’t even scream, can’t breathe, the pain is blinding. Thunder shakes him from the inside out and he wonders if he’ll die here, if Odin will have his wish.

No.

Loki surrenders himself to the ice in his stilled heart and allows his body to shift. Even Thor can’t overpower his true nature. He grows tall and horns sprout from his head, knocking his helmet to the ground. His leathers rip and he’s left completely nude. No one in the court has ever seen his real skin. Bor and Odin have both made sure of that. If he beats Thor in this body they will never forget who is going to sire the next rulers of their beloved realm.

The lightning breaks. Thor stands stunned, eyes wide and almost awed. He leaps forward and kicks her in the head.

The hammer falls from her grip. Loki encases it and Thor in ice. Frost crawls across the dirt and rain turns to sleet as it falls on their heads. Loki lifts Thor into the air, prone with her arms and the lower half of her body restrained, and places his blade at her throat.

“Do you yield?” He watches her struggle, spitting and wriggling around without the use of her limbs.

He reinforces the ice, makes it thicker, hears it cracking around Mjolnir and creates another layer.

Thor pants and struggles again, grunting and baring bloodied teeth, red like his eyes.

Loki presses the blade against her more firmly, watches blood flow down where the edge of his dagger splits her skin.

“Thor, do you yield?” He sounds like a giant, he realizes, roaring at her.

Lightning flashes in the sky and he can see himself perfectly her eyes, distorted by the curve, but clear. Blue skin, horns fit to gore, eyes the subject of many Aesir nightmares and wild hair whipping around his head in the wind. He is a monster, but he will have her.

Thor sags against the ice and closes her eyes. She pants, tries again to free herself, grunts, then goes limp. Her lips twitch at the corners, the barest of smiles appearing before she sneers and spits her blood into his face.

“I yield to you, Loki.”

The trumpets blast again, and in the silence of her defeat Loki stands tall. He keeps his true skin as he banishes the ice and kneels down to heal her. Thor is not small, but she feels delicate when he touches her with these hands. She doesn’t struggle, she doesn’t rage, she sits patiently and looks at him like she always has whenever his magic seeps into her body and fixes her ails.

She smiled. He saw it. She smiled.

Thor commissioned his suit. He didn’t realize she would, didn’t think she’d want to, but everything he’s wearing was something she picked for him. The tunic is simple enough, soft black silk that breathes enough to keep him from overheating. Over it he wears a doublet made from green brocade silk and embroidered with a great silver snake whose head sits over his heart, chasing after its own tail sitting on the other side of a line of emerald buttons. The same style of button secures his sleeves. His breeches match the tunic, soft and light.

He braided his own hair and secured the end with a strip of leather. This ceremony is a celebration, and he wants Thor to be the focus.

Flutes fill the air and Loki snaps to the present. Thor appears from around the corner and begins walking to the altar.

Loki didn’t think it was possible for her to be more beautiful than she is in battle.

She looks timeless in her wedding gown. Loki designed it in the hopes that it might live up to her beauty. It complements her better than he could have dreamed.

Golden thread has been woven into a sheer, glittering organza mesh that flutters around her. Loki had gems to be sewn onto it in the patterns of her favorite constellations. Each cluster of stars tells a story. Between them are planets they’ve visited together are represented by pearls carved into flowers. Beneath the gold, decadent red silk clings to her supple curves. The skirt sways, movements so fluid that it seems to move even when she’s still. The tailoring of the garment accentuates her belly and hips and draws his eyes ever upward to the heavy swell of her breasts. Her shoulders and arms are bare save for strings of colorful pearls that hang both from the dress and the circlet atop her head.

The bridal crown Loki made himself, he didn’t trust anyone else. He bent the twin gold bands into gentle waves and set the diamonds into their surface with his own fingers. His favorite part, though, are the wings he set at either side of her head to mirror her armor. She is a warrior first and foremost.

Her hair is all her own doing, pulled up into braids that feed into a heavy plait hanging down her back. The ends of her hair are almost down to her hips. More pearls have been sewn into her hair along with fresh flowers that drop petals all around her.

She stops at his side and though the ceremony hasn't even begun, he finds himself wanting it to be done. He wants to take her back to their honeymoon suite and bury his head between her thighs, if she’ll allow.

Her smile from the end of their battle is stuck in his mind, that single second replayed on a loop as he comes to the realization that he’s been missing something vital.

The officiant comes to the altar, a priest from Vanaheimr, Thor’s choice.

He smiles at them, either oblivious to or ignoring Odin’s silent rage. “I am honored to have been chosen by Queen Thor as goði for this union. She has instructed me on how she’d like this ceremony to be held, so we will begin with our groom. Present your gift, Prince Loki.”

Two attendants bring forward the ax bundled in a wool cover. He reaches in and wraps his hands around the handle, then pulls it free. Thor gasps when she sees it and he beams as he presents it to her.

“This was my mother’s,” he says, “not quite traditional, but it is the only heirloom I have, and as I give it to you I give you the promise of my undying fidelity.”

Thor takes the ax from him and caresses the blade, her face soft in her awe and appreciation. Her eyes grow wet and Loki allows himself to feel proud.

The priest nods his approval. “And now your gift, Queen Thor.”

She hands the ax to Sif and accepts a much smaller leather-wrapped parcel in return. Loki watches Thor open the bundle and his breath catches when he sees the two daggers she uncovers.

Thor turns them around in her hands and presents their handles to him. They are deceptively plain, but more precious than any other weapons he owns.

“For you, husband,” she is smiling as she speaks, and with every word her voice grows thicker with emotion, “I have had these daggers made, forged in the heart of a dying star, enchanted with a sliver of Yggdrasil itself. As I give these to you, I give to you my promise that I shall forever be at your side, faithful and loyal, with the realms laid out before us.”

Tears flow down her cheeks, creating tracks in her blush. Loki hears her joy in every word and blinks through his own tears when they blur his vision because he can’t stand even a second of her radiance being obscured.

Either he’s mad, always a possibility, or Thor truly wants to marry him.

Loki takes them from her with care, his fingers brushing against her palms as the daggers slide from her grasp and into his. The metal sings to him, resonates with his very soul and he wonders how he missed something so massively important and so clear.

This was never just his scheme. They came here together.

The priest nods and Thor takes the ax back from Sif, a ring poised on the tip. Loki summons Thor’s ring from a pocket dimension and presents it on the end of one dagger. Two small emeralds glitter in the light, eyes of a snake carved into the surface of the thick, silver band. Thor plucks it off the blade and slides it onto her finger, then tips the ax forward so he can take his ring. He accepts it with a grin and feels warmth flooding his chest when he examines it. She’s given him a thick gold band with lightning bolts inlaid in silver.

He puts it on and feels silly, almost like a little boy, because a giddy feeling overcomes him and he never, never wants to take this ring off.

They stare at each other as fresh honey mead is poured into a wide cup and held up for all the witnesses to see.

“This is the final step,” the goði says, “once you both drink you will be joined as husband and wife, and we will feast and revel to celebrate your union.”

Thor takes the cup from the priest and takes a long drink without a word. A few little laughs break out, her enthusiasm very clear to all watching. Loki even chuckles as whatever was holding her back before finally breaks away and the full depth of her desire is laid bare.

The mead shines on her lips as she presents the cup to him. “I am your wife.”

Loki takes it and downs the rest of the sweet liqueur, then smashes it to the ground. “I am your husband.”

To his complete amazement, the hall breaks out in a cheer.

A troop of Alfish bards has spent the last seven hours singing a song praising the purity of their love and Loki looks around as the final notes lilt through the air. This is the third time it’s been sung and each time the lyrics have become grander in the way they flatter him. He’s been described as a protector, a guardian, a man worthy of being king, and everyone has listened, rapt and attentive, as though they believe it. Is this how the realm has come to see him?

The feast has been incredible, so maybe he is more welcome than he realized. They’ve eaten and drank for twenty-two days and nights. Loki thinks Thor has kept the feast going out of spite, because two days ago they surpassed Odin’s wedding feast for the longest in at least eight generations.

She’s still in her wedding gown, though she’s long shed the strung pearls and her shoes. Her hair has fallen out of its many braids and the flowers she wore have been trampled underfoot. Their bruised petals have left stains on people’s feet and smudges on the stone. Loki can trace he and Thor’s dances by the way the little smears of color have dried. Through this she’s managed to preserve every gem and thread on her dress. Loki has helped where he can, aiding her with a little magic to keep any spills or dropped food from staining. Perhaps a petty use for his skill, but he wants this dress to remain perfect.

Loki watches everyone smiling and talking, sees the way they celebrate this union, and for the first time in his life he feels like he might be home here.

Thor takes his hand and he turn to her and feels his stomach flip. Her eyes are half-lidded, her cheeks flushed and her lips part as she licks them. Oh. Now.

Sif grabs the Warrior’s Three who in turn grab two people apiece. The small crowd gathers around them as they stand and begin their walk to their new chambers. Behind them the party cheers and hollers. The feast probably won’t end until dawn.

Thor is warm at his side, giggling in his ear.

The moon is full and perfect, its light soft on Thor's skin.

Their doors are opened by a pair of Einherjar who both smile and incline their heads as they whisper congratulations. Loki and Thor stop at the threshold, then step through together.

The doors close at their back and before Loki can say anything Thor is pulling him into a kiss. He groans, relief flooding his body as centuries of need are released. Thor’s tongue slides against his and he loves the way she tastes, loves the flavor of honey on her tongue and the feeling of her needing him. His fingers dig into the meat of her sides as he sets about devouring her.

She drags him further into their chambers, bumping against a side table and knocking it over. Loki laughs against her mouth, breaking the kiss for only a moment before she’s on him again. How did he never see this?

The kiss ends slowly, with heavy breaths and hands clutching desperately to each other. Loki turns his head just enough rub his nose against hers.

“Before the wedding you were… I didn’t think you wanted this. I knew I could win you over, I thought I’d have to. Why hide?” He wraps his arms around her and squeezes her.

One of her hands reaches up and holds him by the back of the neck, the other rests on his shoulder. “I thought if he knew I wanted this he really would find a way to stop it. I needed him to believe that I’d stop it myself.”

Loki releases a heavy breath and tension bleeds from his body, he leans his weight on her and feels her leaning into him in kind.

“You didn’t hold back in the fight,” he says.

Her smile is so sweet he aches. “I knew you wouldn’t go easy on me. I trusted you to find a way to win.”

Loki kisses her again because words are failing him and he has to do something, anything to show her how grateful he is for her trust. Thor pulls away first, a playful grin on her lips.

“Do you like the suit?” She dips her pinkie beneath his collar and tugs on it a little.

He nods. “I do. It’s lovely. The dress?”

Thor ducks her head as a blush crawls onto her cheeks.

Loki laughs and tilts his head. “What? Do you hate it?”

Thor lifts her head and rolls her eyes. “No, of course not. I, um… I actually cried when I saw it.”

“Oh, so you do hate it?”

Thor swats him on the shoulder and laughs. “Loki, no!”

He shrugs. “Well, how am I to know? How,” he pauses, swallows hard around a lump in his throat, “how was I to know anything?”

Thor’s face falls to something soft, a kindness in her eyes that breaks his heart because it’s his to keep.

“But, I thought you caught me when I was younger.” She tucks a lock of hair behind his ear, her touch lingering on his neck.

Loki squints and frowns. “What do you mean?”

Thor scoffs. “The showers, Loki. I thought you saw me sneaking around.”

“Well, I did but—wait, you were there to see me?”

How much has he missed, how much has been right in front of him all this time?

“And, back on Vanaheimr, when you saw your coat on the floor I figured, somehow you knew it was me that knocked it off the hook, but maybe you were being nice to me…” her voice trails off.

Loki’s blood heats. “You watched me fucking her?”

Thor bites her lower lip. “It hurt, I wanted… but it doesn’t matter now, does it?”

Loki shakes his head. “No. No, it doesn’t. You’re the only woman I’ve ever truly wanted, and now you’re mine.”

He reaches up her back for the laces of her dress only to have her push him away.

“No, I’m going to undress you first.” Her tone leaves no room for argument.

Loki holds his hands up in surrender, grinning like a fool, then drops them to his sides. Thor gently pops each button on his doublet, taking her time with the task. The material is soft, especially now that it’s been worn. Her fingers trace the head of the snake embroidered on the chest, silver thread glimmering in the low firelight of their bedroom. She slides it off of his shoulders and tosses it onto a nearby table, then pulls the tunic underneath over his head and put it with the doublet.

He watches her as she takes him in, thrills at her hands slowly wandering over his abdomen and up his chest. Her fingers drag against his body hair and he shivers.

“Sorry,” she whispers.

He shakes his head. “Don’t be.”

Thor smiles and presses a kiss to his shoulder, then one to his collarbone, lips lingering as her fingers slide down to his groin. She fumbles with the laces to his breeches at first, then finds the ends and pulls. Loki swallows and clenches his hands to keep still, to give her what she wants. He will give her anything she asks of him, always.

She reaches in and grabs him firmly, squeezing until he grunts and sways forward on his feet. The heat of her hand is incredible and the drag of her calluses makes a ticklish flutter fill his stomach.

Then she lets go and pulls away, shoves his breeches down so fast one of her nails catches on his hip and leaves a welt. He ignores the sting and kicks his shoes and the rest of his clothing off. As soon as he’s naked Thor puts a hand on his chest, holding him still while she looks at his body. Loki has never been one to flaunt his physique. Though he is a prince and has been training and fighting for thousands of years he’s never thought much about how he looks. Lean muscle covers his body, and he knows he’s stronger than the average Asgardian, but in comparison to the Einherjar he's almost slender, suited for stealth and speed. His is a sorcerer's build, but Thor's eyes are still so heavy when they take him in.

Her eyes start high, looking at his chest, then down and down until she’s staring directly at his dick. His cockhead peeks out of his foreskin, the slit glistening, begging for attention. Thor licks her lips, her gaze like a touch, making him twitch and leak.

She looks into his eyes when she grabs him again and begins stroking. “I want you to know that you’re my first.”

Loki feels like the ground has fallen from beneath his feet, his knees nearly buckle.

Thor smiles and slides his foreskin back, rubs his slit with her thumb. “No one was ever good enough. I’ve used toys, and I thought about you,” she leans in and brushes their lips together, “but you’ll be the first man inside me. The only one, my king.”

Loki’s patience breaks like ice in spring. He turns her around forcefully and his cock jumps when she laughs. The satin laces slide effortlessly through their eyelets, bearing inch after inch of her back. Dark blue ink winds over her skin, her tattoos having been added to with every major life event. The only thing left is their marriage. He wants to design it for her, to have his touch on her permanently.

Thor looks at him over her shoulder and he snaps his teeth in her face; some Jotun instinct buried deep within brought to life by the need to claim her entirely.

She giggles and snaps her teeth back, bearing them to him.

He growls and shoves her dress down and off of her, then spins her back around to get a look at her. Drooling is crude, it’s beneath him, but the sight of her body bared for him to do whatever he wants is enough to have him salivating.

Loki digs his fingers into the meat of her hips, then brings one hand to her lower belly to grope the healthy roll of fat there, so soft it’s killing him. He slides his other hand around to her ass and grabs on as hard as he can. Thor grunts and that rough sound is so satisfying.

He pulls her away from the puddled fabric of her wedding gown and moves her a few steps closer to the bed. Their clothes can be dealt with later, there are more important things right now.

He shoves his thigh between her legs and moans when she starts grinding on him, leaving his skin wet as she does. She guides his hand up from her stomach to her breast. The weight in his hand is perfect, the way it spills out and is too much for him to hold. Loki kisses her neck and drives his thigh up against her core over and over.

Thor tips her head back. “You said you’d serve me, if I recall.”

Loki smiles against her throat and presses one last kiss to her pulse as it races beneath her skin, then drops to his knees. He can smell her arousal, see it glistening in her pretty golden curls.

Thor runs her fingers through his hair, then draws him in. Loki spreads her open with his thumbs and kisses her clit, then kisses again when she moans for him. He licks her and his cock throbs when her taste hits his tongue.

She tilts her hips forward, rubbing herself on him. Loki hooks his right arm under her leg and draws it up to rest on his shoulder. The angle is so much better, and Thor groans her appreciation when he starts playing with her swollen clit. He licks it and sucks on it, presses himself so close to her that her belly is touching his forehead and his nose is smashed against her pelvis.

This act has filled his dreams for years, left him hard in the mornings and yearning at night. His mind hasn’t done her justice. Not the feel of her, not her heady taste, the size of her clit pressing on his tongue. Nothing about his dreams prepared him for how good she is in the flesh. He doesn’t want to leave this spot, not until she’s screaming.

Thor grabs his head with both hands and snaps her hips forward. Loki grunts, ignores a throb of pain from his nose, and holds his tongue out flat for her. She thrusts against him over and over, harder with every roll of her hips. He closes his eyes when she grips his hair hard enough to pull some of it out. Her body pitches forward, her thigh bearing down on his shoulder, using him to keep standing. She cries out unrestrained, chanting his name. They have to be able to hear her in the hallway.

Loki would smile if his mouth weren't occupied.

She gasps, then grinds down against his tongue and yells as she cums. Loki memorizes the sound and grabs his cock, squeezing hard to hold off cumming just yet. More slick coats his lips and tongue and he growls, greedy as he tastes her pleasure.

Thor shakes and whimpers, then pushes his head away. Loki kisses her belly fat and drops her leg back to the floor before standing and embracing her. She wraps both of her arms around his shoulders and cradles the back of his head in one hand. Each touch now is so gentle, soothing. He hugs her tight and gives in to the satisfaction that grows in his heart, the warmth of it as it wraps around him and takes him hostage in his own mind. This is a peace he can’t fight off, and he finds he doesn’t want to.

“Loki,” she sighs, nuzzles his throat, “I still need you.”

Loki grins and lifts her up, carrying her to the bed and gently setting her on the mattress. She is soft and naked and beautifully his. Thor spreads her legs and pulls him on top of her. Her teeth pull at his lips, consuming him with kisses.

She grabs his dick and uses his cockhead to rub her clit, soft now after all of his good work. Loki hums low in his chest as she teases them both. Her heat, gods her heat is burning him and he just wants more. He rolls his hips and whines into her mouth when he slides through her wetness.

Thor giggles and guides him into her body, wet and loose from cumming on his tongue. He growls and his eyes roll into his head. This is where he’s meant to be. She is so soft inside, a perfect fit. Every hair on his body stands on end and his head swims with his pleasure.

Loki thrusts in as far as he can and holds himself there, filling her. He grinds down on her in a circle until she’s whining beneath him. Thor grabs his ass and rocks against him, rubs herself on his pelvis and fills the air with little hitched cries. Her breasts are pushed together between her biceps, bouncing as she moves and uses him for her own pleasure.

He kisses one nipple, then the other, pinches each with his lips and sucks on them in turns, then switches to rolling them between his thumb and forefinger. Thor moans deep in her chest and pulls him further into her body. Her nails dig into his ass and he loves the sting of it, the way it makes the pleasure of her slick heat feel so much better.

Thor cusses and shakes, holds her breath. She grabs his head and shoves his face against her breast until his nose is being smashed into her and he can’t breathe. He sucks her nipple harder and feels her cumming on his cock right as she falls limp beneath him. She moans, voice high and thin, then it breaks and she starts laughing. She pulls her arms up and rests them on her pillows, panting and flushed, a loose smile on her lips as lingering giggles shake her chest. The soft hair in her underarms is plastered to her skin and Loki loves that he’s been able to push her like this, to tire her.

Loki kisses her sternum and licks sweat off of her breast.

“Loki,” Thor purrs, “fuck me.”

He grabs her by the knees and bends her in half, his hunger something foreign inside his mind, speaking to him in barking words that an Aesir tongue doesn’t form. Loki closes his eyes and focuses on the smell of her in the air, the sharp tang of her sweat and the heavier scent of her pussy spread open and dripping on his cock. Maybe Jotuns really are animals, because all he wants is to eat her whole.

He opens his eyes again and pulls out slowly, then slams back into her. Thor’s eyelids flutter and her lips lift on a smirk. Loki fucks her hard enough that their skin smacks and the bed beats the wall and the entire time Thor is just grinning.

“Pleasure looks beautiful on you,” he pants.

Thor moans and bites her lower lip, so sweet and supple beneath him. His legs shake, pleasure building low, pulling at him, making his balls feel heavy and his cock so hard it’s almost painful.

Loki whimpers when Thor’s hands cradle his jaw, her touch so gentle, so soft, her voice like velvet when she bids him, “cum for me, husband.”

He snaps his hips forward as the tension breaks. He keeps pushing even though he’s buried to the root, can’t stop moving as euphoria floods his veins and his balls empty into her. Is he even breathing? It’s hard to tell. She rubs his cheeks with her thumbs and the world narrows to her touch, to the place they’re connected where he can feel their heartbeats blending together, overlapping. One heart beats while another rests, perfectly in sync with each other.

She pulls him down into a kiss and runs her foot up and down his leg. They have a full month ahead of them. He will spend every second worshiping her.

Thor uncorks the final bottle of their honeymoon mead and pours a glass to share. Sheer emerald green fabric clings to her skin and Loki is drawn to touch her the way moths chase flames. His fingers run all over her stomach and hips, tracing her the lines of her tattoos and her silvery stretch marks, caressing the little love handles sitting on her sides. A month without training has made her even softer and he’s trying not to become addicted to it.

“I quite like you in my colors,” he says, voice a little dreamy and lost even to his own ears.

She hums and grins as she sets the bottle back on the table. “Still need to put you in mine, though.”

Loki laughs. “I don’t know if red agrees with my complexion.”

Thor reaches up and strokes his cheek with two fingers. “It does.”

She holds the cup to his mouth, then pulls it away when he opens for her and takes a long drink. All he can do is shake his head.

“A child queen, are you?” He raises an eyebrow as she drinks more than half the mead she poured.

She licks the rim of the cup to catch a stray drop and shrugs. “You helped raise me, so whose fault would it be?”

Loki scoffs and takes the cup from her. “I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.”

He barely has the cup pressed to his lips when she pulls it away again with more force than the first time.

“Don’t,” she says, frowning and running her tongue along her teeth and lips.

“Thor?” Panic rises in his heart, his hands tremble.

Does Odin hate him this much?

To his horror she drinks the rest before he can stop her. He snatches the empty cup out of her hand and sniffs the last dregs of mead, but can’t place anything off about it.

“The taste isn’t right, it’s too sweet.” She swirls the bottle around in the light and looks through the glass, but it looks like every other bottle they’ve emptied; no powder swirling in the bottom, no strange color.

Loki watches her and waits for something to happen. Sickness crawls up his throat and his heart is breaking while it races. They can’t just be happy, can they? Can’t simply have peace. He will destroy everything if anything happens to her. If he can be any kind of monster, if he has any true evil in his heart then he will release every bit of it if she comes to harm.

Thor sets the bottle down but keeps hold of the neck. “Sif said she saw someone pouring something into one of the bottles before our ceremony. She stole it and poured it out, but he must have poisoned two.”

“Do you feel alright?” Loki can’t force himself calm, his mind is still racing, showing him images of her hemorrhaging and suffocating on the floor, of her dying slowly and painfully. He runs through each poison he knows and sees her dying by all of them at once.

“I feel fine, he wouldn’t poison me. I’m sure it’s only meant for you. What would taste sugary like that?” She looks at him and Loki can’t speak, he waits, waits, prays that Odin really is only trying to kill him.

Nothing happens. Her skin is radiant and golden, her eyes are clear and blue. Odin only wants him.

“Arctic fox tongue flower, maybe, would taste sweet. It’s also nontoxic to Asgardians, but it’s lethal to Jotun. One drink and my throat would swell shut and I’d begin bleeding from my lungs and other soft tissues. I’d be dead within minutes. There’s no antidote.” He wipes his mouth on the back of his hand, just in case any of the poison was left on the edge of the cup.

Thunder shakes the skies outside.

“You’re serious?” Her voice is smooth, dark.

Loki nods. “Quite. Odin would remember, too, because I nearly ate a blossom in a salad once before Bestla snatched my fork away from me. Doesn’t grow on Jotunheimr; only here and Alfheimr.”

Thor picks the bottle back up off the table. “I see.”

She heads right for the door and Loki jogs to cut her off. “Thor, darling—”

“This is our honeymoon, Loki. He can’t do this. I won’t let him do this.” She is shaking, trembling from head to toe in her rage.

Clouds gather outside and turn dark, lighting crawls through the sky and strikes the city. Rain begins pouring in torrents. She could flood the capital if this is left unchecked. Loki stares out the window, taken for a moment by her power. He’s never seen her this angry. Not in all the centuries he’s raised and trained her. This is true rage.

She moves past him and slams the doors open. He runs out the door and catches up to her in the hallway and takes her wrist in his hand, turns her so he can look in her eyes. They’re glowing.

“If you’re going to go see your father maybe you should put something else on, Thor.” Loki gestures to her gown, the fabric entirely transparent, showing plainly that she’s naked beneath.

There are hickeys on her breasts, her belly, and bruises the size of Loki’s hands sit like shadows on her hips. Evidence of his possessive nature, of what he’s done to her over the last few weeks.

Thor gently pulls her wrist out of his grasp whips back around, already walking off as the skirt of her gown billowing about her legs. “No. This is our honeymoon, Loki, and he plotted to take my husband from me before it was over. I want him to know what he’s interrupting. Let him see me.”

Loki watches her stalk down the hall until she turns a corner and is out of sight. He doesn’t move, he doesn’t call out. Thunder shakes the palace and Loki can feel the protective wards flaring, fighting back when the storm begins striking at Odin’s bedroom, the king’s study, and the throne room. When he built the spells he didn’t imagine they’d ever be contending with Thor. It’s fascinating, part of him wants to let this play out, to see what would happen. Will Thor’s magic rip his spells apart, or will she calm before then? But he can’t let her confront Odin alone, it wouldn’t look right.

“If anyone asks,” he says, “I did try to stop her.”

The guards nod, and one speaks. “Of course, Majesty.”

Loki smiles, something vicious in him very pleased at the title. “I’m still a prince.”

The guards look at each other, then the first inclines his head. “Yes, highness, honest mistake.”

Loki walks back into the room to grab a robe for Thor, then walks leisurely after her. Odin is in the throne room right about now, hearing petitioners.

Asgard’s queen will take precedence, of course.

The guards all bow to him as he passes and he wonders precisely when the shift happened, when Thor and he by extension became the preferred choice for the throne. Thor has always been loved. Loki has heard it, has encouraged those at court to be devoted to her, to want to follow her. She has grown into an incredible queen.

How Odin must lack in her absence.

He can hear her screaming halfway through his walk, even above the catastrophic downpour outside. She must have run to make it to the throne room so quickly. The skies are releasing a torrent thick enough that he can’t see through it, and the winds are whipping through so hard that the rain is coming in sideways, small streams are forming on the floors and there are puddles in the corners of each doorway.

Her voice is so powerful.

The guards outside the throne room open the doors as he approaches. He does well to keep his smile off his face. Becoming king was not the motivation for marrying Thor, not truly, but he will gladly take this glory and purpose.

Odin sits atop the throne, Gungnir clutched in a white-knuckled grip. Water is running down the steps, Odin’s hair is covered in a very fine mist that makes it shine in the firelight. The force of Thor’s anger reaches them even here, blustering in from the balconies.

Loki sets the robe on her shoulders and steps between them with his back to Odin. “Thor, darling—”

“Loki!” Odin shouts, “when did this plot of yours begin? You never did tell me.”

Loki grits his teeth and feels ice in his veins. He presses a kiss to Thor’s forehead and turns around to face his brother. An odd contrast, with him in nothing but his sleeping pants and Odin in full regalia, only missing his great helm.

“You want to know, Odin?” Loki takes a step to the throne, notices that even here the guards do not move to stop him as they should. “You want to know when I first thought of marrying Thor? The first time a foreign prince asked after her hand. That was when. I knew that I didn’t want anyone else to have her.”

Odin’s face turns red, and Loki can feel magic building in the air around them. He’s never owed Odin an explanation for his love, but he wants Thor to hear, he wants everyone else to hear and speak it after.

“I knew I was in love with her when she declared that no one could marry her unless they could defeat her in battle. That they had to be worthy if they wanted to so much as kiss her hand.” Loki holds his head high and takes another step until he’s at the stairs to the dais.

Odin sneers. “You helped raise her.”

Loki smiles, vicious and sharp. “Yes, I did help raise her. I did even more than that, did I not? I saved her life from your failures as a father before she could even speak.”

Odin stands and Loki climbs the first two steps.

“Oh, I don’t bear the scars in this form but how about we show them, hm? Let’s show them all what Hela did that day when she slaughtered our former queen, her own mother!” Loki gives in to the call of his true nature, welcomes the pain of his skin shifting and bones lengthening. His vantage point changes and within seconds he’s looking down at Odin from his place near the bottom of the stairs.

The storm begins to calm outside.

Loki points to the most garish of his scars. “Let’s start here, shall we? Hela cut me from navel to throat while I protected Thor. I bled out there on the balconies and didn’t spare even a breath of my magic to the preservation of my life because it all went to keeping Thor hidden while we waited for you, Allfather, to come and save the day!”

Odin looks at the scar, then at Thor. He doesn’t meet Loki’s eyes but Loki sees his grip on Gungnir go loose.

“You want me to be a monster, Odin? You want me to be your villain here? Fine. I will be whatever you need, brother, as I always have been in my centuries of service, but know that through it all I will still be her husband!” Loki shakes in his own anger, pain he’s barely acknowledged forcing his voice into a scream.

The hall resonates with his words, echoes husband just once before it dies.

“Father,” Thor calls, her tone gentle in comparison to Loki’s, “I think it is time to end the transition period of our rule together. I am queen of Asgard, and I would like to claim my throne.”

Odin’s puppet advisor strides forward and Loki flexes his fingers, impales him with ice from beneath. The frozen spike runs up between his legs and comes out through his mouth. Blood freezes as it drips out of his body, he twitches twice before falling slack, dead. Gasps break out through the witnesses. No one moves.

Loki looks at Odin. “He’s the one who poisoned the mead, I assume?”

Odin’s lack of answer is all the confirmation he needs.

The afternoon sky is cloudless and bright, sunlight reflects off of their marble floors and highlights Thor’s face from beneath when she walks out of the bathroom. Loki lays in bed and watches her stride naked and dripping through their chambers to the vanity where she pours perfumed oil into her hand. The floral smell reaches his nose as she rubs it into her hair, sharp and citrusy, almost intoxicating when it mixes with her natural scent. She’s taking a day to relax, finally, after months of endless work to claim the throne fully as hers. As theirs.

All the new trade agreements are finalized, the feast to celebrate Loki’s ascension to Thor’s side as king has been scheduled and the mead is already fermenting. Loki has even managed to repatriate some Jotun artefacts back to his people. Helbindi should be happy and quiet for some time.

“You’re thinking about work,” Thor says, voice low and sweet as her reflection in the mirror meets his eyes.

Loki chuckles and shrugs, shakes his head when he realizes. “I’m not sure I know how to stop.”

She rubs excess oil into her sides to moisturize her tattoos, then leaps into bed with him. He bounces a bit, smiling the way she always inspires, carefree and easy.

Thor curls into his side, dipping her hand under the covers to rest on his hip. “I think I can make you stop.”

He grins and kisses her, hums appreciatively when she grabs his soft cock. Her fingers knead his shaft and tease his foreskin. His body responds to her touch faithfully, blood rushing south to fill him up and make him hard for her. Soft moans are passed from his lips to hers as he rocks his hips into her hand. Thor’s fingers are nice and tight, their grip warm and sure. She was right. All he can think about now is being inside of her, pleasuring her and not stopping until she tells him.

Thor breaks the kiss and her eyes trail across his body, gaze heavy. “Loki, show me your other form.”

He frowns. “Why?”

She takes her hand off of his cock and rests it on his thigh. “You said you were mine in all of your forms. I want to see you.”

Loki studies her face a moment, raises an eyebrow in question, to which she simply shrugs and grins. The fact that she’s spoiled is his fault, but he’s not going to do anything about it. The way she demands things of him turns him on.

He shakes his head and closes his eyes. As he shifts he learns something very important: Asgardian beds were not made for frost giants.

The bottom halves of his legs are hanging off the end of the mattress and his horns scrape the wall above the headboard. He tries to tilt his head back to see the damage on reflex, but all he does is dig his horns further in, the vibrations shaking his entire skull as plaster cracks and flakes down onto their headboard. It’s probably in his hair, too.

Thor laughs at first, but it tapers off and he sees her looking at his cock straining against the sheets. “Oh.”

Loki raises an eyebrow. “Surely you know everything would be bigger.”

She rolls her eyes. “Yes, I did, thank you. But… I mean I’ve never seen you naked like this.”

Her hand runs over his stomach, over the long, silvery-blue scar that marks his closest brush with death. In this skin her touch is burning hot and he closes his eyes to focus on it. She radiates heat at his side, bathing him in warmth as faithfully as the sun.

Thor’s hand wanders lower and lower until she’s sliding the sheet off of him. He opens his eyes again, sees the contrast their skin together, memorizes the border when her hand wraps around his cock. Her fingers don’t even meet around his girth.

“We might need to move off the bed,” Thor says.

“Unless you want to break it.” Loki’s cock jerks in her grip when she squeezes him.

Thor strokes him nice and slow, toys with his foreskin until he’s dripping precum for her. “Not today, I don’t think. We’ll save it for after your coronation.”

Loki chuckles and tries to roll his hips into her hand, but the bed frame groans beneath his new weight. He rolls his eyes at Thor’s chuckling and carefully slides out of bed, ducking his head so his horns won’t take the nice silk canopy with him.

He sits on his heels on the floor, his skin stands out against the white fur rug beneath him. It reminds him of the snow back in Utgard.

Thor takes slow steps over to him, her breasts and belly bouncing as she walks. Loki’s mouth waters, the ever-present need to taste her even stronger in this form. She stands in front of him, looking directly in his eyes where he sits.

She reaches out and with both hands and grabs his horns and his mouth drops open, a low, guttural sound wrenched from him. His body goes slack and his cock spits out a fat drop of precum. The heat of her touch makes his entire body tingle. Thor’s grip goes tighter and Loki shudders, his eyes rolling into his head. It feels entirely different than Helbindi picking him up and dangling him. Her hands feel soft and hot and the pressure of her grip makes his stomach flip and his head feel loose, like he’s floating.

Thor pulls on his horns, uses them for leverage as she climbs into his lap. She rubs her pretty, slick cunt over the head of his cock and he lifts his hands, unsteady as he tries to grab her and slow her down. He’s uncoordinated, it’s like being drunk.

“Thor, Thor we have to pre—we have to—” his words are slurred and broken when she slides onto him without resistance.

Her hands leave his horns and fall to his shoulders for purchase. Loki’s head clears within seconds and he grabs her hips to hold her still.

Thor’s face is slack, her eyes closed, cheeks and chest stained with a heavy flush. She opens her eyes just enough to look up at him, the blue of her irises dark and silvery.

“I already did, I got myself ready in the bath,” she breathes, her legs go tight on his waist as she starts fucking herself on him, “I’ve wanted this for so long.”

Loki’s tongue has turned to lead in his mouth. He can’t speak, can’t think except for the heat of her body swallowing the top half of his cock. He’s so big like this that she can’t even take all of him. He slides his arms under her legs and scoops her up, holding her aloft. Thor gasps and squeezes him.

He goes to his knees and cradles her in his arms, one hand under her head and the other splayed in the middle of her back. She relaxes, her hands moving from his shoulders to his biceps, just above where her legs are held spread open around him.

His eyes fall to where her body is swallowing him, sees the way his cock bulges inside of her, the way she stretches on him. He rolls his hips gently, pulls out and bullies his way back in, right where she wants him. Thor groans and spreads her legs even wider. Loki licks his teeth, feels the need to snap them, to kiss and lick her forehead where she’d have horns if she were a giant like him.

Loki fucks her as gently as he can, but this from wasn’t made for it. He can feel the head of his cock bumping her cervix on every thrust in and as much as he tries to restrain he just can’t. Not with her, not when she’s taking him so well and crying out for more.

Thor slides one hand between her legs and begins rubbing her clit in quick circles. Loki watches his fill, always loves seeing her pleasuring herself, especially when he can be another tool for it.

“Loki,” Thor gasps his name, cusses, rubs herself even faster, “I was hunting last month, and I found this strange flower.”

“What?” He looks at her face, sees her looking at his chest, at this scar.

“Sif said it’s called violet spur,” Thor smiles as she speaks, “do you know it?”

Loki nods, his legs shake, pleasure cresting in his blood too soon. He wants to hold off, to hear her say what she’s done.

She grabs at her breast with her other hand and toys with her nipple. “We picked hundreds of them and brought them home. I’ve had teas made with them, they’re a bit bitter but I don’t mind.”

“Thor, Thor please.” He’s close, gods he’s so close.

“I probably don’t need a fertility potion, but it can’t hurt, can it?” Thor’s breath hitches, she whimpers, squeezes him so tight it almost hurts. “Give me a child, Loki.”

He growls and snaps his hips over and over, chases the heavy tension making his balls feel overfull. Thor goes rigid in his arms and he watches as her back arches and her eyes roll, she screams and lightning fills the cloudless skies, drawn by her pleasure.

Loki holds her close and fucks her through it, satisfies his instincts by kissing her forehead and nuzzling her hair. She’s so wet it’s dripping down his shaft and he knows, he can sense it, she’s ready. He shoves his cock into her as far as he can and groans as he cums inside her.

He only moves to lower her a bit, put her at an angle where his cum won’t drip out so much. They stay like that, breathing and clinging to one another for minutes. Loki realized he’s not going soft yet.

Thor notices, moans and rolls her hips a bit to take advantage. She fucks herself on him and tugs on her nipples with one hand while she rubs her clit with the other, playful and happy. At this size he can’t bend himself any further in half to suck on her nipples or he would, so instead he keeps kissing her forehead and hair, offers tenderness to heighten her pleasure until she pushes him back. He knows she likes being watched, so he goes willingly and gives his queen an audience.

Some of his cum leaks out with her movements and he growls when she uses it to rub her clit. The sight of that thick, milky white spreading over her pretty pink is intoxicating. His mouth waters with the want to taste her. Loki listens to her moans as she pleasures herself with his body, cock twitching and jumping as he slowly goes soft inside her.

“My beautiful wife,” he breathes, “our children will be the fiercest warriors in Asgard’s history.”

Thor sobs when she cums on him again. It’s softer the second time, but no less beautiful. Sweat rolls over her chest and stomach, makes her skin a bit sticky where he’s holding her. She reaches down and he watches her spreading his cum around even more, rubbing it in everywhere. Loki grits his teeth to restrain himself because all he wants is to throw her down on the bed and tongue fuck her until she can’t move. She pulls her hands away from her body and presses them both to his mouth, spreading her sweat and their cum on his lips.

Thor takes a deep, slow breath, and relaxes in his arms. “I love you, Loki.”

He looks into her eyes and can’t breathe for a moment. In this form, in this monstrous form, she looks at him no differently. It’s in this form that she’s opened herself to him, commanded that he fill her womb and give her a child.

Loki swallows around the tightness in his throat and wonders if their children will look like him, or if they’ll take after her.

“I love you, too.” He licks his lips, tastes their pleasure where she gifted it to him. “I’ll always love you.”

Twins. They have twins. Loki crawls into bed next to Thor. She looks more tired than he’s ever seen, but also happier. He runs his hand over his son’s head where he nurses at Thor’s nipple. The thick, blond hair is gossamer soft; it doesn’t feel like it can be real. Nothing about Loki is soft, so this is all Thor. Their daughter is freshly asleep, her mouth open and milk crusted at the corners of her lips. More drips down from Thor’s nipple, tapering off now that no one is eating from it.

Orangey firelight bathes them all from the hearth across the room. The last of the midwives smiles to them, her supplies gathered nice and tidy, and then leaves. When the door clicks shut Loki feels like he can finally breathe. Being alone with his wife, with his family, feels like the sweetest relief.

Thor presses a kiss to his cheek and rests her head on his shoulder. Their son blinks his eyes open and Loki sees deep, ruby red staring up at them.

“I’m glad they have your eyes,” Thor whispers.

Loki blinks back tears and clenches his jaw. He can’t steady himself no matter what he tries. Their world is new again.

He reaches out and gently strokes his son’s forehead, feels little bumps on his still-soft skull under his peachy Aesir skin.

“They’re beautiful, aren’t they?” Loki smiles when the little babe grabs his thumb and holds on tight. Just hours old and already so strong. Maybe that’s both of them.

Thor sighs contently and hums low in her chest. She leans against him and within seconds she’s asleep with their daughter.

Soft, quiet minutes pass, and the emotions of the day all rush into him at once. He buries his face in Thor’s hair and cries as quietly as he can, careful not to wake her up. She needs rest after what she’s delivered to them today. Loki never knew he could be this happy.

How can one bed hold his entire life, his entire purpose and future? His wife, his children, everything that ever made him worth a damn thing and it’s all here for him to hold, to keep.

Loki calms and then watches over them until his son falls asleep, drunk on milk and warm in Thor’s arms.

The night is humid and quiet and Loki listens to the waves of the ocean in the distance and the chorus of his family’s breath until he, too, falls asleep.

This is true peace.