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Loki stood before his father, head respectfully bowed, and let himself be inspected.  He was draped in white fur and soft brown leather with gold clasps holding the finery on his small body, his long black hair braided and further adorned with gold.  Loki knew how he looked – tiny and blue in the vast world of ice, gleaming with riches – and he knew what he was for.  He was the item his father was trading for peace with the Asgardians, and the restoration of Jotunheim.

His father’s hand reached down, as large as Loki’s own torso, and he grasped it; taking what little comfort from the cold skin that he could.  They stood at the site of the Bifrost awaiting Odin Allfather, the Asgardian King, and the Casket of Ancient Winters that had been promised to them with the exchange of a peace vow and, of course, Loki.  The information Loki had been able to glean about his role in Asgard all had something to do with the heir, Thor Odinson, so Loki assumed that he would be a slave to the other prince.  Or, perhaps, a bride.  Laufey let go of Loki’s hand.

Soon enough, the Bifrost bloomed through the dark sky and the Allfather appeared with a retinue of soldiers, a young boy with bright eyes and blonde hair by his side.  The boy was gaping at his surroundings with an expression of wonder, before he gazed similarly at the frost giants and finally at Loki, dwarfed at his father’s side.  The boy’s eyes were blue, a warm blue, not the cold unfeelingness of ice, and Loki raised his small chin with a feeling of anticipation; that was surely Thor.

“Laufey.”

“Allfather.”

“I trust your vow will hold true.  This is your son?”

“Indeed.  His name is Loki.  Small for a frost giant, but he has shown skills of sorcery, and he will be well able to bear young.”  Odin stepped forward and knelt in front of Loki, their eyes almost level, and the Allfather reached out and touched his arm before Loki could protest that he would be injured.  Instead of Odin jumping back with a bark of pain, as Loki has expected, his own blue skin seemed to melt away and become as pale as the furs he wore.  Thor was staring, Laufey looked unsurprised and Loki wondered whether his eyes were still the colour of lava and blood.

“Good,” Odin said, standing up and nodding to his warriors.  Two of them stepped forward and handed the Casket to Laufey, who received it with a sigh of reverence and relief, not noticing when Odin took Loki’s hand and led him to stand next to Thor.

Loki wanted to call out, wanted to run back and touch his father’s skin and change back, wanted to say I love you, but Laufey didn’t spare him a glance.

“Let there be peace,” Laufey rumbled.

“Let there be peace,” Odin replied.

 

The Bifrost opened and sucked them up.

 

It would take a fool to think that King Laufey loved him, and Loki was no such thing.  He was a pawn, but if pawns survived for long enough, they could become kings.

Chapter Text

Loki’s first impression of Asgard was that it was so colourful.  His world of crumbling blue-grey ice was beautiful in its own way, but Asgard was golden and glorious and warm on his newly-pale skin.  Loki walked close by the Allfather’s side as they stepped past an imposing, dark skinned man who looked at Loki as if he could see the boy’s very soul, and onto a shimmering bridge of crystal rainbows.  It was difficult for Loki to school his expression and not gawk openly at the vastness of space surrounding them and all the grandeur of a new world laid out before him.

“Welcome to Asgard, Prince Loki,” Odin said, laying a hand on Loki’s shoulder.  Loki looked up into the old face, and smiled.

“I am honoured to be here,” he replied, voice sounding far too high after Odin’s deep tones.  The Allfather smiled, a slight twitch of his lips, and his grip on Loki’s shoulder tightened comfortingly.

“I hope that you will be happy,” Odin said.  “Be sure that you will be treasured and respected as a member of my own house.”  Treasured and respected as you were not in the house of your father went unsaid, but acknowledged.

“I thank you, Allfather,” Loki said, bowing his head.

They stopped before a group of large, hairy animals that Loki knew to be called horses - he’d seen drawings in the few books that remained in his father’s library - beasts bred to carry riders into battle and for transport.

“I take it you have not ridden a horse before?” Odin asked, and Loki shook his head, gazing into the nearest animal’s huge eyes with trepidation.  “You shall ride with Thor, then.”

Loki turned to the boy standing at his side.  Thor was taller than him, probably one or two years older, already showing signs of becoming a strong, handsome young man.  His golden hair fell past his ears and his whole face lit up when he smiled at Loki.  Oh.  A strange warmth flooded Loki’s cheeks as he smiled timidly back.

“Come on, this is my horse, Sigmundr.  He’s only small so I can ride him properly, but you’re even smaller than me, so I’ll have to help you.”  Thor’s horse was indeed smaller than the other steeds, but large still to Loki’s eyes.  He had a dark brown coat and whickered softly when Thor rubbed a hand along his neck.  “Here, put your left foot in the stirrup,” Thor instructed, a steadying hand on Loki’s back.  “Now hold on to his mane and pull yourself up.”  With Thor’s hands around his waist and lifting him, Loki scrambled ungracefully onto the horse’s back and soon felt Thor’s body settle behind him.  One of Thor’s hands slid around to brace on Loki’s stomach, the other taking the reins, and Loki allowed himself to lean back.

The rocking of the horse as they moved down the rainbow bridge was soothing and Thor’s arms were warm in an embrace around him.  Loki fisted his hands in the horse’s mane and a small prickly feeling blossomed in his chest.

Chapter Text

After stabling the horses – “Father says that a warrior must always care for his horse and equipment,” Thor had said – Loki was lead through the Asgardian palace and into what looked like a conference room.  Thor and the guards left them there, Thor waving with a bright grin.

“There will be time to look around later,” Odin said.  “But for now, Loki, I thought it best if we discuss your future.”  A tall, beautiful woman with Thor’s golden hair entered the room, smiling kindly at Loki.  She looked gentle and graceful and Loki couldn’t help feeling more comfortable.

“This is my wife and queen, Frigga,” Odin said, and Loki bowed to her.  “She will be helping you with your studies and I hope that you may come to see her as a mother of sorts.”  Loki jolted – he wondered if Odin knew that his own mother passed away giving birth to him, that he had grown up without a mother’s touch or a mother’s love, that he sometimes he dreamed of what it’d be like to have somebody who loved him unconditionally.

“Welcome, Loki,” Frigga said with a smile, inclining her head.  “Please, take a seat.”  The three of them settle down into the ornate wooden chairs, and Loki feels dwarfed by the huge carvings on the backs.

“Now, Loki – we want to sort out what your…role here will be.”

“We want you to speak to us honestly; if there is something you are uncomfortable about, please tell us.  You are young yet, and it is unfortunate that you must grow up without your birth family, but you will receive a full education here and you will still have your freedom,” Frigga adds, reassuring.

“Thank you, milady.  I must admit that I do not know what to expect, other than my eventual union with Thor.”

“Ah, yes,” Frigga said, exchanging a glance with Odin.  “This is what was intended – a binding between our land and yours, children to seal it – however, if circumstances change as you and Thor grow up, we shall take that into account.  Do not feel as if you are pressured to become close to Thor, Loki; I would like for you to choose your own friends, not have your actions dictated by this contract.  Gods, you are just a boy…” she broke off, covering her mouth with her hand, tears glittering in her eyes.

“I remember when Thor was your age,” Odin said gruffly.  “He was much less mature than you are.  Loki, you are brave to take the burden of your land on your shoulders when you are so young, and Asgard is thankful for your presence here.”

“I am grateful for the chance of peace between our races, Allfather,” Loki said, burying his fingers in the fur of his garments.  “I will do my duty to both Jotunheim and Asgard.”

 

--

 

Odin, Frigga and Loki discussed his education and Asgardian etiquette for a while, deciding on the subjects Loki would study (sorcery, history and strategy, among others) and talking about any other questions he had.  By the end of it all, Loki felt exhausted with the effort of concentrating and not succumbing to tears over these sudden changes in his life.

Frigga accompanied him to his new quarters, telling him amusing stories about Thor’s shenanigans around Asgard (Thor sounded irresponsible and hot-headed and loved) and pointing out important places around the palace.

His room turned out to be large – larger than his room on Jotunheim, anyway – with bookshelves full of books lining the walls, a huge bed near a wall with transparent sections like ice (glass, Loki thought with glee) and a bathing room behind a heavy curtain.

“Thor helped decide on a few things,” Frigga said, running her fingers over the fine wood of the bookshelves.  “When Odin mentioned you would be a sorcerer, Thor insisted that you have books in your room and he collected a lot of spellbooks from the library.”  Loki smiled, imagining Thor running about, hair flying behind him as he piled books haphazardly into his arms.

“It’s lovely, thank you,” Loki told Frigga, perusing the selection of books eagerly.  “I do love to read.  Will you thank Thor for me?”

“You may thank him yourself, he should be coming by to see how you’re doing soon enough.  Remember that everyone will knock before they enter your room and if you’re busy, or do not want company, feel free to refuse them.  Especially Thor; he can be a handful sometimes.”

“I will be sure to do so,” Loki said.  “Thank you again, milady.”

“Please, call me Frigga,” she said, resting a hand against Loki’s long hair.  “Ring the bell if you need anything, and someone will come to get you for the feast this evening.”

Frigga left, closing the door quietly behind her, and Loki felt very alone.  He went to his bed and laid back on the fur and skins, trailing his fingers absently over the braids in his hair and the gold hoops through his ears.  Asgard was still bright outside the panes of glass, and when Loki looked, he could see himself reflected, imprinted upon its magnificence as a smudge of pale skin, long loops of black hair, glints of gold and – oh – bright green eyes.

Chapter Text

Loki must have fallen asleep, because a loud knocking noise startled his eyes open and the room was much darker than he recalled.  It took a moment for him to get his bearings – soft animal skins instead of icy furs, white skin instead of blue, a glittering vista outside instead of dull snow.  The knocking intensified.

“Loki?  Loki, it’s me, Thor!”  He sounded worried, so Loki heaved himself into a sitting position and rubbed his eyes quickly.

“Come in,” Loki called, checking to see that his clothing was arranged appropriately.  The door flung open and Thor bounded in, grinning sunnily.  He frowned a little when he saw Loki on the bed.

“Oh, did I wake you?  I’m sorry,” Thor apologised, hesitating at the edge of the bed before climbing up and sitting next to Loki, letting their shoulders bump a little.  Loki repressed the urge to flinch away from Thor’s easy physicality and relaxed into the older boy’s side instead.

“It’s alright.  The Queen told me that you helped make my room up; thank you, it’s lovely.”

“Did you like the books I picked?  I asked for all the sorcery books, I cannot read some of them because they are in Elvish and I haven’t learnt to read Elvish yet, but I thought you might like them.”  Loki’s lips twitched.  He’d taught himself to read Elvish two years ago.

“I am sure that I will enjoy them, Thor,” Loki said.  “That was very nice of you to think of me.”

Thor abruptly sobered and fiddled with his tunic.

“Loki.  Father said that…he said that one day, we would be married.”  He looked up and into Loki’s eyes, expression flickering between confused and fearful.  “Is it true?  Are you here to marry me?”

“That is what both our fathers intended, for a bond between Jotunheim and Asgard, but we are young still.  If, when it comes to that, you want a woman – we are not yet bound together.  You need not feel any obligation to me, Thor, it will be enough for me to live in Asgard and learn your ways.”

“Father says that kings must produce heirs.  Can you bear children?”

“I – well, I do not know for sure, but apparently I can.”  Loki looked away, slightly embarrassed.  It was one thing to see pregnant Jotuns in his homeland, but on Asgard, carrying children was a task that only women took on.  Loki didn’t want to appear womanly and weak in Thor’s eyes, in anyone’s eyes; he was able to fight and he’d learn to weave magic, he refused to be locked away like a delicate flower.

Thor reached out a tentative hand, smoothing through Loki’s hair and touching his cheek.

“Then, I do not see why I would need a woman.  You are beautiful.”

Chapter Text

Loki didn’t know what to expect from the Asgardian banquet – perhaps ugly looks and awkward silences and feeling out of place, but apparently when you were next to Thor, everything seemed alright in the world.

The feast was held in a huge hall that had one wall open to the cool night air, the scattering of stars visible through the line of impressive pillars.  Many long tables were set up, laden with platters and bowls and dishes of food, more food all in the one place than Loki had seen in his whole life.  He sat on a bench next to Thor, dressed now in a soft Asgardian style tunic and trousers, hair still heavy with gold and watched as people flooded in.

Everybody went to the table on the raised dais to pay respects to the King and Queen, and most moved from there to greet Thor and by association Loki.  Their reactions to his presence were unexpected - he thought that the Asgardians would shy away, or glare, or make not-so-subtle comments about his race – but they seemed as friendly as Thor had been.

“You must be Loki, welcome to Asgard!”

“Look at those eyes, you’ll be so lovely when you grow up.”

Men clapped Thor on the shoulder good-naturedly and bowed to Loki, while women would plant kisses on Thor’s smiling cheeks and exclaim over Loki’s jewellery.

“Are they always like this?” Loki asked, leaning closer to Thor’s side.

“Like what?”

“So…close, all the time.”  Everything was colder on Jotunheim, not just in temperature.

“Of course, this is normal.  Are you uncomfortable?”  Thor’s worried face was back, his hand steady on Loki’s arm.  “No-one would blame you if you left.  I could go with you.”

“No, no,” Loki said, brushing his hair off his face and smiling.  “It is all so different here, that’s all.”

“Fair enough,” Thor said, shrugging.  “Did you have these foods on Jotunheim?”

The rest of the feast passed as a happy blur of golden light and laughter, Thor pointing out the ingredients in the vast array of dishes, telling him stories about the palace and drawing pictures with stars in the Asgardian sky.

Chapter Text

Loki was to meet his teacher in the large, open air room.  There was a table with two chair set up in the centre, a pile of books waiting there.  Loki had been led there by a guard who kept smiling at him kindly, before leaving him at the door and wishing him a pleasant day.  The room, however, was still empty, so Loki began to peruse the books.  Two of them were heavy tomes about sorcery, while the other was about Jotuns; Frost Giants.  Loki bit his lip and perched on the chair, opening the book and finding a chapter on Jotun reproduction.  He wanted to know how it worked, since it would be his duty to one day bear Asgard’s heirs.

“Good morning,” came a soft, musical voice from behind him.  Loki guiltily dropped the book and spun around, peering over the back of the chair.  There was a short woman with long grey hair, a plain white knee-length dress and dark leather boots.  She was smiling kindly, wrinkles lining her brown eyes.

“My name is Maeva,” she said, walking towards him and bowing her head.  “I’ll be your teacher, Prince Loki.”

“Good morning,” Loki said, standing and bowing.  “How would you like me to address you?”

“Please sit, dear.  Let’s not have all this formality.  I shall call you Loki, and you shall call me Maeva, yes?”

“If it pleases you, Maeva,” Loki said, twisting his hands in his lap.  “What are you to teach me?”

“Sorcery, dear,” Maeva said, leaning forward in her chair.  “You look as if you will be such a joy to mentor.”

“Are you a sorceress?”

“Indeed.”  Maeva closed her eyes for a moment and then someone who looked exactly like her appeared out of thin air.  Loki gasped, eyes widening as the doppelganger twirled and disappeared.

“Will I learn how to do that?”

“I will teach you all I know, Loki,” Maeva laughed.  “Now – tell me.  How did you come by the Asgardian skin of yours?  I know you are Jotun born, your skin naturally blue, your eyes red.”

“When the Allfather came to meet with Laufey, he reached out and touched me.  My skin turned pale from the place he touched like a ripple moving over water.”

“I see.  How large are you as a giant?”

“This same size, Maeva.  I didn’t feel any different when my skin and eyes changed, just colder in the snow.  I did not consciously change my skin.”

“Hmm.  It may be merely an illusion, but I suspect that it is your unique body adapting to change.  You may even have some Aesir blood within you, Loki, making your shifting to this form easier.  I’d like you to try leaving this skin behind and becoming Jotun again.”

“How will I do that?” Loki asked.  He didn’t expect this, didn’t think that anyone on Asgard would want to see his true form, his nature as an enemy.

“Think of everything you know of Jotunheim.  Remember how it looked through your old eyes, the feel of the wind and sleet on your skin, the ice beneath your feet…”  Maeva kept speaking in a soft, steady tone and Loki closed his eyes, seeing the greying ice wavering on the back of his eyelids, the satisfying crunch of fresh snow, his father’s huge, sharp throne and the cold touch of his hand.

Loki opened his eyes, seeing Maeva’s expression of wonder and pride.  A tear slipped down his cheek and he wiped it away with a small, blue hand, familiar swirls embossed over the skin.

“You are truly extraordinary,” Maeva said quietly, touching his hand gently.  The colour wavered for a moment before blooming back to white.

Chapter Text

In addition to his other lessons, Loki was to learn how to fight.  He’d learnt what he could on Jotunheim, of course, watching the warriors sparring from a safe hiding place where they wouldn’t catch a glimpse of him, but the Allfather thought that Loki had better have some non-magical combat skills.  He was assigned a guard to teach him; a tall, broad man with heavy brows and greying hair named Afi.

Loki’s first lesson was in a small sparring room, the walls lined with various weapons, all of them blunt.

“This is where Thor learnt to fight,” the Allfather had said, a proud smile flittering across his scarred face as he reminisced.  “We gave him a wooden staff to practise with and the next day it was in splinters.  Even then he had such strength.”

Loki quickly learnt that Afi was a gruff man, but kind.  He’d greeted Loki with the customary bow, before bidding Loki stand still as he walked around him, surveying the young body as if he were a beast for purchase.  Afi had poked and prodded and hummed and nodded and promptly proclaimed that Loki would be tall, but would not be overly muscular in his adulthood.

“You would be best with knives, perhaps, along with your magic,” Afi said, as he picked up a long wooden staff from the rack.  “But first, this.”

It was gruelling and made Loki’s muscles scream at him in protest, but Loki made sure to master every skill Afi taught him.  He wanted to prove that, though he could bear children and may be thought of as a bride, he was able to hold his own and he could stand up for himself.

As his time in Asgard went on, many people walked past the sparring room, some stopping to watch him fight, applauding when a particularly difficult skill was demonstrated and mastered.  There was one young woman, however, who looked to be about Thor’s age, who watched him almost every lesson.  She was slim and dark haired with a pretty face and pale skin; her eyes tracked Afi’s movements whenever he showed Loki a new movement, a parry or swing or complex footwork.

One afternoon after a light training session, Afi took his leave and Loki stayed to practise hitting the centre of the target with throwing knives.  The young woman was still at the door and their gazes locked.

“Hello, Prince Loki,” she said.

“Good day,” Loki replied, inclining his head.  “I am afraid I do not know your name.”

“I am Sif,” she said, stepping into the room and walking up to Loki.  “I know you have seen me watching you in training.  It is because I long to become a warrior, a fine warrior of Asgard.”

“Women are not meant to fight here, are they?” Loki asked.

“No.  I have asked, but am discouraged every time.  They all say that I should concentrate on finding a husband, learn to…to sew, and other utterly mind-numbing tasks, but all I want to do…”

“Lady Sif,” Loki smiled, twirling a throwing knife between his fingers.  “I have no such qualms as the other Aesir.  Would it please you to learn from me?”  Sif smiled brightly, relieved and grateful.

“Prince, I would be honoured,” she said, laying a hand on Loki’s arm.

From that day, after Loki’s lessons, Loki would teach Sif all that he had learnt and together they improved.  Sif proved a master of the staff while Loki perfected his throwing knife and close combat technique, sometimes combining his sorcery to develop his own fighting style.

Their arrangement had been going on for many months, and they were now firm friends, confiding in each other and spending time with Thor and his best friends Fandral, Volstagg and Hogun.  Sif learning to be a warrior was their secret.  It was a warm day when that all changed; Loki and Sif were still sparring together later than usual when someone rushed through the door.

“Loki, I was looking all over the palace for you…” Thor trailed off when he saw the two, frozen guiltily with weapons outstretched.  “Loki?  Sif?  What…what are you doing?”  Sif raised her chin defiantly.

“Loki is teaching me to fight, since nobody else around here is man enough to do it.”

“But…fighting is for men, Sif.  A woman shouldn’t…”

“Thor,” Loki said gently, stepping forward and laying his hand on Thor’s bicep.  Thor fell silent, immediately deferring to Loki, as he was wont to do.  (Loki secretly thrilled in this power he had.)  “Thor, who are we to deny her?  Shouldn’t a woman have as many choices as men do?  Would she not be safer if she could protect herself?  One day I shall bear children, as a woman would, yet I am allowed to fight.”  Thor glanced down at Loki’s belly and back to his face, reaching out and smoothing back some stray locks of black hair.

“I apologise, Lady Sif,” Thor said.  “Would you allow me to repay this slight by teaching you further?”  Sif clapped her hands excitedly, Thor gathered Loki up in an embrace and Loki whispered thank you.

Chapter Text

Loki is a quick learner and Maeva delighted in showing him the nuances of sorcery, teaching him how to close his eyes and reach inside himself to find his glowing centre, teaching him to shift his skins and create illusions.  Almost every sorcery lesson, Loki created a few different illusions of himself, trying to mask them well enough so Maeva couldn’t guess which Loki was the real one.  She began doing the same, and Loki relished the challenge of finding the magical tells that revealed an illusion from reality.

Maeva constantly encouraged Loki to practise, so Loki took to cloaking himself with glamours and prancing around the palace in the form of a little girl, or a rabbit, and sometimes even a flighty mare.  In sparring practise with Sif, he’d hide her staff and create an illusion of another one, only to have her pick it up and make it turn into a snake.  (All his pranks on Sif made her scream and earned him many a slap in the face if he didn’t make a swift enough escape.)

Out of Thor’s friends, Fandral was the friendliest so he often found himself being the centre of some of Loki’s mischief-making.  Loki’s favourite prank to play on Fandral was to hide himself somewhere and jump out in the form of a monster.  (Fandral would squeal like a girl-child and flail around, which was endlessly amusing.)

However, out of all the citizens of Asgard, Loki most liked to mess around with Thor.

--

While Loki was still considered a child, only thirteen Winters old, Thor was now sixteen Summers of age and he was taller, stronger with it.  He’d graduated from the soft clothing of childhood and had started wearing leather with gold and silver trimmings, had been fitted for his own helmet and armour.  Thor was scant weeks away from going on his first quest, to kill a dangerous creature and prove himself a man worthy to be the Allfather’s heir.  (Loki was – secretly, deep down in his heart of hearts – worried that Thor would be hurt, despite all Thor’s muscles and the happy reassurances that he’d be fine.)

The day before Thor was to leave, the prince was in the stables checking his horse’s tack.  The horse was uncommonly friendly today, making little whickering noises that sounded a little similar to the way Loki would sometimes laugh.  Thor decided to go for a short ride, so he saddled the horse and mounted, urging him forward and through a field.  Halfway to a stream, Thor felt a moment of weightlessness as his horse seemed to disappear, then he was falling to the ground to a sound of laughter.  Loki was doubled over next to him, tears streaming from his eyes as he giggled uncontrollably.

“You should have seen your face, Thor!” he gasped.  Thor masked his own grin and growled, pouncing on Loki and pinning him into the grass.  Loki’s laughter abated, fading to small gasps.  His legs had fallen open to bracket Thor’s hips and their chests were pressed together, breath fanning over each other’s cheeks.  Thor’s blonde hair was a waterfall around their faces and Loki’s black hair spilled onto the green of the grass as if it were ink on paper.

“I leave in the morning,” Thor whispered, searching Loki’s face.  Loki averted his eyes, flushing slightly.

“I wish you good fortune, then,” he said.  “Though you will not need any extra luck.”

“It can only help, Loki,” Thor smiled.  “Shall I bring you back a monster’s fang?  Or a scale?”  Loki started at this; it was common for young men to bring trophies of their kill back to their homes, and they tended to gift furs, teeth and skins to the women or men they were courting.  Loki wasn’t aware that Thor…

“Oh,” he said.  “Do you…”  Thor smoothed his hand over Loki’s forehead, carding through his hair.

“How could I not?” Thor murmured, running his lips over the flush on Loki’s cheekbones and down to his mouth.  Loki whined and reached up, cupping the back of Thor’s head and bringing their mouths together in an innocent kiss.  Their lips pressed for a moment, before Thor pulled back.

“Have you ever…”

“Do you think I have, Thor?” Loki said bluntly.  “Even if I was of age to be courted, no-one would dare approach me.  We may not be betrothed but your name claims me as sure as if the Allfather had branded it upon my face.”

“I am sorry,” Thor said.  “I didn’t mean to…I know I may have been possessive with you…”

“I do not mind,” Loki smiled, kissing Thor again.  “I feel as if I have always been yours.”

“You will not fear for me, will you?” Thor asked, kissing Loki’s forehead, his hair, his ears.

“Possibly a little,” Loki admitted, tracing Thor’s jaw with his fingertips.  “Do not be reckless and hurt yourself.”

“Will you give me a kiss on my return?”

“If you are successful, maybe,” Loki said coyly, squeezing Thor’s hips with his thighs before wiggling out from underneath him.  Thor made a grab for his ankles but Loki merely danced away, laughing again.  “Come on, Thor, your saddle will get dirty sitting in the dirt like that!”

Chapter Text

“He should return after a few days,” Odin told Loki, as they broke their fast with Frigga.  “Three, at most.  I was away for two days.”

“What beast did you slay?” Loki asked, and Odin looked uncomfortable.

“Not a…beast, exactly,” Odin replied shiftily.  “Things were different back then.  I went to Jotunheim.”  Loki flinched, realising that Odin had slaughtered one of his race.  They had been at war for centuries, millennia, but it wasn’t a nice feeling.

“Indeed, it is all in the past,” Loki acknowledged, reaching out and taking a bunch of grapes.  “What creature do you predict Thor shall master?  An elk, perhaps?”

Frigga laughed.  “As his mother, I wish it were so; for how much damage may an elk do my son?  Alas, Thor is overconfident.  He may try a serpent, perhaps a wolf.”

“Loki, serpent scales are valuable for sorcery, are they not?” Odin asked.

“They are,” Loki said.  “I have extolled their virtues to Thor in one of my attempts to educate him in my area.”

Odin smiled and nodded.

“A serpent, then.”

--

Loki was sure to school his expressions and tamp down his worry for Thor when he was with company, but Sif knew him too well and called him out on it.

“Really, Loki, Thor will not be hurt.  Have you seen him lately?  He’s strong, and large for his age.  His fighting skills are excellent.  You needn’t be afraid for him.”

“I’m not afraid,” Loki huffed.  “I just can’t help thinking about how he is.”

“Young love,” Sif nodded sagely, and Loki elbowed her in the ribs.

“When are you going to go on a quest, then, Warrior Sif?” Loki asked.  “Don’t tell me you weren’t thinking about doing it.”  Sif sighed and looked away.

“I’m not sure whether I am able,” she said.  “Besides, the Allfather…”

“As if you have cared what the Allfather thinks before,” Loki reminded her.  “Imagine returning home with your spoils of battle, and prove wrong all those who ever doubted you.”

“Your silver tongue paints a pretty picture, Prince,” Sif smiled, clapping him on the shoulder.  “I will think on it.  Perhaps I will go after Thor returns.”

“You’d better,” Loki muttered.

--

In the mornings before his lessons and in the evenings before he retired to his chambers, Loki went to the edges of the palace grounds at sat in the grass to wait.  (He had the feeling that Thor would be all dramatic and ride back to Asgard with the sun at his back, haloing his golden hair and shining off his armour.)  Two days had gone by and Thor hadn’t yet arrived, so Loki’s evening vigil was tense.  He trusted Thor, had faith in him, but strange monsters turned up everywhere and who knew what kinds of horrors Thor could be up against?

As if it were an illusion his sorcery had conjured up, Loki heard the clip-clop of metal-shod hooves on the road and he stood up quickly.  There was Thor, resplendent in silver and red and (just as Loki imagined) with his hair glowing in the afternoon sun.  He caught sight of Loki and grinned, waving, nudging his horse to a stop.

“Loki!” he yelled, dismounting.  Loki was running before his brain caught up with him and he had a glimpse of Thor’s happy blue eyes before he was swept up in warm, strong arms.  “Ah, Loki, how I have missed you!”

“You were away for two days, Thor, fighting monsters; I’m sure you had no time to miss me,” Loki said, running his thumb over a small cut on Thor’s cheekbone.  “You are well, then?”

“Of course I am, Loki,” Thor said.  “I brought you some gifts.”

“You didn’t have to.”

“Oh, I did,” Thor said, winding Loki’s plaited hair around his wrist and tugging him closer.  “Is it not tradition for men to bring tokens for the ones they love?”

“If you say so.  May I see?” Loki asked, but Thor shook his head.

“Before I left…I do believe we talked about a kiss.”  Thor’s confident smile was hovering at the sides of his mouth, but behind it he looked hesitant.

“A kiss for the warrior prince, then,” Loki whispered, leaning closer to Thor and pressing their lips together.  Thor made a little groaning noise and held Loki tighter, one hand on the small of his back and the other cupping his head, and his tongue slipped out to swipe over Loki’s lips.  Loki gasped and Thor kissed him again before pulling away.

“Here,” Thor said, taking Loki’s hand and pulling him over to the horse.  He detached a bag from the saddle and gave it to Loki.  Inside were beautiful scales of many colours and sizes.  Serpent scales, a kingly gift which would be of much value to his study of sorcery.

“Oh, Thor,” Loki exclaimed, flinging his arms around Thor’s neck and kissing him again.

Chapter Text

Thor fancied him a shy virgin, but Loki knew what happened behind closed doors, what broken promises were whispered out into the night, the frantic pleas and curses pulled from panting lips as two people found pleasure with each other. After all, Loki had been grooming himself to be married to Thor for many years now, even if his position as bride was not confirmed. He’d extensively researched his possible duties in the bedroom (there were many books in the Asgardian library that detailed sexual acts and positions, along with helpful diagrams; Loki was certain that, whoever he ended up married to, he would not be a disappointing lay).

He had also discovered many things about his own Jotun physiology that his father hadn’t deigned to inform him of. Loki would sexually mature and become able to bear children when he was about nineteen Winters old, and there would be no need for the lubricating oil that male Aesir men used when lying with each other. Since carrying children was natural for Jotuns, the entrance to Loki’s womb would produce its own lubrication to ease the way. As Loki read more and more about babies and sexual intercourse, he found himself wanting both of them. He found himself wanting Thor, who was growing more handsome every day, who gave Loki little smiles and caresses and kept a flame of desire kindled in Loki’s stomach.

--

When Loki turned sixteen, after a celebratory feast, Thor made good on his constant foreplay and took Loki to bed.

“You really did not have to wait for this long,” Loki griped as he tugged at Thor’s ceremonial tunic. Thor merely laughed and began unlacing Loki’s trousers.

“I did, Loki,” Thor rumbled. “It would not have done to coerce you into my bed at such a young age. People would talk, it is unseemly.”

“Everyone knows that I am promised to you, Thor,” Loki gasped as Thor kissed his neck, feeling the pleasurable rasp of stubble. “No-one would question the Prince taking his future consort.”

“Humour me, beloved,” Thor said. They managed to unclothe themselves and Loki climbed onto Thor’s huge bed, draping the braid of his long hair over the pillows before drawing Thor down on top of him. Thor kissed Loki like he was something precious and treasured, giving Loki everything with his hands and tiny thrusts of his hips. Loki felt his entrance beginning to leak lubricant and he canted his hips up with a breathy moan.

“Thor, please!”

“So impatient, little one,” Thor teased, but he trailed his hand up Loki’s leg and eased a finger inside him. Loki let out a high pitched whine, arching his back as he felt more slick substance gushing out. Thor was twisting his finger, stroking every part of Loki and making his toes curl in anticipation.

“I take it we won’t require oil, then?” Thor said, eyes wide as he gazed down at Loki.

“One would think that you would at least ask somebody what to expect before sleeping with someone from another race,” Loki moaned. “Of course we won’t need oil. Now, give me more.” Thor leaned down to lick over Loki’s stomach as he added another finger, stretching Loki out and sending lightning bolts of pleasure up his spine. He felt open and needy, now, an itch welling up inside him that he needed Thor to scratch.

“Thor, take me, I’m ready,” he said, winding his fingers through Thor’s hair and tugging.

“You are sure?” Thor asked as he slowly tugged at his own weeping cock, spreading Loki’s lubricant over his impressive length and resting his other hand on Loki’s jutting hipbone. Loki groaned and pushed Thor onto his back, then swung a leg over Thor’s belly. He could feel his hair trailing down his back and he tossed it over his shoulder.

“We’ll never get anywhere with you in charge, evidently,” Loki smirked. He reached back and grasped Thor’s cock – drawing a strangled moan out of the Aesir – then positioned it at his entrance and slowly sank down. Though much wider than two fingers, the slide was easier than Loki expected, with very little pain and an overwhelming sense of fullness. The slight burn only added to his pleasure. When he opened his eyes, Thor was staring up at him as though he were under a spell, chest heaving with huge breaths. Loki smiled softly, giving an experimental roll of his hips which made both young men moan. Thor placed one hand on Loki’s pale thigh and took Loki’s hair in the other, pulling Loki down to kiss while Loki kept moving up and down. They ended up with their cheeks pressed together, harsh huffs of breath sounding in their ears as their bodies thrust in tandem again and again.

Loki released first, almost as soon as Thor wrapped a big hand around his length, sobbing Thor’s name into his sun-warm skin. As Loki relaxed, boneless after his orgasm, Thor swiftly rolled them over and thrust a few more times into Loki’s arching body and then Loki felt his release, warm and sticky deep within him.

“Thor,” Loki gasped, wrapping his legs around Thor’s hips to keep him inside. “Oh. Oh.” Thor nodded, nuzzling into Loki’s neck and embracing him.

“We shouldn’t have waited for so long,” Loki sighed. “Imagine how many more times we could have done that.” Thor laughed and kissed Loki gently on the lips.

“I am glad we waited until now,” he whispered. “It feels better this way. I care for you, Loki, perhaps more than anything, and I couldn’t bear to see you hurt.” Loki smiled and pressed his face into Thor’s hair to hide it.

Chapter Text

Loki awoke in the chilly morning with a furnace in the form of Thor wrapped around him. The young man was still asleep, making deep rumbling sounds as he breathed, his arm loosely draped over Loki’s hip. Loki shifted, rolling over to face Thor, wincing slightly as he felt the evidence of last night’s coupling between his thighs – he cleaned himself with a twitch of his fingers, and silently thanked the fates for his gift of magic. Thor stirred, his arm flexing around Loki and he let out a huge yawn.
“Is it morning?” he murmured, pulling Loki closer.
“It’s morning, Thor,” Loki smiled, pressing himself up against Thor’s warm chest. “Your parents will expect us to break fast with them.”
“What if I want to keep you here forever?” Thor whispered. He clasped Loki’s neck and kissed him on the cheek.
“We will have many millennia together and all the mornings that come with them,” Loki said. “I am not going anywhere.” Thor’s face softened and he kissed Loki again, but this time Loki chased his lips and deepened the kiss.
“It can’t hurt to stay abed for a little longer,” Loki grinned, pulling Thor on top of him.
--
Thor helped Loki to comb his hair out and freshen up before they joined Odin and Frigga in their chambers. Loki saw Frigga’s eyebrows raise briefly before she schooled her expression – Loki had tried his best to remove evidence of his time in bed with Thor, but Frigga knew these things – and Odin merely cleared his throat and wished them good morning. The meal was comfortable enough, with Odin beginning to organise another diplomatic visit to Jotunheim and Frigga discussing last night’s celebrations. When the meal was over, Loki took his leave (placing a chaste kiss on Thor’s cheek as he went) and left the family to themselves.
--
When Loki was gone and the servants had cleared the table, Frigga led Thor to a couch and sat beside him.
“Son,” she said gently. “Am I correct in my assumptions?”
“What assumptions are you making, Mother?”
“Did you and Loki spend the night with each other?”
“Thor, I only want what is best for you both.” She sighed, and took Thor’s hand, patting it soothingly. “You are aware that he is merely sixteen?”
“Do you think I do not know that?” Thor leapt up and ran a hand through his hair. “Do you think I have not spent the last four, five years loving him and knowing I could not touch him because of his age? I have reined myself back for all this time, resisted him and he didn’t make it easy for me with the way his eyes always begged for it. He says that he wanted to, that I did not take advantage of him, but still I feel guilt for what I have done.” Thor threw himself back down next to his Mother, who embraced him.
“If Loki consented, then you must trust him,” Frigga said. “Remember that when you were his age, you went to prove your manhood and brought back serpent scales. Loki may be sixteen years in body, but his mind is far more; he has been through many things and has grown as a result.”
“I know that, Mother…but sometimes I see him looking out towards the Bridge, with this look in his eye, and I wonder if he’s doing it all for the father to whom he thinks he owes his life.”
“Loki is shrewd, Thor. I have no doubt that, despite any orders from King Laufey, Loki would twist and dance and get what he wanted in the end. It seems that you are what he wants.”
“Should I give him time?” Thor asked, fidgeting. He knew full well that he was more than adequate in the bedroom, but less so in matters of love. “Should I leave him to his own devices for a few more years?”
“I cannot decide for you,” Frigga said, laying a kiss on his brow. “You must do this on your own, Thor. Take care that you do not break his heart, or yours.”

Chapter Text

A few nights later, when Loki was nestled in his arms and their bodies slowly cooled in the night air, Thor asked.

“Have you ever thought of being with anyone else?”

Loki snorted.  “Of course I have.”  Thor pulled back a little, jealousy curling light lightning around his ribs, before Loki laughed and patted his cheek.  “I’d never act on it, have no fear,” he said.  Thor hesitated, looking away for a moment.

“Would you like to?” he asked.

“Like to do what?” Loki replied warily.

“Act on it.  Be with other people.  We’re young yet, Loki, there is no rush to be married or…for other things.”  Thor glanced at Loki’s stomach then rolled over, hoisting himself to his feet and picking up his robe.

“What are you saying, Thor?” Loki sat up, pulling his blankets up to cover his sudden chill.

“I think you should have some time to be yourself, try things.  You could find somebody you like more.”

“Thor!” Loki exclaimed.  “I’m never going to…”  His protests were cut off by Thor pulling on his robe and leaving Loki’s chambers, the door slamming behind him.

Loki’s silver tongue turned to lead in his mouth and he curled up in his bed, alone, letting his skin bleed back to blue and feeling colder than ever.

--

A week passed with Loki barely seeing hide nor hair or Thor.  The Aesir prince was either out hunting bilgesnipe with the Warriors Three, having private lessons, sparring (in some place that wasn’t the sparring hall) or frequenting multiple taverns outside the palace grounds.  When Loki did manage to catch sight of Thor, he was always in the company of the warriors or a busty blonde maiden and quickly disappeared before Loki could call out to him.

Loki felt listless and betrayed; how had Thor moved so quickly from declarations of love and pledges of lifetimes together to this total avoidance?

“You are young, Loki,” Sif reasoned as Loki paced back and forth in their sparring room.

“Why must everyone continue to remind me of this?” Loki fumed.  “I am not a babe-in-arms, fit only to be coddled and cooed at.  I am a Prince, an envoy for peace, I was meant to be betrothed by now.  Besides, I love Thor, and it is not as if I must sleep with half of Asgard to confirm it.  I don’t want anybody else!”

“Have you told this to him?” Sif asked, stilling his pacing and making him sit down.  Loki buried his face in his arms.

“I have tried,” he said.  “I thought he saw me as an equal, that he wasn’t worried about the difference in our ages.  We’re going to live for centuries, millennia, it doesn’t matter anyway.”  He reached up and eased his hair out of the tight knots he kept it in for training, letting it loose to slide down his shoulders.  “He won’t speak to me.  I’m wondering…perhaps he has forgotten my true heritage.”  Loki looked up at Sif, his eyes flashing red, and Sif looked back at him unflinchingly.

“Your nature only makes you more beautiful, Loki, and I’m sure that Thor would tell you the same.”  She clapped him on the shoulder and stood up.  “I overheard Fandral saying that they’d be down at The Golden Palace tavern tonight.  You should go and talk to Thor.”  Loki huffed and glanced away, a little corner of his mind protesting that Thor should come to him and explain himself.

“Don’t give me that face,” Sif admonished.  “You know Thor; he will never get his head together on his own, you have to give him that push over the edge.”

“If you say so,” Loki sighed, standing up and brushing off his clothing.  “I’ll find him tonight.”

Chapter Text

Loki stood in front of his full-length mirror, feeling much like a lovesick maiden.  He had dressed in dark green silk and black leather edged with gold; he knew it brought out the light in his emerald eyes and highlighted the paleness of his skin.  He wanted Thor to notice him.  Contemplatively, Loki shifted his skin in a blur until his face was fuller, the curves of his body gentler, his flat chest swelled with small pert breasts.  Loki often looked at himself in this form, wondered if Thor would like him better if he were this way, wondered if he’d maintain it if Thor asked him to.  He turned, jutted a hip out, fluttered his eyelashes, then sighed and shook off the female guise like a bird shedding feathers.  He looped the braid of his hair over his arm and left to find Thor.

--

The colourful stars above the palace began beginning to twinkle into view against the darkening sky as Loki left his rooms, making his way down into the city and greeting people he knew along the way.  He always made an effort to make himself known to the general Aesir public, make enough friends so he had people to fall back on if he lost favour with the Allfather or with Thor.  It never hurt to be cautious.

A few of the children he knew ran up to him and clustered around his legs, tugging gently at his hair and clothing.  They squealed and clapped when he waggled Jotun-blue fingertips in their faces and made little sparkling lights burst around their ears.  A few of them handed him trinkets that they’d found during the day and Loki smiled, secreting them away in a pocket, thanking them and kissing their little foreheads.  He liked children, he decided; it would not be a hardship to bear and raise them himself in the future.  They scampered off, waving goodbye happily, and Loki continued on his way.

The tavern had a rather nice exterior, all dark wood and golden lettering, evidently one of the higher-scale carousing locales.  There was already a fair amount of people inside, men and women, the sound of laughter and slightly drunken singing drifting out onto the street.  Loki wrinkled his nose – he’d never liked the easy physicality and loudness that almost all Aesir regressed to when drunk.  Listening carefully, Loki strained his ears for the familiar sound of Thor’s booming voice, his belly-laugh, but only heard the murmur of unfamiliar people. He crossed to the other side of the street and sunk into the shadows, cloaking himself in darkness as he waited.

It wasn’t too long until Thor and the Warriors Three came into view, chatting and grinning as if they hadn’t a care in the Nine Realms.  Loki stepped out of the darkness just as a tall, curvaceous woman with long dark hair exited the tavern and marched straight up to Thor.  Loki froze in his tracks as Thor hooked a casual arm around her waist and bent to let her whisper in his ear, then pulled back and kissed her full on the mouth.

Loki may have gasped, he may have whimpered, but there were cold tears prickling the corners of his eyes and it hurt more than he expected to see Thor with someone else.  He turned and ran, his cloak fanning out behind him, and there was a cry of LOKI but he was gone already.

He didn’t stop running until he was back at the palace, safe in his rooms, all manner of spells barricading his door.  There were icy tears on his face and he was shaking, angry at Thor and angry at himself for being so emotionally attached, for setting himself up to be hurt.  He took off his finery, leaving it draped messily over a chair and crawled into bed, burying his face in a pillow and let himself cry.

His tears washed away the smell of Thor and left him with a wet pillow and an empty heart.

--

Loki awoke late the next morning and decided not to leave his rooms, feeling childish and foolish about it but still appreciating the time alone.  Sif came by at one point in the day, her voice muffled through the heavy wood of his door, and asked tentatively if he was alright – he thanked her, assured her that he was fine (physically) and soon after, a servant brought him a large platter of meat, bread and fruit.  Loki got out of bed and curled up on a couch with a book, picking at the food on the platter as he read.

Another platter came just after sundown, with hot roast beef and steaming vegetables and a honey cake on the side.  Loki ate the cake first, relishing the sweet stickiness that lingered on his hands, and was halfway through the roast when a knocking sounded on his door.  He paused in the act of licking his fingers to see if the intruder would leave, but the dull knocking continued.

“Loki!” Thor’s voice, unsteady and still so loud reached Loki’s ears and he sighed.  “Loki!  I would talk with you!”

“Go away, Thor,” Loki said, flicking his fingers and sending a little shock of seidr to deter Thor.  He heard Thor yelp, but he didn’t let up and went back to pounding on the door.  Loki cursed and stood up, letting the door slide open with a twist of his wrist.  Thor stumbled ungracefully into the room and cast around for Loki.  Upon seeing him, Thor staggered over and enfolded Loki in his warm arms.  Loki stood still, inhaling deeply and smelling mead on Thor’s breath – of course he was drunk, why had he expected any different – then tried to push Thor away.

“Loki, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Thor was saying, squeezing Loki tightly.  “I shouldn’t have, I didn’t want to, but I thought…I thought that you…”

“You should know what happens when you try to think by now, Thor,” Loki snapped, wriggling out of Thor’s hold.  “You cannot just come back and expect forgiveness.  I am not some tavern wench to be used and cast away!”

“I didn’t know how you felt,” Thor said, sounding suddenly sober.  “I thought that, perhaps, you were only with me for the good of our kingdoms.”

“Idiot,” Loki hissed.  “How could you think that when anybody with eyes can tell that I love you?”  There was a moment of silence.

“You do?”  Thor looked shocked, surprised, happy, as if Loki hadn’t shared his bed with him or kissed him or ever shown him a pinch of affection.

“How could I not?” Loki whispered.  “You are Asgard’s golden prince, a pillar of strength…one of the first people in my life to treat me as an equal.”  Thor stepped closer cautiously, bringing a hand find its place around Loki’s neck, thumb stroking his jaw.

“Why have you never told this to me?” he asked.

“It is not easy to confess love,” Loki said, flushing.

“For me it is,” Thor smiled.  He kissed Loki’s cheek, then his forehead.  “I love you, Loki.”  He pulled back, looking at Loki expectantly, cocking his head to one side.

Loki sighed and tried to hide a grin.

“I love you, Thor.”

Chapter Text

When Thor’s kisses began to deepen and his hands wandered down Loki’s back, Loki pushed him away with a frown.

“If you are going to pledge yourself to me and expect the same in return, you will have to prove yourself,” Loki said.  “I am aware that many Asgardians take other lovers during marriage, but I shall not have it.”

“Of course not, Loki, I wouldn’t,” Thor protested, leaning closer again, but Loki turned away.

“You called me beloved, you made promises with every kiss you gave me, yet here we are,” Loki said sharply.  “Forgive me if I do not so blindly trust you now.”

“I can prove myself to you,” Thor said quietly.  “I can be everything you want.”

“Then prove it, Thor,” Loki said, laying a hand on his upper arm.  “Now, we should both get some sleep.”  Thor glanced at the doorway that led to Loki’s bed, then stepped back and nodded.

“I will see you tomorrow?” he asked.

“Yes,” Loki said, tilting his head for a goodnight kiss.  “Until then.”  Thor kissed Loki chastely, smiled and left for his own rooms.

--

The next morning, Loki broke fast with Thor, Odin and Frigga.  At the table, Thor passed Loki the jar of honey and cleared his throat.

“Allfather,” he said.  “I would like to make a journey to Jotunheim.”  Odin raised an eyebrow.

“For what purpose?”

“I seek King Laufey’s blessing so that I may court his son.”  Loki had stiffened in his chair, green eyes wide, lips slightly parted in shock.  “I know that it is not necessary, but I feel that I must show my commitment to this union and my acceptance of everything that Loki is.”  Odin glanced at Loki, then at his wife.

“You shall go, then,” he said.  Thor nodded.

“Loki, would it please you to accompany me?  I know that you have not returned to your homeland since you came to Asgard.”

“It would please me,” he said quietly.  He wasn’t sure of how warm his reception would be, or what his father would say; but a part of him longed for Jotunheim’s icy winds, the crunch of ice and snow under his feet, to see his city in all its restored glory.  “Thank you, Thor.”

--

On the morning of their journey to Jotunheim, Thor came to Loki’s room and knocked (quietly and politely, for once.  He really was making an effort.)  Loki gestured and the door opened; Thor stepped in, a mass of fur and silk and velvet in green, black and white draped over his arms.

“Good morning,” he said, and Loki nodded in acknowledgement.  “If you wish to keep your Aesir form on Jotunheim, you will be cold.  I had this made for you.”  Thor held the garment out and Loki took it from him, holding it up and finding that it was a large, warm-looking coat in his favourite colours.

Loki recognised the courting tradition immediately – Thor was bringing him useful things, things Loki desired or needed, to show that he could be a good spouse and was able to provide.  It was endearing that Thor was taking time to court him properly, in a way that befitted the future consort of a Prince.

“It is beautiful,” Loki smiled.  Thor ducked his head and helped Loki to drape the coat around his shoulders.  It was comfortable, perfectly sized, and very warm.

“Are you ready to depart?” Thor asked.  Loki checked himself in the mirror again – it wouldn’t do to look any less than he was when greeting his father – then sighed.

“Let’s go, then.”  He half expected Thor to ask him whether he was nervous about seeing his father again, but Thor stayed silent, giving him a knowing (and slightly sympathetic) look and clasping a comforting hand around his neck.  Loki felt a little better.

Chapter Text

Loki’s first breath of Jotunheim felt like a blow to the chest, like swallowing shards of ice, a little bit like home.  While the Bifrost site used to be in the middle of nowhere overlooking a bleak stretch of greying snow and sharp rock, it was now on a platform facing a road that led to Utgard, the city where Loki grew up.

He gasped, the sight so different to the last glimpse he’d had of his home.  Before, the ice and stone of the city was a dull blue cloudy with resentment and dissent; the rebuilt city was grand and glorious with stalagmite towers reaching as high as the mountains, the ice seeming to glow an eerie aquamarine as it thrummed with power.  Loki shivered – partly from the cold and partly from the feeling of magic flowing over his skin.

“It has changed,” Thor said quietly, brushing his hand over Loki’s shoulder.  “It is better now, I think.”

“It is,” Loki replied, thinking of all the Jotun children who would now grow up knowing light and splendour instead of the shadows he had known.  “The Allfather did a good thing when he decided to negotiate with Laufey.”  He turned to look at Thor, finding the Aesir looking back at him, a small smile playing across his lips.  He rested his fingertips on Loki’s cheek, uncharacteristically gentle and soft.

“It was a very good thing.”

--

With their accompaniment of five Asgardian warriors and two large Jotun guards, Loki and Thor made their way to the citadel and entered Laufey’s hall.  It glimmered with light that filtered through the ice and their boots made satisfying crunching sounds on the snow.  Loki looked around, remembering his childhood here, remembering Laufey brooding upon his rotting throne.

“Welcome,” comes Laufey’s deep voice.  “Prince Loki and Prince Thor.”  They halted before the throne, and Thor bowed low.

“King Laufey.  I bring regards from the Allfather.”  Laufey nodded and turned his red eyes on Loki, who bowed his head.

“Father,” he said.

“You have grown well, my son,” Laufey remarked.  He stood.  “Now, Thor; I believe you requested an audience with me to discuss important matters?”
“Indeed,” Thor said.  “Would it please you for Loki to accompany us?”

“I would speak to you in private,” Laufey rumbled.  “I am sure that Loki would like to see how the palace has changed since his time here.”

Loki clenched a fist at the clear dismissal and muttered something about the library, shared one last look with Thor and turned on his heel.

One of the Jotun guards followed him out, footsteps heavy on the ice.  Loki still remembered where the library was; but once he got there, the guard put a large blue hand on the door.

“Prince Loki,” he said.  Loki turned to face him and the guard knelt.  “Prince, you gave yourself so that Jotunheim could have new life.  You brought peace between our worlds.”  Loki stared, trying to hide his shock.  “All of us are grateful to you.”

“Thank you,” Loki said, and his skin flowed to blue as he clasped the Jotun’s large hand.

--

“Son of Odin,” Laufey said as the warriors moved to the back of the hall to give them some privacy.  “You, too, have grown.”

“Such things occur over the passage of time,” Thor remarked, waiting for Laufey to seat himself on the throne before he sat on the chair in front of it.

“Indeed, indeed,” Laufey said.  “I expect that you are here to bargain for my son?”

“I believe that any bargaining was between you and the Allfather before Loki came to Asgard.  By rights, he is mine.”  Laufey leaned forwards, bracing his elbows on his knees.

“Then, Odinson, why have you come here?”

“I wish to court Loki, and I would do so with your blessing.”  Thor took the discreet pack he’d been carrying and laid it across his knees, withdrawing two elaborately wrought silver vambraces from their protective fur swaddling.  He held the vambraces outstretched and knelt before Laufey.  “I present this gift to you as a gesture of my goodwill and allegiance to your house.”

“I would be pleased to accept,” Laufey said, resting the tips of his fingers on the silver.  “And I wish you well in your courtship.”  Laufey picked the vambraces up and admired them, checking the fit, then he lay them on a small table beside the throne.

“Your approval will mean a lot to Loki,” Thor said softly.  Laufey snorted.

“I doubt it,” he said.  “I feel that Loki has not been my son since the instant he stepped into the Bifrost, the moment he saw you.  Perhaps even before that.”

“He will be happy,” Thor said.  “You will always be his father, no matter how far apart you are, how few words you have exchanged.  He often looks across the Bridge, towards Jotunheim, and I imagine that he is looking for you.”

Laufey turned his head, red eyes half-closed.

“Sometimes I wonder…”  He sighed.  “I will find Loki; I wish to speak to him before you leave.”  Thor nodded and Laufey rose smoothly, clicking his fingers.  A servant came to take the vambraces away as Laufey left in the direction Loki had gone.  Thor hoped they would be alright.

--

Loki was looking through sorcery books with the Jotun librarian when Laufey found him.  He tucked the book back onto the shelf carefully before turning and bowing.

“I take it your talk with Thor went well, Father?” Loki asked.

“It did,” Laufey said.  He nodded to the librarian and the other Jotuns in the library before gesturing to Loki.  “Walk with me.”  Laufey lead him to a balcony overlooking the pale expanse of snow.  It was so beautiful and so cold that Loki exhaled gustily – his Asgardian breath plumed like white fire in the air – and he let himself go.  He doesn’t feel cold, then, and his breath didn’t blur his view of the landscape.

“I never told you that I was proud of you, Loki,” Laufey said.  Loki looked up at his father, their red eyes meeting with miles in between.  “Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if…”

“Father, there is no sense in dwelling in the past,” Loki said, sliding his hand into Laufey’s and gripping tightly.  He felt small and afraid all over again.  “What is done has been done.  I love Asgard and I love Thor, there will be no changing that.”

“I would not take your life from you after all that you have done for us,” Laufey said, clutching Loki’s hand and laying a hand on his shoulder.  “You were so young, yet you did everything I asked; more than that.”
“It was an honour, Father,” Loki reassured him.  “I have found where I want to be.”  Laufey smiled and knelt, keeping a hold of Loki’s hand.

“Loki – I have given Thor my permission and blessing to court you.  He is honourable and will be a good king, someday.”  Laufey reached into a pouch on the gilded belt at his waist and drew out a chain with a large blue jewel hung on it.  “May your days be ever happy, your sons be hale, hearty and strong, your daughters as beautiful as the new snow on the mountains.  Please accept this gift as a gesture of my goodwill and my love for you.”

Loki smiled, tears freezing as they left his eyelids, and took the jewel from Laufey.  As soon as he touched it, he felt the thrum of Jotun magic.

“Thank you, Father,” he said, wrapping his arms around Laufey’s neck in an embrace.  Laufey’s arms curled around him, tentatively, but there nevertheless.

Chapter Text

Laufey accompanied Loki back to the throne hall, where Thor was examining some of the Jotun armour and statues in the wall alcoves.  When Loki approached, Thor looked up quickly, visibly relaxing when he saw that Loki was unharmed.  He eyed the pendant hanging proudly at Loki's breast, then gathered the Asgardian warriors behind him with a flick of his head.

"We thank you for your hospitality, King Laufey," Thor said.

"And I thank you for your thoughtfulness, Thor Odinson."  Laufey paused, glancing over at Loki.  "It was good to see my son again."

"If you and Loki wish, the Bifrost is open to you if you would like to visit."

"I would like that, Father," Loki said.  "We should not go so long without seeing one another."

"I will come with you to the Bifrost," Laufey said.  "This way." 

Flanked by two more Jotun guards, the group made their way back across the snowy path to the Bifrost site.  Loki asked his Father about the various visible changes of the palace and Laufey discussed the reconstructions; Thor hid a smile at the new affection in the interaction that wasn't present a few hours ago.  He knew that Loki had always desired closeness from his Father, closeness that he had seen in Thor's exchanges with his parents.  He looked happier already. 

When they reached the Bifrost site, Loki changed into his Jotun form and clasped Laufey's hand, holding on for a few moments as they smiled at each other.  Then Loki stepped back and became Asgardian as he slipped his cold fingers into Thor's palm, Laufey and Thor exchanged respectful nods, and the blues and whites of Jotunheim blurred into the rainbow-gold of Asgard.  One of Loki's hands was blue where he clutched the pendant and his green eyes were wavering with tears.  Thor pulled Loki closer and Loki let him, burying his face into Thor's shoulder and exhaling in little sobs. 

Chapter Text

Thor didn’t cease his courtship after he had received the blessing from Laufey.  He would visit Loki's rooms a few times a week, knocking politely on the door and presenting him with fine gifts and a kiss on the cheek.  At first there were new, perfectly balanced throwing knives, then cloaks and supple leather boots, armour, and occasionally a blushing Thor presented him with a bouquet of flowers, holding them out uncertainly as if he were unsure of his welcome.  Loki always accepted them with a smile, fingering the silky petals and displaying them in crystal vases next to his bed.  Sometimes he tucked a few into his braid and wore them during the day, which always made Thor smile.

The best gift, however, came a few months after Loki's visit to Jotunheim.  He had visited the library to do some research for Maeva, and was surprised to see Thor at one of the long wooden tables with books, scrolls and maps strewn in front of him.

"What are you doing here?" Loki asked.  Thor looked up, startled, unconsciously clasping a book closer to his chest.

"Am I - am I not allowed to visit the library?" he said defensively.

"Do not jest with me, Odinson, we both know how difficult it is for me to drag you in here.  What are you doing?"  Thor sighed, relenting.

"I am planning, if you must know.  Father told me of a settlement in a far valley - they are overrun with bilgesnipe, and many of their crops have been destroyed.  I offered to go with the Warriors Three to assist them, and I hoped that you and Sif would accompany us."

Loki froze.  It was one thing for Thor and his friends to go gallivanting off on a 'noble quest'; it was different altogether to ask Loki, the Jotun prince-bride and Sif, a woman, to join them.  Loki had doubted that Thor would ever initiate a conversation about letting him leave the palace and engaging in potentially dangerous activities, so Thor's earnest, hopeful face was a complete surprise.

"Thor," Loki smiled, sitting down next to him on the bench.  "We would both love to come.  Thank you, so much."  Thor smiled and cupped Loki's cheek for a moment, kissing him lightly on the corner of the mouth.  "You could have asked me for assistance in the library, you know," Loki prodded.  "Since I know my way around better then you do."  Thor withdrew his hand and fidgeted with a scroll.

"I didn't want you to see me as incompetent," he said quietly.  "I wanted to be prepared, so that I could answer your questions when we talked, so that you would not…"

"Thor, it's alright," Loki shushed him, wrapping an arm around his waist in a half-embrace.  "I am well aware that we all have our different strengths.  I would be useless leading a battle.  That is what a relationship is, Thor, that we complement each other's abilities; together we form a stronger being than just ourselves."

"I...thank you for understanding, Loki.  I only want to be good enough for you."

"You are a good man, Thor, and the way you treat me…" Loki trailed off, shaking his head with a small smile on his face.  "Do not doubt my love for you."

"And know that I love you, Loki."  Thor relaxed and kissed him again.  "Will you stay and talk with me?"

"I cannot - I must find some books for Maeva."  Loki stood and hesitated with his hand on Thor's shoulder.  "You should come by my rooms tonight.  You can bring the maps and tell me about bilgesnipe."  Thor flushed and grinned elatedly.

"I will see you, then," he said, and Loki twirled a strand of his golden hair around his finger before he walked away.

--

After his lessons, Loki met Sif in the sparring room but promptly dragged her out to a secluded part of the palace gardens.

"Loki, what are we doing out here?" she asked, leaning against one of the huge trees and raising an eyebrow.

"I have some news," Loki smiled slyly, barely able to contain his excitement.  Sif only rolled her eyes.

"Are you and Thor finally betrothed, then?" she said, lips twitching.  Loki huffed.

"No, but it has to do with Thor.  He is going with Fandral, Volstagg and Hogun to a valley settlement harried by bilgesnipe.  He asked me if you and I would like to go with them."

Sif's mouth fell open and her eyes widened almost comically as she made aborted half-attempts at speech.

"What?" she finally managed, grabbing Loki by the shoulders.  "Really?  Are you certain that is what he said?"

"I would not lie to you about this," Loki said quietly, taking her hands in his and squeezing.  She was trembling.

"I always thought...I would have to sneak off in the dead of night to go on my first quest," Sif said.  "I'm a woman.  And you - Loki, I can hardly believe that Thor would…"

"It is not a question of him allowing me anything," Loki said with a tilt of his head.  "I can do as I please, within reason.  Thor knows that he cannot cage me up like some jewel, taken out some time to be shown off and then left to grow dusty.  He knows that and he is coming to accept it, as he is coming to accept you."

"Loki, I'm just so surprised that we would have this opportunity," Sif smiled, hugging him tightly.  "I never let myself dream that this would happen."

"Even if he didn't offer, I would have talked him around eventually," Loki smirked.  "You shouldn't worry so much.  He cares for us."

"You mean that he would do anything for you," Sif grinned, nudging him with her shoulder as they began walking back to the palace.  Loki blushed and stayed silent, silver tongue heavy in his mouth for once.

 

--

 

Loki took his evening meal in his rooms, absently picking at his food with a fork while he held books open with his other hand, researching bilgesnipes and whether they were useful for anything other than rampaging.  When he heard Thor knocking, he quickly replaced the books on his shelf and opened the door with a smile.  Thor himself was laden with scrolls and large maps, his bright grin peeking out from behind a feathered quill.

"It is a fair evening, Loki," Thor said as he dropped the scrolls on Loki's wooden desk.  "I am eager to share my knowledge with you."

"And I am eager to receive it," Loki replied.  "I talked to Sif and she is very excited to accept your invitation."

"That is good news.  I know that she will be a worthy ally and friend.  I did not expect her abilities to become so impressive, but she has proven herself to be strong beyond the limitations of her gender."

"I'm sure that there would be many more like her if you allowed girls out of their homes and let them take lessons with the boys."

"I am beginning to think that your insight would be very much welcome in regard to Asgard's affairs, Loki."

"One day, perhaps," Loki said.  "One day.  Now - how about you tell me all about the village we are going to help?"

Thor spoke about the village, Askival, its inhabitants and the state of their important crops, then informed Loki about the best way to kill and skin bilgesnipe.  Loki had found that their horns could be useful for a spell or two, so Thor agreed to carry a few horns home with them. 

 

After Loki was satisfied with the amount of notes he'd written, Thor began packing his books up and making moves towards the door.

"Wait, Thor," Loki said, twisting his hands in his lap nervously.  "Would you help me with something?"

"What is it, Loki?" Thor asked, putting the papers down and coming towards Loki, looking over his body concernedly.  "Are you hurt?"

"Oh, no, nothing like that," Loki assured him.  "I just…"  He gestured to the long braid of hair draped over his shoulder.  "My hair is rather inconvenient for any kind of quest.  I hoped that you would help me to cut it."

"You want me to cut your hair?" Thor said, reaching out to stroke his fingers over it.  "You do not wish to keep it?  It is beautiful."

"Beautiful, yes, but unnecessary," Loki said with a wry twist of his mouth.  "I could do it myself, but…"

"Of course I will help you, it is an honour," Thor said quickly.  "Though I have never cut hair before."

"Neither have I, but I doubt that it is very difficult," Loki shrugged.  "Come to the bathing room with me, I have scissors there."

Thor followed Loki and picked up the sleek pair of sharp scissors that lay in front of the mirror.  Loki sat down on the edge of the bath and removed the leather ties from his hair, letting it hang loose around his shoulders.  He closed his eyes for a moment, memorising the silken feel of it against his cheeks and lips, and felt Thor's tentative fingers combing through it and massaging his scalp.  Loki sighed as Thor's hands became more confident, his nails gently scratching behind his ears and at his nape as his fingers made sure that the hair hung straight down his back.

"Lean back," Thor murmured, pulling at his shoulder, and Loki did as he asked and leant his shoulders against Thor's broad chest.  "Let me, just for a while."  Loki relaxed and trusted Thor to support him as he closed his eyes and allowed himself to enjoy the sensation of Thor taking care of him.

Loki had lost track of time and when Thor pressed a kiss to his forehead, he felt languid and sleepy, Thor's warmth settled all the way into his bones.

"How short would you like it?" Thor asked quietly.  Loki pointed to a spot a little lower than his shoulder.

"Around there," he said.  "Not too short."

"Alright."  Loki pulled himself away from the comfort of Thor's body and sat up, making sure that there was no stray hair in front of his shoulders, and glanced behind him.  Thor was holding the scissors delicately in his big hands and regarding Loki with earnest blue eyes.  "Are you comfortable, Loki?"

"Yes.  Just below my shoulders, remember."  Loki turned away and took a few deep breaths as Thor moved closer and took hold of a lock of Loki's hair.

"Are you ready?" Thor asked.

"Do it," Loki said, and the scissors made a smooth snipping sound as they cut through his hair.  Thor continued until Loki's newly short hair was brushing his shoulder blades and curling slightly at the ends, and there was a sea of black around his feet.  Loki felt lighter and freer, somehow, as if he was now ready for something new.

 

Thor set the scissors aside and raked his hands through Loki's hair, removing any lingering long hairs, then stepped back.

"What will you do with all of your hair?" he asked.  Loki turned around and laughed at the state of the floor.

"I might keep a few strands, but I will destroy the rest.  Sweep it into a pile for me, will you?"  Loki gathered and plaited some of the hair, curled it around his hand and then secreted it away inside one of his chests.  Thor had gathered the rest of the hair into a spare cloth and tied it - Loki decided to burn it in the morning.

"You look beautiful like this, too," Thor said.  Loki went to him and looked at himself in the mirror, revelling in the swish of his hair around his face when his head turned, the way he didn't have to worry about a long braid trailing around after him.  Behind him, Thor smiled and kissed his cheek.

"I shall be getting back to my rooms now," he said, stroking his hand through Loki's hair one more time.  "The hour grows late."  Loki turned away from the mirror and wrapped his arms around Thor's waist.

"Why don't you stay here, tonight?  Just to sleep?"  Thor's eyes lit up, and his face transformed in a grin.

"I thank you," he said, kissing Loki again.  "I am glad that you trust me."

They disrobed, Loki pulling a loose sleep-shirt over his torso while Thor remained bare-chested, all his golden skin on display.  Loki slipped beneath the sheets of his bed and gestured for Thor to follow.  The room held a sense of anticipation, of emotions not spoken but still understood.  Wordlessly, their bodies moved towards each other until they were entwined at the centre of the bed, their breaths mingling between them, Thor's hand running through Loki's hair in a rhythmic caress.  They slept.

Chapter Text

It was a few more weeks before Thor, Loki, Sif and the self-proclaimed 'Warriors Three' were able to leave Asgard's brightest city.  Maeva looked over Loki's notes about bilgesnipe and taught him some strong wards that would deter them from entering the farming fields.

"Ah, and demonstrate your silence ward for me, Loki," she said, sitting back in her chair with a little smile tugging at the corners of her lips.  Loki raised an eyebrow but stood up and created the ward in a circle around himself, then yelled obscenities loudly to test it.  Maeva nodded and Loki released the spell with a wave of his hand.

"Why did you have me do that?" he asked.

"I wanted to make sure that you were proficient," Maeva said.  "I am sure that you will not want your friends to hear what goes on in your tent with Thor."  Loki flushed and spluttered for a moment.

"Of course I won't be sharing with Thor, that would be improper."

"Oh, don't give me that," Maeva scoffed.  "This quest of yours will be a good chance to have some quality time together, away from the eyes of the rest of the court.  Do not waste it, Loki."

"I will try not to do so," Loki promised, while trying to tamp down the anticipatory butterflies that had sprung to life in his stomach.

 

--

 

They left at midday, with the sun blazing high and bright in the sky, and many people had taken to the streets to wish the Prince and his company good luck in their endeavours.  Each of them were riding a horse laden with saddlebags, and they had another smaller pony carrying supplies.  The road was wide and the compressed earth almost glowed a burnished bronze in the golden light as Hogun, Fandral and Volstagg begun to warm up to Sif and discuss weapon technique and strategy with her.  Loki could see Sif smiling more and relaxing the tense set of her armoured shoulders.

 

Thor had led the company for a while and then, deeming the Warriors Three were adequately respectful of Sif, dropped back to ride with Loki.

"It is a good day to ride," Thor remarked.  "We should make it to Askival within three days at this pace, two if we wake up early tomorrow."

"We'll wake up early, then.  The bilgesnipe need to be seen to sooner rather than later."

"Of course," Thor said.  "I had hoped that you would spend some time alone with me."  Loki glanced sideways - eed to get Thor was staring straight ahead with his jaw set and a despondent, somewhat disappointed look on his face.  Oh.

"Why would you thing that I wouldn't want to spend time with you?  Alone?" Loki huffed, reaching over and cuffing Thor on the back of his head.  "Don't be ridiculous.  I merely wish to focus on the task at hand, which is dealing with the bilgesnipe.  We have all the time in the world for...anything else.  It's important to take care of our responsibilities before ourselves."  Thor flushed, embarrassed, looking down at his hands on the reins.

"Mother was right.  You are wise beyond your years."

"Perhaps you are just immature," Loki teased, laughing and sending his horse into a sideways skip to avoid Thor's playful swipe.

"Loki.  I am glad that you're coming with us."

Loki smiled over at Thor, taking in his rose-dusted cheeks, his hair already in tangles and coming free of its braid, his bright happy eyes and lopsided half-grin.

"There isn't anywhere I'd rather be."

Chapter Text

When the sky had already bled through to pink, Thor led them down a well-worn path to a designated rest point that soldiers and travellers used as an overnight camp. The camp consisted of a large expanse of flat grass (some places looking ragged from where tents had recently been pitched) and a large fire pit with a stack of timber laid beside it. A forest lay at the edges of the site, the leaves on the trees whispering softly in the slight breeze. Volstagg began setting the fire up while Sif and Hogun assembled the tents. Fandral and Thor ventured into the forest to catch some game for a meal and Loki relieved the horses of their burdens. After tethering the horses and giving them a quick rub-down, Loki explored the edges of the camp and cast a few wards that would alert him if someone - or something - passed them. It wouldn't hurt to be cautious.

"Loki!" Volstagg called. "I could use your special brand of assistance over here!" Loki finished his final ward with a flourish of his fingers, then headed back towards the fire pit. Volstagg had arranged the logs and smaller kindling into a rough pyramid and was kneeling beside his creation with a winning smile. Loki raised an eyebrow.

"It looks as though you have everything under control. What can I help with?"

"Well, I wondered if you could light the fire?"

"You're just too lazy to get up and get your tinderbox, aren't you?" Loki huffed. Jotuns didn't have much need for fire; they ate their meat raw and didn't require extra warmth like the Aesir, so Loki was relatively inexperienced with sorcery concerning flame. "Alright, I'll see what I can do."

Loki knelt down next to the wood and closed his eyes, gathering his power and focussing it on the tips of his fingers. He opened his eyes when he felt a burning sensation and then, seeing the sparks and tiny flames licking at his skin, transferred the fire from his hand to the kindling with a quick gust of breath. He waited nervously, hoping that the fire would catch, and was pleased when the crackle of burning wood started up and the fire began to grow. Volstagg clapped him on the shoulder.

"My thanks, friend," he said. "It is a wonder to see your seidr in action." Loki's lip twisted, but when he looked up, all he could see in Volstagg's face was honest appreciation.

--

Thor and Fandral returned with rabbits piled into their packs, laughing and joking and proud of their success. Thor made a beeline straight for Loki to present his kills, rather like the hunting dogs at the palace would do, and Loki didn't bother to suppress his urge to pet Thor on the head. Volstagg, the designated cook, made quick work of skinning and gutting the rabbits and beginning to cook them while the others retrieved bread, cheese and fruit from their packs and finished arranging the tents.

Loki gathered the saddlebags with his clothes and made his way over to the tent that Sif had claimed.

"What are you doing here?" Sif asked, nudging him with an elbow. "Aren't you sharing with Thor?"

"I wondered if you'd be more comfortable sharing with me instead of one of the others."

"Don't worry about me, Loki," Sif said quietly. "Hogun's nice, so I don't mind."

"Is it proper?" Loki asked. He knew some Asgardians didn't approve of young men and women sharing living quarters before marriage. Sif laughed.

"Since when have you cared for what's proper?" She waved him off. "Go on. I'm already a warrior woman, I left the path of 'proper' long ago."

Sif had set Thor's tent up a bit further away from the other two, so Loki threw his bags inside and set the silence ward around its perimeter. Anticipation for the night ahead fluttered back to life.

--

They'd all stayed up sitting by the flickering light of the fire (and a few glowing orbs of Loki's making) until long after the stars had twinkled to life above them. The dinner of rabbit, bread and cheese had been very different from the glorious feasts of the palace, but filling and satisfying nevertheless. They had torn the rabbits apart with their fingers, distributing the meat as they went, picking at the bones and passing morsels of cheese around the circle. Volstagg had shown them how to make the cheese melt perfectly over the bread. Fandral had played his pipes for them as they finished their meal with fruit, tossing slices of pear and apple across the fire and laughing raucously. They'd ended up sprawled around the fire; Volstagg petting his full belly, Hogun and Sif using sticks to draw crude pictures in the dirt, Fandral nodding off with his head on Volstagg's shoulder while Thor and Loki leant on each other in companionable silence.

By general agreement, Loki extinguished the fire and illuminated their tents. With soft wishes of 'goodnight', they all headed their separate ways and Loki took Thor's hand, guiding them behind the barrier of silence around their tent. Thor had laid their sleeping pallets and blankets out already, and their saddlebags lay in a corner out of the way. Loki secured the entrance to the tent behind them and turned back to Thor, who was crouched on one of the pallets uncertainly. His hair was mussed and his cheeks flushed from the warmth of the fire - he looked half debauched already.

Loki smiled and knelt down, crawling towards his betrothed with a sinful arch in his spine. Thor met him halfway and their lips touched gently, sliding together smoothly. Pushing Thor down onto his back, Loki straddled his hips and tugged at his hair as the kiss deepened. They parted with a slick noise and Thor let out a low groan.

"Do you want to?" Thor whispered. By the dim light of the stars, Loki could make out the glint of his wet lips and the gleam of his blue eyes.

"I want to," Loki replied, tugging his tunic off and throwing it to the side. "I've been looking forward to this." They undressed as quickly as they could in the limited space, laughing when their flailing limbs collided, until they were finally bare. Loki grinned as he pushed Thor back down, their half-hard cocks bumping against each other and smearing wetness along their bellies. Thor's hands wandered over Loki's nipples and over his sides, making him squirm from the sensitivity of it and retaliate by running his thumbs over the head of Thor's cock. Thor stifled his loud moan by biting at his wrist, batting Loki's hands away from his cock.

"They'll hear us!" he hissed.

"No they won't," Loki smirked, undulating his hips so that his leaking entrance rubbed up and down Thor's cock. "I put a ward up. They won't hear anything, I promise. Now put those fingers to good use, hmm?"

Placated, Thor squeezed at Loki's rear and ran his fingers up and down his cleft, spreading the wetness there before he dipped a fingertip inside. Loki groaned and ground his hips down, trapping Thor's finger and forcing it deeper. Thor obliged and added another finger which slid easily up into Loki and he crooked them gently, pressing at the nub of pleasure which he knew would make Loki cry out. He was rewarded with a high whine and a jerk of Loki's hips as a spurt of slick pushed out past the plug of his fingers.

"Put your cock in me," Loki demanded, then he let out a breathy sigh as he sank back down again. "I've missed this," he whispered, rocking gently back and forth.

"I was stupid," Thor said, voice hoarse and strained as he made abortive thrusts upward. "I was stupid and I'm sorry."

"You were," Loki said, smiling as he guided Thor's hand to his neglected cock. "But now we're here. So fuck me."