This spear is no better than the one you fought with before. It’s nothing like your halberd, lacks the red tassel, and is missing the curved hook that juts out from the base of the blade--the perfect accessory for catching ankles and dragging bodies behind horses.
You consider contracting a smithy to make a weapon for you, to your specifications but you wonder seriously if anyone will accept business from The Bloody Princess.
“Money is money m’lady,” the old man rasps from behind a thick white beard. “I dun care who ya are or who ya killed. Feelings got no place in business.”
He snatches the purse of coin from you.
“Apparently manners don’t either.”
“I’ll take your money, and do the job well, I don’t hafta be nice to ya. Let the quality o’ my work speak for me since you don’t like my tone.”
He spits and you’re pretty sure he’s gone beyond a simple attitude problem, venturing into open hostility. But the quality of his work does speak louder than his rudeness, you let the insult stand--what’s one more anyway?
The practice fields are occupied, soldiers and guards training with and against each other. You don’t see Sif or Hogun or Fandral among them, suits you well since you’ve been avoiding them anyway. You don’t want to hear the ‘not your faults’ and the ‘you fought wells’. You know that already.
It occurs to you too late to wear a veil or a hood, something that could possibly conceal your identity, maybe reduce the number of gawking stares you get from your presence.
You jam the butt of your temporary spear into the dirt in front of a stout looking fighter wielding a pair of hammers.
“Do you need help with those sir?”
He looks you up and down. “The Bloody Princess.”
“I had other names before that one. Like Captain of the Royal Cavalry.” You spin your spear in obvious challenge, one the recruit accepts.
He yields rather quickly, but another takes his place, a woman with a bow who sticks you twice with blunted arrows before you can lay a finger on her.
She nods. “Thank you Princess.”
The two of you trade tips, and the soldier recommends to you Asgard’s best boyer when another soldier taps you on the shoulder asking you for a few bouts in the practice pitch sans weapons. He’s a larger man, big in the belly, he literally tosses you about before you thump your hand in the dirt in surrender.
You wouldn’t say you’ve made friends, rather just a handful of people you’ve traded blows with who will think a little harder about the rumors of your savagery that they’ll hear.
You stay until nightfall, long after the soldiers have gone for the day. You practice your spear forms, you practice your father’s dancing, spinning and twisting and flipping again and again until muscle memory takes over causing you to jam your blade in Loki’s face when he finds you.
“I searched the Palace for you.” He’s annoyed but he still smiles at you in his own Loki little way, where one corner of his mouth twitches and his eyes light up in the torchlight.
“Next time come here first.”
“You should be in bed, this isn’t how you heal.” He runs a finger down one of the tears in your armor where Lady Tarth split you open.
“I disagree.” You vault backwards, spinning your spear. “This is a better way to heal.”
He considers telling you of the day he had with the little filly, but he decides to keep her secret, knowing she wouldn’t want you to know she was sent home for the day for fighting. Or know that your reputation is starting to negatively affect her.
“Regardless of your silly notions of what the best medicine is, it is late, come to bed. Preferably with me.”
You shake your head. “Not tonight.”
He laughs, he’s not wounded. He’s surprised. “You resist me?” He steps closer a staff forming in his hands, “Do I need to wear you down first?”
He attacks, you parry, the two of you trade blows back and forth for a moment, nothing serious, you aren’t sparring for real. You toy with each other, tease and play.
“Enough Princess. Come to bed.”
“I meant what I said Loki. No. I want to stay for a little while longer.”
“And work yourself to further injury? Don’t be stupid, I know that’s hard for you horse girl but you’ve shown promise before.”
“You don’t take no for an answer do you?”
“Only if it’s coupled with ‘Don’t stop.’”
He’s pleased to see you bite your lip and break eye contact, shows your thinking about it. Him. And all the delightful pleasures he can bring you. But you sigh and twist away from him, bending your body into more formations, like you’re ignoring him.
“The horse girl is stubborn.”
“Determined.” You cry from the middle of a thrust. “Is a better word.”
“Why then. For what purpose!”
You come to rest panting, there’s a pain in your side, where Lady Tarth sliced across your ribs. You’re starting to accept it will always be there, an obstacle to you achieving your full power.
“You told me once what use is there calling anything mine if I can’t defend it. Do you remember that?”
He does. He nods.
“Back then you meant my dagger.” You produce it, make it dance across your fingers before you throw it, making it thud at his feet. “Now it means that, my kingdom, Se’risa’s life, my life.”
“Is your life in danger?”
He doesn’t like the way you laugh, it chills him. “It might be. They call me ‘The Bloody Princess’ now. I don’t know how many new enemies I’ve made. But I can think of at least two people who want me dead right now, who have already come very close to achieving their goal.”
“You are safe here now. You know that.”
“Aye, Yes for now. Anything I have is because your father grants it. What happens when he gets tired of being so generous?”
Loki shrugs. “As if my mother that would ever let that happen. She's loves you as much as I do.”
There's several beats of awkward silence, fringed with your heavy breathing and your thudding heart.
“What?” You’re staring at him, eyes wide like you’re going to start crying at any moment. “Don’t tell me you didn’t know. What happened to all that trust you’re supposed to have for me?”
You knew, or you hoped at least. Still doesn’t change how the words make you feel coming from his mouth with his voice, staring at you with his eyes. Like you could burst into flames or sprout wings and fly. Possibly both. Likely both. “It's...I've never heard you say it before.”
Your prince smirks at you, chiding you with his reply. “Technically I didn't.”
You drop your spear, it takes you two good strides to close the distance between you two and you hate yourself that it takes you that long. You need him, you’ve missed him, you show him with an inelegant and hungry kiss. Your lips smash together, almost painfully. When Loki yelps you seize the moment with his open mouth, pushing your tongue inside. Powerful.
I love you. You tell him.
I know, and I will protect you princess.
Can you? You ask. And for how long? Forever? Can you hide behind him forever? You have long lives, much much longer than the fabled mortals of Midgard. Can he shield you for several of their lifetimes? Do you even want him to?
He is reminded of Se’risa and how the slurs they call you won’t stop no matter what he does. So he’s honest. Heartbreakingly so. In a way he’s never been with anyone, not even himself, before. His love demands that he be this honest. You’re worth that. I can try.
You break your kiss even though it stings to do so.
You’re honest too. Heartbreakingly so. You touch your open palm to his cheek, your hands are dry and rough, calluses like tiny stones dotting your hand. “That’s not good enough anymore.” You hope he understands what you mean.
He does. It sinks like a stone in his gut, understanding makes him heavy. It doesn’t hurt, but he has a feeling it will.
“No. It's not.”