Loki still remembered the first time he put on skates and got on the ice rink, falling down every five minutes, his legs shaking, he would go as slow as possible and fall again. Bruised and ashamed, he wanted to leave but his father stopped him. 'Just go faster, don't think about falling, just let the ice lead you.' Loki pouted, it was impossible to keep his balance in the skates, the blades were thin and the ice slippery. 'Look at me, keep your eyes.' Loki took a deep breath and did as he was told. It felt amazing, almost like flying, the fear was still there but now dulled by the ecstatic feeling of the smooth glide. Although he didn't know how to stop, so earned some more bruises but he already decided- he wanted to be a professional.
With time, his legs stopped being so wobbly, he learnt how to relax and not think about all the possible injuries. No looking down, blocking distractions, there was only him and the ice. He loved the cold, the energy that filled him, he could do anything. Moving more and more fluidly, Loki worked on maintaining his balance, now even he tripped, he knew how to avoid smashing his bottom or knees against the ice. Tears, concussions, bruises, he threaten to sell his skates many times. He hated how much he loved them. He had to sacrifice his social life for skating, everything revolved around it. Once he started learning routines, he couldn't stop moving his body to the rhythm, on the subway or at school, he tried to do it as discretely as possible, tiny little movements, he couldn't wait to get on the ice again. It was an obsession, he pushed himself further and further, exercised more, till he felt boneless. Every moment he spent on doing something else was a waste of the precious time. He did squats several times a day, always feeling he could do more.
He loved the shows, that was what he lived for. The audience focused on him, Loki told himself they didn't wait for his mistakes. The pressure was overwhelming but it was his show, he could either fail or win. So he smiled, took long strokes and glided, his tight outfit and the make-up made him feel like a diva. The crowd cheered, they loved him and he craved their attention, bending and turning sinuously. He gave people what they wanted, rewarded by clapping and screams. It was a whole other world, skating, Loki didn't belong to that grey reality, sad ordinary people, no, he was weightless, flexible like a rubber, no fear, no limits. He would roll his hips and shake his shoulders, threw his head back, exposing his neck, he was seducing the audience, fulfilling their deepest, secret needs. They could watch but they would never be like him, not that graceful. He bent his knees well aware of the interesting view it provided, he was beyond shame. Spinning around, twisting and turning, Loki thought about the next move, lifting his leg high up, always something more complicated, the intoxicating sense of being admired fueled his imagination. He was unstoppable, unbreakable, he was in control. Slowly sliding his hands down his sides and hips, he was a lover and that was his love poem. The people desired him, his lean body and he kept gliding away from them, only to come back. Aloof, detached, that was his only way of belonging, of feeling some connection to others. He loved them, as much as they loved him.
Once, just once he allowed someone get closer. A well-built, tanned blond man, huge compared to Loki, they belonged to two different worlds, had nothing in common. For Loki, it was just another show, doing his best to be praised and cherished. He was looking at his legs dangling over Thor's shoulders, they met just because of those legs. He recalled that sight many, many times.
That night Thor was driving the car, Loki sitting next to him, chatting about his new routine. Thor nodded, as if he really listened and let his hand cup Loki's knee. Gentle stroking, now caressing the inner thigh, Loki giggled, 'Thor, stop, focus on the road.'
'You're a hell of a distraction,' Thor replied and looked at Loki lovingly. 'I was thinking we-'
Loki refused rehabilitation. He knew it was pointless, his career was over, he didn't want to waste time on exercising just to discover it was all in vain. Thor wept and apologised, over and over again, Loki didn't listen. He lost everything and realised he was empty, skating was his life and now he felt dead. He used to say he was going to sell his skates. He finally did.