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When Loki started falling short of the standard that Thor set during weapons practice and sparring sessions, he knew that there would be consequences to deal with: Odin, as All-Father and King, had a certain type of perception that he needed to keep with the general population and court of himself and the royal family. Thor succeeding kept with the image that their father wanted to promote and spread. Loki falling behind, stumbling over every hurdle that his older brother managed to surpass easily…? Brought doubt and concern and increased scrutiny to the family and how Odin ruled both as King and father.

What Loki hadn’t expected, however, was the fact that Odin had cancelled any and all of the prince’s magic lessons.

“Women’s work,” the one-eyed man had said, voice flat as he dismissed Loki’s teacher. Disregarding the fact, as well, that he knew magic—was known throughout the Nine Realms for both his prowess in battle and his ability to wield the power that thrummed through the universe. “You’ll be a warrior, Loki, and strong like your brother, a prince for the people to be proud of and to place their faith in—or you’ll be nothing at all.”

The statement had been enough to drop the bottom from the teen’s stomach, horror and an expansive sort of emptiness stretching out before him—no magic? no chance of being able to explore the wildfire inferno that burned within him?—but words caught themselves up in the tangled, strangling mess his throat had become… and the silver-tongued prince remained silent as his father turned and left his personal suite of rooms.

Despair curled around the green-eyed teen’s heart, but… perhaps Odin would relent and let Loki resume his lessons?

**

Three years later, and Loki was still denied his magic lessons despite his improvement during weapons practice.

**

The book had been furtively smuggled into his rooms from the royal library. It had been something that Loki had done multiple times over the past several years: with no teacher to learn from and his mother forbidden from showing him things, the only outlet that was thus left to the younger prince was thievery and teaching himself magic in secret, during the dead of night when most of the palace—and Asgard beyond its well-defended walls—was asleep.

Waiting until the midnight hour had come and gone long before, Loki closed all of the windows in his bedroom and sitting room, sealing cracks and openings so that no peeking light would give himself away. Safe now in the deepest darkness, the moss-eyed mage lit the candles in his sitting room and made himself comfortable upon the dark fabric of his settee; sprawling and lazy, relaxed and confident in the fact that he had managed to get away with his burglary, Loki caressed pale fingers over his new text’s spine before flipping through the pages.

This time around, the younger prince had managed to steal a book on summoning: a subject that he should have been well-versed in by now, but… well.

And perhaps he should have started at the beginning of the text—especially since the green-eyed mage-in-training knew better than that, even without having an actual teacher—but the excitement of managing to steal away a new text and getting to learn something new… the caution that was normally so ingrained within himself was dismissed, at least for a little while, so that Loki could flip past pages and pages, skipping whole sections as his bright, curious gaze skimmed over the pages he did linger on.

It wasn’t a surprise, then, when Loki’s attention was caught and held by the section that discussed summoning certain types of Beyonders—others from various dimensions, those who would impart their knowledge to the ones that summoned them. For a price, true enough, but—still, additional knowledge that the teen wouldn’t have otherwise had access to, even through the royal library.

The prince lingered over the passage for a bit longer, fingers tracing over the instructions for the ritual needed for the summoning—steps to take, words to say, ingredients, and runic designs: a pseudo recipe for something that would yield far more satisfying results than mere food.

Loki caught his lower lip between his teeth, chewing on it with teeth that were perhaps a bit sharper than they normally should have been—shaky control over his shapeshifting being an unfortunate side-effect of his lack of magic lessons—and the dark-haired teen narrowed his eyes as he considered: his options were few enough as it was, limited further by the fact that anything the would-be mage wanted to learn, he had to do so on his own and in secret. It was unlikely that Odin would be repealing his decree anytime soon, which… left Loki very much scrambling for any and all learning opportunities.

Being able to summon a potential tutor, making exchanges for the other’s services…

It was an appealing system, especially since Loki would soon enough be approaching subjects that would need to be supervised and he would need a mentor in.

The prince wavered for a moment or two longer—

“Damn you for denying me this, Father,” the jade-eyed prince finally hissed out angrily and pushed himself up and off of the settee to head towards the small stash of spell supplies he had managed to keep squirreled away and hidden from the servants who came in to clean his rooms.

Soon enough—

Sigils and runes were scrawled across the stonework of his floors in chalk, designs meticulously copied from the text—knowing enough about this, despite his lack of tutors, that any small deviation from the intended design would have… very poor consequences, indeed. Next, Loki gathered together the various herbs that the ritual required, burning them, setting them ablaze, just enough to create the silvery, smoky haze that soon enough filled his sitting room with the scent of wet and growing things.

The would-be mage glanced over his set-up, gaze sharply assessing as he checked and double-checked details with the text that remained open next to one leather-clad thigh. It… looked like everything was in order, but… Loki still had the niggling, lizardbrain notion that something was still—off. Missing. Caution made itself a heavy weight within the bottom of his stomach, dread lingering around his heart and lungs—pressing down and hard and constant—but desperation, too, was a motivator for Loki… and he wanted. So very, very much.

It was the desperation that burrowed itself deep within his chest that finally had the prince opening his mouth to speak the words of Power.

The air trembled around him, shuddering as the syllables rang out, ringing throughout the small, enclosed space and leaving the green-eyed prince temporarily deaf; Loki cried out in pain, hands coming up to clap over his ears and ignoring the blood that immediately began trickling out from between his pale fingers, painting his skin in vivid streams of crimson.

The castle rocked on its foundations, setting off alarms throughout the palace and the city beyond: light flared over buildings as people shot up in their beds, disoriented and more than half asleep as they stumbled to doors and windows to see what had happened.

Loki knelt next to the sigils that took up the majority of his sitting room’s floor, keening quietly in agony as hearing slowly began to return to him—bit by bit, tinning overtaking nearly all sound and leaving him floundering at the lack of one of his necessary senses.

A tanned hand reached out just then, cupping over the blooded plane of Loki’s cheek—brushing over the arch of a cheekbone, even as the prince flinched away in surprise, expression naked and confused as the teen looked up to meet a pair of burning, mead-hued eyes.

The man grinned at Loki, the curve of his smile sharp and predatory, baring delicately pointed canines, and murmured, “Hello there, lítill hripuðr.”

The would-be mage’s eyes widened.

**

Loki sat, cross-legged and silent, as he watched the Other prowl through his rooms, glancing over the prince’s belongings with a curious, distant gaze. After his sudden appearance—and the so-called greeting—the man had pulled away and instead directed his attention towards he rooms that he had arrived in.

The Other’s hands skimmed over Loki’s things, gaze curious but not greedy, and he handled each of the prince’s belongings with certain care; if it had been anyone else—and, perhaps, if fear did not linger so strongly within the teen’s chest—Loki might have been up in arms over the familiar, almost entitled way that the man went through his things. But…

But.

The prince remained silent, tongue stilled.

It came as a surprise to the would-be mage—though he should have known better, truly—when the Other finally came across the hidden magic texts and supplies that Loki had squirreled away in his rooms. The man lingered for a moment or two as he set aside the various herbs and grinding tools that Loki had stolen from the kitchens: he gave a low, thoughtful noise in the back of his throat as the man fingered the small selection of stolen plants, but it was the way that his gaze sharpened and went hellfire bright as they settled on the prince’s too-small collection of books.

“You’ve been trying to learn magic,” the Other commented idly as he rifled through Loki’s tiny library of texts, picking up a book occasionally to eye the title thoughtfully.

“Yes.”

There was no point in trying to lie or attempting to hide what he was doing: the evidence was all there, scattered around the man like the detritus of a would-be life… and it stung the prince to have to admit the truth, especially when his lies had managed to keep him safe and from his father’s sight for so long already. But—so, too, did Loki realize that attempting to lie in this particular case would be… unwise. Especially when he, an untrained mage, could sense the power that rolled off of the stranger, echoing in the dark-haired teen’s marrow.

The Other’s head tilted to the side, honeyed eyes sharpening as he returned to the now-silent assessment of the books that Loki had managed to steal from his family’s library. It did not take long, however, before the man pushed them away with a dismissive gesture: the pile was small, and it ached for Loki to acknowledge that fact—even if it was only to himself.

Before the prince could open his mouth to offer a form of protest for the way that the man handled his books—the teen’s only texts—the Other glanced up and caught Loki’s gaze with his own burning one. Another shift, and the man’s mouth curled upwards in a fox-like grin, sly with cunning and hunger. The dark-haired boy’s words caught again, suddenly unsure, and Loki curled his pale fingers over the leather that stretched across his thighs. “Would you like to have an actual teacher, princeling—no longer stumbling your way through books you only partially understand?”

“Yes,” Loki breathed, longing and desperation and need surging up from deep within, where he had buried his magic and hidden it from Odin’s view three years before. “Yes. I want a teacher, I want to learn, my magic can’t be silenced—but. My father forbade me from learning, saying that his sons would be warriors. Not mages.”

The Other’s smile deepened at that particular statement, expression turning alien and terrifying as his eyes flared brighter and the goatee framing his mouth turned the angles of his face harsher and foreign, wrong in the sorts of ways that left Loki feeling unsettled and afraid. “Don’t worry about that, lítill hripuðr. Óðinn the Wanderer just needs to be reminded of his own past.”

He winked at Loki and then disappeared in a sudden upsurge of darkness, shadowed malice brought to life.

When the prince could no longer sense the Other’s presence, he sighed and dropped his head into his waiting hands—rubbing tiredly at closed eyes while wondering what was to come the next day. Unease was prevalent, as was fear, but if Loki chose to be honest with himself… curiosity lingered at the edges, as well. Regardless, though, there was one thing that was certain: He was going to be in so, so much trouble.

(He would not admit it aloud, but here and now, in the dead of night… Loki was afraid of what dawn would bring.)

**

The following morning, after Loki, his family, and the rest of the court had broken their fast in the Great Hall, the teen had followed after his parents and older brother towards the throne room, keeping a way green eye out for unexpected… visitors. Finding that unexpected visitor perched on Odin’s throne when the guards pushed open the doors to the main hall… that Loki hadn’t been expecting. The younger prince’s breath caught in his throat, eyes widening to the point that white showed all around his jade-rich irises, and it was terrifying to see just how immediately the King’s face purpled in rage.

“How dare you, you insolent—“ the All-Father snarled as he began to stalk closer towards the throne and stranger both.

The Other glanced up at the incoming King, eyebrows lifting high upon his forehead even as he swung a leg from around the arm of the throne, sitting up to face Odin’s wrath neutrally: no weapon in sight except for a small, bladed smile to curl his mouth upwards.

“I dare because you have forgotten the details to your own origins, Óðinn the Hypocrite,” the stranger drawled lightly, settling back into the expansive seat to cross his legs over one another. He was regal, untouchable and gleaming with fire and metal, and his mahogany eyes were suddenly so very, very cold.

Both accusation and the look in the other man’s gaze brought Odin to an abrupt, sudden stop, and the King paused to actually look the stranger over more thoroughly—rage’s hue fading from his face quickly, startling so, to leave him suddenly pale, skin gray-tinged and shaking. “Explain yourself,” Odin still snapped and straightened in an attempt to appear as calm and as untouchable as ever.

The Other’s smile deepened at the order.

“When you hung yourself from Yggdrasil for nine days and nights in search of knowledge just beyond your reach, Mephisto and Dormammu considered your sacrifice trivial. They turned away from you and returned their attention to their own affairs. But not all of the Others, beings from alternate dimensions that you sought knowledge from, dismissed your plea. Teach me, you begged. Show me how to use the runes—how to make the Odin Force mine to command. Do you remember, Odin? You bled for nine days and nights like a stuck pig, suffering and nearly dead before I finally deigned to impart some of my knowledge to you.”

Odin swayed at the man’s words, shifting to brace his weight against Gungnir to keep his knees from buckling and giving out beneath him.

“Antonius,” the All-Father whispered, gaze once more lifting to meet the Other’s.

The sight and finally being appropriately named made the hellfire lingering in the stranger’s eyes flare brighter, grin widening to once again show the delicate points of his canines. “Excellent. You do remember me, Odin.”

Centuries seemed to settle upon the All-Father’s shoulders and he sagged beneath their weight. “Of course I remember you,” he murmured, tired and somehow resigned in word and gesture. “The Merchant of Death is impossible to forget, no matter how—long it has been since I last set eyes on you.”

Antonius lifted a shoulder in a careless shrug at that particular statement, dismissive of Odin’s comment: more interested in how the conversation would be proceeding from this point forward. “Then if you remember me, you’d also remember all that you were willing to sacrifice at that time; you were always a competent warrior, Odin, but it wasn’t just prowess in battle you wanted: knowledge to wield magic, to turn the universe on its head at your command. Yet, despite everything you were willing to throw away to me to obtain that, you deny that same knowledge from your youngest son?”

The King whirled around at the Other’s rhetorical question, cloak flaring out like a bird’s wings around his legs, blue eye blazing with such wrath as he met Loki’s gaze that the teen took a step back, afraid of his father as he had never before been so: there was pain to come promised in that eye, and the youngest prince trembled in fear.

“I claim the price set to you, Odin the Hypocrite,” Antonius called out before the All-Father could make a single step towards his disobedient son. “Loki Silvered-Tongue is mine to teach as I will.”

Odin’s gaze turned shrewd and assessing at the casually stated order, and he glanced up at the Other, the demon, that still reclined easily upon his throne. “The demand for repayment isn’t valid unless you use my son’s full name—not the nickname that the courtiers have attached to him.”

Antonius’ smile shifted to razor-thin sharpness, and he tilted his head to the side in an alien, otherness gesture. “Loki Silvered-Tongue is a true enough name to claim him by. But should you wish for me to be proper, Odin Börson…” the man trailed off, threat more than evident in the hint of using Odin’s full name: should the King press the issue, it wouldn’t be his name that preceded the –son for Loki.

“…why are you doing this, Merchant of Death?”

The gleam in the Other’s eyes darkened, turned endless with intent and pleased manipulations as he plucked the strings to the universe, making them sing to his own, private tune. Antonius did not answer the King, however: the shadows once more broke from every corner of the throne room, converging upon the demon and swallowing him suddenly, completely whole.

He was gone.

But not before a barely-heard whisper brushed against the shell of Odin’s ear: “Ragnarök.”

**

If Loki was to be completely honest, he would need to admit the fact that he had become… smitten… of his new teacher—the truth told to himself, if not to anyone else.

There was a certain weightless feeling that accompanied the freedom to learn magic in the open, and the gratitude for his new teacher that paired and entwined with that sensation of soaring left the prince feeling both off-balance and strangely craving more from the older man.

Five months under Antonius’ tutelage, and the teenage prince found himself wanting to do something—unwise.

The Other’s weight was a steady heat against Loki’s back as the man leaned over a shoulder, calloused, tanned hands gesturing towards a passage in the would-be-mage’s newest text: a soothing shroud of words to surround him, explanations and lectures given in a level of detail that oftentimes left Loki feeling dizzy and wondrous with the power that was still hidden within him. So much to learn, so much to understand and do, such magic that was his and his alone…

Antonius leaned further over the teen’s side, turning the text’s page to proceed to the next part of the lesson that the Other had outlined and prepared for; but Loki’s attention had strayed by this point, narrowing to a razor-sharp focus upon considerations and wants that had been niggling at the outskirts of his mind for months now…

He glanced upwards, moss-dark gaze settling upon features that had become so familiar to him, and it was finally the covetous desire for more, greedy and selfish in keeping this for himself, as well, that had the prince tilting his head the slightest bit more up to press his lips against the edge of Antonius’ goatee. Loki lingered there for a moment, for two, soaking in the sensation of prickling facial hair against the softness of his mouth—but eventually dipped his head just enough to scrape his teeth possessively over Antonius’ jawline.

The older man stilled at the hungry touch, dark eyes flickering downwards to meet Loki’s own. He remained silent for the beat of a heart, expression blank as he weighed and assessed and considered the teen before him. “Be careful of the game you want to play, poppet,” Antonius finally murmured, mouth quirking lopsidedly in a indecipherable smirk. “You don’t want to burn yourself.”

--which wasn’t a no.

Jade-green eyes blazed in triumph at the other’s words, and Loki snapped his fingers to bring a flickering wildfire to life in the palm of his hand. “You always call me lítill hripuðr,” the princeling pointed out, “I like burning myself.”

Antonius laughed at that, dark and amused, and lifted a hand of his own to bury in Loki’s dark hair: fisting the silky strands between his fingers to keep the fledgling mage still, the demon pulled back enough to tilt the teen’s face upwards even further, baring the vulnerable line of a pale throat, and caged the teen within his chair as Antonius sealed his mouth over Loki’s.

The kiss took and gave, slick with heat and the unstoppable, addicting feeling of being plundered and invaded: there was no halting this particular force, even as Antonius coaxed Loki’s lips to part, deepening the intimacy until the mage sparked and flared and burned for the older man’s touch. He moaned against the demon’s mouth, fingers kneading against a solid chest, and pulled Antonius closer against him—only wanting more, everything: let him be consumed and set alight.

**

The prince keened at the sensation of Antonius’ cock breaching him for the first time: so very different, so much fuller and thicker, than the fingers that had previously been playing his body with an expertise that should have normally been terrifying to consider. Loki’s spine arched with the feeling of the invasion as the older man sheathed himself within the teen’s clutching heat inch by inch, and Loki reached up to brace his hands against his bed’s headboard to keep from sliding any farther upwards: bracing himself, as well, to push down and onto Antonius’ languid thrust.

He shuddered out a breath at the realization that, before, he never would have felt the ache of being empty—but with the solid weight of Antonius’ cock filling him, spreading him, burying deep until the defined edges of his hipbones pressed against the curve of Loki’s ass… it came with an awareness that this--connection, intimacy, addiction--would be the only thing that would ever make the mage feel complete going forward.

Loki laughed, breathless and wild and reckless in his pleasure, at the acknowledgement of the fact that the demon caging him in had already ruined him for any other, and then he hitched his leg up high, pressing the ball of a foot against the small of Antonius’ back. “Wreck me,” he ordered, green gaze bright with sex magic and desire for the Other. “Fuck me until I scream. Make me burn for you—now, always.”

Antonius’ mouth curled upwards, grin predatory and wicked and hungry, and he settled his weight more thoroughly over the princeling to brush his lips against the delicate shell of a pale ear. “With such words coming out of that mouth of yours,” the demon murmured quietly, pulling his hips back just enough so that only the head of his cock remained within the would-be-mage’s body; Loki moaned in desolation at the loss and the emptiness that hollowed him from the inside out, “Silvered-Tongue will become a nickname that only I will ever know the true meaning of, lítill hripuðr.”

The demon stilled himself, hovering over the prince, and Loki gasped in desperation as he shifted beneath Antonius’ bulk to try to ride down onto the man’s cock, svelte body undulating in rough gestures as desperation and need piqued and the prince needed—more.

Loki snarled in frustrated denial—desire unfulfilled—as the Other purposefully kept himself just barely out of the mageling’s reach; no amount of wriggling, arching, rocking back, or desperate holds upon the older man granted Loki what he most wanted, and that furious growl eventually shifted into a low sob as the empty ache within him grew and throbbed in a need to be full once more.

“Antonius, please. Please. Fuck me. Please. Pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease--“

The litany bled and merged into itself, the words reedy with need and arousal, and Loki brought a hand up to gently stroke his fingers over the geometric design that made up the demon’s goatee, petting down to lightly scratch along the edge of a sharp jawline:

Egging Antonius on, each gesture and touch aimed at garnering a reaction from the man.

Antonius caught Loki’s index and middle fingers between his teeth, keeping them captive even as his hips surged forward and his cock once more sheathed itself within the tight heat of the princeling’s body. The teen’s fingers and toes curled at the sensation of once more being completely filled, and his body bowed upwards once more as a hoarse cry slipping past his now-parted lips.

Again. And again. And again.

And again.

Magic sparked, blazed to life, spiraled itself into a frenzy, and flared itself into a wildfire--

--until Loki was finally driven relentlessly towards his climax, vision spotting with white and black motes as he orgasmed, body curling in towards the encompassing, overwhelming presence of Antonius above him. The green-eyed teen came with a cry, almost shocked in how thoroughly he was taken over by his climax: pleasure peaked, coiling spring finally released, and his body spasmed and tightened around Antonius’ in an attempt to milk the Other of his own climax.

The older man drew away from Loki when the prince was nothing more than a gasping, heavy-lidded and languid mess, limbs numb and body boneless compared to before: he panted for air, watching from beneath velvet-thick lashes as Antonius settled back on his haunches, grasping with tanned hands over the mage’s hips to use Loki’s satiated body to chase his own pleasure.

There was something utterly satisfying and decadent in basking over how he had come cooling over his belly, limbs still faintly trembling in the aftermath of his orgasm, laying back to watch the visual of Antonius griping him tightly to draw Loki up and onto each and every one of the Other’s thrusts: to listen, as well, to the steady slapslaspslap of the demon’s hips connecting with the curve of the mage’s ass each time he sheathed himself. It was enough to make Loki’s breath stutter out, interest faintly stirring even as he spread his legs just a little bit more in carnal welcome.

Antonius’ eyes finally opened to meet Loki’s own, and the normally dark gaze burned with balefire, all-consuming and greedy in its relentless, eternal hunger. The mage smiled, slow and fox-light, at the sight and shifted just enough within the demon’s hold to hook a leg over the Other’s side, pressing a heel to the small of Antonius’ back to coax the man into pushing deep.

“Come, Antonius,” the prince purred with jade-green eyes at half-mast. “Find your climax and fill me with your seed—set the kindling to burning.”

The demon’s answering laugh was dark and wicked in turn, but he still dragged Loki’s languid body more thoroughly onto his lap as he thrust forward for the last and final time, burying himself completely within the mage’s willing and eager body, possessive flaring to life as the teen once more wrapped his legs around Antonius’ waist to keep him caught and deep even as the Other climaxed within him.

The magic that had been building between them—sex magic at its root and heart—supernovad the moment that Antonius found his own orgasm, and Loki’s eyes went neon, acid-green in hue as power slammed through the teen before exploding outwards to illuminate the various ley lines that threaded through his rooms.

“…oh. Oh,” the mage breathed in awe as a nearly-sightless gaze searched his rooms, taking in the telluric sight bared to him from the overload of magic: eyes tracked along the various connections, following them back to where they stitched themselves back on to the World Tree—drinking in the knowledge spread out before him even as the magic left Loki in a sudden outpouring; the teen’s eyes rolled towards the back of his head as he promptly passed out, body slumping beneath Antonius.

**

It was hours past midnight—paralleled enough in time from when the mageling had originally accidentally summoned him—and Antonius was lost in absent thought. The teen was possessively sprawled over the Other’s chest, face pressed against the crook of the demon’s throat. He could feel the steady, regular breaths that expanded and contracted Loki’s chest, the quiet murmurs that slipped past his parted lips even as the teen cuddled closer still and greedy in his unconscious demand for skin-on-skin touch.

Antonius trailed the barest tips of his fingers along the knobbed line of Loki’s spine, easing past the small of the teen’s back to slip a finger once more into the still-slick heat of his body; tacky liquid slowly trickled from his stretched entrance, and Antonius idly pushed some of it back within the princeling before letting his fingers linger for a moment or two longer—enough to cause Loki to stir against him, to scrape teeth over the demon’s collarbone hard enough to leave behind marks in retaliation for being awoken in such a way.

It was—odd.

Mephisto and Dormammu had their own cults, their own courts and acolytes that bowed and scrapped for attention and power of their own before the two other beings. Antonius had never felt such an urge to create a following of his own: he had always preferred to work from the shadows, to be the lone force as he wreaked his own form of disaster—of chaos and destruction—throughout the universe and across time.

Yet, with this not-yet-grown boy, Antonius finally felt the first stirrings of… companionship, especially with knowing who and what Loki would eventually grow to be. Loki, the God of Magic and of Fire. Loki, the Liesmith and Wielder of Chaos. Loki the Trickster God. Loki, the Herald of Ragnarök. The teen’s future was not yet set in stone… but, with how drawn he had been to Antonius from the very start… it was incredibly unlikely that it would actually deviate from what had been foretold to the Other by the Norns.

So: not a court or an acolyte, but perhaps a partner to bask in the gradual, relentless entropy that made up the foundational core of the universe itself—who understood Antonius’ unchanging nature and could match him in kind.

The demon eventually smiled at that last, particular thought, and he knew that his expression was terrifying as the eldritch monster he truly was peeked through along the stitching of his mask, his person suit that he normally donned and wore so incredibly well. Loki glanced up just then as the teen felt Antonius stirring beneath his sprawled limbs, green eyes already lit up from within with magic, and Antonius’ smile spread wider, stitches of his person suit unraveling at the seams, as he rolled the mageling onto his back and once more took Loki’s mouth in a searing kiss.

--together, a matched pair.

::fin::