Later, Sif will maintain that it was all his idea.
Later, Loki will remind her that she didn’t have to take him up on it.
Later, Sif will lift her chin and smirk, just a little, and say, no, I did not.
One day, back when they are young, back when her hair was still golden and he was still shooting up like a weed, Loki asks Sif what is wrong.
Clearly, it’s something – in training earlier, she’d been vicious, cruel, and yet somehow also so very stupid. Which isn’t like Sif at all; normally, she’s a pleasure to spar with, because she actually thinks. Sif dances with the blade like he does, in and out and constantly moving, unlike the other boys who seem to just stand there and hack at each other. But today she’d thrown herself into the sparring with a blindness that actually scared him. Worried him. Worried him for her, which is an unsettling idea in of itself.
“I’m not stupid,” she snaps at him, and she still has a sword in her hands so he backs up, hands in the air. It’s a training sword, but it’s still a solid piece of metal and she’s still glaring at him, perfectly furious.
“Poor choice of words,” he says, not as smooth as he’d like.
“Go away, Loki Odinson.”
“I’m thinking about it.”
“Oh, just leave me be!”
“-and deciding not to,” he says after a pause. “Sif-”
“I am not a child that you must worry about!”
Without his meaning to, his eyes drop to her breasts. And then, very quickly, they jerk back up to her face. Fortunately for his sake, she doesn’t notice. “I know, I never said you were.”
Suddenly, she…deflates, is the only word he can think of. From straight-backed and proud and brimming with anger to shoulders bowed and head down and all that anger collapsed to something smaller. He recognizes that something, too, that twisting of defeat and resignation and defiance not bright enough to be obvious. He’s felt it often enough to recognize it anywhere.
But he’d never expect bright, brilliant, fierce Sif to feel it.
“But that’s the problem,” she sighs, sliding her sword back in its sheathe. “I’m not a child. I’m a maiden.”
“Ah. Your parents?”
Sif nods, the movement stiff as if she were a statue only recently gifted with life. Loki hesitates, and then he says, “Come with me?”
Asks, rather. Not says.
But she nods again, the movement smoother, and says, “Yes.”
Loki takes her to one of the little glades he found; it’s sheltered, protected, hidden and thus safe. Sif throws herself to the ground, hauls off her boots, rolls up her trousers and dangles her feet in the pool almost defiantly.
He’s slower to follow, but follow he does.
“Are, uh, are your parents-”
“Yes!” She says, and he doesn’t even mind that she didn’t let him finish. “I do not wish to speak ill of them, but-”
“I will, then. They are idiots.”
“I outrank them, so I can say so,” he informs her with all the (considerable) haughtiness he can muster, and she just giggles. Then she bites her bottom lip, hunches in on herself again.
“I understand their reasoning, but I…I’m good at the sword. I’m good at fighting, at…I could be a warrior. No,” she amends, “I could be an excellent warrior, I know it. I can best everyone else, including Thor. But they say I’m…they say that I am too serious about it, that I know enough to defend myself and that I should stop. I don’t want to stop! I want to defend Asgard, not just myself.”
He watches the play of emotions over her face, over his friend’s face, because that’s what she is, for all it sometimes seems so odd.
“And,” Sif continues, “and…I am so worried, Loki, that they might try and…and marry me off-“
“Marry?” She looks startled at his outburst, and he’s still young enough that he flushes. “No offence meant, Sif, it’s just-”
“I took none. Anyone who would marry me, they would not court me for me. Just for any influence they might gain…You know how it goes.”
“Yes. But they’d be fools. I mean, uh,” he falters under her gaze. “It doesn’t matter.”
“But it does,” Sif says, and she’s looking at him like she does when they are sparring, all focused and intent and trying to read his thoughts.
Loki really doesn’t want her reading his thoughts right now.
“What do you think you might do?” He says, both because it’s more productive and because it will be a distraction.
“I don’t know. Thor said that once I prove myself, it will be enough, but I can’t prove myself if they forbid me to train in the first place!”
“You could disobey-”
“Mother,” Sif says, “would ask for my word.” And that would be that. Even Loki, who likes to play fast and loose with the truth, knows that.
“You could…” He wants to help, both for her sake and for his. She’s his only true friend besides Thor (and brothers don’t count), and he doesn’t really want to be stuck not sparring with her, ever again. He’d never get any practice at fighting someone intelligent if her parents forbade her, married her off to some fool who didn’t deserve her. “Unless…you convinced them that you couldn’t be married.”
“And how am I supposed to do that, then?” she asks him, tartly. “I am not so unfeeling that I could make an oath never to marry.”
“Maybe, maybe if they thought you not a maiden, Sif-don’t-hit-me.”
“I’m not going to hit you unless you start explaining yourself.” She sounds cross, but she gives no sign that she’s about to punch him. “Not a maiden? You mean, convince them that I have…That I have already given it away?”
She’s red, but then again, so is he.
“Yes, all you would have to do is cut your hair, most likely,” Loki says, quickly, but she’s got that narrow-eyed, intense look about her again, the look that reminds him of sparring, of dancing in and out and searching for an opening.
“That,” she says, slowly, “would be dishonest. I think I would have to do it all properly.”
“Oh, well, properly,” he says, suddenly feeling hot and cross and ridiculous. “You could get Thor to help with that, he’s been getting enough practice.”
“Ugh,” says Sif, which takes him longer than it should to actually understand. “Thor? He is like my brother.”
Loki crosses his arms defensively. If Thor is like a brother, than he’s got no hope. Not that he had any hope. Of course not. That would be most foolish, (particularly given Sif’s actual brother) and he really wishes she’d stop looking at him like that. Heimdall would enjoy killing him if Loki did anything with Heimdall’s half-sister.
Sif nods slightly to herself, moistens her lips (because that isn’t distracting at all), and leans closer. She’s slow enough that he could pull back, that he has some idea of what she’s doing, but he can’t move. Sif wouldn’t kiss him, don’t be absurd.
He doesn’t believe it until her mouth is firmly pressed against his, with her hand lightly and awkwardly against his jaw. This is not his first kiss – nor hers, he suspects – but he’s startled enough that he doesn’t respond. Not, that is, until she starts to pull back, frowning with disappointment. Disappointment, not the embarrassed giggles of Freydis or the-
Disappointment. Disappointment that he didn’t kiss her back.
Barely half a second after that thought flashes across his mind, Loki reaches out and pulls her back towards him. He’s quick, just a bit rough, and so their mouths don’t exactly line up. He really doesn’t think he cares, not with the way she made that sound she just did, not with the way she’s kissing him back just as rough and eager and hungry.
Sif is kissing him. Kissing him back. She’d even kissed him first.
His feet are getting cold in the water, and once she pushes him down (still kissing him all the while) the ground is hard under him, but Loki really doesn’t care.
Sif is kissing him. Bright, brilliant, fierce Sif, who is kissing him and letting him run his hands over her, just like he’s wanted for longer than he cares to admit. Up her arms, down over breasts, torso, back, waist, hips, arse and back again, pulling her closer, closer. These clothes are really getting in the way, and she’s clearly thinking the same thing. Sif fumbles with his belt, managing to slide it off so she can pull his tunic up, run her blunt nails over his skin, and Loki decides that he really doesn’t care what Heimdall will do to him should he ever find out about this.
It’ll be worth it.
“I think we should do that again,” Sif says, not very much later. She’s still out of breath, still sprawled out over him with mostly sweat-slick skin sticking to mostly sweat-slick skin.
“Again?” He understands the word, he’s just not sure that he understands either her motivation or his luck.
“Because the kissing was more fun. I’m not sure that the kissing is supposed to be more fun.”
“It…was still fun,” Loki says, cautiously.
“Well, yes,” Sif says, rolling her eyes. “That is why I want to do it again.”
“With me? Ow! What was that for?”
She glares at him, finger still poised to jab. “Of course with you, idiot. Who else?”
“…unless you don’t want to,” she says, slowly, sitting up and crossing her arms over her chest.
“No, don’t-” He’s also sitting up now, hand outstretched before he snatches it back. “I want to,” he says, wondering why exactly he’s getting so tongue-tied. Then he remembers just how it felt, with her on him, pressing herself against him, pressing herself around him once she’d managed to slide him in without wincing. And he’d never, he’d never- well, he’d just been kissed before, nothing else.
Maybe with practice he wouldn’t feel so unable to utter an intelligent sentence.
“I want,” he says, and stops. “I want you. Again.” Always.
(But it’s more than just her, it’s a question of, a question of…It’s because she’s seen him come utterly undone, open and vulnerable, and he needs to see her let go like that, too, just to make everything even again)
Sif smiles at him, slowly and shyly and brilliantly. “Good,” she says, and leans closer to kiss him.
Later still, she gets him to cut her hair with his dagger. When it grows back, it’s dark as night and – he thinks – suits her far better than her golden locks.
Later still, she approaches him again, somewhere quiet, and kisses him again, and this time they’ll end up in his room, with an actual bed.
Later still, he decides that this is fun, that he adores her, but he will also decide that he can’t ever imagine opening himself up like this to anyone but her.