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A Courtship

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"Thor," Sif asked. "What is the protocol for making a person your possession?"

Loki didn't look up from his grimoire. They always forgot about his presence when he read. Years of ignoring him as he followed them on their quests had left a mark. Before it was because he was annoying. Now that they were of age, they claimed it was because he was but a child. It annoyed him but at least it gave him an excuse for his tricks.

He heard a slap, which he mused to be Thor slapping his own knee in delight. "I would bring her kills and treasure until she let me bed her. What better way to show your devotion than prove your worth as a warrior."

Oddly, Loki did not remember this information when it really mattered.

 

Two days from then, Sif dragged one of the great wolves of Jotunheim in front of him, bound alive, and slit its throat right in front of Loki. The blood splashed all down Loki's clothes, face, and in the pages of the scroll he was reading.

Loki stared at her in horror. He tried to speak only to discover the blood was in his mouth. He spat the contents of his mouth, then retched his morning meal.

Sif stepped back, suddenly less fierce than she had been before. "I am a very good hunter," she said, enunciating with great clarity before walking out of his chambers.

Loki was still trying to magic the blood out of his clothes when Thor found him. "That madwoman friend of yours did this," he said, flipping through the grimoires. "I can't find a single incantation strong enough to remove the blood without destroying clothes as well."

"Brother, how do you manage to incur such wrath in others?" Thor looked genuinely perplexed. Loki found it fascinating. It was as if Thor didn't comprehend that his brother was the same person who nearly killed Baldur in an erotic asphyxiation game that had been recorded and sent to Baldur's parents. That vengeance scheme made him famous in nine realms, although the story changed with each telling, and it was as if Thor honestly could not comprehend that Loki Odinsson and his brother were the same person.

"I think she means to kill me." Loki said. He wouldn't be surprised if she did. She would hardly be the first to try, though she was certainly the first who could unnerve him.

Blood. On his notations.

It turned into a terribly unnerving habit. Loki would be at his studies and Sif would enter his chambers, murder some great beast, and ruin his days work. He tried working in different rooms and using illusion spells to hide himself until he went nearly mad with her ability to track him.

"I'm a warrior. If I can not hope to find a Prince in his own kingdom, I would not be fit for combat," she said, folding her arms over her breastplate. "It helps that Thor is quick to betray your location."

Loki pressed a hand to his forehead. Even across the city, Thor could manage to provide him with a headache. "I see." he said. "You no longer need to illustrate your point. I understand your message very clearly." Sif was going to try and murder him and this was her unnerving method of declaring her claim on his head. Even the dwarves were not so upsetting as this.

Sif's entire body transformed from one of wary tension to over-bounding joy. "You do?" She grinned so widely that Loki felt rather hurt. He knew he wasn't the easiest child to get along with, but had their years of play together meant so little? Could she truly receive so much joy in his death at her hands?

"Yes, and I would prefer it if you would cease this brutality," he gave the unicorn a distasteful look. "Although, I do admire your skill at defeating one of these brutal murderers. The last unicorn loose in Asgard killed five dozen of our people." It was actually rather frightening to learn that such a warrior would thirst for his blood. Frightening and entertaining.

The suggestion turned Sif's grin back into a scowl. She dropped her bloody knife on the floor and placed both her hands on her hips. "What else am I to bring you then?"

Loki pressed his fingers against his temples. Sif was making his headache even worse. At this rate, he would have to seek a healer. "Well, I have always been fond of treasure," he said sarcastically. "If you must resort to weaponry, at least have it befit a man of my station." God, he could imagine the wagging tongues if he was murdered in his bed with a common butcher knife. It would be an unbearable insult.

This comment cheered Sif greatly and she was practically skipping when she left him. Loki was rather pleased that this time the blood splatter had missed his notes entirely until he found that the corpse has leaked it's refuse on to his shoes.

 

He did not see Sif for several days. It made him nervous. He had become accustomed to finding strands of her long hair lying about the room and to the near daily butchering of asgard-killing beasts. When he asked Thor of the matter, Thor told him she had gone to the dwarves for some quest.

"Ah," Loki said and did not investigate further. He did not want to remind the dwaves of the incident with his neck, especially when there was no guarantee he would survive such madness twice.

He saw Sif again in two months time. He walked into the shared family chambers to discover Thor with the Blunders Three, laughing loudly at Sif's tale. She stopped speaking when she caught sight of him and stood as he stepped back from the doors. "Loki, come join-" she startled, but he closed the doors after himself.

If she couldn't even give him the dignity of an assassination attempt with her return, then she had no business asking for his company. Loki was not one to be ignored.

He broke into her chambers and reduced her second-best, third-best, and fourth-best armor to rust. He also took her best spear with him and then her destroyed her best axe. The axe had less to do with vengeance and more to do with saving the world from gazing at something so hideous.

 

She found him at the feast table with the other young warriors and maidens of the Royal Court. She tried to catch his attention but he made sure to behave complete enraptured in Volstagg's thousandth retelling of that time he thought he got to third base with Sigyn only to discover it was all a dream. She carried a sack over her shoulder. Knowing Sif, Loiki assumed it would be some kind of gift to entertain his brother and a thoughtless trinket for himself. He loathed her formalities.

Sif hissed his name again but he waved her off until she went around the table to the seat across from him. Lorelei let a shriek of outrage when Sif yanked her out of the chair but made no effort to retake her seat. Now this behavior was far more to his liking.

Normally, Sif was so poised. Her blue eyes and her dark locks were so perfect. It was said that even covered in the entrails of her enemies, Sif was the picture of elegance. Her demeanor towards Loki was cold compared to her behavior with his brother's fools. Loki was much more delighted by the Sif that had thrown Lorelei to the ground. He liked the fire in her eyes, and the way she shone with a barely concealed violence. He couldn't stop himself from smirking.

Loki leaned towards her side of the table, crossing his fingers and perching his chin on his hands. "You have my attention," he said and tilted his head slightly to the left.

Sif snarled.

"No hello?" He asked, enjoying her primal reaction.

"Loki," she growled. "You destroyed my armor."

He shrugged. "It was Thursday and I do so dislike being overlooked."

Thor let our a bellowing laugh and Loki startled. He hadn't realized the table had been paying so much attention to their interaction. Even the ladies who did little more than sigh in Fandral's direction were whispering in each others ears. Well, if they were going to watch he might as well give them a show. Loki spread his arms in a welcoming gesture and straightened his back. He felt like a king as everyone watched him. He turned to meet Sif's gaze and felt like a god.

"It would hardly be a welcome home without a trick," he smirked again and placed his palms down on the table. "Did you bring any nice trinkets to share with the class?"

Sif brought her sack from over her shoulder. She opened it quickly and placed a decapitated head on his plate.

Someone screamed. Possibly more than someone but Loki only vaguely registered it in the back of his mind. He was far more focused on the dwarf head sitting on his plate. It was Brock the dwarf.

Loki had bet the dwarf his head and lost. It had only been a joke, but the dwarf had insisted on cutting off Loki's head. When Thor and Loki convinced the dwarf that he hadn't bet his life, only his head...Brock had sewed his mouth shut in front of the entire court. Odin had let him do it as a lesson to Loki. It had been the most humiliating moment of his life, and Sif had delivered his head as a gift.

He looked up from his plate to see Sif scowling in her court gown with her hands behind her back. He raised his hand behind his back, just in case she bore a weapon and he needed to case an illusion spell, but then he stopped. He had thought she meant to kill him. Had he been wrong entirely? Was this the behavior she displayed to Thor and the Blunders Three? He studied her carefully and realized that she held no malice in her gaze.

"I slew your enemy for you," Sif said, growing nervous in his gaze. "I have fought thirteen days and thirteen nights for my right to make a courting claim for you. If you will have me, I will hunt for you, fight for you, keep you and have you. Loki, son of Odin and Prince of Asgard, will you accept my suit?"

Sif's face reddened and she brought a silver signet out from behind her back. "Here," She said, looking pointedly in another direction. "Another courting gift. I stole it from the dwarves."

Loki took the signet from her before he really comprehended her words. When the knowledge caught up to him, he nearly dropped the ring. "You wish-" he stuttered. "You wish to court me?" He didn't know how to respond. It was uncommon, unheard of within the Royal Court, and simply-

Fascinating.

Loki smirked. "I accept your suit to court," He said and slid the ring with great care on to his hand.

Sif reached across the table for his hand and yanked it to her lips. The kiss she placed there was messy. He could feel her teeth scrape over his knuckle and her saliva left a a wet sheen on his skin. It was most decidedly pleasurable. He repaid her with a smile.

Thor cheered, hoisting his tankard in the air. "This was a most entertaining performance brother. Ha! If Father had seen this farce, he would have fallen into Odinsleep. Imagine! A woman making a claiming suit." The court laughed loudly with him.

Loki squeezed Sif's hand before she did something rash. "Let them laugh," he murmured to her. "Tomorrow you can use this to duel them all." Sif brightened at the thought. "Though I do hope you will let me watch you duel Lorelei. She makes the most fantastic noises."

Sif laughed and threw her empty sack at him.

 

All of his experiences with the adults in his life had made Loki think he would never wed. Courting had seemed so irritating. Really, he was supposed to spend hours of his free time wooing another person? He loathed hunting beasts. He was a Prince, it was not as if he needed to hunt his own game. Feasting was dull and if Mother didn't give him the saddest looks, he would bypass feasting all together. It had been interesting as a child but now that they were all of age, Loki found the flirtation rather irritating.

Then there were all those speeches about finding the right girl to take and make his own. He didn't want to make anyone his own. Loki would never even dare think the thought loudly, but sometimes he doubted his own Father's ability to love him. If he couldn't even make his father love him,how could he hope to win the heart of a woman? How could he keep it?

Sif skirted the problem entirely. In many ways, it was not as if their relationship changed. Thor or one of the Blunders Three would think of some fool hardy quest, everyone would get in trouble, Sif would actually accomplish the task, and Loki would talk them out of their situation.

The ways things has changed felt exhilarating. Sif spoke to him more than any of them. She watched him constantly. She dedicated her conquests to him. She gave him her share of treasures.

 

He took delight in the way she would chase him down in the palace pathways and pin him against walls for a kiss. She led him about with a hand wrapped firmly about his wrist. Sif was not afraid to fight him when he laid a trick on her. She was not cowered by his magic or his rages. When Sigyn tried to lay a courting claim on him as well, Sif had to be physically restrained from continuing the fight after Sigyn lost consciousness.

She was a force of nature and she had claimed him utterly. "One day," she murmured into his ear. "One day, I will have enough saved to pay your bride price." She sat on his lap and pressed him deep into the lounge chair.

He sighed from the weight of her muscles on him. "Am I to be your bride then? Not husband?" Loki asked.

Sif nipped him for his troubles. "You will be mine," she said. "Words matter not."

Loki felt himself warm at the thought of of being so wanted. No, Loki had not laid a courting claim but he loved being courted. He would even admit that he was particularly happy to be courted by Sif.

 

It became clearer over time that this courtship was not a trick. Not a jest, not a prank or even a lark. Loki threw lightning at Hogun when he brought Sif from a battle with her innards spilled into her arms. "If she had been mortal..." he had hissed when they pulled him off Holgun. "If she had been mortal I would have killed you for her death."

He hovered at her side as she healed from her wound and threw himself into studies of healing magic. "Must you linger?" Sif would ask. "I thought I was courting a Prince, not a nurse."

"A Prince you say?" He would respond. "How fascinating! I always thought I was courting a Warrior and not a corpse, but my love is trying to correct me."

Sif scowled for a moment and then froze. She looked up at him and grasped his wrist in a familiar, too-tight grasp. "Your love?"

"Yes," he said. "My love. The corpse."

She flushed and then squeezed his wrist until her nails dug into bone. It was a wonderous sensation.

 

"Sif?" Loki asked, leaning against her frame as they watched the the waves on the water. "If I took you to my bed, do you think it would change our courtship?"

Sif scoffed. "Do not speak madness." Her voice was cruel and he felt a rage within him when she said that hated word. He started to pull away from her but she grasped him by the wrist.

The gaze she placed upon him made him shiver with it's intensity. "You will not take me to your bed," she said, she said in a voice lower and darker than he had heard before. "I will take you to my bed. I will spread your legs and penetrate you with my hands until you beg for me to bring you to completion. Know this Loki. I will ruin you for any others."

She loosened her hold on him and turned away, back towards the water. "I suppose you have no interest in such an arrangement." The thought clearly brought unhappiness into her eyes and Loki found himself unwilling to let it linger.

"On the contrary, my Lady," he said, reaching to tuck a wild lock of hair back into its place. "I find myself quite eager to ruin you in return. My submission will be so pleasing no one will ever compare. You'll simply have to keep me," and with that, he took her hand and folded her fingers back over his wrist until she squeezed.

Delightful.