Heimdall stood at the doorway to the bifrost, staring down the length of the bridge with the fearless gaze of the guardian of worlds. Before him was his greatsword, Hofud, which he bore down upon with gauntleted hands.
His foe outnumbered him.
He would not falter.
“None shall pass.”
The deep timbre of his voice carried the promise across the night air like thunder, rolling and ominous. Partway down the length of the bridge to his domain stood two Aesir, tall and proud, full of the belief that they could best him.
The glitter of the bridge was warped with oil and grease; dangerously so. Sure footing would not be found for one hundred metres, at least.
Thor backed up another thirty meters, Loki by his side. Heimdall stood silent and watchful across the greased expanse, his golden eyes impassive.
“He’s going to kill us if we reach him,” Loki said thoughtfully, unbuckling and pulling his armour and mantle off over his head. “Or at least pin us down like royal butterflies with that sword of his. Are we mad?”
Thor tipped his head back and laughed. His armour and Mjölnir were set carefully to one side in preparation for their task. Thus, two bothers clad in no more than soft tunics of red and green faced down one who was feared and respected almost as much as their father was.
“We are young, drunk and reckless, Brother,” Thor replied. “Let us enjoy the night, and pray we do not die.”
Loki nodded grimly, a razor smile curving his lips.
“Just remember that when I win, we’re switching rooms. I want your balcony, Thor, and I mean to have it.”
“And when I win, you’re going to bear me a steed mightier than even Sleipnir!”
“You are depraved,” Loki swore, aghast. “You would really prostitute me to a stallion for a bet?”
Thor shrugged. “I like horses,” he admitted. “Now take your mark. We begin on the count of three!”
The rules were simple. At a thirty meter run-up, whoever could then slide across the greased bridge and reach Heimdall first would win. The stakes were high. For Thor, giving up his room meant his days of spying on Sif were long over. For Loki…well. Loki didn’t want the stretch marks.
Losing was not an option.
Thor braced booted feet, shifting for optimum traction.
Loki’s heart pounded, flooding his body with adrenaline.
And Heimdall watched as the sons of Odin All-Father sprinted down the bifrost toward him with all the rage of battle glowing fiercely in their eyes—
—and hurl themselves belly-down onto the bridge and come shooting toward him like two brightly-coloured comets, a tail of energy lighting their travelled path behind them.
That sounded suspiciously like Loki.
Heimdall’s hands tightened around the hilt of his sword, his eyes narrowing. They weren’t slowing in the slightest, in fact, they almost appeared to be gaining speed—
Murdering Odin’s children was a crime, he reminded himself, and punishable by death. At this rate they were going to break his damned legs unless he stepped aside. And that he could not do.
“That room is mine, Thor!” Loki yelled as his lighter form lent him greater speed across the crystalline surface. “You never had a chance!”
Thor bellowed with rage. “I want my damned horse!”
Reaching out as the world flew by, Thor grabbed Loki’s booted foot and dragged him back so they sped evenly, but ruined their momentum by doing so. Instead a haphazard slap-fight broke out as they rolled together through the grease, their streamlined path dissolving into an unpredictable two-man spin.
Heimdall had just enough time to throw his sword into the bifrost before two overgrown children brought their tantrum barrelling straight into his armoured legs, taking them out from under him and sending them all flying backward in a flurry of armour and limbs.
Silence fell for a moment as a dizzy warrior, a stunned guardian and a nauseous sorcerer lay tangled together within the domed observatory of the bifrost, out of breath and incredibly greasy.
“I’m not giving birth for you,” Loki vowed in a muffled voice, somewhere beneath Heimdall’s thigh. “I don’t care what kind of mount you want.”
“And you can’t have my balcony,” Thor replied, sitting up groggily. “I need that for…things.”
Heimdall shifted as Loki half-emerged from underneath his legs, looking rumpled and with a distinct case of the crazy-eyes. Reaching down with one hand, he extracted the mischievous prince and tossed him in the direction of his brother.
They both stared at him with growing apprehension as he staggered to his feet, casting an eye about for his sword.
“That two drunk, well-lubricated princes should slide into my domain and topple me,” Heimdall muttered ominously, reaching for the hilt of his sword. “The All-Father needs a new babysitter. Get out of my sight, both of you.”
Loki rubbed at one eye lazily. “Good Heimdall, you see all—”
Hofud slid home into its niche in the bifrost mechanism with a hard clang, cutting him off.
Heimdall just watched them vanish into a blaze of multi-coloured light, feeling oddly at peace. Let Midgard deal with them for the night.
He had a bifrost bridge to mop.