Loki watched her from his seat across the table. Beside him, Thor bellowed on about some misbegotten battle he’d waged against the Jotuns just a few days prior. This feast was being held in his dear brother’s honor, as most of them were. Loki didn’t mind. He’d been living in the darkness of Thor’s shadow for so long that it scarcely affected him anymore.
“And then one of the monsters appeared out of nowhere!” Thor boomed, thrusting a mug of mead in the air as though it were that stupid hammer of his.
“Yes, and then? Do go on, m’lord!” A young woman Loki didn’t recognize leaned forward in her chair, eyes wide. Thor was more than happy to oblige.
How Thor’s story ended, Loki would never know. The very moment his brother started speaking again , Lady Sif got up from the table and exited the hall in a flash of cream colored silk. Loki’s eyes remained on her empty chair. No one seemed to notice her absence.
Except for him.
“Excuse me,” Loki murmured. Thor’s story was reaching its climax. Loki knew full well that his presence would not be missed. After all, who would pay attention to a lowly snake while there was a lion in the room?
Cape fluttering at his heels, Loki left the way Sif did. Unnoticed.
The rest of the palace was silent. Anyone who was anyone in Asgard was attending Thor’s feast, which meant that Loki could spend the evening doing whatever he pleased. The possibilities were endless. Why, he could have planted a nest of rats in the wine cellar or change the locks on Thor’s door. Mischief, however, could not soothe the burning ache in his heart. Only she could do that.
Finding her was easy enough. Sif was very much like his brother in that she was rather predictable. When they were children, Thor would do something to upset her and Sif would always flee to the same room. She claimed that watching the flames dance back and forth as they consumed the wood was soothing. Loki didn’t understand how such a thing was soothing, but he dared not question it.
Not when he was so close to capturing her at last.
“What are you doing here?” Sif muttered crossly as he entered the room. She lounged upon one of the sitting room’s many couches, plucking a grape from a bowl she’d no doubt stolen from the feast.
Loki offered her the smallest of smiles. “I was merely worried about you, dear lady. You left so quickly that I—“
“Save your silver tongue the work, Loki. I do not want to hear it.”
Loki’s eyes dropped to the delicately pattered floor. He did not wish to test her. Not when she was in such a delicate emotional state. He’d felt the wrath of Lady Sif before, more times than he wished to admit. He went to the couch instead, sitting as near as his desires would allow.
Sif did not speak to him and he did not speak to her. Occasionally, she would cast him a sideways glance before going right back to her food. They remained this way for what seemed like an eternity, and then, Sif spoke.
“Thor is an idiot.”
“Perhaps,” Loki mused. “He is reckless, yes, but he does have quite the gift for storytelling. And here I thought I was talented one.”
“Your talents are different than his. That is all.” Sif replied after a considerable pause.
Loki felt himself sinking in the cushions of the couch. Fire crackled loudly in the center pit, the soft orange glow illuminating Sif’s features. He took in a deep breath. She smelled fresh and clean, not overdone like some of the ladies back in the dining hall. There was an honesty in Sif that he admired, strangely enough. Tricks and illusions were good fun, but, at the end of the day, they were just that. Illusions. Fake and intangible. Sif, however, was real. So wonderfully, deliciously real.
He was unsure when the attraction started. As with most things in life, it sprang up unbidden. And he, with all his godly charms, was powerless to stop it. It drove him absolutely mad. Loki liked having things exactly as he wanted them, but Lady Sif was no piece of furniture he could move whenever he desired. She was not Thor, whom he could simply manipulate. She was so vastly different from anything he’d ever encountered before, and that, perhaps, was what he enjoyed most of all.
“Loki?” Sif asked.
Loki looked up to see that she was looking at him, but not with the careless glance so many others fixed him with. No, Lady Sif was really looking.
“Why did you come?”
My, what a loaded question. Loki considered it for a moment. Finally, he came up with an answer that seemed appropriate. A truthful answer.
He draped an arm over the top of the couch and leaned forward. “Because I was worried about you.”
Sif shook her head. “Do not lie to me, Loki.” There was a tremor in her voice he had not heard before.
“Why would I lie to you?”
“Because it’s what you do!” She burst out in a sudden flare of emotion.
He frowned, voice dropping to a severe whisper. “Is that all you think I am? Lies?”
She did not answer. Loki took her silence as a resounding “yes.” It hurt him more—coming from her—than he thought it would. Years ago, when they were children, Sif was his staunchest ally. He did not call her a friend, for Loki never let anyone get so close, but she was always there when Thor, his own brother, was not.
How had they drifted so far?
“Just because I do not show it like my oaf of a brother does not mean that I do not feel.” Loki found that, with each word he spoke, he was slowly moving toward her. She was not moving at all. “I feel just as deeply as he does, just as deeply as you do. And what I feel for you is no lie, Sif.”
By the time he had finished, Loki was practically hovering over her, fingers digging into the cushions of the couch. Sif stared up at him, wide eyed and breathless. Her lips were parted in words she could no longer find.
Trembling, Loki backed away. He began to rise from the couch, but Sif grabbed him by the wrist, effectively impeding any progress he might have made.
“You’re just going to leave, then?” She asked, rising to meet him.
He reached down and brushed a strand of hair from her smoothness of her cheek. “Why should I stay?”
Sif did not hesitate. “Because I want you to.”
Loki didn’t need to be told twice. He sat back down on the couch, drawing her to him. “Do you still think me a liar?”
“It doesn’t matter. Not right now.” With that, Sif pressed her mouth to his.
Her lips were soft and warm, just as he thought they would be. She tasted of wine and sweetbread. The thought occurred to him that she might have been a little drunk. That her kisses were lies, that her skin against his was nothing more than a lusty trick. Fortunately, Loki could not bring himself to care, for they were all liars in the end.
Sif, Thor, his father. Liars, each and every one.