"Loki, stop yowling!"
"You stop yowling."
"I'm not...that doesn't make any sense!"
Loki had descended into incomprehensibility. Thor knew they shouldn't be doing it so late in the day, but he could never resist Loki's invitation, even when he wasn't in heat.
"I can hear Master Odin's truck pulling in!" Thor yipped. He leaned forward to bite Loki's neck in an attempt to make him quiet down, but it seemed to have the opposite effect - Loki yowled all the louder. Fortunately, this spurred them both towards the end.
By the time Master Odin came in, Thor was seated on the couch, tongue lolling out as he panted happily. Loki sat beside him, delicately cleaning the mess he'd made.
Master Odin gave Thor a scratch behind the ears in greeting, but didn't disturb Loki in his cleaning. Loki had never shown or needed much affection anyways.
"It seems I rarely see you two apart these days," Master Odin commented. Thor hoped he was just imagining the hint of suspicion on his voice.
After Master Odin had fed them both, they found a cozy spot to lay down together and take a nap.
Thor buried his nose in the fur at the base of Loki's neck, breathing in his warm scent.
"When do you think the corgi-kittens will come?" Thor asked softly. It had been so long since their first time together. Loki had gone in and out of heat several times. Thor hadn't wanted to bring it up - he didn't want to seem impatient and make Loki feel bad.
Loki turned around and started gently laving Thor's cheek with his small, rough tongue. "Thor... would you still be my mate even if there weren't going to be any corgi-kittens?" he asked.
"Well, yes. Of course." Mating with Loki had long since replaced squirrel chasing as Thor's number one favourite thing to do. And Master Odin never seemed to mind, mostly because he'd never caught them doing it, but anything that didn't make him angry when he got home was okay in Thor's books.
"But, do you mean...?" Thor was confused, and couldn't bring himself to say it. Did Loki mean there wouldn`t be any corgi-kittens?
Loki didn't answer. Tenderly, he washed Thor's cheeks, his muzzle and the top of his head. Then he rolled over to tuck himself closer to Thor, and fell asleep purring. As Thor drifted off to sleep beside him, he decided he really didn't need anything else to be happy.
Loki was in heat again. Thor could smell it - his delicious scent wafted through the house. But where was he?
Thor finally found Loki in the basement, high up on a shelf.
"What are you doing?"
"What does it look like I'm doing, dogbreath?"
Loki was scratching at the screen covering of one of the windows - slowly tearing it apart.
"You're breaking it! Bad dog! Bad dog!" Thor barked.
Loki paid him no mind. The ragged tear he'd made was just big enough, and the glass window behind it was open a few inches.
Loki slipped out into the night.
The sun had started to rise when Loki returned. Thor was still waiting for him. His tail wagged at seeing him safely home again.
"Loki! You're back! I was so worried!"
When Loki jumped down from the counter beneath the shelf, Thor saw that he had an ugly scratch on his nose, and a bite mark on his ear.
"You've been hurt," Thor said, sniffing his wounds and gingerly trying to lick them clean until Loki pulled back.
"I'm fine, Thor. Just tired."
Thor followed Loki upstairs to their cozy bed and helped him clean himself. A sharp, strange scent lingered all over him, from his tail to the wet, messy scruff of his neck.
"You were with another cat tonight. Mating - maybe fighting." It wasn't a question. Thor could tell.
Loki closed his eyes and turned his head away. "Turns out mating and fighting aren't always separate things," he replied while Thor laved his neck. "Are you angry with me?"
"No," said Thor. "Loyalty is a dog trait. You're a cat. From what I can tell, that's pretty much the opposite of dog."
Loki turned back towards him to rub his cheek against Thor's muzzle. "That doesn't mean cats don't love," Loki told him.
Thor licked his forehead. "I know."
Thor continued to bathe Loki, washing away every trace of the stranger's smell and turning Loki into a purring, boneless heap.
"I like it better the way we do it," Loki admitted, green eyes half-closed with contentment. All Thor could smell now was the warm, heady scent of Loki, who began to arch his back towards him.
"Is that an invitation?" Thor asked.
"I'm still in heat, Thor. For you, that means no invitation required."
Some time passed, and Loki started to grow bigger. Thor teased him about it, but shared his food without complaint.
One night, Loki hid himself in a warm, dark corner of the attic. Thor found him laying on his side, panting, his eyes glazed with pain.
"Something's wrong with you - I'm getting Master Odin!" Thor yelped.
"Don't you dare!" hissed Loki. "Stay! Stay!"
Thor stopped in his tracks. He couldn't help himself.
"Good boy," Loki told him, still panting. "Now sit. And shut up."
Thor did as he was told, but once he realized what was happening, he got up to pace back and forth excitedly.
Loki was giving birth. Thor watched as patiently as possible, whining because he was scared for Loki, and there was nothing he could do to help.
When it was all over, three tiny squirming bundle of fur lay nursing while their mother purred to them.
"Can I...?" Thor was itching to come closer, but he was waiting for Loki's permission.
"Of course," Loki told him, weariness weighing his eyelids down.
Thor gingerly stepped forward to sniff Loki's offspring. One was black, one was ginger, and one was a pale sandy colour. Their eyes still shut and their ears folded close to their heads, they knew nothing of the world except for the smell and the warmth of their mother. Thor licked them so they would know him too.
"They're so beautiful, Loki" said Thor, a comment which seemed to pleased Loki despite the obvious fact that he couldn't be prouder of them.
"Thank you," Loki replied sincerely.
For nearly three weeks, Loki stayed hidden in the attic, only coming out occasionally for food, water, and to use the litter box.
One morning, Thor came down from the attic stairs to find Master Odin waiting for him.
Master Odin kneeled to scratch his ears and the scruff of his neck.
"So, how many kittens did Loki have?" Master Odin asked him. "I can hear them squeaking from my bedroom. It's probably time I had a look."
Thor wagged his tail happily - Master Odin would be pleased when he saw how perfect they were.
Master Odin sighed. "You know we're not going to be able to keep them, don't you?"
Thor's tail stilled. No. He couldn't. Loki would be heartbroken. Thor found he'd started growling softly without even realizing it.
"Easy boy, easy," Master Odin told him. "They can stay until they're older. I won't let them go until they're ready. And when they are, I'll find friends who will give them good homes, I promise."
Oh. Thor stopped growling. That sounded okay to him. Thor had always trusted Master Odin, and he knew he would have to trust him now.
"You and Loki can even visit them if you like."
Thor's tail started wagging again. Master Odin was a good master.
They climbed the stairs together, and found Loki curled up in a corner, pretending to sleep. Loki opened his eyes and blinked up at Master Odin as if to say 'Kittens? What kittens? Nothing to see here but me taking a nap.'
But a squeak from under a nearby dresser gave his secret away. Master Odin reached underneath and gently pulled out one of the little furrballs hiding there.
Loki was up on his feet in an instant, and Thor rushed to his side to reassure him. He knew Master Odin wouldn't do anything to hurt his offspring.
Cupped in Master Odin's hand, a reddish-ginger kitten stared up at him, while Master Odin stared right back. The kitten mewed. Master Odin smiled.
From underneath the dresser, the other two came charging out to defend their sibling. A black kitten hissed at Master Odin for all he was worth. Beside him, small and sandy-blond but unmistakably different from the other two, a corgi pup barked furiously at him.
Master Odin burst out laughing. He gave the ginger kitten back to its worried siblings and looked to Thor and Loki.
"Dr. Heimdall has seen everything, but I don't think he's going to believe this."
The three young ones flocked to Loki, who licked their heads to reassure them, then lay down to let them nurse.
Thor's tail wagged furiously. Master Odin gave his head a scratch.
Turning to Loki, Master Odin reached out to stroke him and rub the fur over his throat.
"I'm very proud of you, Loki," he said.
Loki purred. Thor went to lay down beside him. Their strange little family was now complete, and they couldn't be happier.