Ever since Loki was little, he’d had a way with his feet.
Whenever he was on the hilltop overlooking the valley, Sleipnir by his side, he’d swayed with the wind, hummed with the birds, and danced to the tunes of nature.
He was a happy young man to the very core, and dance was his passion.
Music made him wild and free … when he was dancing, nothing else mattered, not the farm, not the paddocks, not the small country that had somehow developed on their 4 dozen acres of land … nothing else mattered, just the gurgle of the river, the hum of the dragonflies, the whistling of the birds and the swish of the leaves. Here, in the fields, free in the open air, Loki was in heaven.
When Loki was young, Frigga had caught him dancing in the fields to no music, his eyes closed and his smile so wide.
When she saw the look on his face, so calm, so peaceful, and full of life … she smiled too.
She had kept his secret, only because she wanted him to be happy, and Odin would never look at him again if he found out about Loki’s dream … a dream to be a dancer.
Odin, Loki’s father, had family and friends living on the farm with them. They had a thousand heads in cattle, hundreds of sheep, dozens upon dozens of hens, a paddock of pigs, exactly 12 German Shepherds, 1 Utonagan dog (owned and cared for by Loki) and a quite a few horses.
Loki’s chores were constantly getting reduced by new people coming onto the farm, new people getting old enough to help and people back from an injury or two, ready to plough into the work, all for the love of Frigga’s cooking.
Being a child, Loki’s jobs were to assist in the muck out of the stables, feed the horses in the mornings, get the other children up and ready for tutoring, attend tutoring and help make dinner.
He always had spare time for dancing.
But it was a secret between him and his mother … no one else knew, not even Thor.
Frigga had managed to get him into dancing classes with a woman in the town nearby.
It was here, that Loki learned the beauty and elegance of Ballet and instantly fell in love.
Ever since, every Saturday, Frigga would drive him the 25 minutes it took to get into town, drop him off at class. She would then spend the next 2 hours working in the second-hand store.
Loki had finally learned to dance.
Loki’s teacher, Maria, loved his passion for dancing. She taught him everything there was to know about it and Loki soaked it in, soon learning the art of Ballet.
A few times, Maria offered to make him audition videos to send to the Ballet Schools in Europe.
The schools were Loki’s way of getting away from this life he was forced into, they were his chance to run and jump and fly and not have to worry about Odin.
If he were to be accepted in any of them, Frigga would make sure he went, and even Odin wouldn’t be able to stop him.
Loki didn’t qualify for the first four they applied for, but he didn’t give up. He kept going. ‘Greater, Better, Higher’ was his motto and he followed it faithfully.
Because they had to keep his dancing passion a secret from Odin, Loki was not able to apply or attend competitions, but he still danced.
He would never stop dancing, even if it never amounted to anything in his life.
As he got older and a larger work load was put on him, lessons became more infrequent. He was able to make it some weeks, but not others. Luckily, his secret never became apparent to his father.
Late in July, the year of his 15th birthday, Maria told him of an offering for him in ‘The Royal Ballet School’ (The RBS). He was hesitant at first; unsure of whether he wanted to go through the disappointment of not being good enough.
Loki eventually declined but kept going … ‘Greater, Better, Higher’.
When he could, Loki would still dance on the farm.
When tending the horses, he would twirl on his toes; gracefully leap from one of the stables to the gate of another. He would laugh and continue normally for a while, until the urge to dance took over again.
Loki would walk beside the horses on days when it was too difficult to ride; whether from stiff joints of sore muscles from working with them earlier in the week, Loki would always exercise them.
They would walk through the paddocks and up to the hill, once there the horses would graze on the grass and Loki would dance. He would dance until his legs hurt, and then he would dance until his feet hurt, and even then, when his muscles were tired and sore, he would do odd little skips on his toes when walking the group of horses back to the barn.
Loki would dance when mucking out stables, he would dance when feeding the horses, he danced when laying out the wool, he would dance when no one was looking during harvests and he would dance in the kitchen when helping his mother, his Aunt and Matilda, and his father’s cousin Angerboda in making dinner. They kept his secret too.
In the end, he was always dancing.
“What are you doing?” Loki turned quickly when he heard the voice of his father, dropping the saddle at his feet, scared shock on his face. ‘Oh God no! No. No. No. Please no …’ a lump formed in Loki’s throat and when he tried to speak nothing came out.
“You'd better be saddling the horse boy” Odin glared at him, then down at the dropped saddle, and back up to the young man. His single eye was still menacing even on its own.
Loki was constantly asked if he remembered the story to do with how his father came to wear the eye patch … but to be honest, he was never told the story in the first place.
Loki nodded hesitantly and turned back to working as Odin left, picking the saddle up from his feet. The spring that was previously in his steps, was now gone, along with the current desire to dance. His father scared him shitless.
Loki was closed in on himself, pulling his knees to his chest and digging his head into the small figure of his body. He tried to block out the yelling, but Odin was so loud.
Thor, his brother, had brought a girl home … this was obviously not a good idea.
Loki was worried about telling Odin a while back about his probable homosexuality.
Then he heard the conversation (argument) the man had with their cousin on his homosexuality.
Loki didn’t particularly want to be kicked out onto the street as 15 so he kept his mouth shut.
It was scary how his father willing kicked out his own family for what they were or who they chose to be … or even who they loved … but it was his farm after all.
His aunt Matilda left soon after that incident.
It was December, on his 16th year, when Maria told him that ‘The Royal Ballet School’ was offering the position again.
It was his last chance, one more chance to get away from his father’s yelling, get away from the hiding and whispers and secret and finally come out with the fact that he loved to dance.
This time, Loki accepted and the application went through the next day.
Loki was out in the fields again, on the hill, Sleipnir grazing off to his right.
The Christmas music from the village nearby wafted over to him and his urge to dance rose.
He picked himself up and stepped out.
‘Breathe’ he told himself, his chest rising and falling as he controlled the nervous tension that settled in his stomach.
Performing, no matter where, to whom, or lack of whom, made him slightly nervous, but by the time he started dancing he was swept up in it and flown away. All thoughts and worries set off to the winds.
Loki concentrated on his balance, grace and strength as he went over the positions. The Arabesque and the Pirouette taking the most work out of all the actions. He didn’t have a problem with the movements on their own, but keeping them in time with the rhythm and not tripping over his own two feet were very important.
He mainly concentrated on the major section in the solo Maria had organised for him for the final audition in The RBS. He was only thinking ‘Greater, Better, Higher’ after all.
Loki wouldn’t practice until he got the steps right … he would practice until he didn’t get them wrong.
He was always messing it up in the theatre but out here, out in the fields with the wind, the river, the birds and the bees, he got it right every time.
One early autumn morning, Loki was up and about, unsaddling the horses after their morning ride. His mother, Frigga was bringing out his breakfast. ‘Strange’ he thought and went to greet her, settling the buffed saddles on the fencing.
“I have a surprise for you” she smiled warmly and handed him a letter. “You remember Maria applying for The Royal Ballet School on your behalf?” She asked and his gaze whipped up and looked at her, disbelieving. “Can’t be?!”
He smiled so broadly.
He knew that it was moments like this that Frigga loved, the smiles he had when anything about dancing came up.
Dancing was the only thing that ever made him smile.
Loki tore at the envelope and pulled out the letter, murmuring the words as he read them.
His thumb brushed across the signature of ‘Dame Ninette de Valois’ and his smile grew from a warm, happy curve to a full blown grin.
It took barely a moment for Loki to jump at his mother and clutch her to his chest. “Thank you” he murmured in her ear, a single tear of joy rolling down his cheek.
It wasn’t long after that when Odin found out, but Loki knew it was bound to happen eventually.
“No son of mine will be a Ballet dancer” he bellows the words with such disgust that it broke Loki’s heart.
“Well why not? I’m 16! I can make my own choices now!” Loki’s emerald eyes welled with tears. His anger overrode his sadness, and his voice ended up roaring nearly as loud as Odin.
“My sons are men, not dancers!” Odin yelled at the young man in front of him. Loki’s face contorted in disgust and hatred at the man he called father (just thinking that word made bile rise in his gut).
How could the man who raised him, the man who called him his son, hate his dreams so much?
“Well it’s a damn good thing I’m not your son!” Loki spat angrily and stormed up to his room in the attic.
Odin stood still in the living room, for once in his life not having the last word, his brow furrowing as the realisation hit home. ‘He knows’.
Loki stuffed clothes into a rucksack and put his laptop in its bag. He grabbed his phone, slipping it into his pocket and stuffed a blanket into the bag to fill up the empty space, then pilling all his books into cardboard boxes.
He carried his bags and the 3 boxes of books downstairs and put them inside the door.
Loki collected the keys to his truck and went out into the pouring rain, placing everything into the 4-wheel-drive and giving Fenrir enough room in the backseat.
He called his hound out and patted the seat twice, the indication for come up. He scratched the wolf-like dog behind the ears as he shut the door.
He spared a minute to kiss his mother goodbye and tell her he was sorry that it came to this. He collected his savings money and closed the front door behind him for the last time.
A new life awaited him, one where he wouldn’t be discriminated against for his dream.
A new life at The Royal Ballet School … a new life.