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Midwinter

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The long nights have come to Asgard. It is the deepest heart of winter: snow sifts from the slate-grey sky, storm cloud upon storm cloud rolling down from the mountains in the heart of the realm; the many-colored road to Bifrost is slick with layers of ice from the wild spray of the sea. But inside the palace all is light and warmth, a fire burning in every hearth, the lesser feast-halls filled with autumn's bounty and overflowing with mead. In his chamber the Allfather lies sleeping his deep replenishing week-long sleep, for the first time in Loki's recent memory.

(Everyone says the frost giants would not dare attack, not even in the dead of winter while Odin lies asleep. But they say this glancing in the Bifrost's direction and kissing their fists for luck.)

Loki stays, for the most part, away from the feast halls. His refuge of choice is the palace's great library, for though in winter it is drafty among the stacks, the cold does not trouble him. Through the long grey afternoons Loki sits in the alcove of a high window, devouring book upon book. He is learning to throw words like daggers, to call up shards of ice that slice like knives, to send some illusion of himself to another part of the room in seeming vulnerability. Loki is left in solitude there, which is as he likes it.

This would be well -- this would be the best time of Loki's life -- were it not for his brother.

"Loki," Thor says.

Loki's gaze stays upon the book in his lap; Thor will likely think Loki does so to goad him, but really all Loki wants is to finish the paragraph he's reading, which describes the properties of invisibility. A pity Loki did not come across this spell sooner, when at this moment he could be sitting a mere hands-breadth from Thor, unseen and laughing silently at his own cunning.

"Loki," Thor repeats, with an edge of amused irritation, so Loki sighs and drags his attention from his book.

Thor's hair is a fine gold mess covered in melting snow; his eyes sparkle and his cheeks are flush with cold and with the trek up to the library tower. He wears the vestiges of leather sparring armor, and his tunic is soaked with sweat. For a beat too long Loki stares at the shining hollow of Thor's throat before remembering himself and fixing his brother with a mild annoyed look. "What?"

"You're wanted at the feast," Thor says.

"By whom?" Loki wants to know. "I seriously doubt Mother sent you, as you've just come up from the training yards. How is your work with the sword coming?"

"I bested Volstagg," Thor says, looking pleased. "Come on, Loki, they all want you there. What does it matter whether Mother sent for you? She'll be happy to see you."

Loki bites back a sigh. It is fitting that both princes make an appearance at banquet. No matter that Loki will probably end up wedged between Thor's friends, avoiding in turn the sight of Volstagg devouring an entire haunch of boar and the sound of Fandral's false boasting of his exploits in maidens' beds. The best Loki might hope for is to be seated with Sif, who will at least talk with him courteously and feign interest in his spell work.

"Very well," Loki says. "I'll meet you there." Thor gives him a dubious look, and this time Loki does roll his eyes. "You need to make yourself presentable. I'll be along, go on."

Thor gives him a beaming smile. It lights up his face; it lights up the room. Loki returns an echo of it, and when Thor is gone he slumps back against the ice-cold windowpane. His real reluctance to attend the feast has nothing to do with those bores Thor calls friends, nor even with his preference for the solitude of the library over the merrymaking of idle warriors. It has everything to do with the way Loki's breath snags in his throat when Thor smiles at him, as though Thor's smile means anything, as though Loki is pathetic enough to seek Thor's attentions like favors. It has everything to do with the way that, forced to indoor confinement by the weather, Thor has grown more demanding of Loki's attention in turn, and would have Loki by his side in his own merrymaking, blessedly unaware that to Loki every feast seems more and more like torture.

He abandons this thought for the foolishness that it is, and abandons the library also, his concentration thoroughly broken. The wiser way to the main feast hall is through the palace's dim-lit gold corridors, still civilized for all they're full of winter drafts; but the quicker way is through snowbound outdoor courts, so Loki slips outside.

In the snow, the world is quiet. The open courtyards are far above the sea, and protected from it by the palace's outer walls, so Loki might as well be walking in a landlocked world for all the sound that reaches him. The storm clouds have raced away on their own wind, and above Loki the stars have come out, so bright and clear and sharp that Loki feels an ache opening up his sternum with how much he wants to fall into the sky. He treads softly through the snow, feline-quiet, and shivers not with cold but with his terrible boundless desire.

These days Loki often feels like nothing but a tangle of consuming need. He understands that this is an expected part of adolescence, but Thor doesn't seem a careful moment from screaming or breaking apart. Loki knows it will pass, because it must; that is the only knowledge that makes it bearable now.

Loki takes a deep breath, letting the cold fill his lungs and his heart and his blood, calming him, stilling him. He goes inside.

*

The feast is much like any other midwinter feast. Toasts are made, songs are sung, a great quantity of roast meat is consumed, and an even greater quantity of mead and ale. It is a pleasanter occasion than Loki had anticipated; he is fortunate enough to be seated with Hogun on one side, a silent buffer between him and Thor's more ebullient friends, and Frigga upon the other. As queen of course she must converse with everyone who wants her attention, but Loki's mother still makes time for him. She enquires after his progress in the library and smiles, melancholy but pleased, when he tells her of the battle magic he is learning.

"How far you've come," she says, under the sound of shouts and laughter. She settles her hand for a moment over Loki's, her touch soft and comfortingly familiar. "I'm so proud of you."

Those words would mean the world coming from his father; from Frigga they are still as warm as autumn sunlight. Loki ducks his head, smiling. His mother squeezes his hand gently and lets go, turning to Njord upon her other side. Even as she does, Hogun rises from the table, called over to settle some dispute between Fandral and another lordling.

Loki suddenly has a clear line of sight to Thor.

He is leaning across the table, his face flushed with drink and with cheer, laughing at something Sif has just said. Sif's hair is down in soft dark cascades around her shoulders, light gleaming off the clasp of gold set against her winging collarbones, and Loki's throat closes up, seeing the way she beams at Thor in turn, brilliance for brilliance. He does not think they are sharing a bed -- he suspects Sif is wiser than that -- but they could. If Sif so chose, she would lose nothing in bedding Thor but some of her own integrity and pride, and though that is but little, she will not part from those things. Loki envies her that strength, and that choice, so much that his belly twists with jealousy and longing. Loki stares down at his plate. The scraps that yet remain have become terribly unappetizing.

Frigga is still speaking with Njord; no one is looking Loki's way. It is easy enough to quietly rise and to make for the door, upright and purposeful, as a prince should leave a feast before its conclusion. Loki's hands tremble a very little, but no one is close enough to see this, and he makes it to the corridor outside the hall without incident. The cooler air rises to Loki's face like a caress, and he breathes easier.

No more feasting, Loki resolves. Within the week his father will wake, the storms will abate, and this strange torment will be but a memory.

"Loki."

Loki flinches and whirls towards the voice, a spell for knives of ice already half-said upon his lips. The words die when he sees it is Thor in the doorway, his hair turned to a crown of gold by the bright-lit hall behind him, confusion on his face. Thor holds to the doorframe, though Loki cannot tell whether Thor needs the support. "Why are you leaving so soon?" Thor asks.

"If you had looked," Loki says, measured, "you would see that Mother was the only one who bothered to speak with me."

"You sat at a dull place at the table indeed, then," Thor says.

Loki permits himself a smile. He already knows there is nothing Thor can do to draw him back into the hall, so it is easy to say, "I seriously doubt any of your friends would have cared for our conversation; they have no use for the spells I'm learning."

Thor comes away from the door, into the shadow where Loki stands. "I have use of them," he says, guileless. "Will you show me?"

He has never learned to say no to Thor. That is how they have fallen into and back out of a thousand boyhood scrapes and adventures; that is why Loki will come, however briefly, to a feast, no matter that it stops his breath and ties his gut in knots; and that is why, in the dark place where the light from the corridor's torches do not fall, Loki holds up a hand and calls up a flame. He has to call it from somewhere deep, so an inner fire kindles in its wake, ignored for the moment while living flame rises at Loki's fingertips. It flares for an instant, lighting both their faces, before Loki cracks it like a whip.

It explodes into cinders and shards of stone on the wall across from them. "Oh," Thor says, on a laugh of delighted astonishment. He turns to Loki in the half-light, and what he can see of Thor's face is admiring. "That is no mere trick."

"I should hope not," Loki returns. He means to say it lightly, but the fire he called forth with his magic still burns in his belly, spreading outwards in terrible insinuating tendrils, and in his own ears Loki's voice dips into smiling suggestion.

Thor grins in response, swaying forward, and for a moment they are almost nose-to-nose, Thor's breath hot on Loki's parted lips, and Loki meets Thor's gaze, startled out of fear. Thor's eyes are nearly all pupil except for a thin ring of blue like purest summer sky; Loki's breath hitches on desire.

Then Thor breaks away with a laugh that sounds more like bafflement and nerves than amusement, and Loki is left standing in shadow, shaking. Thor will not meet his eyes; he mumbles something that sounds very much like, "Well, goodnight," and ducks back into the feast hall.

"Fuck," Loki hisses, slumping against the wall.

The corridor now feels terribly exposed. Still it is a long moment before Loki can will his legs to move, and when he does, it is little more than an unseeing stumble away from the light and noise of the feast. His mind refuses to alight on what just happened. It was nothing; it was but a moment; it makes no sense. Loki's feet take him the winding way to his chambers, though he remembers little of the journey. All he can see is Thor's smiling face, and the moment when the smile slipped away, replaced for an instant by something stunned, Thor's eyes blown wide. But Loki must have imagined this last. There is no possible world in which Thor could have recognized that the moment their faces were a breath apart was one mistake from becoming a kiss; there is no possible world in which Thor could have recognized this, because to do so Thor would have to think of his own brother as someone he might desire.

The idea that Loki might not be alone in this is far more terrifying than the prospect of fighting it off in solitude. Loki is used to living with those parts of himself that are out of joint, for all he sometimes longs to rip them out; his talent for magic, the ease with which he slips between forms, the slantwise humor that often lands him in some trouble, the awful inarticulate tangle of lust and jealousy and love he has for Thor, all of those things are his. Thor is not allowed to feel thus.

Loki sinks down upon his bed, resting his head in his hands.

"It was nothing," he whispers, and frowns. The words sound like a child's prayer, like he is begging the universe to make the moment in the corridor unreal. "It was nothing," Loki says again, and this time it sounds like angry denial, which is little better. He digs the heels of his hands in under his eyes, grounding himself. It was nothing: he imagined it, that moment of recognition on Thor's face. He only thought it was there because he fears it, because a small terrible part of him wishes it to be true. "It was nothing," Loki says a third time, and this time it is a perfect lie, self-mocking and dismissive.

His head hurts. Loki permits himself one more moment of hunched self-pity. Then he rises, disrobes, and douses the lamps. Crawling in among the linens and furs of his bed, Loki runs the day's spells over in his mind, then yesterday's, last week's, last month's, fixing them in memory, driving all else out. Little by little he relaxes, and so drifts off to sleep.

*

Loki wakes.

Half-asleep and baffled, he can't at first tell what woke him; his chambers are still night-dark, the only illumination provided by faint silver moonlight shining in through the high window. A dark shape, familiar in outline, is climbing into the bed, and Loki murmurs "Thor?" before his conscious mind can make real sense of it.

Often enough when they were young, when for one reason or another sleep eluded them, Thor or Loki would come into the other's bed. It hasn't happened in many long years, but Loki's body remembers it, and he shifts accordingly, pulling the blankets up to make room for his brother. He wakes further, a slow slide into chilly awareness, when Thor remains braced over him. Loki realizes that his brother is shaking, an almost-imperceptible tremble in the muscles of his arms, as though Thor is holding himself very deliberately still. Loki's limbs are still heavy with sleep. "Thor?"

"I," Thor whispers. "I, I thought ..." He sounds very young, uncertain, so unlike the Thor that Loki has come to know of late that the edges of sharp reality are sanded away, and it is easy for Loki to reach out, dream-slow, and touch his brother's shadowed face. Thor shudders, leaning into it; his stubble scrapes soft against Loki's palm, and this at last is tangible enough to drag Loki with a shock to full wakefulness.

"Thor," he says, "what --?"

Thor surges forward, and Loki thinks, for a stunned instant, that it is the least controlled movement he's seen Thor make in some time; and then he is thinking nothing at all sensible, because Thor is kissing him. There is no preamble to it, no moment for it to be taken as anything but what it is, Thor's mouth sliding hot over his, body braced above Loki's, a hand wrapped firm around the back of Loki's neck to pull them closer. Everywhere they're touching, mouths and chests and Loki's outer thighs where Thor's knees bracket him, all feel molten, and with a dizzying swoop of his stomach Loki realizes he's wearing nothing but his skin.

The whole of it is so overwhelming that it takes Loki a moment to understand what his own body is doing: this is his hand tangling in the fine mass of Thor's hair; this is his tongue pushing back against Thor's, his voice spilling forth such a hungry heartfelt moan that Loki flushes all over to hear it. We can't, he thinks, the words winnowing across his mind clear despite the drowning pull of Thor over him, and with great effort Loki breaks away, gasping. Thor chases after his mouth again, and without thought Loki meets this kiss too. He is desperately hard now, and his hips twitch up into the empty air between their bodies, but he has the sense not to thrust in earnest.

"Thor," he says, a panted syllable against his brother's mouth "Thor," and it comes out hot and pleading but Loki still manages to grind out "stop."

His noble brother stops instantly, for all that Thor is shaking over him, breathing in ragged gasps that sound like terror or desperate desire. "Please," Loki says, half-babbling it, "please, we can't, what, what are you even doing here --?" The hand that Thor has braced against Loki's shoulder goes tight, and Loki breaks off with a hiss, less pain than surprise.

Thor is quiet for so long that concern begins to creep in and eclipse both Loki's bewildered panic and his arousal. "Thor ...?"

"Do you," Thor whispers, and Loki has never heard him sound thus, low and scared, "do you want me to go?"

Loki knows what the answer is; of course Loki knows what the answer is. All he has to do is say yes, go, and Thor will leave, and perhaps for some time things will be painfully awkward but they will be safe. Loki does not even have to tell Thor he doesn't want it, does not have to make himself convincing. If he can just bring himself to say it --

But he hasn't the strength for that, not while Thor is braced above him blazing like a furnace, not while Loki is so aroused that he can feel his pulse steady and insistent in his cock and the hollow of his throat.

"Thor," he says again, low and pleading. Thor gives a shuddering laugh that sounds like fear and relief. Finally his arms give, and he comes down to wrap around Loki, pulling him into another kiss. Loki's mouth opens to Thor's as though he's drowning, as though Thor is utterly necessary; his cock drags with glorious friction in the crease of Thor's thigh, and Loki's feverish moan is muffled against Thor's tongue.

Thor breaks away to kiss his neck, pressing against the pulse point until Loki can barely breathe, and on down, sucking at his collar bone, lighting ardent kisses down Loki's chest and belly until Loki is squirming with it, staring in shock at the dark ceiling. He nearly gathers his wits enough to grab at Thor's solid shoulders and say something, anything at all, you don't have to or oh please, Thor, please --

But Thor bypasses the obvious entirely, instead kissing Loki's inner thighs, nuzzling at his hip. Loki says, breathless and laughing and a little irritated, "Do you need help finding something?" Thor returns a rumbling laugh against Loki's belly, and Loki belatedly realizes how brilliant Thor was to drag Loki out of terror with frustration. It's so brilliant that Loki seizes Thor's hair, and it would serve his stupid smug brother right if he just shoved Thor's face down on his cock, but instead Loki drags him back up and kisses him, fervently, hands tangling in Thor's hair and stroking over Thor's broad shoulders under his nightshirt -- "Why are you still dressed?" Loki hisses, tugging impatiently at the cloth.

"Ah," Thor says, with a rueful puff of laughter against Loki's mouth, already moving to help. Between them they yank Thor's shirt off, managing not to tear it; for an agonizing few breaths Thor pulls away to divest himself of his leggings, and with the space of cold air between them, Loki nearly comes to his senses. Then Thor is tossing his clothes aside, pulling the covers and furs back over him like a cape and settling his weight atop Loki, skin to hot skin, and rational thought flees.

Loki wraps all his limbs around Thor's body, gathering him as close as possible while his hips rise to meet Thor's. Sparks go off in his vision, and he doesn't quite strangle another moan, and then Thor is biting into Loki's shoulder. Loki keens, a shockwave of pleasure going through him from that point of pain. Thor does not even stop to see if he's hurt Loki, though perhaps the slickness of Loki's cock trapped against Thor's belly, and the way Loki is shaking, are proof enough of his enjoyment. Instead Thor makes a pleased, possessive sound against Loki's shoulder and sucks the skin there. Loki's eyes roll up helplessly. Thor is going to leave a mark there -- Thor has a hand at the back of Loki's neck, pulling Loki's head a little to the side to give him better access, Thor is doing it deliberately --

If Thor isn't careful, someone is going to notice, Loki thinks, one last remaining cold clear thought. It is the only thing that saves him from coming right then, all but untouched; and though momentary fear of getting caught pulls Loki back from the edge, he finds himself countering the thought savagely, I don't care, which might be one of his best lies or might be sheer madness. He does feel a little mad, loving the way Thor is pressing proof of himself into Loki's skin, loving how it hurts, loving it so fiercely it feels like rage. Loki grinds his hips up against Thor's and rakes his fingernails across Thor's back. Thor groans; his teeth leave Loki's shoulder, and he licks over the same spot, sending aching aftershocks through Loki.

"What," Thor starts, breath-quiet against Loki's ear, "what can I --?"

Perhaps Thor still has some line he fears to cross, as though his mouth on Loki's and his cock pressed into the crease of Loki's thigh are not breach enough; likely he has thought none of this through, having come to Loki's bed on mad impulse, and has run up against the limits of his imaginings. He has not even begun to come upon the limits of Loki's, and Loki already feels so deliriously good, and so frantic, that what comes out of his mouth in choked answer is, "Anything."

It is only when Thor stills in reaction that Loki realizes what he has said. Fool. Until tonight Thor cannot have even known Loki desired him, Loki who holds himself careful and quiet, and now with one unthinking word he has let slip the depth of his wanting. He braces himself for -- for disgust, or mocking, and so is all the more unprepared when Thor shudders into sudden motion, pulling Loki to him, a hand in Loki's hair tangling tight enough to hurt and his other hand clutching Loki's hip, angling them more snugly together. "Loki," he whispers, warm and reverent.

Oh, Loki thinks, with shocked elation.

He arches up against Thor, a slow sinuous roll of his body, shivering with pleasure but feeling more in control of himself than he has since Thor came to his bed. "Tell me," he murmurs, lips brushing Thor's ear, "what can you do?"

Thor laughs, soft and shaky. "I want," he says, and then licks a hot line up Loki's neck -- distracted, buying time, Loki cannot tell. His hand in Loki's hair tugs and pets, and if Loki allowed it he would feel hypnotized by this, but he is curious now what Thor wants: it is clear enough that, impulsive or no, Thor has not come up against the limits of his imaginings either. "I want," Thor says again, and presses his face to Loki's shoulder. Loki can feel how his brother's cheeks are burning. Thor mumbles something; the only clear word Loki catches is inside.

Loki's pulse ratchets; but Thor could be suggesting several things, and Loki will not sloppily agree to something from misplaced eagerness. He turns his head carefully, kissing the delicate shell of Thor's ear and his soft-scratchy cheek. "Again," he says, in the same measured murmur, "so I can hear it, Thor."

Lifting his head enough to enunciate the words clearly, his lips still skimming Loki's collarbone, Thor says again, in a rush, "Want to be inside you."

"There," Loki says, only a little breathless under the wave of want this rolls through him, "much better," quietly astonished with his own poise. Every part of his being wants to claw at Thor's back and howl yes. His mind is racing: he needs to comply with this desire of Thor's quickly enough that Thor has no time to realize exactly how thoroughly they will be crossing every line there is to cross; he needs to stay cogent enough to make sure Thor does this carefully.

"I didn't, I," Thor says, tripping over the words, his hand still stroking Loki's hair, the other rubbing deliciously distracting circles in the hollow of Loki's hip. "We need -- I can't just --"

"True," Loki agrees. Several spells come to mind, including one that Loki has misappropriated in the past to ease the friction of his palm when he wants to touch himself, though he has never used it for penetration. "Dear Thor, coming here unprepared," he murmurs, more to ease his brother's nervousness than because he truly feels like making fun. Thor huffs a laugh of rueful acknowledgment that turns into a gasp halfway through as Loki reaches for the hand on his hip and brings Thor's fingers up to his mouth.

"Yes," Thor says, more breath than word; his fingers in Loki's mouth curl against his tongue, and Loki feels Thor's cock jump against his thigh. "That should --"

Loki sucks on Thor's fingers, hollowing his cheeks, and Thor's words die in a garbled mess of syllables. Loki wants to laugh. Thor is so spectacularly easy to keep exactly where Loki wants him: in the dim light Thor's eyes are wide, his whole face mesmerized. Loki has efficiently bought himself the time to do this exactly how he wants to without worrying that Thor's haze of arousal will lift enough for him to come to his senses. Though in fairness, Loki thinks fondly, Thor has taken leave of his senses very willingly and deliberately tonight.

He takes Thor's fingers from his mouth, pulling off in a long, slow, deliberate slide. His hand is still on Thor's wrist, and he uses it to guide Thor down his body, canting his hips. Even with this invitation Thor hesitates, as though after biting into the meat of Loki's shoulder he's worried that this will hurt. Loki spreads his legs, licks his lips, gazes into his brother's eyes, and whispers, "Thor, please."

Thor pushes a finger into him. Loki bites back a hiss, only because it feels so odd: but Thor is going carefully, more tender than is his usual wont, and where at another time Loki might feel impatient or annoyed at being treated so delicately, at this moment it's what he needs. He is still clutching Thor's wrist too tightly.

"Loki," Thor breathes. He presses his forehead to Loki's, slides his finger a little deeper. Loki pants, brushing his nose against Thor's, losing the thread. Fool, worrying that Thor might realize the lines they're crossing, not thinking of them himself. He lets his legs fall wider. He seems to be shaking.

"More," Loki grinds out. "Come on, Thor, if I only meant you to use one finger on me that's what I would have --" Thor, in typical fashion, doesn't wait for the speech, but adds a second finger, twisting in beside the first, and reacts with splendid swiftness when Loki's words turn into a wail: his free hand is clapped across Loki's mouth in seconds. Loki writhes, lifting a knee to allow Thor in further, small sounds escaping around Thor's hand. He wants to howl, he wants to beg Thor to do filthy things he doesn't yet have names for, he wants --

Loki lifts both hands to scrabble at the one pressed to his mouth. Thor stills, and removes his hand carefully.

"I have," Loki pants, "I have a spell, I want you in me now, Thor --"

"Yes," Thor says, "that's good, do that." It is a mark of how much he must want this too, or perhaps of how much under all his usual bluster and teasing he must trust Loki after all, that he does not even think to protest the use of magic near his more sensitive anatomy. Loki is grateful for that: it will take all his concentration to remember the spell aright when he feels this desperate, and expending the energy and thought to convince Thor of it too would be maddening.

"Here." Loki reaches down, taking Thor in hand -- Thor moans, his head bowing over Loki's and his cock twitching in reaction to Loki's touch -- and he whispers the familiar syllables, sliding warm slickness down Thor's cock.

"Fuck," Thor gasps, and laughs. "Is this what your books of sorcery teach you."

"Among other things." Loki squirms. "Now fuck me."

Thor obliges, with wonderful alacrity. Now that it has come to the point, all the nervous fumbling seems to have left him. He pulls his fingers gently from Loki, and even as Loki is trying to breathe through the strange feeling of emptiness, Thor places both hands on Loki's hips, lifts them without effort, and presses into Loki as though he already knows exactly how to claim him.

Loki pants up at the ceiling in shock. He observes, with strange distance, that the slickness spell works perfectly. The only immediate facts are the physical: Thor is kneeling over him, firm hands on his hips, Thor is inside him, Loki has been taken and filled and it feels terrifyingly perfect; he clenches around Thor's cock just to feel the size of it, and suddenly he can't stop moving, grinding his hips up in an effort to take Thor deeper. "Loki --" Thor says, with a note of uncertainty, and Loki repeats, his voice splintering with desperation, "Fuck me."

At least Thor needs no more convincing. He begins to move, first in time with the rock of Loki's hips, and then faster. Loki has the wherewithal to press one of his own hands over his mouth before he loses track of his voice, and only just in time: he can hear himself whimpering, a hungry, wild sound. Thor is almost entirely silent except for his breaths of effort; he is like that when he spars, too. He gathers Loki closer, leaning down so that Loki's knees are hooked over Thor's shoulders, his body nearly folded in half, and with this new leverage moves with confidence. The angle is deeper this way, and quite outside his control Loki's whimpers slide through moans into screams. His own hand is insufficient, but Thor reaches down easily and presses a hand back over Loki's mouth, still fucking Loki with force. At the deepest point of each thrust, sparks go off in Loki's vision, accompanied by an overwhelming stab of pleasure.

It spills over suddenly, the strangest orgasm Loki's ever had: he's already screaming, and while his cock jerks against his belly and he spasms around Thor, Thor does not stop moving even for a moment. He does take his hand away from Loki's mouth so that Loki can gasp for breath, but his rhythm doesn't falter. "Thor --" Loki tries shakily.

Thor slides his hands up Loki's body, making him shiver with aftershocks. He curls a familiar hand around the nape of Loki's neck. He is still moving. Loki might have guessed that Thor is simply too far gone in his own pleasure to do more than use Loki's body to seek his release, but Thor whispers, "Please, Loki, I want to come in you, I want to give you this, I --" and Loki does not even care what else Thor wants, because that alone curls with feverish heat in his belly and makes him say, in clench-teethed gasps, "Yes yes yes."

Still Thor is driving at him, from such an angle that Loki is already beginning to become aroused again under it. It almost feels as though, despite Loki's best efforts, when Thor looked into Loki's eyes after the feast earlier he saw not only Loki's desire for him but Loki's desire for everything, the tangle of consuming need and the ache for more with which Loki moves through life. It is very like Thor to see that and believe he could do something about it. It is very like Thor to succeed, at least in this small way: at this moment Loki feels filled up and overwhelmed, and he scrabbles at Thor's back, encouraging him. Thor reaches down between them, knuckles brushing Loki's cock, and Loki jerks, keening, while Thor strokes it back to hardness. Loki is held there, Thor's hand in a loose fist around his cock, Thor fucking him with slowly rising desperation. Loki lies beneath him, making wrecked noises under the build of pleasure.

Thor comes first, a last few short hard thrusts before he goes still, shaking, and Loki feels the spill of warmth inside him. That alone nearly pushes Loki over the edge again -- nearly, but now Thor has collapsed upon him, panting, his cock slowly softening and his hands no longer giving Loki attention. Loki writhes. "Thor -- fuck, please --"

In answer Thor rolls sideways, ending up against Loki's side, and draws Loki to him, the front of his body to Loki's back. He gathers Loki close in his arms, and with his hand resumes stroking Loki. It is something, but not nearly enough after the glorious onslaught Loki just experienced. He chokes back a sob of frustration.

"Loki," Thor says, in a sleepy rumble, "I want to do this again tomorrow."

Loki stills.

"And the next night," Thor goes on, murmuring the words into Loki's hair. "On your hands and knees, if you like, or I could put my mouth on you ..." His hand on Loki's cock tightens, moving faster as Thor warms to his theme. For his part Loki holds very still, barely breathing, arousal at the moment a distant second to shock. For Thor to come to him once is impulsive, a mistake, an action born of drink or lust or a misplaced urge to show Loki affection. For Thor to come to him again, to think of planning for this ...

"I would do this for hours," Thor is saying with quiet fervency, "Loki, I would fuck you until you don't remember your own name --"

Loki comes again, in wracking pulses while Thor strokes him through it. He lays there shivering with aftershocks. Thor gathers him closer, breathing warm on the nape of his neck and saying nothing further.

"I would like that," Loki finds himself whispering. He places a hand over Thor's, gripping it with crushing force. Thor only makes a quiet pleased noise and curls closer, utterly unconcerned with Loki's snarling scrabbling fervency. In a few minutes he is snoring, quietly enough for now to give Loki no trouble.

Sleep does not come so easily to Loki. All the arguments he has ever had against this come to him now, fully-formed thoughts when before they were only the inarticulate but certain knowledge that nothing like this could be allowed to come to pass. Now he imagines explaining this to Thor, carefully, reasonably: that if ever they are caught, it wouldn't be like sneaking off to Vanaheim or starting bar brawls. That Thor must consider how their parents would see it, how they would keep Thor and Loki away from each other for the rest of their lives, how they would ask mages or healers to fix them. How it would be worse if someone else in the kingdom found out -- how it would discredit both possible heirs to the throne, the whole family.

Loki's eyes are wide in the dark.

All his reasons are curling back in upon themselves, snakes devouring their own tails. He does not know if Thor will be able to keep this a secret. But Loki knows he is more than capable of doing so. He knows, too, that the voice in his head speaking reasonably of inevitable ruin is the same voice that tells him everything else he must not do: too much magic in public is unseemly, unmanly. Besting Thor in the training ring will only bring discredit to him, not credit to Loki. Lock yourself away for the good of those around you.

But despite his best efforts Thor has seen him, and come to Loki, sweeping away all of Loki's careful walls and disguises. Loki is happy, selfishly, terribly. Perhaps in the morning he will talk Thor out of this. But Loki did not ask Thor to go when he had the chance, and now Thor wants to do this again, for hours, night after night. Loki is tired of denying himself.

Snow sweeps up against the windowpane, making a soft sound of pattering in the dark. Loki closes his eyes, listening to the howl of the wind, and drifts to sleep in Thor's arms.