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Rivalry

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"Brother!"

Loki winced as Thora's shout carried through the labyrinth of the library. He had come here specifically to hide from her—not that he would admit he was hiding—assuming that her general distaste for the indoors and especially book learning would keep him safe. He had misjudged her persistence.

"I'm over here," he called before she could shatter the quiet with her impressive bellow again. "Follow my voice."

"Ha!" she cried out just seconds later, striding around a corner and catching sight of him. Pity. "Found you."

"I was hardly hiding," he sniffed. "I assure you, if I were, you would see neither hide nor hair of me, however long you searched."

"But you weren't," she said cheerfully. Slinging her long body into the chair opposite Loki, she folded her legs and gave him a narrow look. "You haven't come to the training grounds in weeks, brother."

"You lot may yell and hit each other with sticks all you like," Loki said, mourning his solitude already. "I would rather stay here."

"With all these books?" She said it as if it were a foul word, gazing around at the shelves with bemusement. "Loki, you spend all your time here. Haven't you read enough?"

"Haven't I—" Honestly. Why was he cursed to be surrounded by illiterates? "Do you have any idea how many books this place holds? The library of Asgard is the largest in the Nine Realms!"

"And the warriors of Asgard are the best in the Realms! That includes you, brother." Loki found that debatable. "Come, let's spar. We can put Fandral through his paces."

Thora held her hand out to him, pinning him with guileless blue eyes; he wished she were crueler, more duplicitous, anything that would make it easier to say no to her. Loki gave his book a regretful glance, and closed it with a dusty thud.

"Fine," he said with a sigh. He took Thora's hand and she hauled him bodily out of his chair; her strength compared to his verged on embarrassing. Standing, they were of a height (though Loki devoutly hoped he would gain a few inches on her in the coming years), but Thora was a strapping woman, hefting Mjölnir as if it were paper and looking like she could accidentally break a man in half by slapping him on the back too hard, much unlike Loki's whip-thin build. This was not to say that Loki was weak, for he was a skilled fighter with a reputation for viciousness, but while he had grown tall and gangly, Thora had simply grown tall, and solid as a longship.

She had also grown into her looks depressingly well, Loki thought as he followed her through the hallways. And that was the source of his problem, as well as the reason he had been hiding away in the library all this time: he could put aside his general aversion to fighting for the sake of appearances, but as of late he had found Thora…distracting. Loki did his best to ignore it—Sif would be one thing, but Thora was his sister— but he could only do so much before his body reacted without his intent. Thus, the library, and an excuse to avoid wrestling in the dirt with Thora while he also wrestled with a perverse desire to pin her in a most unbrotherly way.

In the training yard, he squared off against Fandral, and managed to put all thoughts of Thora out of his mind. Fandral was excellent with a sword and it took time and effort for Loki to get past his guard, finally sinking his knife into Fandral's shoulder. Fandral yelped and pushed him away; Loki nearly stumbled, but regained his footing and watched with amusement as Fandral yanked the knife from his shoulder, making pained faces all the while.

"Well," he said grudgingly, dropping the blood-soaked dagger in Loki's waiting palm, "I suppose that was fair."

Loki narrowed his eyes. "You expected it to be anything but?"

Fandral shrugged and winced, clapping his hand to his wound. "You do have a tendency to resort to trickery, rather than fight unaided." He looked at the blood on his tunic with distaste. "I liked this shirt. Off to the healers, then."

Loki nodded shortly, and watched Fandral walk away. His words grated; Loki saw no point in allowing himself to be killed for the sake of honor when magic so neatly took care of his enemies, but few in Asgard saw in that way.

An "oof!" and a snarl came from the other side of the ring, where Thora and Sif were scrambling in the dirt, pummeling each other like angry bilgesnipe. Volstagg watched from the side, calling out encouragements.

"Are they going to kill each other?" Loki asked idly, leaning on the fence alongside him. Volstagg smiled and pounded Loki on the back; Loki silently thanked the fence for its support.

"Hardly!" Volstagg said. "All in a day's fun. Thora or Sif, do you think?"

Loki surveyed the two women. Thora nearly had Sif pinned, but the blood rushing over her eyes from her split eyebrow might ruin her luck. Unlikely, though. "I believe familial obligation compels me to choose Thora."

Even as he spoke, Thora swiped the blood out of her eyes and got Sif in a chokehold.

"Yield?" she panted, and Sif smacked the ground hard in affirmation.

"Ha!" Thora let her go and sat back. "Well fought, Sif!"

"And you as well, Thora." Sif stood slowly while Thora fairly bounced up, already shouting about technique with Volstagg.

As Sif walked by Loki to the fountain, he leaned in with a smirk on his lips and whispered, "A truly valiant effort, Sif. What a pity you lost."

She spun around and glared at him, then glanced over his shoulder. "Thora! Why don't you fight your brother? It's been a long time since you thrashed him in the ring."

Damn his sharp tongue. Loki kept his face bland as Thora waved him over.

"I'm going back to the library," he told her, not moving from the fence. "I've fought and bested Fandral; is that not enough for you?"

"No, it is not," Thora said decisively. "Why don't you wish to fight me, Loki?"

"Yes, Loki," Sif called from the fountain. "Are you a coward, or just a weakling?"

Needled, Loki shot back, "Why don't you come face me, and I'll show you I'm neither."

"She does have a point, Loki," Thora said in an undertone, sidling closer to him. "No son of Odin would turn down a match like this."

Loki shut his eyes briefly, and allowed his anger to fill him. Hopefully, that would take care of his wandering mind.

"Very well, sister mine," he said tightly. "Let's spar."

"Weapons?" she asked, leading him into the ring. Loki shook his head.

"Hand-to-hand, I think," he said. Fighting with knife or sword would be suitably distracting, but Loki stood no chance against Mjölnir; at least he could have a chance against Thora in an even battle.

"No magic!" she reminded him. Loki gave her a very dry look.

"No magic," he agreed, and set his stance. Across from him, Thora fell into a similar position, her brow furrowing and her attention fixated on him. Briefly, Loki thought of her in the berserker rage, smeared with blood and roaring louder than the thunder she summoned, electricity sparking in the air as she cut swaths through her enemies. She was never more exquisite to him than she was then (except, perhaps, when she smiled at him, a thought so sentimental it made Loki want to gag). He was still thinking about it when Thora charged him, and rammed her shoulder into his chest. Loki, unbalanced, hit the ground hard, and Thora with him, not having expected him to go down so quickly.

"What in Valhalla—" she yelled, rolling to her feet, and Loki kicked them out from under her and pounced. He lusted for his sister, but that didn't mean he would let her win.

Somehow, they clambered back to their feet, though if past experiences held true, they wouldn't stay there for long. He headbutted her in face, narrowly missing her nose, hurting his head in the bargain. Thora growled and punched him in the solar plexus, putting all her strength behind the hits; Loki wheezed, losing his footing, and in a final attempt to win, he grabbed her thick blonde braid and yanked as hard as he could. In a fair world, this would have her on the ground, but Thora only roared in anger and hit him with an uppercut hard enough to make spots dance on the edge of his vision. Using the only weapon he had left, he lunged forward and threw all his weight against her—and that sent her to the ground.

They rolled around in the dirt, scrabbling at each other's vulnerable spots; Loki had fewer, being clad in chainmail, and Thora had chosen to fight only hand-to-hand today. The thick leather on her shins and forearms were all she had as protection. Yet for all his eagerness to win, Loki still couldn't shake away the idea of her bare flesh so close to the touch, her hips and breasts just a few layers of linen away, and even being punched in the temple didn't quite snap him out of it. Blinking away the headache, Loki grabbed at her arms, struggling to toss her aside, but she elbowed him in the gut and managed to crawl astride him, shoving her forearm against his throat.

"Do you yield, brother?" she asked, grinning fiercely. At that sight—at the growl of victory in her voice, and at the weight of her body straddling his—Loki's body betrayed him. He snarled and clawed at her shoulders, praying she didn't lean back further and discover exactly why Loki had taken to avoiding her, and tried to find something to say. Thora's smile faltered, and finally Loki's mind rallied. He forced himself to relax—all but one part of him—and drawled, "I believe I've yielded quite noticeably, sister. Now, unless you particularly enjoy having me under you, I suggest you let me go."

Interestingly, Thora went red, and then she sat back against him and went even redder. Loki bit his lip hard and scrambled out from under her, his pulse suddenly going as fast as a racehorse. "Get off me, you cretin!"

"Loki, I—" Thora stuttered, lost for words and horrified, staring at Loki as if he had transformed into something horrible. She couldn't have been more shocked if he'd suddenly been revealed to be a frost giant.

"Shut up, Thora!" Loki snarled, climbing to his feet and adjusting himself surreptitiously. No one had been watching; that was something to be thankful for. "I'm going to the library. Don't follow me."

And despite Thora shouting after him, Loki fled to the one place where everything made sense, and buried his shame among the books.

. . .

Thora had spent days trying to catch him alone, but Loki was as slippery as he was sly, and evaded her at every turn. Still, he knew he couldn't ignore what had happened forever, but he would be damned if he had to confront her on her territory. No, they would talk on his terms, and his terms only. So he led her to the library again, to a secret place tucked away in one of the monstrously huge bookshelves where he had often hidden during their childhood games. Each tome was as tall as a man or taller; Loki, with a more manageable book in his hand, settled down against one bound in scratched green leather, and waited for his sister.

She found him after he'd been there for hours. He'd become so engrossed in his reading he was oblivious to her arrival until she had folded herself into the little space he was curled in, the old wood of the shelf at her back and little more than an arm's-length between her and Loki. Instinctively, Loki's hands flew up defensively, and she shrank back, hurt flashing in her eyes. At that sight, Loki's resolution crumbled, and he started to summon the energy required to vanish, green filaments swirling around his fingers.

"Stop that," Thora ordered, seizing him by the ankle. Loki gave her a poisonous glare but subsided, letting the magic flicker away. He was fairly vibrating with tension. "Brother, we need to talk."

"I don't think we do," Loki snapped, despite his best intentions, and pulled away from her, drawing his knees up to his chest protectively. He winced at the petulant note in his voice. "Go away."

"Loki, look, you need not be embarrassed. I have heard it's natural for men to react so, especially at your age."

She looked hopeful, as if she thought handing him a ready-made excuse was anything but patronizing.

"Natural," he said flatly, willing his voice not to shake. "Who told you that?"

"Eir," she said, and added hastily, "I asked her a long time ago, Loki, not about you."

Hot anger welled up in Loki's chest at the thought, at imagining Thora curious about any man but him, and he asked with narrowed eyes, "Then who was it?"

"It was something Sif said," Thora said, clearly exasperated by what she deemed to be pointless tangents. His sister. Always so blunt, totally lacking in guile. She thought everything could be solved by throwing hammers at it, and if she couldn't do that, it wasn't a problem.

"Well—" he began, a note of mockery in his voice, and she cut him off.

"Brother, it matters not! Come back to me. I miss you."

She could not have chosen a more cutting turn of phrase; Loki flinched hard, then covered his face with his hands. Laughter choked him: laughter at Thora's earnestness, laughter at this unfair situation, laughter at Loki's entire life.

"Brother?" Thora asked, unusually tentative, and her fingers brushed his sleeve, light as rain.

"Brother," Loki murmured. He licked his lips, and finally looked at her again. "Yes, that's the problem, isn't it? You see me as a brother, and I see you…"

He trailed off, and Thora said uneasily, "You don't see me as your sister?"

"Oh no," he assured her. "You are my sister, and nothing can change that."

Happiness flooded Thora's face. She wasn't listening, she didn't understand. Something in Loki snapped, and he surged forward, crowding her against the shelf, pressing his body tight against hers. A shiver raced down his spine; this was incomparable to sparring, or her friendly hugs. Thora's jaw clenched, and she held her ground, staring at him in mixed irritation and alarm.

"I assure you, sister," Loki breathed in her ear, clutching her shoulders, almost dizzy with the sheer perversity of his words, "you cannot begin to imagine the things I have thought of doing to you. Unspeakable things. Filthy things."

A blush burned his cheeks as he drew back, holding his head high. He missed the heat of her body as soon as he moved away. "Shall I stop avoiding you now?"

"Loki," Thora said, hushed, and stopped there. Her eyes were huge, disgusted, and the tiny shred of hope Loki had cherished for so long sickened and died.

He sneered at her. "Now you know the truth. Tell me, who will you tell first? Sif? Perhaps Fandral, he does so like sordid stories—"

"Brother," Thora interrupted, and Loki froze with unease at the determined gleam in her eyes. "Just shut up."

In a brief, ill-advised flashback to his childhood, Loki snapped, "Make me."

She lunged forward, and Loki tried to twist away, expecting her to hit in in the shoulder, or slap a hand over his mouth to stop him spewing his vile words. Instead, she kissed him. Her lips smacked hard against his, more of an attack than a kiss, and she braced her knees on either side of him, sliding her hand around to the nape of his neck. Loki's hands fluttered uselessly at his sides, and when she kissed him again, he actually gasped, shuddering, before finally putting his hands on her waist and drawing her closer. She sank into his lap and deepened the kiss, and Loki thought of absolutely nothing but the muscles of her back under his hands, the weight of her body on his, the press of her breasts against his chest. He parted his lips and let his tongue brush against her mouth.

To Thora, that must have crossed the line as an ordinary kiss didn't, for she went stiff in his arms and shoved herself away from him with a hand planted in the middle of his chest. Humiliation, fury, and panic ran through his heart in quick succession, and he half-reached for her before stopping, his hand hovering uncertainly in the air.

"We're siblings, Loki!" she spluttered, and glanced to the open air as if thinking to flee.

"You kissed me," he accused, and grabbed her by the wrist, hauling her back. There were a thousand things he could say now, and Loki chose the most ill-advised. "And now you deny it? Take responsibility for your actions, coward!"

She was so predictable; indignation flared in her eyes, anger at its heels, and she slammed him against the book, growling, "I am not a coward!"

Loki looked at from under his lashes, and knew he had her.

"Prove it," he whispered. "Unless you're afraid?"

"Of you?" She snorted, and grabbed him by the collar, for what purpose he knew not, though bizarrely, her eyes softened. "Never, brother."

Loki caught her face between his hands and kissed her again, and Thora hesitated ever so briefly before reciprocating, straddling his lap and letting him tug her close until their bodies were flush against each other. This time, she took the initiative, licking into his mouth with confidence, as if she did so every day, and Loki's fingers spasmed against her skin. He had never—there had never been anyone he'd cared to do this with before, and the slick feel of her tongue sliding against his was so strange, so exquisitely intimate and overwhelming all on its own. He pulled away before he moaned into her mouth, and kissed along her jawline, nipping at a sensitive point on her neck before soothing the bite with his tongue. She squirmed in his lap, panting, and this time Loki did moan, burying the sound in the curve of her neck. He licked and sucked at her skin, relishing the soft gasps he coaxed from Thora's lips and the knowledge that she would bear his bruises the next day.

"Enjoying yourself, sister?" he breathed in her ear, and Thora shuddered hard. Wordlessly, she took his hands and slid them under her tunic, until he was brushing his fingers along the bare skin of her ribs and stomach. He stroked the underside of her breasts with his knuckles, and, emboldened, cupped her breasts at last, marveling at the weight of them. It was more like his fantasies than he thought it would be, those rare times when he allowed himself to picture such a thing, and so much better, for he never could have imagined exactly how she would twitch when he rubbed her nipples lightly with his thumb, nor the expression on her face when he pinched them just a little and experimentally rolled them between his fingers. Thora grabbed onto his shoulders to steady herself and her hips jerked even as a gasp tore from her lips.

"I take that as a yes," Loki answered himself, a smirk on his lips covering up the absolute chaos within him.

"Let's see if I can still your silver tongue," she muttered, and reached between his legs, palming him unceremoniously, and Loki cried out, arching his back to seek more friction. Chaos indeed; Loki wanted to touch her everywhere, to strip her bare and find out what made her moan, what places she most preferred to have covered in kisses and where she liked a little teeth; he wanted to spread her legs and put his head between them to hear how loud he could make her scream; he wanted her to never stop touching him; he wanted everything, and he could scarcely breathe with all the desire inside him. She ground her palm against him, and Loki couldn't stand it anymore.

"Off," he panted. "Get off, now—"

Thora did, scrambling to the side, looking strangely ungainly—he wasn't used to that, accustomed to her warrior's grace, however brutish she was at times—and she said worriedly, "What happened, did I hurt you?"

"No," Loki bit out, embarrassment joining desire and exhilaration twisting in his stomach. "No, I just—have you done this before?"

"No," Thora said, without a trace of self-consciousness. "Have you?"

"Of course," Loki lied. Thora looked vaguely impressed, and he was filled with an irrational irritation that she was not jealous of his presumed previous partners as he would have been of hers.

But regardless, he would be her first, and that was precisely how it should be.

Unsure where to go next, Loki crawled to her and kissed her again, lightly on the lips in an almost chaste (or, dare he say it, brotherly) manner, and rucked up her tunic with one hand to pull it over her head, finally pushing her flat and pressing his lips to her bare expanse of skin. She said his name in a breathless voice, and curled her fingers in his hair at the base of his skull. Loki sucked bruises over her ribs, his fingers digging into the flesh of her hips, tracing a pattern with his tongue up her body to the tip of her breast, and sucked her nipple inside his mouth. He scraped it with his teeth, quite accidentally, but Thora gasped, "Loki!" with a note of shock in her voice, and with a little burst of sadistic amusement he did it again, and again, until she was squirming beneath him. Loki was positively aching, and he used his free hand to untie his laces, at last skimming his fingers over his sensitized flesh. His jaw dropped open and he pressed his forehead against Thora's chest, incapable of concentrating on anything but the delicious pressure of his hand cupped around his prick; he smeared the clear liquid leaking from his slit around the head with his thumb, and imagined in a blur Thora's tongue doing the same thing, Thora's lips parting to take him in—

"Brother, this is unfair. You're still fully clothed," Thora said hoarsely, propping herself up on her elbow. Jolted from his fantasy, Loki hastily released his prick and sat back, allowing her to see it; he had no shame with regard to size, for once, but of course Thora wouldn't have had any basis for comparison anyway. Still, it was a pleasure to see her eyes widen, and he leaned close and whispered, "I'm going to fuck you, Thora. Here, right now, and sister, you will love it."

"You are foul," Thora said, but she sounded half-admiring. Then a spark of mischief lit in her eye, and though Loki knew her intentions he still allowed himself to be tackled. He regretted it a second later, when Thora slid her hands up his tunic and skittered her fingers down his ribs; though she wasn't ticklish, Loki certainly was (yet another shortcoming gifted to him by fate), and he squawked and writhed, his indignation cut in half by the feel of his prick rubbing against her thigh.

"Thora," he protested breathily, and prayed he wouldn't spend all over her clothes. "Thora, stop!"

"Take off your shirt," she insisted, and Loki huffed before wriggling out of his shirt.

"Are you content with this, or would you like me to strip bare?"

The question was obviously intended to prompt her into doing just that, but Thora's eyes were dark and intent; Loki's breath caught in his throat at the sight.

"You are beautiful, Loki," she said, and the sincerity in her voice made him want to scream. Sometimes he loathed her, for being so good, and often he half-wondered if his lust for her was equally a desire to corrupt her. He wondered if this would.

"Thank you," he replied, stupidly, and licked his lips. His eyes fell to the long sprawl of her legs, and he took her by the ankle, easing her boot off with one hand.

"Loki?" she questioned, and he glanced up at her before returning his attention to her other boot.

"Your turn," he said, and watched her eyes widen as she parsed his meaning. He reached up to undo the laces of her pants, his hands shaking; he could only hope Thora didn't see. Her eyes were focused on his face, though that wasn't much better, for as he fumbled with the knots his flushed cheeks grew even brighter. Finally, they were loose enough to fit over her hips, and he yanked them down quickly. The delta between her legs was covered with soft blonde curls, and Loki immediately cupped it, the heat startling and her wetness dampening his hand. He slid a questing finger between her lips, and Thora abruptly clamped her legs shut.

"Wait," she said, looking more unbalanced than he had ever seen before. Loki adored it. "Wait, brother, please."

He planted a kiss above her navel and blew a stream of air across her skin, making her shudder. "Why? You've always been the impatient one. Or are you going to tell me we're siblings yet again, that we shouldn't be doing this?"

"We shouldn't," she said half-heartedly, and her legs loosened.

"We're a bit past the point of complaint," Loki pointed out. Even with his hand trapped, he could still wiggle his fingers, and he did, making Thora twitch and gasp. "Now spread your legs for me, sister dear."

"You foul creature," she said again, this time with fondness, as she did exactly as he asked. Loki couldn't stifle a moan as she bared her cunt to him, glistening and lovely; he parted her lips with two fingers and ducked his head, very lightly tracing their curves with his tongue.

"Loki, don't tease," she groaned, and wound her fingers in his hair. Loki half-shrugged, and proceeded to not tease at all.

In truth, he had no idea what he was doing, but he was familiar enough with the basic structure from medical texts, and he thought he couldn't go wrong with a broad lick along her entire cunt, from her tight entrance to the nub at the top. Thora pulled his hair, hard, the muscles of her stomach trembling, and Loki tried it again, experimenting, until he found where she liked it most, that little nub; he lapped at it, sucked on it, toyed with it between his lips, his tongue tapping erratically on the tip. Thora's hands were seizing in his hair, as if she couldn't decide between pushing him away and rubbing his face further into her slickness.

"Mercy, brother," she cried out, "mercy," and Loki showed her none. He teased her entrance with one finger until she was close to convulsing, then slowed his ministrations as he worked a finger inside her. She was so tight, amazingly so, as if she hadn't breached herself even with her own hands.

"Haven't you played with yourself, Thora?" he asked, muffled, and slid his finger nearly entirely out before pressing back in with two. Her cunt spasmed around him, and if Loki had thought he was as hard as he could possibly be, he was wrong; his cock twitched and strained against his stomach.

"Not like this," she whispered, her voice tapering off into a moan. "Not like this."

"Do you like it?"

She nodded emphatically, her eyes glazed, her lip red where she had worried it with her teeth. Loki gave her swollen cunt a last lick, and sat up. Thora grabbed his wrists and pulled him over her inelegantly.

"Do it," she ordered, and bucked her hips against his, as if he might be unsure what she meant. Sitting back up, Loki shoved his pants down until they hung around his thighs, and hastily fell to his knees between her legs. He had heard this could hurt for women, and thought about warning Thora, but she was a warrior and would not want to be coddled—and there was a part of him, too, that wanted to see the mingled pain and pleasure on her face when he took her for the first time. Loki pressed against her, his prick slipping in her wetness, before he nudged it against her entrance and took her in one hard thrust.

Thora yelped and went rigid, grabbing his upper arms with a grip like steel. Loki let out a sob and nearly collapsed, managing to hold back his climax by sheer willpower; he had never once felt anything like this, so unbelievably tight, and he could feel Thora twitching around him, her back arching as she pawed at his back.

"Move, damn you!" she snarled, and were Loki more controlled, he might have teased her until she begged, but he could not; he began to rut against her, each thrust tearing a hoarse cry from his throat, and finally sought more leverage by sinking back on his knees and tilting up her hips. The angle drove her mad; she groaned and wrapped her legs around Loki, linking her ankles behind his back, and shoved her hand between her legs, rubbing her nub ferociously, her pleasure vocal. Loki looked down to where they were joined, and saw she was bleeding, a crimson smear along her thighs and the length of his cock—Thora, bleeding, and she hadn't lied to him. Oh yes, he was her first, she had wanted Loki to have her before all others, Thora had parted her legs and willingly bled for him and let him fuck her sweet cunt, yes

Loki's hips stuttered and his entire body seized as he spilled into her. Distantly, he was aware of Thora arching hard and convulsing around him, but his climax was a blinding haze that wiped any other thought from his mind. Then it faded, and Loki wobbled, his breath harsh and uneven. He collapsed on Thora, kissed her chest, her lips, her neck, and pressed his cheek against hers, nuzzling her ear.

"Well," he whispered at last, and swallowed. "That was nice."

Perhaps the most egregious understatement he had made in his life; Thora stretched luxuriantly under him, and said, satisfied, "Better than nice, surely."

Loki laughed and nodded, tucking his head into the curve of her shoulder. For once, her arrogance didn't grate. After a long pause, she asked, "What now?"

He shrugged with one shoulder. "I have no idea."

"You are still my brother," she said quietly, and this time Loki raised his head to look her in the eye.

"More than that, I would hope," he said, attempting to tease and instead sounding wistful. Thora tugged him down to her and kissed him gently.

"It doesn't matter. I love you," she said firmly, for Thora lived in a simple world where her word was law, and any who disagreed would be summarily slain. Loki knew the world didn't work that way; still, he laid his head on her chest, and said softly, "And I you, sister."