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Lucky Ones

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Warnings: mild violence, homophobic slurs and offensive language

 


 

 

 

They’re somewhere between Avesta and Borlänge when Thor’s phone runs out of battery. He’s typing out a long, whiny message to Amora about the horrors of having to spend his summer vacation at some half-rotten dump of a house in the arse end of nowhere when his phone beeps out a warning and the screen goes black.

 

“Fuck!”

 

“Language,” Frigga admonishes from the front of the car. She taps her nail on the large roadmap spread across her lap and turns to look at their father. “Remember to take a right at the next intersection.”

 

Thor shoves his good-for-nothing iphone in the pocket of his shorts and rests his forehead against the window. Amora’s probably gonna think he’s ignoring her. She always does if he doesn’t reply to her texts or comment on her Snaps at lightspeed. Awesome.

 

Balder snickers in his seat, his mouth stained with cheap gas station chocolate. He holds up his own phone which still has enough juice to run one of his annoying games and waves it in front of Thor’s face.

 

Little asshole. Thor elbows him in the shoulder and snatches his phone from his hand.

 

“Moooooooom! Thor took my phone!”

 

Their mother doesn’t even lift her gaze from the map. “Thor, don’t tease your brother.”

 

“Balder’s the one who’s being an annoying little shit!” Thor cries out, holding the phone just out of Balder’s reach.

 

“Am not!”

 

Their father turns up the volume on the radio in an effort to drown out their yelling with some ancient evergreen.

 

Jag vill ha någon att älska och hålla i hand.

 

“Mom! Tell him!” Balder whines, unable to reach Thor’s hand.

 

Odin eyes them through the rear-view mirror. “Siv-Inger doesn’t need a chorus, boys.”

 

Någon som alltid ror båten i land.

 

Frigga finally lifts her eyes from the map and spins around in her seat. “Give Balder his phone back.”

 

“But mom!

 

“Right now, Thor.”

 

“Boys… You better do what your mother tells you.” There’s a warning in Odin’s tone that both Thor and Balder know to heed.

 

“Fine.” Thor tosses the phone back at his brother and turns to glare at the patchwork of fields and farm houses that flash by his window. “This sucks.”

 

He tries not to think of all the cool stuff he’s going to miss out on while he’s away from the city. Stuff like driving around on his new Yamaha, all the nights of partying with his friends, Midsummer with Amora at her parents’ villa in Svartsö.

 

It’s all cancelled because some ancient aunt from Dalarna had to go and die.

 

Their mother had been delighted to hear she’d inherited her great aunt’s old summer house, and she’d taken off a few extra weeks from her salon, getting everyone packed and ready almost as soon as the keys were in her hand.

 

Thor of course wasn’t informed of their family vacation until it was too late for him to come up with an escape plan, and now he’s basically been sentenced to a summer in prison. There isn’t even wifi where they’re going.

 

 

It’s another hour, one pee break and countless oat fields later that they finally arrive at the arse end of nowhere, population 352. Their father steers the car down a long dirt road and into what probably counts as the courtyard of their new estate.

 

“Well, this is a dump,” Thor scoffs.

 

The whole place is overgrown with wild flowers and alder saplings, the road barely visible under a sea of tall grass.

 

“I suspect the villa has been empty since Aunt Pernilla moved to a home,” Frigga muses, but even the visibly dismal state of her newly inherited property doesn’t seem to dampen her spirits. She claps her hands together, her smile excited. “Alright, everybody out! It’s time to explore!”

 

The house itself has definitely seen better days, and Thor might need someone to pinch him, because he seriously can’t believe they left Stockholm for this. The red paintjob is chipping all over, and there are cracked glass panes in the second floor windows, broken by unruly tree branches.

 

“Odin! Boys! Come and look! It’s so lovely!” their mother calls, already inside the house.

 

‘Lovely’ isn’t the word that comes to mind when Thor follows Balder and their father in through the front door. The air inside the house is musty with years of neglect, and deep shadows cling to peeling wallpapers and dusty corners. Thor flicks the light switch by the door, but there’s only old wiring sticking through the roof.

 

Balder pokes his head into what looks like a large sitting room and wrinkles his nose. “It smells like Thor’s gym bag in here.”

 

“Shut up, you little twerp…” Thor tries to draw Balder into a headlock, but his brother darts away to hide behind Frigga’s back.

 

“We used to take our afternoon tea in here.” Their mother is practically beaming as she runs her fingers over an old rocking chair that sits abandoned in the middle of the room. “I spent so many summers here as a girl with my cousins,” she sighs, her happy childhood memories visible in her fond smile.

 

Their father circles around the room, humming to himself as he raps his knuckles against walls and door frames. “I do suspect the wood is rotten in places.”

 

“Ha! I told you!” Thor can’t help but feel a little vindicated.

 

Frigga’s smile wavers in visible disappointment and Odin hurries to wrap his arms around her waist.

 

“It’s going to take some work, but I’m sure we’ll restore this place to its former glory,” he announces, either very determined or just plain delusional.

 

Thor suspects it’s the latter when he and Balder set out to explore the rest of the house. Some of the woodwork is definitely soft with rot and the floors are practically swimming in mice droppings, the window sills in every room like a graveyard for dead flies and bumblebees. Most of the furniture is long gone, taken away by distant relatives, but there are still some leftovers here and there that look barely salvageable.

 

Thor feels his stomach drop when he sees water damage in one of the bedroom ceilings. “It’s gonna take months to make this place even remotely habitable…”

 

“I’ve never known you to back away from a challenge.”

 

Thor spins around and shoots his father an incredulous look. “I know you only have one good eye, but even you can see that this dump should be demolished.”

 

Odin scratches his greying beard and peers at the water stains. “It’s a little worse than I thought, but we’re doing this for your mother.” Odin throws his arm over Thor’s shoulder and gives it a light shake. “You know how much this means to her.”

 

Thor’s chest constricts with something that might be guilt, because of course he does, and now he feels like an asshole for complaining the whole drive here.

 

“Well, I guess we can try...”

 

Their mother has already managed to set up a small table and lawn chairs in front of the caravan they’ve brought along, and they sit down under the marquis for coffee and sandwiches.

 

Thor finally has some juice in his phone and he tries to text Amora, but the connection is so spotty that he gives up after the fifth failed attempt. He throws his phone on the table and sinks his teeth into a ham sandwich. "So what's the plan? Are we gonna be stuck here all summer?"

 

"That depends. How good are you with a hammer?" Odin smirks. He slips some cream into his coffee and tops it off with a cube of sugar while their mother putters around inside the caravan. “We’ll start with the roof and work from room to room.”

 

Thor shoots his father an incredulous look. “Uh, did you happen to see how many rooms that place has?”

 

Odin huffs a laugh at Thor’s horrified expression. “Yes, well, I’ll see if I can hire some local help.”

 

“You’d better,” Thor grumbles into his sandwich.

 

His father pulls out the old blueprints they got with the keys and rolls them on the table. The margins are full of barely legible notes from whoever designed the place, and Thor sinks deeper into apathy as he listens to his father go on and on about plinths and thermal insulation. He's almost relieved when Frigga pokes her head out of the caravan door and hands Thor what looks like a shopping list.

 

“Would you be a darling and go to the store for me? You remember how to get to the town, right?”

 

“I guess,” Thor sighs. It’s been less than an hour and he’s already been made into an errand boy.

 

“I think I saw an old bicycle behind that shed over there,” Frigga says, pointing at a moss covered hovel at the edge of the garden.

 

 

If Thor were two months older he’d be able to take his father’s Lexus and arrive in style, but the universe hates him so he sets off on a bike that looks and sounds like it’s from the turn of the last century.

 

There are no cars on the road, the occasional grazing cow his only company as he circles around potholes. He never thought he could miss the constant noise of Stockholm, but the lack of sound around him feels almost disorienting. There’s nothing but crickets in the grass and the occasional swallow swooping above his head.

 

Their closest neighbor appears to live in a yellow farmhouse, and Thor squints his eyes when he spots a dark-haired girl biking down the road that leads to the estate. He raises his hand to wave at her, but she ignores him, her green sundress billowing around her knees as she speeds up.

 

“Nice to meet you too…”

 

The town, if you can call it one, is even smaller than Thor realized when he viewed it through the car window. It consists of a convenience store, a rundown bar that doubles as a pizza place, and a hair salon with ads in the window that look like they haven’t been touched since the ‘60s. Further down the street is a laundromat and some office buildings, and the only living thing around seems to be a fat old cat lazing in the middle of the road.

 

Thor parks his bike in front of the store and leaves it unlocked and maybe, if he’s lucky, someone will steal the rusty piece of junk.

 

The bell above the door announces his arrival and he feels himself flush under his summer tan when every single person inside the small store turns their eyes on him, staring like he’s from another planet.

 

He grabs a basket from a pile near the checkout counter and begins to fill it with whatever comes close enough to the items on Frigga’s list, steering clear of the gossiping women near the milk cupboards as he wanders up and down the narrow aisles.

 

He’s almost done with his shopping when he bumps into something soft, his eyes fixed on the list in his hands. There’s a splat and a quiet little ‘oof’ and Thor looks up, suddenly face to face with the girl from before.

 

“Sorry, my bad…”

 

She’s dropped her popsicle on the floor between their feet and Thor gives her a sheepish grin as he picks it up and gives the wrapper a quick wipe with his fingers.

 

“Here, you dropped this.”

 

The girl glares at him through large, heart-shaped sunglasses, her mouth tight at the corners.

 

“Uh, miss?”

 

Miss!” someone guffaws on the other side of the store, and both Thor and the girl turn their eyes to a group of teenage boys loitering by the magazine rack.

 

One of them holds up a porn magazine and wriggles his tongue at the naked woman on the spread.

 

“Bet you wish you looked like this under that skirt, you freak!” he hollers at Thor’s new neighbor.

 

Her mouth twists into a sour line and she hurries out of the store, leaving Thor to stand there with her melting popsicle in his hand.

 

What. The. Fuck.

 

Thor heads to the counter with his shopping and tries to ignore the suspicious looks the old woman behind the register gives him.

 

“You’re not with those hoodlums, are you?” she asks.

 

“Nope.”

 

She shakes her pruny finger at him. “The youth today,” she begins, but Thor doesn’t bother to listen to her sermon, pretty sure he’s heard it all before from Grandpa Bor every time the old codger comes to visit.

 

 

When Thor steps out a few minutes later, the girl is kneeling by her bike, fiddling with the lock. He hurries over and hands her the popsicle she’d left behind.

 

“Here, you forgot this.”

 

The girl stands up and eyes Thor like he’s holding out a bear trap.

 

“It’s my treat,” Thor smiles.

 

She finally snatches the popsicle from his hand and unwraps it with greedy fingers. There’s a faint flush on her sun-freckled cheeks and one of the straps on her dress has slipped down her shoulder. She follows Thor’s gaze to it and yanks it up, glaring at him like she’s challenging Thor to say something crude like the guys inside.

 

Thor shifts his weight from foot to foot and adjusts the snapback on his head. “I’m Thor,” he says, the silence between them getting a little awkward. “I think we’re neighbors.”

 

The girl takes a small bite out of her cherry red popsicle. There’s a very obvious ‘who cares?’ conveyed in the arch of her brow.

 

Thor’s gaze zeroes in on the sugary crystal of ice that clings to the corner of her mouth and he watches as she licks at it, her tongue flicking over her bottom lip.

 

Thor clears his throat and huffs out an awkward laugh. “Good?”

 

She’s finally smiling a little, the tension in her shoulders releasing.

 

“Mmm. Pretty good.”

 

Her voice is lower than Thor expected.

 

“So…” Thor shuffles his feet on the gravel. “You got a name, neighbor?”

 

The girl pushes her sunglasses down her nose and peers at him over the red frames. “Maybe.”

 

“Well, maybe you’d like to tell me?” Thor laughs.

 

There’s a startled flash in her green eyes and their conversation comes to a halt when the group of assholes shuffles out of the store. Thor watches her drag the front tire of her bike on the gravel until it’s pointing towards the road, and then she’s off, pedaling down the street.

 

The guys whistle and holler after her. “Loki, baby, what’s the hurry?”

 

Thor frowns as the girl disappears behind the hair salon.

 

Loki?

 

Wait, was she a…?

 

“Haven’t seen you around. Where you from?” a guy with a patchy goatee asks, climbing on his dirt bike.

 

Thor ignores him and goes to his own bike, hanging the shopping bags on the handle bars.

 

“Hey, you deaf or something?” Goatee presses on. “Where the hell are you from?”

 

Thor sighs and shoots the guy a glare over his shoulder. “Stockholm.”

 

The guys snicker and rev their engines, the sound of their jury-rigged dirt bikes almost splitting Thor’s ear drums.

 

Goatee circles around him with his bike and yells over the roar of the engine, “Word of advice, Stockholm! You don’t wanna go anywhere near Loki!”

 

“Yeah? Why’s that?” Thor asks through gritted teeth. The longer he has to look at the asshole’s face and dumb goatee, the more he wants to punch it.

 

“‘Cause he’s a fag freak!”

 

The group rides away in cloud of fumes and noise, the reek of gasoline burning Thor’s nostrils.

 

 Yep. It’s gonna be a great summer.

 

 


 

 

The next few days are far from the R&R Thor had in mind when he and his friends made their Big Summer Plans on the last day of school. It’s impossible to get any sleep at night with their father’s ear-splitting snores filling the caravan and Balder tossing around in the bottom bunk. The small camper is almost claustrophobic to someone of Thor’s size and he’s lost count of all the times he’s hit his head on the cupboard doors that his brother keeps leaving open in the kitchenette.

 

Their father is too old and too blind for some of the more demanding tasks, and Thor keeps getting the short end of the stick in the job lottery while Balder gets to help their mother paint old furniture in the garden. At least their father managed to find some local help, two burly twins who don’t talk much, but who get the job done.

 

Thor is hauling a bunch of two by fours into the house with Byleist when he spots someone pedaling into their yard. The visitor hops off his bike and grabs a large picnic basket from the carrier.

 

“Hey, Loki! You bring us our lunch?” Helblindi hollers from the roof.

 

Loki?!

 

Thor almost loses his grip on the boards as he twists his head to stare at Loki over his shoulder.

 

“Yeah, I brought it…” Loki sets the basket on the porch stairs, about to sit down when he spots Thor through the open doorway. He stumbles back, visibly flustered.

 

“It’s about time,” Byleist grumbles. He dumps his end of the boards on the floor, deciding it’s time for his lunch hour right then and there.

 

Loki looks different today, the green sundress replaced by a faded t-shirt and a pair of jean shorts that hang loose on his narrow hips. His hair is piled up into a messy bun to hide the lack of washing, but there’s a pair of familiar heart-shaped sunglasses resting on top of his head.

 

He hugs his arms around himself when he sees Thor approach, shifting his weight from foot to foot.

 

“Hey, neighbor,” Thor nods.

 

“Hey...”

 

“You guys related or something?” Thor asks, jerking his head in the direction where Helblindi and Byleist are wolfing down their lunch.

 

Loki snorts and rolls his eyes. “Unfortunately.” He worries his bottom lip between his teeth, red like a berry against his pale skin. “So I guess I should thank you for the ice cream the other day. You didn’t have to-”

 

“Oh it’s ok.”

 

“I mean, I would’ve paid for it myself, but-”

 

“I didn’t mind! It’s totally cool!”

 

“Oh, ok. Cool.”

 

“Yep. Cool.” Thor tucks his hair behind his ear where it’s sticking to his sweaty temple. “So, it’s Loki, then? Your name.”

 

Loki’s eyes dart up and his cheeks flush like Thor has stumbled on something he wasn’t ready to reveal.

 

“Yeah…”

 

“Ok. That’s cool.” Thor cringes at the sudden lack of variety in his vocabulary, but Loki seems too flustered to notice.

 

They both look up when Frigga clears her throat and materializes behind Thor’s back. She’s wearing an old apron over her clothes, the large pocket in the front full of paint brushes.

 

“Hello there,” she nods, offering her hand to Loki in a greeting. “I’m Frigga, Thor and Balder’s mom.”

 

Loki wipes his palm on the front of his shirt before he shakes her hand, the look in his eyes a little unsure as he introduces himself.

 

“I’m Loki.”

 

Frigga’s smile is warm and welcoming. “Nice to meet you, Loki.” She points at the pink shades on Loki’s head. “I like your sunglasses. I had a pair just like that when I was your age.”

 

“Has Thor offered you anything to drink?”

 

Loki glances at Thor from the corner of his eye and shakes his head.

 

“Oh!” Thor blinks and clears his throat. “Do you want a Coke or something?”

 

Loki gives him a lopsided smile and sets his sunglasses on his nose. “Sure.”

 

Thor dashes into the caravan and fetches two cans of Coke, offering Loki a seat in one of the lawn chairs under the marquis.

 

“You guys moving in or something?” Loki sucks on his straw and eyes all the building materials spread around the courtyard, stacks of boards and cubes of glass wool. “This place has been abandoned for as long as I can remember.”

 

It’s almost impossible for Thor to stop once he gets going, telling Loki all about being dragged away from the city to be used as free labor at some god-forsaken spot of Sweden that isn’t even on any map.

 

“I don’t understand how anyone can actually live here for real.” He regrets his words when he sees Loki’s mouth pull tight around his straw. “Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that...”

 

“Of course you did,” Loki huffs. “And I don’t blame you. If I didn’t go to school in Falun I’d never see anything but hay and cow shit.”

 

Thor snorts into his can of Coke, relieved to finally meet someone who understands his misery.

 

He’s eventually dragged back to work, and he’s pleased to see that instead of heading back to his bike, Loki decides to make his way into the garden to join Frigga and Balder in their efforts to restore the old furniture to their former glory.

 

Thor has a clear view of the orchard from the roof where he’s helping Byleist and Helblindi with the shingles while Odin yells instructions to them from inside the house. He tucks down the visor of his snapback and fixes his gaze on Loki who sits spread-eagled on the lawn, his hand moving back and forth on a table leg as he buffs it for a new coat of paint.

 

His stomach does a funny flip as he follows the motion of Loki’s hand, and his neck heats up when he sees Loki look up and smirk at him.

 

Is it just him or is Loki’s gaze lingering on Thor’s bicep?

 

Thor fumbles to catch his hammer as it threatens to slip from his grip. He looks away and waits a moment before reaching up to roll the sleeves of his t-shirt a little higher, nice and subtle.

 

When he looks down again Loki is definitely staring at his biceps. His smile is amused as he continues to brush the piece of sandpaper up and down the length of the old table leg. He tilts his head expectantly and Thor thinks he recognizes the challenge in his eyes.

 

Should he flex or something? Is it weird if he does that for another guy? He and Fandral once made out at a house party and it was weird as hell, but that’s because they’ve known each other since kindergarten, and Thor doesn’t actually have anything against broadening his horizons a little so... why the hell not?

 

He removes his cap and runs his fingers through his hair, tensing his muscles like he’s taking a selfie after gym. Loki snickers into his hand, shaking his head. And because Thor doesn’t believe in doing things by half measures, he gives Loki a wink.

 

Loki blinks up at him, the sandpaper in his hand falling on the grass. He looks away and Thor is about to panic, wondering if he misread the situation. He tightens his grip on the hammer, ready to beat some sense into his head when Loki looks up again and rewards him with the prettiest smile Thor has ever seen.

 

Ok. Cool.

 

 

The afternoon sun is relentless, blazing down from a clear blue sky without mercy. Thor is drenched in sweat when he finally climbs down from the roof a little after four pm, desperate for a cool shower.

 

“You reek!” Balder announces when Thor drags his aching limbs into the garden.

 

Thor is already too red in the face to manage a proper blush, but he hopes Loki doesn’t agree with his brother’s blunt assessment.

 

“You wanna go for a swim?” Loki asks, glancing at Thor over the rim of his sunglasses. He gives the chair he’s working on a few finishing touches and puts his paintbrush into a jar of turpentine. “There’s a good spot by the lake shore not far from here.”

 

Thor’s eyes brighten at the mere thought of getting to submerge himself in cool water. He’s especially interested in doing it with Loki, so of course Balder has to ruin it a second later.

 

“Can I come too?”

 

No!”

 

“Sure,” Loki nods, because he apparently has no idea how annoying ten-year-old little shits like Balder can be.

 

“Oh, Thor, let your brother come,” Frigga says, and the look in her eyes lets Thor know there’s no room for negotiations.

 

He heaves a loud sigh and drags Balder into a loose headlock, ruffling his hair. “Fine, you can come…”

 

“Just follow that path until you reach the beach.” Loki points towards an overgrown trail at the edge of the garden that seems to lead into a small wood. “I’ll meet you there after I’ve changed.”

 

Loki heads back to his bike and Thor wastes no time as he runs into the caravan and pulls on a pair of boardshorts. He douses himself in a cloud of Axe to mask the worst of his BO and takes a quick assessing look in the mirror, relieved to see there are no new zits on his face today.

 

Balder is still rummaging around for his snorkel and flippers and floaties and lord knows what else when Thor steps out of the small bathroom.

 

“Come on! Do you really need all that shit?” Thor whines, itching to go.

 

“Mom says I have to have my floaties on if she and dad aren’t around,” Balder pouts, and ok, maybe it’s important that his little brother doesn’t drown on Thor’s watch.

 

Thor pokes at his phone while he waits for Balder to get ready, taking advantage of the rare signal bar and shooting off a couple of quick replies to Sif and Fandral. He sees he has several unread texts from Amora in their private chat window and he hovers his thumb over the screen as he wonders how long he can continue to ignore her before things reach critical mass.

 

“Found them!” Balder comes out of the trailer with his bright yellow flippers already on his feet, his snorkel bouncing on his narrow chest. Thor drops his phone on the table and forgets all about Amora as he drags Balder onto the trail Loki pointed out for them.

 

“Have fun, you two!” Frigga calls after them from the garden. “Make sure your brother stays in the shallows!”

 

Thor waves his hand at her. “Yeah, yeah.”

 

The air in the woods is fragrant with wildflowers and bitter nettles that grow on both sides of the trail. Thor takes the lead and stomps on the ones that are close enough to burn Balder’s skinny legs as he trudges after Thor like an overgrown duck in his yellow flippers.

 

“Did you have to wear those before you’re even in the water?” Thor grumbles, stopping to wait for Balder to catch up for like the hundredth time. “Come on, climb up,” he says, and kneels down to offer Balder a ride on his back.

 

The trail is hard to walk and Thor breathes out a sigh of relief when it finally gives way to a sandy little cove. Loki is already waiting for them, sitting on a faded old Garfield towel, spelling his name in the sand with empty mussel shells.

 

“Sorry we’re late,” Thor pants, dropping Balder off his back. “Balder had to find his floaties.”

 

“That’s ok,” Loki smiles.

 

He’s changed into sky blue boardshorts that leave most of his slender thighs exposed, but his top is still covered by the faded t-shirt he wore earlier.

 

Thor hasn’t forgotten the green sundress and the ugly leers Loki got for wearing it, and he’s suddenly a little nervous, wondering if Loki is wearing something underneath his shirt. He casts a wary-eyed look at Balder, the nervous knot in his stomach growing when Loki begins to undress.

 

Thor sees Loki’s shoulders tense and draw up as he grabs the hem of his shirt, and there’s a moment of hesitation before he pulls it over his head. Thor’s gaze zeroes in on the bright pink bikini strings, tied in a sloppy bow beneath the valley of his shoulder blades.

 

Loki turns around and hugs his arms around himself as he casts a nervous look their way. He can’t be much younger than Thor, but there’s a softness to his body that Thor lost to weekly soccer practices long before puberty ever hit him. His stomach, half-hidden under his arms is smooth and undefined, the skin white like milk.

 

Balder’s blowing air into his floaties and there’s a brief moment of confusion on his young face as he takes in Loki’s appearance. Part of Thor wants to tell Balder not to stare, but he feels like it might not be the right thing to do even if Loki is visibly self-conscious.

 

Balder watches Loki for a while before he shoves his arms through his floaties, flashing them both a toothy grin. “Last one in the water is a rotten egg!” He scrambles across the sand in his flippers and lands in the water with a big splash.

 

The tension in Loki’s shoulders releases and Thor feels the knot in his own stomach unravel.

 

Loki lets out an airy chuckle as he arches his brow at Thor, his smile mischievous. “Race you?”

 

“Oh you’re on!”

 

They both dash into the lake and Loki kinda wins because the water is nowhere near as warm as Thor thought it’d be, not on his sun-boiled skin.

 

He freezes in place, his breath catching in his throat. “Jävla helvete!”

 

Loki, already fully submerged, laughs at Thor’s swearing. “It’s not that cold.”

 

“The hell it isn’t!” Thor gasps, wrapping his arms around himself, his toes curling against the sandy lake floor.

 

Balder swims closer, approaching Thor like a shark on the prowl.

 

“Don’t you dare…” Thor shakes his finger at him, trying to bank on his big brother cred. “Balder, I swear to god if you splash me-”

 

His threat is cut short by an onslaught of cool water hitting his back and shoulders. Thor gasps for breath, his eyes wide because the culprit is not his little brother but Loki!

 

Loki snickers at him and continues to splash as Balder joins in on the fun.

 

“Ok, ok, enough!” Thor sputters, grabbing blindly at his assailants. He catches Balder by his flipper and pulls him in to toss him back in the water like a sack of potatoes.

 

Balder shrieks with glee, splashing so hard with his scrawny arms that one of his floaties flies into the reeds that grow around the cove.

 

Thor turns his vengeful gaze on Loki who flashes him a smug grin. He surges forward, but stops himself before his hands can reach for Loki, his palms hovering over his naked waist underneath the surface.

 

Loki arches his brows at him. He shifts a little closer until Thor’s fingers brush against the fabric of his shorts.

 

Loki is light in his arms when Thor lifts him up, his skin cool to the touch. He pauses to feel out the contrast between sharp hip bones and the soft layer of fat where his thumbs press into Loki’s belly.

 

Loki bites his bottom lip and gives a small wriggle, reminding Thor of their game. Thor clears his throat and tosses Loki into the shallow water, the feel of his skin still lingering on his palms.

 

“Toss me again!” Balder jumps onto Thor’s back, hanging from his shoulders like a little monkey.

 

The afternoon wears on as they goof around in the water. Boats pass by the cove every now and again, the putt of their engines drowning under Loki’s shrieks and Balder’s splashing as Thor takes turns to toss them from his shoulders. They chase the little fish that dart around in the reeds and dive for shells, and when they tire of their games they come up to float on their backs, watching the zig and zag of dragonflies above their heads.

 

Thor feels something brush against his hand underneath the surface, mistaking it for a nibbling fish until he catches Loki smiling at him, his eyes playful. They’re framed by old mascara stains and the dark smudges make his eyes look even greener. He wraps his fingers around Thor’s wrist, gives a light yank, and Thor maybe kind of wants to hold his hand.

 

“I’m hungry,” Balder whines. “Can we go back now?”

 

The fingers around Thor’s wrist disappear and he has to resist the urge to chase them. “Do you remember how to get back without me?” he asks, reluctant to leave just yet.

 

“Duh, I’m not a baby,” Balder grumbles, wading back to the shore.

 

Thor watches him disappear into the woods, aware of the shift in the atmosphere that follows Balder’s absence. He feels Loki’s presence at his side, the silence between them a little awkward, but not uncomfortable.

 

Loki lifts his hand up to inspect it. “I’m starting to look like my grandma,” he laughs, wiggling his fingers at Thor. “We should probably get out of the water.”

 

Thor’s own hands are equally pruned and he follows Loki to the beach, pretending his eyes don’t linger on the way the wet shorts cling to Loki’s skin as he wades out of the water.

 

He sits down on his towel and catches a brief glimpse of the way Loki’s nipples press against the pink cloth of his bikini, hard and pointed from the cool water.

 

Thor draws his knees up and hurries to look away when he feels an awkward tug between his legs.

 

Fuck.

 

He’s relieved when Loki wraps his towel around his shoulders as he takes a seat at Thor’s side.

 

“Have you lived here your whole life?” Thor asks, desperate to give his brain something else to focus on.

 

“Pretty much. I lived in Falun with my mom after she and my dad broke up, but I had to come back when she moved to Denmark.” Loki rolls a piece of dry reed between his fingers and sticks it in the wet sand. “She was having a baby with this guy Hasse, and I guess they didn’t want me around to ruin their fresh start.”

 

Thor has plenty of friends with deadbeat parents, but leaving your kids behind so you can start over somewhere else sounds extra shitty. “That really sucks.”

 

“I guess… But if I’d gone with her there’d be no one left to look after Grandma. Helblindi and Byleist are too busy helping dad with the farm, so I make sure she eats and takes her meds and doesn’t go wandering all over the parish.”

 

Thor thinks of Loki in that yellow house, looking after his elderly grandma, and it suddenly hits him just how spoiled and privileged his own life in Stockholm is. He’s hardly ever alone, always surrounded by his friends, free to come and go as he pleases.

 

“You should come to Stockholm sometime, I’d show you around, give you a ride on my bike,” Thor grins.

 

“Mmm,” Loki shrugs. “Maybe.” He sounds a little wistful, but he has the look of someone who’s accepted their lot in life, afraid to even dream of change.

 

Thor wants to tell him it’s ok to dream, that things can get better, but he knows there are bigoted assholes everywhere, even Stockholm.

 

“Who were those guys the other day?” he asks, watching Loki from the corner of his eye, aware that he might not get an answer.

 

Loki’s mouth pulls into a tight line and he doesn’t meet Thor’s eyes as he digs his painted toes into the sand. “Just a bunch of idiots from my school,” he grits out. “Except for Norberg. That loser dropped out after junior high, but he lives nearby.”

 

“Are they always like that?”

 

Loki’s shoulders slump under his towel and he gives a small nod. “Pretty much. They’ve had a problem with me ever since I…” He stops himself and casts a nervous glance at Thor.

 

He doesn’t have to finish his sentence for Thor to know what he’s talking about.

 

“I’m sorry to hear that.” It’s lame, but it’s all Thor can think to say.

 

There’s a heavy silence between them as Loki scowls at his feet, still half-buried in the sand. Thor waits patiently and little by little, Loki begins to relax, the cloud of anger around him lifting. He lets out a quiet huff of laughter, the sound surprising Thor.

 

“You called me ‘miss’,” Loki says, a little breathless.

 

“Oh… Yeah, I guess I did,” Thor grins, biting his lip. He watches Loki from under his brow, trying to read his expression. “Was that ok? I honestly thought you were- I mean, uh…” He knows he’s fumbling, but he’s never really been in a situation like this, and the last thing he wants to do is offend Loki.

 

Loki’s eyes are amused, but his smile is fond when he turns to look at Thor. “It’s ok,” he shrugs. “I… kinda liked it, actually.”

 

“Should I call you something special or...?”

 

Loki pokes at a mosquito bite on his arm and worries his bottom lip between his teeth as he looks for an answer. “I don’t really have any preferences, not right now, anyway,” he says after a beat, and Thor gets the feeling that this might be the first time Loki is voicing these thoughts even to himself.

 

“I’m always Loki, but some days...” He reaches up and pulls his hair loose from the bun and Thor watches the dark curls settle on Loki’s shoulders as he lets his towel fall off, his bikini top almost completely dry now. “Some days I feel like something else...”

 

Thor nods, and he thinks he gets it. “Okay,” he smiles.

 

 


 

 

The house is transforming room by room, looking less like a miserable dump and more like the beautiful villa from Frigga’s childhood memories. All the leaks and old water damage in the roof has been fixed, and the dank, stuffy smell that first greeted them has disappeared under a fresh coat of wood and paint.

 

It’s the weekend and bigger renovations are put on hold while Helblindi and Byleist work at their father’s farm, but Thor is helping their mother to clean up an old storehouse while Loki and Balder paint the porch railings with Odin. Loki doesn’t get paid like his brothers, but Frigga makes sure to reward him with pancakes and lemonade whenever he shows up to help.

 

“This used to be a guest house when I was little. My cousin Ulrika and I slept here in the summers.” Frigga points to a wooden bed, half buried under old boxes and musty linens. “What do you say we fix this place up for you? I know that bunk bed in the caravan isn’t comfortable.”

 

Thor’s eyes light up at the thought of sleeping in a bed that doesn’t make him feel like he’s folded inside a can of sardines. He could also use some privacy, because waking up with a boner with your whole family in the room is downright traumatizing.

 

Thor sets to work with newfound motivation, carrying out an assortment of junk while Frigga cleans the floors of mouse droppings and dead bugs. They wash the bedding in a big vat of boiling water, and Frigga hangs frilly drapes in the windows, ignoring Thor’s grumbling protests.

 

“Do you want this thrown out?” Thor asks, pointing at an old wooden chest he’s unearthed from the clutter.

 

“Is there anything inside?”

 

Thor pushes the lid up and wrinkles his nose at the heavy smell of dust and time. He reaches inside and pulls out what looks like an old-fashioned sundress with small flowers dotting the blue canvas.

 

“Oh! I remember that dress!” Frigga gasps, clasping her hands together as she kneels in front of the chest. “These must have been Aunt Pernilla’s.”

 

There are at least a dozen dresses inside the chest, all of them in pristine condition, save for the slight smell of stale cloth. Thor pulls out a white nightgown, the fabric frilly and soft between his fingers. He looks out the window and his cheeks heat up as he wonders what the almost see-through fabric might look like on Loki’s slender frame.

 

Frigga follows his gaze out the window to where Loki is painting the awning pillars with Balder and Odin. “Do you think Loki would like some of these?”

 

Thor looks up at her and rumples the nightshirt against his chest, a little startled by her question.

 

Loki’s never worn one of his dresses when he visits, but it appears that Frigga knows anyway. She takes the nightshirt from Thor’s hands and smooths her hand over the soft fabric. “I can wash them if you want to give them to him.”

 

Thor nods, the flush on his cheeks fading. “Thanks, mom.”

 

There’s a light knock behind them and Thor looks over his shoulder to see Loki hovering in the doorway. He’s got a smudge of white paint on his cheek and another one in his hair.

 

“It’s almost time for my Grandma to take her afternoon meds so I have to go, but I was wondering...” His eyes flick between Thor and Frigga, and his words come out in a rush when he continues, “If you maybe wanted to go get ice cream with me a little later?”

 

Frigga smiles and pretends not to hear them as she goes back to hanging her frilly drapes.

 

“We’re out of cat food and fabric softener so I have to go to town anyway, and I was just wondering, I mean, if you don’t have anything better to do-”

 

“I don’t!” Thor blurts out.

 

Loki's cheek dimples and he lets out a soft breath. “Ok, so I’ll see you in an hour?”

 

“Sure,” Thor nods. He watches Loki pedal out of the courtyard and glances over his shoulder when he hears his mother snicker behind his back.

 

“You put Romeo to shame,” Frigga smirks.

 

Mom!”

 

 


 

 

It’s started to drizzle when Thor heads out on the pile of rust that he refuses to call a bike, but a little rain isn’t going to keep him from meeting Loki, and he pulls on the hood on his track jacket and jumps on the saddle.

 

They’ve made a habit of meeting by the old bus stop at the crossroads on days when Loki is unable to come by the villa, usually when Grandma’s favorite soaps are on and Loki has a few hours to himself.

 

The entertainment in town is limited to hanging around at the bar/pizza place and shooting some pool or taking turns at the old flipper, but Thor doesn’t really care what he’s doing as long as he’s doing it with Loki. Of course being out of the house and away from Balder is also a plus.

 

What started out as little rain is quickly turning into a fucking monsoon, and Thor is soaked down to his underwear by the time he’s nearing the crossroads. He wipes at his eyes and squints at the road when something catches his ear, a sound through the rush of rain, like a swarm of angry bees.

 

Or dirt bikes. Fuck.

 

Thor hurries down a steep hill and his stomach drops when he sees the local group of assholes is back in town, revving up their bikes as they circle around Loki who stands in the middle of the road, his hands clenched at his sides.

 

They sneer at him and call him names like they did at the store, but Loki stands still as a statue, the expression on his face unmoving. His sleeveless dress is soaked by the rain and his hair spills down his back like black ink.

 

“What you got under that dress, little slut? Come on, show us!”

 

A hand reaches for the strap of Loki’s dress and he finally comes alive, snarling like a cornered animal. The guy spits on him when Loki slaps his hand away and Thor’s vision narrows down into a single point.

 

He jumps off his bike and tosses it on the ground, the wheels still turning as he charges at the bullies.

 

“Hey fuckhead! What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”

 

Thor grabs Goatee by his collar and yanks him off his dirt bike, throwing him on the gravel. He presses the sole of his muddy sneaker against the asshole’s throat and digs it into his windpipe until he drops his arms and lies down in defeat.

 

“Nordberg!”

 

The remaining three guys finally realize what’s happening and they jump off their bikes and come at Thor like a pack of rabid dogs. He takes a few punches to his left arm and cheek, but the adrenaline in his veins dulls the pain and he decks one of the assholes in the jaw and sends his friend stumbling into the ditch with a punch to the solar plexus. The third one turns around on his heels and runs back to his bike, burning a muddy track in the road as he speeds away.

 

Loki stands a few feet away from the commotion, his wide-eyed gaze darting between Thor and the squirming bullies as they try to crawl away.

 

“If you fuckers ever touch him or talk to him again, I’ll break your fucking bones. You understand?” He digs his sneaker into Goatee’s windpipe and doesn’t let up until he hears a pathetic little ‘yes’ from him.

 

 

Thor stalks to his bike and yanks it up so hard that the chains threaten to slip off their tracks. His throat feels thick with anger, but he makes an effort to soften his voice as he motions for Loki to take a seat on the carrier.

 

“Let’s go.”

 

The sky is overcast as they set out, the clouds above their heads rumbling with building thunder. Loki wraps his arms around Thor’s waist, the tips of his slippers dragging against the wet gravel as Thor pedals down the road.

 

His mind is still reeling from the fight, the muscles in his arms and legs trembling with adrenaline. He barely notices when Loki taps on his shoulder and points at an old abandoned barn on the side of the road.

 

“Over there! We can take shelter inside,” Loki yells over the downpour of rain.

 

They leave the bike on the side of the road and Thor follows Loki across a small field of wildflowers, slipping into the barn through the open doorway. The roof has a few leaks, but the interior is mostly dry, the floor covered with old hay.

 

Thor tucks a lock of wet hair behind Loki’s ear and presses his palm against his neck. “Are you alright?”

 

Loki blinks at him, wet drops clinging to his dark lashes. He gives a small nod and reaches out to cup Thor’s cheek where it’s starting to throb a little from the punch he took earlier.

 

“No one’s ever done anything like that for me…”

 

Thor grits his teeth and takes Loki’s hand in his own. “Those assholes have no fucking right to treat you like that. I just wanna-”

 

Loki surges forward and whatever Thor was about to say gets stuck in his throat at the press of soft lips against his own.

 

Okay. Wow.

 

Loki bunches the wet fabric of Thor’s jacket in his fists and lets out a startled whine, like he’s as surprised by the kiss as Thor. He pulls back and shakes his head. “Sorry I... I didn’t mean-”

 

Thor doesn’t give Loki a chance to regret or apologize, because there’s no need for either. He wraps his arms around Loki’s waist and pulls him against his chest as he leans in for another kiss.

 

Loki’s lips are cold but his breath is warm as it escapes his mouth in a quiet huff. Thor's chest feels tight and his hands shake with how much he wants to touch Loki, run his fingers through his hair and map out every inch of his body until he knows it like his own.

 

They both jump at a sudden crack of thunder somewhere above the field, laughing at the way their teeth click together.

 

Thor pulls back to take in the way Loki’s wet dress clings to his body, the sliver of a red bra strap and the shape of his hard nipples under the cloth of the dress the hottest thing Thor has ever seen.

 

He digs his fingers into Loki’s hips, itching to explore. “Can I touch you here?” Thor asks, the question catching in his throat as he lets one of his hands hover over Loki’s breast.

 

Loki’s eyes dart to the side, but he arches his chest in an invitation and Thor cups him through the dress, flicking his thumb over a hard nipple through the fabric of his bra.

 

“Oh..” Loki sighs, his eyes slipping closed as he leans into Thor’s touch.

 

Thor kisses him again, careful not to trip as he guides Loki towards the pile of hay in the back.

 

The straws are harder and scratchier than they look when Thor settles down on his back, pulling Loki into his lap, and they kiss and let their hands wander, Thor’s hips rising up to meet the slow grind of Loki’s pelvis. He’s so hard inside his shorts that he knows he’s not gonna last long, but he can’t stop himself from thrusting up against the warm heat between Loki’s thighs.

 

The straps on Loki’s dress have slipped down his shoulders and Thor tugs on the front of the dress to reveal a bright red bralette.

 

He meets Loki’s eyes and waits for the small nod before slipping a curious finger under the frilly fabric. Loki bites his lip and grinds down when Thor begins to tease him with his thumb. He’s never gotten this far with anyone else, not with Amora and not even with the gymnast twins from 2B who’ve been mooning after him since seventh grade.

 

He’s teetering on the edge as he grabs onto Loki’s bare thigh where the hem of his skirt has ridden up.

 

“Can I touch you here?” Thor pants, digging his fingers into the soft flesh of Loki’s inner thigh.

 

“Yeah,” Loki nods. His breath hitches and he jumps a little when Thor palms the hard length inside Loki’s underwear.

 

Thor traces the shape of Loki’s cock and feels a spot of wetness where the tip of it tents out the fabric. He presses his thumb against it and looks up in surprise when Loki goes still in his lap, his entire body tensing up as he spills against Thor’s palm through the cloth of his underwear.

 

Thor stares, wide-eyed as Loki rocks in his lap, clutching at the hem of his dress. The sight is too much, and Thor's hips lift up from the floor as he pulses inside his shorts, coming against his left thigh.

 

It’s still raining outside, but the thunder seems to have grown more distant. Loki pulls his dress up and grabs a piece of straw from his hair, tickling Thor’s nose with it.

 

“What are you doing on Midsummer?”

 

“What are my options?” Thor grins, letting his fingers get tangled in Loki’s frizzy hair. “This place isn’t exactly the center of entertainment.”

 

“Hey!” Loki pretends to look offended, tossing a fistful of hay at Thor’s face. “There’s actually a big party every year.”

 

Thor wipes at his face and gives Loki the most skeptical look he can muster. “Let me guess, it’s a dance at some musty old barn with a bunch of yokels prancing around a maypole?”

 

Loki pokes him in his side with a painted nail. “Maybe… But it’s still a party.” He leans down to kiss Thor’s grinning mouth. “And it’s not so bad if you have good company.”

 

 


 

 

Thor hasn’t spent a midsummer weekend with his parents since he was thirteen, and he’s pretty sure that arriving at a barn dance with your mom and dad is the epitome of lame. He hangs back, the visor of his cap casting his face in shadow as he tries to pretend he doesn’t know his own family.

 

Frigga glances over her shoulder, and there’s a devilish little smirk on her lips as she calls for Thor to hurry up. “You don’t want to get left behind, darling.”

 

Thor shoves his hands into his pockets. “Yeah, I do…”

 

The air is full of loud chatter and people stand in small groups, filling their plates with food and drink from the long tables that have been set on the surrounding field. It looks like the entire parish has shown up for the old-timey dance, like it’s the highlight of the year. Which it probably is.

 

There’s no sign of Loki yet, and Thor hopes he isn’t sacrificing his reputation for nothing. He follows his parents to a large barn where people are dancing to folksy tunes from a local band, many of the elderly couples donning traditional costumes, and gets stuck with babysitting duty before he can protest.

 

“Look after your brother,” Odin says as he takes their mother’s hand, leaving Thor to watch in embarrassed horror as they join the couples on the dance floor.

 

Odin bows deep and spins his hand like a leery old Casanova. Thor grabs Balder’s arm and drags him out of the barn; no way is he staying to witness that disaster.

 

They make a beeline for the buffet and fill their plates with herring and dilled potatoes, cured salmon and big slices of strawberry tart. There’s a whole table full of free booze, and Thor spends almost five minutes hovering in front of it as he tries to sneak himself a shot of akvavit, but the old hag behind the table has the eyes of a hawk and he’s forced to retreat with a dry mouth.

 

They wander around the field and Thor is surprised to see that not only are there people his own age at the dance, but they all seem to be having genuine fun.

 

He’d meant to spend this particular weekend with Amora, but he’d be lying if he said he was disappointed to miss it. It’s been weeks since he’s opened their chat window, and judging by her latest Instagram post, Thor’s already been replaced by some hipster from 3C.

 

There’s a tall maypole behind the barn and Thor rolls his eyes at the nutcases who are singing and frolicking around it. He’s about to drag Balder back to the buffet for another go at the akvavit when he spots Loki at the edge of the crowd, clapping his hands.

 

Thor almost doesn’t recognize him in the traditional garb he’s wearing, hair pulled up and framed by a drooping flower crown. He taps on Loki’s shoulder and something in his stomach jumps at the way Loki’s entire face lights up when their eyes meet.

 

“I didn’t think you’d come,” Loki says, like he's genuinely surprised to see him.

 

“Well, I was told there’d be good company,” Thor grins, giving Loki a quick wink while Balder’s attention is elsewhere.

 

He yanks on one of the puffy cotton sleeves on the shirt Loki has on underneath a loosely tied corset. “Nice dress.”

 

“Thanks…” Loki smooths his hands over the striped apron that flares out over the dark fabric of his skirt. “It used to be Grandma’s.”

 

“It’s, uh… I mean, you’re-”

 

“Pretty!” Balder blurts out.

 

Loki’s mouth splits into an amused smile and he gives Balder a small curtsey. “Thank you, Balder.”

 

Thor glares at Balder for stealing his line and rushes to agree with his brother. “You really are! Pretty, I mean.”

 

Loki plucks a small daisy from his crown and tucks it behind Thor’s ear. “Thanks.”

 

The celebrations begin to pick up speed as the night grows older, and some of the more drunken guests are escorted away before they can cause any disturbances.

 

Thor feels a brush of fingers against his wrist as they walk around the premises, and glancing down, he sees Loki’s palm is turned up in a wordless invitation.

 

Thor smiles and takes his hand, twining their fingers together.

 

They draw some looks from the town gossips, but Loki doesn’t seem to care. The only time Thor feels him tense up is when they walk past the buffet and catch Nordberg and his posse of idiots loitering near the drinks table.

 

Thor tightens his hold on Loki’s hand and gives it a reassuring squeeze. “It’s ok,” he whispers.

 

Nordberg meets his eyes and his entire face turns pale. He leads his gang in the opposite direction and there’s a rev of engines five minutes later as four dirt bikes speed away in a cloud of dust.

 

Loki beams up at Thor, leaning in to whisper in his ear, “Thank you.”

 

The sun is still high in the sky and Thor doesn’t realize how late it is until Balder begins to yawn and whine about wanting to go home.

 

“Should we take him to bed? It doesn’t look like your parents will be heading home for a while,” Loki says and points towards the barn where Odin is still spinning Frigga on the dance floor. “I think we have a few hours to ourselves…”

 

Thor can read between the lines of Loki’s observation and he hurries to let their parents know that he’s taking Balder to bed. Frigga’s smile is knowing when she turns her eyes to Loki, but she lets Thor go, wishing them all a goodnight.

 

The night is warm and sweet with the scent of bird cherries as they make their way back to the villa with Balder slumped against Thor’s back. Loki pauses every once in a while to pluck a flower from the side of the road, arranging them into a small bouquet.

 

“You hoping to dream of a future husband tonight?” Thor grins, counting seven different flowers in Loki’s bouquet.

 

Loki brushes the flowers against Thor’s cheek and leans in to give him a kiss. “Maybe…”

 

They carry Balder into the caravan and he’s asleep before Thor has even tucked him under the covers.

 

Loki lingers in the doorway and Thor shoots him a questioning look as he joins him, not quite sure how to proceed.

 

“So…”

 

“So…” Loki smiles, glancing at the newly restored guest house across the yard. He arches his brow and leans in to murmur against Thor’s lips, “Wanna take me somewhere more private?”

 

Thor breathes in the sweet scent of Loki’s flower crown and steals a kiss from his grinning mouth. “Definitely.”

 

They slip into the guest house and Thor locks the heavy door behind them, just in case, hanging the brass key in a hook above the door.

 

Loki takes a seat on the bed and sets his bouquet of flowers on the nightstand as Thor lights the oil lamps that hang from the low ceiling. The dim lamplight casts long shadows in the room and Loki almost looks like he’s stepped out of a fairytale in his corset and apron, his fingers already working on loosening the laces.

 

“Oh yeah! I have something to show you,” Thor remembers as his gaze lands on the wooden chest by the window. He pushes the lid open and reaches inside, giving Loki a nervous smile as he pulls out one of the old sundresses.

 

It smells fresh when Thor unfolds it and holds it up for Loki to see, washed and ironed just like his mother promised.

 

Loki’s mouth falls open in surprise and he stumbles up to run his fingers through the fine fabric of the dress.

 

“Do you like it?” Thor asks, Loki’s expression hard to read in the dim light. “Because there’s more in the chest if you do.”

 

Loki kneels by Thor’s side and reaches into the chest, pulling out another freshly washed sundress. “They’re lovely. You really want me to have these?”

 

“I do, yeah. They were my great aunt’s, but she’s dead now. I mean, she didn’t wear them when she died or anything, and my mom washed them so...”

 

Thor knows he’s babbling and he’s glad for the interruption when Loki drops the dress from his hands and throws his arms around Thor’s neck, practically climbing into his lap.

 

Thank you,” he murmurs, his voice a little watery. He peppers Thor’s face with kisses and doesn’t stop even when they go tumbling down on the floor.

 

Thor tucks a small flower that’s threatening to escape from Loki’s crown back into its place and strokes his hands up and down his narrow flanks. “I’m glad you like them.”

 

Loki smirks and rocks back in Thor’s lap, his gaze drifting to the chest. “Do you want me to try one on for you?”

 

Thor feels his face flush, because there’s definitely one item in that chest he’d like Loki to wear.

 

“Well, since you asked…”

 

He sits up and pulls out the pearl white nightgown, careful not to rumple it with his clammy hands.

 

“That one, huh?” Loki asks, arching his brow as he runs his fingers against the frilly hem. “It’s almost see-through.”

 

Thor scratches at the back of his neck, the blush on his face deepening. “I mean, you don’t have to-”

 

Loki smiles and takes the nightgown from his hands. He sits Thor down on the bed, urging him to close his eyes. “No peeking until I’m done,” he warns, and Thor gives a solemn nod, closing his eyes as Loki begins to undress.

 

He listens to the rustle of fabric, feeling a tug of arousal in his belly as he resists the urge to look. He’s spent countless hours watching porn, but somehow the simple anticipation he feels right now is making him harder than anything he’s seen online.

 

It feels like an eternity has passed when Loki finally presses his fingers to Thor’s shoulders.

 

“You can look now,” he whispers.

 

Thor opens his eyes and stares, drinking in the sight of Loki as he stands between Thor’s parted thighs, his toes curling against the floorboards.

 

He looks like a being from a dream, something ethereal that can only exist on a Midsummer night.

 

The garment has no sleeves and Thor reaches up to run his hands along Loki’s pale arms as he continues to look his fill.

 

Loki shivers under his caress and tugs on the collar where the cotton strings remain unlaced. He’s staring at something behind Thor’s shoulder, not meeting his eyes. “How do I look?”

 

Thor has always been better with actions than words, and the “you’re so fucking pretty” he whispers into the air between them hardly encompasses all the things he feels when he looks at Loki.

 

Loki smiles at him anyway, reassured. His toes uncurl and the nervous tension in his muscles disappears as he leans into Thor’s arms.

 

They begin to kiss, Thor’s hands stroking down Loki’s back and drifting over his round bottom. He can tell Loki is bare underneath the thin garment, and he toes off his own sneakers, tugging his belt out of its buckles.

 

Loki is climbing into his lap the moment Thor’s jeans hit the floor, pushing him down into the freshly washed linens.

 

“Oh fuck,” Thor breathes out as Loki continues to kiss him, willing himself to calm down. “Fuck fuck fuck.”

 

“That’s the idea,” Loki chuckles, fisting the sheets in his hands as he grinds down, the outline of his cock visible against the sheer fabric of his nightgown.

 

Fuck.

 

Thor feels his own cock give a jerk as he stares at the way the garment hangs loose around Loki’s body, catching a glimpse of rosy nipples through the open collar. He reaches his hands under the hem and sets his hands on Loki’s flank, surprised by the heat of his skin as he runs his palms over his ribcage.

 

Loki is panting, arching into Thor’s hands, and the bed creaks to the slow swaying rhythm of his hips. His belly is smooth and pliant under Thor’s touch, a combination of muscle and soft valleys. Reaching up, Thor cups Loki’s flat breasts in his hands, giving his nipples a gentle tug.

 

“Good?”

 

“Yeah…” Loki’s eyes are dark in the dim light as he watches Thor from the shadow of his flower crown. He takes it off and hangs it on the wooden bed frame and the mattress rustles as they tumble down, touching and grinding against each other.

 

Loki is a vision, the smell of flowers still clinging to his dark hair, long strands of it tickling against Thor’s cheeks when they kiss. He tugs on Thor’s boxer briefs, yanking them down his thighs until they join the rest of his clothes on the floor.

 

Thor’s never been naked in front of anyone like this, but the open want he sees on Loki’s face leaves no room for self-doubt. Loki trails his eyes down Thor’s chest and he arches his brow when Thor tries to flex his core.

 

“What?” Thor grins. He feels his scalp prickle with heat when Loki’s gaze continues to drift lower, and his fingers twitch against the sheets when it finally comes to rest on Thor’s hard cock.

 

Loki licks his lips and it’s probably unconscious, but Thor feels himself twitch at the sight. “You can touch it if you like,” he whispers, the words catching in his throat.

 

“O-okay.” Loki bites his lip and his palm is a little clammy as he reaches between Thor's legs and wraps his fingers around the base of his cock. Thor digs his heels into the mattress as Loki gives him a light stroke, just enough to roll back the foreskin, and fuck it's good.

 

“I’ve never done this before. With someone else, I mean,” Loki blurts out. He sounds a little overwhelmed, but there’s a damp spot in the sheer nightgown where his own cock pokes against the fabric.

 

“Me neither…” Thor admits, and they watch each other with uncertain eyes.

 

It’s obvious they’re not going to go all the way with Balder asleep on the other side of the garden, and Thor is aware that sex with Loki will take a lot of prep.

 

“I could, uh… between your thighs?”

 

“Oh, ok. Yeah, that’s good.”

 

The mood becomes a little awkward as they settle on the bed and arrange their bodies, Loki curling up against Thor’s chest, still in his nightgown as Thor reaches down to grab the frilly hem and hikes it up until it’s bunched up around Loki’s hips.

 

He lifts Loki’s right leg to slip his cock between his thighs and gives an experimental thrust.

 

“Shit…” Thor grits his teeth and pulls back, the skin of Loki’s thighs too dry. He licks at his palm and gives himself a couple of strokes and tries again, but it’s still not comfortable.

 

Loki twists his neck to look at Thor over his shoulder. “What is it? Am I doing something wrong?”

 

“No, no,” Thor shakes his head and presses a reassuring kiss to Loki’s temple. “It’s just… It’s too dry.”

 

“Oh.”

 

Loki cups his palm in front of his mouth, and Thor can’t stop the little flinch as he watches him spit into it and guide it between his legs. He withdraws his hand and takes hold of Thor’s cock, settling it in the slick cleft between his thighs.

 

Thor gives another try, and this time the wet slide is fucking perfect.

 

“Is it better?” Loki gasps, leaning back as Thor begins to thrust.

 

“Yeah, yeah,” Thor pants. He plants his palm over Loki’s lower belly as he jerks forward. “Fuck you feel so good…”

 

His thrusts are too greedy to have much rhythm and he almost loses himself in his own pleasure until he hears Loki give a needy whine. Thor blinks and slides his hand lower, wrapping it around Loki’s hard cock, stroking him with sloppy jerks.

 

“Do it faster,” Loki moans into the pillow, the noise turning into a little yelp when Thor increases his speed and rubs his thumb over the slick crown.

 

The nightgown has risen up to Loki’s elbows and Thor has a perfect view of his cock, the slender length of it slipping between his thumb and forefinger. The arousal in his belly flares up and he doesn’t want this to be over, but he can’t stop his hips from thrusting, the soft heat of Loki’s thighs so good.

 

He doubles his efforts, pumping Loki’s cock so fast that Loki cries out, squeezing his hands around the hem of his nightgown as he begins to spill over Thor’s knuckles, trembling against his chest.

 

Thor’s own orgasm is one shallow thrust away and he buries his face in the dark mass of hair at Loki’s nape, shooting between his thighs. He makes a mess, everything spilling down Loki’s perineum and soaking into the rumpled sheets, but Thor’s too lost in the haze of his orgasm to care.

 

Loki turns around to face him and Thor wraps his arms around Loki’s waist, breathing in the flower scent of his hair.

 

“You ok?” Thor whispers, hugging Loki against his chest.

 

Loki cranes his neck, a languid smile splayed on his lips. “Yeah.”

 

It’s a little past midnight, but the sky behind the orchard is painted in pink and purple hues, the sun hiding just below the treeline. Thor draws small patterns on Loki’s bare arm, listening to his soft breaths. Somewhere in the woods a blackbird sings a quiet tune and Thor feels his own eyes begin to fall shut.

 

He’s yanked back to consciousness when he feels Loki sit up, the mattress dipping as he moves on the bed.

 

“You’re not leaving, are you?” Thor asks, unable to hide his disappointment.

 

“I’m not,” Loki whispers, and Thor lets out a relieved sigh when he sees Loki pick up his flower bouquet and climb back to bed. He slips the flowers underneath his pillow and settles back into Thor’s arms.

 

Thor drops a kiss to Loki’s hair, his smile a little sly as he whispers, “Sweet dreams.”

 

Fin