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After Thor was wheeled out (and Loki was careful not to watch him go too closely), the Grandmaster sauntered over and slung one arm around Loki’s shoulders. “So,” he said. “This new fellow, Sparkles - what’s the story there?”

“Complicated,” Loki said, summoning a smile and a bit of a laugh. “And boring.”

“Complicated’s fine, boring not so much,” he said, picking up a glass from a passing server and sipping it. “Ooh, that’s nice. Anyway - is he going to make an interesting contender? Thoughts on his odds?”

Loki thought quickly. If the Grandmaster thought Thor was a threat to his champion, he might arrange for him to die quickly. On the other hand, if he thought he wasn’t skilled enough, that would be boring - very nearly a capital offense. He shrugged, carefully casual. “I couldn’t say. As I said, I hardly know him at all. We aren’t close. Passing familiarity, really.”

The Grandmaster seemed oddly disappointed. “Ah, well. Not memorable, I take it?”

Panic kicked up in Loki’s chest. “Not at all - I simply - couldn’t assess his ability as a contender,” he said quickly. “I wouldn’t want to give you any...ill advice.”

The Grandmaster gave him an indulgent smile and tapped his nose with one long finger. Loki was used enough to that sort of thing by now to keep from twitching back. “Of course you wouldn’t! But I’m not asking for advice. Just...opinions.”

Careful what you say, murmured a voice at the back of his mind. Thor’s life could be in your hands.

That was not particularly a responsibility he wanted.


“What’s the matter?” The Grandmaster asked. “You’re looking a bit nervous.”

Loki made himself stop scanning the charts for Thor’s name and looked up with a smile. “Nervous? Do I?”

“Hmm-mm. Just a bit.” The Grandmaster leaned over to look over his shoulder. “Whatcha looking at? Oh, yes. Good lineup, isn’t it? I put our new guy right...there.” He pointed.

Thor, Lord of Thunder, it said. And directly across-

Loki tried not to flinch. Or even tense. Thor can handle himself, he’d been telling himself. He’s sturdy. Even without Mjolnir he has power, if he can figure out how to use it. He’ll be fine.

“What do you think?” The Grandmaster said. “Too easy? Does he need some kind of, um, handicap? Just to make it sporting-”

“No,” Loki said, and knew the moment it was out that he’d spoken too quickly. “I think...why not just let things play out as they will?”

“Why, Loki,” the Grandmaster said. “You’re not - worried, are you? I’m starting to wonder if there’s not, uh, maybe more than you told me about you and this sparkly fellow-”

“Hardly,” Loki said. “I am not thinking of him. Just your entertainment, Grandmaster.”

The Grandmaster blinked at him, wide-eyed. “If you were really thinking of my entertainment, you wouldn’t keep turning me down,” he said.

“You wouldn’t like me if I was too easy,” Loki said lightly. The Grandmaster smiled at him.

“That’s true,” he said. “I do like a challenge.”

Loki glanced back down at the match. It’ll be fine, he told himself. Thor can take care of himself. He always does. But that wasn’t true, was it? Often Loki had taken care of Thor. Watched his back. Ensured he didn’t get in over his head - or that, if he did, that he got back out.

“Oh, yes,” the Grandmaster said. “I think this set up is going to be such fun.”

Loki’s stomach sank. He recognized the feeling. It was the one that meant he was about to do something stupid because of Thor. He hadn’t felt it in a while, and he didn’t appreciate its return.


Loki had no idea where the Grandmaster had found one of the Ich - he was fairly sure they were supposed to be extinct. Not this one, apparently, and while Loki had read descriptions of thirty-foot-long serpents with fangs as long as a grown man’s arm, the descriptions really did not do it justice. It was sleek, fast, and made out of pure muscle. Thor had a pair of swords and some armor that looked to have been dug out of a trash heap - which it probably had been. Sometime since the last time Loki had seen him, all his hair had been cut off.

Somehow that last detail was almost more upsetting than the rest.

In most battles, Loki would have bet on Thor, easily. In this one, he was eyeing the odds and trying not to hyperventilate.

The Ich lunged, jaws snapping closed barely an inch from Thor as he rolled out of the way, slashing at its armor-like scales. Loki bit back a noise. “Isn’t she beautiful?” The Grandmaster said, leaning forward. Her venom can melt flesh off bone and she can spit it five paces. Saw someone try to use it as an exfoliator, once, that was messy-”

Loki’s heart thudded in his stomach and he caught himself leaning forward, too. Did Thor know about the venom? Loki hadn’t.

“Ooh, ouch,” the Grandmaster said. “That’ll sting.” Loki jerked back to the present, looking frantically for Thor, but he was still on his feet. Missing a sword, though.

Damn you, Thor, Loki thought viciously, and summoned just the most delicate thread of magic. If he could just give Thor a small opening, quickly enough that the Grandmaster didn’t notice-

His hand clamped down on Loki’s wrist and smothered his magic like a flame. “Well now,” he said, looking at Loki and still smiling though the pressure of his hand was unyielding, the force of his power holding Loki’s at bay almost painful. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Loki gulped. His mouth felt suddenly very dry. “I was just-”

“You weren’t going to - help throw the match, were you?”

“No,” Loki said quickly. “No, of course not. I wouldn’t-”

“Because that’s what it looked like you were going to do.”

Idiot idiot idiot. “Why would I do that?” Thor was still fighting. Thor could be dying. (Loki was about to die, get melted down, you complete and utter fool-

The Grandmaster’s hand on his wrist stayed still. Loki’s breathing sounded very loud in his own ears. He reached into his robe and pulled out two of the devices that triggered the obedience disks. “Pick one,” he said.

Loki felt a little as though he might faint. “Pardon?”

“Loki, Loki. Pick one! 50/50 chance.”

Please, Loki thought. Please, oh please. He gestured with his free hand, keeping his eyes on the Grandmaster and not on the arena.

He pressed the button. Loki heard the crowd roar. If you don’t look it isn’t real, he told himself, his ears ringing.

“And we have a winner!” The Grandmaster said, finally looking away from him. “To the newcomer go the spoils - please welcome our new contender to the Contest of Champions: Thor, Lord of Thunder!”

Loki’s exhale shuddered. He hoped it was drowned out by the cheering. The Grandmaster turned toward him, lifting the hand he was still holding and kissing the fingers.

“Now, Loki,” he said. “You know I like you. But interfering with my games? That, I don’t like.”

Loki swallowed hard. “It won’t happen again.”

The Grandmaster smiled at him. “Of course it won’t,” he said. “I didn’t think it for a second.”


The Grandmaster found him midway through the after-party. Loki was careful not to drink much, and not only because he was leery of the possibility someone might poison him. He had a feeling that if he didn’t keep his wits about him there were any number of compromising situations he might trip into.

“So,” said the Grandmaster, practically materializing next to him. “What was that about?”

“I’m sorry?” Loki said, clamping down on the buzz of unease in his gut.

“At the match,” the Grandmaster said with a little wave of his hand. “That little, uh, trick you tried to pull.”

Loki’s breathing caught in his chest. “Ah,” he said faintly. “If you must know - I was having a bit of...indigestion. The magic was just to...deal with that”

“Oh dear,” the Grandmaster said, clicking his tongue. “That’s just - dreadful. You’re feeling better now, I hope? You should have said something, sweetness-”

“That’s not necessary,” Loki said quickly. “I feel quite well, now.”

“Oh good, good.” The Grandmaster slung an arm around Loki’s shoulders, steering him toward the bar. “So! This, um, Sparkles - your brother?”

“Adopted,” Loki said quickly. The Grandmaster waved a hand.

“Whatever. He acquitted himself pretty well. The crowd loves him. They always like the handsome ones, even if they don’t usually last very long - it’s better that way, really, they go while they’re still pretty-”

Loki tried not to feel nauseated. He made a noise of vague agreement.

“Anyway - it’s a nice surprise. You should be - you should be very proud.”

“Proud?” Loki said a little faintly. The Grandmaster beamed at him.

“Of course! He’s your brother.”

Loki did not like how much the Grandmaster seemed to be pressing that point. “Hardly,” he protested. “To be honest, I don’t even much like him.”

“Well, that’s a relief,” the Grandmaster said, “because, you know, he probably will die eventually. Most of them do. All of them, really. Except my champion, he’s, well...you’ll see.”

The more Loki heard about the Grandmaster’s champion, the more he suspected that he didn’t want to see him in action, but the more he thought he needed to know about him. But that particular concern was less pressing than the lurch that came with the rest of what the Grandmaster was saying. “I suppose you’re right,” he said, a little faintly.

“So...probably for the best you’re not too attached. Ooh, look, canapes,” he said, and vanished in a swish of gold and ancient power.

Well, Loki told himself, as long as the Grandmaster wasn’t too interested in Thor, and didn’t think Loki was...he probably wasn’t in any more danger.

Of course, the longer he stayed where he was, the more likely it was he would meet his match.

Loki caught himself chewing on his thumb and made himself stop. He’d just have to figure out...something. Some way of making sure that Thor won his fights, that the Grandmaster wouldn’t notice. A way of cheating that wouldn’t get him on the wrong end of the melt stick.

Easy.


He didn’t have time to figure something out.

“So,” the Grandmaster said, sidling up to him. “The games tomorrow. Looking forward?”

“Of course,” Loki said smoothly, smiling. The Grandmaster smiled back.

“Good! Good. That’s what I like to hear. Always want my guests to enjoy themselves. But I did...have a thought.”

“A thought,” Loki said carefully. “Is this where I ask what the thought is?”

“You’re so quick, Lo,” the Grandmaster said warmly. “That’s exactly what I was angling for. Yes. A thought. So...that little, ah, thing you tried to pull last time.”

Loki hoped his expression passed for surprised, nervous but not concerned. “I told you-”

“A medical matter, yes, yes,” the Grandmaster said, waving a hand. “But you understand how it might look, you know, and I don’t...I wouldn’t want me to get the wrong idea. I’d be so upset if something got misconstrued somewhere and you ended up in...trouble.”

Vague unease started bubbling in Loki’s stomach. “I presume you have a solution to prevent such...errors.”

“I sure do,” the Grandmaster said. “It’s perfect. And fun. You want to see?”

Loki summoned a smile. “But of course I do.”

“Of course you do,” the Grandmaster echoed. “Oh, Loki. You’re such a wonder. I really - I really hope you change your mind about this us thing sometime soon.” His eyes glittered. Loki tried not to shy away.


It was all Loki could do not to scream.

A collar. A collar, and a pair of handcuffs. There were blue gemstones gleaming in the ostentatious gold of the former, and a little dangling chain at the front studded with more gems. Loki could feel the power woven into both.

With those on, he wouldn’t be casting a damn thing. Not even the simplest cantrip.

“Well?” The Grandmaster asked, hovering near his shoulder. “What do you think?”

Loki bit his tongue and counted to three. “I can’t imagine you had these made specially just for me,” he said.

“Oh, sweetheart! Of course I did. I wouldn’t give you someone else’s hand-me-downs. No, these are custom. Here, um, let’s see how they look on you.”

Loki’s skin crawled. He forced himself to smile and reached slowly for the collar. Think of it as a necklace. That’s all.

“No,” the Grandmaster said, catching his hand. “No, no. Let me.” He brought Loki’s hand briefly to his lips and picked up the collar, unclasping it with a deft little twist of his fingers. “Hair up,” he ordered. Loki drew in a slow breath and made himself move to lift his hair off his neck.

The Grandmaster closed the metal around his throat. It was cool on his skin, snug - a perfect fit. And almost immediately he could feel it wrap around his magic like a heavy, smothering, blanket.

“I also,” he said, “thought I’d take the liberty of, ah, putting together an outfit for you. To go with your new...ornamentation.”

Loki’s stomach sank further. “How generous of you,” he said after a moment. “I don’t think I need-”

“Ah,” the Grandmaster interrupted. “Maybe you don’t need, but how about want? I know I want. Humor me, won’t you? I have excellent taste. I mean - just look at yourself,” and he pulled Loki over to a mirror where he could see his face, the collar around his throat. He raised a hand to trace the edge of it, his chest tightening.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” The Grandmaster said, and shoved a bundle of cloth into Loki’s arms. “Go on, get changed.”

Loki searched for a safe way to protest, and didn’t find one. He retreated behind a screen and set down the bundle of clothes, taking several deep breaths.

This was fine. He could do this. Everything was just…

He caught himself trying to work his fingers under the collar. He reached around to check for a clasp, but as far as he could feel it was entirely seamless. He forced himself to pull his hands away.

He wasn’t an idiot. He was being toyed with. Maybe deliberately provoked. And he couldn’t call the Grandmaster on it, and couldn’t object, and he hated to admit it but he’d been outplayed. At least for now.

He donned the tunic (white, asymmetrical hem, a neckline low enough to show the top of his chest and all of the band around his neck, dramatically flared sleeves and an even more dramatic collar in red and gold), and a broad gold belt that held it together and, Loki noticed, emphasized his waist. The fabric itself was hopelessly flimsy, clinging to his body.

And that was the only clothing he’d been given, leaving him at best partially exposed.

“I think I forgot to give you your pants,” the Grandmaster said, pulling back the screen, and stopped, blinking at Loki as though he were surprised.

“Oops,” he said unconvincingly, eyes sweeping hungrily up and down Loki’s body. He kept from trying to cover himself by force of will. He reached out to take the snug gold leggings, putting them on, and tried not to think about the colors he was wearing. Gold and red, and the blue of the gems. The Grandmaster’s.

The collar felt very tight around his neck.

“I was right,” the Grandmaster said. “You do look fantastic. Just...very nice.”

Loki’s face went a little warm and he controlled his expression. He wanted to refuse. Wanted to snap that he wasn’t going to wear any of this. But that was probably a quick way to get himself killed, and probably Thor in the bargain.

He could play along. What was a little humiliation? It wasn’t as though there was anyone here who knew him. Knew what he should be (not this).

(There’s Thor. Are you forgetting him? What if he could see you now?)

Loki shoved that to one side and made himself smile. “Considering you chose the outfit…”

“And accessories,” the Grandmaster added, sauntering over and raising a hand to touch the collar. “Mm. I should definitely dress you up more often. Not just because it’d mean getting to undress you first.” His smile was teasing, but there was an unmistakable predatory edge underneath.

He resisted the urge to tug at the collar, and glanced at the handcuffs. The Grandmaster followed his eyes.

“I think we can wait to put those on until the games begin,” he said. “But my, you’re going to make a pretty picture.”

Warmth crawled up inside Loki’s chest and he felt himself twitch. “I am certainly flattered you think so,” he managed after a moment.

“Oh?” The Grandmaster said, sidling a little closer. “And where’s that ‘flattered’ going to get me?”

“My good graces?” Loki said lightly. The Grandmaster laughed.

“Oh, Loki,” he said. “You sure are a funny one. Now.” He reached out, adjusting the front of the robes he’d put on Loki. “How about some make up?”


The Grandmaster had painted him up - had him painted - like Loki was his own personal canvas. He felt like a doll on display, even his attempts at the simplest pieces of magic failing utterly.

And just a glance at the schedule told him why.

Thor was in the fourth match. He didn’t recognize the name of his opponent - Loki tried to avoid learning the names of any of the contenders - but prickling started between his shoulder blades just looking at the schedule. The Grandmaster was planning something. Setting pieces up, and maybe Loki couldn’t see the entire layout of the board but…

It could be coincidence. Or it could be that the Grandmaster didn’t believe his professed indifference and was toying with him. Seeing what Loki would do.

All he had to do, Loki told himself, was call his bluff. Leave Thor to take care of himself, watch the games, do nothing.

The Grandmaster swanned up next to him, smiling. “You really do look absolutely stunning,” he said. “The leather, it’s nice but it’s a bit - stifling, isn’t it?”

Loki donned a smile. “It’s what I...usually prefer.”

“Of course! But - try new things, step outside the box. And I just love the…” He reached out toward Loki’s face and, without thinking, Loki leaned back. The Grandmaster left his hand hanging in the air for just long enough for Loki’s stomach to plunge before letting it fall, almost pouting.

“Oh, you tease,” he said. “All right, all right. Hands off. But you do make it so tempting. Come, sit, let’s - get things started, shall we?”

Loki plucked a drink off a nearby tray and downed most of it in one swallow. He could feel eyes on him, watching, looking for weakness - or perhaps just noticing his new clothing and wondering what it signified.

He walked over and sat down at one end of the long couch, one fist clenching tightly before he forced it to relax. If he could get through this, he told himself, the Grandmaster would let this little game go and find a new one. He’d find a way to deal with the Thor problem. None of this was unmanageable.

The Grandmaster plopped down right next to him, despite the width of the couch, and held up the cuffs he had, briefly, hoped to avoid. “Now, Lo,” he said. “You don’t think I forgot, did you? One last detail, right?”

Loki wanted to yank away. Or else claw out his eyes. He forced himself to smile and held out his arms with an air of resigned, rueful acceptance. “Yes, of course.”

“Good boy,” the Grandmaster said warmly, and Loki’s hands twitched as he closed the handcuffs - padded, how thoughtful - around his wrists. His body coiled tight, tensing reflexively at the feeling of his hands being bound, but he forced the reaction down. “There we go,” the Grandmaster said approvingly. “All set.” He leaned in and, before Loki could stop him, gave him a perfunctory kiss on the lips.

Now the games can begin,” he said, and Loki’s stomach twisted. Games. Oh, yes.

Eyes glazed, Loki barely watched the fighting, trying to think. Maybe tonight, if he had the time to himself, he would go and speak to Thor. Every fiber of his being cringed at the idea - but if he wasn’t going to let Thor die (and apparently he wasn’t) then he needed to ensure he stayed alive until Loki was in position to overthrow the Grandmaster, without letting on that he cared about Thor because any connection was a connection that could be used.

“You haven’t commented on any of the matches,” the Grandmaster murmured, right in his ear, jarring Loki back to himself. He turned his head and smiled.

“I suppose I’m just...distracted.”

“Distracted? What’s occupying that pretty little head of yours?”

“I was contemplating,” Loki said, looking for a lie, but the Grandmaster waved his hand abruptly.

“Never mind - look who’s up!”

Loki looked, though he knew without listening to the booming announcement (citizens of Sakaar, I give you…), and focused on looking as disinterested as possible.

“Who’s his opponent?” He asked, carefully casual. “I didn’t recognize the name.”

“That’s opponents,” the Grandmaster corrected, and when Loki glanced at him his eyes were gleaming. “Zaxxorians, you know. You can’t have just one.”

Oh, Norns, Loki thought, as a chorus of howls burst from below and a pack of five rangy, dog-like figures, each the size of an ox, loped into the arena.

“You look a little concerned there,” the Grandmaster said. Loki hastily checked his expression.

“Do I? I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the...Zaxxor.”

“Not surprising! They’re from - way out there. Great people, though. Well, not great conversationalists, exactly, but great contenders. Absolutely ferocious fighters, hides like metal plating - oh, yikes,” he cut off, as a sweep of Thor’s sword took off the head of one of the pack members. Loki kept himself from smiling, starting to relax.

“Right,” the Grandmaster said after a beat. “And the really neat thing is-”

The blood spurting out of the severed neck slowed. Something was emerging, growing out of the stump.

“--they regenerate,” he said. “There’s a trick to stopping them - their brain’s all the way down at the base of the spine, cut it out and they’re done - but no one figures that one out.”

The Grandmaster beamed. Loki’s heart plummeted into his stomach. If he had his magic, he could reach out and whisper that little detail in Thor’s ear. Unconsciously, he reached for it; green sparked at his wrists only to be pressed back down.

“Trouble?” The Grandmaster said, glancing at Loki’s wrists with raised eyebrows. He forced a smile.

“Reflexive,” he said weakly. “It’s...a strange feeling.” His eyes flicked back to Thor, who seemed to have recovered from his confusion quickly. Two of the five were growing back severed limbs. He was clearly trying to keep them from surrounding him, but with five of them, in a circular arena…

Loki couldn’t tell if he was bleeding. He didn’t look like he was, or at least not seriously. Not yet.

“You really do look very concerned,” the Grandmaster said. “I hope you didn’t bet on Sparkles just because you know him.”

“I never make bets I’m not sure I can win,” Loki said faintly.

“Cautious,” the Grandmaster said. “Admirable, admirable-”

One of the Zaxxorians sank their teeth into Thor’s arm. He roared and tore loose, but Loki saw bright red blood on his skin. It didn’t slow him even slightly, but Loki’s heart pattered a nervous, uneven rhythm.

One of them, Thor could have taken. Maybe even two. Three, if he was in top form and using Mjolnir to channel the storm. But four, when three days ago he’d been beaten by Hela, dragged into slavery, likely on limited sleep and without his trusted hammer…

What if he lost?

No, a childish, weak, part of Loki thought wildly. I won’t allow it.

Loki squeezed his eyes closed. “Enough,” he said, strangled. “That’s enough, stop this, I’ll do what you want-”

“Stop what?” The Grandmaster asked innocently.

“Thor,” Loki said. “I admit it. I may have - understated things. I don’t want him to die. Whatever you want me to do-”

“Want you to do? Loki, darling, you’re not making any sense.” His eyes gleamed, unconvincingly innocent. Loki sucked in a breath.

“You know what I mean.”

“Do I?” He was holding one of the controllers in one hand. “I don’t like playing favorites, you know. Even for you.”

Loki licked his lips. “Could I...convince you otherwise?”

“Well, I don’t know,” the Grandmaster said, leaning back. “Could you?”

Loki hated him. He hated him. But of course he would play it like this. He wouldn’t make Loki do anything. He never made anyone do anything.

He slid off the couch and to his knees, looking up at the Grandmaster. He smiled at Loki, indulgent, and reached out to caress his jaw. “Oh,” he said. “Now this is an interesting development. Are you done holding out on me?”

“Would you,” Loki said, and forced out, “please let Thor win?”

“I don’t know,” the Grandmaster said. “It’s really just a question of mood, you know. How charitable I’m feeling.”

Loki licked his lips.

“Times a-wasting,” the Grandmaster prompted. “Looks like our friend the Lord of Thunder might be getting tired.”

Loki had to crawl forward to slot himself between the Grandmaster’s legs, which he spread agreeably, smiling pleasantly. Loki tried to be quick but not rough unfastening his pants to expose his cock - thankfully familiar looking, and Loki prayed for no surprises. He didn’t want to waste time puzzling out new erogenous zones on the fly when he could almost feel Thor’s time ticking away.

Don’t think about Thor, he told himself, viciously. You’ve done this before. It’s nothing new.

A Zaxxorian roared in what Loki hoped was pain rather than triumph. Loki wrapped his hand around the Grandmaster’s flaccid cock.

So this is how you surrender, murmured a nasty voice. All that hard work and you get on your knees in a half second the moment Thor is in a little difficulty. Pathetic.

He tried to shut that out, too. Focused on laving his tongue over the head of the Grandmaster’s cock.

“Not a bad start,” the Grandmaster said. His hand settled lightly on the back of Loki’s neck, the gesture making him shiver and go limp. At the same time his pride flared, stung.

“I’ve never had complaints,” Loki said, keeping his mouth close to the Grandmaster’s cock so his lips would brush against him. He was barely responding and Loki’s stomach burned with humiliation. He tried with his tongue again, increasing the pressure, tongue probing against the slit; he was growing hard but Loki needed to move things faster. He started to take the Grandmaster’s cock in his mouth.

“No, no, that won’t do,” the Grandmaster said. Loki sucked in a breath, frozen. “You can’t rush these things, Lo, none of this wham-bam, slapdash, all business. Let’s - let’s have more of that tongue, shall we?”

The burn of humiliation deepened. Loki hated, even more than the fact of that itself, his response to it. The deeper tug, underneath. Norns, he hoped the Grandmaster didn’t know.

He couldn’t assume that he didn’t.

Loki licked up the Grandmaster’s length, dragging his tongue over skin, his eyes closed. The Grandmaster’s cock filled under his attentions and Loki tried to ignore his incessant commentary: yes, that’s good, press your tongue just there, little harder, oh, there, see? Quick learner, you are. He was being pulled back and forth between condescending praise and casual denigration and Loki couldn’t decide which was worse (better) and was Thor even still alive-

Don’t think about Thor.

“All right,” the Grandmaster said. “I think that’s - open up, sweetheart, let’s see what else you can do with that gorgeous mouth of yours-”

Loki opened his mouth and let out a noise of surprise when the Grandmaster thrust in, his cock filling Loki’s mouth, almost pressing to the back of his throat so that he had to fight down his gag reflex.

“Oh, that’s good,” the Grandmaster said, and Loki couldn’t help but be a little gratified by the breathless tone of his voice, even if he was still trying to adjust to the sudden intrusion. He’d expected to have more control over the pace, but clearly - clearly that had been very stupid.

“You have such - soft lips,” the Grandmaster was saying. “And, mm, your mouth. Nice and - wet. Smooth, velvety. They really make them nice on Assburg, don’t they? Now how about a--”

Loki wasn’t stupid. He sucked, more gratified than he should have been by the Grandmaster’s pleased ‘hmm’ above him. He pushed his tongue up against the underside of his cock, focusing on bringing every trick he knew to bear.

“That’s the ticket,” the Grandmaster said, his fingers sliding from Loki’s neck into his hair, pulling gently to move Loki’s head, manipulating him like a doll. “Just a little bit more - oh, there.” He loosened his hold and Loki withdrew a little. The Grandmaster adjusted his hold in Loki’s hair.

There were people watching. People who could see him doing this. Loki shut out that intruding thought and moaned around the Grandmaster’s cock, feeling some satisfaction at hearing his sharp inhale.

“You like that, do you?” His fingers tugged, just lightly. “You can - you can show me how much, sweetheart, go for it.”

Loki swallowed as much as he could, backed off to focus on the head. The Grandmaster’s cock was heavy on his tongue, thick and hot and something about his skin made Loki’s mouth tingle strangely, but while his breathing sounded irregular he still wasn’t coming, and Loki was starting to feel desperate.

He opened his eyes and flicked them up to look at the Grandmaster, who smiled down at him. “Right, then,” he said, “I think that’s enough of a warm-up, don’t you?”

Warm-up? Loki thought dazedly, but the Grandmaster took a handful of Loki’s hair and thrust his cock in, slamming through Loki’s gag reflex and filling his throat. Loki choked and tried to jerk away, feeling a few strands of hair tear loose from his scalp.

“Ah, ah,” the Grandmaster almost sang out. “Don’t be like that, sweet thing.” Loki stared at him, wide-eyed, and the Grandmaster’s other hand caressed his cheek. “See? You’re just fine. Right?”

Loki quivered. The Grandmaster smiled at him and pulled back, cock sliding out of Loki’s throat, and he gasped in a breath before the next thrust came.

So this is how it’s going to be, Loki thought, very nearly relieved, and let himself relax. As long as he didn’t think too hard about how he was being - used, as long as he just focused on the mechanics, keeping his throat and jaw relaxed, breathing in time…

In other contexts he might even enjoy this. As it was - not so much. But it could be worse.

On the other hand--

Loki’s jaw was starting to ache. There was spit on his chin that he couldn’t swallow, the Grandmaster’s thrusts pistoning in and out of his throat. How long was the man going to last, Loki wondered dizzily, still trying to work with lips and tongue even as all he could really do was relax and take the use, the Grandmaster’s hand holding him steady as he moved.

There was no real warning, just a groan and then the flood of liquid pulsing into his mouth. He choked, gagged, and then swallowed; the Grandmaster pulled Loki’s mouth off so the last of his orgasm painted Loki’s face.

The back of his throat felt bruised. The sound of the crowd was muted for the dull roar in Loki’s ears.

“You did great,” the Grandmaster said. “Mm-hm. What a mouth on you. Yeah, I stopped the fight a while ago.”

Loki felt a flush rising in his face. How long had he been kneeling, having his mouth fucked, panicking about Thor’s safety when he was perfectly fine?

“I’m just glad,” the Grandmaster said, idly petting his hair, “that we can finally be honest with each other. I feel like that means we can really move forward into the next stage of our relationship.”

“Oh?” Loki said faintly. His voice came out sounding hoarse.

“Hmm-mm,” the Grandmaster said. “You’ve been putting me off for ages, but here we are and I feel like we’ve got something that could really work.

Loki supposed that maybe they did. Loki might as well have attached a leash to his new collar and handed it over. For the Grandmaster, that was probably good enough.

Speaking of the collar...he raised one hand toward it. “Does that mean I can take this off?” He asked. The Grandmaster took his chin in hand and tipped his head back.

“Well, I don’t know,” he said. “It does look so good on you. And I wouldn’t want you to get any...worrying ideas.”

Loki’s mouth went dry. He stared at the Grandmaster, mildly horrified.

“I guess we’ll just have to see how things go, won’t we?” He asked playfully. Loki worked moisture back into his mouth and tried to smile.

“So it seems.”


The Grandmaster invited - ‘invited’ - Loki to come to the barracks for the contenders with him and a gaggle of other courtiers. “It’ll be fun!” He said, beaming. “And it just wouldn’t be the same without you.”

“I am sure it wouldn’t,” Loki said, well aware that he couldn’t actually refuse, and went. It had been a couple of days since the Grandmaster had put Thor through his paces in the arena. It’d been maybe an hour since he’d put Loki through his paces in his bedroom. He was still feeling sore.

But he tagged along, keeping his head high, and at least no one was laughing at him - occupying a position as the Grandmaster’s current favorite meant that he was more an object of envy than derision. That was fine: Loki could almost enjoy being envied.

And he got to wear his own clothes. Without the collar. Blessings upon blessings.

He hoped, desperately, that perhaps Thor would be sequestered away, somewhere off on his own, safely at a distance where Loki wouldn’t have to look him in the eye. A not small part of him never wanted to look Thor in the eye again. He kept scanning every corner, tense and ready to bolt (like he could bolt, without permission), and had almost convinced himself that he was in the clear.

Then Loki said him. Even with his head bowed and hair sheared Loki would have known him from a half a mile away. He turned his back quickly, hoping the Grandmaster hadn’t seen, but of course that was a fool’s hope.

“Well, look who it is!” The Grandmaster said. “Hey, Sparkles - yes, you, over here!”

Loki focused on looking somewhere - anywhere - else, trying to seem absorbed, trying to look utterly fascinated by a flickering screen that didn’t look to have worked properly for a century.

“Loki!” The Grandmaster same out. “Sweetheart, darling - come over here and say hello!”

Loki closed his eyes for just a moment before he summoned up a smile and turned to walk over, keeping his gait casual, relaxed, until the Grandmaster grabbed his arm and pulled him in close. “See,” he said to their audience, “the Lord of Thunder, that fellow over there - did you know he’s Loki’s brother? Our very own Loki, isn’t that just delicious?”

Thor must have heard Loki’s name, because he’d turned and risen to his feet. His jaw was set and his gaze on Loki were hard and angry. The muscle by Loki’s eye twitched.

“Ooh,” the Grandmaster said. “Lo-lo, I don’t think he likes you very much.”

Loki made himself laugh. “And?”

“As closely as you’ve been following his exploits…” the Grandmaster smiled at Loki. “You have a fan, Sparkles. He just loves watching your fights. Don’t you, sweet thing?”

Loki thought he was going to choke on his tongue. He focused on the Grandmaster instead of Thor. “Don’t I just,” he said. The Grandmaster’s smile broadened and he put his arm around Loki’s waist, giving him a smacking kiss on the cheek.

“Isn’t he darling,” the Grandmaster said to Thor. Loki very carefully didn’t look at him. “I’m a huge fan, really. Absolutely. So flexible.

Loki hoped the burn of humiliation didn’t show on his face. “Grandmaster,” he said, laying a hand lightly on his arm. “Perhaps we should move on?”

“Oh, yes,” the Grandmaster said. “I can’t play favorites - well, I can, but-”

He swanned off. Loki started to follow him, only to be stopped in his tracks by Thor’s harsh “wait.”

He paused, not turning. “I don’t think now is the time for a conversation.”

“Then when?” Thor demanded. “What have you been doing?

“What does it look like,” Loki hissed, finally turning back toward Thor.

“It looks like you’ve been cozying up to the man holding me prisoner-”

“Who holds your life in his hands,” Loki interrupted. “And who do you think has been keeping it there? Or had you really failed to notice that you could have died by now and haven’t?”

Thor’s eyebrows drew together. “What are you talking about?”

Loki immediately regretted bringing it up. “Nothing. I have to go.”

“No you don’t,” Thor growled. “What do you mean? Do you expect me to believe that you’ve been protecting me?”

“Yes,” Loki said, stung. “I have.” He could see the gears turning in Thor’s brain as he put things together, and took a step back. “Before you say anything-”

“Loki,” Thor said, with a kind of awed horror. “You cannot - you didn’t.

“Vague,” Loki shot back. “I don’t know what you are trying to say.”

“Are you sleeping with him?

Loki turned on his heel and started to walk away.

“Loki! Loki!

No, Thor, Loki thought angrily. I am not having this conversation with you. Ever.


Another day, another game. The Grandmaster showed Loki the brackets eagerly while he was still trying to get his clothes back on.

“Should be really exciting,” the Grandmaster said with enthusiasm. “No disappointments, like with that Shi’ar Gladiator yesterday. Yuck. And oh look, there’s our Lord of Thunder, facing off again Urcor - oh, that should be fun.”

‘Urcor’, at least, sounded more like a single name rather than another pack. “Oh?” He said, trying to sound interested.

“Hmm-mm - let me get that for you, sweetheart - people like him because he really, uh, brings the pain, if you take your meaning, but he doesn’t have the charisma like Sparkles does. None of that sex appeal. Strong jaw, sculpted muscles, all that. For the folks who are into that kind of thing, and there’s a lot of folks into that kind of thing, you know.”

Loki kept himself from twitching at the mental image of the Grandmaster with his hands all over Thor. Like they were all over him right now. Just now, he did not need to hear him describe Thor’s sex appeal. And none of that told him anything about what Thor might be facing.

“I’m aware,” he said.

“Oh, dear. Is that a hint of jealousy? Oh, kitten. You don’t have anything to be jealous of, pretty thing that you are.” Loki’s cheeks felt hot and he looked down like the Grandmaster wouldn’t know exactly what he was hiding. “Anyway. Are you asking because you want to know how worried you should be?”

His voice was teasing, but Loki still just managed not to tense. “I like to know what to expect.”

“And I like to surprise you,” the Grandmaster said, circling around and adjusting the front of Loki’s tunic, then tapping his nose with one finger. “So let’s go with that, shall we?”

Loki supposed he shouldn’t be surprised.

He had to sit through five rounds (five gruesome deaths) before it was Thor’s turn, and by then he was just barely keeping from biting his nails.

“I give you,” proclaimed the Grandmaster’s enormous hologram, “Thor, Lord of Thunder!”

Thor was using double-blades this time. No shield. Of course, no hammer. Loki realized he was clenching his teeth and made himself stop.

“Aaaand - Ulcor the Magnificent!”

A Ruthvian, Loki saw, and tensed. He’d read about them, but never fought one. Neither, he was certain, had Thor.

He’ll be fine, he told himself, and deliberately relaxed, sitting back and sipping idly at his drink. He thought he could feel the Grandmaster looking at him, but when Loki glanced in his direction he seemed to be paying rapt attention to the arena alone.

Thor didn’t wait for his opponent to attack. He struck first, but Ulcor barely staggered, catching Thor’s blade on one of his six arms. It cut into metal and stuck; for a breath-stealing moment Loki thought it was going to be torn out of Thor’s hand, but he yanked it free just in time and moved back, out of reach of the heavy mace Ulcor swung at his head.

Loki did not want to watch this. Usually, he could enjoy watching Thor fight.

Usually, he was near certain of Thor’s victory, because he knew there wasn’t a being who might decide it would be more entertaining to introduce a surprise handicap into things. Usually--

Thor ducked under the Ruthvian’s arms and stabbed up into his side. Ulcor roared and swung wildly at Thor with one of his arms. Thor ducked out of the way of that, but not the mace, which connected with Thor with a heavy, meaty, thud.

Loki lurched to his feet and took several steps forward, breath catching in his lungs, but Thor was - fine. Still on his feet. As if he felt Loki looking, he turned, glancing upward, and for a searing second their eyes met.

Loki kept himself from jerking back. He couldn’t tell what expression was on Thor’s face, and was, you coward, relieved.

He felt the Grandmaster approaching from behind him and kept himself from turning. “It’s so nice to see you getting into the sport,” he said, hands sliding up Loki’s arms to his shoulders. “You’re looking a bit nervous, though. Worried Sparkles isn’t up to the challenge?”

Loki focused on not hyperventilating and watching Thor. He was adapting to his new weaponry quickly, of course. Thor: the mighty, the nearly invincible. A warrior by nature and training. It was only a Rhuthvian: they might have six arms but barely that many brain cells to rub together. At least, so said his books. “Not at all,” he said smoothly.

“Confident! I like that.” The Grandmaster’s hands squeezed his shoulders. “As long as it’s not too easy...you know. Don’t want anyone to get bored.”

“No,” Loki agreed. “We couldn’t have that.”

“Absolutely not.” The Grandmaster pulled his hands away and Loki almost relaxed, but it was only so he could slide his arms around Loki’s waist. Loki tried to focus on the arena, unable to help a flicker of a smile as Thor threw Ulcor halfway across the ring. That’s it, Thor. But don’t end things too fast, draw it out a little or he’ll get annoyed-

He sucked in a breath and jerked as the Grandmaster’s hand at his crotch abruptly called his attention back. He made a startled noise and half moved to jerk away, but the Grandmaster’s other arm around his waist caught him.

“Hey now,” he said, “where are you going?”

Loki licked his lips. “That was just - ah. Surprising.”

“Good surprising?” The Grandmaster said. He rocked his hand gently over the bulge in Loki’s snug pants, and Loki hissed quietly.

“It’s going to be a bit difficult to focus on the games if you keep doing that,” Loki said, careful not to let it sound like a complaint.

“Mmm. Probably true.” He squeezed lightly and Loki bucked. He bit back the sound he wanted to make. “I can’t help it that you’re so...irresistible.”

In spite of himself, Loki was flattered. He quashed the reaction as quickly as possible. “Thank you, I suppose,” he said, voice a little unsteady.

“You’re welcome.” His arm around Loki’s waist pulled him closer.

The Rhuthian took a swipe at Thor, and missed. Thor lunged in, but one of its massive clawed appendages swung and caught Thor in the head, sending his helmet flying and Thor stumbling sideways a few steps before he caught himself. The catch of Loki’s breath turned into a moan as the Grandmaster increased the pressure of his hand just slightly. A flush of angry, embarrassed heat washed over him from head to toe.

“So,” the Grandmaster said, massaging Loki through his pants, chin resting on Loki’s shoulder. “I have an idea. Just a little challenge.”

Loki caught himself leaning back into the Grandmaster, hips rocking slightly into his hand, and made himself still and straighten. “What’s that?” He asked, a little faintly. The Grandmaster turned his head and mouthed at Loki’s neck.

“Just this,” the Grandmaster said conversationally, pressing the heel of his hand in little circles over Loki’s hardening cock. “I’ve got you in one hand and a certain little controller in the other. If you, ah, go off, so does the buzzer. Do you think you can hold out as long as he can?”

Loki swallowed hard, biting down on the inside of his cheek. “I - suppose we’ll find out,” he said, his heart in his throat. His hips pushed into the gentle pressure of the Grandmaster’s palm without meaning to, and he forced himself to still.

“You’d better watch,” the Grandmaster said. “Keep an eye on the ring. So you know what’s...going on. You don’t want to miss a thing.” He cupped Loki in his palm, squeezing lightly, sliding his hand further down to where he could fondle Loki’s balls through his too-flimsy clothes. Loki cut off the noise he wanted to make and tried to focus on Thor, down in the ring. Fighting for his life.

Surely that has to be a mood-killer.

The Grandmaster moved his hand back to pressing against Loki’s cock, pushing in slow pulses. Loki’s eyelids fluttered and he held his breath, trying to focus. Thor swung for his opponent’s neck and his sword bounced off its hide.

“You’re, uh, quivering,” the Grandmaster said, his voice amused, breath soft on Loki’s skin. “Are you holding your breath? Goodness. It’s - so easy to wind you up, isn’t it?”

Loki’s stomach burned. He forced himself to exhale. “You are...good at what you do.”

“Of course I am!” The Grandmaster’s tongue flicked against the sensitive skin just under Loki’s ear. “You don’t need to tell me.

The Grandmaster’s hand slid down the front of Loki’s pants, wrapping around his cock and squeezing. Loki gasped and jumped, then slumped back, shaking. He bit down harder on the inside of his cheek and tasted blood. Arousal throbbed deep in him. Hurry, Thor, he thought as the Grandmaster ran his thumb over the head of Loki’s cock. Loki made a small, poorly muffled, noise.

“Oh, that’s nice,” the Grandmaster said, thumb moving in small circles, sending shock after shock through Loki’s body. He caught himself rocking into his hand again and forced himself to stop, to suck in breaths like he could calm himself that way. “I just love how - sensitive you are, Lo, how responsive.

Loki could feel the heat in his chest, rising into his face. He shuddered, resisting the urge to melt back into the Grandmaster. His pulse was pounding low in his stomach and he tried frantically to focus on - something. Anything. Other than his...want.

Thor. Think about Thor, dying. He tried to hold that at the forefront of his mind but the Grandmaster’s fingers pressed just there and a cry burst out between his lips.

“He’s doing great,” the Grandmaster said conversationally, like he didn’t have his hand in Loki’s pants jerking him off. Like he didn’t have an erection pressed against Loki’s back. “Your boy. Did you see that maneuver, the spin, very smooth.”

Loki didn’t dare speak, focused on holding himself back, on thinking about anything other than what the Grandmaster was doing to him. He could hear himself gasping and tried to think of something, anything, that might quench his arousal.

Thor dies if you give in. Isn’t that enough?

The Grandmaster sucked on the side of Loki’s neck. “You’re so tense,” he said, sounding like he was going to start laughing. “Wound up so tight. Poor, sweet, thing.”

“You make it - difficult - to relax,” Loki forced out. The Grandmaster’s thumb rubbed a circle in just the right spot and Loki gasped, body jerking.

Think of...Frigga. No, hurts too much. Higher magical theory. What are the eight tenets of Bolgrim’s Theory of Tranfiguration-

“Oh, that’s got to hurt,” the Grandmaster said gleefully. Loki jerked, opening his eyes and searching frantically for Thor - but he looked steady on his feet, still armed. The Rhuthian he was battling didn’t seem to be faring so well, one of its six arms dragging.

The Grandmaster dragged his hand along Loki’s length and he drew in a shuddering breath, digging his fingers into his own leg. Hurry up, Thor, he thought angrily.

“Doing great,” the Grandmaster murmured in his ear. “So patient. I’m impressed! You’re, ah, shaking a bit, though-”

He was. Trembling with suppressed need. Loki swallowed several times, trying to ignore the warm flush in his chest at the Grandmaster’s words. “I don’t suppose-” He breathed in. “I don’t suppose you’d consider - calling a halt so we could, could, retire somewhere more…”

“Oh, Loki,” the Grandmaster said. “It’s like you think I can’t multitask! If you want me to fuck you we can make that happen right here-”

Loki heard himself moan. He imagined it, being bent over the railing while the Grandmaster fucked him from behind, watching Thor fight, watching him die as he came.

At least that killed the fire of his arousal a little. “I don’t think,” Loki started to say, only to cut off with a gasp as the Grandmaster’s hand squeezed around his base. Playing with him. Loki thought he was going to scream.

“Good,” the Grandmaster said. “Don’t think. I don’t need you to think. Oh, that was close-”

Loki looked again to see Thor stumble back. The Rhuthian’s claws had shredded the front of his armor. The Grandmaster’s hand moved to massage Loki’s balls and he nearly whimpered, toes curling.

“Please,” he heard himself say, hoping it would mean something.

“Oh, dear,” the Grandmaster said. “You’re not giving up already, are you? Poor Lord of Thunder-”

“No,” Loki said quickly. “No, I was just - I can, I can-”

“Now that’s what I like to hear,” the Grandmaster said, hand pumping steadily. Loki was going to explode. He swallowed convulsively like he could hold himself back that way, clinging to his control, name all the languages of the Nine Realms, what are Alfheim’s twenty, go-

The crowd roared. Loki strained to see what was going on. Thor - was that Thor? Blood everywhere, Thor covered in blood, no, no-

“Your winner!” The Grandmaster crowed in his ear. “I give you: the Lord of Thunder!”

Loki almost sobbed with relief and let go.

“You did great,” the Grandmaster murmured in his ear as Loki gulped air. “Whew. Fantastic. I didn’t think you’d hold out but...good stuff.

Loki shuddered pleasurably. The Grandmaster was almost holding him upright, his legs wobbly. “Hmm-mm,” he said. The Grandmaster chuckled.

“Made a bit of a mess, though,” he said, and brought his come-spattered hand up to Loki’s mouth. “Clean that up for me?”

Loki closed his eyes, face burning, and leaned forward to lick his fingers clean.

“Oh, yes,” the Grandmaster purred, pressing his erection against Loki’s back. “You’re just such a treasure, aren’t you?”

He hadn’t thought he could hate himself more. He really should have known better. Even now, the Grandmaster called him a treasure and Loki was grateful.

There really is no end to your depravity, is there?

“Now,” the Grandmaster said, “I think I will take you up on that...moving somewhere else. You don’t mind if I have a few friends join, do you? Maybe just five or six?”

“No,” Loki said weakly. “Of course not.”

“I love that about you, Lo-Lo,” the Grandmaster said. “You’re always game for anything.”


Loki waited until he was alone and sat down carefully. Projecting illusions took focus.

He closed his eyes. When he opened them, he was looking at Thor, who promptly threw something at him. Or through him, as the case was.

“So you’re not really here,” Thor said flatly. Loki scanned him for injuries, but he looked...fine. Good. That was...good.

“Of course not,” Loki said.

“Of course not,” Thor echoed. He shook his head. “What do you think you’re doing, Loki?”

“What do you mean,” Loki asked, carefully neutral. Thor sat forward.

“You said you were keeping me alive.”

“I can’t get you out of here, if that’s what you were going to ask.”

“Can’t, or won’t?” Thor asked. Loki gritted his teeth and started to pull the illusion back, but Thor said, “no - stay.”

“Why should I?” Loki asked snippily.

“Why did you come here in the first place?” Thor asked.

Trying to remind myself why it’s worthwhile to put myself through this. It isn’t working very well so far. Loki kept his face still. “Good question.”

“When you said you were protecting me,” Thor said after a brief pause, “what did you mean?”

“What I said,” Loki said. “The Grandmaster...he might be mad but he can be amenable.”

“Amenable,” Thor echoed. “To letting me win, you mean. Letting me survive.” He paused. “Is that because you’re fucking him?”

Loki was glad illusions couldn’t flush. He might have denied it, but he was well aware it was already too late for that. He shrugged. “He likes me,” he said, which was only sort of a lie. Thor’s expression spasmed.

“You’re blind if you don’t see how dangerous he is.”

Oh, trust me, I am very aware. “I’ve noticed.”

Thor lowered his eyes and shook his head. “I can’t believe you.”

Loki’s spine snapped straight. “What,” he said, “for surviving? For doing what I have to to stay alive - to keep you alive? Do you think I wanted to get on my knees for him? I was managing just fine before you got here, but the second he knew there was a connection between us he started using you against me-”

Loki caught the look on Thor’s face belatedly and cut himself off.

“Are you saying you weren’t-”

“I’m not going to do this,” Loki snapped.

“Did you start - letting him - because of me?

Loki swallowed hard. In his body, his fingers flexed on his leg. Stupid. If Thor hadn’t already puzzled that out on his own- “Don’t pretend like that somehow makes it better,” Loki said, lip curling.

“Of course it doesn’t!” Thor said, his voice rising. “It makes it worse!

Loki blinked. Thor looked like the only thing holding him back from trying to strangle Loki was the fact that he could not do so, and seemed to be at a loss for words. Loki waited, a little afraid to try speaking.

Thor dropped his head into his hands.

“I wasn’t going to let you die,” Loki said defensively. “It isn’t - that bad. It’s only sex.” And humiliation, and control, and dancing to the tune of an immortal madman. The guilt written on Thor’s face ought to have been satisfying. Instead it was just uncomfortable.

“It’s not like you asked,” Loki said awkwardly. That didn’t seem to help.

“We need to get out of here,” Thor said. Loki gave him an incredulous look.

“And go where?” He demanded. “Because we managed so well with Hela before. This isn’t forever. I am going to - find a way to get you out of here, and deal with...him, and we’ll have a whole planet to do whatever we want-”

“No,” Thor said. “We can’t abandon Asgard. Our people.”

Your people, Loki wanted to correct him, but couldn’t. He had been their king for three years. He was trying not to think about what might have happened to them now. “I daresay thinking about escape is still a little premature,” Loki said. “You’re still locked up and I am being watched. In fact, I probably shouldn’t stay longer-”

“Wait,” Thor said, just as Loki was about to pull the duplicate back into himself. Loki stopped. Thor’s expression spasmed.

“What you’re doing...are you safe?”

A bitter laugh burst out of Loki’s throat. “You should have noticed by now that nothing on Sakaar is safe.

“At least - try to be careful.”

“I will if you will,” Loki said, after a moment. Almost, in spite of himself, touched. With that, and partly for that reason, he left Thor behind.

Alone in his room, he tried not to think about the fact that if he’d given up this much just keeping Thor alive...how much more of himself would he have to sell to get him free?


“You know, sweetheart, I wasn’t sure for a little while there if we were going to get along.”

Loki gasped in a breath, fingers curling into the sheets, the vibration of the dildo inside him sliding down to something slightly less agonizing and infinitely more frustrating. He wasn’t sure how long the Grandmaster had been keeping him on edge but it had definitely been far too long, and it was - very difficult to think. “Oh?” He managed, because the Grandmaster seemed to be waiting for some kind of response.

“Mmhm,” he said, sipping idly at his drink and running his fingers up and down Loki’s spine. Loki tugged against the cuffs binding his wrists without thinking, and jerked as a - relatively mild - shock went through him. “You were...so, ah, headstrong. Little bit rebellious. And such a tease, goodness. And that’s not all bad but I’m, I’m glad we got that sorted out. Because I like you, I really do. But people like you...sometimes you need a little, hm. Handling.”

Handling. Loki’s fingers curled into fists and he forced them to relax. “Do I.”

“Oh, yes,” the Grandmaster said amiably. “It’s all about exchange, isn’t it? You get what you want, I get what I want, everyone’s...happy.”

What I want, Loki thought a little wildly, is to cut off your head and-

The thought broke off when the vibration intensified again and Loki gasped and thrashed, reflexively jerking at his bonds. He swallowed a yelp at the sharp buzz over his nerves, crawling up his arms and down his spine.

“I love it, though,” the Grandmaster went on. His fingers trailed all the way down Loki’s back and nudged at the base of the dildo stuffed inside him. Loki heard himself make a strangled noise between a moan and a whine.

“Ah-”

“I love it,” the Grandmaster repeated. “This little...game we’ve got going on. Your brother, he’s really - quite a fighter, isn’t he? I have to wonder how he’d do against my champion.”

Loki choked on the spike of alarm, jerking up only to drop back down when the Grandmaster pushed him with a laughing, “easy there.”

“I don’t-”

“Ah,” the Grandmaster said, pausing. “Careful, now.”

Loki swallowed. His thoughts were blurry, fuzzed by need and pleasure. Focus, he thought, but it was so hard (ha, very funny) and the Grandmaster pressing like he wanted to push the dildo somehow even deeper wasn’t helping. “I’d - it’d mean our, hh, our game would end.”

“Mm,” the Grandmaster said. “That would be too bad. But...well, we’ll just have to see, won’t we?”

He grabbed the base of the dildo abruptly and pulled it free. Loki gasped, shocked by the sudden emptiness, but it was only for a moment before the Grandmaster’s cock pushed into him instead.

“Oh,” Loki heard himself say faintly.

“That’s good,” the Grandmaster said. “Fantastic, just, really-” He pulled out and thrust back in hard enough to jar Loki forward. He pressed his forehead into the bed and moaned faintly. The angle was - miserably exquisite. Pushing across that spot inside him that the dildo had been teasing. “That’s the ticket,” the Grandmaster said encouragingly, and Loki wanted to hide even as his hips pushed back into the Grandmaster’s thrusts, body squeezing around the thick, hot, cock throbbing inside him.

Oh yes,” the Grandmaster said. “You’ve got - a real treasure of an ass, there, just…”

The Grandmaster rode him like he was trying to fuck Loki’s orgasm out of him - and he could do it, too, that was the damnable thing, he was good at this - and Loki clung to the bed and took it. His breathing in his own ears sounded loud and uneven, a near whine on every exhale.

“Ask me,” the Grandmaster said, voice a low purr, and Loki shuddered.

“I want to - let me come,” he said, voice thin, stomach burning.

“Not quite an ask,” the Grandmaster said, and pulled out only to hammer back in, shoving a cry out of Loki’s lungs. “Try again, with a question mark this time?”

“May I - may-” He broke off, taking a few shallow breaths, gathering his brain cells from where they seemed to have scattered on the floor.

“Ah, good enough,” the Grandmaster said, and took Loki in hand, stroking him rough and fast to his finish. The Grandmaster followed a moment after with a pleased moan.

Loki gasped quietly when he pulled out with a satisfied sigh, slumping to the bed, limp and sweating. The Grandmaster patted his ass with unmistakable affection.

“That was fun,” he said. Loki managed a nod, slowly piecing his thoughts back together.

“So,” he went on. “I think I can give your brother a bit of a break. Like you said, don’t want to stop the game too soon.”

“Or at all,” Loki croaked, though the last thing he wanted was to talk about Thor while his ass was still leaking come.

“Hmm. I wouldn’t go that far,” the Grandmaster said. He got up and vanished from view, only to return with a tray of fruit. “Hungry? I am.” Loki just stared at him, and the Grandmaster smiled. “Oh, sweetheart. You’re going to need to fortify yourself for round two.”

It was all Loki could do not to close his eyes. “I’ll need...at least a few minutes.”

“Of course! Of course. Take your time.” The Grandmaster sat down next to his head, lounging back against the pillows. “Anyway. This, uh - thing you have. The two of you,” the Grandmaster said, petting Loki’s hair in a way that shouldn’t have felt as good as it did. “It’s just fascinating. Family is so...well, I never got along with mine very well, but clearly you care a whole lot about the big lug.”

Loki swallowed. “I have...some lingering attachment.” It was too late for denial, he knew. He couldn’t help but try anyway.

Lingering attachment. Oh, honey, you’re hilarious.” He plucked something like a grape and pressed it to Loki’s lips until he opened his mouth for it. Loki bit down a little too hard; when it burst the juice had a citrus tang. The Grandmaster popped another in his own mouth. “Maybe if you’re very good, Lo, I might even give him to you as a present.”

“Oh?” Loki said faintly. The Grandmaster tapped his nose with a smile.

“Oh yes,” he said. “If you’re very, very good.”