Loki attempted to keep himself very busy for the next week or so. It was an act of self-preservation, really. Yes, he did have a list of things he wanted to accomplish with his new powers, and yes he had been planning on being busy anyway, but any down time at all right now was downright dangerous.
Because every time his mind wasn’t occupied fully, thoroughly, and completely, all he could think about was his stupid brother.
Thor really didn’t merit this much of Loki’s attention, did he?
Of course he didn’t.
And yet Loki kept thinking about him. At all hours of the day. At every hour of the day. It was tiresome. Loki didn’t even think about himself that much, and usually he thought about himself far more than he thought about anyone else. It was incredibly irritating and Loki found himself annoyed at Thor even when Thor wasn’t around, for nothing that Thor had even done. He wasn’t forcing Loki to think about him. And yet—
Here Loki was, in his workroom six days after the fact, botching the same potion three times in a row because his attention kept wandering to the memory of Thor in that handkerchief he called a dressing gown. What kind of nerve did he have, anyway, wearing that like it was actual clothing and not just the merest suggestion of clothing? Loki should sneak into his room and replace everything in his wardrobe with full coverage sleeves and breeches… In loose flowing fabrics, nothing tight, nothing suggestive at all... Cover him up properly so that decent folks could get things done without being distracted by sculpted pectorals or biceps the size of melons, or gods forbid, those great, firm, muscular, thighs…
The smell of burning brought him back to reality and he cursed in five different languages as he doused the fire under his alembic. Gods fucking damn it all to the deepest hells. He had been attempting to make a quadruple distillate of the perfect blue of a cloudless autumn sky captured on an equinox, musical wind from the aeolian plains, the heat of a newborn Muspelheim volcano, the breath of a basilisk, the sadness of a mother, and the glint of moonlight off a phoenix’s egg. That had been the absolute last bit of basilisk breath that he had, and he’d just wasted it all thinking about Thor’s muscles.
Maybe he’d make Thor get him some more. It seemed only fair.
Back in Loki’s thoughts again.
And Loki had no idea what was going on in Thor’s head at all. After the...crisis...Loki had fixed Thor’s bed and gone back to his room and screamed into a pillow for awhile before falling into an exhausted sleep, and they hadn’t spoken of what had happened since then. Although, to Thor’s credit (loath though Loki was to give him any at all), he was trying to act normally, or at least as normally as could be expected. He didn’t change any of his habits or try to avoid Loki. He trained and attended council meetings and took dinner in the great hall and went out with his friends, and when their paths crossed he was almost completely himself. Maybe he looked at Loki a little harder than usual, or wasn’t quite as easy with his physical affections, but Loki wasn’t even sure he’d have noticed if he wasn’t looking for it.
Loki tried to act normally as well.
He wasn’t sure why exactly they were pretending that nothing at all had happened, but it seemed like the most reasonable of a list of increasingly upsetting options, so he supposed they were just trying to make the best of it. Gods forbid they should actually talk about it. Loki couldn’t think of anything more excruciating.
What Loki should probably do was grab his Increased Powers To-Do List and go. Except, despite his equivocal words to Thor, Loki was reasonably certain that they would have to do It again. He just didn’t know when, exactly, It would happen and he hadn’t wanted to alarm Thor with the possibility. He was already alarmed enough himself; he didn’t need to add the emotional burden of having to comfort Thor on top of it.
Loki sighed and cleaned up the charred mess he’d made with a lazy wave of his hand. Oh, he was going to miss this level of power once it ran out. Normally, what he’d just done would have required more magical effort than it was worth and he’d simply have cleaned everything by hand. He was spoiling himself.
What was Thor doing with his new powers anyway? Making more squirrels fuck?
This whole thing was so incredibly bizarre. And one thing Loki kept coming back to, the thing that he was really trying to distract himself from (with work and also with silly daydreams of Thor’s muscles, because at least those were just silly) was that Loki kept feeling like maybe, possibly, when it became apparent that he was going to have to let his brother fuck him, he should have put up more of a fight. Why hadn’t he?
Sure, Thor’s life had been in danger, in theory, but Thor regularly put his life in danger of his own volition all the damn time; if it was really Thor’s life that Loki cared about he’d either lock him in a cage or glue himself to Thor’s ass and never let Thor do anything alone, ever, lest Loki wasn’t there to jump between him and death.
Thor’s sanity had been in jeopardy too, but honestly—Loki had been questioning Thor’s sanity since they were toddlers and Thor went around hugging venomous animals like they were fluffy puppies. He wasn’t sure there would be a marked difference.
And ok, Thor wasn’t bad-looking, but… Lots of people had good-looking siblings and weren’t champing at the bit to jump into bed with them. Just because Loki happened to have the actual best-looking sibling, objectively, in all of existence didn’t excuse it.
And yes, Thor was kind and generous and good, but he was also, again objectively, the most irritating person in all of existence and an oaf besides. Those were just cold hard facts. Indisputable.
And of course Loki loved him. That wasn’t even up for debate. And of course Thor loved Loki. Again, not up for debate. They always had, but it had never led to fucking before.
So what was the deal, then? Why had Loki basically hopped into his bed with a shrug and an ‘oh well, guess we have to fuck now’?
It must be the spell. That was the only explanation.
The gremlin in Loki’s chest gave a tumbling thump and Loki swore that if he could see it, it would be frowning.
The night that it happened again, Loki came back to his rooms after dinner to find that Thor had beaten him there. He was standing in Loki’s study staring at one of the bookshelves intently, hands clasped behind his back, and the potted devil’s ivy plant in the window nearest to him had grown all the way down to the floor and was beginning to snake little curly tendrils out into Loki’s expensive rug.
Loki was sure his face had just gone through about five different expressions in his surprise, but luckily Thor had has back to him and didn’t see any of them. He pulled himself together and put his hands on his hips.
“If you keep abusing your guest right like this I may have to rethink the ‘Thor exception’ in my wards,” Loki said. “Honestly, with all the trouble you cause me I don’t know why I haven’t banned you permanently yet.”
“Good evening to you, too, brother,” Thor said. He turned halfway to give Loki a guarded smile, which turned into a real smile when he saw that Loki hadn’t materialized any knives to stab him with. “Have you been well?”
Loki snorted. “Passably. Not that you’d know. You haven’t exactly been beating my door down.”
“You haven’t been beating mine down either,” Thor pointed out, entirely unreasonably in Loki’s opinion. He turned back towards the bookshelf and crossed his arms in front instead of behind.
“Are you here for any particular reason? Or just to grace me with the gift of your company? And why do you keep staring at my books?”
Thor sighed and his shoulders slumped slightly.
“Don’t be angry,” he said.
“Well I wasn’t before, but when you lead with that—”
Grimacing, Thor turned all the way around to face Loki full on. Loki could see the flush of his cheeks now, and the slight glassiness of his eyes, and his ridiculous cock tenting his ridiculous breeches. Honestly, why Thor even wore breeches so tight Loki had no idea...surely they restricted his range of motion…
“I have a bit of a. Predicament,” Thor said. Apologetically. For some reason the tone irritated Loki out of all proportion. As if Thor had come to him like, ‘Hello brother, it’s that time again, terribly sorry, shall I take you from the front or from behind?’
“Yes, we knew that you would, didn’t we,” Loki said flatly.
“Actually, I think you said ‘I guess we’ll find out’—”
Shaking his head, Loki cut Thor off with a hand gesture. He was starting to feel a bit lightheaded, and a bit tingly, and a bit like he wanted Thor to put his hands all over his body again. None of which was particularly acceptable, so he did what he’d always done best, and covered it up with annoyance.
“Come on, then,” Loki snapped, going to push past Thor and stomp into the bedroom.
Thor caught his arm and stopped him.
“Brother,” Thor said, catching Loki’s eyes, forcing Loki to look into their concerned depths. “I’m sorry.” Loki opened his mouth to tell Thor where, exactly, he could stick his ‘sorries’, but Thor ran right over him. “None of this is fair to you, and I realize now I’ve been selfish in keeping to myself for the past week. I just thought that perhaps...you might not want to be around me.”
Thor hand was so warm on Loki’s arm, and his words so unexpected, that Loki found himself startled into sincerity.
“You might try asking me what I want instead of assuming,” Loki said, his voice softening from the sharp sarcastic tones he’d had before. “And...I just hadn’t expected it to be so soon. Or tonight.”
Their link chose that moment to flare. An aching tenderness washed back and forth between them and left Loki dizzy. He wanted to stay annoyed, because annoyance was safe, but he felt it dissolving away under the strength of the feeling in him now. Thor touched Loki’s cheek and they both swayed.
“Please,” Thor said. “I need you.”
It was alarming, really, how such a few simple words that Loki had never even imagined hearing fed his heart so well. Like he had been starving before, and didn’t even realize it until he was offered a scrap of bread.
“I’m here,” Loki said.
They ended up in Loki’s bed. Naked Thor turned out to be just as glorious as Loki had been remembering all week; naked Loki just as scrawny and self-conscious. Somehow the first time had been easier, though. It had seemed almost a joke then, a bit of an adventure, something that they could write off as a mishap and just get on with their lives. It didn’t feel like a joke this time. It felt awkward, and like they were trying to hold themselves back from each other.
It wasn’t surprising, really. This wasn’t a romance, nor was it even sex simply for the sake of lust. It was a transaction. Something that had to be completed so that Thor didn’t die. The only required action was Thor’s climax. Kisses, touching for the sake of touching, intimacy, even simply Loki climaxing as well—all the pleasures of the flesh that partners both romantic and non sought out—not only were they unnecessary, Loki wasn’t sure if they were allowed at all. To seek them out would be… What would it be? Wrong? It wasn’t as though Loki was particularly in the habit of avoiding things simply because they were wrong. Unfair? To ask Thor to treat his brother as his lover? Why would Loki even want such a thing? Did Loki want such a thing?
So Loki bit his lip and kept everything to himself but a few halfhearted quips, and told Thor to take him from behind so that he didn’t even have to make the choice of whether or not to look at him or not. He closed his eyes and tried very hard not to think about how the hook in his chest was tugging at him to touch, kiss, lick, explore, have, possess, give, take, love, love, love.
Even though Thor was obviously trying to restrain himself, his thrusts grew harder as he neared orgasm. More erratic. Loki found himself panting, his breath driven out of him, and then Thor began to glow.
When the wave of magic overtook them, Loki pressed his cheek to the mattress and Thor pressed his cheek to Loki’s shoulder. It sighed through them like a warm summer breeze. Loki found himself reaching back and grasping the back of Thor’s head and his fingers tightened briefly in Thor’s hair. Thor murmured something into his shoulder that Loki couldn’t make out.
Strangely, Loki found his mood improved. Thor’s magic really was something else. Thor sat up and pulled away and Loki’s hands were a bit unsteady as he cleaned them up with seidr.
“Thank you,” Thor said. “Norns, ‘thank you’ seems so inadequate.”
“Save your gratitude,” Loki said, rolling over onto his back. “You’re still going to owe me something big.”
“Do you know what’s been happening the last week?” Thor said. He settled back down next to Loki, their heads on the same pillow. His voice was low and warm and intimate. Loki had the absurd desire to kiss him.
“Not unless you tell me.”
“Every time I set foot outside, flowers spring up in my footsteps,” Thor said. “You can follow my path around Asgard precisely just by following the flower trail.”
“It must be terribly easy for your enemies to track you now.”
Thor chuckled. “I feel like a maiden from some tale. I can’t say I mind overmuch.”
“You’re ridiculously sentimental, has anyone ever told you that?”
Thor only hummed contentedly, then, “You haven’t cut your hair,” he said out of nowhere.
Instinctively, Loki reached up and fingered the ends of it.
“I suppose I haven’t.”
“Sentiment,” Thor singsonged lightly, and Loki pinched him.
Thor stayed for some wine afterwards. An unspoken feeling of closeness had them not wanting to part and the gremlin in Loki’s chest was far too pleased about it. They went out into Loki’s study to find that the ivy had grown across the entire floor and, of course, had completely ruined Loki’s rug. Thor took one end of the couch and Loki took the other.
“I guess I’ll deal with this later,” Loki grumbled, and lifted his feet from the leafy ground when he sat down. He thrust them into Thor’s lap. Thor gave him a look, and Loki poked at his face with his toes until Thor laughed and grabbed his foot to stop him. He left his hand on Loki’s right foot, curled around the top of it and his thumb rubbing at Loki’s instep. It felt extremely nice.
“I’ve been thinking,” Loki said. He ran his finger around the top of his wineglass, and licked off the drops. “I have a list of things I was planning on doing before the year runs out. But obviously we can’t be apart for more than about a week and a half. You should come with me.”
“What kind of things?” Thor asked.
“Oh you know.” Loki fluttered his hand. “Me things.”
“Definitely. But fun!”
Thor laughed. “Show me this list.”
Loki waved his hand and a piece of parchment lifted off his desk and floated over to Thor’s outstretched hand. Thor’s eyebrows did interesting things as he started reading down it.
“Loki,” he said sternly. “We’ve talked about the horse thing.”
Loki shrugged innocently and took another sip of wine.
“‘See if I can create enough clones to pull off the Virenzi Scheme’? What is that?”
“Best not to ask.”
Thor shook his head and kept reading, then put the paper down and gave Loki an Extreme Look. “‘Turn into a bird and shit on Thor.’”
Loki couldn’t help giggling. “Did I really put that? I must have been annoyed at you.”
“Why does that require increased powers, anyway? You’ve been able to turn into animals since you were eight.”
“Snakes, yes. Birds? That’s another thing entirely. You can’t just be vaguely cylinder shaped. You have to be aerodynamic. And hitting a moving target? That requires finesse. Artistry!” He waved his hand loftily. “Keep going.”
Thor mumbled to himself as he picked the paper back up and started scanning down it again, picking off items to read out loud.
“‘Find a tribe to make worship me as a benevolent and devastatingly handsome god.’ Don’t forget modest. ‘Steal the Sight from one of Heimdall’s eyes.’ Only one? ‘See if I can withstand the force of an erupting volcano—’ What? Why? Why would you want to do that?”
“‘Make Amora fall in love with a pig that she thinks is a man so that everyone laughs at her.’ Loki, that’s both disgusting and immoral.”
“So is she.”
“‘Try to create an exact replica of Gungnir and—’” Thor guffawed. “Did you actually write ‘admire myself in the mirror with it’ and then cross it out?”
“Oh shut up,” Loki said. “Read what I wrote instead.”
“‘Try to create an exact replica of Gungnir and see if it can activate the Bifrost.’”
“Wouldn’t that be grand? Also, you can add ‘bottle some basilisk breath’ on there, because I’m all out and you’re going to help me get more.”
“Oh am I?”
Thor was starting to get to the bottom of the list now, and Loki suddenly remembered the last thing he’d put on it.
“You can give me the list back now,” he said.
“No, I’m not done—”
“Give it back—”
“Wait a minute!”
Loki surged up and grabbed for the paper, but Thor pulled it out of his reach, and they half wrestled for a moment before Thor managed to get an eyeball on it and read off, “‘Take Thor to see the sunrise on Delphi IX.’ Aww, Loki, really? I’m touched.”
Loki growled, flopping back down. “You know as well as I do that Delphi IX is, one, off limits due to a treaty, two, has a toxic atmosphere, and, three, is crawling with bloodthirsty ice bears, so getting there and seeing the sunrise will be a real feat.”
“Yes, but you want to get there with me.”
“I can be whimsical,” Loki grumbled. If he’d just left well enough alone and hadn’t made a grab for the paper Thor probably wouldn’t have thought much of it, but since Loki had turned it into a Thing it had become one, and he was embarrassed now. He tried to will the red out of his cheeks.
“Anyway,” Loki said. “There it is. It should keep us busy until our powers run out. Will you come with me or not? Because if I have to hang around the palace instead I will go mad and I will cause mischief and there will be some kind of intergalactic incident.”
“I’ll come with you,” Thor said. “On one condition. I get to use my powers too.”
“And how will you do that?”
“I’m going to make a list of all the systems who have reported droughts or famines in the last year or two, and we’re going to visit those as well.”
“Oh,” Loki said. He’d been so busy thinking about personal gain that he had never even stopped to consider what he might be able to do for others with his increased seidr, and he felt a vague rumbling of guilt. Only a tiny one though. Minuscule, really. And a surge of affection for his kind-hearted brother. Also tiny and minuscule.
“Flowery footsteps are nice and all,” Thor said, “but I think I can be much more useful than that.”
“Your generosity is going to get you in trouble someday,” Loki said. “But I suppose that sounds reasonable.”