There was silence in the Royal Dining Room after Odin made his pronouncement.
Loki sat with his hands clenched around his knife and fork. When he had the wherewithal to set them back upon his plate, they clattered loudly, and he realized that his hands were shaking.
Odin had resumed eating. Frigga was watching Loki with worried eyes, her own utensils hanging poised over her roast fowl.
Loki lay his palms on his lap, took a deep breath, and said, “Father, perhaps—”
“The arrangements have already been made,” said Odin, in a tone that brooked no argument.
Loki swallowed, looking at his mother with wide, imploring eyes.
“The son of Laufey is honest and kind,” Frigga said. “He is well-loved by his people. Your father and I believe it will be a good match.”
“He is Jotun,” Loki hissed, his tone vicious.
Frigga sat back and leveled him with a gaze that made him turn away, shamed.
“I’ve lost my appetite,” Loki muttered, pushing his plate away. He threw his napkin on the table. “Excuse me.”
He rose and swiftly exited the room, trying to control the anger that was threatening to drown him. Already, he could smell the cloying scent of his own seidr swirling around him, and he clenched his fists, digging his nails into his palm to keep himself under control.
As Loki threw open the doors to his chambers and sat heavily upon his bed, he knew he could not cajole or bargain or trick his way out of this.
In a fortnight, he would be wed to Thor, son of Laufey. A Jotun. And not just a Jotun—if the stories were to be believed, Thor Laufeyson was a runt.
Ugly, Loki thought callously, probably stupid and savage to boot.
He knew he was being irrational, and he reeled himself back, forcing himself to see reason.
It was only rational that his parents would seek this arrangement for him. Jotunheim was a realm coming back into its power a millennium after the last great war. Asgard already had strong ties to the other realms—this would cement its hold over the last remaining realm outside of its grasp.
Truthfully, he had no real rancor against the Jotun. They were an advanced race, a civilization older even than the Aesir. Jotnar were proud creatures, and there was no doubt that this Thor was trained in diplomacy, and had studied all the important histories and literatures of the Nine Realms. He might even be a good match for Loki, or at least an adequate one.
But to be sold into marriage, even one that held its obvious advantages—it rankled on Loki. Made him wretched and unpleasant. He would have to apologize to his mother and father for his outburst at the table.
He would fulfill his duty as Crown Prince of Asgard. He had no choice. If Thor Laufeyson’s place was to be by Loki’s side, then Loki would do his best to make it pleasant for the both of them.
Thor pulled at one of the golden chains that was slipping off his shoulder. One of his attendants smacked his hand away and he grumbled under his breath.
“Is this necessary? I doubt the Odinson will find me pleasing to look upon no matter what I wear.”
“It is ceremonial, my prince,” said the attendant, as Helblindi laughed and said, “At the very least you must look presentable enough that he does not turn you away at the door. So no dead animals draped upon your shoulders for this occasion, little brother.”
Before Thor could respond, the attendant hooked two heavy jewels to his horns, and he winced at the added weight.
“This is ridiculous,” Thor growled.
“Patience, little brother,” Byleistr said, though his red eyes glowed with amusement. “Soon you will be prince-consort of the Golden Realm, enjoying all that entails.”
“Tea parties!” exclaimed Helblindi.
“Dancing!” trilled Byleistr.
“Spending your days being an exotic pet while your husband crushes the other realms beneath his heel,” said Helblindi.
“I loathe you both,” Thor said.
“It’s not all bad,” Byleistr said, not unkindly. “I have heard the library at the palace at Idavollr is splendid. Far superior to our ours. You will enjoy that, at least.”
“If the Odinson will deign to have a Jotun wandering the palace on his own,” Thor said darkly.
The brothers all grimaced. Loki Odinson was said to be as clever and cunning and cruel as his father. What fate awaited Thor in Asgard—well, they could only hope it wasn’t an awful one.
“Well,” Thor said, rolling his shoulders and sighing at the infernal tinkling of gold, “best to get this over with.”
Loki heard him before he saw him. The first of the Jotnar to enter the room was a line of full-sized Frost Giants, hulking and massive and oddly striking in Idavollr’s golden throne room.
There was a light tinkling that came from behind them, and as they parted and took their places in columns facing each other, Loki caught his first sight of his future husband.
He felt his mouth go dry.
Thor Laufeyson looked nothing like his brethren. His golden hair, braided away from his face, shone brighter even than Idavollr’s gleaming walls.
His blue skin was a shade Loki had never seen before—it didn’t seem possible that such a color so deep and vibrant could exist in nature.
And while Thor was dripping in gold, it did nothing for his modesty. He was dressed in a skirt that hugged his trim waist, slender compared to his bare upper half. Loki had the sudden urge to put his hands on Thor’s waist and lead him into a waltz.
As Thor stepped up to him, chiming all the way, Loki realized, with both irritation and a pleased sort of surprise, that Thor was taller than him. Thor seemed to realize it too, when he looked up and met Loki’s gaze, his red eyes intense and focused.
And then Thor winked, a small smirk appearing on his face.
Loki felt himself flush, and he swiftly turned to face the All-Father as Thor stepped into place beside him.
He thought he heard Thor chuckle and he opened his mouth to whisper a retort—but Odin began to speak and Loki resolutely tried his best not to think of his hands around Thor’s waist, their bodies pressed flush together. Would Thor be warm, or cold? Would he know how to dance, or would he step on Loki’s toes?
Odin cleared his throat, and Loki realized he had missed his cue.
He opened his mouth to respond, and once again saw Thor smirk.
It was going to be a long ceremony.
As soon as the doors closed behind them, Thor began to untangle himself from his golden jewelry, his fingers catching on the fine threads.
“Do you require assistance?” Loki said from behind him.
Thor turned around and fixed Loki with a wary look. Now that the ceremony was over, now that his brethren were gone and he was truly alone, he found himself lost and quite afraid. Not that he would let the Odinson know that. An exotic pet, Helblindi had called him. Thor supposed even pets could be loved by their master.
Loki was still waiting for an answer, so Thor shrugged and said, “You can help.”
Loki nodded and strode forward with confidence, but faltered as soon as he was within touching distance.
Thor bowed his head, and Loki’s hands went up to unclip the gems the hung from his horns, his touch light and careful. Together, they released Thor from his golden prison. Thor was well-aware of the way Loki’s fingers sometimes lingered on his skin and at last when Loki’s hand skimmed down Thor’s chest, Thor carefully took hold of it and kept it pressed against his skin.
Loki blinked and met his gaze, his pink mouth parting. Thor’s heart thudded, and he forced himself to act. And yet, when Thor leaned down to catch those lips against his own, Loki pulled away.
He strode to the table, where he poured himself a goblet of water from the pitcher prepared for them and took a single gulp from his cup.
Thor found that he had to bite his lip to hold in a laugh.
“You aren’t...what I expected,” Loki said, and Thor was inclined to think the same of him.
“No?” Thor asked, finally giving in to the urge to grin. Loki’s hands fidgeted, his fingers rubbing against his palm, and Thor found himself endeared.
“Not savage enough?” Thor continued. “Helblindi wouldn’t let me wear my bilgesnipe fur.”
Loki refused to rise to the bait, only saying, “I didn’t know Jotnar had hair.”
“I’m a half-breed,” Thor said. “My mother was of Alfheim.”
“I see,” Loki said, nodding absently, though his gaze did alight briefly on Thor’s golden hair.
When it didn’t seem as if Loki was going to be making another move or saying anything else, Thor’s hands went to the cinch of his skirt.
Loki’s eyes followed the movement and he said, “If you wish to undress, I will take my leave. My chambers are across the hall. I shall see you for the morning meal.”
“Odinson,” Thor said, before Loki could turn around.
Loki’s eyes snapped up to meet his and Thor could see apprehension there—but also desire. He could work with that.
“Loki,” Thor said, softer this time. “I know my duty.”
Thor let his skirt fall.
He turned around and sauntered over to the bed, aware of Loki’s gaze on him. Without another word, he lay himself on his side on the bed, turning to face Loki with his head propped up on his elbow.
There was silence in the room before Loki let out a breath, long and slow, and his hand came up to undo the clasp of his high collar, revealing a strip of pale skin.
“I have fucked a Jotun before,” Loki said finally, casually, as he stripped off his clothes.
“I didn’t know Asgard’s brothels were so well-stocked,” Thor said, drinking Loki in with his gaze. As each piece of clothing fell to the floor and more of his husband was revealed to him, he found that he was not disappointed.
Loki had come closer, and he sat on the bed and reached out to trace the line of Thor’s arm where it lay, palm upwards, on the sheets.
“Not at a brothel,” Loki said mildly. “I went to Jotunheim. Well, I snuck in. In my, ah, ill-advised youth.”
Thor raised an eyebrow. It was difficult to imagine Loki—proper, put-together Loki—sneaking off into Jotunheim, much less actually fucking a Jotun. It made Thor want to unspool Loki, to peel off his layers until a younger version sat before him, bright-eyed and mischievous.
“And how was it?” Thor said, drawing Loki’s arm with him as he shifted to lay himself on his back. Loki loomed over him now, and Thor put Loki’s hand to his mouth and let his tongue lave over two fingers.
“It was a good experience,” Loki said, with a quick intake of breath as Thor took his fingers down to the knuckle.
Thor pulled off of Loki’s fingers with a smile.
“I shall endeavor to be better, then, my lord,” Thor said, and directed Loki’s hand between his legs.
“I’m sure you will,” Loki murmured, keeping his eyes on Thor as he sank two fingers into Thor’s cunt, where he was already wet.
Thor’s eyes fluttered shut and he spread his legs wider as Loki fucked him with his fingers, two of them moving slick and fast into Thor. Thor didn’t enjoy being fucked first thing, but it was either that or go unstretched, so he lay back and waited for Loki to be done, for Loki’s cock to push into him.
He tried not to flinch when Loki pulled his fingers away.
He opened his eyes again, this time with a surprised inhale, when he felt Loki’s tongue lap at his slit. Thor gasped fully when Loki hooked his arms around Thor’s thighs and spread him wide. Thor felt himself flush and grow slick at that, at Loki holding him open for a few moments, just looking down at his cunt, wet and messy, at his half-hard cock resting on his stomach. Then Loki’s nose nudged against his cunt as he licked leisurely, confidently into Thor, and Thor closed his eyes again and allowed his hips to roll into it, his other hand wrapping around his cock.
Loki was very good at this, Thor thought dazedly, his hips twitching into Loki’s skilled tongue. Silvertongue, they called him, and the nickname certainly fit. Thor grinned up at the ceiling and let himself purr happily when Loki scratched his fingernails down Thor’s thighs.
Thor came the first time with his cock jerking messily in his hand and his cunt pulsing against Loki’s mouth. He shook his head when Loki pulled away, only to moan out loud when Loki sucked the head of Thor’s cock into his mouth and pushed two fingers into his twitching cunt.
“No—ahh—gods—too soon,” Thor whined, throwing his head back, and Loki only hummed, and took Thor’s cock down to the hilt, his fingers hooking upwards into the flesh of Thor’s cunt. He came again.
Loki didn’t let up, leaning back down to lick at the base of Thor’s cock, where he was sensitive, his fingers scissoring inside Thor. He slid another finger into Thor’s cunt and Thor shuddered, moaning softly at the pressure, sobbing when he clenched around Loki’s fingers and there was no give.
Loki was cruel, Thor realized, cruel and relentless, and he seized up in another orgasm as Loki laved wet kisses along the length of Thor’s cock and tongued filthily at the head of his cock, against the slit, drinking in Thor’s whines with a smug look of pleasure on his face.
He pulled his fingers out of Thor and held them up to Thor’s face.
“Look how wet and slick you are,” Loki murmured, as Thor brought Loki’s fingers into his mouth and sucked them clean. Thor hummed in agreement.
Loki’s other hand was still a warm weight on Thor’s thigh, holding him open, and Thor felt pinned down by it, unable to do anything except spread his legs and drip slick as Loki fucked him as he saw fit.
It was exhilarating.
When Loki finally did fuck his cock into him, he had Thor hold himself open, crooning softly about how good Thor was, how pleasing. How beautiful.
Thor had taken cocks bigger than Loki’s. In fact, Thor had taken cocks exclusively bigger than Loki’s, but none of that seemed to matter as Loki fucked into him, slow and steady. He felt cleaved open, his hands shaking on his thighs where he had pulled them up to his chest as Loki directed.
“Shhh,” Loki hushed, as he bottomed out inside Thor. Thor felt tears beading at his eyes and he blinked them away as Loki tucked his face into Thor’s neck and nuzzled gently. That made Thor feel like falling apart most of all.
And then Loki kissed him, gentle and coaxing, not on his mouth but on the tip of his horn, scraping at the nub with his teeth and sucking softly with his mouth.
After that, Thor was lost.
After a haze of fucking, and more orgasms, and Loki playing his body like a well-tuned fiddle, Thor drifted halfway to sleep, pleasantly exhausted and satisfied.
“Don’t go,” he mumbled, as Loki sat up on the edge of the bed and made to stand up.
“You want me to stay?” Loki asked.
“Isn’t that what don’t go means,” Thor grumbled, pawing at Loki’s back.
Loki laughed, and it made Thor feel warm.
“As you wish, husband,” Loki murmured, and Thor felt a blanket settle over him. Over them, as Loki tucked himself into Thor’s side.
“Husband,” Thor sighed, and fell asleep to Loki stroking the hair out of his face.
Loki woke up to find that his new husband was not in bed. His hand sprawled over the empty space beside him, and he sat up to see Thor standing across the room, naked in front of the mirror.
He was pale. Aesir-pale.
Loki blinked, his mind running. It had to be Thor. That golden hair, those broad shoulders...Loki let his eyes wander to that broad back, the trimmed waist, the beautiful swell of his ass.
He swallowed, and dragged his eyes upward. The man was Thor, he was sure.
Loki shifted, and the rustle of the sheets drew Thor’s attention—he turned around, and Loki saw that his eyes were blue, and wide with panic.
“Is this your doing?” Thor asked, voice low. His hands hung limp by his side, his shoulders slumped.
“No,” Loki said, shaking his head. “It must have been the handfasting ceremony,” he said, recalling some vows about taking on the other’s realm, but he'd assumed that was too general to enforce something like this...he had mastered the art of shifting his own shape centuries ago, but could admit to himself that he had not yet reached the level at which he could enact a transference of that seidr onto some other being...but perhaps a being such as Thor...Jotnar, after all, had different magical properties...
“What are you doing?” Thor asked as Loki got out of bed, dragging the blankets with him, and began to pace.
“Figuring out how to change you back,” Loki said, trying to recall Njal’s treatise on cross-species shifting. He summoned a book into his hand and began to page through it.
“You would do that?” Thor asked, sounding very soft.
Loki looked up sharply, and recalled Thor’s words last night: “I know my duty.” Loki had thought it was just a way to entice him into bed, but now he wondered if Thor did not misunderstand his place here.
“I thought—you would prefer me this way,” Thor said, when Loki did not speak.
Loki’s face twitched into a wry smile. “And do you make a habit of putting other’s preferences above your own, Laufeyson?”
Thor only shrugged. Loki had seen the mountains of Jotunheim, once before. He could see how they might have been made of Ymir, when his descendant stood before him with those majestic shoulders.
“I was given to you, was I not?” Thor said, and oh, how Loki was starting to hate that defeated tone.
“To each other,” Loki said. “We were given to each other.” Loki resolved to ensure Thor that understood this.
With a nod, Loki waved his book away and extended a hand to Thor.
“May I?” Loki asked, and Thor nodded warily.
When he placed his hand on Thor’s chest, Thor startled, and shivered.
“What’s happening?” Thor asked, alarmed.
“Nothing yet,” Loki said, in the act of feeling out Thor’s seidr. There was a deep well inside him, something powerful, electrifying, but Loki ignored it for now and focused on finding the edges of the shape-changing spell and unravelling it.
“Your hand—” Thor said, “it feels—” he looked down at his own arm, where Loki could see gooseflesh had risen.
“What are these?” Thor asked, squinting.
“It happens when you feel cold,” Loki explained.
“Cold,” Thor said, as if he had never heard the word before.
“Yes,” Loki said, “And I’m sure we can have a fascinating discussion on Jotun physiology and temperature but for now—hush.”
Thor opened his mouth to speak again, but closed it when he saw a familiar blue spreading from the point where Loki’s hand rested on his skin.
In mere seconds, he was in his skin again, blessedly blue.
Surprisingly, so was Loki.
“Oh,” Thor said.
“Interesting,” Loki said, looking down at himself.
“Did you do that on purpose?” Thor asked.
“I’m not incompetent,” Loki scoffed.
Thor placed a hand atop the one Loki still had on his chest.
“You are full of surprises, Odinson,” Thor said, and closed the distance between them with a kiss.