Loki’s chest swells, inhaling the hot summer air and crisp scent of pine needles as he walks through a newfound path in the woods. He’s quickly come to love the quiet here, the deep green of the leaves that graze his bare arms and springy moss beneath his feet. It’s a welcome change from the musty old books and papers that he’s been surrounded by while studying with his tutor, Fróði, for the last four hours.
For what it’s worth, Fróði is a little musty too.
His tutor is highly skilled in spellcraft, but he’s irritatingly slow about teaching it, bogging Loki down with too much theory—chapters to read, runes to practice, papers to write, lectures to endure—and not enough practical application. It’s boring.
He knows his seiðr as well as he knows the sound of his own voice; he remembers feeling the first inklings of it when he was but a child, winding from and around his fingertips. It flows through him as freely as his own blood, but without an outlet it is starting to stifle him. He doesn’t need to learn about his magic. He needs to use it.
Lost in his sulky thoughts, he realizes he’s wandered off the path and into a small clearing, its ground covered in bits of mulch and bark. Fewer trees make the sun is brighter here, and Loki can feel the uncomfortable beginnings of sweat beading on his forehead and back of his neck. He pulls off his tunic and wrangles his dark, unruly curls into a sloppy bun atop his head. He takes a moment to inspect the ground before sitting on it, resting his back against a large hollowed log.
There’s a welcoming sort of solitude here, nothing but the occasional breeze and the chatter of birds and insects to keep him company, and Loki instantly feels at ease. He slips out of his sandals and wriggles his toes into the dirt.
All told, Loki doesn't miss Jötunheimr as much as he believed he would.
He lifts his hand and begins to draw lazy runes in the air with the tip of his finger, pleased at the way they glow briefly when he gets them right. After a while, he realizes that he’s working on Fróði's latest assignment. Huh.
Crafty old buzzard, he thinks with a grin.
Loki’s still practicing his runes when he feels it—a small but unmistakable change in the air around him. The heat on his skin lessens and the light begins to dim; he looks up in time to see grey clouds slide in front of the bright sun. A single raindrop falls out of the sky and rudely splatters in his eye.
He sits up and rubs at his face, annoyed at this shift in the weather. A new scent hangs heavy in the air now, of ozone and petrichor. Loki stands when a crack of lightning strikes near him. So close he can see the white, arcing bolt strike the ground. So close he can smell its charge. Loki’s heart pounds hard in his chest.
From the corner of his eye, Loki catches a flicker of movement and when he turns to look, he finds someone coming toward him. The figure is broad, imposing, and as it draws nearer Loki could swear that the wind seems to get stronger.
By the time the man enters the clearing, the storm is whirling around Loki, wind whipping against his skin and wrenching his hair loose. His innate sense of self-preservation begins to scream at him to leave, but he doesn’t precisely remember how he got here and so he stays put—bare, wet feet rooted to the forest floor. It isn’t the only reason, though.
In spite of the mounting storm, the view has improved considerably.
The man stands before him, tall and broad and blond, with tanned skin and a handsome face hovering somewhere between boy and manhood. He is, quite literally, breathtaking—Loki gasps as he releases a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.
“Leave. This is my place,” the man says, his voice so deep that Loki feels it ripple through his body. He’s shaken, but Loki has never been very good at doing what he’s told.
“Your place?” He looks around the clearing. “I see no indication of ownership.”
The man frowns. “I need none. I am Thor, son of Odin, prince of Asgard, and heir to the throne. The land is mine by right.”
Loki swallows. “I’ve heard of you.”
And he has. He’s heard the tales of the prince of Ásgarðr and the impressive skills and might he possesses on the battlefield—this is not how he would have chosen to meet the Odinson. Still, he was here first. “This land belongs to your father. As far as I can tell, you’ve done nothing to earn it.”
Another bolt of lightning crashes down, too close to where they’re standing for Loki’s comfort. He looks down at the ground around them and sees several places where the grass seems to have stopped growing, as if it’s been scorched away. This is indeed his place; the Odinson has left his mark all over it. “And you have?”
“No. I haven’t. Which leaves me with just as much right to be here as you.”
“Who are you?” Thor asks. He looms over Loki, the scent of ozone radiating off of his broad, muscled body in waves. “What are you doing here?”
Loki sticks out his chin. He won’t deny that the Aesir intimidates him, but he wills himself not to show it. “I am myself.” It’s glib, and he knows it. He watches Thor’s large hands ball into fists.
“And do you normally think so little of your life?”
Loki smirks. “Do you mean to throttle me, prince? For taking your little spot in the woods?”
“Not only for that. Tell me who you are.”
“Are you deaf as well as bullish?” Loki asks, grinning. “I told you, I am myself. I am me.”
Thor sniffs. “I've no patience for riddles.”
“I rather suspect you have little patience for anything that requires any form of critical thought.”
Thor's blue eyes narrow to slits as he reaches out and takes a strong hold of Loki’s wrist. “Have a care how you speak, lest you find your head lopped off, little blue one with no name."
Little. He’s heard the word all of his life, and it never fails to set Loki’s teeth on edge. “I assure you...prince,” Loki has to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from spitting the word out. “I may be small, but do not mistake my size for weakness. I am Loki, firstborn of Laufey and Fárbauti, crown prince of Jötunheimr, and I am here by invitation.”
Thor’s eyes widen and he takes a small step back. “I...I didn’t know. Father had said that we...you were not supposed to be here for another month!”
“And yet, here I am.”
“Here you are,” Thor says, recovering from his surprise. “Stealing my place.”
Loki has to laugh. “A prince of Jötunheimr is still not worthy of your precious nook?”
“As you said, you’ve done nothing to deserve it.”
Loki takes a step toward him, silently challenging. “Then how shall we settle this, Prince Thor?”
“I would not fight you, little jötunn.”
“That's a pity. Why not?"
Thor leans in. “Because I would smash your pretty face flat.”
That takes Loki by surprise; he’s quite sure Thor hadn’t meant to say such a thing, but it’s there now, hanging between them, and Loki isn’t one to let such an opportunity pass by. His smile turns wicked. “You think me pretty?”
“I—that is,” Thor splutters, then growls in frustration. “Go away, you tricky little thing.”
Loki isn’t sure why, but he’s suddenly raring for a fight. He reaches out and slaps him hard on the cheek. “C’mon, then, prince of Ásgarðr. Surely you’re not afraid of a tiny little jötunn.”
Another boom of thunder rolls through the sky above them, and Thor smiles. “So be it," he says. "A friendly spar—for the wood.”
“For the wood,” Loki agrees. He shifts his stance, turning his body slightly sideways and letting his knees bend. He balances his weight on the balls of his feet. “Come, Odinson.”
Thor lunges forward with his arm extended, all force and fury, and Loki jabs his elbow across Thor’s bicep, striking hard and easily deflecting the attack.
“Surely you can do better than that,” Loki jeers at him. “You’ll do well not to underestimate me, áss.”
“I shall keep it in mind!”
Loki takes his turn; he makes use of his speed, quickly darting to Thor’s side and extending his leg, hoping to kick Thor’s leg out from under him. Thor jumps back and avoids the strike, leaving Loki unbalanced and falling on his arse in the dirt.
Thor laughs and strides over to where Loki sits and offers his arm. “Surely you can do better, little prince.”
Loki reaches up to take his hand. “You don’t listen very well, do you, Prince?” When Thor leans in and sets his weight to pull him up, Loki draws back, and Thor topples over on his back.
Loki seizes the opportunity and jumps on top of Thor, pinning his thighs tight against his sides. He holds up his hands and calls on his seiðr; a dagger of thick ice forms in each hand and he plunges them through the sides of Thor’s tunic and into the ground.
Thor’s bright blue eyes go wide. “Y-you’re a seiðmaðr?” he asks, breathless.
“You didn’t say.”
Loki shrugs. "You didn’t ask.”
Thor grins. “You are a tricky thing.”
Loki leans down close to Thor’s face. “Perhaps I am, at that. But what’s the harm in using a few little tricks?”
“You have a point there.” Growling low and deep, Thor twists and flips their positions, ripping his tunic where the daggers had pierced it and pinning Loki beneath him, grasping his wrists and holding them to the ground. “I have a few tricks of my own.”
Above them, the sky finally opens and it begins to rain down on them both. Thor smells so strongly of ozone that it stings Loki’s nose. He is the storm, he realizes all at once.
Thor presses hard against Loki’s body. “Do you submit, jötunn?”
Loki struggles under Thor, twisting his body in a try to wrench his wrists loose from Thor’s hold. He tilts his hips and locks his legs around Thor’s back, digging his heels in hard until Thor winces in pain, and the bones of his spinal column make an unpleasant crack. “Do you submit, áss?”
Thor answers by tightening the grip on Loki’s wrists, and Loki grits his teeth, refusing to cry out at the pain he feels searing up both of his arms. Lightning strikes again nearby, white and loud around them. Loki can taste the charge as it pierces the air. “I will...not.”
The hold Loki’s using would be enough to make a lesser man beg for mercy, but he senses that Thor would give him no such satisfaction and it stirs a wild flame in his chest to finally find someone that could be his match.
“Then,” he tries, suddenly breathless, “perhaps we should...call it a draw? Lest I break your back or you my arms.”
“I...I accept.” Thor nods. “You release me, and I will do the same.”
Loki arches an eyebrow. “Why should I trust you? I could let you go and you’ll shatter my wrists anyway.”
“Why should I trust you ? You lied about your seiðr.”
“I didn’t lie,” Loki grumbles. “I just didn’t tell you.”
“You do love your semantics, don’t you?” Thor smiles down at him, small wrinkles forming at the corners of his bright blue eyes. “I will release you—you have my word, Prince Loki.”
It’s the first time the prince has used his name, and Loki is surprised to find that he likes the way it sounds in his mouth. He unhooks his ankles and lets his legs slide back to the ground. “Don’t disappoint me, Odinson.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.” Thor lets go of Loki’s wrists as promised, then rolls away to sit beside him.. One hand immediately goes to his back, kneading his fist into it. “You’re quite the warrior.”
“Certainly enough to bring the mighty prince of Asgard to his knees.”
“Even better... you had me on my back.”
Loki blushes at the innuendo and focuses his attention to his aching wrists. “So...where does this leave us, Odinson?”
“What do you mean?
“Have I earned the clearing?”
Thor chuckles. “I suppose you have. Half of the time, at any rate.”
“Good enough.” Loki thinks back to something Thor had said earlier, something that nestled itself at the back of his brain and refused to leave. “You never answered my other question, you know.”
“And what was that?”
“You think me pretty?”
Thor looks straight at him then, his gaze unflinching. His eyes are so bright and his expression is open that it makes Loki nervous. “I do."
Loki manages to appear aloof, but truly, Thor’s easy admission leaves him reeling. He doesn’t say anything in response, afraid of what might slip.
The storm around them has quieted down to barely more than a drizzle; Loki can feel rainwater sliding down his neck to his chest and back. He can also feel Thor’s eyes on him, watching the rivulets as they snake down his whorled skin. He’s never felt more bare .
“I-I should get back to Fróði. He’ll be angry if I’m late.”
Thor nods and pulls himself to standing, then bends forward, sets his hands on Loki's waist and lifts him to his feet.
A warm tingle lingers around Loki’s waist. He ignores it, concentrating instead on the caked dirt on his leggings and gently smooths his hands over the fabric, careful not to twist his wrists too sharply while he uses his seiðr to clean himself.
“That’s a handy trick,” Thor says. He stretches out his arms. “Do you think you could…? My mother weaved this tunic for my name day celebration...I think she’d actually kill me if she saw the state of it.”
“Alright.” Loki walks over to Thor, standing closer to him than he strictly needs to. “Keep your arms out, and hold still.”
“I’ll have to work slower than I normally would. Someone damaged my hands.”
"If it’s any consolation, that someone’s spine fares no better.” Thor looks down at him. “Take as long as you need. I find I’m in little hurry to leave,” he says, his voice barely more than a purr near Loki’s ear.
“And be quiet,” Loki adds, looking away in the hope that Thor doesn’t see the high flush on his blue cheeks. “I have to concentrate.”
"Yes, of course," Thor says, grinning.
Loki starts with Thor’s hair, raking his long fingers through it and watching wisps of green light wind from his fingertips and adhere to the clumps of caked mud, flaking them away. Loki passes Thor’s face entirely and moves to the tunic, magic weaving through the tears and repairing them.
Loki moves lower, waving his hand over Thor’s breeches, but Thor jerks away from him. “That’s—it’s fine. I mean, I’m fine.”
When he looks at Thor again, he’s blushing, furiously. It’s quite fetching. Loki bites the inside of his cheek to kill the smirk that itches at the corner of his mouth. “You’re filthy.” He lifts his hands to Thor’s face, but Thor takes them in his and moves them away.
“You don’t have to…there’s a creek nearby, I can attend to that myself.”
Loki rolls his eyes. “Odinson, I am trying to make amends.”
Loki’s hands move to Thor’s face again, cradling on either side. His heart stutters hard in his chest at the rough feel of Thor’s beard against his fingers. He’s never felt hair such as this, prickly and coarse. It intrigues him, and if he spends a little more time than necessary cleaning the dirt from his face, Thor doesn’t seem to mind. He heals a small cut on Thor’s cheek and resists the temptation to lick away the sticky clot of blood that’s oozed from it.
All in all, he does a fair job in spite of the constant shift of his attention from the task at hand to the feel of Thor’s skin. It’s soft all over, save for his young beard, and smooth, lined with fine little hairs. He wonders if Thor has such hair elsewhere…
The thought of Thor without clothes hits him, quickly and unbidden, and the dull heat that’s moving through his chest starts to spread. Loki grits his teeth against it but it continues, down into his belly and, more alarmingly, between his legs. Unnerved by the whole thing, he backs away from Thor.
“All better.” Loki, in his shaken state, flicks his wrist and immediately regrets it. He hisses in pain, holding his wrist protectively to his chest. “You do realize that you are indebted to me for this,” he tells Thor. “My hands are my most valued possessions.”
“I should think that you trying to crush my spine is payment enough,” Thor counters. “And I would argue that you have other weapons...you seem to do quite well with your tongue besides.” Thor’s eyes widen. “I—, er, that is,” he splutters, “you have a clever way of speaking, Prince Loki.”
Loki can’t contain the smile that spreads on his face. “Odinson, I think we’ll be better served if you simply call me Loki.”
“Then I would be Thor.”
“Alright, then...Thor.” The name feels inexplicably full in Loki’s mouth. “But I really do have to go—I was only supposed to be gone for a little while. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fróði sent one of his blasted birds to look for me.” He moves to walk away, but Thor grabs him by the bicep, holding him in place.
“I could speak with Fróði. Explain that I kept you away for so long?”
“I couldn’t ask that of you.”
Thor grins. “But you didn’t ask; I offered. Loki, if we’re to be living under the same roof, I’d like us to…” He pauses, pink tongue darting out and wetting his lips. “Become better acquainted.”
Loki draws a breath and holds it. Perhaps it’s the words themselves, or maybe his tone, but whatever the cause, the effect is the same: a single traitorous line of slick beginning to trickle down his inner thigh. “I have to…” Loki trails off, cursing himself inwardly for his sudden inability to speak.
Thor’s thumb rubs against a raised whorl of spirals over his bicep and Loki has a sudden flash of that hand moving up between his slim blue thighs. Another burst of wet seeps out of him, smearing against the now-swollen lips of his cunt.
Loki feels a little delirious—he wants Thor on top of him again, his weight on him, pushing him into the dirt. Wants the scratch of Thor’s beard on his neck, his belly, the inside of his thigh. He wants Thor’s hands to stoke the heat between his legs. Loki’s only ever known his own fingers—but Thor’s hands are much bigger, rougher. How would they feel against him... inside him? Loki’s muscles seize hard at the thought and he panics and pulls his arm away. “I have to get back, Thor. Please.” Thor’s hopeful expression sags. “But, maybe…”
“I have been in Asgard for only a few days, and have seen little more than my chambers, Fróði’s classroom, and the library. Perhaps you could give me a tour?”
“I would be honored.” Thor bows at the waist, never taking his eyes from Loki. “I’ll be sure to show you everything.”
Loki senses that there’s more to that offer than a simple room-to-room excursion. His body certainly hopes so.