“Why have you come to Jotunheim all alone? That’s very careless, Odinson.”
Thor raised his head and looked into the shadowed ice crevices above him. “I come to speak with King Laufey, not to cowards hiding in the shadows,” He told the unseen Jotun. Wind tore through him, making his metal armor feel like living ice. In the distance, a glacier broke apart with a mighty groan. Thor clenched his teeth to keep from shivering.
A dry chuckle came from above; whispers of shifting silk, then a clicking tongue and fake sympathetic voice. “Poor little Asgardian. You must be tired and cold, and yet you have come here in vain.”
“…I have come in peace.” Thor growled, fingers itching for his weapon.
“Your expression tells a different story. You look hungry for war.”
Thor’s grip on Mjölnir tightened, but he tried to school his features. “Take me to Laufey,” He said, and then, through gritted teeth, “Please.”
The unseen Jotun chuckled again, “Oh very well, but only because I will enjoy watching the carnage.” A small blue figure slipped down the ice and landed, deft like a cat, in front of Thor. Ruby eyes locked with blue for just a moment, before the Jotun turned on his heel, long black hair swishing. “Well, are you coming?”
Thor should have paid attention to where they were going, so he would be able to remember the layout and make a clean getaway, but he was distracted. Jotnar were said to be big and ugly, but there was nothing ungainly about this individual. Thor watched the shapely behind and a nice set of swaying hips as the Jotun led him towards the throne room.
The shapely little Jotun sauntered into a circular courtyard, the columns so high that they disappeared in Jotunheim’s perpetual darkness, then he spread his arms out and grinned, face lifted. “Father, we have guests.” He gestured to Thor, a smirk on his lips.
Father? Thor thought, at the same time as a deep voice echoed against the columns, “Loki…”
Laufey seemed to melt out of the ice, settling upon a high throne that rose on a balcony above their heads. He remained in the shadows, obscured behind a cascading waterfall, but Thor could still just make him out. Unlike his son, Laufey looked every inch the monster Asgardian children were warned about. Dark, rough, blue-grey skin and eyes red like spilled blood. Instead of hair he had strange scale-like protrusions on his head and shoulders. Laufey watched Thor with a close to unreadable expression, but in his eyes the hatred shone through.
At the sight of the proud Jotun King, Thor felt righteous indignation fill his chest. He puffed himself up and stepped forward. “I am—“
Laufey interrupted him. “We know who you are, Odinson. Why have you brought the stench of your blood into my world?”
Thor sneered. As if Laufey didn’t already know! “To demand you stop your foul sorcery!” Thor yelled.
Murmured voices drifted to them from all around, and Thor realized that he was surrounded. Jotnar were watching him from atop the broken ruins of the once-great castle and from behind jagged pieces of ice that surrounded the courtyard. They blended flawlessly with their surroundings, only their eerie red eyes shining through the darkness.
“Sorcery?” Laufey repeated, “What sorcery ? You come here uninvited to fling groundless accusations.”
“I speak the truth,” Thor growled. “A fortnight ago the Casket of Ancient Winters sprung to life and froze over the entire vault. The ice has already spread to the palace and the town beyond! No Asgardian Seidrmadr can contain it.”
His words set off frenzied whispers and angry shouts. Laufey sprang up from his seat, expression furious. “Do not speak to me of the Casket!” With a sharp motion of his hand the ice parted and carried him down— Thor recognized it as Jotun magic. He landed in front of Thor and loomed over him, fingers curling like claws at his sides. “You foolish boy, you know not of what you speak.”
Thor bristled at being called a boy. “I know exactly what you monsters—“
“You think us the monsters?” Laufey made a harsh bark like laugh, “Have you no eyes in your head? Look around you.” He gestured at the ruins and the darkness—in the distance there was the constant sound of ice breaking apart. “Our realm is dying after the theft of our Casket.”
“—Is a thief and a murderer!”
That was the last straw. Thor would not let anyone besmirch Odin’s name, especially not this filthy lying monster. He hefted Mjölnir, his blood singing for battle.
A cool hand landed on his arm, staying his swing. “Perhaps we can come to an agreement.” Despite the hostile air surrounding them, Loki looked unruffled. He turned his head to watch Thor with a genial smile. Thor didn’t trust it. “The Casket is a manifestation of concentrated Jotun magic, as such you need a Jotun mage to stop it from freezing the whole realm over. Meanwhile, we need the Casket to stop our children from starving to death, and our world from dying.”
The words gave Thor pause. He had never minded the Jotnar’s fate; it was their due after they brought war and destruction upon other realms, but children… Thor’s mental image of the Jotnar consisted of big scowling warriors with bloodied teeth. Somehow he had never considered that Jotun children existed. Thor did not like the idea of children starving. Even so, what Loki suggested was preposterous.
Thor tore his arm free of Loki’s grip and turned to glare at Laufey, “I will not give you back that accursed weapon!”
“Then freeze together with your realm.” Laufey sneered.
Thor’s hands shook and he longed to spill Laufey’s blood, but what the giant king said was true. Without help Asgard would freeze over, the people would grow weak, and eventually there would be nothing to stop the Jotnar from invading them anyway. Thor clenched his fists.
“Now now,” Loki held up his hands, making calming motions and stepping between Thor and Laufey, “You fear we will use the Casket for war but—“
“I fear nothing!” Thor insisted.
Loki gave him a flat look, “Yes, whatever you say Odinson. My point is: we need the Casket; you need a reassurance that we won’t use it as a weapon.” Thor eyed him for a long moment, then slowly nodded. Loki grinned and spread his arms invitingly. “So take me as your hostage.”
“Loki!” Laufey yelled, reaching for his son.
Loki danced away from his hands. “It makes the most sense father!” He argued, “I am a mage, I can stop the Casket!” He turned to Thor and looked him straight in the eyes. “I will save your realm, Odinson, but only if you give your word that you will hand over the Casket afterwards so that mine can be saved too.”
“And what about you?” Thor asked, eyes narrowing. He was considering the idea. It could work. A Jotun Prince held hostage in Asgard as a means to keep the Jotun King in check.
“Keep me however you please.” Loki said with an easy shrug.
“Loki,” Laufey reached for his son again and caught him this time. The King held him by the shoulders and shook him. He looked very small in Laufey’s arms. “No child, no. I will not let you become prisoner to the Aesir.”
Loki placed a gentle hand on his father’s, smile brave but fragile. For just a moment Thor spotted the fear in his eyes, hidden until then behind his blaze attitude. “I will give my life for our realm. For you father; for all of us.”
Laufey’s expression crumpled in a combination of despair and pride for his child. “My son.” He pulled Loki to his chest and held him there. Thor looked away. He had never considered that monsters could love their children too. He thought about Asgard, the golden realm frozen over and his people starving. He realized it did not matter how Laufey felt; in many ways he was in the same boat as Thor. There was only one choice.
“Odinson.” Thor raised his head and found Laufey glaring at him, one hand still on Loki’s shoulder. “Promise to give us the Casket. Promise that no harm will come to my son, and I will let him go with you.”
“I give you my word.”
When Thor had left earlier that day, he had expected to return triumphant: Laufey defeated by his own hand and sorcery lifted. Instead he now found himself in the golden observatory with Laufey’s son— a Jotun mage— and no change to the frosty snap in the air. Thor’s breath rose as mist in front of his face, obscuring his view of Loki’s curious expression as the Jotun looked around.
From the dais, Heimdall watched them disapprovingly. Thor avoided meeting his eyes. “Come.” He told Loki, setting off at a brisk pace. Loki followed him, head still turning from side to side as he took in everything about this foreign realm— his new home.
As they walked across the Rainbow Bridge, Thor began to regret this choice. What had he been thinking when he agreed to this? It was bound to end in disaster. Loki made a curious sound as they crossed the bridge, and Thor observed him marveling at the colored lights that flashed through the structure; their glow lit up his pale blue face with prism colored brightness.
Aside from the furs and silks wrapped around his hips and some modest jewelry, Loki carried nothing with him from Jotunheim. Thor watched him and admitted to himself that Loki’s beauty had made it easier to agree to the conditions. But it wasn’t just that. Thor was impressed by his bravery and sense of duty to his Realm—how he was willing to sacrifice himself for his people. Would Thor have been able to do the same? Would he have been able to deliver himself into the Frost Giants’ hands if Asgard’s fate depended on it?
“The air is much cooler here that I thought it would be,” Loki remarked, gazing out over the crashing sea. Ice floes bobbed on the waves like crystalline boats, thicker already than when Thor had left. “I think I could learn to like it here.”
“It’s supposed to be warmer. This is the Casket’s work.”
“Ah, of course.” Loki’s brightness dimmed a little.
They didn’t talk again before they reached the palace.
Frigga greeted them on their way to the vault. “Thor!” She called, running to meet him. He had not told her where he was going before he left, but she had undoubtedly learned his destination from Heimdall. Loki’s presence at his side made his venture to Jotunheim undeniable. She pulled Thor into a strong hug, but moved away quickly when she spotted Loki over Thor’s shoulder. She studied the Jotun from head to toe. “Is this… Prince Loki?” She asked slowly, eyes widening.
“You know of him?” Thor, who had never heard about the small pretty Frost Giant Prince before today, asked. He was ignored.
Loki bowed slightly, hand over his heart. “Queen Frigga. I have come to save your realm, in return for the Casket.”
“In return for the—!” For a moment Frigga looked shocked and Thor feared she would oppose his decision, but then she merely closed her mouth, jaw taut, and nodded. “Yes. I suppose it’s about time.”
“For Jotunheim it has been time for a long while,” Loki said in a firm voice, though not unpleasantly.
“Mother?” Thor asked, searching her face. He had expected her to scold him—to take Odin’s side. Odin had always insisted that the Casket was never to be returned. Thor had not wished to go against his father’s wishes, but right now Odin was…
“Do not look so surprised Thor,” Frigga said, patting him gently on the cheek. “I don’t have to agree with everything your father does.”
“But you never said anything.”
Frigga smiled, a gleam in her eyes. “Not in public.”
Loki cleared his throat. “Ahem, much as I am enjoying the weather myself, perhaps you could show me to the vault…?”
Thor blinked and then shook himself. “Yes, this way.” He led his mother and Loki on, noticing how Frigga fell first into step with Loki, and then into conversation. Thor bit his cheek and wondered what his mother would think once she learned that Loki was not simply visiting, but instead was there to stay. He would tell her as soon as they were alone and hope for the best. Surely she couldn’t have expected Thor to just give the Jotnar back the Casket for free, without any assurance of their docility.
“Here we are.” Thor said, stopping in front of the double doors to the vault. Now, there was a solid wall of ice completely blocking entry to the room. Most likely it reached all the way down the stairs and filled the entire vault itself.
“Ah, hmm,” Loki slinked forward and tapped a finger against the ice wall.
Thor shifted impatiently on his feet, “Well, don’t you know what’s wrong with it? Fix it!”
Loki sent him a withering look. “This will not be a quick fix Odinson. The ice is thick and continually fed with magic from the Casket.” Loki turned his attention back to the ice and placed his palm on the wall, “And there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s doing its job to freeze the realm over, as it has done for Jotunheim for thousands of years.” He tilted his head, “I’m surprised this hasn’t happened sooner. There must have been some very powerful magics keeping it in check. I wonder what changed…”
Frigga and Thor exchanged a nervous glance. “Never mind that,” Thor said, “What do you need to fix it?”
“A number of things,” Loki said, walking back and forth while examining the hoar frost patterns on the walls and floor. “Several ingredients to be sure, but first a room to brew the potion in will be necessary.”
“Potion?” Thor repeated, confused. “We don’t need elixirs and wart treatments; we need this damn winter stopped!”
With a deep sigh Loki turned around to face them, hands on his hips. “Yes, and that’s what you’ll get, if you give me a place to brew the potions I need.”
Thor opened his mouth to argue more, but his mother placed a soft hand on his arm to stop him. “Thor, you do not know the intricacies of Jotun magic. Alchemy is a way to gather and refine magic power. If Prince Loki says he needs to brew a potion, then we must believe him.”
Shoulders taut, Thor looked between his mother and Loki. After several tense moments he finally slumped. “Fine.” He grumbled, “There’s another set of rooms in my wing. You can set yourself up there and have whatever you need brought. I want you close so I can keep an eye on you.” Thor said, pointing a stiff finger at Loki.
Surprisingly, Loki just smiled and batted his eyes. “I look forward to it, Odinson.”
Two days later Loki had well and truly moved into the apartment across from Thor’s, and all of Asgard was aware of the Frost Giant’s presence. As promised, Thor made sure to keep an eye on Loki whenever his schedule allowed him to.
“You’re here early today, Odinson,” Loki said, eyes on a mortar where he was busy crushing purple flowers. “Did you miss me?”
“How is the potion coming along?” Thor asked as he sat down in a plush green wingback chair, ignoring Loki’s flirtations. He placed Mjölnir over his knees, just as a subtle reminder.
Loki watched the weapon with a raised eyebrow, then snorted and turned back to his work. “At least your people are quick to find me what I need.” He said, scraping out the mortar and dumping the smashed plant into a cauldron bubbling over the fire.
Several big oak tables had been brought into the room and placed around the hearth to form Loki’s workplace; every inch of their surfaces were already covered with bottles, herbs and various other questionable items and ingredients. Thor eyed a blue-grey clump of fur that actually seemed to be breathing . Then suddenly the clump moved, unfolding into a little beast with leathery wings tipped by claws and a sharp snout with too many teeth. Startled, Thor pushed the chair backwards. “What is that?!”
Loki turned around, “What is wha—Oh.” He spotted the little creature and held his finger out to it. Its small beady red eyes followed the motion until Loki’s digit was close enough for the creature to grab and pull itself up with. After some maneuvering, it hung itself there by the back claws, head down and wings folded around itself.
Thor finally recognized what it was. “Is that a bat?” He asked, deflating. It didn’t look like a normal bat. Normal bats did not have quite so many teeth or claws that long and curved. Also, it was blue and had red eyes.
Loki smiled and stroked a finger down the furry side of the little beast. “This is Encre, and yes, he’s a sort of bat.”
“Why is he here ?” Thor asked, feeling that was really the more pressing concern, “Where did he come from?”
“From Jotunheim of course, together with me.”
“You didn’t bring anything from Jotunheim.” Thor argued, eying the so-called bat nervously.
“He hid in my furs,” Loki lifted the bat and let it clamber onto his shoulder, “His kind dig through the ice in glaciers and frozen rivers for small fish, but Encre’s one fore-claw is damaged, so he can’t fend for himself. I couldn’t leave him.”
“He’s your pet,” Thor realized.
Loki smiled at him, eyes crinkling, “What, you didn’t think Jotnar could have pets?”
Truthfully, Thor hadn’t considered it. In fact he had never thought much about the Jotnar at all, mentally filing them under Enemy, subcategory: Kill on sight. With a small pang of embarrassment, Thor realized that he knew nothing about their culture and customs, or even their biology.
With no answer forthcoming, Loki returned to his work, chopping what looked like shiny jade-green beetles into fine pieces. Encre chattered in his ear, hanging on to his long dark braid. Loki reached up and handed the bat one of the beetles. Encre snatched it out of his fingers and crunched down on it, chirping happily.
It felt odd and even a little invasive to watch Loki like this, in such a domestic setting. The Jotun was humming under his breath, absently playing with his pet, while for all purposes looking like he was cooking. Suddenly Thor didn’t find it hard to imagine him like this in Jotunheim, standing in the kitchen and making a meal for his family.
A family that he would never see again, because he was now Thor’s hostage.
Thor looked down, eyes landing on his hammer. Suddenly the way he had placed Mjölnir so visibly over his knees didn’t feel satisfying anymore. Thor picked her up and placed her silently on the floor beside him. He watched her thoughtfully until Loki spoke.
“What does the Allfather think of my presence here?” Loki asked casually, “I’m surprised to have seen neither hide nor hair of the King.”
“The King is otherwise occupied,” Thor said quickly, eager to close that line of questioning. Loki was, presumably, isolated with no way to contact his kind, but Thor would rather not test it. He would not let others know of Asgard’s vulnerability.
“Hmm,” Loki just hummed noncommittally which made Thor suspect he knew the truth about Odin anyway. There was silence for another couple of minutes, before Loki spoke again. “Have you thought about what you’ll do with me after you’ve handed back the Casket?” Loki asked, not lifting his eyes from what he was doing in a very deliberate way.
“Do with you…?” Thor repeated, the words not quite computing. He had been busy imagining Loki’s daily life on Jotunheim— particularly what he did when bathing.
“Yes, after I defrost everything my only purpose here will be as a peace hostage, but I don’t suppose you’ll just lock me up and leave me alone…” He trailed off and looked at Thor, “At least, I had hoped you wouldn’t lock me up permanently.”
“What? No.” Thor said, startled by the accusation. Then he realized that he had actually already locked Loki up, seeing as the Jotun wasn’t allowed to leave these rooms without an escort of guards. Thor met Loki’s eyes and saw the knowledge reflected there. There was an awkward silence for a full minute.
Thor looked down first and cleared his throat. “If you continue to not prove a threat, you’ll eventually be allowed to roam free.” He could hardly believe his own words, or that he would even consider letting a Jotun run free in Asgard, but Loki didn’t seem very Jotun—Not as Thor had always imagined them to be at least. No, Loki was gentle and kind. He had given himself over as a hostage to save his people, loved his father, and had taken in an injured animal and made it his pet. He was just… he was so good , and beautiful, and every minute Thor spent with him Thor grew more and more unsure if anything he had ever learned about Jotnar was true.
“You won’t marry me off to some brute?” Loki asked, once again throwing Thor for a loop.
Loki shrugged, “It’s a politically savvy move. If I have children here in Asgard, a family, they will naturally serve as my ball and chain.” He looked down, hands stilling, “…And marrying me to a powerful warrior, especially one with mistrust for my kind, would place me under permanent guard.” It was clear from his tone that Loki expected mistreatment in such an arrangement.
When Thor just continued to stare at him, Loki huffed and continued, “It’s not that I want this, not at all, but from the way you eyed me when we first met, I expected you to hand me over to someone as a prize.” He gestured to his face, then his body. “Clearly I don’t fall so far from the Asgardian ideal of beauty that one of your men couldn’t manage to get some children on me.”
Not only were Loki’s words crass, they also didn’t make sense. “But you’re a man.” Thor argued, voice shrill.
Loki eyed him oddly, “I’m Jotun,” He said slowly, as if that was supposed to mean something. At Thor’s blank look, he extrapolated. “I can carry children as well as sire them. I am both.” He gestured downward to his loincloth skirt.
Thor followed the motion, mouth dropping open and going suddenly dry. Loki had female parts? Somewhere soft and sacred hidden between those long blue legs? Thor couldn’t stop himself from wondering how it would look—if it would be a darker or lighter blue, or perhaps pink or purple in the center. If it would be soft and cold, or slick and hot inside…
A dry chuckle penetrated Thor’s imagination. “Ah, I see.”
Thor looked back up, caught out by Loki’s knowing eyes. The Jotun turned to face him fully; hip popped to one side so his curves looked fuller and his waist thin. “You don’t want to give me away at all, do you, Odinson? You want to keep me all for yourself.” He purred, sauntering closer like a sleek cat.
“I…” Thor stood up, “I…” He backed away, “I have to go.” He ran for the door, followed by Loki’s mocking laughter.
A visit to the library and a book on Jotun anatomy confirmed Loki’s claim, and it certainly didn’t make him easier to be around. Not for Thor at least, who found his eyes straying to Loki’s childbearing hips and uncovered nipples far too often. Why couldn’t the damn Jotun wear some more clothes? Thor felt half convinced that the other prince was driving him up the wall with his near naked body on purpose. Except for how he hadn’t said anything flirtatious since that day, and the one time Thor reached over him to hand him a bottle of something from a higher shelf, chest brushing against a blue back, Loki had shied away and eyed him nervously. The fear Thor saw there, before Loki had quickly smothered it, made him realize what a precarious situation the Jotun prince was in. As a hostage, he was completely reliant on Thor’s goodwill, and subject to his every desire… Hmm, his every desire…
No, no. No. Bad brain. Loki might have suggested the trade himself, but that didn’t mean he was happy about it. It didn’t mean he wanted Thor in any way.
Still, their days seemed to flow together, Loki working and Thor bringing him strange ingredients from far off realms, then watching him— deft blue hands so elegant in their craft. Sometimes Loki was cold to him, body weary and eyes alert, but other times he joked and laughed, teasing Thor in clever and often insulting ways. Thor soon learned that asking about his work, the Casket, or pressing Loki for when he would be done, would earn Thor the cold shoulder. Afterwards it always took Loki time to thaw—now was one such time. For now Loki was back to being distant and Thor had been unable to deal with the heavy atmosphere in his work room. He had retreated like a coward, yet his thoughts kept getting drawn back—back to Loki’s ruby eyes and blue skin and sharp sickle moon smile.
Thor wondered if half an hour was long enough for Loki to want to see him again.
“What troubles you my son?”
Lost in thought, Thor startled at his mother’s question and spilled cool tea over his hand, having forgotten about the fine porcelain cup he was holding. “I—nothing. Nothing, I was just thinking about Loki.”
“Ah, Loki. I see.” Frigga said, sounding very knowing indeed.
Thor paused in wiping up the spilled tea and looked at her askance, “It’s not like that mother.” He should never have agreed to take tea with her, but it had seemed like a good distraction at the time.
“Isn’t it?” She asked lightly, “You’re certainly spending a lot of time with him. The council has been worrying.”
“I need to keep an eye on him.” Thor said, but the excuse sounded feeble. For the three weeks Loki had been in Asgard, he had been a model hostage, doing absolutely nothing untoward. Thor ducked his eyes back to the table and fiddled with the empty cup. He could hear his mother sipping her tea, waiting him out with her particular brand of encouraging silence. Eventually he gave. “He’s just… He’s so clever mother, and very pretty. Nothing like I’ve ever imagined a Jotun to be. But…” He trailed off and looked out over the gardens. They were covered in snow and ice, the Casket’s powers dampened by Loki’s elixirs but not stopped yet. “He isn’t here because he wants to be, and I don’t want to pressure him, and even if he was interested, I’m not sure what father would say once he wakes up.”
Frigga placed a hand over Thor’s, stilling his nervous fiddling. “Don’t you worry about your father; I’ll deal with him if he tries to raise a fuss.”
Thor gave her a weak smile that didn’t reach his eyes. Odin was far from all that worried him. “Do you think I’m a good man mother?”
Frigga frowned and squeezed his hand, “What do you mean?”
“I just… Being around Loki has made me question what I thought about Jotnar, and Jotunheim. He’s nothing like the stories said he’d be.” Thor stopped and tried to find the right words to explain the unease in the pit of his belly. Frigga waited calmly for him to continue. “When I first landed on Jotunheim, I was ready to slay Laufey and everyone else in my path. I wouldn’t have lost a wink of sleep over it. I—I would have bragged at the next feast about what I had done.” Thor blinked and realized his eyes were a little wet. “If I hadn’t met Loki first, he could have been amongst that number too. Mother I could have—I could have killed Loki, and he’s so—he’s so kind, but I didn’t know, I—“
“You didn’t view the Jotnar as people,” Frigga finished softly, putting Thor’s messy thoughts into words. Thor nodded miserably and couldn’t look her in the eyes. “Oh my son, what you’re feeling is shame.”
“Shame?” Thor repeated weakly.
Frigga stood up, moved around the table and pulled him into a fierce hug. “Oh darling it’s not your fault. You only thought as you were taught to think. The fault lies with us—as your elders we should have taught you better. But after the war there was too much bitterness, and prejudices were allowed to spread.”
Thor breathed out shakily, nuzzling his face against Frigga’s shoulder, feeling suddenly very young—as he often did when his mother hugged him. He still didn’t know what to do about Loki, but his mother’s words brought him some peace. Of course she was right. Thor had never met a Jotun before he sat foot on Jotunheim, and had therefor judged them based of what he had been told; prejudiced recounts of the last war which painted them as nothing but beasts.
“I think I will apologize to Loki.” Thor said, realizing only when the words left his mouth what a good idea it was. “He knows what I thought about Jotnar and I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten what I said.”
“I’m certain that he will appreciate that.” Frigga pulled back and looked at him, combing Thor’s long blond hair away from his blue eyes. “He is a stranger in a strange land, and there is not much to be done for his situation; Loki accepted that when he traded himself for the casket. But it will probably calm him to know you mean him well.”
“Mama… I want him to like me,” Thor admitted in a very small voice, knowing that his mother would never judge him for the show of weakness.
Frigga smiled and pinched his ears, shaking his head gently between her hands like he was a large puppy. “Then make it happen.”
The next day, Thor’s plans to woe Loki got horribly derailed—by none other than himself. After a freezing morning of traveling around Asgard, trying to corral builders and shop keepers into controlling the snow and overseeing the ration distribution, Thor was tired, cold and grumpy. They still received trade from Alfheim and Vanaheim, but their own stocks of tradable goods were running out. Normally autumn in Asgard carried a permanent scent of mature fruit, brewing ale and harvest, but the Casket had frozen over and destroyed most of their crops. Even if Loki managed to stop the spreading ice, it would be a long and lean winter.
So it was with a dark mood that Thor barged into Loki’s room. “You have to hurry up. How long does it take to make a damn potion?!” He snapped, causing Loki to jump and spill a little liquid moonshine on his work table.
Loki watched the precious drops of silver light melt into the wood and disappear, then turned an unimpressed glare on Thor. “I’m sure it would not take so long, if I knew what potion I was making.”
“What?” Thor stopped, cheeks still stinging from the cold air outside and snow melting around his heavy boots. “How can you not know?!”
“I have theories. I try them out, but I haven’t hit on the right one yet.” Loki said, turning a page in a book. He read a single paragraph then pinched his nose, eyes squeezed shut. “The Casket is ancient magic. There’s no manual—no guide; just hearsay and magical theories that might work. If I mess up it could…” He trailed off, but his expression made it clear that a blunder could prove disastrous.
Thor crossed his arms, “Asgard can’t wait much longer. If this cold continues to spread, my people will starve.”
Hissing like a cat, Loki swirled on his heel and faced Thor with a poisonous look. “Don’t speak to me of starvation Odinson; you don’t know the meaning of the word!” He took a step forward, hands balled into fists at his sides. “You think you know hunger? What, because you might go down from three meals a day to two? To one?” He blinked rapidly, ruby eyes wet. “Every Jotun knows the gnawing pit in their bellies— how the hunger hollows your bones, eating through your marrow. Every Jotun knows the sound a crying child makes when it dies; body nothing but skin stretched over too sharp twigs.”
Thor took a step back and held up his hands, “Loki I’m sorry, I didn’t mean—“
“You never do.” Loki said, looking suddenly tired. He slumped down in a chair—the wingback one by the fire—and pulled his legs up so he could wrap his arms around them. The orange flames reflected in his glassy eyes. “Everyone wants me to hurry— you, my father…” His expression grew complicated at the mention of Laufey. “I’m doing the best I can.” He added, very quietly.
Thor walked over and kneeled down next to him, hand on the armrest, close to but not quite touching the other prince. “I know you are. I’m sorry for what I said, and my impatience… For heaping all my expectations on you.” In more ways than Loki knew. Once again, Thor felt ashamed of his desires.
Loki turned his head, watching Thor with an unreadable expression. He licked his lips, eyebrows furrowing. “You know, I can’t figure you out Odinson.”
Thor smiled weakly. “I’m not so complicated,” he tried to joke.
“Perhaps that is why you confuse me,” Loki said, searching Thor’s face intently before looking back into the flames. “You make me question what is best,” He mumbled, as if speaking to himself.
“I question myself and what’s “best” every day, especially after meeting you.” Thor said, standing back up. “But I can recognize overwork when I see it.” He held a hand out to Loki, “Let’s take the day off.”
Loki’s eyes moved rapidly between Thor’s and his outstretched hand. “Take the day off? You just said Asgard won’t last much longer, and every day without the Casket is another day Jotunheim falls apart.”
Thor’s smile dimmed, but he didn’t pull his hand back. “Even so, if you collapse from exhaustion we will all be doomed.” He wiggled his fingers enticingly, “Come with me; take a turn around the gardens. I think you will enjoy the fresh air.”
Loki bit his lip, looking conflicted, but eventually he sighed and stood up. “Fine, just one turn.” He looked at Thor’s hand again, then slowly, hesitantly, placed his own in it. Thor grinned like Yule had come early and weaved their fingers together.
One walk around the garden turned into two, then three, and then Thor made the mistake of starting a snowball fight with a Jotun. Fifteen minutes later he had snow in his hair and under his clothes, melting into chilly rivulets against his heated skin. His clothes were damp and uncomfortable, but he hardly felt it. Flat on his back in a snow dune, Thor grinned up at the iron grey sky and wished suddenly, fiercely, to do this with Loki for the rest of their lives.
Seconds later Loki landed next to him, laughter clear like silver bells. “Never have I had a more pitiful opponent.” He said, smiling as he brushed snow out of Thor’s loose blond hair; the color seemed to fascinate him. Thor looked up at him and imagined pulling him into a kiss.
“Loki, can you be happy here?” Thor asked suddenly, words falling from his mouth unplanned. Loki blinked at him and Thor blinked back, surprised by the question himself.
“Why do you ask?”
“I just…” Thor felt his ears grow hot, but consoled himself that they were probably already red from the cold. “You’ll be safe here, I promise. You’ll never starve again, and if you have children then neither will they.” Thor looked at him earnestly, “But that is the basics of any good life. I want to know if you could be happy here in other ways.” – I you could be happy with me, was what he really wanted to know, but couldn’t ask.
Loki rested his chin on his hand and narrowed his eyes, watching Thor thoughtfully. “I’m not sure what you mean. When the Casket is returned I would no longer starve on Jotunheim either, and I…” His gaze drifted off, suddenly distant, “I have never truly considered children.”
Neither of them mentioned how Loki would be stuck on Asgard as a peace hostage whatever his feelings were about it.
“Truly? Why not?” Thor asked, “I think you would make an excellent parent.”
Loki looked startled at the observation, watching Thor like he had grown another head. “With my size, birth would be… difficult.” He settled on, but Thor could read the nuance there: Dangerous; inadvisable.
“Only if you had them with another giant,” Thor said, unable to stop himself from picturing little blue and blond babies.
Loki sat up, his back to Thor. “Yes… I suppose I had not considered that.” His voice sounded strange. Thor let him stew for another minute, then sat up too and carefully touched his shoulder.
“You never answered.” Thor licked his lips, heart beating fast, “Loki, do you think you could be happy here, like you could on Jotunheim?”
Loki drew in a harsh breath and turned to Thor, a strange unreadable expression on his face. “I don’t know if I was ever happy on Jotunheim.” He whispered, sounding like he was realizing something and confessing a secret at the same time.
Thor didn’t know what to make of that, and he didn’t dare ask.
A month after Loki’s arrival in Asgard, he held up a sparkling blue potion encased in a delicate glass vial. “It’s done!” He crowed.
Encre startled at his owner’s outburst and flew around the room, chattering maniacally.
Thor looked up from the book about Jotun myths he had been reading, and smiled at Loki. “That’s great!” He got up, made sure to avoid the swooping bat, and bounced over to Loki’s side. He looked at the vial, tilting his head at how cold it felt, even from a distance. It shone with a cool inner light, swirling like far off stars caught in tendrils of mist. “It’s hard to imagine how something that feels so cold will help the realm thaw.” Thor mused.
“Ahem, well, yes,” Loki pulled back and didn’t meet his eyes, “As your mother said, you don’t know the intricacies of Jotun magic, so.”
Thor nodded, “That is true.”
Loki’s eyes flickered to his, an almost sad smile flashing briefly over his lips. “I know it is.” He looked down at the potion in his hand, a faraway expression on his face. Then he shook himself and smiled at Thor, back to his usual self. “Well, let’s go shall we? No time like the present.”
Thor opened his mouth to agree, but then hesitated. He still hadn’t talked with Loki— after that day in the snow the words had kept escaping him, courage fleeing whenever they were together. “Before we go,” Thor said, stepping closer to Loki and looking at him seriously, “I need to say something.”
Loki gulped and took a step back, eyes flickering towards the door, “W-what?”
“I need to apologize.” When the words caused Loki to freeze and just stare at him, Thor reached for his free hand and held it carefully in his own. “When I came to Jotunheim I was a brute with nothing but violence on my mind, but I was wrong Loki. I was wrong about Jotunheim and her people, and you’re the one who showed me that.” He smiled, letting his thankfulness shine through his blue eyes. “You, Loki, who was so brave when you sacrificed yourself for your people—coming here even though you feared the worst for yourself, and thought me a beast. I have never met anyone more kind or clever than you.”
A chirpy chattering came from the window where Encre had settled, and Thor looked over to see Loki’s bat chewing on a stolen dried salamander. “Even your little pet is an example of your kindness; how you took in and cared for someone too weak to do it themselves.”
Loki just stared at him, eyes so round it looked as if they’d roll right out of his skull. Since he didn’t interrupt, Thor continued, bolstered by speaking. “All this time you’ve selflessly worked to save my realm and your own. Every day I spent with you I further realized my own shortcomings— how I am unable to compare with your brightness.”
Loki made a strangled sound, but didn’t pull away. Thor took it as a good sign.
“Loki,” He said, voice full of warmth and eyes soft, “I know your situation here is precarious, and if you tell me to I will never speak of this again, but…” Thor looked down and sucked in a deep breath, squeezed Loki’s hand and raised his head, looking him straight in the eyes. “Loki, you are exceedingly beautiful inside and out, and so incredibly witty. You have taught me to be a better man. After this, when we have freed Asgard from eternal winter and delivered the Casket to Jotunheim, I would hope—no, I would be honored— if you will consider letting me court you.”
“Court me?” Loki repeated, sounding so choked it was like he was speaking through several weeks of congested sinus infection. “For—Like for marriage?!”
“Yes,” Thor said, very heartfelt, “I can think of no one better to rule over the Nine Realms at my side.”
“Rule over the Nine Realms…” Loki breathed, eyes distant. He had a dazed expression on his face.
“Loki…?” Thor asked nervously, finally growing a bit concerned by how out of it Loki seemed.
Loki’s eyes snapped back to his, gaze suddenly sharp. “You really mean all that? You think I’m beautiful, clever and brave and you want to marry me.” He still sounded incredulous.
“Don’t forget witty, noble and kind,” Thor grinned, “And yes, I want to marry you.”
“Oh.” Loki blinked, then looked down at the blue vial in his hand. He gazed at it for a few seconds, then nodded decisively and hurled it at the wall where it broke, leaving a smear of hoarfrost.
“What are you doing?!” Thor yelled.
“I realized I made a mistake,” Loki said, “Don’t worry, I know what it was. I can easily redo it.” Then he wrapped his arms around Thor’s shoulders and gave him the most smoldering half-lidded bedroom eyes Thor had ever been on the receiving end off. “But I think Asgard can wait another hour, don’t you?”
Thor forgot all about the vial at the sight of that look. “Make that several hours.” He growled, and pulled Loki into a kiss.
Over a month of pining had left a lot of pent up frustration, and Thor clutched Loki to his chest, running greedy hands over his bare back and down to his loincloth, reaching for the firm buttocks underneath. The furs and silk parted easily and Thor groaned when he got a handful— Loki’s ass was exactly as firm, smooth and bouncy as Thor had imagined.
Loki made a startled shriek when Thor hauled him up by the butt and made him wrap his long blue legs around Thor’s waist. Thor pulled back from their kiss long enough to take a breath. “Bedroom?” He asked.
Loki was back to looking dazed, but he managed to point in the right general direction, and Thor wasted no time marching them to their destination. Loki made a winded noise when Thor threw him on the bed, body bouncing once from the force. He watched with enormous red eyes as Thor, grinning like a wolf, started pulling off his shirt.
“Oh Norns,” Loki breathed as all that golden flesh was laid bare for him. His hands inched down his own blue torso, lingering briefly at his nipples before gliding further down. They paused again at his loincloth, and Loki bit his lip, eying Thor who was already down to his socks—and then the socks were gone too and Thor was fully, gloriously naked.
Thor pounced and crawled up Loki’s body on all fours, like a big jungle cat. “Hi,” He whispered when he reached Loki’s face, eyes crinkling in a smile.
“Hi,” Loki said breathily, struck by how blue Thor’s eyes were.
Thor kissed Loki’s nose, beard rasping against his skin. “Tell me what you want,” He purred, kissing a line from Loki’s cheek and down his neck.
“Uhm, sex. Yes, definitely. Sex would be nice.”
Thor laughed and nuzzled the crook of Loki’s neck, right under his ear, making him shiver. “Of course, but what kind of sex?”
Loki took longer to answer this time. Thor spent the time well by lavishing one of his nipples with his tongue, and sucking on it until it pebbled. “The, ah, normal kind?” Loki said eventually, sounding even less sure than before.
A niggling suspicion sprung into existence in Thor’s mind, and he pulled back enough that he could look down at Loki; the Jotun was pretty, cheeks flushed purple and lips swollen. “Loki, have you done this before?”
Immediately Loki’s cheeks paled and he crossed his arms over his chest—covering himself. “What if I haven’t?” He asked sharply, looking to the side, determinately not meeting Thor’s eyes.
Thor felt his fondness for Loki grow impossibly further. “Then nothing,” He said kindly, caressing Loki’s cheek and making him turn his head to face Thor again. He bent down and kissed Loki softly, so softly, until Loki’s mouth gentled under his. “I’ll show you. Just tell me what you like.” Thor mumbled between kisses, hands back to caressing Loki’s chest. He didn’t mention how the thought of being Loki’s first had made him harden impossibly further, cock throbbing with the pulse of his blood. Thor wouldn’t just be the first, he would be the only. The only one to know Loki’s expressions in the throes of pleasure—the only one to hear him scream and whimper and moan. Thor bit down on Loki’s shoulder to stifle his groan. He would be the one to eventually fill Loki’s belly with children, to make him grow big and round and fertile—chest full of milk—full in every way because Thor had fucked him so good.
That was an old want of Thor’s; to have a partner he could fill completely. On Midgard he had been called a fertility god, and perhaps there was truth to it, because he reveled in the thought of filling Loki’s womb.
For now he caressed the tight flesh of Loki’s stomach, following the paler raised lines that showed Loki’s royal blood. Loki shivered when Thor ran his tongue along one that followed the curve of his ribs. They were beautiful and intricate; like Loki himself. Thor wondered if their children would be born with them.
Unlike Thor, Loki still wore a loincloth, and when Thor reached it he set about unwrapping the treasures beneath. Fur and silk fell away, revealing Loki’s hard dick. Thor took it in his hand, holding it gently and admiring it—so different from the ones he had seen before. It was slimmer, smoother somehow, almost like an icicle, but with a spongy purple flushed head. It pulsed in Thor’s hand and started weeping from the tip. “You’re beautiful,” Thor said, stroking the firm cool flesh, thumb catching the escaping liquid and putting it to good use.
“A-ah! Thor,” Loki said, raising himself to his elbows so he could look down at Thor, large red eyes watching him with rapture.
“You finally said my name,” Thor grinned, winking at his lover before licking lewdly at his cockhead. Loki cursed and fell back on the mattress, unable to keep himself up or survive looking. “Let’s see if I can make you scream it, princess.”
“I’m not-ah- a princess,” Loki gasped, fisting the sheets so hard they almost tore, when Thor bobbed his head.
“No, I suppose not,” Thor mused when he came up for air. Loki’s pre-come tasted sweet on his tongue, so different from the salty sting he was used to. “This definitely marks you as a prince,” He kissed the blue cock in his hand, then glided his lips down it until he reached the soft and warm place underneath. Thor groaned, “But then, with this part here you could be a princess, just for me.” Thor sharpened his tongue and ran it along Loki’s slit, earning a loud squeal.
On reflex, Loki tried to clamp his legs shut, but Thor grabbed his thigs and pushed them apart, holding them down and leering at Loki. “Oh no you don’t, this is mine to feast on.” He bent down, making sure to keep a firm grip on his captive, and looked at the untouched blue flower in front of his eyes. Thor’s first thought was that it looked cute; outer lips plumb and swollen and inner petals just peeking out, glistening enticingly—like a melting ice pop. “Tell me your Highness, do you play with yourself? Do you ever take your fingers and stuff them in, crying when they can’t quite reach; when you can’t get full?”
“D-don’t just look!” Loki said, trying to reach Thor’s head and push him away, cheeks flushed high with color.
“But I want to look,” Thor said plaintively, smirking at Loki’s embarrassment. “And you didn’t answer me. Tell me Princess, how do you touch yourself?”
Loki glared at him, lower lip trembling and eyes wet with tears of frustration. “What, you need instructions? Don’t you know what to do?” At Thor’s surprised look, Loki gained momentum. “Perhaps you’re not as skilled as you claim to be, Odinson.”
Oh that was it. Thor growled and dove down, landing his mouth against that soft blue pillow of flesh. Immediately he stuck his tongue out, wriggling it though the slit and up at the top, flicking it wickedly over Loki’s clit. He used his lips, his teeth—sucking and nibbling and feasting, while Loki tried to buck and squirm away, unable to move— held fast under Thor’s bulk.
“Thor—Thor please, mercy, I can’t—you’ll make me- ah—!”
Thor teased his fingers around Loki’s opening, testing the readiness, then slowly slid one inside. Loki gasped at the intrusion, inner walls clamping down and pulsing against the digit. Thor groaned; he couldn’t wait for that to be his cock. “I want you to come Loki. I want you to be loose and wet when I take you.” He wriggled in another finger, squeezing his eyes shut in bliss when there almost wasn’t room. “You’re so tight Princess,” Thor fucked his fingers in and out, enjoying the squelching caused by Loki’s fluids, “It’ll be a tight fit for my cock, but you want it, don’t you?” In a wicked move Thor used his thumb to rub Loki’s clit, his other fingers still plunging in and out. Thor’s free hand grabbed Loki’s neglected dick and pulled him off in synch with the finger fucking.
Loki cried out and grabbed Thor’s wrist, but was unable to stop the assault. He could only writhe and moan as Thor pushed him towards the edge. Soon he tensed up, eyes going wide, and Thor felt him pulse and contract around his fingers. Thor slowed down his motions as Loki shivered and shook his way through his first orgasm—dick jumping and landing long thick globs of come across his blue chest and flushed nipples.
“So gorgeous,” Thor breathed, slowly pulling out his fingers and sucking them clean.
Loki watched him with bleary heavy-lidded eyes, chest heaving. “You really are a beast,” He said, but the breathless satisfaction in his tone belied the words. Thor grinned at him and slinked back up his body, wrapping his arms around Loki and pulling him to his chest. He buried his nose in Loki’s dark hair and breathed in, smelling fresh snow and warm sheets mixed with herbs.
“What about you?” Loki asked, reaching out and brushing his fingers against Thor’s weeping cock.
Thor bit his lip to stifle a needy groan. “I-I can wait,” He forced out. Loki snorted, not believing him for a second. Thor sighed and cupped Loki’s face, cheeks smooshed between Thor’s large palms. Thor rubbed his thumbs back and forth over Loki’s sharp cheekbones, able to feel the heritage lines there too. “Aren’t you too sensitive?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Loki said, shifting his hips a little as if to check, “Just go slow?” Nervousness had already started creeping back into his eyes, so Thor smiled at him, dipping down to kiss him thoroughly and at length before going any further. Only when Loki was once again flushed and panting lightly did Thor sneak his hands back downwards.
Thor wrapped his palms around Loki’s thighs and guided them up around his waist, then he reached for his own cock to move it into place. Loki watched him with large eyes, breath catching when he felt Thor pressing against his entrance. Thor kissed him, sucking on Loki’s lower lip while pushing in at the same time. Loki’s hands flew up around Thor’s body and clung to his shoulder blades, dark nails leaving indents in the skin. “O-ooh, you feel—“ Loki moaned, gasping into Thor’s ear as he adjusted to being filled. “It doesn’t hurt,” He said, sounding surprised by the fact. He clenched experimentally around Thor’s cock and shivered at the sensation.
“It’s not supposed to,” Thor groaned, sweat beading on his forehead. He wanted to slay whoever had convinced Loki it would hurt, but right now he was struggling not to fuck Loki with abandon and prove them right. Loki was tight— mindbendingly tight. He felt different inside from any Asgardian woman, inner walls rippled and molding to Thor’s shape, yet just as wet and warm, much hotter inside than Thor had expected. When Loki clenched down again Thor lost the battle with his instincts and pulled out enough to fuck back in, almost sobbing at how good it felt. “Norns Loki, you’re incredible.”
Loki didn’t answer, but made a startled little “Ah!” When Thor pumped into him again—and then again. Quickly Thor built up a rhythm, pulling back far enough to gain leverage to really thrust. His heavy balls slapped against Loki’s buttocks on every inward stroke, filling the room with loud smacks. It mixed with the other noises—Loki’s continuous gasps, his litany of “Ah, ah, Ah—Thor—ah!” and the lewd squelching of his pussy.
Thor fucked into Loki, eyes closed and arms shaking with the strain it took to hold back. Loki’s soft cunt sucked his cock in, taking it to the root and clinging on every pull back, like it refused to be empty—Only few could manage Thor’s entire length, but Loki took it so well, bucking up to meet Thor’s thrusts and clawing against his shoulders, mewling when Thor changed the angle and hit a soft spongy part inside. “Yes! There!” Loki screamed, legs tightening around Thor’s waist.
Thor realized that he didn’t need to hold back, and so he didn’t. Thor gathered Loki up, holding him close, chest to chest, as he pounded into him. Loki whimpered in his ear, nails biting into Thor’s back and drawing blood. It was like coming home, like calling the storm. Thor thrilled each time his heavy balls smacked against Loki’s ass, mercilessly plowing Loki’s virgin cunt, ruing it for anyone else. It was Thor’s—Loki was Thor’s. His to fuck, his to fill, his—his—his— Suddenly Loki shrieked and tensed, pussy going impossibly tight around Thor’s cock—so tight he couldn’t move.
Thor stuttered to a stop. “Loki, what—?”
“You zapped me,” Loki panted, pulling back, eyes wide and dark—trembling with aftershocks. With horror Thor noticed how tendrils of lightning played over his own arms, sparking and sinking in and out of his skin.
“Oh gods, I’m so sorry, that’s never hap—“
“Do it again.”
“Wait, what?” Thor blinked, sure he had heard wrong.
Loki leaned back in, pupils expanded and eyes dark. His cheeks were flushed high with color and his mouth wet. “Do. It. Again.” He enunciated, underlining each word by clenching around Thor’s cock. “Show me your power—Fuck me with it. Give it to me!” The last was a yell, Loki pulling at Thor’s hair and bucking on him.
“Loki, fuck, Loki,” Thor groaned, head falling to land on Loki’s shoulder. He started pumping his hips again, Loki slowly loosening enough for him to move. “You’re already so tight—hardly have room for my cock. But it’s not enough, is it Princess? You need more. You need to feel it in your blood.”
“Yes,” Loki growled, “Give it to me, give it-give it-give it—eeeEEIGH!” Loki howled when Thor zapped him again, body curving back, taut like a bow, cunt clenching like a vice. He sobbed when the current stopped, head tossing from side to side on the pillow, tangling his dark hair. “Thor, Thor, it’s too much, I can’t—“
“Shh, shh, no more,” Thor promised through gritted teeth. Fuck he needed to come so badly. He had never been inside anything so hot and wet and tight.
“No, more!” Loki moaned, pupils blown and mouth gaping. He tried to reach for Thor, but his limbs shook too badly for him to move. He whined instead, sobbing and clenching on Thor’s cock. “I need to feel it. Make me take it. Make me.”
“Fuck,” Thor cursed softly again, unsure if Loki could really handle it, but too selfish not to give it to him. The way Loki clenched down and rippled inside when Thor zapped him simply felt too good. This time Thor didn’t even bother trying to fuck him again; he just shocked Loki right away, sending tendrils of electricity arching across his blue chest—Like lightning on a summer sky. Loki howled and sobbed and clenched down on Thor’s cock, so Thor did it again, and again, and again—each time letting the lighting course through Loki for just a second longer.
The lightning flashed against the walls, throwing twisted shadows. Loki gagged and convulsed on the bed, eyes wide and unseeing, and for a heart-stopping moment Thor was afraid he had gone too far. Then Loki moaned, a long low whine, and his head lolled to the side, eyes closed.
“Loki?” Thor asked, cupping his cheek, “Can you hear me?”
“—or,” was the weak reply, barely more than a gust of breath. “N’ mor’…”
“No more, I promise,” Thor kissed Loki’s eyelids, his slack mouth and then his forehead, “I promise.” Loki was limp, completely unable to move, and Thor felt a thrill at having caused it. He was still so tight and warm around Thor’s cock, wetter than before too, and Thor wanted to move—he wanted to move so badly. “I want to fuck you Loki,” Thor whispered in his ear, nibbling on his earlobe, “Can I?” He pushed his hips forward experimentally, “Please,” careful—He had to remember to be careful.
“Mmh, Thor, yes…” Loki mumbled, eyes still closed. That was all the consent Thor needed. He grabbed Loki’s hips, getting a good handful of flesh at each one, and got up to his knees, lifting Loki’s pelvis with him. Then he held on and started thrusting. His cock slid easily in and out through all the slick, “You’re so wet,” Thor marveled, watching where his own red meaty cock pushed into Loki’s swollen blue folds, his flesh giving and parting for Thor’s, glistening and squelching, already sloppy from use.
Thor kept watching where they joined together, vision going a little blurry. Then he spotted a faint hint of red—virgin blood mixed with slink, and that was the final drop; Thor came, groaning and rutting his cock as far in as it would go, spending deep inside. He slumped over Loki, orgasm coursing through him—head swimming— even his toes tingling. “Loki,” He slurred, grabbing for his lover with uncoordinated hands and catching a handful of his hair. Thor used it to guide Loki into a kiss—mouths slack and open, gasping together, sharing breath.
Thor’s body felt heavy, tired and sated—drowsy like after eating a full meal. He chuckled and nuzzled his nose against a soft blue neck. Loki had been the appetizer, main course and dessert. Thor rolled to the side, keeping his hold on Loki but being sure to untangle his legs from around Thor’s waist so he wouldn’t get crushed. “How do you feel?” Thor asked, ever a little performance conscious.
Loki grunted, halfway to drifting off himself. His lips were swollen and his eyelashes clumped from tears, cheeks still flushed and nipples pebbled. “Your zappings made me come.”
“I zapped you several times.”
“Mmh, yes you did.” Loki purred, turning over and slinging an arm over Thor’s torso, sighing blissfully against his chest. Thor smiled down at him, feeling ridiculously proud. He carted his fingers through Loki’s dark hair, noting how it was curling softly; damp from sweat. I love you, Thor thought. The realization came suddenly, fiercely, sending his heart fluttering in his chest. He kept silent, knowing it was early to voice such sentiments, but certain it was true.
They woke up together around late afternoon, trading lazy kisses and giggling like youths. Thor peppered Loki’s chest and neck with love bites and tried to entice him into staying in bed, but Loki shook his head and untangled himself from the sheets and Thor’s arms. “Soon, I promise, but I want to get that potion done.”
Thor sighed and gazed up at him like a puppy told to stay behind, “How long will it take?” He asked, already dreading the answer.
Loki smiled, “No time at all; I know what I need to do now.” He bent down and pecked Thor’s lips a last time, then climbed out of bed, staggering when he landed on his feet. “Ouch—damn,” he cursed, hand on his hip.
Thor shot up from the pillows, “Are you alright?!”
Loki grimaced and waved him off, “Just sore,” He took a single step forward and then whined, “—all over, oh gods.”
Thor rolled out of bed and took Loki by the elbow, letting his lover lean against him. “I’m sorry, I was too rough, I should have—“
“Oh shut up,” Loki grumbled, “Just get me to my work room and help me sit down.” He paused, then added, “On a pillow.”
Thor fluttered around, finding Loki a soft silk robe to wear and helping him to his work area, then settled down in the same room, watching him anxiously in case he needed anything else. Loki ignored him in favor of working, chopping and mixing various things, then whispering a spell, hand held over the boiling cauldron. In just under an hour he had produced another vial, this one filled with red liquid that bubbled like lava.
“It looks very different,” Thor commented when he came over to help Loki up. The Jotun didn’t deign to answer.
“Let’s go finish this,” Loki said, eyes shining with a fierce determination Thor had never seen before.
Despite their eagerness, Thor made them both get into proper clothing before leaving. In Loki’s case that was luckily no more than his customary loincloth skirt, since the Jotun was still hobbling from soreness. His entire upper torso was mapped with dark purple love bites, and his limp left nothing to imagination. Walking through the halls beside him, supporting him, Thor felt a mix of pride and fierce possessiveness every time a guard dared to look at Loki for a second too long.
They reached the wall of ice leading down to the vault, and Loki put his palm on it once more, whispering a spell. The ice pulled back, leaving a tunnel down into the depths. Normally Thor would have marveled at the show of magic, but right now he was too focused on supporting his lover. The path down into the vault felt very long indeed. The tunnel widened slightly at the end, the glowing blue Casket standing on a pedestal in the center. Cautiously, Thor and Loki drew closer.
The chill emanating from the Casket reached bone deep, chilling Thor to the marrow in seconds, and he had to stop several feet away. “Be careful,” He told Loki, who continued on his own.
Loki seemed unbothered by the cold, but his lips were a thin pale line and his eyes hard and focused. He stopped in front of the freezing weapon—the heart of his realm—clutching the bubbling red potion in his hand. The blue light lit up his features in an eerie glow, making him look hard, like he was cut from ice himself—sharp and deadly as a blade. Thor had the sudden thought that he would hate to have Loki as an enemy.
Loki removed the stopper from the vial and held it over the Casket, but then hesitated, eyes stuck on the ancient artifact he had traded his life for, and which could still end it. Thor remembered what Loki had hinted could happen if he had made a mistake.
Despite the biting cold, Thor pushed forward by a few steps. “Don’t be frightened,” Thor called, causing Loki to look back at him. Thor smiled, or tried to, but his facial muscles felt stiff and unmovable, “I believe in you.”
Loki’s eyes widened, then softened, going shiny with unshed tears. “Oh Thor,” He said, then upended the vial over the Casket. The red liquid bubbled and hissed when it hit the surface, steam rising up in a big pink cloud. Loki jumped backwards and Thor grabbed him by the arm, pulling Loki behind himself and shielding him with his body. The Casket and elixir kept reacting with each other, steam and sparks spitting from the source of contact, but slowly the Casket’s blue light started to dim.
A few minutes later, it went dark and silent.
The princes didn’t move for a moment, then: “You did it,” Thor breathed, watching how the ice filling the vault started to crack, “Loki, you did it!” He turned around and pulled the Jotun into a hug. Loki hang limply in his arms, face painted with a mix of shock and relief.
“I did it,” Loki said, eyes wide and unseeing, “I really did it. I stopped the Casket of Ancient Winters. There’s no going back.”
“I know,” Thor crowed, lifting him up by the armpits and swinging him around, “Loki you’re amazing!”
Loki took being suddenly airborne quite well, but stumbled a bit when Thor sat him back down. “I did it, I really did it.” He kept mumbling.
“I know,” Thor said, giving him a brilliant smile, “You must be very relieved.”
Loki gave him an odd look, “That’s one way to put it.” He said.
Work done, they made their way back out. When they appeared at the top of the stairs, they found Frigga waiting for them. “Is it done?” She asked, her focus bouncing between Thor, Loki and the melting ice, until she spotted the marks littering Loki’s body and his general unkempt look. Her eyes widened and she looked Thor over again, spotting his equally unruly bed head, then she lit up with a smile. “You two!” She said, moving swiftly forward and engulfing Thor in a hug, then moving on to Loki and clasping his hands. “Loki, I am so happy, welcome to the family.”
For a moment Loki looked like a deer caught on the wrong end of an arrow, then he shook himself and smiled back. “Thank you,” He said softly.
Thor just grinned, smiling at the sight of his mother and beloved getting along. It felt like the sun itself was bursting in his chest. “Loki did it mother, he stopped the Casket.” He said proudly, sending Loki a besotted look.
Frigga smiled at his son and reached over to pinch his cheek, “I see that darling. You have a very clever lover.”
“Fiancé,” Thor corrected, feeling his chest puffing up. Loki rolled his eyes, but couldn’t hide how terribly pleased he looked with himself, like a cat who got both the canary and a full bowl of cream. His strange mood from the vault seemed to have lifted. Perhaps the sense of his accomplishment had finally seeped in.
Frigga gasped at the announcement and hugged Thor again, mother and son getting briefly lost in happy exclamations. When they once again contained themselves, Frigga pulled back and smiled between the two princes. “Weddings are wonderful occasions, but can be terribly stressful. We should probably hold it before your father wakes up,” She sent Thor a look, “For the sake of his health.”
Thor caught on immediately, “Yes, absolutely. For his health—yes.”
Loki didn’t have any objections with this plan either, and since their problems were solved for now, Thor dragged him—gently—back to his rooms. Once there he herded Loki back to bed and tucked him in with soft silk sheets, then sat down on the edge of the mattress and combed back his dark hair. “How do you feel?” He asked, almost adding “My Love” as an endearment. Not yet, Thor told himself.
Loki blinked slowly, smiling tiredly up at him. “Cared for,” He said, which made Thor smile.
“Sleep now,” Thor said, “You’ve worked yourself too hard.”
“You worked me too hard you mean,” Loki leered, but it came out a little slurred, the Jotun already slipping towards sleep.
Thor chortled, “Yes, but I’ll make it up to you by going to get food. Rest a little, then we can eat and you can take a nice long bath.”
Loki stretched out and yawned. “That sounds wonderful,” He mumbled, eyes already closed. Moments later he was breathing deeply and evenly, sound asleep.
Thor watched him for a few more minutes, heart squeezing almost painfully in his chest. “I love you,” Thor whispered, which he figured was okay, since Loki wasn’t awake to hear it. He would be eventually though, and Thor looked forward to that day. Until then he would just have to show Loki in every other way he could think of. Thor smirked; it would be a fun challenge.
Loki locked the bathroom door and started the water in the bath, both so the pool could fill but also because it muffled his voice as he spoke spells of shielding and soundproofed the room. Then he set about readying the giant mirror for a long distance call. He had left Thor sleeping in the bedroom, the golden haired Asgardian merely smiling dopily at him when Loki had told him what he was going to go do. On one hand it was sweet how Thor trusted him so blindly; on the other Loki despaired at Thor’s goodhearted naivety. How he had survived fifteen hundred years without Loki at his side was a mystery.
While the magic found its way through Yggdrasil’s branches, Loki combed down his hair a bit and wiped away the worst of the fluids and mess. They had gone another round after eating, gentler but just as glorious as the first. Loki pulled on a silky bathrobe, but otherwise did nothing to disguise his appearance: he didn’t want to leave any doubt about what had happened.
Finally Laufey appeared in the mirror, Jotunheim’s landscape behind him. “Is it time?” He immediately asked, before even inquiring to Loki’s wellbeing.
“No, and it’s not going to be.” Loki said, managing to keep his voice steady. He reminded himself that Laufey couldn’t reach him here.
“What do you mean?” Laufey snarled, red eyes darkening, before he noticed Loki’s appearance. “What did you do Runt?” He growled.
“I took a better offer,” Loki said casually, crossing his legs and immediately regretting it when it pinched his tender neithers. That big-cocked oaf would leave him sore for weeks.
“Odin’s son?” Laufey said, laughing incredulously before his eyes narrowed. “You were supposed to unleash the full power of the Casket and then let our armies through.”
“Yes, well, things change.” Loki said, steepling his fingers. “You see, Thor asked for my hand in marriage, and then it occurred to me: If I went back to Jotunheim I would merely go back to being your unwanted runt; only tolerated when you have use of me.” Loki sent his father a dark and bitter smile, before he continued, voice lighter. “But here there is Thor, who loves me and who will seat me on a throne as co-ruler of the Nine Realms.” Loki spread his hands and smiled beatifically, “How could I say no?”
“You traitorous little snake!” Laufey roared. “I should have known you would do this. Not only did you fail to fully unleash the Casket the first time you snuck into Asgard, now you fail me again!”
Loki scowled. Even if he was now happy about the result, he didn’t like being reminded of his failures, and it still annoyed him deeply that he had been unable to unlock the full powers of the Casket when he had snuck into Asgard’s vault the first time. Odin might have been asleep—just as Loki had aimed for— but his magics had not been easy to break through, and in the end there hadn’t been enough time. Of course Loki had changed his plans accordingly, and a fortnight later Thor had marched into Jotunheim and demanded help—just as expected. It had been terribly easy to deceive his way into Asgard after that, and even easier to work on the elixir that would unlock the Casket’s final defense and release its full power. The stupidly trusting Asgardians had completely fallen for his act and had eagerly handed him everything he needed. What Loki hadn’t counted on was falling for their dolt of a Crown Prince in return.
He hadn’t counted on not being able to go through with it.
Loki briefly tuned back to his father, just to realize that Laufey was still screaming and hurling insults at him. Loki thought back to everything Thor had said to him, how he had called Loki brave and beautiful and a number of other nice things no one had ever called Loki before in his entire life. And wasn’t it true? Loki was brave, even if the true course of his bravery turned out to be going against his father to be with Thor—Even if his cleverness lay in brewing a potion to contain the Casket, instead of one to unleash it.
As for his beauty, Thor hadn’t left him with any doubts there either, and it felt wonderful to be wanted. On Jotunheim Loki had been seen as misshapen and unappealing, but here he was merely seen as exotic and he definitely had all the right proportions. Thor had kissed him all over, marveling at every part of him. Loki shifted a little on his seat, growing wet just by remembering it.
“—and what will your beloved Asgardian do once he learns you were the cause of his people’s misery?”
“What?” Loki tuned back into the conversation just in time to hear that disturbing question.
Laufey smiled cruelly at him. “I asked you what you will do once all your lies come tumbling down around your head, Runt.”
Loki blinked slowly, heart thudding harshly a couple of times before he found his courage. “It won’t, not if you want the Casket back.”
“You aim to blackmail me?!”
“Of course,” Loki said, “I am your son, after all.”
Laufey looked livid, but he could hardly deny it. Loki took a deep breath and looked his father in the eyes, as an equal, for the first time in his life. “Look, I don’t actually want Jotunheim to break. You can have the Casket back, but know that if you try to go to war with it you will lose. I have seen Asgard’s strength, and they are well fed and well rested where we are starved and tired. They have more numbers than us, and better weapons. We’re outmatched. And—“ Loki held up his hand when it looked like Laufey was going to interrupt, “Even if that doesn’t convince you, know this: Should you move against Asgard, you move against me, and I know all your strengths and weaknesses. I will not hesitate to crush you.”
Laufey watched his son thoughtfully, looking almost impressed. “For the first time in your life you show true strength.” He said, “A shame it comes only after you have turned traitor.”
“Traitor this, traitor that,” Loki said, waving a hand and rolling his eyes. “I did what was best for me, but it doesn’t change that it’s also the best for Jotunheim. Instead of a decimating war you get a healthy realm and, in another generation or so, a half Jotun grandchild on the golden throne of Asgard.”
Laufey’s eyes snapped to Loki’s midsection. “Already? You certainly don’t waste any time.”
Of course not, Loki thought. Odin could wake at any moment, and while Loki trusted Thor’s dedication to him, it didn’t hurt to cover all his bases. A cute little baby would certainly do just that. Both Thor and Frigga would be so besotted that they’d probably let Loki get away with murder. Not that he needed to murder anyone anymore, which was actually a refreshing change of pace. Loki placed a hand over his abdomen; children—yet another thing Loki never thought he’d have, which Thor could give him. He couldn’t be sure yet of course, but there was a good chance. He hoped it was true. If not, he just had to drag his fiancé back to bed, which certainly wasn’t a hardship.
While he had been thinking to himself, Loki missed Laufey’s contemplative look. “Very well,” The Jotun King said, making Loki snap to attention. “Make no mistake Loki, I will wring your traitorous neck if I ever get the chance, but for now I will settle for the Casket and my grandson placed on Odin’s golden throne.” Especially the latter part looked to please him.
Loki smiled sweetly at his father, “And I will enjoy stabbing you through the eye if you ever give me reason.”
“Then we have an understanding.”
“Indeed we do.”
Loki ended the spell, and Laufey disappeared. For a long moment he sat silently in the giant steaming bathroom, listening to the gushing water and looking at his own reflection. Tears were running down his cheeks, and Loki smiled, doing nothing to wipe them away. His life as Loki, the Unloved Runt of Jotunheim was over, and his life as Loki, Beloved of Thor, Consort to the King of Asgard and Mother of the future King, had just begun.
When Loki crawled back into bed, Thor turned over with a sleepy hum and caught him around the waist, pulling him into a warm and engulfing hug. Loki sighed, closed his eyes and rested his head over Thor’s heart. He could learn to love this. Perhaps he already did.
“How did the talk with your father go?”
Loki smiled, “It went well. At first he was upset, but I talked him down from murdering you and I now believe he is pleased for me.”
“Really?” Thor asked, running his fingers through Loki’s hair and over his scalp in an almost orgasmic way.
“Mmh, well, he might still take a swing at you if he gets the chance, and I don’t think he’ll want to join the wedding,” Loki certainly didn’t want him to, “But all things considered it went alright.”
“That’s good. I’m so happy Loki,” Thor said, bending enough to kiss his forehead.
Loki cupped his belly, which now cradled his future, closed his eyes and sighed. “So am I Thor,” He said, “So am I.”
And for once in his life, Loki was absolutely telling the truth.