She floats above him like a light-dream in a hot summer afternoon, hazy and lazy, her dress shifting in the breeze coming in through the opened balcony, rustling silently, trying to peel away from her body.
His sister. Sister. Has been for a few years now; Loki says this fits her better, thin wrists, deep slope of back, a soft place between neck and shoulder that hold secrets Thor itches to kiss open. Voice like satin when she laughs at Thor, like the deep color of red when she soothes him, calls him my brother with round lips, a smaller tongue but the same press of it between her teeth on the ‘t’, the same idle roll of ‘r’.
The same star-wink of eyes, the kind that makes you want to steal a second look, then a third, then a fourth –
“I have been looking for you,” Thor says, and it sounds like he has spent his entire evening, then well into the night howling miserably at the moon like a kicked out dog, lost in the forest, trying to find his lonely way home. It hasn’t been like that, more like; a night with a dozen or so people gathered together, the best of money and power and beauty of the realms, Thor dutifully mingling, kissing his mother’s cheek, telling her how much he absolutely enjoys this, yes Mother, I’ll be sure to greet the Lady Peimea and her husband, yes, yes, no, I will not drink much, yes, I don't know, yes, I have to go, another kiss on the cheek and mingle again.
Sneaking wine from the closest platter like he did when he was a teen, his eyes wandering aimlessly until he spots Loki on the far end of the hall, then someone demands his attention, courtesy words exchanged, Thor asks about a sibling or a parent or a child, then it's over, and he starts over, flicking through faces until he finds Loki again, takes her shape in, warms his throat with wine until someone comes to him again. Rinse and repeat.
In a manner of speaking, he has been looking for Loki all night, even with them sharing the same place, but he had started searching for her when he realized that he hadn’t seen her for a few hours since the last time. Still, searching is too big of a word. He came to her rooms immediately, sneaking through the dark of the palace.
Loki hums sleepily, her hair falling down in thick waves, black, black. She turns more on her left side, snuggles into the air, her dress hitching up on her ankles.
“What are you doing up there?” Thor asks through his smile.
Loki stirs again, “I’m tired.”
“There is your bed,” suggests Thor, his gaze wandering over Loki as he walks to her. He has to crane his neck to look up at her, sees her thighs locked together under her dress; the fabric caught in between.
Loki sighs, and the breeze rustles her dress again, caresses Thor's cheek shyly. He thinks of angels.
“I couldn’t get that far, it seems.”
Thor reaches up to touch the ends of Loki's hair, lets it fall over his knuckles. “Is it more comfortable to sleep like this?”
He has seen Loki in the air like this before, but never asleep. He imagined it must take a great deal of concentration for her.
He catches just in time Loki's lips pulling into a slight smile, eyelashes wavering like she is having a dream so good she doesn’t ever want to wake up.
Thor badly wants her to look at him.
“I miss you,” he says and Loki turns to him, starry eyes in the starry sky, takes him in just the way he took her in all night, has done all his life.
Loki laughs, her body languid as she moves – still in a dream – dangles her small hand down like a tree offering its pink peach.
“I'm right here,” she says.
Right here. Differences, again, between them, two words that should mean the same both for Loki, both for him, and yet. Right here, right here, Loki means; close enough, Thor means; not enough.
Thor touches Loki's fingertips, rubs them like one would a butterfly’s wing for its dust, says, “you are so far away.”
Presses his thumb into Loki's wrist, just on her pulse, feels her blood rolling, says, “if you are not careful you might drift away.”
Slides his hand around Loki's forearm, sleep-warm under his palm, says, “come to me.”
Loki indulges him – only indulgence can be this sweet, what else – lets Thor lead her hands over his shoulders, until her arms are draped across, a lovely cage around his neck, and she slowly descends, her dress falling in place around her almost like an afterthought, pressed tight to her waist where Thor rests his hands to take her weight.
Then it's a journey for his hands to map out her ribcage as Loki comes to his eyes, and then he feels the sudden drop, where Loki let go of herself, where she let him hold her above, where she let him lower her down until her feet touched the ground, where she swayed a bit like it was the earth under them that has behaved in a way that it shouldn’t, not her who made the very air her bed, just because she felt tired.
Loki takes a deep breath – the earth regains its composure – pats Thor's neck as she peels herself away from him, “help me get ready for bed, at least.”
She turns her back to him, goes to her vanity and Thor follows her, her bare back, the line of her spine a valley, the edges of her backless dress a contrast against her skin, and Thor follows, is lured, drawn to her. A moon and the sea, goes to her like the dark waves keep caressing the coastline during tide; timidly, full of hope, loving what is bound to be taken away.
“How was the wine?” she asks while taking her bracelets off, a white-flash of glimmer, a tinkle. She didn't bother to sit down.
Thor steps behind her, watches her in the mirror, wishes it was already morning so he could see the shine dance on her profile.
“Bland,” he answers.
Loki smiles, “and the company?”
“Dull,” says Thor, and it comes to him that he is showing too much of himself.
“You?” Loki raises her eyes to look back at him in the mirror.
“Bored,” swallows Thor. Traces the back of his finger down Loki's back, “distracted.”
Loki arches, gathers up her hair in her hands, bows her neck to show the three clasps of her dress, tells him quiet, “would you.”
While Thor works, too big hands, too clumsy, Loki asks what had him so distracted. Thor glances at her, the lines of her knowing smile. The shorter locks that have escaped Loki's hold tickle his fingers.
The last clasp comes free, and before her dress could fall around her waist Loki presses it back with a palm against her chest.
Thor crowds her closer to the edge of the vanity, “you wouldn’t understand.”
That surprises Loki, Thor sees it in the arch of her eyebrows. “Ah,” she says then after a moment like she suddenly solved a puzzle that should have been impossible, turning to look at him, “those girls from Vanaheim were there, I see.” Teasing, endlessly vexing.
It’s a game they have been playing for long, wicked, twisted, doomed. The rewards if you win though –
“My shoes,” Loki looks up at him, doe-eyed, big blinks, big promises, nudging his knee with hers.
Yes, shoes. Thor leans down and grabs the back of her thighs, heaves her onto the vanity, pushing away small glass bottles, lipsticks, her jewellery box. The mirror rattles against the wall, and Loki gasps into Thor's shoulder.
Thor gets down to one knee, lifts her leg up, the heel of her shoe a sharp point against his thigh as he works on the ribbon around her ankle. Loki is still clutching her dress to her chest.
“Thank you,” says Loki, reaches to pet his temple, his eyebrow. He slides her shoe off, then the other, curls his palm against the sole of her feet.
“You know I don't care about them,” says Thor into her ankle, kisses her there. Pushes up her dress. “You know – ” skims his lips up her shin, finds a small bruise just under her knee, bites at it, “and still.”
Loki trembles under his hands when he reaches her thighs, and God it just doesn’t go, does it. This honey-heavy obsession that leaves their mouth full with love. A hungry poison. What are they doing? What will they do?
Loki sighs his name and Thor surges up, winds his arm around her waist to pull her closer to him, just to the edge of the vanity. Hides his face in her shoulder, breathes in the warm cloud of her scent, purple and plump. Her hair sweeps his arm.
“How could I think about them when you – ” You, you, you.
Loki hugs him closer, her fingertips on his neck, “I know,” presses her body to him, the soft pressure of her breasts on his chest, “I know. Thor.”
Sometimes Thor thinks he understands why they keep staying a possibility, an almost, a quiet wish. It's so easy to love. But it always demands the highest price, hungers just to devour itself, lives in a single sleepless night until death.
Whenever they look at each other the air hums around them, not yet, not yet. And in the end it always comes to this. Not yet.
Thor tips her back even more, lets her feel his growing heat. It's not new between them. Ages-long touches have revealed all their cravings. One orange afternoon in bed Loki guided his hand to her navel, then lower, whispering his name, wanting him to feel her. They still haven’t touched under clothes. They still haven’t kissed.
Thor caresses her back, and commits to confessing into the shadow of Loki's neck, “I want to be the first.”
He doesn’t dare to think about that he also wants to be Loki’s last and everything between. Loki’s legs tremble around him, she is pushing at his chest a little, and Thor feels her eyelashes against his cheek when she says, “you are so spoiled,” pressing her smile into his stubble.
Thor rolls his hips, squeezes his arm around her lower back, his fingers digging into her waist, “I am.”
He has been leaning his other hand on the vanity, just beside Loki, and Loki takes it to guide it to her neck, to her collarbones. She lets her dress fall to pool around her stomach, the folds flowing around her in sheer waves. Thor leans back to look.
“I’m spoiled too,” Loki looks up at him, eyes fluttering closed when Thor caresses her breast, thumbs her nipple, “I can't stand anyone near me, but if a day goes by without seeing you, my mood is ruined.”
Thor licks across her neck, presses his kisses lower, on her hummingbird heart, and Loki says with a hitched breath, “You have ruined me.”
Whose fault are they? Who is to blame for them? For this sunflower seed between them, that grew into a world of unfinished sentences, of hands that leave claw marks behind on everything they love, a world of bruises pressed so deep they color the bones. Let Loki put all the blame on him. They are inevitable, fateful and fatal, and that is their sad truth.
Loki cradles his face, “but I think I have ruined you too.”
A weak laugh escapes Thor, skimming his fingers over Loki's ribs, up, up, until his hands rest under her breasts, then down again. What a pair they make.
“Let me down,” says Loki, kindly, combing through Thor's hair.
Thor breathes out and takes that excruciating step back, watches Loki’s tiptoes reach the floor as she stands. Loki extends a gainly hand out, palm down, looking up at him with a curl of a smile as her dress drops to the floor around her feet. Thor takes her hand, supports her tipping weight while she steps out of the folds. Her underwear hugs her tight.
Loki pushes away the thin covers messily on her bed, climbs in, her spine a curve as she turns to face Thor, on her knees, reaches out to him like a praying man would to the sky, “come here.”
Thor goes. He goes to her because that is his only path in this life, only forward, to her.
Loki's fingers are warm on his chin, on his cheeks, on the back of his neck, and she pulls him down as she arches up. Her lips are soft on his. It's slow, it's quiet, it's sleepy, it's heady, it's sure, it's as they should be, always. It's them.
“Go,” Loki's parted lips sun-hot, the words glowing against Thor's, soothing the burn, “we will see each other in the morning.”
Not yet, not yet.
Thor nods against her, tugs a little on a wild tendril of hair of hers to make her laugh, then goes.