In over a hundred years of friendship, Loki had bathed with Anthony dozens of times.
When they were on hunts or quests with Thor, they would often strip and bathe in the river, with only the Lady Sif doing so alone.
When they were travelling together and searching the wilderness for forgotten pathways or magical artefacts, they would jump into a pond or under a waterfall, neither one caring much for modesty.
Indeed, sometimes after sparring or spending a long day in the dusty archives of the Royal Library, Loki would invite Anthony to the royal bathing quarters. They were large and grand with marble surfaces, gold statues and filled with servants who would answer their beck and call.
Loki dismissed them most days, wanting a quiet hour with his friend with nothing but the sound of running water from the fountain in the middle of the room.
Today was one such day. They were alone in the baths, naked and enjoying the warm water on tired muscles.
Anthony was Loki’s dearest friend, but it didn’t mean Loki was not selfish or manipulative, even with the Aesir he adored above all others.
When he made a show of being unable to wash his back, it was habit for Anthony to laugh and step up behind him.
Tanned hands roughened and calloused by the forge slid down his back. They were coated with soap and water and they made Loki’s eyes flutter closed. He bit his lip to keep any sound from escaping. He kept his breathing even through years of practice.
He gave himself over to the feeling of the man he lusted after, coveted and loved touching his body with sure, smooth strokes.
Loki would give a small fortune to have Anthony’s hands slip beneath the water and touch him where he craved. He would promise unspeakable things if Anthony would turn him around and press a kiss to his lips.
Loki would offer up his heart, if he had any belief that Anthony would accept it.
But Loki knew better and he kept a firm lid on his desires. He focused on every glide of Anthony’s hands, the soft kneading to his muscles and the sound of water shifting.
It was long practiced instinct to use a small spell to hide the affects of Anthony’s hands on him.
When he turned around to face his smiling friend, he took the vial of scented soap and returned the favour.
Loki let his hands slide across damp, toned skin. He traced every ridge of Anthony’s spine and mapped the muscles of his back. He had long memorised this part of Anthony. He had long dreamed of pressing his mouth to skin and plastering his chest against the shorter Aesir.
But, it was all a fantasy that he kept tightly locked inside. He didn’t imagine there was more to what they shared, he simply enjoyed a few moments of unrestricted access to Anthony’s skin.
Loki knew it would be gone before he knew it, and he would have no choice but to lower his hands and quietly retreat.