,,A kiss is something you give to someone you love dearly and who is really special to you.’’
That was what their mother had told them, when they were still little kids.
Thor and Loki were playing in the beautiful gardens of the palace, chasing and trying to catch one another. They often did that since they had both learnt how to walk. Odin and Frigga were watching them quietly, sitting on a bench and simply enjoying the tranquil atmosphere of the day.
“I had almost forgotten how it feels.”
After the war between Asgard and Jotunheim ended, they finally managed to spend some peaceful moments.
When Odin had come home with a baby, Frigga hadn't hesitated to take the tiny child in her arms and she had immediately smiled motherly as she looked down at him.
“What, my dear?” Odin asked.
Frigga turned to him. “To be at peace.”
The All Father took his consort's hand in his own and smiled at her lovingly. She returned the smile and leant closer until their lips touched softly.
When they parted, Frigga noticed something had changed. The place had gone unusually quiet. She and Odin looked down and found their sons gazing up at them with wide curious eyes.
“What.. that?” Thor asked with the limited knowledge of the few words he had learnt.
When Odin raised a brow at him, Loki shyly tried to explain. “What.. you did.. with..” and he pointed at his own mouth.
Frigga giggled softly and bent down to whisper to her sons, as if what she was about to say was a remarkable secret. “That, my children, was… a kiss.”
Hide-and-seek had recently become their favourite game since they were now old enough to be able to play without having someone to watch over them. Loki especially loved that game, because he always won. Thor, acting like the stubborn child he was, didn't want to give up and was always ready for the challenge to try and defeat his little brother. He didn't know yet that, when they played, Loki often used some of the new magic tricks he was learning.
“Three.. two.. one.. here I come, Loki!” Thor didn't waste time and immediately went to search for the younger. He began to look in every angle, every hidden place of the gardens he had begun to know so well. But not as well as his brother, apparently.
The blond child had even climbed up a few trees, but – except for some birds in their nests – there was nothing.
Loki was nowhere to be found. Thor had started to wonder if there was some secret passage he didn't know about. He let out a frustrated sigh and crossed his arms, whilst looking around in all directions for the umpteenth time.
“Looking for something, brother?”
Thor almost jumped. Just before Loki's voice reached him, he could swear he had seen a twinkle of green light, which disappeared as soon as he turned completely to face his younger brother, who was standing next to the tree where Thor had counted before starting the game.
“Loki!!” Thor groaned and walked towards him.
“I won. Again.” Loki laughed softly when he noticed his brother pouting. “Let's do something else now, Thor. I'm getting bored with winning always and so easily.”
Thor frowned, not liking the idea of giving up, but he had to admit that he was getting tired of that game too. He sighed and sat down, leaning his back against the tree with a sort of disappointed expression on his face.
Loki sat down next to him and looked up, enjoying the sight of Asgard's blue sky. It reminded him of his older brother's eyes.
They stayed like that for a few minutes, before Thor spoke.
“You know, you're really good at hiding, Loki. I wish I could do it too. Would you teach me?”
The younger raised a brow at the other. “Really?”
“I want to know how you do it! Tell me your secret, brother.. please.”
Thor was looking at him with eyes full of genuine curiosity and interest. Loki couldn't help the grin that appeared on his face and also felt his cheeks flush a little. He leant closer and whispered to his brother. “I can't tell you now, because it's something I'm still working on, but when I'm ready I'll show you.”
“Promise. And, trust me, you'll like it a lot. I'm going to surprise you, Thor.”
“Aye! You're the best, brother!” Thor exclaimed cheerfully, the frustration for having lost the game had been soon forgotten.
Their faces were still close and they were both smiling happily at each other. The blond child gazed at his little brother's beautiful green eyes. The colour was similar to the twinkle he had seen before. Did it have something to do with the magic arts Loki was so eager to learn?
It's true that the two young princes of Asgard didn't always have the same interests – Thor would rather spend his time improving his fighting skills rather than studying in the library like his brother did – but they enjoyed playing together and Thor always loved when Loki showed him what he had learnt from their mother.
“Can you do the thing?”
Loki looked at him with an unsure expression, but then he understood what his brother meant. Between them, words and explanations sometimes weren’t necessary at all. He gave him a small smile and showed him his hand, with the palm facing upwards.
Loki closed his eyes to concentrate and took a few deep breaths.
The centre of his hand began to glow of a bright green light, which also spread across his fingers.
Slowly, the light started to shape itself to form a glowing snake.
Thor’s face instantly lit up at that sight. “WOAH! You have become really good at this, brother! It’s like a magical snake, it’s amazing!”
Loki grinned proudly as he watched Thor being completely astonished by the illusion he had created. It was nice to see him so excited about what Loki could do. Instead of his own hand, his gaze was now focused on his brother’s eyes. Always so pure and wonderful.
Loki might have been only a child and maybe he couldn’t yet explain what he felt exactly while he stared at Thor’s smiling face, but there was something that captivated him and that, at the same time, made him sense the difference between them. Loki wasn’t aware of that yet, but he would soon come to understand that, for some reason, his smile couldn’t radiate the same warmth as Thor’s own did.
However, Loki was sure of one thing: he loved surprising his older brother with new spells, magic tricks and even with some funny pranks sometimes. The thought made him smirk softly.
That’s when he noticed the glowing green snake had disappeared and Thor was now looking at him as if waiting for something.
Loki’s eyebrows rose slightly, but instead of speaking, he found himself leaning closer to the blond, until his lips touched Thor’s cheek and softly brushed against his skin.
He closed his eyes, only for a few seconds. Then, he felt his brother chuckle and instantly pulled away.
“That tickles, Loki!” Thor said, still laughing light-heartedly. He didn’t seem to notice the way his little brother’s cheeks turned red in embarrassment.
“I… uh… sorry.” Loki didn’t know why he did that, but he was glad Thor hadn’t disliked it. He was sure the blond would’ve made fun of him or something, but maybe he just took it as a playful thing like he often did. He probably didn’t even remember what their mother had told them about kisses. It was fine, though, because Loki remembered. He remembered how she explained that a kiss was a very important symbol of devotion, a way to show how much you care for the people you give it to.
“Hey, do you think you can do other animals apart from snakes?” Thor asked all of a sudden, unaware of the raven-haired child’s thoughts and the reasons behind his innocent gesture.
“Uh, y-yeah.. I can try.” Loki closed his eyes and concentrated again.
“THE DAY HAS FINALLY COME!”
“CHEERS, MY FRIENDS!”
“Another step on your path to become real men. Congratulations!”
“I am already a real man!”
Loki rolled his eyes at his brother’s reply. They certainly weren’t kids anymore, but they were both young and still had a few years ahead of them before they could gain the experience, the knowledge, the abilities which would be required for the future that awaits them. Obviously, this didn’t stop Thor from being all excited and thrilled about the whole event.
“Come on, Thor! Take another one!” Volstagg encouraged his friend and the blond didn’t need to be told twice. He took another mug which had just been filled up with the finest ale of all of Asgard.
It was the first time the two princes took part in a feast during which they were officially allowed to consume alcohol, having reached the right age for it to be socially acceptable. It was actually more of a convention, but what better excuse to have a big feast – given the lively nature of the majority of the Asgardians.
It wasn’t as if Thor had never tried some ale or mead before. Actually that was true for his friends as well, who were all young and also impatient to grow up. Even Loki had once sneakily stolen a bottle of wine during a feast in the huge hall of the palace. Tonight, however, was the first night they could all officially drink and enjoy themselves surrounded also by older and much more experienced warriors they often looked up to.
And – while Hogun sat quietly (still too shy to speak), Volstagg devoured the victim of the first hunt Thor had led alone, Fandral made his first attempts to seduce a maid and Sif was busy with an arm wrestling competition – Thor was listening to a story an old warrior was telling, and at the same time he was trying all the different kinds of ale, as he had previously decided he would do that night.
Loki was listening too, his glass only half full in his hand. The tale was about one of the many adventures the veteran had in the various Realms he had visited.
“… and then, the enchanting spirit looked at me with those wonderful deep blue eyes that could make even Asgard’s night sky jealous and, suddenly, I came to understand.”
“…that you have become insane?”
The sound of laughter arose and echoed in the tavern, but the old man just smiled and didn’t comment.
“Come on, my friend, you really cannot expect us to believe that you have met such a beautiful creature during the night, in the middle of a forest and who also happened to fall in love with you at first sight. And then, they disappeared just like that.” A fellow soldier said and more people started to laugh.
“I have not talked about love, least of all love at first sight, no. But what I have found that night was beyond anything I have ever come across in my entire life.”
At that point, the room fell unusually quiet. Everyone now was paying attention to the old man, including the two princes of Asgard and their friends. Thor stopped drinking and looked at the warrior with a curious gaze, eager to listen to whatever life-changing secret the veteran was about to reveal. He thought to himself that he had never paid so much attention to someone during a feast.
“I was sitting on the shore of the lake, with only the moon and the stars to light the surroundings. It was a very cold night and I had to wear all the furs I had with me to avoid freezing, but… when the spirit appeared, they were barely clothed and also barefoot. They had bright skin and long dark hair. I thought I was hallucinating, but the closer they got the more realistic everything felt. At the same time, though, it was like living a dream.”
He paused and eyed the people around him. They were all waiting in silence for him to continue. He met Thor Odinson’s gaze briefly and then spoke again.
“The spirit approached me and reached out to touch my face. It was a tender, intimate gesture, like one between lovers or between a mother and her children. I saw them moving their lips, but I could not hear anything. Then, the spirit leant even closer and I felt them pressing a kiss on my forehead. I was unable to move or even think. By the time the spirit withdrew I only knew one thing… I wanted to feel those soft lips on me again, at least once more. But I was also at peace… like somehow, somewhere in my tired heart of warrior, I knew I would get to experience that feeling again. And suddenly, I realised I felt… warm.”
It was only when the old warrior stopped talking for the second time that Thor realised his gaze had shifted from him to his brother, who was still looking at the man despite trying to show disinterest. The blond prince didn’t know when it happened exactly – probably somewhere between the words ‘kiss’ and ‘soft lips’ but he wasn’t sure – and now he found himself unable to look away. He thought about the description of the spirit that the warrior had given.
wonderful deep blue eyes
bright skin and long dark hair
He shook his head. That wasn’t his brother. Yet, for some mysterious reason, Thor had imagined Loki’s features while he was listening to the old man’s tale about the spirit.
“What happened afterwards?” Somebody asked.
Another pause. The warrior scratched his white beard and lowered his gaze, looking down at his empty mug on the table.
“Afterwards… I woke up when the sun had already risen, only to find my dead prey from the day before gone. My precious sword was gone too. Thank the Norns I still had my axe otherwise I could not have hunted again and I might have died.”
There was dead silence. But, suddenly, a man from the other side of the table burst into laughter and many others soon followed him.
“Poor friend of mine! You have clearly been bewitched and you have not even noticed!”
Another man patted the old warrior’s back in sympathy. He simply smiled genuinely and filled his mug.
“Indeed! That spirit must have known the ways of magic and probably just happened to be hungry when you crossed their path.”
Everyone seemed to agree with that explanation and while someone felt sort of bad for the unfortunate old soul, others had already got back to their drinks and chats with their friends.
Thor didn’t start drinking immediately. He was staring at the old man again and he could have sworn he had caught sight of something – something he couldn’t exactly name – in the old man’s eyes when they met his own.
“Thor? Thor, are you listening?”
It was only when his brother’s voice finally reached him that Thor snapped out of that kind of trance he seemed to be in.
“Uh, yeah… what is it, brother?”
“What were you daydreaming about? Don’t tell me you feel drunk already.”
“No!” was Thor’s instinctive reply. “Not at all.”
Loki considered him for a few moments, then he seemed to decide nothing was amiss, so he shrugged slightly and had a sip of his own drink.
“If you say so.”
Once the tavern had begun to empty out and the feast was over, Thor and Loki decided to make their way back to the palace, together. Their friends, instead, had chosen to stay a little longer, for Volstagg still had to finish his plate (“wasting food is really bad and impolite, don’t you know!”), Fandral was close to convince a second maid to spend the rest of the night with him (“or perhaps we could arrange something for tomorrow?”), Sif didn’t feel like abandon her friends there (“someone responsible must make sure you manage to get home, you drunk idiots”) and Hogun would have never left without the others.
The princes walked in silence for a little while, until Loki abruptly stopped.
Thor took a few more steps before noticing and then he stopped as well and turned to his younger brother. Loki was gazing at him with a questioning look.
“It happens rarely, especially after you have enjoyed yourself during a feast, so it looks strange.”
Thor knew he should have felt offended by that comment, but tonight his mind seemed to be focused on one thing only.
“That old warrior’s story.”
“What about it?” Loki asked slowly, his expression becoming more inquisitive.
“I don’t know, I just… while he was telling it, there was a moment– an instant in which our gazes met and… I saw something in his eyes…”
“Something like what?”
Thor sighed. “I don’t know. I couldn’t place it.”
“Perhaps, it was just the alcohol having its effect, even on you.”
“I am not drunk!”
“If you say so.”
The blond prince averted his eyes from Loki and looked up at the dark blue sky, lightened by many stars. He tried to think again about the old man’s gaze.
“There was a hint of… sadness.”
“No, wait. It was more like… like he was looking back on that night the story was about and was wishing he could relive it again.”
“You mean he was feeling nostalgic?”
“Aye, that’s it brother! It was nostalgia! But, there was also something else. There was… hope.”
“He did say that he had felt like he would experience those feelings again, after the spirit had touched him.”
“That’s true.” Thor was looking at his brother again now and began to walk closer to him. “Loki, do you think he is still waiting to encounter that spirit once more?”
The raven-haired prince glanced away and seemed to think about it. When he looked ahead once again, Thor was right in front of him.
“I don’t know, brother. Perhaps, you could ask the warrior if you saw him again, but… Thor, can you tell me something?”
“Hm? Sure. What is it?”
“Why are you so interested in this story? For all we know, it could be a figment of an old man’s imagination.”
“Yes, it could be, but…” The blond found himself admiring the green in Loki’s eyes and before he could stop himself, he was raising his hand to cup the raven-haired boy’s cheek. “It intrigued me.”
“Wh–” Loki was about to ask something, but stopped when he felt Thor’s gentle touch on his face. It caught him off guard, that caress, which was unlike the way his older brother would usually touch him, but it wasn’t unwelcome.
a tender, intimate gesture, like one between lovers or between a mother and her children
“What has exactly intrigued you, brother?” Loki managed to ask in the end.
All he got in response was a pair of lips pressing softly against his forehead.
Apparently, his brother was all about surprises tonight. Maybe there had been actually something in his drinks?
When Thor pulled away he also averted his gaze from Loki once again and rubbed the back of his own neck, missing the slight blush that spread across the younger prince’s cheeks.
“You know, Loki, I cannot explain why, but… that spirit the warrior talked about… they reminded me of you.”
“Then, shouldn’t I be the one doing the kissing?”
At that, Thor grinned and took a step backwards, finally giving his little brother some space. They both ended up laughing playfully then, breaking the tension they hadn’t even realised was there.
“But… if I had let you do it, who says you wouldn’t have bewitched me like what happened to the old man?”
“Nonsense, brother.” Loki said, with a soft smirk on his face. “I would never do it. Besides, I am no stranger to you.”
Thor smiled in return. “You are right…”
The blond spun around as he heard a familiar female voice calling his name.
“My friends! I thought you were still at the tavern!”
There were Sif and Hogun standing next to each other, panting slightly as though they had been running.
“You must come back with us!” The young woman kept shouting. “Someone challenged Fandral in a fight claiming that he was harassing his girlfriend. Other drunk folks joined and they started a brawl! Volstagg is helping Fandral, but they’re in no condition to fight! We must go!”
Thor frowned, his expression stern now.
“Go ahead, I am coming!”
Sif nodded and exchanged a look with Hogun before they ran back to the tavern.
Thor turned to his brother.
“Go back to the palace, Loki. I will help Fandral and the others.”
He didn’t even get the chance to object, because obviously his brave older brother was already on his way to save the situation and help his friends.
Loki sighed softly as he watched Thor disappearing in the direction which they had just come from. Then, he turned around and quietly walk back to the royal palace by himself.
It was dark all around the cave. The torches of the hunters were the only source of light. The air was humid, almost stifling and the stone walls were getting narrower.
“This was a great idea. Brilliant, even!”
“Shut up, Loki.”
“Nobody asked you.”
“No, of course not. We wouldn’t have chased the beast and wouldn’t have ended up here if I was to make the decisions, which I am not. Instead, we are fortunate enough to have someone as ingenious as my dear brother to lead us in this hideous and filthy place, despite the clear proof that we have lost the prey long ago–”
“Can someone do something to shut his mouth?”
“Oh, and let us not forget that we chose to ignore all the unwelcoming signs we have been sent since we came in here.”
“Thank you for the summary, Loki. Very useful as always.”
“The bats did seem a little hostile.” Fandral mumbled, remembering how those horrible animals attacked him and caused him to drop his own torch. Now, they only had two: Hogun and Thor’s ones.
“Wait. I think I can see something…” Thor suddenly announced.
“Another threat written on the walls with blood?”
“No, it’s… it is…”
It was indeed a light, but not a natural one. Loki could already sense there was magic in it. Besides, it was a purple light.
Thor walked closer and the others followed behind him. The blond prince went past a tall rock and unexpectantly found himself in a large rocky room.
What instantly caught his eyes, though, was the feminine figure at the centre of it.
She was glowing with that purple – and now stronger – light and she was floating, a few meters from the ground.
“Who are you?”
Thor asked in a demanding tone and Loki had to fight the urge to stab him because was that really the first thing to say after you have entered someone’s place uninvited?
“Don’t they teach the firstborn Prince of Asgard good manners?” The mysterious woman replied.
“So you know who I am.” Thor ignored the question. “My friends and I have come in this forest to hunt a creature that is terrorizing my people and the trail led us here. If you know where the creature is hiding you must tell us.”
“Oh, that is what my pet has been doing then.”
The Warriors Three and Lady Sif exchanged a few quick glances, while Thor – in anger – and Loki – more with curiosity – frowned at that.
“You are saying that awful creature belongs to you?”
“I would choose my words more carefully if I were you, Thor Odinson.” The woman said as she slowly approached the group. “It was not my intention to cause troubles to anyone. I was just… experimenting, but unfortunately something got out of hand. I apologize for that.”
Before Thor could come up with any other ill-timed response, Loki stepped in.
“Pardon my interruption and please correct me if I am wrong. I assume you were practising some kind of sorcery and if that is so, I do hope you could help us sort out this unexpected problem. We would gladly accept your apologies, then.”
The witch directed her glance at Loki, and there was a hint of interest in it.
“You are a seiðr user, second born of Odin.” She stated matter-of-factly. “You need not to ask me that, though. I have been trying to find a way to correct my mistake already and I think I will find a solution soon.”
“That is good to hea–”
“Bring the beast to me and I will give you the solution!” Thor suddenly thundered.
The witch narrowed her eyes at the blond and the purple light around her darkened. “I have already said I am sorry and I swear this will never happen again.”
“No, it will not. I’ll make sure of it myself!”
“I gave my word to father that I would get the beast and I will, whatever the cost!” Thor’s booming voice left space for no argument. His infuriated eyes were still on the woman.
She merely raised a brow at him. “‘Whatever the cost’? My, you sure have a lot to learn, young prince.”
She moved closer to him then and the warriors immediately got into more offensive stances. The woman let out a chuckle.
“Do not move any further, you witch!”
But those who couldn’t move were actually the warriors themselves, as they soon realised when they tried and failed to step forward. Thor seemed to be unable to do anything as well, unable to even look away from those purple eyes before him.
The woman’s gaze briefly shifted to Loki before she leant in and whispered in the blond prince’s ear.
Loki attempted to hear what she was saying to his brother but he couldn’t even try to move.
All of a sudden, the witch stepped back and the God of Thunder’s body fell on the ground with a loud thud and the torch he was holding was put out.
Everyone’s eyes widened in shock.
“What have you done to him?!” Sif cried.
“Do not fret. He’s only sleeping.” The purple-eyed woman replied, but she had a sinister smile on her face.
“He will sleep for a very long time.”
At that, Sif, Volstagg and Fandral simultaneously attacked her with their weapons, but before Sif’s sword could cut her, the witch disappeared in a bright flash.
Soon after, Hogunʼs torch also extinguished itself, due to being completely consumed. Therefore, the last source of light vanished, leaving all of them in utter darkness.
“Hey, be careful! That was my foot!”
“How was I supposed to know? I can’t see anything!”
“What in the– oh shit, I think I have stepped on Thor’s hand!”
“Did he wake up?”
“Damn you, guys, stop moving!” Sif demanded and the disarray actually seemed to calm down.
“We have to get out of here.” Volstagg said.
“Thank you for your clever advice, my dear friend.”
Although they couldn’t see anything, everybody was able to recognize Loki’s sarcastic voice.
The red-headed man’s face twitched in annoyance. “Pardon me, Your Highness, maybe you could enlighten us about how to find a possible way out?”
“It’s funny that you said it.”
With that statement, a green flame appeared on the God of Mischief’s hand, lighting up the surroundings.
Everyone stared at it, and then at Loki.
“You don’t have to thank me.”
“You could have done that from the very beginning!”
“Maybe. But then, where would the fun be?”
Fandral shook his head, Hogun stepped in front of Sif to prevent her from strangling Loki and Volstagg let out a low growl before he bent over to lift Thor and set him on his shoulders.
“Let’s just get going.”
“Are you saying that you cannot undo the spell?”
“I’m afraid, but the only way to make Thor wake up is to follow the instructions the sorceress gave when she cast the spell.”
“Your Majesty, we are sorry, but… we didn’t hear what the witch said to Thor.”
Frigga smiled gently at the warriors as though trying to reassure them. “It is good I was raised by witches and I know something about magic, then.”
When Loki and the others had come back to the palace, Thor was immediately brought to the healing rooms and the All Father and the All Mother arrived soon after. Odin furiously stated that “whoever dared to do this will pay” and sent the guards to arrest the mysterious, purple-eyed woman.
Loki – who had never left Thor’s side, like his mother and the four warriors – doubted that they would actually find her. She was too intelligent to stay on Asgard after casting a spell on none other than Odin’s firstborn.
“My Queen,” Lady Sif began, “if there is anything we can do to help Thor, please let us know.”
Frigga nodded and seemed strangely calm, but Loki knew his mother was trying to contain her worry.
“You are all brave warriors and very good friends to my sons.”
A few seconds later, Loki cleared his throat. “Mother, do you know what we should do?”
He saw her shoulders tense almost imperceptibly. Her gaze shifted towards her sleeping son.
“I have seen this kind of spell before. The only way for the cursed person to wake up is to receive a kiss from their true love.”
Loki really couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped from his mouth, earning a glare from the female warrior and a slight frown from Frigga.
“I’m sorry, mother, but… a ‘true love’s kiss’? It all sounds like an old fairy tale you used to tell us when we were children.”
The All Mother rose from where she was sitting next to her elder son and approached the younger.
“The magic of fairy tales is as real as yours, darling.” And she offered him a knowing smile.
“However, I see no need for Thor to stay here. I will tell the healers to check on him again and then make sure he is transferred to his chambers.”
With that, the Queen excused herself and left. The atmosphere in the room changed then as the raven-haired prince and the warriors awkwardly looked at Thor’s motionless figure.
So he’s like the sleeping beauty now. The thought was too amusing to take the whole absurd situation seriously.
Finally someone broke the silence.
“I think we might as well try… after you, Sif.”
It was Fandral who jokingly suggested it, but the look he received from the young woman had nothing funny in it.
“What? You too said we need to help Thor and we will have to start in some way or another.”
The lady narrowed her eyes as she looked at each one of her companions, but none managed to meet her gaze.
“Do you really think I… should try?!” She exclaimed indignantly.
“It is only for our prince’ sake.”
Volstagg dared to say, while Hogun kept looking down at his own feet helplessly. Loki quietly watched as Sif looked like she was having a very difficult internal debate. It lasted several moments, until she finally seemed to have made up her mind and carefully approached the bed.
She sighed and bent over above the God of Thunder’s face. Holding a lock of her hair to prevent it from falling on her own face, she leant in and gently pressed her lips on Thor’s.
Everyone was on edge as they watched the scene in silence.
When Lady Sif backed away, they all waited with their eyes fixed on Thor. But nothing happened.
Nobody dared to talk and Sif sighed again. Loki could finally exhale the breath he didn’t know he was holding, while no one was watching him.
“Well, at least we tried. Come on, we need to find another way.”
Days passed. Then, days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, but the situation had not improved.
Odin’s guards didn’t find any trace of the witch, nor Heimdall could see her, and the only good news was that the beast seemed to have disappeared with her.
The healers’ ability and seiðr made sure the blond prince survived in that state of peaceful sleep with no bad consequences for his health.
The Warriors Three, Lady Sif and other men and women – sent by the All Father – were travelling across all the Realms Thor had visited to try and find the person who was destined to break the spell.
Frigga had started to search in the library every day hoping to discover an alternative to help her son. At some point, Loki had joined her as well and even though they continued to examine every single book about spells, magic, ancient magic and seiðr, their researches always turned out to be unsuccessful.
“As much as it pains me to say this, mother, I believe all our efforts are in vain.”
Frigga closed the old book, which she had just finished to read, with a sigh and added it to the pile on the table next to them.
“And I believe you are right, my son.”
Now that they were alone, protected by the walls and the many shelves of the huge library – a place where Loki would often go to seek relaxation and comfortable solitude – the trickster could clearly recognize the emotions his mother would otherwise hide when they were in public. She was the Queen, after all. However, Loki was able to see it now. The resignation in her eyes.
The realization of her powerlessness and impossibility to help her own son.
And it hurt.
Carefully, Loki reached out to place his hand on his mother’s. Frigga looked up from her lap and offered him a sweet smile, attempting to appear as strong as her role required. But Loki knew better.
“Your brother will be fine.”
After his mother spoke, Loki felt his eyes widened slightly and he was suddenly aware that his expression was reflecting the same pain Frigga was feeling.
It had been almost a year since the incident happened and, even though a single year was nothing compared to the lifetime of an Asgardian, many people were slowly starting to lose hope.
Even the most experienced healers had expressed their concerns about leaving the prince’s body exposed to the curse for an indefinitely long time. No one managed to find a solution, though.
One by one, all the skilled men and women, who Odin had sent in the different Realms, came back empty-handed and with no news.
The Warriors Three and Lady Sif had not returned yet and for a while, nobody heard anything from them.
The All Father and the All Mother always appeared strong and hopeful whenever they were in public and Loki was the only one who could witness the true desperation behind that façade. Or, at least, he saw his mother’s despair – as she would spend her days either by her elder son’s side or in the library – and simply assumed his father felt the same way, but didn’t show it even to the members of his family. He was Odin. He couldn’t let anyone see him weak.
However, Loki had imagined him: helpless, anguished.
He, Odin, King of Asgard, protector of the Nine Realms, incapable of saving his own son. His beloved golden son.
It was an unusually cold night. A light rain had been falling for three days and was still falling, as though even the sky of Asgard itself was crying for its Prince.
It was around midnight when the doors of the firstborn Odinson’s chambers opened quietly and a slim figure walked in.
He closed the door behind him and cautiously – as if he didn’t know that room like the back of his own hand – he approached the bed on which the God of Thunder was lying down.
“Oh, brother, look at you.” He began once he was next to the bed. “Mother and father are really worried and upset because of you.”
He paused and carefully sat on the edge of the bed. “Actually, I don’t even see our father so often, but mother… she’s easy to find. She’s almost always here, next to you and doesn’t want to leave your side, even though she knows it’ll change nothing.” Another pause and a sigh. “I… I cannot bear to see her like that. It hurts, but what am I going to do?”
Then, for the first time since he had entered in the room, his eyes looked at his brother’s face. “And what about me, Thor? I’m bored. Are you going to do something about it or what?”
Loki wasn’t surprised to see that the expression Thor had when he was peacefully asleep was not much different from the one he had as a child. He remembered it very well from the nights during which they used to sleep together, especially if there was a storm.
Thor knew Loki was afraid of storms and he would sneak in his baby brother’s chamber and slip in his bed. Usually, he would find a very frightened Loki curled up on himself and shivering.
Thor would slip under the blankets and wrap his arms around him and he would whisper comforting words to him and tell him everything was fine because his big brother was there to protect him.
It was only after Thor was officially appointed as the God of Thunder that Loki stopped fearing storms.
Thor had kept his promise. His big brother had become the God of the most threatening sky, so he would control it and prevent it from scaring Loki. So he would protect Loki forever.
The God of Mischief raised a hand and brought it close to Thor’s cheek, with the intention of caressing it. But, instead, he placed it on the pillow, next to the side of Thor’s head.
He leant forward, slowly. His gaze was fixed on his brother’s features.
Then, he closed his eyes and his lips met the corner of Thor’s mouth, brushing softly against the elder prince’s lips.
Wake up, oaf.
When Loki pulled back, though, he didn’t even glace at him and quickly – but always silently – stood up and walked out of the room without being seen.
He couldn’t know that the sky of Asgard was about to turn as light blue as a certain someone’s eyes which Loki liked so much. The same eyes that Thor, in the solitude of his bedchamber, had just lazily opened.
The following day there was a great bustle inside and outside the walls of the palace. All Asgard was making merry and Odin had called a whole week of celebration to thank the Norns, for the Sleeping Prince had finally awoken.
It was Frigga who first find him in the early hours of the morning. Thor was sitting on his bed, with a confused expression on his face, a slight headache and he was also hungry but didn’t feel like moving. His body had gone numb due to having slept for the longest time in his life, but thanks to the healing magic of his mother – who allowed herself to cry tears of joy and utter relief – he soon felt better and full of energy. She also explained to him everything that had happened, about the spell, how it worked and how everyone had been trying to help him.
“Aye, I remember the mysterious woman, but… did I really sleep for an entire year?”
“Almost a year, but yes, darling, you did.”
Frigga was checking his arms and legs to make sure there was no damage and that he could move freely without concern (whose concern she didn’t specify).
“Norns, you must have been worried. I’m sorry, mother.”
She offered him one of her gentle smiles. “It wasn’t your fault.”
And Thor thought to himself that maybe he was actually somehow at fault, but he didn’t want to think about it now.
“How did I wake up?”
His mother paused and gazed at him as though she could find the answer to that question in his light blue eyes.
“We don’t know.” She said eventually.
And it was true. Since the God of Thunder woke up, the healers had been searching for an explanation, a theory about what could have happened, because those who guarded the prince’s chambers hadn’t seen anyone walking in the night before the awaking. The best they could come up with was that the witch who had casted the spell had died, and with her death all the effects of her magic vanished.
Loki, who was among those who found out about Thor immediately after Frigga (the others were Odin and Heimdall), had many questions and no answer.
The only way for the cursed person to wake up is to receive a kiss from their true love.
His mother’s words echoed in his mind.
From their true love. But if that was true, then…
No, impossible. The healers’ theory about the witch’s death was the most likely to be right. What Loki did that night had nothing to do with Thor’s awaking. It was but a mere coincidence.
When Loki went to Thor and his big brother saw him, he instantly pulled Loki in a tight embrace (not as tight as he remembered, though, so maybe his arms were still a bit numb). In that moment, Loki decided that it was for the best to forget everything about that incident.
The Warriors Three and Lady Sif arrived as soon as they heard the news, using the Bifrost.
After hugging their prince, they went for a drink and celebrated Thor’s return all together.