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After Geirrod

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Three Jotun bodies lay strewn across the hall, Geirrod’s broken-backed daughters under the remains of the chair they had hidden beneath and Geirrod himself with his chest smashed open behind the pillar. The room smelt of blood and seared flesh from where the hot iron had struck him. By a pillar at the other end of the hall stood Loki, desperately hoping to evade notice. He watched Thor rest the end of the wooden stick he had used on the ground and roll his shoulders, peering from side to side. There was something ursine about the movements, the raw power behind them.

‘Loki,’ said Thor, looking around. ‘You told me Geirrod was friendly. That we might find good cheer in his halls.’

Loki stayed silent and still until Thor’s eyes found him, glimmering red with the torchlight. ‘I had no choice,’ said Loki. ‘Believe me, I knew, I knew he could not kill you.’

‘Without my hammer? Without my belt or my gloves?’

‘Of course. You are the strongest of the Aesir.’ Loki should move, go towards Thor, it hardly looked innocent to freeze like a rabbit before a hawk.

‘This stick was a gift from Grid. As are these gloves and the belt I wear. Without them I might not be the one standing now.’ Thor’s voice was measured but the air prickled with heat, there was thunder in the air.

Then Thor had known this morning when they left Grid’s hall and come anyway? Loki licked his lips, looked down and away. ‘I had no choice. He starved me, for three months he kept me in a box, I had to.’ Thor had been there when he’d returned to Asgard half dead from hunger. Surely he must feel some pity even now?

‘You should have told me.’

‘I couldn’t, he made me promise. It had to be without your weapons, if I’d told you the truth you’d never have come.’

’YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME.’ Thor’s voice was the roar of a breaking storm. He swept Loki up and threw him against the pillar, holding him there with hands pressed tight against his ribs.

Loki gasped and threw his hands over his face instinctively. ‘I couldn't. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please…’

‘Do you think I wouldn’t have come here?’ growled Thor. ‘That I wouldn’t have taken vengeance for what he had done to one of the Aesir? But no, you would rather have your tricks and treachery than ever think to trust.’

Thor let go, dropping Loki to the floor too abruptly for him to keep his balance. Loki sprawled across the stone floor but quickly curled around himself to brace for a blow. Thor turned and walked away, footsteps heavy with anger. Once he was gone Loki dragged himself into a sitting position against the pillar and sat there, breathing heavily, too relieved at being only bruised to think yet of what he should do.