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Running On High

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“Quickly!” Loki laughed, his voice full of mirth even as they sprinted through the hallways, running from what felt like the forces of Hel. “Come on, Anthony—”

“I’m coming,” Anthony replied– but although his words were voiced as a complaint, his cheeks were flushed with excitement and his smile was as bright as Loki’s. “We weren’t all blessed with the legs of a gazelle—”

“No, but even a porcupine could run faster on legs even shorter than yours—”

“Shut up, Loki—”

“In here!” Loki turned a sharp corner, and Anthony yelped as he was dragged along– Loki’s hand pulling at his where they were clasped together. They veered into the library, which – just as Loki had hoped – was mostly deserted, and then dashed between the shelves.

No one in Asgard knew the library as well as Loki – and by virtue of the time they spent together, Anthony – did, and Loki was sure that it would be the perfect place to hide. The shelves towered high and were so filled there was not a single gap between any of the books. And, additionally, the place was enough of a labyrinth that Loki could hope the Einherjar would not be bothered to search the entire place. Yes, it really was the best chance they had of not being found—

Because if they were, then. Well. It wasn’t going to be pretty.

And look, it had mostly been an accident. Loki had even promised Thor that nothing would happen, since it was Thor’s nameday feast, and he’d wanted everything to go off without a hitch.

But… it was the first time that Loki had seen his best friend in months, since Anthony had gone to Niðavellir to train as a smith with the dwarves. Loki had missed him horribly – more, possibly, than was proper for one to miss even their best friend – and the moment he saw Anthony step into the Hall… it was like every promise he’d made to Thor just went out of the metaphorical window.

Loki had stood from the high table and cut straight through the crowd, his smile growing as Anthony spotted him and immediately did the same to meet him half way– and only seconds passed before their arms were around each other in a tight hug.

By the time they parted, Anthony’s lips had turned up into a small, soft smile. “My prince,” he whispered– but he didn’t incline his head as was proper, and the spark in his eyes had Loki’s heart skipping a beat.

But, he didn’t let that show on his face. “I believe that is more respect than you showed me in the entire last century,” he mused—

Then Anthony had grinned, his whole expression shining with the bright, sharp, mischievous smile that Loki had fallen in love with before he’d even really known what love was.

And, well. Things just grew a little out of hand from there but Loki really hadn’t intended for everyone who ate one of the meat pastries to turn into a frog. Honest. He really was only aiming for Thor—

But, for some undecipherable reason, almost every Aesir in the Hall took offence. And so Loki and Anthony had grabbed each other’s hands, and then they had ran with what felt like every single Einherjar nipping at their heels.

And they were still holding hands as they dashed through the library shelves, Loki leading the way to a dark corner in the back, among books that were rarely read—

“Look in here!”

They could hear the sound of heavy footsteps growing closer—

And, panicking—

Loki took Anthony’s other hand in his so that he was holding both, and pushed his friend against the shelf so that they were as hidden from sight as it was possible to be.

“Loki, what—?”

“Shh,” Loki whispered, leaning so close that his lips brushed the shell of Anthony’s ear– and then he jerked back a little, that certainly not being something that he had intended. “Can’t you hear them over there, they… they’re getting…”

library almost kiss

Loki trailed off, his gaze drawn by Anthony’s wide brown eyes. He didn’t look like he was confused, or even worried– he just looked…

He looked…

“We need, to be quiet,” Loki said, his voice a little hoarse.

“I think I can manage that,” Anthony breathed, tilting up his chin—

And Loki just couldn’t help it. He leaned forward with a low groan and crashed their lips together, drawing Anthony into a kiss that he had been yearning for. Anthony pressed up on his toes even as Loki bent further down, their kiss deepening, their bodies pressing closer together.

They only broke apart when they needed air, and even then they lingered together– Loki’s hands still holding Anthony in place, their faces so close Loki could feel Anthony’s breath against his skin.

“I have wanted to do that,” Loki murmured, “For so very long.”

“Not as long as me, I bet,” Anthony whispered in reply.

Loki sucked in a breath. “What?”

“But you must have noticed,” Anthony said, his eyes widening a little. “How did you never notice—”

“I am noticing now,” Loki replied– and his heart felt like it was beating out of his chest, his whole body warm as tingles ran over his skin—

Because Anthony, his best friend in the world, his partner in crime and the man he had been pining over for, well, for long enough that Loki couldn’t remember when he’d started—

Anthony wanted Loki back.

Loki surged forward again, feeling like he needed to kiss Anthony the same way he needed to breathe. He let go of Anthony’s hands to bury fingers in Anthony’s hair instead, and to curl an arm around Anthony’s waist so he could drag him all the closer. Their kiss deepened with slow strokes of their tongues and quick nips of their teeth, losing themselves in the heady sensations that took over everything—

The taste of Anthony’s lips, the scent of his skin, the feel of his fingers tugging at Loki’s hair—

Loki moaned and pressed closer still, crowding Anthony against the bookshelf, pushing him into it, wanting as much of them touching as was possible.

But maybe he pushed a little too hard—

Anthony yelped as the bookshelf began to teeter, his hands grasping at Loki’s clothes as he tried to find purchase—

But that just meant he dragged Loki with him, and the bookshelf went down with an almighty crash– the closeness of the shelves resulting in a domino effect. The noise was deafening, the sight tragic—

“Oh no,” Loki groaned, glancing up from where he and Anthony had ended up in a pile of books, on top of the first fallen shelf– and then his eyes widened when he saw five angry Einherjar glaring down at them, one with a very angry, vaguely Thor-shaped frog sitting on his shoulder. “Uh—”

“Run?” Anthony asked, his eyes bright as he slipped his hand back into Loki’s once more.

“Run,” Loki agreed—

And then, hand in hand, they raced through the piles of books and past the stunned Einherjar, leaving destruction and chaos in their wake as their laughter echoed through the halls.

Maybe they’d get caught. Maybe they wouldn’t.

But either way, Loki didn’t think he’d care—

Because he’d just gained something more than precious, and no matter what happened next, he didn’t think he would ever stop smiling.