For the longest time, ever since he can remember, Loki's been enthralled by his sister.
She's different from Amora and the other women that tend to catch his attention, but he can never get her out of his system. No matter how much he tries, Tora's always in his thoughts and in his veins.
And now, on the eve of his coronation, knowing full well what his duties are, all he finds himself thinking of her.
He sits back in his chair and pours himself a drink and swallows down the mead in hopes of forgetting.
But all it does is make the madness for her stronger.
He groans and closes his eyes and tries to picture anything else, but his brain wants to torment him.
He's assaulted by memories instead.
His first memories are of her long hair tangled in his hand as they slept side by side until he became painfully aware that it simply wasn't going to do to share a bed with his sister.
Especially not when he'd have to leave the bed first to take care of his morning erection so that she wouldn't be traumatized or disgusted by how male anatomy had an annoying quirk of standing at attention whenever a warm and soft body was pressed up against it. It wouldn't do.
Luckily, his mother had managed to smooth over situation and Tora had been installed in a room not too far from his.
He thought that was going to be the end of it, but now, having her in a different room and growing up into a woman that made most men's heads turn was even more exquisite torment.
He has lost count of the nights he spent slaking his desire for her to half-remembered sights of her in the practice yard or on her way to the dining halls, her voluptuous form swathed in silver and scarlet silks as she ran to the tables. She was always late, he mused.
She does have her faults.
She's headstrong and stubborn and quick to anger and impulsive.
He has heard his father comment to their lady mother, out of Tora's hearing, that it is a good thing they have Loki to take the throne. Tora, as lovely as she is, would probably have Asgard going into war whenever her temper got the best of her.
But she's also the sweetest and warmest woman he knows.
She, out of all of them, is the one to forgive him his tricks the easiest and defend him and look at him with kindness and warmth and never contempt.
And he has a feeling that whoever he ends up marrying, the poor woman will never be able to live up to Tora.
He opens his eyes and sighs heavily before he drinks down the rest of the mead in his cup.
He really should see about casting some spells for that, or else he was bound to go mad before he would be proclaimed king.
He has to admit that he's never felt such hollowness in his life now that Tora has been banished to Midgard for one too many foolish and rash decisions.
He blames himself for not paying attention to her, for not stopping her when she came up with her foolish plan to find adventure in Jötunheim. The Warriors Three and the Lady Sif have tried to apologize for their part in the fiasco, but Loki and his father have waved it all away.
It is a well known fact that when Tora sets her mind onto something, she won't stop until she gets it or accomplishes it. And she is a princess of Asgard, so she has that leverage over them.
He can't blame them. He can only blame himself, since he has been too busy with the affairs of state to pay her the attention that she was accustomed to. Guiltily, he recalls her looking for him and babbling excitedly about going to find adventure. He had brushed her off with some empty platitudes and had glared at a council that had suggested it was high time that they married her off.
He would have indulged her, not too long ago. But he will be king all too soon. And he is a man, no longer a stripling of a man to run off without a care or responsibility.
He still can't stop the burning shame of having simply stood there as their father had stripped her of Mjölnir and sent her to earth.
Nor can he stop the small curl of satisfaction that seeing her brought down and finally out of his hair brought him. He was getting sick of cleaning up her messes and acting as a buffer between her and the rest of the court. It was with a small sense of pleasure that he thought that before it was all swept away by shame and guilt and the deep sense of loss.
He hadn't lived without her for his entire life. How was he supposed to start now?
He resists the temptation of looking in on her for several days.
(Actually, Odin has gone into Odinsleep, the stress of banishing his daughter finally making the decision for him, so Loki has been busy taking the throne and ruling in his stead. Assuring the populace and overseeing treaties and delegations has taken precedence over checking up on his younger sister)
When he does finally get a stolen moment or so to look for her, he's not surprised that she's gotten herself in trouble.
(Of course she would end up getting detained. Midgard's never been tolerant of anyone going up against the norm. And a six foot tall blonde amazon claiming to be the goddess of thunder wasn't going to get her anything but locked up.)
Despite her penchant for getting into trouble, Tora's always managed to find a champion and this time, it's a physicist, along with an older man and a young clueless boy who must only be helping Tora to get something from her.
At least that's how he interprets what Heimdall has seen. He privately admits that it might be his overprotectiveness showing, but still. The idea of another man getting close to his good hearted sister is galling enough to make him go straight to Midgard to bail her out.
He comes just in time, right after they've detained her yet again after taking out their warriors with astonishing ease in order to reclaim her beloved Mjölnir.
And even contained, with her hair tangled and the ill-fitting flimsy shirt and trousers and the dirt covering her, she's still beautiful.
The sudden demureness and defeat makes his heart ache. He's never seen his sister look so unsure and so worn down and he knows that it would be the same if anyone took his magic from him. Mjölnir isn't just a weapon, but an extension of herself and her role as the goddess of thunder.
So much for his plans to be harsh with her and make her understand the gravity of her situation now that their father is in Odinsleep and he's bound by his office to uphold the banishment until such a time comes that he can repeal it and welcome her back home again.
Those plans are put on hold when the temperature drops and frost forms everywhere.
They have found her.
"The Fates damn, you sister!" Loki hisses as he clings to the bloodied and frost-bitten form of his dying sister.
They both know she is dying. There is no doubt about it, not by the way that the blood is seeping through the numerous wounds that the Jötun inflicted upon her in their quest to destroy the small town that she has landed in.
She would have survived, if she hadn't been so utterly and sickeningly noble. If she hadn't insisted on helping to protect those mortals that had taken her in when she had been lost and bewildered by the strangeness of Midgard. She should have left the fighting to himself, the Warriors Three, and Lady Sif.
But then, if she hadn't, Loki reflects bitterly, she wouldn't be his beloved sister.
"You've always been against me fighting against an empty cause, brother. So why are you angry now that I have fought for something worthwhile?"
Tora asks him, but the gasp at the end and the small amount of blood that bubbles up between her lips. It makes Loki's face twist into grief and the feeble attempt at a jest falls completely flat.
"You had to pick the worst time to get responsible, sister." Loki forces himself to reply, making Tora smile. It would have been a sweet smile if it hadn't been for the blood staining her lips like a parody of the cosmetics that their mother forced upon her during the feasts.
Tora laughs, but chokes, her breath coming in raspy. Loki presses his hand down on her chest, hoping that he can force enough magic into her before it's too late, but she stops him when she realizes what he's doing.
"Let me go and take my place in Valhalla, brother and be proud that for once, I took responsibility for my actions." Tora begs him and even though it pains him, he can't refuse her anything.
She smiles at him one last time before her eyes flutter closed and her raspy breaths stops.
He wipes her face clean. He can do that much for her right now at least.
He hears John Foster behind him and the boy Darcy and their companions. He can taste their grief and it's all he can do to keep his poker face at the answering agony building up in his chest.
They stay in a frozen tableau for minutes until he raises his head and listens.
He finds himself watching her more now that they are in Asgard again.
Amora has made snide hints that Tora is more of a consort than any of the women he's supposed to be looking at and even Sif has been commenting that he's being overprotective when it comes to his sister.
Even more so than usual.
Their mother isn't saying anything about the situation, but she too, has wondered what his intentions towards Tora are.
He's not her brother by blood. That has been confirmed by Frigga and his father and Heimdall. At the most, they're half siblings.
Asgard will accept what he does. He is king and he has proven worthy of the crown after stopping another war with the Frost Giants and bringing back a wiser and humbler Tora.
And the idea of making her his consort is looking more and more like the best thing to do. Tora refuses to leave Asgard and the alliances, as tenuous as they maybe (Balder doesn't seem to mind that he's being offered to Queen Pernilla to cement that tie) are still there. Besides, Loki is afraid that despite his sister's ability with a sword and spear, she will be no match for the lust and darker motives that he sees in some of the possible candidates to be her consort.
(They would try to break her and the memory of her in the Midgardian compound looking so lost and bereft has not left him and he knows that it may possibly never will)
Before the upheaval and turmoil, there were mutterings about him needing to get married and to produce heirs for the throne.
He asks her to be his consort one day after he catches her in her room, with her hair loose and pins in her mouth as she is getting ready for the Midwinter's feast.
She takes the pins out of her mouth and looks at him. Really looks at him before she asks him why.
He doesn't give his answer in words. She won't believe words, knowing full well how he twists them to his advantage whenever he possibly can.
He wraps his hands around her waist and brings her close, his grip loose in case she wants to reject him.
He looks closely at her face for any signs of disgust or fear or anger.
But she simply watches him, her eyes wide in her face as she watches him get closer and kiss her.
She makes a small sound in her throat when his lips press down on hers, but she doesn't move to get away.
Her lips part open instead, giving him entrance once he asks for it.
Her reply is so quiet and so soft that he nearly misses it once he pulls away from her mouth. He's wanted to do this for so long that it is painful for him to stop. But he has to in order to listen to her reply.
Only as long as Mjölnir is never taken away and she is his consort in every sense of the word.
He agrees without a second's pause.