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"Loki..."

"..."

"Loki."

"Hnn."

"Loki."

A rustle of blankets. A shoulder is lowered and the dim light coming from the window outlines Loki's profile. His eyes are closed.

"What's wrong?"

"Tell me again."

A groan. "I'm sleeping, Thor."

Thor turns him completely on his back. "Not anymore" he says, with a smile.

He rubs his nose against Loki's cheek, strokes his face against his neck, breathing in his scent as he leaves behind stubble burns.

"Come on, say it again. I want to hear it..."

"I said it an hour ago."

"Four hours ago. Come on, tell me."

"Nnn."

"I have waited for so long."

"Maybe I should have made you wait even longer" Loki grumbles, while reaching out to meet his kisses.

"Please."

With a huff, Loki kicks the covers off and pushes him back down, pressing him on the bed with his naked, hot body. His hands caress Thor's chest, then cup his face.

"I love you" he says, low, bending down to kiss him. "I will love you forever."

The war is over.

 

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Then one morning he wakes up and his body has a different balance. He sinks back into the pillows, light-headed, and stares at the canopy until his magic has stopped buzzing. He couldn't explain how, but he knows right away. He's... he's–expecting a child.

They're going to have a child.

And for the Nine, Loki would have laughed in the prophets' faces, but this changes everything.

 

"Are you still certain about it?" he asks, while Thor is touching his belly in every possible and conceivable way, mesmerized.

"If I'm not certain of this, I'll never be certain of anything" is the answer, spoken against his stomach.

Rough, warm hands on his back, keeping him near.

"You've still got time, you know."

"Time for what?" Thor asks, disconcerted, lifting his head. "Repudiate you and disown them?"

Loki answers in rather firm a voice, and he's proud of that. "Yes. Three fourths of the council would accept it without discussion. And the people too. Asgard's future king, a half-Jötun? You'll sooner find someone who wants him half-bilgesnipe."

Thor sees through the pretence immediately and his puzzlement turns into anger. "The king of Asgard is half-Jötun" he says with gritted teeth, gripping Loki's hips. "Or have you forgotten? My grandmother was Bestla, daughter of Bolthorn, sister to Mìmir. You're the one who told me that."

"Yes, but–"

"But what? But she – he – wasn't deformed? He wasn't an orphan deserving to be exposed? Because if this is what you were about to say, Norns help me, Loki, I–"

Loki averts his eyes. Thor shakes him gently, still kneeling before him.

"Why do you always have to think the worst of yourself? After everything you've done, after the hardships we've overcome thanks to your constance, too... I don't understand."

Loki lets himself be hugged and thinks that, doubtless, his children won't grow feeling neglected. Or misunderstood.

 

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They don't use human modes of transport very often, even if those have vastly improved after Stark came in contact with Asgardian 'technology'.

It's not a matter of snubbing them, as some like to believe; just practicality. Most of the time their feet, Mjölnir and Loki's seiðr are faster means to reach the mark, be it an emergency site or the mall.

Then, if they use a human transport, they're usually passengers. When the Avengers are on the move, if Loki feels like joining, they both board either a SHIELD aircraft or a land vehicle driven by trained, efficient people. That way they can spend the journey trading information and building a strategy with their ("Your–") brothers-in-arms. It's sensible and convenient, since they need to save their strenght as well. Even if Thor would rather have more control on the situation.

He's used to be in control. He likes to be, after all the life lessons he received, except–

Except when his consort sits behind the wheel.

Sometimes it's required by the circumstances, sometimes they just want to go somewhere by different means. Loki gets that glint in his eyes and Thor knows he's in for a treat (and a few scares).

In fact, as much as his brother has rejected what he was in the darkest hours of his life, at least this one thing remains: he's still a wild pilot. It seems that controlling a Chitauri ship can't be forgotten.

It's something that speaks to Thor's inner storm. Nothing awakens his fighting instincts and his desire like Loki racing through cities and deserts at a breakneck speed, with him as a willing, helpless passenger. His not-brother has made driving Stark's shining cars an art form, all muscle and brain (and magic too, thank the Norns). And this after a life of loathing all the savage rides Asgard could provide, Mjolnir included. It would be funny, if Thor weren't always busy clutching at the car's frame with a good deal of his might.

"You put me to sleep when you drive", Loki says, grinning, and floors the gas pedal.

It's rare for Thor to get a hand on the wheel. He's not complaining, though: sometimes it's good to live just for the thrill.

Flying a plane with him is even better, because Loki was born a magpie with a raptor's heart. In this, Thor of the Thunder is right beside him. It's savage and primordial.

Just like the sex they have when they touch down.

Thor feasts his eyes on the vision of Loki sprawled on top of a hood, of a wing, and Loki draws him near with clawed hands.

"What are you waiting for?"

Thor won't tell him, but these moments make their domestic life even more precious, and a little bewildering as well.

He'd never have pegged the both of them as cuddlers, especially with each other.

 

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"Wouldn't it be better to call an expert?"

This is what Loki asks every time a pipe of the plumbing system bursts. It happens both in their Midgardian apartment and their private villa on Asgard, and it has obviously all to do with Thor's electric excesses and nothing with his own seiðr experiments.

Every time the answers he gets are a grunt and the clang of an uprooted pipe. Thor squats either under a sink or next to a radiator, or in another nook and unbolts straightens tears off. With his bulk it is no small feat. The muscles of his back and arms bulge, while the comfortable pants he wears slip down until they're showing half of his magnificent ass.

Sometimes Loki wonders why they haven't programmed everything with enchantments, like in the Válaskjálf; like civilized people. But he's got to admit that the current view is worth enduring a few inconveniences.

"Do you think you'll be much longer in here?" he enquires.

Thor smirks above a shoulder.

"Oh, I've just started."

He's full of child-like glee. Loki has always thought that a hammer was more suited to a carpenter than a soldier, but he wouldn't have imagined he'd be proven right this way. Inner jokes and sarcasm mix with a good helping of exasperation.

"Well, let me know if you want a real plumber . You know, someone actually capable of doing this job, once in a while."

Thor grunts again, hidden by the sink's cabinet. "Trifles. It will be as good as new."

He emerges just in time for his eyes to catch Loki on the threshold, and he's sweaty, dishevelled and inviting.

"Shower together, when I'm done?"

"It depends on how dirty you'll be."

"Hmm, you like it when I'm dirty..."

Loki chucks a roll of toilet paper at his head.

Thor laughs, then grasps Mjölnir and goes under again, beginning to weld with a miniature lightning. Such prince(s) Asgard has received.

Shaking his head, Loki goes to read a book in the peace of the living room.

 

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Loki likes television.

Nothing of the kind exists in the other eight realms – there may be projections of images and sounds over great distances, made possible by magic, but those are more comparable to phone calls and... video calls than to tv. He didn't believe it would interest him. However, living more or less in contact with Stark and his astonishing toys has such effects. One begins chauvinistically biased and, after a few hours, he knows how to use things he wouldn't even have imagined before.

There are many junk shows, alright. Further confirmation of human mediocrity's reach (but if he were to found a TV channel things would change, oh, he could start with Asgardian history and costume, fashion, his mother's great library, the–). It doesn't lack in interesting shows for people who appreciate cerebral stimuli, though. The evenings when he's free and too tired for a tumble in the bed or two, Loki turns on the screen, sits on the sofa with the green plaid on his legs and flick through channels until he finds the right one. The repetitiveness of the action relaxes him. The physical passivity of the viewing helps him concentrate, just like the silence of Asgard's library did when he was a student.

He can reflect on what he's done, or has to do, take stock of the day.

And now he's not alone. Thor joins him after some minutes, fresh out of the shower. A kiss, an arm either around the shoulders or the waist (if he doesn't opt for lying down with his head on Loki's thighs) and the evening can start. Loki inwardly smiles and counts.

Within half an hour Thor is asleep. For one who lives of movement and noise television is soporific; without an action film on, he goes out like a light.

Loki turns the volume down and watches the show until the end. Then he tunes into a radio broadcasting classics – absolutely not romantic – and doesn't budge from the couch. Lying close to Thor, his breathing or heartbeat near, he closes his eyes to live the peace of their refuge.

Why did he think that the happiest destiny was to be king of a realm? Happiness is being lord of a house where love resides.

 

Chapter Text

 

Tony is going down the tower by way of the stairs to stretch his legs, a frosted donut in his mouth, when at the 40th story he detects tremors, shouts and laughter.

Instinct tells him to make a break for it, but he has no time to react. The hysterical laughing comes closer, accompanied by what resembles a stampede of rhinos. Then the door to the landing is flung open.

Loki leaps out of it like a gazelle. His eyes are gleaming with typical malicious glee.

"Don't destroy my tower!" Tony begs.

"Don't worry, Stark" Loki cackles. "Thor won't be able to do much with that tiny hammer."

He turns at the bottom of the stairs, just before the bend.

"Or maybe I should say tiny worm!"

Thor crashes the door against the wall, dressed only in a towel.

«LOKII!»

 

Tony knows he should never put foot on the floor occupied by those two. He knows. But he always falls for it.

 

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"Did you know that the mouth is one of the filthiest places of the body?" Loki asks from his magazine, crossing his legs. "And that it can house over six thousand types of parasites?"

"No."

"Did you know that only the anus is dirtier?"

"...No."

"And that plaque can facilitate infections?"

"No..."

"After all, if you think about it, spit stinks. When it become stagnant too long, you notice. You know, maybe we shouldn't have oral sex anymore, nor kiss each other, especially when barely awake – just think of all the crawling glazes we've spread on each other over the years."

Thor stops polishing Mjolnir and looks at him with a surly expression. "Are you trying to make me puke, Loki?"

Loki grins from ear to ear.

 

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Loki does love his consort. He'd deny it in distress and under torture, in the difficult situations of intrigue, because the useful, sensible notion of strategic lie hasn't abandoned him. But he wouldn't be alive in the way that matters most (no, not the physical one) without Thor. He'd do anything for him. In the private recesses of his mind, he knows he'd give his life for him.

Sometimes however, and not even that rarely, he'd like to tie him properly and lock him inside a wardrobe. After a good fistifight.

"You're an imbecile."

"Yes."

"A boor."

"Yes..."

"So many attentions, and then? You don't understand a thing. About the court, about me, about what I need and especially want to do. And to think you've been king for a while. Do you believe I enjoy entertaining those dimwits of your courtiers? Or that I'm just itching to find myself as swollen as a broodmare?" He approaches Thor who, at least, now knows how to behave: remaining silent and still. "Do you even remember that the Jötnar have difficulty conceiving and that growing up here in Asgard could have altered my biorhythm?"

A sigh. "Yes, Loki."

"You think that's not a sensitive topic?"

"No."

"Or private?"

"Of course n–"

"And yet there you were, like an idiot, elaborating on the subject with the ambassador instead of deflecting! Do you think the other courts don't talk? That cow, the queen of Álfheim, did nothing but snigger during the last diplomatic visit, when I asked her about her son. Laughter and gibes. Do you know how humiliated I felt?"

"No, but I think you're going to explain it to me."

Loki's eyes narrow and his nostrils flare. "Don't you dare not take me seriously–"

"I'd never do that" Thor answers, catching his wrist mid-air. "But I'm exhausted. We've both had a long day. Couldn't we talk about this tomorrow?"

Loki stares at him, certain he's heard wrong. Then he frees himself with a jerk and abruptly opens his arms.

"Alright! Go ahead and sleep on it" he exclaims. "In the antechamber!"

Grim, Thor refrains from replying; but he exits with a curse.

 

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They stay on the bed, naked and close, catching their breaths. After a while Thor, a cheek resting on the dimple at the top of Loki's thigh, strokes his belly. His hand is big and rough, as callous as always.

"Where do you want to give birth? Here, or on Asgard?"

Loki has already thought about it, and there's not much to reflect upon.

"Here. It's safer: I don't know what effects a journey through the secret ways could have on the baby."

Thor nods, drawing circles around Loki's navel. "That's what I thought myself. I used them twice in the past, and..."

He lets the topic drop. Too many bitter memories, which they'd rather not have on their minds, even without forgetting.

While the amber light of the evening glows with fine dust, they breathe peace and love in silence. Loki feels protected and, for the first time since a long time, entirely happy.

Thor's hand stills, opening like a star on his stomach. The skin there is bluer every day. Soon an Aesir form will be impossible for him.

"Do you already know what it will be?"

"No" Loki replies, stilling Thor's fingers with a palm. "But if you want, I could–"

"No, it doesn't matter." A conspiratorial look. "Let us be surprised... its good health is enough."

And it is healthy, Loki made sure of that. He smiles, ambiguous.

"It could be an ermaphrodite, if it takes after me."

Thor arches his eyebrows. "Is that possible?"

"I think so." Loki lifts a hand and brushes it through Thor's wheat-colored hair, loosening the last little braids.

Thor smiles like the sun and kisses him on his stomach, with an itching of beard. He remains there, listening to a heart still too small to be heard without imagination.

"You're beautiful" he murmurs. "You have always been, but now there is... something more."

"I wonder what" Loki jokes, heart beating its wings inside the cage of his chest.

"That, too. But it started before, when we came back here. You have met people, discovered things... overcome the first ordeal. And now you have" he peers at him from below, intent, "have a different light. The light–of the Fensalir."

Loki inhales slowly. He will always be overcome by Thor's intensity, but to be compared to the golden halls of his mother's palace, redolent of fruits, joy and eternal renewal, is something he didn't know he desired even more.

"Thank you" he says, with difficulty.

"Thank you for being here."