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A Test of Strength

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Thor is always eager to test his metal against all-comers. It is no surprise to Loki when he takes up the challenge to travel to Jotunheim with his friends and bring back the teeth of a feared white bear. It is a test of manhood for any young Asgard warrior and Loki has no fear his brother will be successful. What he is surprised by is Thor’s instance that he travels with him. Thor is nineteen now, handsome and strong, almost grown into the man he will one day be but Loki is a gangly seventeen and three quarters, not having fully left his boyhood behind. He is skilled in many things but swordsmanship is not one of them.

“You told me you did not want to be left home when I went to battle.” Thor reminded him at night, hidden inside the four stone walls of Loki’s bed chamber, kissing each of Loki’s wrists in turn as they were presented him.

“This isn’t battle, Thor.” Loki had said gently. It was hunt. Hunt with a fearsome quarry at the end of it but not a battle of the sort Loki had envisioned Thor going to when he had made his brother promise to always take him with him.

“I could still die without you.” Thor’s lips had moved in a smile.

“Your friends would never allow it.” Loki had dismissed him but then after more kisses he had agreed.

He always found himself agreeing to Thor.

**
“I still don’t see why he has to come.” Hogun said, glancing over his shoulder at Loki. The youth was standing on the key-side, laughing at something one of the other young warriors had said and even as Hogun watched the boy’s hand was resting on the warriors arm, touching him and Loki through back his head, laughter echoing.

Thor looked up from is packing, frowning as he caught sight of his brother. “Because I wanted him here.” He said to his friend. He straightened from checking his pack and whistled. “Loki!”

Loki turned, glowing at his brother. “I am not a dog, Thor. I don’t come for you when you whistle.” His attention returned to the warrior he was flirting with and Hogun shook his head. He’d seen Loki watching the soldiers when they trained, eyes following each movement, each strain of muscle and more than once he had seen Loki in the bathing rooms though obviously at that point the young Prince had considered himself hidden. His magic was not as strong as he had thought or perhaps he was simply relying on the fact that he was a son of Odin and could stare without reproach on his people. Hogun for all he had noticed him had never said a word, never drawn attention to the fact that Loki was there.

It was easier to ignore what Loki was, what he was doing, if no one spoke of it.

One day Thor would notice what Loki was doing however. Hogun did not know if he would be furious then with the little brother that he loved so much or furious with everyone who had seen it but been to tactful to make point of it. Loki was growing more difficult with each passing year, growing into an enchanter and in to a beautiful man. Hogun was not afraid to admit that with the change of time Loki grew attractive. If he had been a maiden then his behaviour would have been understandable if not acceptable, his beauty would have inspired most to look the other way when it came to his defaults but as a man it only made him seem more unsuitable and his flirtations with guards did nothing to dispel feeling.

Eventually Thor would realise that his brother would never be the man he thought this trip would make him. Maybe, Hogun thought, Thor would blame the men who Loki dallied with now for leading him astray. Anything but blame his little brother. As far as Hogun was concerned this seed of corruption had been something Loki was born with.

“Loki!” Thor called again, more sternly this time. “Leave that poor man be and come and finish packing.”

“I have done my packing, Thor. I did not leave it till the last minute like someone.” Loki’s voice was sing-song, mocking his brother but he slipped away from the warrior he had been flirting with and came to Thor’s side. “I am sure we will be fine, Thor.” He said, laying his hand on his brother’s arm.

“I just want to be sure.” Thor said, eyes alight at the prospect of hunting. “This will be the first challenge you have accompanied me on.”

Loki’s face softened into a smile and Hogun felt for a moment he was intruding on a private moment. He wondered if this was what Loki was like alone with Thor, when his sharp tongue was tempered by his love for his brother. It would explain why Thor showed more fondness towards the boy than anyone else in Asgard was inclined to do. Loki appeared to notice then that Hogun was still there with them and his face clouded as he looked at Hogun before becoming blank.

A moment later Hogun opened his pack to discover a snake curled on top of his bedding. It lunged for him and then then faded into thin air.

“Loki!” Thor admonished. His brother only shrugged.

“I cannot promise that will be the only snake on our journey brother. I will need to do something to amuse myself.” He said, moving to board their long ship on which Fandral and Volstagg were already ensconced.

“He does so enjoy his jokes.” Thor said as if that counted as an apology.

“Yes.” Hogun said gruffly. He did not think the snake in his bag had been a joke but a warning. Still, he would not say differently to Thor. Thor did not want to see the troubles with his brother so Hogun would not point them out to him. All the same he would keep a closer eye on Loki through the journey. One such as he could not be trusted.

**
When they birthed the ship on the frosty edges of Jotunheim Thor had entertained half-imaged hopes about Loki’s inability to deal with the frigid weather. He would have shared his cloak with his little brother or better yet have pulled the youth to him, body heat being the only way to truly share warmth and there would have been no strange looks from his fellows because Thor would have been behaving in the way countless warriors before him had behaved when they braved Jotunheim’s frozen wastelands.

What he had not expected was for Loki to fare best of all of them in the snow-capped land. He ran before them, as if running through a meadow rather than knee deep snow, giving his cloak to Fandral who suffered badly from the change and not appearing to feel any ill effects from the weather.

“Magic, probably.” Fandral sniffed as Thor pointed out his brother’s usual resistance to the elements, pulling Loki’s cloak tightly around himself, over his own and Loki’s was lined with some exotic fur and warmer, as befitting a Prince. Thor did not like to see anyone but his brother in the cloak, the colours had been chosen for him and it did not suit Fandral who was not slight and dark haired and beautiful in green and black trim.

Thor nodded, looking away from his friend just in time to take in the sight of the snow ball hurtling towards his face and then to bear the brunt of it full on. Loki laughed, fleeing already further ahead of them and Thor growled, wiping snow from his eyes and forged on after his brother. He left the warriors three in his wake, Fandral grumbling about the cold, and caught his brother on the ridge of an ice hill.

“Loki!” He gasped, lunging for his brother and pinning him in the snow. Loki’s laugh was musical, playful and he was unexpectedly icy in Thor’s grip. “Are you not cold brother?”

“No! Not at all.” Loki said, eyes dancing. “Finally, something I can best you all at!”

“Your ability to withstand cold is hardly something to brag about, brother.” Thor said, annoyed now. His best laid plans were falling apart. Loki was not delicate in the icy world; he did not need Thor’s protection or his embrace. He fared better than any of them and to Thor’s greater annoyance knew it.

“You only say that because you do not like to lose.” Loki goaded him, still smiling. Thor growled low in his throat, the cold of the ground seeping into him and he forced Loki over, intent on showing him that even if Loki withstood the elements better than he did Loki was still a weakling in comparison to him. He misjudged their closeness to the edge of the hill however and sent them both tumbling down the side, into a pile of snow at the bottom. Loki landed sprawled on his chest.

“Temper, temper, Thor.” He teased, leaning closer, his mouth brushing against Thor’s own and at least his lips were hot. Thor gripped him tight, no longer feeling anything but Loki, his brother’s kisses and the way Loki’s slim legs hooked around him, spread to accommodate Thor’s girth between them. Thor had no doubt Loki would be as warm inside as he had always been, as welcoming, and his cock grew hard at the thought. Loki might have grown into a tease, might have flirted with manipulation using his body and his beauty but in the end he was Thor’s and Thor’s alone. Thor had claimed him, taken Loki when he was still but a boy and taught him everything he knew in the art of seduction although Loki had soon outgrown Thor’s teachings. Loki was his though, no matter how pleasing he might seem to others, no matter what he might promise. Thor was the only one to whom Loki was truthful. His body could not lie even if his lips could.
“Thor!” The cry split the air and Loki was off him in a second, startled away like a scolded cat. Volstagg’s worried face appeared over the rim of the hill and Thor forced himself to sit up.

“Do not worry friends, I am quite unharmed.” He called, waving up to them.

“I’m fine too. Not that you care!” Loki shouted, already having marched off along the snow drift. Thor could tell from the set of his shoulders that his brother was not really angry but instead trying to will his body under control. The cold had done wonders for dimming Thor’s own erection but Loki did not seem to have that luck.

“I think we should pitch our camp somewhere near here!” Thor called again. The privacy provided by furs and a tent seemed suddenly the most appealing thing in all the nine realms.

**

“There is one thing I think I might like about the Jotunn.” Thor said. His sword lay before him, gleaming as he rubbed it down. Loki across from him stretched out on the furs and waved his fingers in the air, tracing slow flashes of colour.

“Oh yes, what’s that?” He asked, a yawn creeping into the end of his question and Thor smiled at him. For all his bravado this was still Loki’s first adventure and once they had settled their camp Loki had succumbed to his exhaustion.

“I have heard that they have no men and no women.” Thor said, studying his reflection in the polished length. “That they are one sex. If they lay together then either could carry a child.”

The signals Loki painted in the air faded and his brother regarded him quizzically, one eyebrow raised. “And that excites you, does it? I shall hope we do not encounter any Jotunn then, for their sakes at least.”

Thor chuckled softly. “I am not interested in Jotunn. They are ugly, Loki but I cannot help feeling that they are lucky, in a way.” He placed his sword down and leant across to Loki, placing a hand on Loki’s flat stomach. Loki stared up at him, trying to calculate what the trick was. “If you could have my child, Loki then there would be no one to stop us at home. I could have you as mine and our children would be the rulers of Asgard.”

Loki pushed his hand away, snorting. “Thor, you would make the house of Odin a house of incest if you did that. I am still your brother. Our children would be born with eight legs or three eyes.”

“Our children would be prefect.” Thor insisted, pushing Loki back down into the furs to peel up the boy’s shirt and kiss his stomach. Loki made a soft sound, half-pleased and half-annoyed.

“There is no chance, Thor. I am a man.” He said, swatting at his brother’s head as if Thor were an oversized fly.

“I am allowed my fantasy, brother. You would look good swollen with my child.” Thor stated, pressing his forehead now to Loki’s stomach, the vision of Loki with child one he had long entertained. Loki sighed and stroked his fingers through Thor’s hair.

“You are a fool.” He said but he said it fondly.

Thor shrugged. “One day I will have to marry. It would make it easier if I could marry you.”

Loki stiffened under him, the discussion obviously a painful one. “Don’t talk about that.” He said sharply. Thor stroked his hands up and down his brother’s sides, trying to calm him.

“I have thought about it, what I will do. I need to marry only to have an heir. If I kept you as my consort it would not be wrong. When I am king I will be able to do as I please, change the laws as I want.”

“I do not want to be your consort. That is as bad as saying I am your legitimate whore.” Loki said angrily, pushing Thor away from him, no longer pliable to his brother’s flights of fancy. “And I will not stand by and allow you to take another who has more rightful power over you than me. Your wife would always be more loved than me, more worthy than me.”

“Loki…”

“No, Thor. I said I do not wish to speak of this and so you will let the matter drop.” Loki hissed, reaching for the furs to pull them over himself, hiding himself from Thor’s eyes and Thor relented, rolling back onto his side of the tent. Even if Loki did not want to talk about it one day it would come to pass. Thor could not abandon Asgard by not producing an heir but he could not abandon Loki either. Loki might not be happy with it but eventually he would come to see that Thor had chosen correctly for them. Thor would have a comely wife to bear him children and Loki to whom he owed his heart. That, Thor decided as sleep claimed him, was the sort of wise decision made by a King.

**

“Does anyone know how to track a white bear?” Fandral asked. Volstagg poked at the camp fire with a stick and shrugged his huge shoulders.

“Should it not find us?” He asked.

“Our scent should be enough to draw it.” Loki said, “Or the noise, or the scent of cooking.” He had seated himself further away from the fire than the others, pointedly ignoring Thor.

“Is it much of an adventure if it finds us and not the other way around?” Fandral queried.

“You are right.” Thor said, getting to his feet. “We should try to find this beast ourselves.”

Loki snorted. “You do that then. I will stay here and wait for it to come to me.”

“That is not a real fight, Loki. A real hunter finds their prey. You will never be a real man unless you can prove your strength here.”

Loki looked up at Thor, his expression carefully arranged to suggest that he wasn’t at all upset by Thor’s words.
“Maybe not.” He agreed. “Maybe I will never be a real man as you put it, Thor.” He stood up, stretching his arms over his head as if tired. “I think I will go back to bed, enjoy your hunting, gentlemen.” With that he turned, pushing aside the fold of cloth that acted as a doorway into the tent he shared with Thor and disappeared from sight.

“Your brother…” Fandral began but quailed under Thor’s glare.

“What about my brother?” Thor said, the tone warning enough to be careful.

“Nothing! Nothing.” Fandral said hurriedly. “We really should get going if we mean to find this white bear before sundown. I would not like to be out in Jotunheim when the sun is set.”

Thor turned his back on his friends, muttering to himself and Fandral looked relieved. Hogun leant across to him.

“And for once I thought your charming tongue would let you down.” He teased although for a moment he had suspected that Fandral would say what they had all thought. Loki was taxing and it seemed outside of the gates of Asgard Thor found him just as difficult as the rest of them did but still he would not hear a word against the young prince.

**

Thor and the warriors three hunted until the shadows came, forcing them to return to the camp but they found not sign of the white bears. No paw prints in the snow, no tuffs of fur, nothing to show that they even roamed the land. Loki was seated at the fire when they returned, warming a piece of meat through on a rudimentary spit he had crafted for himself.

“I see your skills were not up to much.” He observed and Thor only growled at him.

“And what are you cooking, Loki?” Volstagg asked, his rumbling at the scent of the cooking meat.

“Rabbit. I trapped it myself.” Loki said. Graciously he shared it with the others, even offering some to Thor who still would not talk to him but at least took the food, tearing at the flesh till he was down to just the bones which he licked clean.

**

Thor awoke that night to find his brother seated across his chest, naked and with his cock already hard, jutting out from a nest of deep black curls the same raven’s black as the hair on Loki’s head.

“Do I not look like a man to you, Thor?” Loki questioned him and Thor groaned, reaching to grab his brother’s thin hips and pull the boy a little further up.

“My words were thoughtless. You do, Loki, you are every inch a man.” He agreed, bending his head to kiss the crown of Loki’s cock. Loki made a contented sound, wiggling forward to push his cock into his brother’s mouth and Thor accepted him, groaning around the length. The position did not make it easy. He could not take as much of Loki’s cock as he normally did, could not suck and swallow him down as he normally did and Loki thrashed impatiently above him, wanting more than Thor could give.

“Loki…” Thor said, letting Loki’s cock slip from between his lips and Loki thumped his shoulder.

“Don’t stop! I didn’t say you could stop!”

“Loki,” Thor repeated, gripping his brother’s hips and rolling them over so Loki was beneath him. “Let me.” He swallowed down the length of Loki’s cock again, feeling it hilt at the back of his throat and Loki sighed under him, relaxing into Thor’s grip. He ran his hands through Thor’s hair, petting at him as Thor suckled on him. Loki’s cock was long and thin like the rest of him, slightly curved and Thor had memorized every inch of it. He knew Loki’s cock better than his own.

Loki was languid now he was pleased, circling his hips but happy to let Thor pleasure him. This was what Thor did not want to lose, these precious stolen moments with Loki. He had lain with women, had kissed and touched and enjoyed and he knew that when he took a wife his marriage would be a full one. He had had men other than Loki and he had enjoyed them as well but none of his lovers had ever moved him the way that his little flirt of a brother had. They were two sides of a coin, he and Loki, and Thor would not be parted from him.

“I want…” Loki said, fingers reaching for the air, grasping for something undefinable and then he pulled at Thor’s head, dragging Thor off him, his cock slipping from Thor’s lips with a wet sound. “I want to suck you too.”

Thor grinned, reaching down to unlace his britches. His cock sprung free and Thor wrapped his hand around it, feeling it throbbing painfully as he anticipated the feeling of Loki’s pretty mouth stretched around him. He still did not know what part of Loki he preferred – his mouth or his wicked little hole – but he partook of each part equally and Loki was always good from whichever way Thor took him. Loki’s beautiful green eyes lit up at the sight of his cock and he licked his lips. Thor groaned, fisting his cock and Loki pushed his hands away, getting down on his knees greedily and wrapping his fingers around his length, mouth stretching over the head of Thor’s cock.

Thor groaned again, head tipping back and curled his fingers into the furs. Loki could hardly take more than the head of his cock in his mouth but Thor did not care. Loki was greedy for him, moaning in the back of his throat as he sucked. Thor looked down at his beautiful brother, at his red lips stretched over the thick cock and fought to keep his hips still. He moved them so they lay side by side, Loki’s head bobbing between his thighs and his brother’s pretty little cock bounced as Loki sought out some friction, his hips snapping forward through the air.

Thor gripped him tightly again, stilling him and his lips sealing around his brother’s cock as his fingers sought between Loki’s cheeks, rubbing over his puckered hole. Loki gasped around the cock in his own mouth, rutting back against the fingers seeking entrance and then forward onto his brother’s cock. Thor pressed one finger inside of him, feeling Loki tense and then relax under the intrusion. Loki had learned already how to take him like this, open to him without anything to ease the way. Thor never wanted to hurt him, not intentionally but sometimes they were rushed and he simply wanted Loki. Loki complained, demanded oil and to be stretched fully but he always took whatever Thor gave him hungrily. Even now he was rocking onto his brother’s finger, sobbing around the cock he was sucking.

Thor knew from the way his body twitched, from the stifled broken sobs, that Loki wouldn’t last long but he crooked his finger, pressing it deeper into Loki and forced his brother over the edge. Loki came, his cry muffled as Thor finally gave in, thrusting into the warmth of his brother’s mouth and he came a moment afterwards, waiting for Loki to swallow everything before he pulled away.

Loki fell back on the furs, his mouth bruised and bright red, a trickle of Thor’s seed escaping from the side of his mouth. He smiled up at his brother, licking his lips and reached for Thor to come to him. Thor swallowed his own mouthful and gathered Loki into his arms, drawing the furs over them.
“This is what I hoped would happen when you came on my adventure.” He told Loki, kissing his forehead.

“I fail to see what makes this different from our times at home.” Loki chided him sleepily. Thor smiled.

“We’re in a tent. It makes all the difference.”

**

“Were you taken ill last night?” Volstagg boomed at him when Thor approached his friends that morning. “We heard you groaning.”

Loki hid his face in his sleeve, pretending to suddenly be interested in a loose thread hanging from it and Thor could tell he was blushing red.

“Yes,” Thor agreed quickly. “My rabbit was not cooked all the way. Loki is no great chef.”

“As long as he looked after you.” Hogun said, his eyes watching the fire dance.

Thor paused, feeling that there was something in Hogun’s words but a vicious roar distracted him. On the rim of the hill they sheltered under a white bear stood, pawing at the ground, larger than anything Thor had seen painted in murals or told in story. It opened its jaws, growling again and then charged.

“Grab your swords!” Hogun shouted, jumping up and drawing his own.

“Loki!” Thor gasped, pushing his brother away from him, back towards the tent. “Hide, Loki!”

“Thor!” Loki protested.

“Now!” His brother thundered, pulling his sword free from its sheath and charging at the bear. Gone was his desire to prove his strength, gone was his desire to be a man. The only thought pounding in his head was to protect Loki from the danger in their camp. The bear raised one giant paw and smacked it into Fandral, sending the man sprawling unconscious into the snow. It reared onto its hind legs and crashed down onto Hugun as he lunged for its heart. It picked up his prone form in his jaws, shaking it till Volstagg bought his sword down hard upon its flanks. The bear dropped Hogun and turned, blood seeping from a wound but it seemed not to feel it, chasing across the ice and snow to pounce Volstagg, tearing at him with teeth and claws. Thor leapt upon the creatures back, trying to drive his sword into the monster’s neck but it reared up, throwing him away before turning on him.

Thor scrambled in the snow, trying to find his sword. He had lost the grip of it when he fell and now he had nothing to protect himself with. His friends were injured, maybe even dead and the bear advanced upon him, teeth dripping red with blood. When Thor died who would there be left to protect Loki?

A piercing whistle rent the air and the bear’s attention was diverted. Loki was out in the ice field, waving his hands in the air, offering himself as prey for the creature.

“Loki! No!” Thor gasped but the bear was already moving, gathering speed as it rushed towards his brother and Thor staged to his feet. Loki would be killed. He had no weapons, nothing to protect himself. “Loki!” He shouted. The bear charged and Loki faded into thin air. Thor stood there blinking, not believing what he had just seen. The bear stood there, obviously as lost as Thor as to what happened and then the ground began to shake. Great ice spikes broke up, the ground splitting beneath the creature. It fought to keep its balance and then tumbled. Thor looked away but he could hear its death cry even so.

“Loki.” He murmured, rushing down to the tents. Loki was waiting inside theirs, just as Thor had told him. He wrapped his arms tight around his little brother, clutching him to his chest and kissing him when Loki tried to speak. “I thought I told you to stay safe!”

“I was safe!” Loki said angrily. “You were the one in danger. I used my magic, I never had to even touch it to kill it, Thor but it could have killed you!”

“When I thought it had you…”

“Then you know how I felt, Thor! Do not tell me to hide. I saved your life.” Loki buried his hands in Thor’s hair, tears welling up in his eyes. “No one else may ever have you. I am the only one. No one else can ever kill you, Thor. That is mine too. Everything about you is mine.”

“Yes, I am yours.” Thor promised him, brushing away the tears and cupping Loki’s face in his hands. “I am yours.”

Loki sniffed. “Your friends…”

“My friends!” Thor remembered – the lifeless bodies, the blood on the bear’s teeth. “Quickly Loki, we must find them. We must return home.” He rushed from the tent and Loki followed him out into the snow.

**
They returned to Asgard bloodied and bruised. There were broken ribs, flesh torn asunder but nothing that couldn’t be healed. None of the warriors three had seen what Loki did, how he had killed the white bear with his wits and cunning. They had begged Thor for his story of how he had slain the beast and Loki had told them wonderful lies, spinning them as he tended their wounds.
Thor had climbed down into the ice cavern and cut the teeth from the bears jaw. One fang he gave to his mother to prove to her his manhood and the other he crafted into a necklace for Loki.

“Wear this and everyone will know that you are a man.” He promised his brother. Loki looked at the necklace, the white fang glinting in the light, and then tucked it into the folds of his shirt, keeping it hidden from view.

“Tell them you killed the bear, tell them the story I told. I do not want anyone to know what I did.” He said.

“But you saved my life.”

“Yes, and I want that to remain a secret. Remember, I am more useful to you if no one knows I am your weapon.”

“Well wear the necklace then and know that I love you and I owe you my life.”

Loki smiled, standing on tiptoes to press a quick kiss to Thor’s lips. “I will wear it always then.”