Chapter 1: Near Strike
The battle was done. Loki suspected his war was done too. The Thunderer stood over him, the grim cast of his features illuminated by flashes of lightning that condensed in the air around them both. Loki wondered what expression he wore on his own face. He hoped it was not the awe and fear that he felt. Perhaps it was pain, for the pain was surely more raw than the fear. He gathered what he could of his seidr around him to heal what was most damaged. His screaming nerves were somewhat calmed, the worst of the burns soothed, and the ringing left his ears. The sounds of the final skirmishes rose again around him, along with a low, unending rumble of thunder.
Muscles spasmed as he slowly, too slowly reached for his sword, realising that Thor was also moving, and that he more than had the advantage of Loki. As if moving through jelly, Thor raised Mjolnir to bring her down on Loki's chest. Loki winced and prepared to brace himself for the inevitable and final blow, and even that seemed strangely slow. Only as Mjolnir settled on him did he see that the Thunderer had not moved to strike violently but simply to place the hammer so to pin Loki on the ground. Loki's own hand had not closed yet on his sword hilt.
Realising that his perceptions were utterly unreliable due to shock and exhaustion, Loki stared at the hammer sitting almost gently on his chest. She truly was beautiful. Thor kicked Loki's hand away from his sword and bent to grab his forearm. Loki instinctively attempted to bite, teeth his last available weapon. He tasted the metallic tang of blood as he felt the rumble of a laugh from the large looming figure. Tilting his head upwards to try to clear the darkness that was beginning to cloud his vision, he looked flush in the face of the god of thunder, and Loki could not help but think regretfully how even Mjolnir's beauty paled in comparison to that of her magnificent wielder.
Something tightened around both wrists as he fell into darkness.
Chapter 2: Calm
Waking he knew not how much later, he could not guess at first where he was. It was bright, and warm too, warmer than the dwellings he had stayed in since the beginning of this war. Ah, the Asgardian camp then, surely. He could hear the murmur of conversation nearby. Loki's senses seemed muted, though, and he felt a flash of worry that perhaps he had not healed himself as much as he had thought before he passed out.
Opening his eyes in a squint, he could see that he was on a clean, slightly raised pallet in a large enough tent. There was a hammer beside the bed, a replica of Mjolnir. Strange. Stretching slightly to test his body's ability to feel and to move, he realised jerkily he could not feel the weaves of fate. He stepped on the seed of panic which was about to bloom and centred himself. Knowing that if there were guards in the tent, he would be signalling to them that he was conscious, he decided anyway to attempt to sit as a way to ground himself physically. He reached out to touch seidr, scrabbled really, but felt nothing.
How could there be nothing? He needed to wake up properly. Open his metaphorical eyes. Oof. Maybe start with his physical ones.
He reached a full sit, and looked blearily around the room. There were a handful of figures standing in a circle by a desk near the exit of the tent, obviously in the middle of a conversation that his movement had interrupted. One looked like the warrior with the double-bladed staff whom he had evaded only days before. Lady Sif. Another was most certainly Thor, head and shoulders above the rest.
The world seemed strangely black and white, or misshapen, but Loki didn't think that there was anything wrong as such with his eyes. One of his bootless ankles was chained to the middle post of the tent -like a dog! and both his wrists were cuffed in front of him, a thinner chain connecting them. Better than being trussed up like a game bird for feast, he supposed. He didn't think that the chains were the worst of his situation, however. What was wrong? Something was very wrong. He looked around the tent again and his eyes fell on the Mjolnir replica.
He decided to look away and search for a solution to this mystery elsewhere but his eyes dragged themselves back to the hammer. What. What was it about the hammer? Who would make such a thing? Suddenly, he had clarity. It... was not a replica. He was looking at Mjolnir. It was she. But he had not recognised her at first because he could not truly see. He was only perceiving with his eyes instead of perceiving with all of his senses. His magical senses were blinded. He was cut off from seidr.
He heard a strangled cry and realised it had come from himself. Thor had detached himself from the group and approached him with palms raised, speaking in a low, calm voice. "Do not distress yourself. You will not be injured here unless you give cause." Loki frowned and threw his legs over the side of the pallet, attempting to stand without actually scrambling to his feet. Whatever came next he would face it standing, toe to toe with his enemy. Loki knew without looking that the runic cuffs he had seen on Lady Sif's belt were what was snug around his wrists.
His connection to Yggdrasil had not been severed. Surely not that. He was trapped by the cuffs, that was all. Cuffs could be removed, runes could be altered, erased. He unfolded upwards, limbs stiff and sore, but once standing, his planted feet held him steady as he considered how to respond to Thor.
Thor could want several things of him. A trophy, most likely, or a hostage, a bargaining piece. Loki had wondered exactly which for some time as it had become clear that he was being almost courted by the Asgardian on the battlefield. A violent courtship to be sure, and a painful and frustrating one for both of them as they had ducked and dodged around each other's strikes, but not dissimilar to a dance all the same. Did Thor dance?
Probably with a bluff grace, Loki thought, like the rest of his movements. He wasn't sure how much Thor knew of him, did he even know Loki's name? He had never heard his name spoken on the battlefield, only the curse of 'sorcerer!'.
Did Thor realise he had captured the the third prince of Jotunheim, their shadow prince? The unspoken-of prince, to be sure, but he had never been officially disinherited and his father acknowledged him in his personal circle, if never in matters of state. Loki found himself genuinely curious about how his father might respond if Thor thought to use him as a bargaining chip.
Thor was awaiting Loki's own response, and seemed to be treating him as one would a skittish horse. Loki did not allow himself a slight smile. He was not afraid, exactly. The Asgardian could have finished Loki off on the battlefield, and might still run him through on a whim, and discard Loki's corpse outside the camp like so much detritus, but he had taken enough care to bring Loki back to his own tent. Loki obviously had some value as a prisoner, and this was to Loki's advantage. Of course it was. He quelled a thought he did not think he could endure right then...
Certainly, he could bear captivity and torture if he needed to, even at the hands of this brute, for as long as it took for him to find a way to loose the cuffs. Loki would play the entertainingly defiant captive if that is what was best suited; he could acquiesce slowly but satisfyingly to Thor's supposed mastery of him.
Loki knew how to play such games, giving Thor enough of the appearance a fight to keep him interested and reassured that he had the measure of Loki. And while chained and apparently angrily resigning himself to his fate, Loki could find a way to remove the damnable cuffs, or at least escape to a place of safety where he could figure out his next step. That place of safety would not be Jotunheim, he thought sadly. No safety here anymore.
His impulse to smile faded as he allowed the thought that he had just quelled to rise, and he considered the worst fate that might await him here. Loki had suspicions that Thor's violent battlefield courtship of him was because Thor wished to turn Loki's battle-magic against Jotunheim.
It was the only reason Loki could possibly conceive for Thor's zealous pursuit of him, and careful handling of him here in Thor's own tent. In his most private moments where he fully acknowledged the horrors that this war was inflicting on his soul and heart, Loki absolutely and purely feared that the Thunderer had found the way to bend seidr users to his will.
It was old magic and crude, but effective according to the stories. Laufey knew these stories and had warned Loki of what might happen if he was captured. Loki, in his endless, dangerous curiousity had looked for more knowledge on this and right now in this moment he for once regretted the knowing of something.
It could not be though. The Thunderer was too blunt for such schemes. Surely he merely wanted Loki as a war prize, something to parade before his cheering subjects as he triumphantly rode at the head of his conquering army over the Bifrost into his capital. With Loki out of the war, at least for now and maybe for the duration to be sure, that could be very soon.
Thor lowered his hands, realising that Loki was not going to respond. He looked wary. Loki resisted the urge to say 'boo!'. He saw the others by the exit file out, a few glancing back at Thor and Loki facing each other by the bed, and he heard a few whispers that sounded dark and tense, followed by a chuckle.
The last to leave pulled the door flap closed behind them, and the tent suddenly seemed much smaller to Loki with just Thor in it.
Loki thought back to his first view of Thor, his only real sight of him, which had come near the beginning of the war just before Loki attempted to assassinate him. Walking through the Asgardian camp in stolen green and gold, he had passed the Thunderer's open tent and caught the princeling-king's eye as he bent over a table with papers on it, maps most likely. They looked old from what Loki could see.
Thor had almost been shining in the muted afternoon light, his blond hair held back in braids, his golden skin glowing with vitality, his muscles moving lazily but powerfully, and the blue of those eyes surprisingly clear and insightful. Loki gave the informal salute that he had seen the Asgardian troops give to their superior officers in the camp, and Thor had returned it, with a brief appraisal of Loki that Loki thought might have been more than a general looking over his soldier. Was it a flicker of interest? Could Loki use that?
Probably not, though he knew little of the Thunderer. There were rumours that the ill-discipline of his youth had been eroded somewhat by responsibility and experience. The young prince had spent some time being shaped on Midgard, becoming more malleable and less brittle, stronger and better-forged. He was newly succeeded to the throne of Asgard after returning from Midgard to find Odin in his slumber. Loki had smiled at the thought of seducing the new Asgardian 'king'; a fine challenge, and no hardship win or lose.
Later that night when he approached the tent with knives drawn and seidr humming, Loki had cause to regret those corn-blue eyes and deceptively lazy muscles as the Thunderer came bursting out of his tent roaring in anger and flinging Mjolnir in Loki's direction. Only for his own lightning fast reflexes, Loki might have been crushed immediately. Creating multiple copies of himself, he laughed mockingly at the furious princeling and sent his mirror selves off in every direction while wrapping himself in silence and shadows.
Mjolnir had cut a swathe through his other selves, which was more than a little disconcerting, and as she returned to Thor's hand, Loki could not help noticing how beautiful the hammer was, both in ironcraft and in seidr though so different from his own. Loki felt the storm gather around Mjolnir and her wielder. It seemed the Thunderer depended on her to focus his elemental powers. That could be useful, he knew.
He wondered if now would be a good time to exit... how had Thor known he was there? An Asgardian magic-wielder whom he had not noticed approached Thor as he spun the hammer, seeking to loose her again, and muttered something to Thor that Loki could not make out. To his annoyance, Loki saw her eyes turn towards the place where he stood aside, hidden. Thor whiplashed his head around towards him too and Loki had felt a moment of real fear as the terrible intensity of Thor's anger swept over him. Thor could surely not see him but he knew that Loki was there.
Deciding that discretion was the better part of valour, Loki pulled the strands of seidr tighter around him and skywalked away a split second before Mjolnir battered him. Loki had no doubt that had they gone head-to-head in battle at that moment, one of them would indeed end up dead, and he could not be sure it would not be him.
At least the Asgardians did not appear to have a sorcerer to match him. He would have had to find a way to sidestep them, blind them or destroy them. He supposed it did not matter either way, they would be on the alert now and another assassination attempt in their camp would be futile. His chance to bring the war to a quick and early end had come to nothing, his quest a failure. Loki's father had been disappointed.
How strange it was to think Loki would probably die here in hopeless defence of his home, a home that had never been able to embrace or comfort him. His father was gambling all, and while Loki approved of the impulse, he wondered now if the gamble ever had any chance of paying off. He could almost smell the Aesir on the wind, their heat and magic carried on the harsh eddies of a land alien to them, a land that tried to shake them off. Laufey-King was silent in his capital, but Loki knew he plotted.
I serve my King. Loki had dedicated himself to his duty as his father's son, as his king's subject and once prince of this land. He had had to sacrifice much to become the man he was today, whoever that was.
No. Loki knew exactly who he was, when all the layers of Jotunn, of royal birth, of trickster, of seidrweaver, of shapechanger, of warrior were peeled away. He was Prince Loptr of Jotunheim, Loki of the sky, of fire, of light, of lies, of air, of mischief, of nets and boundaries and edges. But at the core he was Loki, only himself.
Chapter 3: The Storm in Earnest
Loki brought himself back to the present and faced the King of Asgard in earnest, without his magic, without even a knife. His only weapons were his body, which was chained, and his words, which were not.
Thor stood near enough to him that they could have been having a cordial conversation. He looked Loki over, seeming to check that his ankle chain and cuffs were holding fast, and asked in a friendly enough tone "What is your name?" Loki knew that lengthy and brutal interrogations often started with simple questions that the captive could answer easily at little obvious cost to themselves and to which the captor already knew the answer. He saw no advantage to lying so he answered casually "Loki. And yours?" Loki braced for a blow, but none came.
Thor grinned at him instead, a sunny smile that seemed genuine. "Loki. I have been told by your captured comrades that your name is as changeable and as quicksilver as you are on the battlefield. Some even said you have no name, or too many. I shall call you Loki if that is what you wish. You may call me whatever you wish for now, although 'your majesty' would be most appropriate."
Loki resisted rolling his eyes at this test. The Thunderer was not subtle. "'Your majesty?'" Loki rolled the words around his mouth as if tasting them. He put enough bite into it to earn another sunny smile. "No. You are no king of mine, Prince Thor."
Thor did not seem bothered by the lack of recognition of his true title. "No king of yours," he acknowledged. "But I am your captor, and soon to be your master." Loki saw a curious expression in Thor's blue eyes now, searching and perhaps a little pitying.
Affecting nonchalance, Loki did not respond but the smallhairs on the back of his head and arms rose as Thor reached out and touched the cuffs encircling Loki's wrists. He wondered if the cuffs had been soldered on. He wondered if Thor himself had the raw strength to tear them off. He wondered anything except at the white hot feeling that had suddenly started to blossom where he felt Thor's fingertips touch his hand.
"Loki. I will use you as a tool to end this war. I treat my tools well and prefer not to break them as long as they are fit for purpose and as long as the end is worth less than the tool itself. So mark this, I will break you if I must, but I prefer to not. I tell you this out of ...kindness I suppose. The only kindness I can show you while we are enemies and I your master. You may retain your sense of self while you serve me, unless it proves too troublesome for me or if it must be broken by me in pursuit of a larger prize."
So. The Thunderer had come right to the heart of the matter. Loki took a deep breath. Not a gasp. No. He would hold to his dignity. Thor's words made clear that Loki could no longer pretend to himself that his fate here was something he could shape. His only, futile, hope to avoid a horrific fate was to provoke the Thunderer into killing him.
He tried to calculate to what extent Thor would physically cripple him if Loki tried. As far as he had to in order to force Loki to comply, he was sure. And no doubt Loki would be bound to serve anyway, afterward; he did not need to be fully physically able to summon seidr. He took another, true, deep breath and made his choice.
No surrender to the invader. He would defend his own autonomy to the very extent that he was able, whatever the consequences. Distantly, he wondered how his father would use this turn of events to his advantage, for Laufey-king surely had plans for this eventuality. He had told Loki as much.
Thor was still talking. "You must know that your seidr is bound, though I swear by looking at you that you face me as if we were still equal in...". Thor cut off with grunt as Loki, snake-fast, drew back his head and rammed it into the Thunderer's face as hard as he could.
Thor, damn his eyes, reacted just fast enough that Loki missed his nose and Loki's forehead instead crashed into his cheek. Well, he'll wear a black eye for this at the very least. I'll be lucky if I end up wearing only the same in retaliation. Loki attempted to grab Thor's left wrist in his cuffed hands to flip him and lashed out with his foot but the chain caught him short. Thor recovered himself enough to instead catch both of Loki's wrists and pull him off further off balance.
As Loki panted and struggled to stay on his feet, Thor pulled him closer, grabbed the back of his head and... yes, to Loki's utter shock, he kissed Loki. The intrusion in his mouth was so unexpected that Loki stopped struggling for a moment. As quickly as it had invaded, Thor's tongue slid back out and Loki realised that the only reason he was on his feet at all was that Thor held him in place. That instant, Thor threw him backwards on the pallet, and followed.
Loki raised his legs to kick Thor in the chest and force him away, only for Thor to grab the chain attached to Loki's leg and yank, pulling Loki diagonally and grabbing him by the shoulder. He easily flipped Loki on his stomach and straddled him as Loki ate a mouthful of wool blanket.
Loki was furious at how easily the Thunderer had overpowered him. No matter that Thor was physically the stronger, seemed relatively uninjured, and was not fucking chained, Loki should have been able to outsmart him, misdirect him if only for a few moments. Instead it was Loki who had been quickly and utterly subverted.
He was well and truly caught now, having failed to induce the Thunderer to lose control and outright kill him. On the other hand, Loki was not any worse injured than he had been. He had to take that as a positive outcome. It was the least worst of the remaining possibilities. He did not truly wish to die, but he soon might wish he had.
"Well, you made my task a little easier and a little less unpleasant by biting my arm when I captured you, sorcerer," Thor grumbled as he pulled Loki's arms again over his head and pinned them with one hand. "The magic of essences is a primitive one and distasteful. I truly did not relish the thought of forcing you to imbibe my blood but you did so voluntarily."
Loki found himself utterly stunned by these words and again, stopped struggling for a moment. So it was true, the Thunderer had discovered how to bind the will of a seidr-user to his service. This was really happening. He struggled to absorb it, to accept it, because if he allowed shock and horror and revulsion and fear to dictate his handling of this, then he was helpless.
Deal with the world as you find it, not as you wish it to be, a memory of his father's voice rose through the white noise that threatened to overwhelm him. This was going to happen. There was nothing he could do to prevent it.
He was going to be raped by the Thunderer. Not only would he have to bear the violation and the pain, by taking in Thor's essences, Loki would bound by ancient magics to Thor's will. Blood, spit and seed.
He had already ingested Thor's blood and spit, and after Thor came in him, he would be too tightly bound to break free even if he was allowed again access to his seidr. He had known it the moment Thor had forced his tongue into Loki's mouth, known Thor's intentions and Loki's unavoidable fate, but curse his weaknesses, he had pushed the thought away in the hopes that Thor was simply asserting his dominance over his prisoner.
He had to face this with clear sight. With focus. He felt Thor reach for Mjolnir and place her on Loki's wrists. He grunted at the weight, which was not painfully heavy but utterly immovable. He reflexively tried to shift Thor off his hips but the man was just as immovable.
The leg chain was taut at his ankle and he felt Thor roughly pull his leather breeches down from his waist and place a large warm hand on his buttock. Thor paused, and then moved his hand to the small of Loki's back where his tunic had ridden up.
"You are scarred here," he said wonderingly. He pushed the tunic further up Loki's back as his fingers traced a jagged line. "A burn, like a lightning bolt." "I accept your apology," Loki gritted. "But really, it's nothing. The least of my worries." Thor fell silent for a moment and then swept his hand over Loki's back.
"I will hurt you as little as you allow." He sounded regretful. "Pain is not the issue," spat Loki. "Nor even always unwelcome. You spoke of kindness. If you want to be kind, kill me now. Or have your way with me if you wish, and then kill me."
Thor made a noise and stilled his hand for a moment. He resumed his stroking of Loki's back, maddeningly soft but with strength, and in different circumstances Loki would have enjoyed the touch, leaned into it, demanded more strength and less softness as the touch progressed.
Appearing to come to a decision, Thor knelt one knee on Loki's lower back and reached for something out of Loki's field of vision. Loki saw the glint of a knife and to his surprise managed to tense even more. He did not truly want to die. The rip of a blade merely cutting leather was a relief, despite everything.
His torn tunic was pulled roughly from him, followed by his breeches, now only sliced rags. Thor ran his hands over as much of Loki's naked body as he could with Loki pressed belly-down on the bed, caught between Mjolnir weighting his wrists and Thor's knee on the small of his back.
So Thor had decided to inspect the full buffet on offer, had he? Settling in for a night of entertainment perhaps. Loki could cope with the violation, he could, but the humiliation...that would burn.
Chapter 4: The Road to Hel
The scar on Loki's back was a wild thing, a vivid and tangible reﬂection of Thor's power. He felt a rush of pleasure at having marked his fallen enemy's pale skin so deﬁnitively. There were none who would see it and not know who had placed it there. Thor bent and ran his tongue up it from the base at the small of the sorcerer's back to his left shoulder.
The sorcerer shivered and Thor felt the skin beneath him goosepimple. The scar did not appear to hurt Loki and indeed had the appearance of being an old, long-healed hurt, but Thor knew that this scar was the mark of the lightning strike that had felled the sorcerer in what was surely had been their ﬁnal battle.
And now, he was so close to completing the ritual to bind the sorcerer to him. Thor had not seen the final part of the ritual as a sexual act at all. He had intended it to be a perfunctory and joyless thing, a necessary performance of a biological function giving he himself minimal pleasure and cause his...partner...minimum discomfort. But the man's recalcitrance, his refusal to yield, to acknowledge Thor's attempts at decency in these circumstances where none was due of him was beginning to anger Thor.
He thought now to teach his soon-to-be-slave an early lesson on his new role. Thor would soon be the Jotunn's master, and his slave needed to learn that Thor could deliver pleasure or pain, or both, at a whim. And Thor deserved an indulgence for his great victory in finally subduing this elusive and destructive monster, a pleasure taken in the throes of a combat won.
Monster he may be, but the sorcerer was quite beautiful really, well made and shaped by the physical demands of war, lean and strong. Thor stroked his shoulders, back and thighs with both hands to enjoy the sensuality of it and to relax Loki if he was open to it. He reached around to stroke the chest and ﬂat planes of the sorcerer's stomach. Thor was suddenly brought back to himself as Loki shivered again, and he withdrew his hand. Was that revulsion? It could hardly be anticipation. This was no post-battle celebration for either of them, no comfort or pleasure in the arms of a willing comrade, desperate to celebrate their survival in the most fundamental way. This was rape. Thor almost changed his mind again.
Was it necessary to go through with this? Would it not be enough that the seidrmaster be simply cut off from his magics? Thor might be able to ransom him handsomely in the capital after the war was done, he must surely be of value to someone with inﬂuence.
Hmm. Not Thor's concern of course. He was just distracting himself. Trying to delay the inevitable. Trying to avoid thinking about how much he was beginning to want to do this dishonorable thing to a man who seemed brave and honorable in battle despite his race. As if Loki could hear his train of thought, the sorcerer shifted under him slightly so he could turn his head to the side and speak clearly. "What are you waiting for, my prince? Get it over with."
Loki carefully looked at the possibilities, and came to realise that he had no choice but to accept this, all of this. Loki could beg, which would likely provoke stomach-turning compassion from the Thunderer, judging from his speech on 'kindness' moments ago, but change nothing.
Loki did not intend to give the King of Asgard an opportunity to reassure himself of his magnanimity in this. No. He could try to reason, or to bargain, or ask for mercy and death again, which would only result in the same. Ugh. No. He could fight with no hope of winning, and be enslaved anyway as he squirmed and mewled and fruitlessly, foolishly and fearfully resisted the inevitable while speared on Thor's cock. No no. It's what he wanted to do, so much, so badly, but he had better control of himself than that.
Fine. He would face it as proudly and peaceably as he could. He would have slavery, ha, thrust upon him with as much grace as he could manage. Since he had no choice, he would accept defeat.
In the face of the larger problem of enslavement, a mere rape seemed far easier to get his head around. His focus returned to the physical. The Thunderer's hands were on his back. Hands? So Thor was palming Loki's shoulders and back with both of his large warm strong hands, and one moved to his chest and stomach, then down to his thighs.
It was pleasant, in the moments Loki could focus on it beyond the ﬂuttering fear that imminently he would be roughly opened by those strong ﬁngers and even more roughly fucked. Loki had a very strong appreciation of the role of pain in the pursuit of pleasure but without consent, without respect, pain was a base and ugly thing to have to accept. Especially if accompanied by violation.
He sighed quietly. Oh, perhaps he was relaxing. He supposed Thor might want to ease his way in, take his leisure with pleasuring himself. Well, the worst is about to happen, he thought calmly. And the worst wasn't even going to be having the Thunderer's cock up his ass. He bit down a laugh as he felt the self-same cock, large and hot, press against his thigh. His own cock stirred in interest. Traitor, he thought bitterly, and shivered.
Thor paused in his exploration of Loki's body. The hell with it, he thought. Let's get on with this. Tired of being completely passive in his own ruination, he turned his head to the King of Asgard and said "What are you waiting for, my prince? Get it over with."
The Thunderer growled at Loki's taunt, reached for something out of Loki's line of vision, and Loki felt oil pool in the small of his back. This time Thor ran just a finger thoughtfully from Loki's hairline down to where the oil, cool and slick, warmed. Loki wasn't sure why the gentle touch repulsed him this time but he felt his whole body shudder, and nausea rose. Perhaps it was the intimacy of the gesture, so incredibly violating in the circumstances. It was fine, it was going to be fine, he had endured rougher touches than this, willingly and unwillingly.
He felt Thor's hand cup the warmed oil gathered in the hollow of his lower back and gently push it so it crested over his buttocks and ran down the crack in between, pooling between his legs and sending irritatingly sensuous signals into his groin.
Thor gave some slack on the leg chain and Loki was pulled up by the hips so his ass tilted in a more accessible angle. He gritted his teeth and did not kick out. A large finger started to circle his hole, and he felt Thor's cock, still pressing against Loki's thigh, twitch. Annoyingly, his own twitched in response.
Thor fisted his other oiled hand around Loki's cock and gave a gratified grunt at what he found there. He did not taunt, for which Loki had enough grace to be grateful. So what, anyway, if the King of Asgard got him a little excited by overpowering him, tying him up and forcing himself upon Loki.
Loki had been thus aroused by far lesser men. Norns, that was true. He could feel the sheer thickness of Thor's muscled thighs behind him, the heat of his groin, the hard planes of his stomach, the strong grip on his cock, the finger tapping at his entrance...shut up you fool, this is not sex play, he's about to fuck you hard and then cheerfully destroy your true self. Not a game, a competition. The prize is your soul, and you haven't a hope of winning.
Thor began to work Loki's cock in earnest, a little clumsy at first but not unwelcome, and soon had Loki hard and panting and barely thinking of the finger at his hole as other than making a pleasurable counterpoint to his throbbing cock. "Deep breath," said Thor and to his disgust, Loki obeyed.
As he exhaled, Thor pumped Loki's cock and slid his finger halfway into Loki's ass. Loki hissed, more for effect than anything, as a warning to be gentle that he hoped would be heeded. He got a hot wet not too gentle bite by his neck in response, Thor now leaning over him so he could feel the heat of his chest on his back and shoulders.
To Loki's disappointment, Thor's hand left his cock to grab his hip while Thor worked the finger in and out of him. Loki soon relaxed into it and a second finger joined the first, not painfully. More oil, another finger. Thor's hand returned to Loki's cock. Loki wasn't usually one for rushing things but the dread was beginning to overtake him again. "Alright," he panted. "Enough. You've made your point, I'm not being left bloodied and used. Finish this. Do your worst."
He could feel Thor's eyes on him, intense, but he refused to turn his head enough to meet his gaze. He tried to lean into the feeling of arousal as Thor shifted over him again, large and dangerous, and he gasped when Thor's hand splayed beside his shoulder so Thor could brace himself.
He had a brief moment of regret that he had not kept himself aloof from the Thunderer's ministrations, hadn't made Thor really work for the balm he craved for his conscience, but what the Hel, if his last choice as a free man was to get a good fucking from his heartsworn enemy, it was fitting enough.
He took another deep breath, knowing that when he started to exhale, that would be the last time he did anything that was not at the grace of his master. Magical binding would enslave him to Thor once Thor came in him and completed the ritual. True enslavement, the loss of will. It would probably happen almost immediately as he was penetrated; he was sure he could feel Thor's precum mingling with the oil he had used to ease his way.
Blood, saliva, seed, the trifecta of essential fluids that, along with an ensorcelled runic item, bound a seidrmaster to another's will. Loki would be forced to acknowledge his rapist as his master, and be unable to disobey him. If Thor told him to be grateful to his master for binding Loki to him, Loki would lick his hand like a faithful hound and believe himself blessed for the kindness. Kindness! The Asgardians knew nothing of it that he had seen.
He let the breath go slowly, and closed his eyes, and felt the head of the Thunderer's cock push gently against his asshole. He had not even had an opportunity to look at what was about to enter him. He would like to have seen Thor's cock once, before the binding began to bend his thoughts. Loki irritably acknowledged that it was probably as magnificent as the rest of him. Ugh. The sharp pain of the breach sent quivers radiating from his intimacy, not entirely unpleasantly, and a dull ache began to grow in his bowels.
Thor paused, thankfully, to give the ring of muscles a moment to adjust and Loki hoped it would be enough to avoid cramp. Thor was unsurprisingly big. Loki knew this sensation though, it felt good though quite sore, and could become something exquisite if handled expertly. Thor withdrew almost fully and with another reasonably gentle thrust, pushed further in.
Out of nowhere, Loki suddenly felt utterly panicked, for no reason he could fathom. What...? Why? He had made his peace with this, he had! He had allowed Thor to prepare him, he had been gentle with himself and allowed himself to co-operate... As Thor withdrew a second time in preparation for thrusting one final time before beginning to fuck him in earnest, Loki was overwhelmed by a wave of terror, and he bit down on his lip to stop himself from wailing. He would not disgrace himself in front of his land's despoiler, he would not!
Thor congratulated himself on guiding Loki to a relatively painless coupling; maybe even some mutual satisfaction might be won from it, the sorcerer seemed to have come to some accommodation with his fate. Thor was relaxing into the task when he suddenly felt Loki go as taut as a drawn bow. The man appeared to be trying not to scream. "Loki, calm yourself!" he snapped. Thor withdrew his cock as gently as he could.
The sorcerer immediately relaxed, though he shuddered and panted like he had seen the shades of Hel beckon to him. "It's almost over," said Thor, more reassuringly. Loki nodded again and his breathing began to slow. He looked wrung out. Thor wondered for a moment if it was a trick, but decided if it was, the sorcerer would not get far with the cuffs.
He removed Mjolnir which was keeping his hands pinned to the bed, and went to turn Loki around to face him. He thought perhaps it would be less degrading to fuck the sorcerer face to face, as lovers or friends might. "Come, I would have you on your back." "NO!" Thor almost recoiled with the force of Loki's response. "You will not make me look you in the face while you fuck me!" Loki was panting and, braced up on his elbows, still facing down on the bed with his back to Thor. "Please, for pity's sake, finish, I cannot bear it." Thor found himself utterly on the back foot, with no idea what to do, or even what to think or feel.
"Come now, King of Asgard," Loki sneered. "Fuck me. Finish it. I know you want to master me as much as you want to master this land, and cast us aside once you're done." Looking over his shoulder, he knelt up further so his ass was at an easy angle to access. He looked every image of the teasing pleasure worker.
Thor lost his patience. He had done everything he could to make this easy. If Loki could not accept kindness then he would have to take Thor as raw and elemental as he was. Thor approached Loki from behind and, grabbing his hips roughly, positioned his cock and slammed in as hard as he could.
The oil and preparation surely eased the way yet, but he heard a gasp of pain and saw Loki drop his head down as Thor bottomed out inside him. He set a punishing pace, not allowing himself to regret the cruelty. He could see sweat dripping down Loki's back and as he leaned over Loki to change the angle, saw that his face was sweating too, his eyes closed and his mouth making gasping sounds that would be delicious if Thor hadn't known that they were driven from the sorcerer by pain instead of pleasure.
He was too caught up in his impending peak to be ashamed that those sounds spurred him thrillingly onwards. Suddenly, he realised something so shocking that he lost his rhythm. Loki was bracing himself on one hand only. He couldn't be...was he pleasuring himself with his free hand? Loki opened his eyes as Thor stuttered to a halt and looked back at him, green eyes glaring furiously.
It was enough to drive Thor over the edge and for a moment he lost all sense of anything but his own, cresting self, coming inside Loki, spurting rope after rope of come inside his sorcerer. As he came down, he thought - he was sure- that Loki was only moments behind him. They both collapsed, Thor still inside and on top of Loki, seed spilling out around Thor's cock, mixed with oil and blessedly, no blood.
Loki lay face down on the bed panting and trembling, his legs and arms no longer able to support him, never mind the heap of Asgardian muscle collapsed on top of him. Oaf. It was a comforting feeling in a strange way. He had fucked out Thor as much as Thor had fucked him. Loki was annoyed at how hard he had come from the unwillingly base use he had been put to, but he supposed he had better get used to it.
He could feel the runic magic on his wrists and the magic of essences within settle on him, it was almost like a collar around his neck. All Thor had to do was twitch it. He had felt it without realising what it was in the moment before his panic. He had not had enough of a sense of self to feel his ownership of his self slipping away out of his grasp, concentrating as he had been on the aching pleasure of the Thunderer in his intimacy.
So, it was done.
He tried to roll Thor off him, but he needed the Thunderer's dazed co-operation. He rolled on his back and felt Thor's seed slipping out and down his ass on to Thor's pallet, mingling with his own. Thor moved and threw an arm over him, still looking worse for wear. Loki wondered how he himself looked.
Thor watched him for a moment with a curious expression and said "Your master is Thor Odinson, King of Asgard." Loki swallowed, feeling the knowledge settle on him, old knowledge now, reinforced. "SAY IT." "My master is Thor Odinson," Loki said in a toneless voice. He had not tried to resist, he just followed the impulse that rose in him to obey. Interesting, there appeared to be some flexibility in the bond. He had not been forced to parrot Thor, but he was compelled to honour the spirit of his master's instruction.
There was some freedom in this at least. He could still deny Thor his title by simply treating it as an unimportant detail. Let Thor directly order Loki to call him king if acknowledgement meant that much to him.
The deep-in-his-bones understanding of his new reality was accompanied by a profound sadness. He was glad he felt so deadened, he would not want to cry for Loki Laufeyson. Would his father? Wisps of seidr from his binding still surrounded him. It was ancient and powerful magic and he could taste it even with the cuffs muting his senses. Pulling the slivers he could taste towards him, he wondered if he could make use of them to break the cuffs.
There was no reason to do that now as once he received instructions from his master, he would surely be allowed what was his again, safely managed by his master's orders. But right now, he had no orders other than acknowledgement of his master, and so he was still free to try. A last moment of utterly pointless rebellion to show that even bound, he would fight on his terms. Anger rose in him then, briefly, and he rode the stray wisps of magic back to the source and used them to lever open the door to where his own was locked away.
For a moment, he was hovering above the Tree of Life, basking in its glow. The door to his seidr opened a crack, and with a roar that he hoped was heard in all the Nine Realms, he opened his eyes in Thor's tent and poured everything he could into tearing away the runes on those blasted cuffs. At worst he would destroy his own connection to Yggdrasil, or die.
The sorcerer was trembling. Thor threw his arm over him in some kind of an attempt to pin him down even though he seemed in no shape to go anywhere immediately. Loki was in shock, as well he should be given what he had just endured. The repugnance writ large on Loki's body made it clear that the sorcerer had hated every touch inflicted on him by Thor. Thor had seen for himself the sorcerer taking his pleasure, and realised it was a kind of resistance to Thor's attempt to subjugate him. This man would not be easy to tame, binding or no. "Your master is Thor Odinson, King of Asgard."
He wasn't sure what telling the sorcerer this would achieve. Thor was frightened now, a feeling with which he was not familiar. He needed the sorcerer to tell him that Thor was his master, that the ritual had worked, that this had not been for nothing. "SAY IT." If the ritual had not worked, it was pointless, as the sorcerer could simply lie. But Thor felt he would know somehow now if Loki lied or otherwise disobeyed him. "My master is Thor Odinson," Loki intoned after a moment.
Thor almost smiled. He could feel the truth of the statement. But also, Loki had refused to say it exactly as Thor had spoken it, and had omitted his title. He had a feeling that this meant that Loki had retained some of his spirit. Ancient as this ritual was, the knowing of how it worked was not detailed, except that the subject had to obey the caster as a slave obeys his master. He had worried that the sorcerer would be rendered a mindless drone, and that seemed more of a shame now than he had originally thought when first considering it.
He looked more closely at Loki. There was no more life in his eyes than that of a gutted ﬁsh. Perhaps it had affected his mind after all? Loki seemed to be looking inwards for a long moment, then came to himself. Suddenly, so suddenly that Thor almost jumped, Loki threw off Thor's arm in sitting up, snarled with rage, and it was with a deep throb of fear that Thor realised that the sound on the edge of his hearing was cracking of the runic cuffs as a wave of energy surged from the sorcerer and washed over Thor, buffeting him.
He heard minor cries of distress and confusion in the camp indicating that the wave had spread beyond his tent. "Stop, Loki!" he cried. Loki sat glaring at him, chest heaving in deep, angry breaths. He realised that Loki had already stopped casting by the time he had spoken. One of the cuffs had a hairline crack across a rune.
He needed to get this crazed sorcerer under control immediately. Thor was very unsure of everything, and he hated being unsure. At least his awful actions had not been for nothing, he reassured himself in his most confident inner voice. He knew that rape was the only completely inexcusable crime. And, anothaer voice said, a voice that sounded a little like his mother, he had also enslaved another person. What was slavery if not the rape of everything a person is?
Chapter 5: Invisible Bindings
Loki stopped. He had stopped anyway, shocked and drained. He had not needed a command from his master. He sat, and he breathed, and listened to his heartbeat but otherwise ...stopped. He knew Thor was unsettled and he was glad. Had he seen the crack in the cuff? Only one cuff was necessary to bind his seidr, the other reinforced the binding. He was still bound by the remaining cuff but he might be able to overwhelm it eventually.
The cuffs were no longer the problem. He was bound in essence, now.
He should be glad that he had found a way to overcome the cuffs, at least. After all, it should have been impossible to do so. But as always he had found an opening, an exit, a pathway. He was still himself in that at least. He waited for a command from his master. He did not care if one did not come. But there might be a time, when he recovered himself, that he could care again about openings, exits, pathways.
Thor stood and wrapped a cloth around his waist. Looking down at a still Loki, he placed his hand gently on his jaw and tilted it so they were looking at each other. Thor winced at the raw vulnerability he saw in Loki's face, the resignation in his eyes. It was necessary, he reminded himself. He would not break the sorcerer if he could avoid it.
"Loki..." Speaking the sorcerer's name while he was clearly so raw was painfully intimate. "Loki, you will not take any action to harm me or mine, of which you are now part. Do you understand?" The sorcerer nodded slightly."Nor will you allow harm to me or mine." Thor took a deep breath which he did not realise he had needed. He felt on safer ground now. "You will speak no word that is a lie. I am not ordering you to tell the truth. Do you understand?" Another nod.
"My immediate orders at any time supercede any other orders." Nod. "I am not ordering you to obey any one other than me. I am not ordering you to bend your will to mine in all things. I am controlling your actions, not your mind." Nod. "Do not do anything you know I would disapprove of. You may do what you know would displease me if you think it necessary. Or amusing I suppose. But cross the line between acting as you feel you must and acting in bad faith, and I will take steps to make sure it does not happen again." A shudder. Nod. "Do you have any questions?" Loki shook his head sightly.
Thor hoped his intentions were clear. He may have to fine-tune the instruction. He hoped that as they stood, they offered enough leeway to allow Loki the autonomy to make quick and difficult decisions under pressure and retain his intelligence and capacity to improvise while maintaining enough control to minimise any damage the sorcerer could do with that freedom which remained to him. It was a fine line.
Loki looked up at his master and waited. He hated the feeling of dread that crept over him as Thor threatened to 'take steps' if Loki abused the gaps in his instructions. He had no doubt of the horror that would follow if his master decided that Loki was exploiting his generosity, such as it was.
He would break Loki in his mind as surely and as easily as if he simply ordered Loki to lie on the ground and then snapped his spine with a swift boot to the neck. With an order he could turn Loki into a mindless drone. All that stood between Loki and this fate was keeping the regard of the Thunderer by licking his boots and reassuring him that Loki would never exploit the gaps and soft places not explicitly covered by Thor's orders. Thor needed to be convinced that Loki would keep himself in line.
Even if Thor's prickly temper was never triggered by Loki, Loki faced the slow systematic peeling away of the independence remaining to him. A gradual evisceration of his ability to think for himself. Would it have been easier if Thor had simply started by bending Loki's will to his own entirely? Treated him purely as a thrall? He supposed he should be grateful. The Thunderer was an idiot who lacked empathy, at least for those he did not consider to be his peers, but he did not seem to be motivated by cruelty. Loki would have time find out if this was true, he supposed.
I can tolerate this. He immediately put the idea out of his mind that this may be a part of the spell, to ease the yoke of slavery by making it seem endurable. It was just his survival instinct and training kicking in. I have overcome wor...no, he couldn't lie to himself. He had been prepared by long training to endure, survive and overcome terrible things, but this was beyond all of them. Well, there it was. He would just have to learn how.
He wished he could speak to his father, and wondered what Laufey would do when he heard that his sorcerer son, the shadow prince of Jotunheim, was now part of the Asgardian army ripping through his lands. A ghost of an angry thought rose in Loki's head that Laufey would find a way to exploit his son's slavery if anyone could.
The quiet one of the three male warriors that fought by Thor's side threw open the tent flap and peered in, weapon drawn. Hogun. He took in the scene, Thor naked except for a wrap at his waist, standing over a fully naked Loki who was sitting on the bed with his face turned towards Thor's by Thor's big hand, and relaxed. "There was a disturbance." "All under control now," replied Thor, not turning from Loki. "Send for the mage." Hogun gave the informal salute and closed the tent flap.
"Go clean up in the hot springs behind here and return within the hour." Thor threw him a towel and began to dress himself. "There will be clothing and food provided for you by then." Loki stood slowly, suddenly aware of how his body ached all over -and inside, how badly had the brute bruised him?- and replied "Yes, master." with as little emotion as he could manage. Thor winced. "Do not call me that. You may call me Majesty." May I now, thought Loki. No king of mine. "Yes, my prince," he said, with a little acid. Thor blinked and, surprisingly, smiled one of those sunny smiles. "Get out," he said, not unkindly."We will eat when you are decent."
There were several pools near Thor's tent, one managing to keep icy due to the run off from the glacier, and several which were bubbling hot. He sank into a gently bubbling one and allowed the heat to seep into his muscles, wincing slightly as the more sensitised parts of his skin reacted to the volcanic minerals and salts. The day was slipping into night, and Loki's whole world had shifted with it. Tiredness began to dog his every thought and smallest action.
He tugged at the cracked cuff. If he could be bothered, he could work it off but it was useless now, on or off. Leave it, let the Thunderer's minions put in the effort to remove it. The other still held his seidr fast, and if he had the energy or the will he could probably overwhelm it too eventually but he couldn't be bothered. The world looked strange tonight for many reasons.
When he returned to the tent, the woman who had pointed his hidden self out to Thor so long ago was also in the tent. She looked frightened. He gave her a short bow, stiffer than he had intended and apologised to her for her finding him in this state of undress. Thor pointed to a leather box and told him he could have the cuffs removed first or dress first, his choice. He chose to dress, turning his back on the woman as she looked at the floor.
There were leathers of the same design that Loki had borrowed all that time ago during his first visit to these tents, and some cotton undershirts and wool and cotton tunics, all in green and black with gold accents. Loki put on a pair of the breeches and a cotton tunic. Thor appeared to be reading something and absentmindedly eating some kind of stew. Once dressed, Loki approached the mage and held out his wrists.
She gasped as she saw the crack in the cuffs, and Loki smirked. Thor rolled his eyes. "These will have to be reforged to work again as a pair," she stammered to Thor. "Yes, yes. We can speak about this later." Thor did not look up.
Removing the cuffs was a simple matter if one knew the runes, and Loki memorised them as the mage drew them over his wrists, even though he knew they were different each time the runes were ensorcelled. Colour and sound seeped back into his world and he took a deep breath and he drew on his seidr. The mage gasped and called 'Your Majesty!". Thor looked up. "It's safe. The second ritual placed on the cuffs has been enacted, and he is bound safely. Do not fret." The mage looked as if she had every intention of continuing to fret and to panic besides. Thor placed a hand on her shoulder, whispered to her, and with a final look over her shoulder, she left the tent with the cuffs.
"Come, sit. Eat, if you are hungry." Loki was, and the stew was good. Thor put away his papers and Loki wondered if there was any advantage to getting a glance at them. Of course he could do nothing with any information he might glean that would harm the Asgardian effort but it was always useful to know as much as possible. Thor said "You are to sleep here, with me, so I can keep an eye on you. You may sleep in the bed if you wish or at its foot if you prefer, but you will be cheek by jowl with me until I am sure of you. We stay here for another day and then move towards a fort in the north to clear it out. You will tell me all you know of this fort tomorrow."
Loki nodded. He knew that the commander there was probably his brother, Byliestr, but that was the sum total of his knowledge. He was a little surprised that Thor intended him to share his bed although he supposed that apart from keeping him close at hand and out of mischief, Thor would want to get full use of his slave. He sighed. Loki didn't find the idea of being forced to please the Thunderer too objectionable, only in that Thor was a war criminal and intent on destroying Loki's home, but it was going to be tedious in the extreme to be at someone's sexual beck and call.
Loki could only hope that he would get his own needs attended to once in a while. Thor wouldn't forbid him, at least, he thought. Loki was tired now, more than tired and wondered if Thor wanted a second round tonight. Maybe he would just take his pleasure again and not order Loki to any great feats of athleticism. Ugh, to be a performing monkey for this oaf. Just his luck to be enslaved by a god of thunder, war and virility. And for all three of those roles to collide on Loki today. Loki was not a god, but if he was he would choose something much more lighthearted...as long as it had a sting.
Of course Thor had not chosen his divine domains, he had been born to them and grown into them as surely as an oak tree reaches it zenith in the sun. Loki on the other hand had had to carefully cultivate his talents with study and discipline. He was no less powerful than the Thunderer but his power ran along such different lines, he wondered if he would get an opportunity to study them working in tandem. That could at least make this ordeal somewhat worthwhile, the opportunity to learn. And exploit that learning.
He felt himself move away from true consciousness not for the first time since sitting down to eat. The boost of energy and contentment that he had felt when he and his seidr were reunited had faded and he just wanted to lie down. "You're exhausted. Go to bed. If you wish." Thor added. Loki wondered how long before Thor forgot or got bored of giving Loki the option to do as he would for things such as this.
Loki walked over to the bed, stripped as neatly as he could, and collapsed into it, trying not to groan. He was asleep within seconds, seidr humming contentedly around him, his soul vibrating like a glass on the point of shattering.
Chapter 6: Games Wolves Play
Despite his exhaustion, Loki slept only shallowly, waking in the grey dawn having never really fallen fully asleep. Thor's weight had woken him as he had climbed into bed beside him, and the snores kept Loki from really sleeping for some time. The Thunderer trusts the binding magic implicitly, or he would not sleep so soundly. Is he named the Thunderer because of the noises he makes in his sleep? Thor's gentle snoring was not that bothersome, truth be told, but Loki wanted to hold onto something tangible as the reason for his light slumber.
Moving Thor's careless arm from across his body, Loki climbed out of the bed and watched the brightening skies from the flap in the tent. This was his first look at the camp as a whole from Thor's vantage point. It was laid out with discipline and pride, each tent aligned perfectly to its neighbours, the fires well situated for comfort and safety, no debris in evidence, and the jakes dug a neat distance away from the camp itself. It stretched further than Loki was comfortable with, and the supply wagons looked well-stocked and well-managed. The pleasure tents beyond the strict line of the camp was slightly more relaxed although a certain military rigidity pervaded that section too, though the tents themselves were more colourful and varied. Loki thought about the women and men who followed the Asgardian army into an inhospitable place like Jotunheim.
He looked back into the tent where Thor still lay as if dead to the world. Loki suddenly felt very peeved. Thor was behaving as if Loki was no longer a threat. Well, Loki supposed, he wasn't, but he was not entirely declawed either. Thor had not pulled his teeth. Teeth. Loki smiled. A smile that had a lot of wolf in it.
Loki moved back to the bed, and waited a few moments til he warmed up again, conscious of waking Thor too suddenly with cold hands. He was interested to see how much confidence Thor truly had in the binding of Loki Skytreader. He took the oil that had been used to prepare him the previous night and warmed it in his hand.
Reaching for Thor's cock which was already sporting a welcome to this fine morning, he stroked it gently once or twice to gauge its interest and swirled his oiled thumb around its head. It twitched and grew in his hand. Loki had been right in his speculations, it was magnificent, even half-hard. Even his balls are beautiful, Loki thought sourly.
He ran his palm across them as he began to pump Thor's cock. He licked the base of it, getting some tongue on Thor's balls too, and he felt Thor shift and mumble something. He swirled his tongue over the balls properly for a few moments and then gently licked a stripe up the cock, still thumbing the head. Sucking the head into his mouth, he swirled his tongue again and teased Thor's slit, and was reward with an oath as Thor came fully awake.
Meeting his shocked look, Loki smiled around the cockhead in his mouth and nipped gently with his teeth, evincing a satisfying yelp, but no retaliation. Withdrawing for a moment with a dextrous lick-n-suck, and raising his head slightly Loki gave Thor a split-second wolf-smile. Looking him square in the eye, Loki lowered his head again, opened his throat and swallowed as much of Thor's cock as he could in one go.
The gasp and shudder he got in reward was worth the discomfort and he only gagged slightly once he managed to fully relax his throat. Wouldn't it be sweet if that shudder had had a hint of fear in it. He swallowed and sucked for a moment as much as he could, adjusting to the size, nose pressed into Thor's pubic hair, then withdrew slowly to breathe, sucking and circling the head again with his tongue. He nipped the head gently with his teeth before fisting Thor's cock and taking the head back into his mouth.
Thor's shock at finding his enemy prisoner and slave with his fist and tongue -and teeth!- around Thor's most vulnerables was obviously passing as he began to cant his hips slightly, obviously resisting the temptation to put his hand on Loki's head and direct -or force- him. Ah well, plenty of time for that. This is my time for fun. He knew Thor had figured out his play and Loki felt amused that Thor allowed him to continue all the same. Thor wasn't relaxing into it exactly, which Loki was thoroughly enjoying, but he didn't flinch when Loki interspersed some very fine tongue work with a deliberate nip of the teeth. He trusted the binding well, then. Or had a more highly developed sense of daring than Loki would have believed of him.
He had fully expected to be kicked off the bed and punished at best, or taken in hand forcibly and made service his master at worst. Loki had intended to spit Thor's seed straight in his eye at the first opportunity if the latter.
To his surprise, Loki found himself settling into the servicing with some enthusiasm after he had judged his mildly terrorising teasing to have run its course. He began to drive to make Thor come, have him truly at Loki's mercy for a few moments. Thor sensed the change and leaned into the pleasure. Loki briefly considered doing something unpleasant but decided against it this time, wanting to see Thor's face as bliss washed over it. He had seen anger, triumph, amusement, calculation, fear, confusion and sleep on Thor in these past 12 hours -had it really only been half a day?- and was curious as to what he would look like when everything lifted from those broad shoulders.
He wasn't disappointed. Thor thrust down Loki's throat almost fully as he came, and his face, his whole self, was one of the most beautiful things Loki had ever seen. Loki wished he could have seen it more closely, not just watching awkwardly at groin level. Thor came hard and Loki swallowed with a little difficulty, some of Thor's seed escaping his mouth. He sucked Thor through the climax, withdrawing as the expression of Thor's face moved from ecstatic to the slight frown that indicated over-sensitivity. Thor opened his eyes, wrung out, and exhaled, grabbing Loki by the hair to bring him up to his level.
Loki ran his tongue across his bottom lip to lap up the spilled seed and watched Thor's eyes follow the motion, then he wiped the rest of it off his face with his palm and licked it up. Thor laughed and shook his head, his fist still in Loki's hair. Loki was enjoying the mild ache it was causing. He knew now what ecstasy looked like on that handsome face. What would euphoria look like, he wondered.
Thor let him go and leaned back on the bed. "What game are you at?" he demanded as his breathing calmed. "You'll have to play to find out," replied Loki. Thor looked at him for a moment. Loki felt uneasy, and suddenly, Thor was moving and flipping Loki on his back. "Alright, I'll play." He clambered over Loki and straddled low down on Loki's legs.
Loki got a brief unpleasant flashback to the previous night, but he calmed himself because he could defend himself now. He wasn't chained, physically or magically, and he could defend himself as long as he did not harm Thor, or himself.
He was still naked after sleeping and he now realised quite aroused from his hard work of moments ago. To his astonishment, Thor grinned at him and moved his hand to Loki's stomach, avoiding his cock entirely. He licked his forefinger and started tracing patterns on his stomach and chest, tracing the pattern of hair from Loki's stomach to his crotch with one finger, then two then his whole hand, while moving his hands elsewhere all over Loki's lower body, every but his actual groin. His ass was strongly and gratifyingly kneaded, his thighs, his inner thighs teased with fingers and oil. It was pleasantly teasing, but bearable.
Finally, Thor clambered off Loki's lower legs and in between them, throwing a leg over each shoulder and dipped his head. But he only scratched and nibbled and licked at Loki's ass, licking his crack with a broad tongue that never quite tipped his asshole, he sucked on Loki's inner thighs so close to his sac, he gently bit the crease of Loki's hips, he circled his tongue on the skin around Loki's pubic hair but never once touching his hard, aching cock or his balls. Loki started to bite down the whimpers that threatened to emerge from his throat as Thor reached behind him with an oiled finger and pushed gently into his sore and sensitive passage.
Loki knew what Thor was looking for and he tensed just before crooked his finger and stroked the soft firm bundle of nerves. He gasped with pleasure and annoyance, and felt the Thunderer laugh at the noise. "For the love of...! Do I have to beg you each time you impose yourself on me? Do this, or do not, I cannot wait anymore!"
Thor smiled the most smug smile Loki thought he had ever seen and he wanted to slap it, but then that smile lowered itself -finally- on Loki's crotch and Loki groaned. Thor did not take in much more than the head but Loki was so close to his peak that it was all he needed. An expert hand, much more so than last night, pumped his length into Thor's mouth and Loki soon felt himself ready to finish. "I'm about to..." he didn't think Thor would like for Loki to come in his mouth and indeed Thor stopped sucking and licking as soon as Loki indicated his peak but Thor worked him through it with some surprisingly filthy words as well as a tight warm strong fist. They both collapsed back on the bed after.
Loki was not sure how the hell he lost control of that situation so quickly, but he found did not mind.
Thor smiled at the thoughts of the battle of wits he had begun with this troublesome captive, sure that in the end he was going to lose but willing to risk the consequences.
They both sobered up at the thought of the march ahead and the battle to come.
Chapter 7: Face in the Dirt
Loki went to the ice pool to gather his thoughts, to fortify himself against whatever the day would bring. He had instructions to return to the tent for breakfast, and he was already getting accustomed to the feeling of simply following Thor's orders. He knew he should be horrified but it felt right. Do nothing he would not approve of. But I may displease him if I judge it to be necessary. Or amusing.
A flutter of uncertainty in his stomach accompanied the memory of the threat which hung over him if he deliberately blurred the lines of the distinction, which he did not think he could do, or simply made a poor call in distinguishing between the two. Well, nothing to be done about that.
He would act as he always did and take the consequences as he always did, for good and for bad. The stakes could be no higher, his very sense of self at stake. He had to accept, had to face that his selfhood was already eroding. No, I will not go gentle into that good night, he thought to himself. If the darkness of slavery was to overshadow and eat into who he was, he would fight it every step of the way. Thor would have to strike at him with all the force of Mjolnir to break him. He was not going to give up just because it was clear he had lost.
He wished Thor had not forbidden him from harming himself, or letting harm come to himself.
Slipping into the ice pool, he hissed and allowed the cold to centre him. A night in a warm tent had affected him more than he expected, this was quite painful. A night beside a warm body too, he supposed. As he adapted to the cold, he closed his eyes and considered. He had established and accepted that he could only obey the Thunderer.
This did not mean that he could not still act as he wished outside of those instructions. There were many things Thor's orders had not covered. He wondered how to take advantage, to help his people, his land, his king. Listening and learning was easy, but he could only do these things if he did not intend to spy, to harm the Asgardian mission. Thor would disapprove of that. He would have to convince himself that this was not his intention.
He thought about the the path the war would take with him now unable to assist the Jotunn army. There had been at best only weeks left in the war, such was the devastating power of the Asgardian forces, and now perhaps with Loki removed from the Jotunn side, there were days. Especially if Thor ordered Loki to attack his own people. Here in the pool, he was too focussed on the cold to allow his usual defences and fears and to shape his thoughts. Horror did not descend and overwhelm him.
This was the reality he had to accept. He would have to fight his own people. It was going to happen. Loki had a brief moment of wishing he had been enslaved only for bedplay. As humiliating as it would be, he would have gladly begged to only be Thor's pleasure slave if he thought it would spare him the burden of this more cruel duty; he would have begged to act as a camp whore if that's what it took. But that would change nothing. Thor was not as kind as he thought himself to be. And his enslavement of Loki gave neither of them good choices.
Loki centred himself again. The reality was that the war was over and Jotunheim had lost. Continuing to resist cost lives on both sides, Jotunn losses far outweighing the Asgardian, though Asgardian losses were only recently becoming what could be considered light. An entire generation of Jotunn had been decimated, particularly the men. The faces on the Jotunn front lines were becoming younger and younger, and more and more scared. He had heard even the Asgardians talk of it on the battlefield as he had walked shielded among them. Loki had a brief moment of anger at his father, unadulterated by guilt or by older, more selfish angers.
Loki had only heard of his father's boldness -he refused to listen to the whisper of the word madness that surfaced when he thought about these events- after Laufey's actions had already provoked the Asgardians to re-invade, to reignite a war that the Jotunn had already more than lost when Loki was only a raw newborn. In this new iteration of the war, Loki had had no chance to intervene and exercise diplomacy or discretion or even the knife if circumstances had called for it.
His attempted assassination of Thor was the earliest he had been able to try to shape events. He wondered if he was still able to feel loyalty to Laufey given that Thor would disapprove of it. But Thor said he controlled Loki's actions, not his will. I serve my King still, thought Loki. Thor would be displeased. Relief and disbelief warred within him. I serve my King.
Older angers rose unbidden all the same. Why had Laufey put his eldest, most sensitive son through the tortures of his many trainings in warcraft, statecraft, spycraft and seidrcraft throughout the Nine Realms only to bypass him completely in this? Loki might have averted this war if given the chance. No matter. The present is what mattered. The present. The war needed to be brought to a close, and fast. Loki would do what he needed to achieve this.
He would fight his own people, if he had to, to bring peace. He would listen and learn, not to spy, but to be bettered prepared for any opportunity to end the war. He could only hope that this impulse was not a subtle, insidious effect of the enslavement spell, bending him quietly to his master's will.
He returned to the tent for breakfast and found the Warriors Three and the Lady Sif outside. Wrapping his towel around his waist to spare Sif the sight of him, Loki stopped and smiled with as much smirk as he could summon. "I'm sorry to have denied you all the personal pleasure of my capture, but if you wish to lord it over me now, I cannot stop you." Sif smiled sardonically, with perhaps a little amusement.
"Actually we were wondering how you would perform in the training ring against each of us one-on-one. Without your seidr." Loki narrowed his eyes. "You could surely find a better excuse to beat me or humiliate me if you wished, Lady Sif. You need only ask your King for permission." A servant arrived with a tray and briefly inclined his head before entering the tent. Loki passed the others to follow and they did not stop him, for which he was relieved.
He did not intend to pretend he was anything more than he was, a prisoner and a slave and therefore at their mercy. He also did not intend for them to pretend that anything they inflicted on him in revenge or anger or pettiness was anything less than the abuse of their power over him. He could not truly defend himself and he would not let them pretend otherwise to themselves. He did not blame them for the wanting of personal revenge though. He had done terrible things to them and their comrades.
Thor turned and welcomed his friends into his tent, ignoring Loki. As Loki dressed and breakfasted by the bed, Thor and his companions discussed the next target, the fort where he thought Byliestr commanded, and the forward rider's reports. "Loki, come, and bring the tray." Thor absentmindedly picked at the food as Loki waited in his Asgardian green and gold for instructions from the King. "Now. Tell us all you know about the fort. Omit nothing." Loki took a deep breath and began to describe what he knew.
In the early afternoon, Loki stepped into the training ring. The broad one, Volstagg, and both of Thor's other male companion, looked on, each with a different expression; Hogun was intent, Volstagg grinning and ready for a show, Fandral cocky. Thor was distracted.
Loki had managed to keep the information about his relationship to Byliestr to himself, as he did not truly think it relevant to the military effort and anyway, the question he had been asked was 'What of the fort commander?'. He wasn't certain Byliestr was the commander, but he mentioned it anyway in case omitting this possible knowledge might spark distrust or anger in Thor if it later turned out to be true. He knew Thor would be displeased with Loki's withholding of the fact that the fort commander was very possibly the first prince of Jotunheim, and Loki's younger brother besides, but Loki was not sure he would disapprove as Thor had shown no interest in any other aspect of warfare than the pure military. In any case, Loki would not give Byliestr up to torture as might happen if he was captured alive and in the full revelation of his role in Jotunn society. Loki knew he was skating dangerously close to the edge with this withholding of the full truth. Despite everything, it felt good.
And now, he was going to get his ass handed to him by Lady Sif.
A crowd of Einharjer had gathered, strangely silent. Thor realised what Sif and the Warriors Three had in mind when they suggested to Thor that they each face Loki in the practice ring. Thor had acceded to their request; it would have its uses. It would assuage the anger that Thor's companions held towards Loki somewhat if one of them bruised him a bit and knocked him on his ass a few times, and in public too. It would allow Thor to display the sorcerer to his soldiers and show that he had been tamed. And it would be entertaining to see how Loki subverted the expectations of everyone, of which Thor had no doubt he would do.
He had decided however that Loki should face only one of the four, not all of them, and he allowed Loki the decision of which of them to face.
Loki had chosen to fight Sif, probably, Thor guesses, because Loki wanted to give the impression that he thought her the easiest of the four to defeat. Sif had overcome many early challenges from blind idiots who Thor had thought would have known better. Instead of seeing the mettle of the warrior before them, they saw only the woman. Thor had learned much from those men and women who had dismissed Sif, and deplored their assessment of femininity as a flaw, an inconvenience. His mother had stayed silent when Thor had supported Sif but he knew that she too saw the core of Sif's character and was proud of Thor for standing by her.
Thor very much doubted that Loki underestimated Sif on the basis of her sex, but he certainly wanted to give the impression he was doing so. Thor's thoughts on this was proven correct as Loki and Sif faced each other across the ring, quarterstaves in hand. Loki stood there almost lazily, in a defensive position. Thor knew how fast the sorcerer's reflexes could be, though, and he was sure Sif knew too from bitter experience. Sif attacked first, testing. Loki whirled the staff in a workmanlike fashion, almost contemptuously.
The crack of wood on wood was sharp, and all was quiet again. The watching crowd barely moved, barely made a sound. Sif advanced again and this time Loki put a little effort into blocking her attack, and gave her an infuriating smile. Suddenly Thor realised what he was doing. Loki wasn't trying to provoke Sif, or at least not just that. He was putting on a show for the gathered Asgardians. Loki knew that they had gathered to see him taught a lesson, humiliated by one of their own, beaten -into the ground, for preference. And Loki intended to make it as satisfying a spectacle for them as he could.
A survivor. The thought came from nowhere, but Thor knew it was true. Loki was accustomed to playing the long game, to surviving long enough to escape or to win. So to ensure his best chance of surviving this ordeal, his enslavement in the camp of his enemy, he was going to let them see him beat down in the more satisfying way possible. A humiliating, painful defeat at the hands of one their finest warriors would mean he was no threat.
Thor knew that he himself was all the protection that Loki needed, and Loki probably knew it too, but Loki obviously saw no point in wasting an opportunity to take his survival into his own hands. Playing the knave in the fighting ring, like a character in those showy displays of play contests in the carnivals, was a way to establish himself as a figure of hate and a figure of fun once he was defeated. Harmless, contained, a buffoon not to be minded. Not the creature of pure menace that they had faced on the battlefield. Ah, Loki was a dangerous one, Thor had known that before even knowing his name. Let me count the ways in which he is dangerous.
Sif attacked strongly now, forcing the sorcerer back. He frowned slightly as he dodged and blocked her first blows and yelped as she made her first successful strike. A murmur went through the watching crowd. He growled, only slightly theatrically, and visibly gathered himself, apparently finally taking this contest seriously. They circled each other and he made his first feint. Sif dodged easily and retaliated, barely missing the sorcerer.
He struck again and and again, a rapid series of blows that Sif parried and avoided deftly. Thor was sure neither of them had truly tested the other yet although Loki showed suggestions of beginning to pant. Which Thor did not believe for a second. Neither did Sif from what Thor could see. She had a look on her face that suggested to Thor, who knew her intimately, that she was beginning to see what the sorcerer was doing. She attacked now without mercy. Loki was hard pressed to defend and the look of concentration on his face was not feinted.
He looked like he was beginning to really engage with the fight, and to Thor's surprise, Loki seemed to be enjoying the challenge. They whirled around the ring for some minutes, with Loki displaying good footwork and a confidence with the staff that Thor was not expecting. Sif landed several blows, at least two to every one of Loki's successful strikes. Loki's footwork proved itself when Sif jammed the end of her staff into the soft space just below the ribs and he collapsed inwards, not quite losing his footing but losing precious seconds where he was able to defend himself. The crowd shifted, mostly quietly. There were a few cheers.
A rapid strike to Loki's head followed which did put him, bloodied, on the ground, to a gasp from the crowd, but he flicked out one long leg in a sweep, though obviously disoriented. The speed surprised Sif and she crashed down beside him. The crowd groaned. She recovered faster than he did and Loki found himself defending against downward strikes while splayed on the ground. He managed to strike her hard enough on the hip on the upswing to force her back and flipped on his feet, bringing the fight to her.
Sif's superiority began to be clear as she batted off his increasingly wild attacks with skill and a cool focus that belied the sweat on her brow. Loki appeared to be putting his all into the final blows he was able to manage, looking to Thor's eye like his full focus was on his opponent. It was a good look on him. The crowd began to cheer as Sif started to drive Loki back with strong, controlled, brutal attacking blows. For all his focus and evident skill, Loki was now completely on the defensive.
Sif landed three painful body strikes on Loki and he landed one on her before she disarmed him, and raised her staff for a killing blow, probably to the throat. Loki dropped to his knees, arms spread out wide in surrender, blood cascading down his head from a probably quite minor scalp wound, and smiled that knife smile he had. "I yield."
He was breathing hard. Sif was panting. And angry. Thor stepped into the ring, trusting Sif not to act on her anger, and walked behind Loki. He pressed one booted foot down on Loki's back and forced him to bow to Sif, face in the dust of the ring. The crowd fell silent. "Who do you serve?" The reply came muffled from the ground. "You, my prince." Thor removed his foot and grabbed Loki's hair to pull his head back.
"Who do you serve?". Loki's face was covered in blood and sweat and dirt. The reply came more clearly "You, my prince." Thor slapped his head, hard. "I am the King of Asgard. Who do you serve?". Loki sighed and looked him in the eye. "I serve my King," he whispered. The whisper travelled in the silence. Loki looked defiant despite all. Thor could not entirely hide a sardonic smile at Loki's blatant -to Thor- resistance. Hiding his true loyalties in plain sight. Not hidden enough from me, sorceror. I am beginning to get the measure of you.
Thor kicked him so Loki fell over on his side. He did not look defeated, thought Thor, he looked like a coiled spring. Covered in dirt, sweat and blood and on a heap on the group, he still looked dangerous. Thor looked at the crowd. They did not seem to notice. They cheered and whooped and laughed at their fallen enemy, all the harder for seeing the thing that had stalked their nightmares ground into the dirt.
Thor looked at Sif and she grimaced. To Thor's surprise, she reached a hand down to Loki. To his own evident surprise, Loki took it and stood up beside her. "Did you really try?" she asked in a low voice. "Of course I bloody did," he looked annoyed. "I may have play-acted a little but were my efforts so pathetic that you thought I wasn't trying?" She appraised him and said "If you want more training in this, I would be happy to give it. With Thor's permission of course." Loki grumbled about being beaten about again, but did not refuse. "Get cleaned up," Thor told him. "We depart in one hour."
Loki washed quickly and staunched the bleeding on his head with little difficulty. Sif had pounded him thoroughly, he was glad to have never faced her properly when she wielded her blades with intent to kill. Thor had stepped in and finished their display as Loki had expected, and Loki supposed it had suited his own purposes well enough.
Sif had understood his game fairly quickly, and she was angry with him for using her to present a cocky, easily-outsmarted version of himself to her comrades, but he had genuinely given the fight his all so she had no reason to indulge her anger. He hoped his beating at her hands and his abasement at the feet of Thor would make him less of a target for the unimaginatively vengeful among the Einherjar.
Thor's tent had been folded and packed by the time he was finished getting dressed. Loki knew to meet Thor at the head of the line of horses and wondered if he was going to be put across the saddle like a sack of meal or if he was going to have to keep pace on foot, tied to Thor's bridle. Other horrors flitted through his head as he approached the horses' line. He saw Thor astride his battlehorse, and as Thor looked over to him he wondered at the look on Thor's face. "This is yours," Thor said, moving his beast aside. "Treat her well." A fine mare stood there, between Thor and Fandral. So he was to ride at his prince's side. Like a trophy at a triumph, but at least one with some dignity.
He wondered if Thor realised that Loki continued to refused to acknowledge him as king. He had called him the king of Asgard once, in mocking, but had never truly bowed to Thor as king. As his master, yes, as his prince, yes, as the general of the army that Loki now served yes, Loki had spoken to Thor as such. He had taken a huge gamble earlier in looking Thor in the eye and telling him that Loki served his king, because they both knew that Loki's king was not Thor. Thor was the master of his actions, not his will. Not wholly. Not yet.
They marched on the fort, and on Byliestr.
Chapter 8: Yield
The Jotun general had been hard used, arms twisted unnaturally behind him as he dangled from the wrists. Bruised and slashed all over his body, blood spattered the ground below him from the wounds across his abdomen, some of the gashes revealing layers of lean fat and muscle beneath. Some Aesir were gathered around a nearby brazier, which judging by the drag marks in the snow leading from it to underneath where the Jotun was hanging, was responsible for the burns on his lower legs.
Loki watched as the guards -his torturers? Or were the torturers done with him and gone? What had they learned? – poked at him with the butt end of a spear, making the general grunt in pain as the movement of his body shifted the weight on his agonised wrists and shoulders to ignite new pain. As he slowly swung in the direction of the approaching party, Loki did not need to see what remained of his face to know that it was that of his brother Byliestr, beloved of their father. Though his eyes seemed ruined, buried in a mass of criss cross cuts and drying blood, Byliestr raised his head.
“Loki? Could it be you? You wear the colours of the invaders.” Loki swallowed, the sound of his brother’s pained voice scraping across his hearing. Thor looked curiously at Byliestr and then at Loki, who sank to one knee, took Thor’s hand in his and kissed it. “I live to serve the King.” He looked Byliestr straight in the eyes, hoping he could see Loki's in turn. Byliestr hesitated, and something like a smile crossed his face. He understood. “There is a cost for power such as yours, Loki.” Loki stood, ready, and drew a knife from a pocket dimension. “Yes. We have both paid” Loki murmured. Byliestr inclined his head infinitesimally, and Loki let fly before the Einherjar surrounding them both could react. The knife struck true, piercing Byliestr’s chest and spilling heartsblood in a spurt, two spurts, three, and it was done.
Time slowed for Loki as he felt more than saw or heard the Aesir explode in movement around him. The moment the knife had left his hand, he automatically had begun to fall into the yield position; down on his knees, lifting both arms to place palms on the back of his head. Hogun kicked him in the belly so instead he fell fully forward and his forehead banged against the ground, but he maintained the yield position with his face in the snow, Hogun’s hand on the back of his neck unnecessarily holding him in place. He felt bruises form across his forehead.
After a few moments he felt another hand on his collar, and was pulled up to face Thor, who wore an impassive expression. Ensuring that Loki had a clear view of Byliestr’s still-hanging corpse, he said calmly and evenly “You will stay here, in this position, until I say otherwise. You will take no other action until I say otherwise. Do you understand?”. At a nod from Loki, he let go of Loki’s collar, turned and strode away out of Loki’s sight, over to the brazier judging from the crunch of ice and snow under his boots. Loki heard the murmur of Thor and his counsellors conferring as the snow began to fall again.
Loki had learned from long experience that physical and mental endurance was one of his gifts, one for which he was not sure he was grateful. Sometimes, he thought, it would be easier to have no choice but to break, to give in to being broken. To take the consequences of weakness sooner rather than later, because eventually everyone, no matter how strong or tough, broke. Endurance meant only prolonging of suffering. As the freezing afternoon turned into evening, and the dark depths of the ice-laden night beckoned, he shivered and tried not to keen from the pain of tense, stressed muscles. He was strong and flexible from hard training and use of his body, but his muscles were not meant to endure the pressure of hours and hours of maintaining a single position.
At least by focusing on processing the physical pain, he could pretend to forget about the sight of his brother’s corpse hanging before him. He had not been close to Byliestr but they had been brothers, sharing a love for their demanding father, their desperate people and their ailing land. Though Loki was firstborn, Byliestr had been first prince and Loki the third, if he counted at all. Both accepted this as fitting given their nature and character. Loki accepted that his destiny was to rule by influence rather than brute force, never to sit on the throne of Jotunheim but to whisper advice from behind it.
Loki was used to the limits of the world he had been born into, which limited him not at all in any way that mattered to him. He was not bitter about having been born a runt. It had liberated him in some ways, allowed him to skip across boundaries, walk along the edges. Byliestr had dutifully accepted that his role was to inspire loyalty as the embodiment of the Jotunn physical ideal astride the royal dais, giving the royal family the expected public face. He probably would have preferred to marry and raise a family, indulging in some hunting now and again, than spend his time serving his people, but he served anyway. Not anymore. Now Helblindi would be first prince, less willing to rule wisely, less able to rule justly, less likely to hear Loki. If Helblindi even still lived.
Loki began to worry about the effects of the cold on his hands. He felt frozen, and knew his body temperature must already be dangerously low. At least his shivering kept him somewhat warm. His Aesir form was not defeated by the cold just yet, even if it was suffering badly from it. His fingers were protected by the heat of his head for the moment, but in the cold of full dark, would it be enough to ward off frostbite? His toes were protected by the lining of his boots and he did not need his toes to cast, anyway, he supposed. His nose might fall off if it got cold-damaged enough. He wished he knew Thor’s intentions for this punishment. Simply pain, cold and the horror of facing the body of a former comrade-in-arms?
He could handle that, he thought, awful though it might be. Dismemberment and disfigurement? He would have to handle that if it came to it. Adapting his casting style must be possible, somehow, some way. Losing fingers could not be the end. Death? Thor regarded him as a tool, and so was unlikely to let him die, he thought. He hoped. Otherwise he would freeze to death in the snow tonight, at the foot of his dead brother. Once he stopped shivering, it would be nearly over. At least once he stopped shivering, some of the pain might lift, although he might be senseless to pain at that point anyway. He wiggled his fingers and regretted it as the nerve endings erupted, though it was proof they were still in working order.
The war council continued by the brazier, which appeared to be topped up regularly though he could feel none of its heat at this distance. It seemed unusual for a war council to happen outdoors, especially on a cold day such as this, so Loki assumed the location of Thor’s HQ for today was influenced by Thor’s desire to watch Loki’s punishment and perhaps to allow all who approached the king to see his disobedient Jotun sorcerer’s suffering.
He groaned as his body twitched involuntarily, desperately seeking relief for his exhausted muscles. He wondered if Thor would be amused by forcing a frost giant to freeze to death. Loki rarely thought about his birth form, and even more rarely shifted into it, wondering suddenly which form he would be buried in. Would the glamour die with him, and allow him to be buried as a Jotun? Or would he continue in the form that he preferred, and be buried looking Aesir? He supposed it didn’t matter, and then wondered if he would even be given a burial if he did not survive the night. Eventually he was going to collapse out of the yield position, and he couldn’t be sure when. His body was growing too cold to properly feel the muscles begin to fail. And then he would be punished for failing to obey.
It probably wasn’t too far off. He felt the world lurch slightly as his body collapsed in what might have been an ungainly sprawl if he wasn’t so stiff and frozen. His vision flashed grey for a moment and as he came back to the pain and burning and freezing cold of his furled body, he felt the scrunch of snow as boots shuffled beside him as kind, strong hands lifted him up. He was gently but firmly pushed and pulled back into the yield position, and he heard Thor’s voice over the roaring in his ears say “Stay in this position, and do nothing more until I say so. Do you understand?”. He understood. He wasn’t sure if he managed a coherent reply in between the heaving sobs that forced their way painfully up from his chest.
Chapter 9: The Truth Hurts
Night had fallen, but beyond that Loki had no idea how long he knelt in the snow, back straight, hands clasped behind his head. He had become delirious, he thought, and collapsed again without even realising, only becoming aware of it as he felt himself being lifted under the armpits from a prone position and dragged back towards the camp. It felt rather like it was happening to someone else. If Byliestr had been cut down, Loki could not raise his head enough to see.
He tried to move his legs, to walk rather than be dragged but he simply couldn't. He felt drunk. He wasn't sure if his legs wouldn't work because his muscles were locked from the stress of the yield position or frostbitten and frozen or if he simply was obeying Thor's order to do nothing until Thor ordered otherwise. Hearing muttered conversation above the high pitched noise in his ears, Loki realised he was being dragged by two of Thor's friends, he thought Volstagg and Hogun.
They seemed unhappy about something. Well, I would walk if I could. He must have passed out again because when he became aware again of his surroundings, he realised he was beside the hot springs that Thor habitually camped beside. Fearing he was about to be pitched in and boiled alive, Loki tried to scream and attempted to struggle. He heard Thor's voice. "Calm down. No harm will come to you here. Set him down." He was set down relatively gently on warm volcanic earth and manouevered until he was propped up with his back against a rock.
Loki's clothes were removed and he was wrapped in a warmed blanket. Hogun held a cup to his mouth and he sipped what he could. It was sweet, and as far as he could tell, hot. Thor appeared in his field of vision, wrapping a smoking rock in a blanket, placing it on Loki's chest. Thor nodded to his companions and they hesitated a moment. "What are you waiting for? Go." he ordered. Hogun spread his hands but said nothing, and Loki heard their footsteps fade as they returned to their own tents.
Thor continued to hold the cup to his lips and refilled it from a hipflask when it emptied. Loki half slept for some time and felt himself come to slowly. "Where are your friends?" he managed. Loki tried to understand whether their absence meant worse things for him or not.
"They disapprove of what I did to you today," he said. Loki turned his eyes to Thor's face. "Can't imagine why," he mumbled. He moved the hot rock from his chest to his groin. He was beginning to feel better, but utterly exhausted. Thor folded his arms and stared at the ground. "I told I would punish you if you crossed the line. I didn't want to. I don't understand how you even were able to act as you did. You cannot imagine I would approve of you killing an enemy commander in the middle of interrogation." Loki sneered. He couldn't help it.
"I imagined that you would approve of me offering a mercy killing to a brave soldier who was being tortured to no good purpose. There is nothing he could have told you that would have been useful to you at this stage of the war, and you know it. Anything Byliestr knew, I probably know. And you don't have to torture me to make me comply with your orders. Oh wait, you do, it would seem. Such a hardship for you..." Loki wanted to spit the title master at Thor but he had been forbidden it. He settled for his other favourite insult. "...my prince."
Thor grimaced. Loki did not think it was for the insult. "I did not order the general's torture. I came upon it at the same time you did, as you well know." Loki stared at him in disbelief. "It was done by your men, under your watch! Are you their commander and king, or no?" Thor glowered at him. "They will be punished. It is not how we do things on Asgard." Loki barked a laugh. "No, on Asgard I would imagine when you fought wars among yourselves that you at least treated your prisoners as people. Here on Jotunheim we have not had that privilege." Thor hesitated. "Yours is a special case, Loki. You know this."
Loki was growing bored of the conversation. "Oh Norns, I am not speaking about myself. I've always known that my power has a cost, although I did not expect to pay so dearly. I am talking of the ordinary soldiers slaughtered after surrender, the murder of the civilians too old or poor to escape your army's advance." Thor was silent.
After a moment he said "The Jotunn commander...Byliestr. He said as much about the cost of your power. How did you know him?" It was Loki's turn to be silent. Thor sighed. "I will not order you to answer." Loki risked shifting a little to a more comfortable position and groaned with pain. He moved the hot rock back to his chest. "I have met many of the commanders in the course of this war. I hold no official command myself but I sat in many of the meetings. I met Byliestr there, at war councils. We were not close, if that is what you are asking. You know I cannot say what is untrue. As for his comment about my power coming at a cost, I suppose we are a superstitious people."
Thor considered. Loki could not track his thoughts. What was Thor worried about? Loki held to the truth as closely as he could in weaving the lie by omission. It was all true, just not the full truth. Swallow the lie, Thunderer. He hoped that Thor did not demand the full truth. Actually, he didn't care. He wasn't going to give it up without a fight, but so what if it all came out? Thor obviously regretted allowing Loki some freedom of will and was about to obliterate Loki's ability to think for himself so, to Hels with it. It no longer mattered. But he was damned if he was going to give anything up freely.
Thor sighed, a deep, regretful sigh. He sat beside Loki and took him by the arm. Loki tensed and Thor let go. Hesitantly he said "I would help loosen your stiff muscles, if you will". "I could just heal myself, if you will," snapped Loki. He was probably to exhausted to do so, but this might be among his last chances to needle Thor. "No," said Thor. "At least not yet. I wish to understand what happened better before deciding on how to proceed." Loki rolled his eyes. "Alright, my prince. Fine. Loose away." Thor took Loki's arm at the elbow and started to dig in with his big fingers.
Thor focussed on massaging Loki's arms. Loki wondered if he would end up with more bruises but the pressure, while painful, was deep and relieving. Thor was silent again for some time. He moved to Loki's shoulder, as much as he could reach given Loki's position and Loki groaned in pain and relief under his touch. "Do you know why I punished you as I did?" Loki ran through several possible answers in his head but decided against any of them. He simply did not have the energy. "Surprise me, my prince."
Thor pushed Loki gently forward so Loki could not see his face, and started work on Loki's upper back, which screamed with agony at Loki's new position. Loki gritted his teeth. Thor spoke slowly, as if feeling his way through the words. "Well. I could not figure out how you disobeyed my order. I told you not to do anything that I would disapprove of. I could not see how your action in killing the...in killing Byliestr did not contradict that. The only conclusion I could come to is that you somehow had broken or bypassed the binding."
Loki leaned back to look at Thor's face. He was only a little surprised to see fear on it. "You gave me leeway to interpret situations. You cannot be surprised when I do so. Do you deny you would have taken the same action if you had seen the situation as I did? Though I have seen little enough evidence of it, I believe you have enough compassion to have done so, if only -and this is key my prince- if only you allowed yourself to see your enemy as a person like you or your companions are." Thor stared at Loki without expression. Loki continued. "If you were able to concede that we Frost Giants feel and think and love and hate like you Aesir, you would have made that decision. But you are blinded, and so I made that decision for you in your blindness."
Well, in for a penny, in for a pound, thought Loki. May as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb. He continued. "Terrible deeds are done in wartime. But you have made no attempts to cultivate decency among your troops. If you had, they would not have done such an awful thing in plain view even to an enemy. You do not think of us, of the Jotunn, as deserving of basic decency. We are barely more than beasts to you. So that is why I think you punished me as you did today, my prince. And that is why you will cut the threads of what remains of my free will when you grow frustrated with the truth I am throwing in your face tonight. And may you stumble alone forever through the dark, empty halls of Hel for all of it."
Thor just stared at him. He shook his head, as if trying to dislodge something. Loki hoped the truth of what he had said lodged in Thor's conscience like a piece of glass in his eye. "The reason..." Thor cleared his throat and started again. "The reason I punished...tortured. The reason I...tortured...you tonight was because I had to be sure. I had to be sure you were bound." Loki stared back at him, for once dumbfounded. Thor spoke again. "I'm not saying the other is not true. But your actions indicated to me...in the immediate moments after you acted...that you had willfully ignored my instruction not to do anything I disapproved of. What was I to think?"
Loki remained silent. Thor took a deep breath and continued. "I left you in the snow and in pain to see how much you would take before proving my fear right by doing something, anything, contrary to my explicit instruction to you. I knew there was a risk that if you were properly bound that you might be injured, or die, that you could do nothing to mitigate pain, or injury or death. I had to take that risk to be sure. I had to drive you to desperation to get you to reveal yourself." Loki was put in mind of something he had learned about the Midgardian persecution of women they suspected of witchcraft. The woman was dunked into a lake until she drowned, proving her innocence, and if she survived she was condemned as a witch and burned.
"Unbound you are too dangerous, Loki. Surely you understand that. It would be as putting a star on the point of nova in the middle of the camp. In the middle of my kingdom. I would accept the risk of mishandling you if the consequences are mine alone to bear, but they are not. You could be a serpent in my bed, waiting for the right moment to reveal you still have your fangs. I will risk you murdering me in my own tent, I will risk you biting my cock off, but I will not risk you endangering my army or my kingdom or my people."
"I wish I had not done as I have done. But I knew no other way to prove to myself that you are bound."
Loki was too tired to deal with this, this infuriating oaf. Thor might have conceded his ill-thinking of the rights and wrongs of something important, but it didn't matter. Loki was not sure if he bodily fell towards sleep or whether he just slipped into its arms so suddenly that it felt like a physical leap. One thought followed him as he fell. I still have my fangs.
Chapter 10: Serpents
Thor felt uneasy, as if a burr was under his skin. He didn't think it was a result of his sleeping on blankets on the tent floor last night. After putting an unconscious Loki in his bed, he had decided to let the sorcerer have the space to stretch out his cramped body if he wished. He had half-woken at the sound of Loki padding out of the tent around dawn, limping a little by the hesitation in his steps. He opened his eyes as Loki passed him on the floor, and saw that Loki's feet looked no worse for their ordeal. For the ordeal that Thor had put Loki through. He sighed, and made to get up.
Taking a towel, Thor walked towards the springs, and sure enough, there was the sorcerer submerged almost to his eyes, which were closed, his forehead showing bruises. His black hair was slicked around his head and he looked somewhat at peace. Moreso than Thor felt in himself. "Loki." Green eyes opened and focussed on him. Thor forced himself to continue. "May I join you?". "Do I have a choice?" Loki's head emerged fully from the water. Thor sighed again. "There are other pools, Loki. Free of sarcasm and tantrums." Loki grinned. "Indulging me in those is the least of what I am owed by you. Join me then, you oaf." "Do not push me, sorcerer. I will not tolerate plain insults from you." Loki grinned again, with a hint of glee. "Understood, my prince."
Thor rolled his eyes. "You may heal yourself if you have need of it." Loki considered and said "No, I am well enough. There is only pain and stiffness left. I was taught to restrict the use of seidr to when it is necessary. To trivialise it would lead to misuse, or overuse, or dependence." Nevertheless he created a small green flame in his damp heat-pinkened palm. "Sometimes it is necessary to simply feel it though. A reminder of it is comforting." The flame became a serpent, still green. "A reminder of what is in your bed at night, and now in your bath." Thor looked at the image curling on Loki's palm. "I like serpents," Thor said. The sinuous green shape evaporated as Loki leaned back and stretched out his legs towards Thor. Green eyes blinked at Thor. "This serpent's feet are terribly sore."
Thor eyed him, but the sorcerer had closed his eyes again and sank back into the water, half submerging his face, the very picture of an indolent lord. He even plays the aristocrat well. Grumbling, Thor reached for the outstretched leg and began to knead a foot, which seemed already relaxed from the heat of the water. He heard an underwater noise of smug satisfaction from the other man and he knew it wasn't just a response to massage. Grinning to himself, he let go of his worries and began to work on the sorcerer in earnest.
Later in the tent as they breakfasted, Thor turned to Loki and said "I wish to end this war. Win it. As quickly as possible. With as few further casualties as possible. Will you help me?"
Loki stared at his breakfast bread. "I will gladly help you pack up your camp and taking your army home." Thor made a noise of irritation. "Do not toy with me. I will not leave this thing half-done." You will not leave while my home is only half-destroyed. Loki tore off a hunk of bread. Thor continued. "Laufey will prosecute this war until he learns that his provocations will be put down, each and every one." Loki could not exactly argue with that, knowing his father, but he did anyway. "This war was forced on us. You cannot believe that this...slaughter has been a just response to a failed raid by some renegades on a vault in the depths of your palace to retrieve what is ours anyway."
Thor turned to him, angrily. "Failed? The Casket of Winters was stolen from its place of safe-keeping in my father's vault by that raid, and good men died defending it. Killed by your king's order to steal back a war trophy that he had given up by treaty. We learned then the value of the word of the Frost Giants. The Casket no longer belongs to you, by a treaty your king agreed to. This war will not be over until we retrieve the Casket and this time, Laufey will kneel."
It took Loki a moment to absorb this. He could tell that Thor believed what he was saying to be true. Asgard no longer held the Casket. The Casket that was the magical heart of Jotunheim, whose loss had lead to the slow withering of his father's realm, of his people and their prospects. If the Casket was truly missing, and not just beyond the reach of the Jotunn...there was no hope for his land. Loki took a deep breath.
"Are you saying that you believe that raid to have been successful?" Thor nodded once, stiffly. "What mischief is this, sorcerer? Laufey holds the Casket no-one knows where, but he has it." Loki was silent. Laufey-King had proclaimed the raiders renegades, young hotheads who thought to solve a complex problem with a simple solution. Loki had known this to be a lie, his father had been pulling the strings of these young warriors, manipulated their frustrations with the fate of their realm, subtly encouraged them to sneak into Asgard for the sake of the Casket.
Loki wondered if he knew the full extent of the lie. He had been told that the raiders had paid for their rashness by dying in the Weapons Vault of the palace of Asgard, the Casket utterly untouched. Odin had defeated them personally, and had fallen into slumber almost immediately after the battle so bravely and doggedly had the foolish young Jotunns fought. Thor had been recalled from his seasoning on Midgard immediately, and enraged by the insult to his realm and by his father's condition, had declared war on Jotunheim and conducted it without mercy.
Could Laufey-King have kept the full truth from Loki? Had Loki allowed himself to be distracted by annoyance at the clumsiness of the raid, of the decision made in anger by young fools (the same age as he...) who had not thought through the outcome of a raid on the palace of Asgard and Odin's wrath? Loki had wondered at the time why his father had not sent him to carry out this mission. He stood a far better chance of infiltrating the palace and stealing away the Casket than the boys who had died in the attempt. He might even have been able to misdirect Odin by leaving an illusion of the Casket in place, although he wasn't sure he could have created the illusion of the power it held. It would have been worth the risk, though, and far more likely to succeed than his father's actual plan.
Except he now thought he may not have known the true extent of Laufey's plan. Could one of those young fools have made it to the Casket and brought it back? It seemed impossible that they had managed to sneak into the Vault in the first place, never mind succeed in retrieving the Casket and bringing it back to Jotunheim.
He knew it was true. In his heart, he knew this is what had happened. Laufey had lied to him. Of course he had. Why had Loki not seen it? He had a talent for spotting lies as well as creating them. What was Laufey's purpose in this? He must have known the consequences. Breaking the treaty, violating the palace...and not using the Casket when it was finally in his hands again. Provoking war, for what? Loki had always wondered, and now the questions multiplied.
Chapter 11: Prey
Thor saw Loki grow thoughtful for a moment, and whatever mental calculations that quicksilver mind was making, they clearly troubled him. The suspicion as always rose that Loki was acting his part, projecting an image to suit whatever narrative he was currently presenting. However, Thor was sure that this time, the sorcerer's uncertainty was genuine.
"This is not a version of events that you are familiar with," said Thor, bluntly, to see if this garnered a reaction. Loki came to himself, immediately flashed a devastating smile, and replied "Trust me when I tell you there is no version of this story that would truly surprise me." Now that had the ring of pure truth, but what was the sorcerer really saying? Unknown apparently to himself, his focus once again turned inwards, and he looked ...lost.
He snapped to, suddenly, and put the remains of his breakfast aside. "I find myself a little ...overly energetic." He seemed to be tense. "With your permission, my prince, I will work some energy off before we leave the tent." To Thor's no little surprise, Loki kneeled smoothly before him and reached for the ties at his crotch.
Loki felt an anxious wave of energy rush through him, and decided to put aside his concerns about Laufey and his plots for later, when he was alone and unobserved. Laufey-King knows by now I am captured, surely. How do I fit into his plots? Thor was watching him. Loki knew he would get little enough time to himself this day and so decided to relieve his tension in a way that might be acceptable to both him and his captor (master).
Speaking some platitudes to Thor, Loki knelt on both knees before him (he had had enough of kneeling for some time but this would not take long, he thought) and reached for his master's crotch. Before he could unlace the ties, a large forestalling hand closed over his.
"Why?" Thor asked. Loki looked up at the Thunderer's face, puzzled by the compassion and curiousity he found there. "Why?" he echoed. Why what? Thor quirked an eyebrow. "Why do you service me in this way? Unless you really do intend to bite off my cock." Loki showed white teeth in a sharp smile. "Even if I could, why would I destroy such beauty? Besides there are better ways to cause you pain, my prince." Thor frowned. Oh, Loki did enjoy needling him. And it was truth, too. What fun. Some were naive enough to think truth a pure thing. Truth could be as much an agent of chaos and mischief as lies were, just as potent a weapon.
"Let's say this is more about my needs than yours, my prince. I need a distraction, and what better distraction than your cock down my throat? It will do me for now. Besides, it is expected, is it not? I am a slave and you my master." Thor frowned as Loki freed his cock and started to lick it with soft, stabbing movements. "Play your game, Loki. I won't pretend to understand it. In the end, it won't matter. In the end, I will get what I need from you." Loki tilted his head to catch Thor's eye, Thor's cock in his hand. "In the end, my prince, we are all dead." said Loki and bent to swallow Thor's cock as far as he could.
In the end we are all dead. A strange thought to accompany the sight and sensation of Loki's head lowering onto Thor's cock. It was a vision to behold, that beautiful face no longer troubled by whatever riddles enwrapped that brightfire mind. Thor supposed a tangible task such as the one at hand, so to speak, was useful for a mind like Loki's, a grounding action. He thought perhaps he was beginning to understand the sorcerer a little, despite the short time they had spent together.
But that wasn't true, was it. They had had many long months together on opposite sides of the battlefield, feinting, striking, parrying, feeling each other out, learning each other's nuances, strengths and weaknesses. The sorceror's power was not in his seidr, or at least not only, but in the speed of his thought, his adaptabilty, his resourcefulness, his unpredictability, his insight. I may have bitten off more than I can chew. Thor sighed dejectedly.
Loki looked up at him with an offended expression. Am I boring you, my prince? Thor laughed, placed his hand in Loki's hair and said "You have my full attention, Loki." Green eyes glared and Loki sucked up and off his cock. "Talk to me, Thunderer," he said, and went back about his business. So Thor did. For as long as he could think coherent enough thought to form even fragments of sentences.
Loki took care of himself directly after, still kneeling between Thor's knees, one hand on his own cock, one on Thor's muscular thigh. He batted Thor's offer of a hand away, and did not object when Thor's hand instead travelled to his mouth, wiping off the evidence of his seed on Loki's lower lip with his thumb and slipping it into Loki's mouth to be sucked clean, fingers warm along his jaw as Loki came. As Loki stood up afterwards he thought perhaps the Thunderer was going to kiss him but he moved quickly aside to fasten his ties.
The breakfast dishes had been cleared away without his noticing and Loki wasn't sure how he felt about having an audience, no matter how discreet, but he supposed it was only to his advantage that the camp gossip of his submission to their King be confirmed by a witness from the servants' pool.
He was a prince of Jotunheim and anyone who thought him dominated, despite everything, was a step closer to death at his hand.
The next few days were spent in camp, sorting through scout reports, tracing the weather, and riding out to accompany the scouts where they were sure of the land. Loki answered questions about the capital as carefully as possible, trying to give as little away as he could, but he was tired still, and could only guide the conversations so much.
He fell into bed each night, exhausted after attending to Thor as quickly as possible, although Loki didn't always rush because there was a certain satisfaction in watching and feeling the Thunderer at the mercy of Loki's mouth and hands. If Thor snored, Loki could not tell on these nights. He woke each morning to the weight of a large arm thrown across him and a hard cock pressed into the back of his thigh. Loki took care of each as necessary. The thought had surfaced one night as he curled up to sleep that it would have been pleasing to end a busy day such as this with a lover or even a willing friend. No matter. The day had been good enough and his body pleasantly tired from horse-riding.
The final morning before setting out for Utgard was spent discussing tactics in approaching the capital, which was not far now. Another day resting here, and the camp would pack up at dawn tomorrow and be on the move within the hour.
Thor wanted to hunt later that afternoon, though, so all six of them mounted up and headed out towards the hills where the remains of the herds of woolly mammoths scavenged. Loki roasted some klatch beans before they left and gave them a tot each before they climbed on their horses, explaining that it was traditional to start a hunt with a swig of klatch to sharpen the senses. Thor grimaced, eyes watering and choked out "An acquired taste, I assume." Loki smiled. "Perhaps."
Fandral also choked on the hot bitter liquid and Loki took pity on him, topping up both their cups with water. "We usually test new foods on Volstagg,"said Fandral. "We considered testing your klatch on the horses first but they're too valuable." The banter went back and forth among the four as they rode on. Volstagg quizzed Loki on his hunting experience, which Loki was happy to share, to a degree.
Loki had hunted as a young prince, small though he was. He had found himself temperamentally and physically well suited to the endurance, patience and persistence needed, better suited than his younger brothers, bigger though they were. He entertained Volstagg with tales of contests won and lost, pursuits that led to nothing but bickering and recriminations, spectacular pratfalls that could only happen at the height of a vigorous chase, and the occasional true prize won through skill and determination. Even the royal family had benefited from the bagging of a fine piece of game.
As an adult, one of his few official duties as third prince, a rare royal acknowledgements of his existence beyond that of son, he had led the first permitted hunt of woolly mammoth after their decimated numbers had been painstakingly restored enough for seasonal chase to begin again. Loki had ridden at the head of the tribes' leaders as they engaged in the first ceremonial hunt once the number of mammoths had been deemed large and stable enough to bear hunting again. It had been a moment of great pride for Prince Loptr of Jotunheim, firstborn of the king, Loki in his royal guise.
Loki had already adopted Aesir form as his own at that stage, but like most of his father's subjects, the tribes seem to accept that as one of the quirks of their King's eldest, Prince Loptr, Loki the far traveller, Loki their shadow prince.
Now here, Loki in his guise (real or assumed) of slave and companion found that once again, the hunt was on. Riding beside them did not feel too strange; it was in a way an extension of the hunt they had all pursued with Loki as prey and prize. A hunt to which he had finally fallen victim. He was both part of and apart from this hunting party. It was familiar; Loki was accustomed to being on the edge of things and in some ways preferred it. His former hunters largely seemed comfortable with his presence, thinking him tamed, although Sif still looked at him with weighing eyes.
He thought she liked him well enough, and he would use that if he could. He liked her too, truth be told. All of Thor's companions seemed to reflect aspects of the man himself to one degree or another. Sif was intelligent and forceful. Fandral was indulgent in his blankets but disciplined on the battlefield. Hogun was thoughtful and focussed. Volstagg bluff and light of heart. All characteristics reflected in the Thunderer himself. All loyal to him, and he to them. Loki could use that, too, even as prey or prize. Even a domesticated pet could manipulate its caretakers.
They hunted down a brave young mammoth buck deep in the hills finally in the late afternoon. It looked as healthy as Loki could expect and led them a merry chase. Volstagg finished it quickly, ensuring it suffered little, and as they cleaned and dressed it, Loki thought of how he had been trussed up and presented in Thor's tent in much the same way by these same people, with his soul gutted instead of his body. He sighed. It did not seem like such a bad fate, but that, he knew, was the spell talking. He hoped.
The skies were darkening as they made their way back to the camp. Hogun was the first to turn his head towards the nomadic camp to the west of their route. It looked colourful to Thor compared to the other settlements he had seen in this realm. Loki was tense beside him, unhappy. What did he expect, for Thor to ride in and trample and slaughter the women and children going about their domestic duties? Why not? You might have done that unthinkingly not too long ago. It was not the furthest thought from your mind just now. He disliked that voice inside him. It sounded a little like the sorcerer's.
He gestured to his companions to retreat, and plotted a track around the camp to avoid notice. He thought he heard Loki exhale, and then inhale sharply. What he now after much time in Jotunheim was able to recognise as a woman had rounded the path and stumbled right upon them while returning to the nomad camp. She stood too stunned to move for a moment, and then turned and fled. Thor wheeled his horse around and made to her run her down. He heard Loki shout 'For pity's sake, no!'
Thor grimaced and pulled his horse up fast. The others pulled up too, milling around in the confusion. He heard Loki mutter a curse as voices were raised in the camp and quickly quietened. A hesistant voice called out warily from a group that emerged from the darkness. "Loki?" The speaker seemed about to add something to Loki's name, an honorific perhaps.
Thor looked to Loki, who sat stiffly on his horse. He cleared his throat and responded. "It is Loki. Just Loki. I am with...companions from Asgard. Keep your distance if you wish to keep your lives." There was murmuring. "Loki. You won't come to our camp? Surely you don't..."
Loki snapped "Do you see the colours I am wearing?" There was more than a bite of command to Loki's tone. Thor stared at him. Loki's posture was that of a general astride a warhorse, ready to charge. He radiated anger and danger.
The voice in the dark said "You wear many colours, Trickster. Tonight, green and gold. Tomorrow, who knows?" Laughter came from the group. Loki softened slightly and grinned despite himself, Thor saw.
Thor swung himself off Gullfaxi and started to lead him towards the group. Loki hissed, but swung off his own horse and followed. He felt the others wait, and heard the subtle sounds of weapons drawn. "What is the name of the speaker for this group?" Thor asked. The group was silent for a moment. "Before we exchange names, be welcome to our fires." came the reply. Thor saw the speaker was an older woman, holding a hunting bow, but not in an offensive position. She was not afraid.
Thor looked back at his companions. They were tense. Loki was beside him, face a mask of calm. He wore that mask a lot, Thor realised. He looked directly at Loki, whose mask slipped slightly to reveal a pleading look in his eyes that did not sit well with Thor. Loki had not even pleaded for himself when Thor stripped him of his very self, could he really be so concerned for these strangers? Thor made a decision. "Our food is yours," Thor said, gesturing to the meat wrapped on his horse. The woman looked at Loki, who recovered quickly and gave a tiny nod. "A fine hearth gift, my Lord." Thor beckoned his companions to follow.
They walked their horses into the camp and tied them up with the camp's hardy goats. Thor handed his portion of the mammoth kill to the cookpots and they followed the woman into the largest tents.
They sat on the floor, on old but well-made cushions. A water vessel and a wine vessel were placed before Loki and he bowed to the woman who now hosted them. He poured for her, then for Thor, then Sif, then himself, and then for everyone else at the table, all of whom bowed to him as he moved from setting to setting. Their host looked from him to Loki, watched him watching Loki.
Before long, food was served, and it was not what Thor had expected. He was sure he had seen a crude stew cooking in the pots outside, it had smelled of tubers. Not unpleasant but certainly not like the riches that were offered up before him now. Grains, vegetables and thick slices of bread were served on large copper platters alongside bowls of meat, all flavoured with spices and herbs he could not identify but reminded him faintly of Loki.
Loki used the food implements as if they were extensions of his own fingers; the only of Thor's companions to do so well was Volstagg, although Sif did not embarrass herself.
Thor was briefly concerned about poison, that perhaps the communal dishes had something harmless to Jotunn added to it. He grimaced. I've taken the leap, I may as well take the consequences, he thought. He felt Loki looking at him, and as the sorcerer caught his eye, Loki grinned at him around a mouthful of meat as if he could read his thoughts.
General chatter arose as the meal went on, although Thor guessed it was more muted than usual. Some of the younger Jotunn eyed him with fear or suspicion or open curiosity, raking him from head to toe, he felt. Loki took care to keep the cups of wine and water filled. How did the woman know him?
Thor assumed that the sorcerer was as well known as a warrior among his own as he was among his enemies but this seemed more personal, as if Loki was a member of their kin. He offered the refreshments not as if he was a servant, but as if he was...a head of the household. Loki was at ease here, at least moreso than Thor had seen of him so far. He doubted the sorcerer ever truly relaxed his guard.
Sated, Thor sat back as the youngest of the clan cleared the table. Small morsels of rich food appeared in front of each of them along with a tiny cup containing a hot black liquid. The Jotunn ate the dessert in tiny bites, chasing them with sips. "Now," said their host, sitting back on the cushions. "Let us exchange stories."
She introduced herself and her clan, names unfamiliar and strange on the Asgardian ear, and Thor was not sure he would be able to recall them if asked. Loki whispered to him that as the leader of this tribe, she should be referred to as Madi. Thor nodded. Thor realised it was time to introduce himself, and he hesitated, not out of fear or caution, but out of...could it be a little bit of shame?
His name was feared and hated in these tents, he was sure of it, and while not long ago he would not have cared to think of how the denizens of this camp thought of him, it felt different after accepting their hospitality. He steeled himself and spoke his name anyway. "I am Thor Odinson, and these are my companions."
He introduced them all, except for Loki, who seemed more like his own this evening than at any other time that Thor had sat beside him. The tent fell silent as Thor continued and by the end, he felt like he was speaking into a void. When he stopped, the silence stretched for a moment. The madi shook herself and reached out her hands to Loki, taking his smaller ones in hers.
"And we do not need an introduction to Loki-," she started. Loki interrupted her to scandalised looks from some of her people. "Loki, Madi. Just Loki. I am not who I was. I belong to Thor Odinson. I serve the King." She looked at him with an expression that Thor had never noticed on a Jotunn before, sadness. "And who does Thor Odinson belong to, Loki?".
It was as strange and joyous an evening as Loki had ever spent. He could not shape events here and so he did not try. The efforts that the madi and her people had made to feed them well made him desperately sad, he knew that this was a feast day meal they were offering him and the guests he had brought to their hearth. Their hospitality overwhelmed him and he could not bear to think too much on it. After the sweets, a space was marked out in the tent and music and dance began. He knew he probably looked ridiculous given that he was taller only than the smallest children, but as the music sang and skirled, he danced frenetically.
He did not specifically remember these people but they remembered him. It felt good, like he had roots here still. Given a place of honour at dinner, asked to perform the duty of the Fadi, as his father would if he had been paying court to his people. It felt good to belong, to be folded into the complex structure of his realm again.
Loki was astonished by the fragile peace that was holding. It felt like both side were stretched taut though, he could almost hear the humming of the tension. It would not take much to break it and for this beautiful illusion to shatter. He wasn't sure how he felt about his people feting the desecrators of their land, especially as it was in deference to his presence. They trusted the rapscallion son of their King to have his reasons for being a companion to the enemy.
Thor had been surprisingly deft in his introductions, referring to neither his title nor his origin, and he had not counted Loki as one of his companions. That could have been seen as an insult in the eyes of their hosts but he (and they, he was sure) saw it as a gesture of respect to Loki's unique position among them, as party to both groups and neither. Loki knew Thor wasn't stupid, but he so often rode roughshod over other people, even his friends, that Loki was surprised to see the evidence that Thor could be subtle.
Loki sat and spoke to the younger members of the clan, delighted to hear that some remembered him in his finery at the great hunt, binding them to a mutual giggling conspiracy of silence over his true title. If Thor discovered tonight that he held a prince of the realm in slavery, Loki could do nothing about it, but he was finding the joy in the mischief of it.
Chapter 12: Godhead
Declining the madi's offer of shelter for the night, all parties having felt they had pressed their luck as far as it might go, Thor and his companions (and slave) left to return to the Asgardian camp. Thor looked thoughtful as the madi once again took Loki's hands in her own and bowed over them, kissing the backs of his fingers and murmuring blessings to him. He had tried to demur the respectful gestures but she insisted and he could not truly refuse them. She in turn looked thoughtfully at Thor as Loki swung onto his horse and joined his party. Loki could guess what she saw as her gaze lingered on Thor. Not the handsome Thunderer, he was sure.
Hogun announced that they were an hour's ride to their own camp. Thor beckoned Loki to ride beside him, and the others dropped back, silently. No doubt they had questions of their own. "If I were to ask you who this madi was to you, could I depend on you to spin me a pretty lie using the truth?" He smiled at Loki, one of those which left Loki feel like he had been basking in warm sunshine. Loki flashed a smile with teeth back. "I would not like to disappoint you with the whole truth, my prince." Thor shook his head, still smiling. "Tell me what you will, then, Loki."
Loki shrugged guilelessly. "The madi is a stranger to me. We may have met before, I didn't discuss it with her. But I am known to some here because of the role I have had in the war." Sif snorted. "We are lucky that tonight we did not join the pile of corpses you left in your wake on the battlefield, sorcerer. I don't know what you were thinking, Thor." Thor nodded an acknowledgement to her.
"A stranger to you, Loki. One who recognises you in the dark, in an alien uniform. Welcomes her enemies to her hearth and gives them safe passage because you accompany them. Treats you as an honoured member of her kin, one worthy to grant water and wine to those at the table, of distributing the very breath of life. Gave up her finest food to please you. Tries to give you your rightful title, whatever that may be. Shows humility when you deny her the right to call you by that title. Celebrates your presence with music and dance. Bids you farewell with love and reverence." Loki held his breath. He knew he would not be able to deny his royal connection forever, undefined as it was.
"Are you as a god here, sorcerer?" Loki was stunned for a moment. Was Thor mocking him? Before he could think how to respond to this nonsense, teasingly embrace it perhaps, mock Thor's own godhead, Thor laughed softly. But not mockingly.
Looking straight ahead, Thor continued. "I have thought it for some time, Loki. I had not truly believed the extent of your power until you cracked the binding cuff. Or the extent of your will until you defied me after I placed you in the snow, utterly bound and helpless, after you sacrificed your own self for your comrade. Of course, power and will and self-sacrifice do not make a god, but they are components. At worst, they make a exceptional seidrmaster, and I suppose potentially an exceptional general or king if directed wisely. But what I saw here tonight, was belief. The influence you have with these people, the trust that they placed in you, the worship they made...they sacrificed for you. They believed that the devil himself, Thor Odinson, would spare them because you walked by his side and willed it so."
Thor was facing straight ahead. Loki stared at his profile, dumbfounded. Troubled. He did not understand what game Thor was playing. He swallowed and attempted a light tone. "And what, Thunderer, have you deduced my domain to be? What do I embody that these kind people would worship?". Thor was quiet for a moment.
"What do they call you, Loki? I could never discover your name, no matter how many Jotunn prisoners I questioned. I was told that you had no name, or too many, or it was unknown, but I knew that they knew."
Loki was silent. Thor allowed him the time to collect his thoughts. Finally, he found himself able to speak. "My birth name is Loptr. But I am no longer allowed the name. I call myself Loki. It's not a name exactly, but it is what I am called. It is who I am. My...the people...they call me many things. I was not allowed a true name so I think instead I gather bynames to me. It's not something I pursue. It just happens. The madi might have called me Loki Skytreader or Loki Firestarter, or Liesmith or..." ...Loki-Prince. Prince Loptr, Prince 'might have been' or 'never was' or 'forgotten'.
Thor did look at him then. Loki started to laugh, a little hysterically. "This is not the whole truth. The whole truth would take more than our time until back at the camp, probably. But it is all true. I cannot speak a word that is a lie by your order, my prince. So I admit I have been having fun as I am forced to be ever more inventive to avoid telling true."
Loki paused and decided to see if this strangely calm and thoughtful Thor could be needled. "And I have certainly enjoyed wielding the truth as a weapon." Thor flinched ever so slightly. "But know this for plain truth, Thunderer: I have not lied in answer to your question. But if you insist on more, I will find a way to mislead you, if you like."
Thor's face was utterly peaceful again. He was refusing to be distracted. "Loki, sometimes a true god is made, not born. Something intangible coalesces in an exceptional being and they are elevated, gathering influence and gathering names. People recognise godhead innately and worship those who bear it. My father was one, and knew it. He sacrificed himself to himself on the Tree of Life."
Loki thought of Odin and how he truly was a trickster to be wary of. Thor continued. "I have never heard of a Frost Giant becoming a god but if you are the first, it would be fitting. These people who hosted us tonight would not think it amiss."
Loki shook his head. If Thor was being serious, he was confusing the respect due to a member of the royal family from their people with something...other entirely. He was not to know why Loki was offered such and was jumping to conclusions. Though it was true neither Byliestr nor Helblindi had been received with open hearts by their people as Loki always had, Loki knew this was because the two crown princes were remote, austere, as befitting their station.
Loki had engendered fondness and warmth because he walked the edges of royal and something else, a prince yet not, Jotunn and more than simply Jotunn yet very much of Jotunheim. He was one of theirs who left but always came back. He was the runt child, the weakling who had survived the traditional abandonment in the temple, the fate of weaklings newly born.
He sometimes wondered if, given his royal station, he represented to them every one of their dead children returned to them. That was his burden to carry, the cost of being born to the royal family, the cost of his unexpected survival on the altar where he had been exposed.
Thor was royal and god both, he probably did not understand the distinction.
Thor had called him 'an exceptional being'.
The camp lay ahead, and sleep.
After the horses had been handed over, Sif took Thor aside, waving the others away. Thor directed Loki to the tent. "What is it?" Thor asked. Sif hesitated. "If what you said is true," she said slowly, "Then you have made an even graver error in binding him to you than you thought." Thor nodded and thought for a moment before replying. "It was a mistake from the start. I should have listened to my gut."
Sif knew how he had struggled with the wrongs and risks of his plan. "It was always a risk-laden plan," she said. "At the time, it seemed worth it. We knew that one with his nature might find a way to wriggle free, and that bound he may prove more dangerous than unbound if his power and passions are forced down unnatural routes by the restrictions put on them. The mage said as much to me when she brought the cracked cuff back to the camp, she was terrified. And now it seems that you may have bound not just a powerful seidrmaster, but a nascent god besides? This could be a disaster, Thor."
Thor could not find a convincing way to disagree.
Coming back from a quick dip in the pools to rid himself of the grime of the hunt, he found Loki as expected already washed and stripped and in bed, his back to Thor as was his sleeping custom. Loki's scar, slashed down his back, was revealed by the low-slung blanket. "Loki." Loki rolled over on his back, half-asleep and mumbled "Have you not talked enough this night, Thunderer? Or perhaps my prince wants his pleasure of me."
He raised himself up on his elbows. "If you would just straddle my chest, then I'm sure I could..." "Be quiet, Loki,". Loki shut up, unable to disobey, and bit his lip in pure anger, meeting Thor's eyes with fury now. "I don't ...you may speak. But please listen to me. I have something important to say." Loki visibly trembled in his attempts to keep quiet. "Thank you," said Thor.
He lay beside the sorcerer, and turned on his side to face him. "I don't expect you to say anything in response." Loki raised an eyebrow. Thor grinned, but only briefly. He took a deep breath. "It was a mistake to bind you to me, to enslave you. It was wrong." He dared look at Loki's face. It was completely expressionless. "I am sorry for what I have done to you. I will make it right if I can."
Loki's gaze dropped, and for a moment Thor thought Loki was going to kiss him. Anger crept onto the sorcerer's face instead and he said "But you can't make it right. The binding is permanent. I know the makings of this spell as well as you." " Thor took another deep breath. "I will make it right if I can. There must be a way."
Loki made a move to climb out of the bed, but stopped as Thor grabbed his wrist, not roughly. "Your words mean nothing, Thunderer. I will not be lulled by them." Thor laughed at this -laughed!- and pulled him gently back into the bed.
"No, no. Peace, Loki, this is not a laughing matter, I am aware. Simply the thought of you being lulled..." He laughed again. "I have fought tooth and nail to control you while you remain yourself, and it is a battle I accept I will not win without destroying the game entirely. You refuse to even allow me to lull you in bed! Only once have you let me bring you to your pleasure, you guard even that from me. These are no lulling words I speak. The binding will be undone if it can be done. There is always a way."
Loki did not believe that to be true. Some things were just unchangeably knotted, locked, tangled. Had Thor never come across an impossible task before? Then this might be his first experience of failure. Loki wished his fate was not intertwined with the Thunderer's whims.
That was unfair. Thor had clearly thought deeply about the binding before proceeding, and had changed his mind about his decision after the enormity of its wrong had been made plain to him. Took him long enough, thought Loki, grimly. But Loki knew the attraction of denying the truth to himself and the pain of facing it in the end. He could respect the Thunderer's honesty with himself in this.
"What of your commands to me?" Thor grimaced. He spoke with clear regret in his voice. "Even if I were able to release you immediately, I would still put back the cuffs on you to stop your mischief from seriously harming my camp and myself. You are an enemy prisoner and make no bones about where your loyalties lie. I cannot rescind the command that you must not harm me or mine." Loki expected no more, but then the Thunderer surprised him. "You are no longer included as mine, if you wish it."
Loki gave him a flat-eyed look. I am still your slave. Thor spread his hands placatingly. "You may do with yourself as you wish, now, although I hope you are never driven to harm yourself. All my other instructions you may ignore. If you wish to stand by while I or my soldiers suffer and die, I will not insist you act to prevent or help us in it. If you wish to act against any of my wishes, you may do so, except my instruction that you are not to harm."
Loki stared. "Thunderer, you have just made life very difficult for yourself." Thor closed his eyes. "I know it," he replied. "Whatever tortures you choose to inflict on me now cannot compare to what I have done to you, of course. But I think you will enjoy your revenge far more than I have enjoyed imposing my will on yours."
Loki grinned a wolf grin, just as Thor opened his eyes. Loki lay down on his back beside him, trying to absorb all. Thor propped on his elbow, looking down at him again. "For now, you are still my slave," admitted Thor. "A most troublesome one. I will not let you out of my sight. I will continue to have you sleep here, with me, and fool myself into thinking that it gives me some power over you, if you will."
Loki considered. "I have no reason to leave your bed I suppose, and I do so worry for your peace of mind." Thor laughed.
Loki could feel Thor looking down at him as Loki stared at the tent ceiling, still not sure of how to feel about the things shifting in his head. He was trying to accommodate the new arrangement. Thor's arm reached down along Loki's body, stroking his chest, his stomach, stroking over his cock and wrapping a large hot hand around it. Loki closed his eyes as Thor's head bent to his ear, the heat of his body closed in on Loki's, his cock laying snug and hard and hot against Loki's hip, his long hard-muscled legs entwined with Loki's own.
Chapter 13: The King
Loki woke before dawn to the usual weight of Thor's arm thrown over him, but as he was lying on his back instead of on his side, it felt heavier somehow. Loki threw it off as usual, as usual Thor's breathing changed slightly in response, and as usual he did not wake. Loki dressed in a cotton tunic and black leather trews as quickly and silently as he could and prepared to test his new boundaries.
He flexed his seidr and twisted the world around him. As his view of the tent changed, he saw Thor open one eye, then lift his head, consternation plain on his face. Though he knew he may already have faded from Thor's view, Loki raised one hand in a sarcastic 'bye bye' gesture.
He skywalked through the camp and over the remaining territory between the Asgardian army and his father's capital, Utgard. As he approached the palace, he could already feel the binding spell tugging him back towards his master as strongly as if he had been wearing a collar. Just as well I don't intend to stay long. He descended into his own chambers, long abandoned but still apparently well maintained. They were much as he had left them, he thought.
Still skywalking, he entered his bathing chamber and checked on the snow-white crabs he had kept as pets in the ice pools. They, or perhaps their descendants, were still there, beautiful and almost glowing in the near dark. He entered his bedroom proper, and saw that his bed was kept freshly made, as if he were to drop in at any time. Well, he was dropping in, wasn't he? Not to stay though. He had no plans to sleep in this chamber again, even if his memories of it weren't bad, precisely. Lonely might be the word.
He heard the main door of his chambers opening, and his father's voice calling his name. Shaking his head, not sure at first if he wasn't imagining it, he skywalked to where his father stood in his bed robes, pulling the door shut behind him. "Loki? I had wards set in case you came. Show yourself, boy". Loki hesitated. "I am here, Father."
Moving into the room properly, he dropped to one knee. "Greetings, my King." "Stand, Loki. This is a family space. No matter how long it is since we have seen each other. How is it that you are here?" Loki said nothing. "It is true then. You are captured. A slave, truly? Have you been sent to destroy us?"
There was no fear on his father's face, just acceptance. "No, Father. And I don't have a lot of time here. Where is the Casket?" "Safe," replied Laufey, unshaken as always. "Bring the Thunderer here and I will return it to him. Peace will be restored." Loki started. Laufey laughed. "I thought you had learned to better control your face, my child. Bring yourself along with the Thunderer. I will free you from his servitude if you can do this."
Loki purely gaped now. His father laughed again. "There will be a cost to you, of course, but you have always been willing to pay. Come back to me in truth, my boy." Loki felt himself be pulled way. He heard his father's word fade as he stepped back towards the Asgardian camp. "The Thunderer will pay too, Loki. Dearly."
As Thor woke from the chill in his bed that always resulted from the absence of the early-rising sorcerer, he opened one eye to the familiar sight of Loki already dressed. He saw too late that the sorcerer had wrapped himself in seidr and was moving away despite standing utterly still.
As Loki vanished, Thor could have sworn that the sorcerer waved a sarcastic farewell. Was he dreaming? No, his bed was empty of Loki, still barely warm so he was not long gone, but had he really just left?
Thor felt Loki's absence bloom in him, an almost tangible thing. An effect of the spell, he assumed. He sensed that he could just twitch his fingers, in a manner of speaking, and his slave would return. He felt Loki's absence viscerally, though, but calmed himself as he realised that Loki, wherever he was, was feeling the same. He would not be long gone then.
Sure enough by the time Thor had returned from the baths, Loki was in the tent. He looked unsettled. His eyes flicked to Thor and away as Thor addressed him. "Are you to tell me where you went?" "No," replied Loki, bluntly. Thor pressed on regradless. "Are you to tell me what has you upset?" "I am not upset," came the answer. Thor cocked an eyebrow. "The first plain lie I have heard you tell."
Loki frowned. "Did you call me back? Tug on my leash like the hound I am?" "No, not intentionally" replied Thor uneasily. Had he? "But I am glad you are back." Thor stood after tugging on his boots, and the two men looked at each other. Thor spoke first. "You have that look on your face. You need a distraction. Let us go to the practice ring."
Loki was irritated that he had allowed both Laufey-King and Thor to see his emotions written on his face. His father could always see through him, so that was not surprising, he thought, but Thor's insights into his state of mind made him feel exposed, vulnerable. Then again he had artlessly lied to Thor about his state of mind, and he wondered why.
Did he want Thor to see his upset? He did not trust Thor, the very opposite, he was sure. Loki knew there were few enough he felt safe with, and none were on Jotunheim. Yet here he was, allowing the Thunderer to offer him comfort.
The practice ring. No, that was not the sort of comfort he needed, he needed relief, a release. He was conflicted and confused, guilt married with anger and ...concern. Too many emotions for him to parse without something to focus on. His father's admission that he had the Casket had floored him, and he did not know how to feel about Laufey-King leaving his people to suffer while in possession of the object that could save them, or at least provide them with succour in the face of this war.
Why was Laufey not exploiting the power of the Casket for his suffering people? Guilt for doubting the King's wisdom began to eat at him, as did anger for the King's actions. More guilt. No, too tangled up. Concern rose for Thor, unbidden, and certainly unwelcome. Why should he care for whatever fate Thor had in store for himself? Perhaps Laufey's plan to liberate Loki from Thor was to kill Thor.
Loki thought not, to kill the owner of a seidrmaster would simply mean the seidrmaster became a slave without an owner, his power forever limited by his master's wishes, and possibly leaving the seidrmaster open to ownership to anyone who knew the art of leashing that collar. Laufey probably had sorcerers on his own leash who knew that art.
It suddenly occured to Loki that the best way for Laufey to liberate him completely from Thor and the best way to prevent Loki the enslaved from being a threat to Jotunheim was to kill Loki.
He hated this, this swirl of uncertainty and mistrust and betrayal. He could trust Thor, he realised. Thor had never been anything but blunt about his motivations and intentions and desires. His hand crept to his outer left thigh and he pressed down on the scar there absently, savouring the brief pressure on it, and the burst of relief which came from it.
Loki had not felt this need in a long time. His life had been straightforward in the army of Jotunheim. He had been too busy fighting a slash-and-run war against an obvious enemy to get into emotional tangles. He pressed down on the scar again. And had a sudden horrible realisation.
He could not cut himself. Not even the relatively little it took to give him enough sharp sweet pain to relieve the inner turmoil. Thor had forbidden Loki from harming him and his. But he had also said you are no longer included as mine, if you wish it. If you wish it.
Loki did not wish to be Thor's. He did not. He wished to be his own man again, and Thor had allowed him to reclaim as much of himself as it was possible for Thor to give under these circumstances. And yet Loki found his actions confined by his master's only instruction - you will not harm me or mine. What could this mean?
Thor saw Loki look inwards for a moment, and the sorcerer appeared almost horrified with what he saw. Sinking down on the bed, he stared at his hands. Squatting in front of him Thor asked with concern "What is the matter?" Loki buried his face in his hands. "Nothing," he said, taking a deep breath. Another lie. "We can talk of it later if we must. To the practice ring then." He stood and swept out as if he was the master of the tent and of the camp and of all that occured there.
Chapter 14: There or Here
Thor was almost affectionate that night, and Loki had allowed him. Thor had not showed any interest in fucking Loki since that first night, for which Loki was grateful -grateful! he really had been tamed to some extent at least- and had established a routine of Loki first sucking Thor's cock and then either bringing himself off while Thor watched or accepting a hand job from Thor if Loki was feeling generous. That night though, after their sparring in the training ring, followed by a meal and some time on the horses, Thor had gently pushed him down on the bed.
They were both still damp from bathing, and as Loki was about to reach for the towel around Thor's waist, instead Thor sat down beside him and had pushed Loki to a lying down position, so they were face to face with Thor bending over him. Blue eyes looked into green and Loki shivered.
At first he thought Thor was going to kiss him, and he stiffened, but instead Thor had leaned in and started nuzzling and licking Loki's neck, scraping teeth along his throat, biting gently along his shoulder. His hands were stroking Loki's sides, his fingernails scraping from the small of Loki's back along his ass to the tops of his thighs.
Loki gave himself up to Thor's ministrations, placing one hand in his blond hair and curling his other around Thor's broad back and shoulder.
Thor moved down Loki's chest and stomach, tracing circles with his strong agile tongue, for all the world as if they were lovers. His mouth reached Loki's cock, straining as it was against Loki's stomach, and Thor swirled his tongue around the head.
Loki closed his eyes at the sensation and then opened them to see the sight of Thor taking the head of Loki's cock entirely into his mouth. Thor chuckled at Loki's expression, and the feeling around his cock drew a gasp from Loki. What is the Thunderer playing at? Does it please him to play at domesticity?
Thor drew his head back, releasing Loki's cock, and said "I can feel you thinking, sorcerer. What can I do to quiet that quicksilver mind of yours?" With that Thor smiled a sunshine smile, turned back to Loki's cock, brushed his lips against the tip and then to Loki's utter surprise moved his head so he was able to swallow most of Loki's cock in one go.
Loki gripped the sheets as Thor choked slightly, the hot wet tight tremors pulsing around Loki's cock as he took in the view. And what a view! Thor bobbed his head, taking in a little more each time, hands splayed on Loki's hips, upper body leaning on Loki's lower. He knew that there was a limit to what Thor enjoyed as a receiver of cock so he tried not to cant his hips. Thor's strong hands forced his hips to stillness, pinning him to the bed, the weight of the Thunderer's muscular body not allowing Loki to use the strength in his legs to lend any strength to his hip thrusts.
Thor lifted his head again, a long suck before his mouth was clear of Loki's cock. He looked Loki in the eyes and asked 'Yes?'. Loki nodded. Another smile, and Thor bent back to swallow Loki's cock wholly.
As Thor started to move his head rhythmically, Loki leaned into the surrender. He could not move his lower body due to the sure, warm strength of the Thunderer pinning him to the bed, and felt the pure delicious pleasure of letting himself go in the hands of a strong partner. He raised his hands over his head, and without a headboard or bedpost to anchor himself, clasped his hands tightly together to hold them there.
Loki struggled to thrust his hips, helpless against Thor's leverage and strength, and Thor laughed around his cock, causing Loki to groan. Thor seemed pleased at the unusual sound, sensing that Loki had relaxed his guard a little. Loki was too caught up in the moment to care.
Loki gasped as Thor drove him to the edge, wanting not to just gasp but instead to utter lies, no stop no, you can't do this to me, wanting to pretend that the other man was hurting him by forcing him to pleasure, wanting to beg for mercy and receive none at the hands of a gentle brute. He knew that Thor would not understand Loki's bedsport though, and so bit his lip and allowed gasps to escape instead.
Thor understood enough to keep Loki completely helpless and restrained on the bed from the hips down as he brought Loki to completion. Sensing the change in Loki's struggles and the twitching of his cock, Thor moved his mouth off Loki's cock and replaced it with a firm, rough hand to see Loki through his orgasm. Loki came, melting on the bed, his seed spurting on his stomach and chest, Thor's hand accompanying him until he was done.
Thor moved to lie beside Loki, and as they both calmed down, Loki was hit by a flash of mischief which came from who knows where, considering his condition. He moved his arms from above his head, and as Thor watched, Loki brought his hand down and dipped a finger in one of the small pools of come on his stomach.
He lifted the finger to Thor's mouth. To his mild surprise, Thor took his hand and slid the whole of Loki's finger straight into his mouth, sucking Loki's seed from it as he gently pulled Loki's finger back out. He smiled smugly at Loki as he licked his lips and lay back not a little triumphantly. Loki propped himself up on one arm and looked down at the Thunderer, and without really thinking about it, found himself kissing Thor.
I just wanted to taste myself in his mouth, Loki told himself. It wasn't untrue, he knew, but as usual he was not telling the whole truth.
Much later, hours before dawn, Thor was woken by Loki, who seemed to be in a dream state, neither asleep nor awake. Thor usually woke slightly when the sorcerer would roll him on his side muttering about snoring, although he suspected the sorcerer's real motive was to ensure that he and Thor slept back to back, with as little intimacy as possible. Thor would eventually roll back in the night anyway and ended spooning Loki with with an arm draped over the other man.
This time, Thor woke fully to find Loki sitting up, utterly calm, staring into nothing. He could tell that Loki was not quite awake, nor fully asleep, as the vacant eyes moved in a parody of seeing. By contrast, controlled terror painted Loki's face. "Am I there or am I here," he asked almost plaintively.
Thor spoke in a low soothing voice. "Loki, wake. You are dreaming." The sorcerer sat stock still and whispered with that dead calm "But if it's a dream, where will I wake up? What if this is a dream and I am there?" "You're here, Loki. With me, with Thor, you're in the tent. Safe." Loki's eyes flicked to his for a split second but he wondered if Loki had really heard him.
Loki continued to stare ahead and after a long moment muttered "No. Not safe. But I am here and not there. I am here, and I am with you." Thor placed his hand gently on Loki's forearm. "Are you alright?" Loki looked at him, still with far away in his eyes. "Yes. I am alright. Go back to sleep, Thor."
He lay down and turned his back on Thor as was normal. Thor lay back down also and thought about how this was the first time since their first meeting that Loki had used his name to directly address him. As he settled back into sleep, it occurred to him that he liked the sound of it from Loki's mouth.
Loki woke that morning feeling curiously distant from everything. He was on his back again, unusually, and Thor's face was buried in his neck, his arm thrown across Loki's chest. Instead of pushing it off, Loki hugged it closer to him. Thor's arm across him felt real, and protective. Loki knew there was no protection from the horrors in his head, but he could pretend for a little while in the warmth of the bed and the cold of the morning with the Thunderer's strong arm pressed against his chest.
The previous days exertions had tired him physically in a very pleasant way, as had the night's play. And play it was, he realised. He had not simply serviced Thor, and seen to his own needs in a functional way, pleasant enough and all as that had become for him. He didn't want to think too closely on what it meant, didn't want to add it to the tangle that he was keeping locked away in his mind for the moment. It was all distant.
Despite the physical tiredness, he was on edge. He had enjoyed the brief surrender to Thor, but he needed something more for true release. After taking care of Thor, he had been on the verge of falling asleep with the not unpleasant taste of the Thunderer's seed in his mouth, when his thoughts rose fresh and hot in his mind, causing him to jerk bodily in the bed. Laufey. The Casket. The Binding. His brother. Thor. His people.
Thor had murmured something into his hair and held him more tightly but Loki found his hand snaking down to his thigh and digging his nails in. There had to be some way to give himself what he needed. Thor was deeply asleep, but Loki had known there was no true rest for him there for that night at least. He drifted off eventually, and remembered nothing but dreams of walking through large empty rooms.
Awake now, the scar on his thigh ached a little, and he almost hurt all over with need he felt for the ache to become a sharp, bright pain rather than a deep dull one. He was not able to find release in his usual way, he had accepted that. Not with Thor's restrictions on harming him or his. Even his anger at that felt distant. He considered pursuing some form of release in the volcanic pools nearby; a pool with run-off from the glacier might spear the sensation of tiny daggers into his skin, a searing hot pool might light his skin up with agony that might finally free him from this internal pain.
No, he probably would not be able to sink into the water without his master's permission for fear he would really harm himself, and anyway he was not in control enough of himself to be sure that this was not reckless, stupidly dangerous. He would have to ask Thor for help. For permission. Blast him.
Thor shifted slightly, and Loki felt the familiar small stretches and snuffles that signalled the Thunderer was to rise. He did not throw off Thor's arm as was his usual practice, and waited for Thor to speak. After grumbling a bit, with a noise of mild surprise for finding Loki hugging Thor's arm to his chest (and Loki had to admit, he was hugging the man's damn arm), Thor moved so his body was half-covering Loki's own, head still in the crook of Loki's neck, legs completely entangling Loki's possessively.
"So," he said sleepily, mouth close to Loki's ear. "It is not just the binding that bothers you this morning I think. If I asked, would you tell me?" Loki took a deep breath. "I have... need of something from you."
Loki felt Thor take a moment to waken himself fully and sit up." "If I can give it to you, I will," he answered, looking down at him. Loki took another deep breath. "If...I were to tell you that an old wound was bothering me, and I needed your permission to get relief, would you give it to me?" Thor paused. "I don't understand why you would need my permission."
Loki pressed on while he had the courage. "To get relief, I need to inflict some harm to myself. Nothing dangerous. But ...I am forbidden from harming what is yours." Thor was silent. "'I am asking you for a little trust. Will you give me permission? I will not be in any danger. I will not be violating the truth of your command to me."
Thor spoke slowly. "Loki. I released you from the command that forced you to see yourself as one of my possessions. I know this is more in spirit than in fact, given the binding, but you do not need my permission for...for this thing."
Loki refused to meet his eyes but he answered Thor as honestly as he dared. "Nevertheless, the part of me that chooses whose I am still considers me to be yours."
Thor was utterly still. "Is this a thing of the binding? Or..."
Loki suddenly sat bolt upright in the bed. "I DON'T KNOW!" he spat at Thor. "I don't know. Give me what I need, Thunderer, or be done with it. Be done with your pretence of my freedom. I swore I would not allow myself to be taken little by little, that I would spit in your eye and force your hand to properly break me rather then feel myself slide and crumble away, and yet here I am. Give me permission to harm myself or cut this thread that is me for once and for all. Aghh, I cannot bear this, any of this!"
Thor was astonished, no less so than when Loki had ordered him to finish the enslavement ritual the night of Loki's capture. "Whatever you need, Loki, you may have it." He suddenly realised what he had said, and cursed himself.
If this was one of Loki's scenes, one of his mischievous roles he created as a means to and a distraction from his goal, Thor had just handed him a carte blanche, permission for him to do-as-he-will on a plate, hadn't he?
A shot of fear of what the sorcerer's next action would be raced through Thor, wrapped though Loki was in Thor's bedsheets, hair tousled from a night of intimacy, only moments ago having embraced Thor's sleeping form to his own body.
Instead of laughing in his face and making the beginnings of havoc, though, Loki started to sob. Thor didn't think it was possible for him to be any more astonished by the morning's turn. "Get it off me, Thor, get it off me. I cannot bear not knowing what is me and what is it. How can I know whose I am when I am caught between you and it, and a third thing which is you both together, that blasted binding and you together."
Loki was looking him straight in the eyes now, distraught, tears pouring down his cheeks, body twisted in pain. Thor reached slowly to wrap himself around Loki, not sure if his touch was welcome, and when Loki did not resist but leaned into his embrace, Thor did what he could to comfort him.
He did not think he had the right words, so Thor risked saying what he felt. He had already been impulsive this morning, perhaps it was time to make a leap of faith. Foolishly, perhaps selfishly, Thor decided to tell his sorceror what he wanted from him and hoped for them both, despite everything. Thor decided he would accept hate and condemnation and pity from the sorcerer if he had to because of it, because what he said was the truth.
"I will not let you go if I can avoid it, Loki but only if you agree to be mine in truth. You will be rid of this binding at least if I have to spend the rest of my days finding a way, but if it proves impossible then..."
He could not, could he? As King of Asgard, he could not, but he could change that. Abdicate his role, turn his back on his family, his people, his realm. It was a high price to pay for what he had done for Loki, the highest, but if that was the price, so be it.
He had committed a terrible crime, more than one, and he would sit in judgement of himself if he must. He took a deep breath and continued. "Then I will find a way to bind myself to you, so you are my equal again. I am yours for the taking if you want me."
Loki coughed slightly in his tears, and looked up at Thor, and started to laugh. "Oh Thunderer. I could have played you like a fiddle had I really tried. You are in over your head, my prince."
Chapter 15: The Binding
Whatever you need, you may have. Loki's head was beginning to clear a little, and he reached for calm as well as he could. He had provoked Thor into saying some very foolish things. I am yours for the taking. Those words were...binding. Not irreversible though. Thor could change his mind if the whim took him. He left the tent as quickly as he could without losing his dignity. Thor watched and said nothing.
Afterwards, he felt better and worse, as he expected. The pain crested and had brought some peace, a tangible focus for the turmoil within. He had taken his time and been careful but there was always the risk of cutting too deep, and especially now, the risk of a latent desire to do so. He no longer wanted to die, if that desire had ever really settled on him even in the depths of his despair at his enslavement, but he knew he walked a tightrope.
As a few spots of his blood dropped into the cold dusty soil of Jotunheim, his shame almost matched his relief. This did him no good. It brought temporary relief at best, but it changed nothing else. Sighing, he realised he would not be able to do this to himself again while the binding mastered him. He did not truly need this.
He needed his freedom, but the one who took it could not return it. Loki's freedom was no longer Thor's to give back. The binding had them both bound tight, made slaves of them both in a way. Not in the same way, of course. Thor was not finding himself on his knees every night in front of Loki for fear of being fucked instead.
But Thor had gone on his knees anyway, for all intents and purposes. Loki shivered slightly at the memory of the previous night. Even on his knees, Thor was masterful. Loki skirted the surface of the brimming thought that this is what he needed. That was the binding's thinking, surely. Not Loki's, surely. He did not want to truly submit to Thor. No matter that Loki had found the beginnings of peace in surrendering him. No matter that perhaps Thor could give Loki what he needed.
Thor was not the only one who had to face uncomfortable truths.
Loki thought he understood now how the binding worked. It was not just a blunt instrument, bending the will of the slave to the master. That would eventually lead all too often to a broken slave, a waste of the magical resources invested in creating a valuable tool.
There were many small instances where he found himself content when he had no wish to be, had found himself bending himself to Thor's desires far too readily, too accepting of role as companion, too ready to trust Thor.
However, in different circumstances, these were all things that might have come to pass anyway. Loki knew he desired Thor. That was not because of the binding; Loki had desired Thor the very first time he had seen the princeling-king in his tent at the start of the war.
But the binding whispered to Loki's soul what Loki wanted to hear, and Loki found himself acting on his desires, finding contentment in the company of his enemy, and finding relief in trusting him too. The desire to be Thor's was probably Loki's own desire, manipulated by the binding. All the better to make a compliant and happy slave. He couldn't be sure though.
It was maddening. It was becoming less maddening.
And surely there was a quid pro quo for his master. The binding was surely manipulating Thor too to make him a more palatable master, all the better to keep his slave compliant and happy. He was sure Thor desired Loki too, not just as a body to relieve himself in. An exceptional being. He remembered the flicker of interest in Thor's eyes when they had first met, Loki disguised as an Asgardian soldier. And while Thor enjoyed being master in bed, for sure, he also seemed to desire not just to dominate Loki but to enjoy him and be enjoyed. When Thor wasn't simply accepting Loki's services, he was enthusiastic and sensitive -and rough when rough was right.
Well, somewhat rough. Could definitely be rougher. He had shown compassion occasionally. Bizarrely, this morning he had told Loki that Loki could have what he needed. Foolish in the extreme. Again, Loki thought that all of this generosity was innate to Thor, but manipulated and exploited by the binding to draw them closer together.
And... Thor had offered to bind himself to Loki if the binding of Loki to Thor could not be reversed, so they could be equals. This was plain madness.
And yet Loki believed him in this.
By the time he returned to the camp, the ache in his thigh sharp and pleasant, the tents were already almost packed up. The Asgardian army was on the move again, this time lay siege to Utgard itself, just a few days march ahead. The war was coming to a close.
Loki thought of Laufey-King and his claim to have the Casket. His claim to bring peace once Loki brought the Thunderer to him. His promise to free Loki from the binding and to make Thor suffer. Loki's dearest wish was for the war to end. Anything else, he decided, would be a bonus. Loki wish he knew exactly what his father planned. He suspected Thor would pay a great price if Laufey-King succeeded. If it was as great as what Jotunheim had paid, then that was only justice.
Thor was nowhere in sight, which made him nervous. Loki's main protection in the camp was the patronage of their King, enemy as Loki was of every single soldier here, including the King's own four companions, whose eyes flickered to him as he passed with expressions ranging from suspicion to disinterest. He sensed the path of Mjolnir and Thor skyward, and glanced upwards and west. The sky was heavy there, clouds threatened to lumber in the direction of the camp and its intended route. Thor must be intervening in a storm which would have hampered the march to the capital.
Loki was no weather mage, but the Frost Giant that was an intrinsic part of him could feel the ice of the clouds of the potential storm crackling and sparking under the Thunderer's touch. He sensed Thor's returning approach before he could physically see him, hurtling from the sky in a Thor-sized storm of ball lightning and raw chthonic seidr, a breath-taking vision of elemental power and masculinity. He seemed too big even from far away.
Thor slammed down to earth beside Loki, looking if not exhilarated by his exertions, then certainly well-satisfied by them. He turned to face his work as lightning leapt across the sky far off and the clouds started to break up. The weak sun in the east cast a shimmering Jotunn rainbow of blues and green and purples on the edge of red between the clouds of the fading proto-storm.
Loki felt the the threads of seidr connecting Thor to the shifting and folding of the clouds far off in the distance as they started to swing around and away from the Asgardian army and its intended path, causing the rainbow to stutter and fade. Without thinking, he reached out and brushed Thor's seidr as it churned around the Thunderer. Loki followed its whirls and currents back to the never-to-be-born storm. For reasons he couldn't explain, Loki wanted to properly see the rainbow that Thor had created from ice and Jotunn sunlight, so he flicked the elemental component of his seidr, drawing on his Jotunn core, and closed his hand as he pushed together the frozen specks scattered through the clouds.
Thor's eyes widened as he felt Loki stroke Thor's connection to the dying storm to the west of them. He followed Loki's strong sure caress along his line of sight, invisible though the touch was. Thor saw the billowing western sky shift and glitter as Loki pushed frozen particles in the air together, so for a moment the ice specks pulsed and grew infinitesimally bigger.
The rainbow-like hues of red-purples and green and blues bloomed for a moment in the sky, refractions of the Jotunn sunshine in the points of frozen rain, floating like the northern lights of Midgard. Thor watched Loki as the sorcerer gasped at the sight, caught up in the unexpected intensity of it. His face was transformed by a bright joy that lit it from within; he looked younger and lighter for a few moments.
Suddenly lightning flashed there and the lights shivered and disappeared in an explosion of cracking ice particles. Uncountable points of skyborne ice were shattered by the lace of of lightning bolts. The storm dissipated entirely in a spray of strangely beautiful muted greens, blues and reds across the western sky. A moment later, a roll of thunder swept over the camp to some cheers from the soldiers, but Thor realised that many within the camp were simply staring at the phenomenon.
Loki turned to him suddenly, looking abashed. Then his expression flattened to utter blandness, and he turned towards the horses to ride.
That evening, Thor found Loki in a pool, only his closed eyes and forehead visible above the steaming waterline, damp dark hair gleaming in the moonlight. Thor slipped in beside him. Loki opened his eyes and sat up slightly straighter, taking a deep breath. Thor said nothing and stared at the clear sky. After a few moments, Loki murmured "So, if I fell asleep here, and began to drown, would your command that I cause no harm to your property kick in and force me awake or do you think I might quietly slip under?”
Thor did not reply for some time. "Once this war is over, I will do as I promise and find a way to release you."
Loki raised an eyebrow, and did not mention what might happen if Thor failed in this. Instead he said "So I find myself praying for the fall of my realm to the invader sooner rather than later so I myself can be free. An uncomfortable position to be in, you understand". Thor was losing patience. “Loki, we are done with this conversation. If our positions were reversed, what would you have done with me? At the very least, you would have removed my hands so I could not call Mjolnir.” Loki snickered “Ah, so in this scenario, you are not exactly you, but instead Thor, god of hammers?”
Aarrrggh. Loki should have bitten out his tongue before saying that. Had he completely lost the ability to think before speaking? He could not blame just the binding for making him grow careless in the familiarity of his captor's company. There was no need to push Thor down the road of discovery, much less accompany him. Let Thor continue to believe himself dependent on Mjolnir as a focus and channel for his power.
And Loki did want to accompany him, he realised. He could feel the mutual joy that would be brought by them two together working in congress, Thor taking ownership of his domain with Loki's guidance and as yet inconceivable possibilities of their power in tandem. The Nine Realms would tremble at their partnershio with trepidation and awe. He would forge Thor anew and Loki in turn would ride the storm...no. He knew his duty. No matter how rewarding it might be to reject it.
Loki saw Thor's expression, puzzlement and concern, and carefully blanked his own. Norns, had he also forgotten how to control his features? Before long he would be as easy to read as this sunny-faced oaf. All right, enough. Enough taunting of his master. Thor had said he would make things right. Loki did not think it was possible but he believed Thor when Thor said he would try.
More of the binding, probably. Loki was beginning not to care. He would take what he needed. He was going to get some of what he needed from Thor tonight.
Thor saw the long thin red scar down Loki's left thigh as Loki left the pool with an unexpectedly sweet smile. Thor was fairly sure that smile was to cover up the strangeness of the expressions that had flitted across the sorcerer's normally impassive face. Or perhaps Loki actually meant it for a sweet smile. He rarely had only one reason for doing anything, so Thor wasn't going to take any bets either way. Had he thought that Thor would punish him for calling him 'the god of hammers?' Loki had called Thor much worse.
Thor stayed to soak a little longer and thought again about the fresh scar. Why had the seidrmaster not healed himself? It looked like he had been sliced by a blade, not deeply, but enough to hurt. He wondered if this was the wound that the sorcerer had spoken of that morning...but it was new, not old. How would Loki would respond if he asked...not well, he surmised. The sorcerer didn't appear to be hiding it but Thor was certain he would not welcome attention.
Loki seemed much calmer now than this morning. He had been flirtatious at times during the day on the ride, had been a good conversationalist on the ride with everyone, and had stopped taunting Thor at the pools when Thor remonstrated with him, which was surprising. Flirtatious, charming and acquiescing to Thor's request for respite from his barbed tongue? He couldn't guess what the sorcerer was playing at.
A seductive Loki Thor was familiar with, a sweet Loki he was not. They had not actually fucked since the first night. Thor knew his attentions would be unwelcome and did not press the issue, dreading as he did the memory of the sorcerer's face as he had told Thor he would not be forced to look at Thor as Thor raped him. Nevertheless, Loki had, for reasons of his own that Thor did not entirely understand, initiated a routine of pleasuring Thor at least once a day since.
The first time had obviously been a challenge that Loki decided to bring to Thor, attempting to violate the boundaries of his permitted behaviour or trying to force Thor to acknowledge that he feared Loki, bound or not. The experience had indeed sent thrills of legitimate fear but also intense arousal through Thor as Loki nipped at him with teeth as well as tongue while Thor prayed the binding held firm. Thor accepted the challenge, knowing that the risk of Loki dismembering him was half the thrill of feeling Loki's mouth on his cock at that moment. He thought he might have turned the sorcerer's challenge on its head by reciprocating, and had taken much pleasure in making the sorcerer beg Thor to make him come. Loki had no shame, and Thor admired that and feared it both. Even with the binding, he had so few ways to control the sorcerer.
In the nights since, Loki had brought Thor to completion quickly with his mouth, probably to speed up the time until he could just lay down himself to sleep, but also probably to lull Thor as he had tried to lull the Asgardian soldiers with his show of being beaten down by Sif. Norns knew how many other motives Loki had for his actions. Thor grimaced as he acknowledged to himself that probably Loki hoped by keeping Thor sated with his mouth and hands that Thor would not insist on fucking him again. Loki had taken his pleasure in the violation that night, which confused Thor, but he suspected it had been an act of defiance, or something else that Thor did not understand, rather than an act of submission.
Thor had not insisted or even invited Loki to pleasure him in the days that followed, but nor had he refused once Loki took his cock in hand. Thor's offers to reciprocate with his hand were more often turned down. Thor fell asleep each night pleasured, warm and content, woken slightly each night as the sorcerer rolled him over on his side and turned his own back to Thor, muttering about snoring, and again in the morning when the sorcerer threw off Thor's arm which had inevitably snaked over him in the night as Thor rolled back over and spooned into the other man.
That night though, when Thor arrived back at the tent, Loki was already stripped and laying stomach down on the bed, shifting to all fours suggestively before sitting back on his heels, looking over his shoulder at Thor. Thor grinned, gratified at Loki's eagerness and stripped himself quickly. He didn't bother to stop to ask himself why this sudden shift in their sexual dynamic. The sorcerer was willing, so why not?
Thor wanted it quick and hard, and decided to take his own pleasures first and take care of Loki on a second round. He prepared Loki quickly, then pushed in slowly at first to compensate for his selfish intentions and to ratchet up his own anticipation before quickly shifting gears once he had bottomed out on the other man. Loki seemed eager all the same but did not touch himself as Thor pounded him mercilessly. Thor was too caught up in his own pleasure to regret it too much when he accidentally put pressure Loki's injury as Thor groped his thigh, causing Loki to shudder.
He muttered a quick apology which the other man dismissed with a shake of his head. Thor pressed down on the injury a second time, selfishly, because he had much enjoyed the sensation of the other man's shudder and was rewarded with another, far more intense, and a deep groan from Loki. Suddenly horrified by himself, Thor slowed his thrusts and stopped as the reality of what he had done hit him. You are a vain, cruel, selfish boy. "Are you...".
Loki turned his head so he could look Thor in the eye and Thor was shocked by the beseeching look he saw there. "By the Norns, finish!" The words were angry but the tone was desperate. Thor resumed thrusting, putting his self-loathing aside until he could examine it properly. Loki dropped his head down and groaned again and Thor saw him move his hand. Thor knew that Loki was reaching for his scar, not for his cock, and sure enough as soon as Loki's hand brushed his thigh, he shuddered again and Thor knew he was about to come hard.
Thor reached around and grabbed Loki's cock as it began to spill and worked him through it. He could feel Loki relax as he came down, collapsing into a boneless mass beneath Thor. Thor stopped thrusting and followed him, still locked together pelvis-to-ass, Loki's own hand still on his scar. Pain. Controlled pain. Now I know what makes the sorcerer stop thinking. He waited until Loki's breathing slowed, and tried to judge if he had fallen asleep. Gloomily he considered that he might have to take care of himself given his partner might be unconscious, and prepared to gently pull out of Loki's ass. The sorcerer moved slightly beneath him as he did so, and murmured "Finish, Thunderer. I want to feel your seed fill me tonight."
Thor felt a pulse of pleasure run down his spine and into his pelvis as these words sank into him. Loki made a half-hearted attempt to brace himself with his hands to give Thor traction, so Thor pressed one hand over the sorcerer's long clever fingers and interlinked his own with them, circled his free arm around Loki's waist and angled his hips so he could finish, using the sorcerer almost as a doll as Loki relaxed again. Loki was neither small nor light and it took strength and balance for Thor to continue fucking with depth and speed. Thor revelled in his physical power, and added to it was Loki's total surrender. Thor found himself reaching a peak almost unexpectedly, Loki gripping his fingers as hard as Thor gripped his.
He thought he heard Loki sigh as Thor came, and the sound of satisfaction and calm from the sorcerer prolonged his peak. He thought he gasped the sorcerer's name. Thor lay them both on the bed after, Loki face down, Thor on top of him, and did not roll off Loki. He knew somehow that Loki wanted to feel the full extent of Thor's weight on him that night.
Chapter 16: The Big Lie
Loki's ass was a throb of satisfying dull pain. His ass really hurt. He would be feeling it all day, a reminder of the Thunderer's enthusiasm. Oh Norns, riding might be a problem. It would be fine. It wasn't the first time he rode with discomfort on a horse, nor was it always so welcome as today's. Loki woke slowly, as if he was emerging blinking but content out of a comfortable safe cave. It felt later than he was used to waking. He had slept better this night than he had done in some time.
As he woke and became aware of the rest of his body, he realised that Thor was almost completely pinning him face-down to the bed. Thor's warm muscled body was almost exactly in the same position as it had been when they fell asleep last night, except as usual, Thor had managed to get a large arm across Loki's chest so that in this position, Loki was pinning Thor's arm to the bed. The thought of staying in this position for a while was appealing but the sun was already up and he did not want to be dragged out of bed by Thor's companions. Loki attempted to roll the Thunderer off his back, and on the third go managed to wake Thor enough to get him to shift his weight. Muttering about overmuscled oafs, he moved to stand when he realised Lady Sif was in the room with her arms folded.
Loki guessed his presence was unwelcome to Sif, so he wrapped himself in a towel and made to leave the tent as Thor's sleepy voice rumbled incredulously "Did you call the King of Asgard an overmuscled oaf?" Loki replied "You must have been dreaming, my prince." He offered Sif a bow as he exited the tent and she returned a slight nod of the head. Thor was in trouble, Loki guessed. He hoped Loki himself was the cause of it.
"Good bedsport last night?" Sif raised an eyebrow at Thor as he gave her his best morning smile. "I hope you have not forgotten who he is or how he came to be in your bed, Thor." Frowning, Thor sat up properly and did not respond for a moment. "How could I have forgotten?" asked Thor. "Loki reminds me daily. Hourly sometimes. It is a burr under my skin. What concerns you, Sif?" Sif hesitated. "The two of you painted a very intimate picture in the bed just now. I worry he could manipulate you, despite everything."
Thor laughed heartily at this. "The only thing I am sure of with Loki, Sif, is that he is certainly manipulating me. How do I know? He is breathing, isn't he? It's his nature. I make my own decisions, my Lady, always, and am capable of being quite foolish even without Loki's prompting. Never fear that!"
Sif rolled her eyes. "One of your foolish decisions was to sleep late this morning, my King, because your mother is visiting the camp this morning and is demanding an audience with her slugabed son." Thor leapt out of the bed and started scrambling for clothes.
As Loki returned to the tent, unsure if he should enter, Thor erupted from inside and dashed past Loki without a word but wearing full ceremonial armour. Sif followed at a more normal pace, smiling until she saw Loki. "Is something amiss?" he asked, wondering if Sif would share within whatever had got Thor in such a flap. "A visit from his mother the Queen," Sif replied. "Queen Frigga," breathed Loki. A woman admired throughout the realms, the woman who tamed Odin Borson.
Sif stepped close to Loki and looked him dead in the eye. "I do like you, Liesmith, but mark this as true. Whatever manipulations you are weaving around Thor will pay you no profit. The moment I find a reason to get you out of Thor's tent and into the prison pen, you are gone." Loki was genuinely confused by the apparently sudden turn by Sif. He knew she didn't trust him, but this aggressive suspicion was unexpected.
"My Lady, your threat is a fine way to encourage me to be even more careful about my manipulations of your King than I am already. Thank you for the warning." He dripped irony into every word. "Which of my many plots against your King have I accidentally given away to you? My plot to escape slavery at his hands? My plot to prevent the utter grinding into the dust of my realm by he and his army? Or is it..."
Sif interrupted him. "We've seen how he is around you. Do not think we do not see." Loki scoffed. "That, my Lady, is a consequence of the Odinson's own casting of a binding spell between us! And naught to do with me directly. I tell you this plain and true: you want your Thor back, find a way to break the spell, and he will stop mooning after me or whatever it is you see." Sif laughed, genuine humour mixed with outrage. "Oh you are a sly one. Turning my suspicions on the one thing that keeps you in check. Your mischief will be your downfall eventually. Do not lie to me today, Trickster."
Loki lost his temper, and his cruel streak rose. "Very well, Sif. I may not lie to you, not today. But some day, I will lie to you. I will tell you a lie so huge, you will not dare disbelieve it."
Sif stepped back with a gasp, shock plain on her face. To threaten so baldly to make someone profoundly question themselves was an act of violence, Loki knew, and he almost immediately regretted it. I cannot harm what belongs to Thor, and Sif belongs to him as surely as I do. What have I done? Without warning, he blacked out.
Chapter 17: The Queen
Thor slowed as his mother and her small retinue came into view, attempting to don the grace and self-possession becoming of the King of Asgard. He could see the amusement in his mother's form, far away as she was from him. He smiled back at her and swept her a quick bow, settling into a more natural gait. King of Asgard he may be for now, but Frigga's son he always was and would be.
Something in his head dropped, and he stumbled. Loki. He knew Loki had collapsed like a puppet with its strings cut. Halting, he turned to look back in the direction of his tent. Thor glanced around at his mother. Then he turned on his heel and headed back in the direction he had just come at a dead run.
Sif was bent over the sorcerer's prone body, attempting to rouse him. "He just...he threatened me and he just crumpled." Thor checked for signs of life, sure that the sorcerer was alive but still wanting to feel Loki's pulse under his hand. "He threatened you? That should not have ...what did he say?" Sif took a deep breath. "That he would some day tell me a lie so big that I would not dare disbelieve it." Thor picked Loki up and moved towards the tent. "And so he did. Are you alright, Sif?"
She exhaled shakily. "I suppose I am. He did not do me any actual harm." Thor lay Loki down on the bed, not gently. "No," he said. "The sorcerer harmed you, a cut so subtle you did not even realise you had been pierced, but you would bleed out all the same. The lie he threatened to drive you mad with is the lie he just told you. And you believed him." Sif stared.
The sorcerer was just unconscious from what Thor could see. He wondered if he should call a healer or the mage or both. Thor wasn't sure but he thought Loki had done himself a magical injury, something no-one was equipped to deal with except perhaps Loki himself. Loki had somehow over-ridden the instruction that Thor had given him not to harm what was his. Thor cursed to himself.
He could only guess that Sif had provoked Loki into threatening her, and when it became clear that the threat was was effective and was going to cause Sif actual harm, the binding kicked back at Loki. Blast his resourceful, formidable sorcerer. Loki didn't need magic or metal to injure. His words were weapon enough.
If Loki survived this, Thor was going to have to punish him. Not in fact for disobeying Thor, not for sidestepping the binding, but for offering harm to Thor's companion. He could not leave this pass. Sif read his face, for she said "It was me he threatened, Thor, so I demand to name his punishment." Thor nodded. "If he is capable of taking punishment, that is what will happen. But I will name the time." Sif looked uneasy. "Is he..?" she asked. "Will he...?"
A cool female voice came from the tent flap. "May I enter, your majesty?" Thor and Sif both swung around, Sif going to one knee, Thor resisting the urge to do the same by habit. Frigga was framed in the dull light of the doorway, exuding calm and grace as always. She must have hurried from where Thor had last seen here to get to the tent so quickly but she looked collected and unruffled. "Mother," he said. "I apologise for not greeting you..." He did not know how to explain what had happened.
Frigga entered the tent and approached Thor, taking his hands in hers. "Rise, Sif. Thank you for riding with my son and protecting him, mainly from himself I'm sure". Thor was certain that Frigga did not miss Sif's glance at the prone figure on the bed. "It is my duty and pleasure, your highness," was all that Sif said. Frigga approached the bed. "So this is the Jotunn you were hunting. You seem to have him well-tamed, waiting naked in your bed but for a towel." She raised an eyebrow.
Thor watched her with what he was sure was a hunted look on his face. Viewed through his mother's eyes, this was an especially unpleasant scene. She had not voiced an objection to any of his strategies, as the Queen Mother traditionally had no role in war, but he had no doubt of her opinion of slavery, or the magic of essences, or of all-out war on this wretched realm. He nodded his assent as Frigga stepped over to the bed.
The Queen crouched somehow gracefully beside the bed and lay a cool hand on Loki's forehead. Thor sensed her seidr sweep over the sorcerer, and wondered if he would object if he could. She closed her eyes and after a few moments opened them again to say "He will be well, but he is suffering. What is the cause of this?"
Thor felt he could only give a partial explanation but tried anyway. "Loki is bound to me by essential magic." Frigga frowned at the confirmation that her son had gone through with it. "I ordered him not to harm me or mine, and he manipulated the binding by promising Sif fear and uncertainty, which of course struck her with fear and uncertainty, harming her." Sif looked furious at how she had been played. Tricked. If Thor had not pointed out the trick, she would have been caught up in a self-fulfilling web of anxiety that could have crippled her.
Frigga glanced at Sif to ascertain her condition, and on seeing Sif's expression, relaxed. "So, it is the difference between being forbidden from stabbing someone directly, and leaving a bare blade in their bed to see if they are careless enough to jump in and cut themselves. You cannot properly bind someone who truly owns themselves, my son. And as I am sure you are discovering, you are bound to each other." She was looking at Loki as she spoke, and Thor felt her seidr flare.
"So the binding punished him for disobeying your instruction by lashing out at him. These spells are constructed to pressure the slave into embracing obedience and submission, like dogs. They punish not with physical pain, but with psychic. He is tormented now by the painful thoughts and feelings we all hide from ourselves and protect ourselves against. His mind is as close to Hel as it is possible to go in this life." Sif inhaled sharply at this. Thor could not look either of them in the eye.
Loki opened his eyes, and thought at first he was looking into Thor's. After a moment he realised that these blue eyes were older, calmer, wiser, and feminine. He closed his again, to centre himself. He was lost in a maelstrom of fear and hate and anger, no better unconscious than awake. He wondered if he were mad.
Opening his eyes again, he looked at Queen Frigga, for he knew it was she, as beautiful as her son but more self-possessed, more powerful in herself. Loki felt her hand cool across his head, her fingers in his hair. Then he realised he felt her seidr, her self, brushing the surface of his own self. Eyes widening, he tried to resist, to push her away. She withdrew gracefully. "Let me help you," she said to him. He wasn't sure if she was speaking aloud or not. "I need no help," he replied as calmly as he could. She smiled, not her son's shining smile but just as warm. "You are safe with me, Loki. They say you can hear a lie, so you must hear the truth I am speaking. Let me help you."
He shuddered and was lost again for a few moments as horror and disgust overwhelmed him. He looked over at Thor, desperate, and saw as much helplessness as he felt reflected back at him in Thor's eyes. Frigga observed the look, and as he closed his eyes again, so aware of his vulnerability that he could not bear anyone to see it in, he heard Frigga ask Thor and Sif to leave them alone in the tent. Was she mad, to choose to be alone with her sworn enemy, even neutered as he was? He felt her cup her hands around his face, her thumbs brushing way the tears he had not noticed. With that her seidr flared and hovered beside him.
She spoke and again he did not know if she was speaking aloud or not. "I cannot stop the pain but I can help you lock it away again." He felt like he was falling. She was a rope, perhaps a safety net, he knew it was true. He pulled his eyes open again in the face of the pain and nodded. He felt her seidr swoop gently and intangible cool fingers began to build strong barriers in his mind. The pain, the exhausting anger and anxiety, began to fade, and he joined his seidr to parallel points with hers and began to help himself.
He felt her brush against the binding -ah there it is, I had not been able to feel it in itself before, you cursed thing, you- and to his surprise, Frigga tugged at it slightly. It hurt, and he heard Thor snarl outside. "Stay where you are, my son," called Frigga and for a wonder, Thor obeyed. Loki began to feel calm again, the pain withdrawing but not dissipating.
Frigga's seidr withdrew too, gently, and she said "You can tell the pain is under control but it is not locked away completely. For better or worse it is part of you and if I were to remove it for you, with you, you would no longer be the man you are now. You would like that less than you think, and I suspect my son would find it disappointing."
Loki frowned. "So it seems the mother of my master agrees that I must suffer for her son's whims?" "Do not twist my words," she said mildly. To his surprise, he quailed slightly inside at the reproach. He did not wish to displease Frigga. Loki had never met anyone he did not wish to displease, other than his father.
"What did you do? How many of my secrets did you uncover?" He knew he sounded ungrateful but he could not help it. "No more than I discovered from looking into your eyes and those of my son," she smiled. "The binding is an ugly thing but it is all that truly stands between you. You must help him find a way to rid you of it." Loki would have rolled his eyes if he hadn't been afraid she would scold him again.
Frigga laughed as if she had seen the eye-roll anyway. "You can spend as long as you need making him pay for what he has done to you. I am sure you make him pay already." This was said drily, knowingly. "He will be your slave, by his own hand, by choice, if you handle him right. How do you find him to handle now, your master though he is?"
Loki gaped at her. How did she know? Sif and the others suspected, but she knew. He recovered quickly and said "He has to be led by the nose sometimes, but he is generally a fast study." Frigga sighed, and said 'Yes, that is my gilded boy. Does he spot your lies?" Loki knew he had a mischievous expression on his face now. "I mean every word I've ever said to your son," he said, in an earnest voice. She smiles. "Is that a lie?" "No, my Queen. I find manipulating him with the truth to be far more entertaining." She laughed, delighted. Delighted!
Her expression became serious now. "He is the King of Asgard, and my son besides. You must promise me something. Some things. Are you willing to do so?" He hesitated, and decided. "Yes, my Queen. If it does not endanger my realm or my King, I will promise you anything."
"Then promise me this. Promise to be patient with my son. He has grown from a self-involved boy to a man who has embraced kingship and all that goes with it perhaps sooner than he was ready. He still struggles to find the right path, but he knows he must struggle. He will not accept less of himself than to be the best man he can, even if he suffers for it. He has made an egregious mistake in using a binding spell but he will pay the price because that is what a man does. I am not asking you to forgive him, that is not my right, but I ask you to be patient with him on his journey to humility."
Loki sighed. "I promise, my Queen."
"Promise me also this. End this war in whatever manner that you choose, but promise to return Thor to me as he is. Neither I nor you would forgive you if you allowed anything else to happen."
Loki nodded. "I promise, my Queen."
"I understand what I am asking you. I would not ask the impossible of you...even though keeping patient with my son does seem impossible at times." Loki took a moment to appreciate the mischievous look on the Queen's face. He climbed out of the bed as best he could as she stood, and he went to one knee, towel clutched around his waist. No doubt he looked ridiculous, especially as he had been far more exposed to her a few moments ago than mere nudity allowed. He took Frigga's hand and kissed it.
Thor had obviously had enough of waiting, and flung the tent flap open at this moment, seeing Loki on his knee in front of the Queen. "Rise, Loki," she said. He did so, and she took his face in her hands once again and kissed him on both cheeks. He looked at the floor. Thor took in the scene. "I see Loki has charmed you, mother." Frigga smiled. "You may show me the camp, now, Thor." "Yes, my Queen," he said drily, and held the tent flap for her as she stepped outside. Thor looked at Loki before leaving the tent himself."You are well?" he asked hesitantly. "Always," said Loki, with an infuriating smile. Thor scoffed, and before leaving the tent said "You scared me, sorcerer. And I am not happy with you." Loki hoped dearly that Thor was just a tiny bit worried that Loki had set up the whole scenario.
Chapter 18: Honour and Pride
Frigga and her retinue were feasted and sent on their way back to Asgard before the sun set. Loki sat resplendent in full Asgardian elite guard uniform with Sif and the Warriors Three, beside Sif for some reason. Thor noticed the two talking; it seemed tense but neither seemed about to kill the other so he let it go on.
The Queen spoke to as many soldiers as approached her for a blessing, refusing to admit to any tiredness despite her exertions over Loki. As she prepared to leave, she held the hands of each of Thor's companions, including Loki's, and again kissed him on both cheeks. Sif watched, expressionless.
As Thor walked his mother to the Bifrost site, he asked her advice as he always did. "Mother, what shall I do if I cannot free Loki from this?" She smiled grimly at him and replied "I would prepare to be owned by a very troublesome slave, Thor. That is what I would do."
Thor made an annoyed sound. "Mother. I need to make this right." Frigga faced him, eyes flashing with anger. Thor took a step back. "You cannot, Thor. Loki will never not have suffered slavery at your hands, and all that goes with it. This is your burden to carry. You will pay what restitution you can to him for as long as he allows it. Which I hope will be for a long time, for your sake, your happiness. And is perhaps more than you deserve." Thor was silent.
"Thor," said the Queen. "The war must be brought to a close. Like the binding, this lies between you and Loki, but this at least can be removed immediately for his sake and for the sake of both realms. Call for treaty now." Thor grimaced. Frigga did not relent.
"Listen to me, Thor. I am no goddess of battles or war to advise my son the King of Asgard of such things, but I can see this will not end well. Jotunheim is on her knees, there is no advantage to pressing on. Your father learned when to push and when to release pressure, it made him a much finer King and a better man." Thor was under no illusions that it was Frigga that ensured that Odin learned this particular lesson. "You have pressed an unmerciful war, culminating in an unmerciful act on your enemy's greatest warrior. There will be balance for this, you will pay the cost. End it now to mitigate it as best you can."
Thor frowned. "I cannot, Mother. If I sue for peace now it will all be for naught. I must press for true victory and bring back the Casket of Winters to Asgard. It would be what father wants. I'm doing it for him. For all of us."
Frigga sighed. She placed a hand on her son's face, cupping it and tilted it down towards her. Thor knew that she could read every thought and emotion that crossed his face, and those that didn't. What did she see, he wondered. His disgust at the disgrace visited upon Asgard by the raid of a handful of zealous young Frost Giants. His anger at their presumption in attacking the Realm Eternal at all. His fear that this assured victory would not cement his rule as a true king of Asgard. His worry that he was simply handling all of this wrongly.
"I will leave it to your judgement, my son, since I have no other choice. You came seeking monsters in this realm and I fear you found one in yourself." Thor inhaled sharply at the pain that this comment caused, coming as it did from his mother, but he could not disagree.
Frigga continued "I pray that when this is all over, you will come home and rediscover who you are. With a companion who will not let you forget what you once let yourself become." Thor nodded, thoroughly shamed. Frigga spoke once more before travelling homeward. "End this war or it may be ended for you, Thor. Heed me. I love you, as I love your father, despite all. You are both better men than you allow yourself to be."
With that, she stepped into the kaleidoscope walkways of the Bifrost and was gone.
Thor returned to his tent to find Loki sitting in the blankets with a hot drink and a book. The sorcerer looked more at peace than Thor had seen before. His mind becalmed enough to read, his body becalmed enough to sit crosslegged on the bed. He looked up and smiled as Thor walked in. It was a gentle smile at first, and quickly turned into something less benevolent as Thor sighed and walked up to sit beside him.
Loki spoke first. "The Lady Sif has accepted my apology, such as it was, with some kind words of her own about the wisdom of kicking feral dogs." Thor sighed again, before he could bring himself to respond.
"You could have destroyed her mind, Loki. Led her to utter paranoia waiting for the other shoe to fall. Terrorised by your presence in case you dropped this lie on her without warning, terrorised by your absence for fear that you were waiting in the shadows to do so. I don't know what she did to provoke you, but she could not have deserved that." You put the fear of the gods into her with your words, Liesmith, he did not say aloud. The words of a god.
Loki shrugged, but did look a little troubled. "Nothing more than the Queen said, in truth, but unlike your mother, Sif does not really see me. Although she sees me well enough. She fears that I will fight like a cornered rat until I am free or dead." Thor lay back on the bed, having only managed to get his boots off. He was exhausted.
Loki continued. "She is right, Thor. Not only is this binding an abomination, it is not fit for purpose. It makes me more dangerous. There is no trust to be earned, no good faith to be built. It has to go."
"I cannot have this conversation again," groaned Thor, spreading his arms out in surrender. In truth, Loki only usually jabbed at Thor about the binding, this was a rare serious conversation and one they had not had before. Loki had certainly not spoken of trust before. That was a good sign surely, even if he was saying he felt such a thing impossible.
"Ah, I'm sorry if this is burdensome for you, my prince. Let us not speak of it again. It tires me too." Thor had no idea if Loki was being sarcastic or not, and he didn't care. He closed his eyes. He felt Loki shift to straddle him across the thighs, and opened his eyes to the sight of the sorcerer above him, observing, taking him in. His dress trousers felt a little tighter, suddenly.
Loki reached across and grabbed one of Thor's outstretched arm by the wrist and then the other, pinning a wrist on either side of Thor's head. Thor was sure that even with the sorcerer's strength and leverage, he would probably be able to get free if he wanted to, and he knew Loki was aware of this too. Was he being playful?
"Mmm. Seeing you so obedient and so slavishly devoted to your mother the Queen's every whim and action was an unusual treat, my prince." The words were taunting but the tone was fond. "I must say I enjoyed seeing you on your toes, waiting with devotion for her approval." Thor closed his eyes. "Loki, you should have joined us then as I escorted my lady mother to the Bifrost".
Loki laughed a soft knowing laugh. "She is formidable for all her gentleness and calm," he said. "Her fine reputation does not do her justice. And she is a fine healer." He began to work his hands down Thor's arms, gripping and releasing them in a massaging motion. Thor closed his eyes again. If he got a blade in one from the sorcerer, so be it.
"She did not simply help heal you, Loki. She does not kiss those she heals so fondly on both cheeks. What did you and she speak about, that made her so well-disposed towards you?" He was not shocked at the reply. "Why, you, of course, my prince."
"All flattering, I expect, Loki?"
"Very, my prince. Of course I left out the more crude descriptions of our bedsports, but I think she understood your matchless prowess well enough."
Thor's eyes flew open in horror. "That is not...you would not. She did not. Loki."
Loki laughed that laugh again. It sounded wonderful to Thor's ears. Genuine laughter from his mischievous sorcerer. Loki's hands moved down to Thor's shoulders where they kneaded and massaged.
Thor turned serious again. "She said to me that I can never truly repay my debt to you for what I have done. I think she fears I will face punishment from it. Would you like that? Is that what you want?" He looked at the sorcerer's face, which shut down. Thor cursed his loose tongue. Why ask so direct a question to a man who may not speak freely?
Loki did reply after a moment. "It has an appeal, yes. I am not sure I could stomach to see you punished to a degree that matches my suffering, and to be truthful, I would not wish it on you either."
Thor closed his eyes. "I ...am glad I suppose. And I am sorry. So sorry."
"More fine words, Thunderer. I will not trust you until I see actions to back them up."
Fair, thought Thor, as he felt the sorcerer's hands start to open his tunic. "She also says I should end the war now. Sue for treaty."
The sorcerer stilled. "And...?"
"I cannot, Loki. I must see this thing through." He sat up, tunic hanging open, to face the man straddling him. He placed his hands on Loki's hips to stop him from swinging off. "My honour, the honour of Asgard, the honour of the troops, it would not be right to stop now."
Loki looked at him, sadly, green eyes deep and unusually calm, only inches from his own. "You are a king and a god both. Your honour can bear a lot. More than your stupid pride can." He took Thor's head in his hands, gently. "So be it". He kissed Thor with affection, and then with growing passion. They tumbled back on the bed.
Chapter 19: Serpent
The next morning, Loki woke to the feeling of Thor stroking the lightning-burn scar on his back, shoulder to hip. The Thunderer liked that he had marked his property, whether he would admit to it or not. Loki pillowed his arms under his chin, stared at the tent wall, and allowed it. Thor noticed his wakefulness and asked in a low voice "Does it bother you?".
"Does it hurt me? No." Loki was scathing. "Does it bother me? Immensely." Thor stopped stroking. Loki couldn't see what he was doing and was surprised to feel the Thunderer's lips on the small of his back, kissing. "Perhaps someday you will mark me with your own sign, sorcerer." Loki scoffed. "My seidr is too complex to be reduced to a single symbol, Thunderer." Thor ignored him, tracing the lightning scar upwards with a finger. "A serpent," he mused. "Green, for your eyes."
Loki turned then to look at him. Thor was focussed entirely on Loki's scar. Loki had a sudden urge to feel Thor's come on it. "Do it," he said to Thor. Thor looked at Loki, expression changing from quiet intent to something far more heated. Loki raised himself on his elbows to watch.
Thor moved so he was kneeling back in Loki's line of sight and, bracing one hand on Loki's back, palm and fingers splayed on the marking he had put on Loki's body, he began to stroke his own cock. Loki hadn't seen Thor pleasure himself before; it was a magnificent sight.
Despite his huge hand, Thor's cock was huge still, and Loki sank into the beautiful sight of the one working the other. Loki watched Thor's face as his focus switched between the sensation pulsing from his fisted cock and Loki's marking, until finally he pushed himself over the edge, raised himself up on his knees and spilled his seed on Loki's back.
Loki couldn't quite twist to see the look on Thor's face as he came but could feel the hot ropes of come land on his back. When he was done, Thor took a moment to catch his breath and then leaned back to appreciate his work, something of the ecstacy still evident on his face, still somewhat caught up in his release and Loki thought he could never conjure anything so beautiful in his imagination. Thor leaned forward again, placing his fingers in the thick strings of warm seed on Loki's back, smoothing them across and along the lightning marking.
Once he was satisfied, he lay down beside Loki and kissed him deeply. "You might be my every fantasy," he murmured, then caught himself. Loki realised he was glaring. Thor continued "If my fantasies involved ecstacy at the hands and mercy of my bitterest enemy." Thor was favouring him with one of those smiles which made Loki feel he was basking in sunshine.
"Loki, do not look so sour. I would indulge you in your fantasies if you would allow me to". Loki felt faint ghostly sharp cracks of pain across his buttocks and hips. "Perhaps," he said. "When some trust has been established." Thor sighed and fell back. He accepted that Loki would not let himself be fully open to Thor until the binding was gone, but it frustrated him.
"Clean my back, please, it's getting unpleasantly cold." Thor did so with a warm damp cloth and then spooned into Loki, snaking a hand around to his groin and palming his cock. He slowly and intently brought Loki to a peak while whispering as wide a range of fantasies as Loki had ever heard, some of which Loki looked forward to finding out more about.
The Asgardian Army was making its last push for Utgard. Loki felt inutterably sad, and tired besides despite the early hour of the evening. As night fell, the city walls came into sight. A siege there and perhaps at the palace lay ahead. They made camp, and Thor called a council in his tent. As they began to gather, Loki spoke to him aside, bluntly. "I will oppose you in all ways I can unless you order me not to. It would not be wise to have me in this meeting."
Hogun arrived and placed a cylinder in Thor's hand. "A message from King Laufey, your majesty." Loki stiffened. "Trust him not, Thor," he said, and grimaced. Thor smiled at him, sadly, sympathy for Loki's warring emotions, loyalty to his king on the one hand and protectiveness of Thor on the other. Thor's face changed as a thought occured to him. Oh no. Loki would have been amused if he hadn't been able to practically read Thor's thoughts. Thought. "Loki. What do you know of King Laufey?"
Loki looked at Thor with a maddening smile. "It's far too late to make any real use of my knowledge now, Thunderer. You thought of me as a blunt instrument when I have far more uses than that. For what I know of him; I know he is devious, intelligent, ruthless and brave. I have no doubt he has accounted for many of the possible outcomes of tomorrow. I have no doubt he will sacrifice whatever is needed for the good of Jotunheim, Thor. And so will I, my prince. So will I." This last delivered in a whisper.
They faced each other, as opposed as they ever been had on the battlefield. Loki felt his will bend under pressure from the binding, no doubt the consequence of Thor's will being brought to bear on it, conscious or unconscious, willing him to obey. Loki found himself wanting to obey Thor, wanting to help him survive the coming battle whatever shape it may take. He had promised the Queen, and he wanted to keep Thor safe for himself, he needed to stay by his side and protect him. He shook his head as the pressure, the desire, bore down on him.
Suddenly it was gone. The binding was still there, flexing at the back of his mind, but the desire to comply with Thor's wishes and get what Loki also wanted for himself suddenly receded. He had choices again, and they were still strong in his mind, but his loyalty to his people, his kingdom, his king were once again dominant. He saw Thor's face and understood.
"Loki, I...I saw. I saw your will fade away and almost break. I did not mean it." Thor's face hardened. "I cannot think to release you before this war is done. But afterwards..." "Afterwards you are MINE, Thunderer," snarled Loki, covering his shakiness with fury. "If you live, I will come to collect."
"As I have already said, Loki, I am yours for the taking. Loki. LOKI." Thor forced Loki to look at him. "I do not doubt you will sacrifice whatever is needed for the good of Jotunheim. I would wish to be able to say the same of myself for Asgard. It would have been true before. But now... I will not sacrifice you, Loki. I will keep good my promise to you and not force you to use your powers again against your people. Even in the breach."
Loki took a deep breath, and gambled. "Call this off, Thor. Finish it now. Sue for treaty, sue for peace. Do not read Laufey's letter, it will create uncertainty and chaos, and this is where he thrives. He has the Casket of Winters, and he does not use it to wage war. If not war, then what? I fear he had lured you here, and if you continue as you are, you are walking into a trap."
Thor looked northwards to the walled city on the plains. He looked back at the camp spread beneath them both. Looking Loki directly in the eye, Thor opened the cylinder containing Laufey's letter. He dropped his eyes to the words, and went very still.
"You were warned," Loki said in a low voice. "I tried to warn you."
Moments ticked by.
"You did warn me," said Thor. "If I had heeded your warning, I would still be ignorant of the fact that I hold as captive a prince of Jotunheim, Loptr Laufeyson, firstborn to the crown."
Chapter 20: The Shadow Prince
Loki stayed silent. He would not be the one to speak first. Let Thor set the tone here.
The war between them was approaching a climax, or perhaps a denouement, in tandem with the war between their realms that they had both been fighting these past years. Either one or both of them could die tomorrow. Perhaps, even probably at one another's hands if it came to it, in spite of Loki's promise to Frigga. Loki wondered what Laufey's play was.
Thor stared at him for long seconds.
Eventually Thor said "Prince Loptr, I presume?"
Loki sighed. "Prince Loptr is dead. As good as never existed. Never born. I told you that name was taken from me. Loptr died in the temple shortly after birth. Abandoned by his parents as is custom for babies born stunted or otherwise unlikely to survive."
"And yet," Thor bit off each word "here you are".
Loki had nothing to say to that.
He considered a quicksilver smile, but decided that would almost certainly lead to Thor ending the conversation immediately and for Loki at least, in a very permanent way. Loki held out his hand for the letter, and Thor handed it to him. Loki read it aloud. "His majesty King Laufey invites Thor Odinson, King of Asgard, to take steps together with him for the restoration of peace. His majesty King Laufey accepts as a basis for the peace negotiations that his son, Loptr, firstborn to the crown and third prince of the realm, remain bound as slave and hostage to his majesty King Thor."
Loki smiled. It was not a pleasant smile. He sometimes wondered if his entire existence was built as a piece on his father's gameboard. Anger flared and he allowed himself a moment of fervent hope that the storm he felt brewing in Thor would upend that board and sweep it away.
Of course, Loki would be the first to face the storm.
Thor was utterly expressionless, but Loki could feel clouds gathering outside, churning. Thor spoke again, tightly controlled anger in his voice. "Third prince of the realm, is it?"
Loki remained calm. Patient. He had promised Frigga. "There is no third prince. It is a conceit that my father...that Laufey affects when he is feeling indulgent of me. If you knew anything of the royal house of Jotunheim, you would know that Laufey named only a first and second prince."
Thor snapped one word. "Laufeyson".
Loki was not slow to reply. "That I am, Odinson. My father has never denied me as his trueborn son, though I was cast aside from the succession and raised almost as a child adopted, no, fostered by the royal family."
Lightning flashed outside. Thunder followed almost immediately. Loki felt fear rumble through him also. He had brushed against the untrammelled anger of the Odinson once before, and it had been an awesome, terrible thing. There was no escape this time except what Thor chose to grant him.
Loki allowed the fear to move through him, to be replaced by calm. Whatever happened now, happened. Something was also...happening. He felt centred in a way that he never had before. He looked at Thor and for the first time he felt Thor could see him. He wondered what Thor was seeing. He wondered what Thor thought of it. Did he want to destroy it, destroy Loki?
"Liesmith." Thor hissed the word. "Keeper of secrets."
"Yes." said Loki, simply. "I am the nameless shifting tangle that creates and destroys." Where did that come from? It was true, but where did it come from? "Do not tell me I do not fascinate you in my deceits, truths and manipulations."
Loki heard the storm rumble, not violently.
"Shapechanger. You became what you knew I wanted."
Now that stung. Loki became what he had to, to survive. He had obeyed and begged and acquiesced and pleased because he had had to. He had asked for death, and he was given this instead. He had not asked for this. His temper flared.
"I became what you made me."
Thor took a step back at the Loki's anger. Thor, who would stand toe to toe with a dragon.
"I asked you for mercy and you denied me."
Loki felt the binding pulse. He pushed it away and sank to both knees anyway. Calm. "And I am still my own, Thunderer, and only me. My name, my father's name, changes nothing. I am Loki, of many names and none, but the raw unvarnished truth is, I am only Loki, and for you, because it is what you want, I will be only Loki, just myself. If you will have me. The raw, unvarnished, unbound me is yours for the taking." He looked up with a mischievous smile. "If you can take me."
He bowed his head, exposing the back of his neck to Mjolnir if Thor took it upon himself to finally destroy his trickster slave.
Long seconds passed. The storm rumbled again, ponderously. He saw Thor's boots appear in front of him, and felt Mjolnir sway from his belt. He was calm, despite expecting he knew not what. Awaiting death is easier than awaiting violation, he thought bitterly. To some astonishment, he saw Thor crouch in front of him and felt a large hand cup his face, Thor's other hand moving to cradle the back of his neck, tilting his head so they were inches apart.
His forehead rested on Loki's for a moment, and with that he rose, drawing Loki to his feet.
Loki decided to push his luck. They stood not a foot apart, Loki looking slightly up at the taller man.
"Thor. Let me be clear. I owe you nothing. Not the truth. Not anything of who or what I am. Anything you have from me is something you have taken without my consent at worst, and at best is a gift I have given to you in spite of everything you have taken. I will not apologise for misleading you or misdirecting you or even stabbing you if the whim takes me. I owe you nothing. Tell me you accept this."
Thor eyed him cautiously and said "I will not accept being stabbed, sorcerer, but I accept the rest, at least while you are bound". Loki grinned at him. "I will endeavour not to stab you then, Thunderer. No guarantees."
Thor was grim. "Loki. Asgard marches on your capital tomorrow."
Loki sat on the warm volcanic rock far enough from Thor's tent that he could not hear more than murmurs of the war council. He was leaning back against a boulder, snug enough in the blanket he had taken from the bed with its comforting scent. Loki traced the constellations of his childhood across the clear sky, following them to the skyline of the city across the plains, picked out now in fewer lights than there had been when he was a boy.
If he somehow got loose of this damned, blasted binding, how much damage could he do before they overran the walls of Utgard? How could he sow dissent in time enough for an attack to be blunted by rumours, fear, distrust? What misdirections could he create so the Einherjar wasted their energies on targets other than the city? It was useless to speculate really, but he was getting desperate. He wished again he knew what his father planned.
Thor's counsellors began to leave the tent, and after, Thor approached him with a steaming drink to share. He sat beside Loki and moved under the blanket, hooking his foot behind Loki's ankle. They were both silent for a time, hip to hip, thigh to thigh.
"How much did you listen to?" Thor asked eventually. "None of it," Loki replied, still looking ahead. "Are you going to share your decision with me?" He knew what Thor's decision would be. "I am going to treat with Laufey." Loki nodded. Thor looked at him then. "It is what you wanted, is it not?" he asked. "I want the war to be over, Thor. I suppose there are no good choices here. Just...be wary of Laufey, especially if he offers you what you wish to have."
Thor considered for a few moments. "Laufey clearly believes I wish to have you." Loki made a humming noise before answering. "Once he knew I was your captive he might have guessed I would seduce you while withholding from you the knowledge that he is my father." Thor looked irritated at the idea that Loki had deliberately seduced him, but he knew it was true. He had known while it was happening and let Loki have at it.
Loki continued. "What better way to rattle your enemy than pull the carpet out from under them before negotiations with a revelation so personal? He struck at the core of you through me. Telling you my name in the same breath as offering to treat with you was obviously a design to make you act rashly. If you had killed me tonight, no doubt you would have been far easier to provoke tomorrow."
Thor looked disbelieving. "He knew I might have killed you and yet he revealed you anyway?" Loki laughed. "I told you Laufey would sacrifice anything for the good of Jotunheim. He would have lost a son, a son I am sure he loves, to gain advantage over Asgard. He has already lost at least one son, the crown prince, in battle." By my hand, in fact of not in truth. Oh Byliestr. I hope Father did not learn of how you suffered. "For the love I know he has for me, he probably hoped I would talk my way out of it, as I did, but he would accept the other without blinking."
Thor was silent for a moment. "It is so strange to hear you put such words on your actions. You seduced me. You talked me out of killing you in anger at your half-truths. Why do I sit here with you in peace when I should be abeying you, shunning you, and as king and general, imprisoning you at the very least?" He sighed, resigned.
Loki smiled then, a genuine unabashed smile of pure pleasure. "Because I have seduced you, Thunderer, mind and body, spirit and soul. You have no choice, not and remain yourself. I will say what I wish and do as I please and there is little of either that you will deny me."
He allowed Thor to mull on this for a few moments, delighting in Thor's disgruntlement. "And if you want me to speak the full truth, Thunderer, conqueror, I will remind you that you have seduced me too, perhaps seduced me first. I think you did so, truly, binding or no binding. And the reason you stayed your hand instead of striking me dead tonight was because I spoke the truth. Lies and half-truths and misdirection are useful in creating mischief and chaos, but there is nothing like the truth to destroy. We have destroyed each other."
They were silent then. Thor found he could not quite believe the circumstances of this war's end. I have put a collar on my own neck and handed the leash to a prince of Jotunheim.
After some time, Thor spoke again. "You are to join me tomorrow at negotiations, Loki. I want a prince of Jotunheim by my side in Asgardian garb. Laufey is not the only one to play with expectations." Loki frowned. "You said you would not use me against my people." "Not true, Liesmith. I said I would not force you to use your powers against your people. I will use you to balance the scales on which Laufey placed a finger though. And I will pay the price of it when the time comes."
Loki rolled his eyes. "Your mother has some promises from me. I suppose being by your side in this will allow me to be best placed to fulfill them." "Promises?" Thor was confounded. "What promises have you made my mother?" "That is between me and Queen Frigga." responded Loki, primly. He could not quite figure out the look on Thor's face. Annoyance? Anger? Ohh. No, it was ... "Jealousy, Thunderer? You are jealous that your mother and I have a secret? Hehehehe." Oh this was delicious.
Thor gathered himself and very deliberately did not say I wonder what you will make of Odin, sorcerer. Norns know what Odin will make of you.
They gazed at the sparse lights of the city below, and the rare clear skies overhead. Loki saw the city he grew up in, remembering having free run of it as a child and young man because of his privilege of royal birth accompanied by the lack of royal obligations that came with his shadow status.
He knew what Thor saw when he looked there. Something to be conquered, subjugated. His prize after years of righteous war.
Thor moved to kiss Loki who accepted passively, and as Thor grinned and disappeared under the blanket to dip his head between Loki's thighs, Loki sighed and thought about secrets. He closed his eyes as he felt a hot, wet caress on his suddenly alert cock. This was not what he needed tonight but he welcomed it all the same. He did enjoy watching Thor suck him during the rare times that Thor chose to do it, and it was pleasant to just relax on the pure feeling of being the receiving party for an almost anonymous pleasuring.
Thor settled into what was becoming a familiar, comfortable pattern of licking and swirling the tongue, lips and mouth around the head of Loki's cock while using that large, strong, warm hand to pump it firmly and confidently. Loki gasped as Thor focused his tongue on the underside of Loki's cock and followed it with a swallow of as much as he could take into his throat.
Loki tried not to rut into Thor's mouth but couldn't help slowly pumping his hips. He was almost lazy in his movements and Thor accommodated them masterfully. Before long he was ready to spill, and wouldn't he like just once to come in Thor's beautiful mouth or come over that beautiful face, in that hair that trapped sunshine.
With a murmur of "I'm going to..." he pulled the blanket back enough to watch Thor finish him off with his hand, but to his surprise, Thor's mouth remained around his cock, suction and heat drawing him in closer, closer.
With as restrained a cry as he could manage, Loki watched as Thor sucked him through the first moment of his climax, spat out a mouthful of Loki's seed and then tilted his face back to let Loki's come decorate his face.
Eyes closed, mouth open with tongue curved to catch dripping seed, Thor was an image of the purely erotic and Loki could not quite believe he was seeing it as pulsing pleasure overtook him and all Loki was in those moments was ecstasy in body and mind.
When he had finished, he reached out to Thor, who took a moment to sit back on his knees and heels, and kissed him, so they were both sticky messes. It took Loki a few minutes to gather himself and clean them both off. They lay against the rock together for some time afterwards, Thor's erection large and hot and hard and welcome through his leathers against Loki's back.
Loki sighed. He knew what Thor wanted but would not ask for. And he was right not to ask. Just as Loki would be right in refusing, and in taking offence if asked. To Hels with it. This could be our last night, and he wants this. And it is just me and him.
Loki would have to take the lead, then. He turned to look at Thor over his shoulder and murmured "So, did you bring oil, or not?". Thor stiffened for a moment, and, not meeting Loki's eye, nodded, and was silent. Loki raised Thor's hand to his mouth and kissed the palm, amused, and said in a low voice "How do you want me?" He was going to force Thor to say it; it was the least amount of work Thor deserved to have to do if he wanted this. And Loki knew Thor wanted this.
Thor took a deep breath. "On your elbows and knees, head down, tunic off, trousers pulled down by your ankles." Well, that was direct enough. And a near mirror of how Thor took Loki for the first time.
Loki remembered how hard Thor had come inside him then, Thor's honest anger much easier for Loki to abide than his self-serving compassion. Loki had refused to be passive then, had goaded Thor into roughly, blatantly fucking him, and Loki had taken what pleasure he could from it as a fuck you right back at his enemy.
This time though, he would give Thor what he wanted. If he were honest with himself, he needed this too. Frigga's cool fingers still soothed his mind but the turmoil of tomorrow's possibilities still made Loki feel on edge. He laid the blanket down for the sake of his knees and elbows, stripped off his tunic, and lowered his leathers down to his ankles. He made sure Thor got a good view as he did so. Down on his knees and hands, then lowering his head and upper body, leaning on his forearms and elbows, ass in the air.
He didn't ask Thor which direction Thor would have him face, he turned towards Utgard, so Thor could look at the city while he ass-fucked Loki. While he thought about his coming conquest on the morrow. Loki knew things would not go as Thor expected. Nothing to be done for it. Let him fantasize.
Thor was unexpectedly affectionate at first, nuzzling Loki's hair, and neck, and ears, causing Loki to shiver. He whispered what he had not spoken aloud before, how beautiful Loki was, how Thor loved to touch him, taste him, watch him please and be pleased, how Thor fantasized about what they had yet to do and discover together, in bed and out of it, how he needed Loki.
Loki closed his eyes in pleasure, bowed his head and accepted the worship, feeling curiously sad and happy at the same time. Thor was kissing his way down Loki's back, down his lightning mark, when he paused and said "I know you don't need me, and never will, but I hope when we are both free of this binding that you at least will still want me, Loki."
Loki's eyes flew open and his gasp of shock mingled with the gasp a moment later of feeling Thor's tongue at Loki's puckered entrance, light and hot and strong and wet. The sensation radiated to the tip of Loki's already sated cock, out to his fingertips and toes and around his scalp, the tiniest teasing making him hypersensitive, and it was with an effort that he did not stretch out his limbs to chase that feeling.
Thor was lapping now, the tops of Loki's thighs, his inner thighs, his perineum, his balls, and returning to Loki's hole with sweeping, darting tongue thrusts. Loki was not ready to get hard again and it was a peculiar sensation to be so aroused without his cock directly involved. His body was singing, with the words, with the sensations, with the love that Thor was pouring into him.
Loki heard the sound of a jar being unstoppered and throbbed with pleasure as Thor started to prepare him. He went quickly enough, fucking Loki with one then two fingers, scissoring them, plying the muscles with oil and massage and intent. A third finger joined them up to the first knuckle, and then all in the way in up to the palm.
Thor wasn't being gentle but was not exactly rough, he was being demanding, masterful, and Loki couldn't get enough. He had to hear Thor saying how much he wanted Loki, even if Loki should be ashamed of how Thor wanted him tonight. He wanted to hear it.
Each time Thor had fucked Loki, Loki had sensed Thor's reluctance to truly impose himself on his bound slave and Loki did not want it to stand between them this time, between Thor and true abandon in Loki's body tonight. He hoped Thor would do as he would tonight without restraint and trust Loki to find his own pleasure. It was a risk not to discuss limits, he knew how dangerous an unrestrained Thor could be but he would be lying to himself if the self-destructive streak in him didn't want to take that risk just once. And maybe he was ready to give a little trust to his oaf of a prince.
"What do you want from me, Thor?" Thor looked a him, gauging, measuring, silent. "Talk to me, conqueror. Tell me what you want from me while you fuck me. Utgard lies ahead, my prince. Tell me what you want, how you want it. Take your pleasure as you will, Thunderer. It pleases me that you be rough tonight."
Thor sat back, and removed his fingers gently. He bent over Loki, smoothed his hair aside away from his neck and kissed the nape in a way that was somehow even more erotic than all the rest of his touches. Loki felt his whole body alight with pleasure and he sighed. Thor bent back so he was kneeling upright behind Loki's crouched form. He put his hand on Loki's neck where he had kissed, forcing Loki's head further down into a position of utmost submission, not painfully, but very firmly. Loki shuddered all over as Thor whispered his name and lined up his cock with Loki's entrance, paused for a moment no doubt to get his fill of the view of Utgard over Loki's prone, servile body, and thrust in with a savage snap of his hips. He hissed "I'm going to ruin you, sorcerer," and Loki cried out with the pain and the deep ache and the beginnings of pleasure and not a little fear.
Thor fucked his ass, keeping a firm hand on the scruff of Loki's neck, strong fingers gripping the sides of Loki's neck hard enough to bruise. He placed his other hand and arm around Loki's waist to position his hips so Thor was fucking Loki as deeply as possible. Loki cried out with each thrust, also giving into his baser instincts, no longer guarding his reactions as he had always done even in the deepest pleasures Thor had coaxed from him.
He sounded pitiful, he knew, mewling helplessly at the pain as the Thunderer rode him, crying out the pleasure of being full and fucked. It was glorious. To be at Thor's true mercy (and he gave none), to be Thor's for the taking (and he was taking), to be Thor's...Loki mewled and he cried and he gasped and he revelled in it, submitted to it. Allowing himself after so long to be completely helpless was exhilarating.
He started to refuse and to beg, and Thor responded with insults to his whore, to his prize, to his sorcerer, ordering him to silence and when Loki could not be silent, pulled Loki upright and pushed his fingers into his mouth.
Loki gagged around them as Thor continued to pound into him. Loki tongued the fingers as much as he could and Thor withdrew his hand with a disgusted noise that made Loki shudder again, making Thor gasp. Thor's strong grasp kept him at a comfortable angle for Thor to continue thrusting into him while Thor's other hand grasped Loki roughly by the jaw, forcing him to look at Utgard's lights, dull in the distance.
"You see that sorcerer? Tomorrow that is MINE." An especially rough thrust caused Loki to keen. "And you sorcerer?" Thor forced Loki's head to turn so he could scrape his teeth over Loki's mouth."You are mine, tonight, tomorrow and always, whatever you will. No-one will take you from me, not even you." He bent so he could kiss Loki as deeply as possible, which wasn't very deep given the angle but Loki responded as best he could. It was glorious.
Suddenly Thor slowed, and Loki felt himself loosed from Thor's grip, the beginnings of bruises blooming everywhere the Thunderer had groped and held him. Thor gently withdrew his cock and lay Loki on the blanket on his side. Loki looked up at him, panting and perplexed. Had Thor lost his nerve completely this time? What...
"Enough games, sorcerer." He gently turned a Loki on his back and to Loki's astonishment, kissed him passionately and roughly, but with affection. "I have fucked a prince of Jotunheim on his knees in view of the capital which I am about to despoil, but I wish for more tonight. You've given me much already this night, will you give me more? I promise you all I am and all I have if you will."
Loki was as good as struck dumb for the second time that night, and could but nod. He looked into that blue eyed gaze wondering what self-destructive impulse could have led Thor to promise such a thing.
The Thunderer seemed to read his mind, as he laughed and said 'Love, sorcerer. It is love. I love you." Loki finally found his voice and managed a "Thor..." before the Thunderer clapped a large hand over his mouth and said "I need to hear nothing more from you this night, Loki. Let us finish this as we need." He removed his hand and knelt between Loki's legs, throwing one over a broad shoulder, and guided his cock back into Loki's body, gently this time.
"Don't...don't be too sentimental, Thunderer," Loki was able to manage a protest at the change in pace. Thor chortled. "As you wish, my love," he said as he started to pound into Loki again, but this time they were face-to-face, eye-to eye, able to watch and enjoy and delight in the pure joy and pleasure they brought each other.
Thor had used his sorcerer hard, as they both wanted, and lovingly too, which Thor had not been sure Loki would appreciate. Thor knew he held Loki's trust in his palm like a fluttering baby bird, and he intended to be as gentle as he could with this fragile gift. The sorcerer had surely melted as Thor had taken him face-to-face. It was not unexpected exactly, it was just...somehow a thing of unexpected wonder.
They went back to the tent soon after and didn't talk. There was no need. Thor brought a glass of cool water to bring Loki back to himself, stroking gently over Loki's bruises as Thor soothed him with a warm cloth. Thor was soon ready for sleep, but even with Thor's caresses, Loki was as ever allowing his mind to start calculating again as soon as the flush of their lovemaking started to drain away.
Obviously the physical discomfort of a rough fucking was not quite sufficient to distract Loki. Thor would have to work on that.
He lay beside Loki and threw his arm over, feeling Loki trying to ease himself into sleep. Thor, eyes already closed, muttered "Stop thinking, sorcerer," and pulled Loki into a tight, reckless embrace, drawing a pained groan as his carelessness lit up Loki's soreness, but Loki closed his eyes and started to relax.
Soon Thor felt Loki's breathing slow, and found himself dwelling on awaited them the next day. He could not concern himself for what tomorrow might mean for him and Loki and what they were beginning to create together. He had to focus on the most immediately important duties; victory and the end of war.
Sleep never quite came for the King of Asgard.
Thor awakened more fully to find that Loki had moved to lying on his belly, loose-limbed and completely still, more deeply asleep than Thor remembered seeing before. Thor gently pulled off the blanket to see his handiwork beneath from the night before, slightly shocked at the spill of bruises across Loki's body, and along his neck and jaw line, as well as the obvious discomfort Loki was in from actually being fucked so roughly.
He hoped he had not crossed a threshold here too. He and the sorcerer were going to have a talk one way or the other. Such strange needs his Jotunn had. Thor was not sure if his own needs had shifted to match the sorcerer's own, or whether they were always within him, hidden even from himself.
Thor realised that Fandral stood by the tent flap with a tray of food and steaming drinks. He was looking at Loki as if trying to solve a puzzle. Would it bother Loki if Fandral could see the bruises? Thor didn't think too much of the bruising was visible above the blankets. "You are a breakfast maid now, Fandral?"
Thor walked back into the room and smilingly took the tray from Fandral, who had startled at Thor's voice. What was wrong with him? Fandral cleared his throat. "Good morning, your majesty. It's later than you would usually come to break your fast so I thought you might be hungry." Thor arched an eyebrow at Fandral's formal address. "Is there something else, Fandral?" Fandral simply looked at Thor for a moment and then looked back at Loki, who appeared to have woken, judging only by his open eyes.
He was still on his belly with his face turned towards the side of the tent, staring glassily at nothing. He sighed quietly, chest barely moving. Thor couldn't tell if it indicated tiredness, satisfaction, or resignation, but at least it had nothing of that quivering, desperate quality that Loki had exuded the previous day. Thor suddenly realised that Sif too was in the room, standing at the end of the bed, looking down at Loki with a frown.
"Did you..." Fandral licked his lips and went on "Is he well? We heard..." Eyes still fixed on an unknown point, Loki murmured "He's right here, you know. You could ask him." Fandral grimaced and snapped "I am asking your master. Be silent, slave." Thor set down the tray and folded his arms. "You have concerns for my slave, Fandral?" Fandral swallowed at his tone, and Thor wondered how many years it had been since one of his close friends had felt reason to fear his temper. And why would they fear it now?
Sif stood at the entrance, and said in a blunt tone "We heard sounds of torture coming from near your tent last night, Thor. Like you were... beating him severely. We did not want to interfere because, well, I suppose it is your right to treat such as him in any way you want. But our concern is for you."
Sif continued. "Such behaviour is not becoming of a king of Asgard, and perhaps more importantly to us, to your friends, is that it is not characteristic of you. We worry that ...you are not yourself. That perhaps you are being ...directed to act in ways that are not true to who you are. So I suppose my question to you is... are you well?"
Loki laughed a low, pleased laugh, followed by a groan of pain as the movement of his body caused pain to shoot across his bruising and his sore ass and oh Norns, Thor had bruised and used him fairly satisfactorily, hadn't he? More delicious right now was the fear that Thor's coterie of idiots still had of him, tightly bound and obedient though he was, was as satisfying a trick as he could play, if only he was actually playing it.
In his preoccupation yesterday, he had not anticipated this possible outcome and had nothing prepared to meet, use or counter it.
He couldn't even bring himself to care if Thor would take their fantastical worries seriously. He supposed he should do, as it could end very badly for him if Thor really thought Loki's suggestion of such treatment was a manipulation.
He knew that Thor might accept well enough Loki's untrustworthiness as part of the cost of war, the cost of enslaving one who was too strongly his own self to be truly enslaved, as part of this game they were playing, the game that had turned into something else now.
Loki thought Thor might accept Loki making a fool of him by pretending vulnerability or even playing with his love but using it to deliberately undermine the core of who Thor was, well, that was the most dangerous outcome possible for Loki, really. He felt a faraway pang of anxiety in his stomach, but floating as he was on a sea of soothing pain and pleasure remembered and soothing pain and pleasure to come, he couldn't bring himself to care right then.
He heard the tent flap drop shut behind him as Thor rid himself of the intruders, and yelped in pain as he was jolted upwards by a pair of large hands around his neck. Kneeling on the mattress, he gripped Thor's wrists weakly, wondering if the sudden change in position had caused tearing in intimate, bruised places.
"So what was this, Jotunn? This night of debasement? A game?"
Was the man stupid? Loki could only choke out the words around the pressure on his throat.
"Yes. A game. One I trusted you to play." He looked Thor in the eye, knowing that Thor would see his anger and exasperation there.
Thor held his gaze for a moment, and then threw him back on the bed where he swallowed convulsively and groaned again at the brushfire that blazed in his abused ass. Definitely a few tender injuries invisible to the eye to be added to the count.
Loki tried sweet reason. "If what we did together last nights offends you now, I will not suggest such as this again. If you wish me punished for your own reasons, turn me over to someone else. I'm sure you don't want for people who would like to beat or whip me or vengeance-fuck me, and bloodily at that."
He looked up at Thor, who loomed over him stone-faced, and couldn't help throwing a sharp trickster smile at him. "I do enjoy upsetting your friends though. Even bruised, fucked and bound as I am, they think I control the King of Asgard. Was ever a man with so few weapons so feared by so mighty as they?" He laughed again, followed by another groan escaping his clenched teeth.
Thor glared at him for a moment, grabbed his hair and pulled his head back.
Finally, too late, fear slammed into Loki, and he knew it was writ large across his face and body. Suddenly the pain in his scalp and the increasing pain from last night's play seemed very secondary to the threat of his master's anger. In that moment, Loki knew again that the reality was no matter what had happened between them, he was owned, body if not quite soul by Thor.
He whispered, perhaps to himself, perhaps to Thor "You were truly my master last night, my prince, and I truly your thrall. Tell me you did not enjoy it as much as I."
Suddenly, Loki felt a wave of anger wash over him too. Who was this spoilt princeling, this large, stupid aristocratic oaf, this temporary king, to take his own joy and satisfaction at the debasement of a willing other at his hands and afterwards throw it back in his partner's face as if it was not a gift both of them crafted together for each other?
Who was this self-righteous Aesir asshole to question Loki's sincerity in wholly offering himself, physically and mentally, to make it a source of shame and suspicion? Fuck this childish god, this self-indulgent, arrogant get of Odin!
He met Thor's angry eyes again, and spat in one. The right one. May it turn as blind as Odin's.
With a snarl, Thor flung Loki's head back towards the mattress, wiping his eye. Loki bit down on his lip and hissed to stop his keening at the physical aches that was threatening to overwhelm the other hot, tangled, miserable feelings that swirled in him. Thor no longer wanted, appreciated or deserved the sounds Loki made as a result of their game, their competition, their mutual need for pain and satisfaction last night.
He had rejected the thing they had made together, this one and only thing that could be said to have been made by them together as equals.
Loki managed to breathe out the pain instead of yelping, and did not cry. He tried to scramble backwards off the bed, ignoring the pain now.
If only he could get out of Thor's reach perhaps Thor would overreact and simply destroy him quickly and without further humiliation. He was too slow though. He closed his eyes and did not disgrace himself by yelping in fear as Thor's large hand closed over his left forearm to yank him close.
He felt himself falling, and hissed again as he felt another large hand grab him by his bruised shoulder to pull him across the bed.
He was forced against Thor's broad chest as the hand left his forearm and clamped around his other shoulder instead. Then he did cry out as he felt Thor's mouth brush the right side of his face, moving hot and wet down to his mouth where Loki's cry was smothered by Thor's rough, demanding kiss.
Loki squirmed in shock, gasping as Thor broke the kiss. Loki threw his arms around Thor's own neck to keep his balance and try to recover his mental equilibrium as well. Thor took the opportunity to move his hand to Loki's tender, bruised oh so fucking painful buttock. Aaagh.
Thor moved his mouth to Loki's ear. "I should not have doubted you or myself. I felt your trust, Loki. I did not expect it and do not deserve it but I will keep it if you let me. " Loki attempted a trickster smile as his heart thumped, but thought he only managed sadness in it, or bitterness. He was on firm ground again at least. The firm ground of Thor's unrelenting hold on him. "I may never have need to trust you again, Thunderer. Enjoy this while it lasts." Thor kissed him again.
Thor and his companions headed to open ground to meet with Laufey and his retinue. Sif wondered aloud if it was a trap, and Thor saw Loki bite his lip, whether to stop himself saying aloud It's most certainly a trap, or simply at the discomfort he was no doubt experiencing in riding Thor could not tell.
Loki had warned Thor that both Loki and Laufey would do what he had for the good of their realm and knew that Loki was privately cursing Thor for a stubborn oaf for continuing along this path. Thor looked at the Asgardian army that they had at their backs.
Hi could not understand what Loki was worried about. Of course Laufey was not to be trusted, but he could not possibly have a strategy at this stage to defeat the Asgardian army as assembled outside Utgard now.
Why Laufey had not deployed the Casket of Winters in the war was beyond Thor's knowledge but he could only guess it was because the Frost Giants had lost the knowledge of its use during the centuries it had been kept from them in Asgard, or perhaps Odin had bound it somehow.
In which case it should matter not to them that Thor was to demand it be returned to him, and placed back in the vaults of the Palace of Asgard, as Odin would have wished.
It was among Thor's dearest wishes to win the war, gut Jotunheim's ability to rise against Asgard again, and return the Casket to Asgard before Odin emerged from his sleep. He had fought long for this day, sacrificed for it, done terrible things on the journey, but victory would make it all worth it. And then he could seek an out from this cursed binding and begin to make restitution to Loki.
In the meantime, he kept adding to his debt to Loki.
Soon, very soon, victory was coming and it would all be over, and he could begin again with Loki.
Midway between the Asgardian camp and Utgard lay the meeting point, a natural flat tablet of stone the stood out on the plain for miles.The Jotunn delegation were already present and dismounted from their monstrous rides. This boded well, no games, showing instead respect. The one at the front had the look of a king. Laufey, then.
Loki's king, the king he served for all that Thor was Loki's master. Loki's sire in all meanings of the word. A father who abandoned his stunted son to die, but raised him anyway in parallel with his officially acknowledged heirs. Loved his strange, gifted son, and willing to sacrifice him for his realm. Thor supposed this was the lot of monarchs and their children.
He looked at Loki, expecting to see the sorcerer's customary expression of detachment, but Loki looked nervous in the face of a reunion of sorts with his father. He suddenly looked young and untried, completely uncertain. Thor brushed a pang of guilt away as he thought how humiliated he would feel in similar circumstances, paraded before Odin as a slave of the Jotunn, in Jotunn garb. It had not occurred to him until now how truly awful this thing was that he had demanded of Loki.
He took a deep breath and put the thought aside. It would be all worth it for a victory here today. He could start trying to repay his debt to Loki then. Thor tried to make out Laufey's features at a distance, did Loki resemble him in any way? It occurred to Thor that Loki wore a form that was not his own.
He knew the beautiful pale Aesir that Loki appeared to be was a form chosen by Loki the shapeshifter, Loki the chameleon trickster, Loki the seducer. He did not know what Loki truly looked like. It did not matter to Thor, it was the man himself he wanted, but he found himself desiring to know Loki's real face. And the many other things he did not know about Loki.
He supposed he could see an older Loki in Laufey's features, a more cruel Loki. They shared a noble bearing too, an aristocratic tilt of the head that Thor had noticed in Loki at times that he had not thought to question further. Thor wondered if Loki had inherited his prowling walk too from Laufey. Father and son certainly share a hatred of Asgard, Thor reminded himself.
For all his dire warnings of his own treachery, Thor's sorcerer was bound not to harm Thor or what belonged to Thor, and that was that. Laufey could not use Loki against Asgard, and Loki could not act against Asgard. Thor glanced back at the Asgardian army far behind him and placed his hand on Mjolnir at his waist. He reached across to the sorcerer and cupped his face. "It will all be well, sorcerer." "Not if I can help it, Thunderer," hissed Loki. "Thor, do not do this. Laufey is more devious than you can imagine, and I will do all I can to help him with whatever he is planning. This is madness."
"Enough, Loki. This is almost done." Loki hesitated and looked away. "Come," said Thor. "We can do this together if you wish. Do you not want this damnable war to finally end?" Loki was still avoiding Thor's eye until he suddenly he wasn't and in the brief moment of contact that Loki allowed, Thor saw anguish and anger. Thor moved his hand away. Loki took a moment to visibly recover himself and dismounted to walk towards the waiting committee.
Laufey watched as the Thunderer tipped his eldest son's face towards himself and spoke. He couldn't read what was said but saw Odinson drop his hand as Loki squared his shoulders and started to walk towards Laufey and his courtiers. Thor snapped an order at his retinue and he and a woman heeled Loki. They stopped about 20 paces away, Odinson and the woman on either side of Loki.
His firstborn, his never-born, his clever, sensitive, curious, gifted son. Cursed with a sense of duty and loyalty that Laufey was not sure that he deserved to be the subject of, as either father or as king. Laufey's heart would break if he allowed himself to dwell on what Loki must have endured under the Odinson's yoke, the atrocities he had been forced to commit against his own people, the bending of the neck to his lesser in character and in honour.
His heart was already broken at the thought of what more Loki would endure before this was done. But the Thunderer would suffer directly as a result if it all fell into place.
Not hesitant now, Loki spoke. He turned first to the Thunderer and the warrior and asked them quietly to allow him to approach a few more steps alone. The Odinson nodded grimly. Loki separated from the two and bent the knee. "Well met, my king" he said.
"So formal, Loki?" Laufey responded and held out his arms to invite an embrace.
Loki stood but did not approach. "It is a formal occasion is it not, Father?"
The woman inhaled sharply. The Odinson had not told her, one of his trusted companions. Interesting.
"Byliestr is dead, your majesty," Loki said. "Your heir is dead, and by my hand, by his own brother's hand, more or less." Loki was aiming to wound, then. Laufey heard the rebuke in his voice. Laufey lowered his arms. So. Loki suspected that Laufey had orchestrated his capture by the Thunderer. And Loki felt there was no embrace for a fratricide in the arms of their father. He was wrong about that, of course he was, but Laufey would not push him until it was apposite to do so.
"Helblindi too is dead, Loki. And by my hand, more or less. We have more to discuss than I had hoped, my son." Loki looked at the ground. Laufey closed the distance between them, provoking a defensive position from the Thunderer and his warrior. Laufey ignored them and cupped Loki's face in both hands as he spoke, his gentle grip undoing Loki's shapechanging seidr, bringing to the fore his Jotunn form.
Thor watched carefully as Laufey approached, as imposing as he was large, stopping and smiling a curiously familiar smile which broadened into an all too familiar smirk as Loki's Aesir form was washed away by something more primal, but strangely no less Loki. Thor saw the resemblance between father and son more clearly now. He inhaled sharply as he realised what the deaths of the first and second princes meant. "Loki is now the heir to the crown of Jotunheim," he hissed.
Laufey laughed a quiet laugh. "Loki Lightbringer, Skytreader, Netweaver, Liesmith, Silvertongue, Light-As-Air is meant for a greater destiny than sitting on my mundane throne, boy, and certainly destined to be more than your thrall." Thor's companions muttered angrily at the belittlement of their king but Thor said nothing. "I daresay you already know this, Odinson. Come. You are welcome under my roof. We will speak of peace, and perhaps destiny."
Chapter 21: Wishes
Loki stood before his king, a subject of the crown in both intent and in appearance. Laufey did not care what form Loki walked in, Loki knew, but it felt more respectful to stand as his father had made him at this moment. Something in him wanted to display to Thor his birth form too, even if it was no longer how Loki saw himself in his mind's eye.
Do you want me now, Thunderer, would you truly offer yourself and your kingdom to a Jotunn? He thought he knew the answer, hoped he was not wrong.
Because Loki could use it.
And use it he would.
For Loki's sake, Thor was already hesitating to rampage through Utgard
For Loki's sake, Thor could negotiate a peace that was generous to the Jotunn.
Especially if Loki was heir to the kingdom. But that was a lie. Laufey lied, Loki was sure of it.
Loki was certain that Helblindi lived, whatever his father said in Thor's presence.
With Laufey's lie about Helblindi, Loki began to understand that Laufey really had planned for Loki's capture by Asgard. Laufey had at the very least hoped for it, waiting for Loki to become at worst a useful tool of Thor's, and ideally a honey-trap in Thor's tent, as surely as Loki had played his unwitting part.
With Laufey's named heirs both supposedly dead, the King of Asgard had been maneuvered into thinking that he had Laufey's only remaining child under his heel.
Two reasons now for Thor to stay his hammer; for the love of Loki, and for the use of Loki as the future king of Jotunheim.
What else would Laufey dangle in front of Thor before closing the jaws of his trap?
Ah, thought Loki, the Casket.
Has Laufey already won?
Loki raised his eyes back to meet his father's. Laufey took Loki's hands in his and smiled first with affection, and then knowingly. Father and son had always understood each other, or so Loki had thought until recently.
Loki knew he should be relieved by his father's shaping of events, happy even. Perhaps Jotunheim would not be left a ruined husk by the Thunderer. He still could not guess at the Laufey's end play, but if Thor danced to his tune, they would all soon find out. Laufey had only to persuade Thor to accept when Laufey offered him everything he wanted.
"So do you bring my scapegrace son home to me, Odinson?" Laufey looked amused. "Or is Loki part of the reparations you seek for the war you have pressed upon us? I am sure you both had much sport in your attempts to tame him."
"Did you mean for Loki to be captured and enslaved?" demanded Thor. He was beginning to see other similarities between Loki and Laufey, less tangible ones than appearances, and far more important. Laufey too was a player of the long game.
"Your father wouldn't have had to ask," replied Laufey. Thor tried not to respond to this lie presented as simple truth, but he knew he snarled. Laufey and Odin were cut from the same cloth, to some degree, Thor knew, but Odin would not have sacrificed his children.
Loki dropped his hands from his father's. A shadow of regret passed across Laufey's features, but continued to address Thor. "Loki has always been willing to pay the cost."
"I have paid, Father." Loki sounded bitter and defeated. "I have paid. And paid, and paid."
"I know, boy. And there is yet more to pay, I fear. Come, Thunderer. We should speak in the comfort of the palace. If you wish, gather your companions to accompany you, I will not object. My son is your creature and your army surrounds us, is that not so?"
Thor scoffed. "What is to stop me from destroying you here and now, Laufey? Utgard is mine for the taking. I have no need of treaty nor any desire to walk into your parlor to be devoured like a fly." Thor noted the slight change in Loki's posture which indicated he was readying to summon seidr.
Thor tested their binding, pressured it, knowing Loki would feel it and hate him for it, but he had to ascertain that the sorcerer was not a threat. For his sake as well as Thor's. Thor felt the sorcerer's will, and it did not oppose Thor's own. Whatever action Loki was considering, it was not an attempt to harm anything of Thor's.
Loki suppressed a grimace as Thor threatened to break the agreement to treat in a fit of apparent pique. Thor may escape this yet. Loki prepared to skywalk away, with either Laufey or Thor, he was not sure whom. He felt Thor push at the binding, testing. Loki tried to mentally shrug him away. Get off, Thunderer. You do not need to prod me to obey. At least Thor was not entirely trusting of Loki. He had paid some attention to Loki's warnings.
Laufey responded to Thor. "If you wish to break the treaty-peace we agreed here, Thunderer, I cannot stop you. The Allfather would have thought twice about such a thing. Come, your majesty. I offer no false welcome. As proof of good faith, I present to you the Casket of Winters, my people's ancestral treasure and birthright, for safekeeping by your people to guarantee your safety in my palace. And of course should you feel the need to defend yourself, you have my son by your side to act as you direct."
At Laufey's gesture, two of his retinue brought the Casket of Winters on a trestle and set it between them. Loki doubted anyone missed the gleam in Thor's eye at the sight of it. However, what he said was "It seems Loki did not find his silvertongue by hunting along the banks of a river, King Laufey. The Casket is the property of Asgard by right. Or do you continue to ignore the treaty you made with my father?"
"The Allfather is not here to discuss that, Odinson, but the King of Asgard is." Laufey was almost purring now. "The Allfather's secrets and lies are for another day. This has been your war; make your peace now. Do you wish to make it by violence, or by eminence?" Thor's eyes flicked to Loki. Loki could feel his gaze weighing, measuring. Perhaps it had been a mistake to wear his Jotunn skin; Thor was most likely to do as Loki wished if he saw his lover before him, not an enemy. Curse my sentiment. I should have thought only of guiding Thor, not pleasing my father. Laufey would have thought this through and remained appealing to his lover's eyes if it would win him the tiniest advantage.
Nevertheless, Loki saw the decision on Thor's face. Loki turned away so Thor could not see his own expression. Whether it was sadness or triumph upon it, he could not allow the Thunderer to see. Laufey lay a hand on Loki's shoulder, brow furrowed, realisation in his eyes. Sadness, then. Father knows. Thor spoke. "Loki. Take possession of the Casket in my name and keep it safe for Asgard. You and I will accompany King Laufey to his palace." Loki could not credit the stupidity of Thor. The arrogance. Why had he not listened to Loki?
Thor believed he was about to win everything he had wanted and more; victory in Jotunheim, the Casket in Asgardian hands, Loki in Thor's bed and eventually on the throne in Utgard.
Everything he wanted.
Loki approached the trestle with reverence, the two warriors guarding it snapping to attention at his approach and bowing slightly to a prince of the realm. He acknowledged them and moved around so he was facing Thor, the Casket between them. He carefully lifted the Casket, gazed at in wonder a moment, opened a pocket dimension and flipped the Casket inside.
He stood, hands behind his back, a prince of Jotunheim, awaiting further instructions from his master the King of Asgard.
Sif was deeply unhappy with Thor's decision to go to Utgard alone and made no bones of it to him. Thor waved away her objections; he had Mjolnir at his belt and was more than capable of defending himself against the remains of the Jotunn army. Besides had the greatest weapon of the Jotunn at his disposal and their most powerful warrior-sorcerer bound to him, at his call.
Sif and the Warriors Three insisted on waiting at the gates of the city for his return. By the time everyone had mounted their horses, Loki had assumed Aesir form again. The Jotunn delegation rode to the palace in silence, Laufey at the head of his retinue, Thor and Loki at either side of him.
Thor had set aside the knowledge that Byliestr, the general tortured by his troops and released from his pain by Loki, had been Loki's brother and the crown prince. His sorcerer was made up of layers upon layers of secrets. He would deal with it later. Laufey claimed to have killed his second heir also. Thor did not know what to make of that. Loki had been distressed by the news.
Thor had not believed the Frost Giants capable of such tender affection not too long ago. Murdering their sons and brothers fit in much more with his previous estimation of them. Thor remembered the fondness on Laufey's face as he held Loki's hands in his own. Today he had stood mere paces from the King of Jotunheim, observing the king's loving reunion with Loki, his son. How different to Thor's fantasies in which he charged Laufey and rode him down, destroying him with Mjolnir and not a word exchanged between them.
Instead he rode to the palace in Utgard by his side to negotiate peace. Just to please his sorcerer, and perhaps makes some amends for the horrors Thor had perpetrated. Perpetrated in prosecution of just war against an aggressor, an inner voice said. He wanted to believe it. He was no longer sure that he did.
Nevertheless. He would return to Asgard with the Casket, with Jotunheim defeated, and perhaps eventually a true ally to Asgard on the throne in Jotunheim if he could keep Loki's regard. His father would be pleased enough with the first two when he awoke from his slumber. His mother would be proud, and perhaps pleased that he had given his heart to one she had shown fondness for and who would prove a good political match.
Thor would pursue a just peace with Jotunheim. He just wished he knew what that truly looked like.
Loki walked through his father's palace still in the garb of the Einherjar. Rooms worthy of the king of Asgard had been offered to Thor upon arrival at the palace, but Loki was not surprised to see Thor turn to him with a question in his eyes. "The king of Asgard will be staying in my apartments," Loki told the household staff. He turned to Thor. "A moment with King Laufey, please." Thor nodded and stepped out of earshot, but kept close enough to give orders. He seemed at ease enough despite his surroundings. Fool.
"Give me tonight, Father. Just tonight." Laufey looked at him, weighing him, measuring him, deciding the worth of this gift requested by his son. He nodded. "Tomorrow morning, then. Remember your blood, Loki." Loki said nothing. He bowed to the king and bade him goodnight. "Sleep well, Thunderer," Laufey said. "We will speak in the morning, at Prince Loptr's request." Thor inclined his head minutely. Laufey laughed and swept away.
They walked in silence to Loki's rooms.
Chapter 22: Secrets and Lies
Thor did not notice exactly when Loki removed the visible evidence of their play of the previous night, the bruises faded as if they had never been. Neither did he notice Loki's change from the green and gold of Asgard to the dull reds and blues of Jotunn garb, the style Loki had been captured in. Loki's gait too changed to something less prowling, something more relaxed and centred, more regal.
Somehow, Thor had found himself walking the large, empty corridors of the palace of Laufey beside a stranger called Loptr.
Certainly, many among the palace household staff called him that as they walked towards Loki's apartments. Most offered short bows as they passed and spoke quick words of welcome to Prince Loptr, not breaking stride as they went about their duties. Loki acknowledged them with a nod.
Some called out 'Loki-prince!' and stopped to grasp his hands with theirs and enquire after him. Loki stopped for a moment and exchanged words with each one, promising more time later if possible.
None looked at Thor; though he felt their awareness of him. He felt invisible and elephantine at the same time. He did not know how to deal with their fear and their hate and was glad he did not have to face it then and there.
Finally they arrived at apartments that felt seldom-used if at all, though the space was dust-free and well maintained. Thor walked around for a few moments, getting the measure of the place. How did a flower like Loki bloom in a dull place like this?
He felt guilt thinking it; perhaps he did not understand Loki as well as he thought. Then again, why did Loki wear his Aesir form by default, why were these rooms so obviously abandoned by him? This was not Loki's home, not really. Thor thought he knew Loki enough to know that.
The beginnings of a fire were in the grate, to Thor's relief. Loki welcomed with a smile the servant who delivered a meal. Thor could hear them murmuring by the doors and pushed down an irrational surge of jealousy at the easy intimacy.
I have barely known him yet, these are members of his father's household who probably tended him even as a babe. Thor understood such obligations, and the affections that could develop over a lifetime of service.
They ate dinner in silence, much like many of the meals they had shared in Thor's tent. But the silence seemed much larger in this place.
After they were finished, Loki leaned over and kissed Thor, a gentle probing kiss that became passionate. Thor did not remember Loki initiating a kiss before. Loki was the first to break it, and he stood looking down at Thor, Thor's face cupped in his long, beautiful fingers.
Thor wondered if Loki was aware of his new physical attitude, his instinctive dominance of the space around and between them. He had never looked down at Thor before, never cupped Thor's face as if Thor was the submissive partner. Thor placed his hand on Loki's, gently took it from where it lay along his jaw and kissed the palm. He was not sure what Loki desired of him, but he knew he would give it.
He took a deep breath, and did not gulp, and asked Loki "So...how do you want me?"
Loki looked taken aback for a moment, then laughed, and sat down on Thor's lap. Thor was sure he kept his face expressionless, but Loki laughed again, wrapped his arms around him and kissed Thor as sweetly and deeply as Thor had ever been kissed.
Thor felt his own arousal against the leather of his trousers and shifted Loki's position slightly so it was in contact with Loki's thigh, and held his sorcerer tightly with a hand pressed against the small of Loki's back as he knew the sorcerer liked.
They stayed kissing and touching for some time, minding Thor of a time before he was ready to do more with a play partner. It was strangely innocent, especially considering the circumstances. Thor knew this might be their last night together, and even possibly simply his own last night as a free man or a whole one, and if asked, he would have been quick to assure anyone who wanted to know that if he knew he was to die, he would spend a wild time before, carousing and talking and laughing and fucking the night away.
But he now found that he had all he wanted in his arms, on his lap, and even words were unnecessary.
Later, on Loki's large bed, still clothed, still no more said than Thor's question to Loki, and still no more than kisses between them, Thor could no longer ignore the truth of their -his- circumstances. Thor felt the compulsion to ask as he was still unsure. "Which version of Loki am I getting tonight?"
Loki half-sat and leaned over him, looking down, green eyes brilliant in the blue-tinted light. "Just Loki, my prince. Just as you want it...do you not?" Thor murmured "Loki...is there any such thing as 'just' Loki? You are a kaleidoscope wonder, my love. Always changing and many-faceted and beautiful."
Loki grinned, pleased, and started to remove his clothes in that slightly leisurely way he did when he wanted to tease Thor, very different to his usual efficient strip. Loki had seduced Thor in part by drip-feeding him these moments during their time together in the Asgardian camp, and Thor's deep and slow-burning desire for Loki this evening began to be overshadowed by sadness that this might be the last time that the sorcerer dangled Thor at the end of puppet strings. How delicious it had been to have Loki manipulate his every twitch and gasp.
Thor decided to give in to his anger. It had been simmering since Laufey had looked him up and down in the first moments of their meeting as if Thor was a domesticated animal at market to be inspected and brought home for the feast day slaughter. No doubt that Laufey thought the reasons that Thor had accepted Laufey's invitation into the palace was because Laufey too had seduced Thor with his promises of peace and glory and suggestions of Loki as Thor's alone and as king of Jotunheim by Thor's side.
To Loki first, and to Loki foremost. Loki had danced to Laufey's tune and it had led both he and Thor to this place.
Thor was a man of his word. He had made a promise to Loki, that Loki was his and that no-one would stand in the way of that, not even Loki. He had made the promise in the heat of the moment, one of those precious moments when Loki had made a slave of him, he had meant it then, and he meant it still.
Laufey's lies were not going to keep them apart.
He growled, and Loki startled, half-way through removing his clothes. Thor reached out and grabbed Loki, pulling him half-clothed on top of Thor and started kissing him again, roughly this time. He felt Loki smile and in between urgent, snatched, rough kisses and bites, Loki murmured "I wondered how long your temper would hold." Thor could feel Loki's smile. "What roused it?" Loki asked.
"Lies," growled Thor. "Your father's lies." Loki stilled. "Ah," he said. "If you did not believe Laufey-King's lies, why are you here? In the palace? In my bed?"
"Not the lies that I was to believe," Thor looked up at Loki. "The lies you were to believe. And did, for some time."
Loki sat up, straddled across Thor's thighs. "The Casket," he said. Thor looked at him, waiting. Loki reluctantly continued. "Laufey lied to me about having the Casket. From the very beginning. He waited until after my capture to tell me. I don't understand why. Nor what he had to gain from my capture."
"Me," said Thor plainly. "Or my father. Laufey wanted revenge for his humiliation in defeat by Odin. So he stole the Casket back to draw Asgard to Jotunheim. Instead of using the Casket to restore his realm and aid his army, he hid it, pretending Jotunheim to be an entirely innocent victim in this war. And sacrificing the good of his realm, the good of his people, his soldiers and his son in pursuit of revenge against Odin, or Odin's son in his place."
Loki shook his head slightly, raised an eyebrow. "No, Thor. For all of Laufey's machinations, I refuse to believe he would abandon his duties to his people for his own selfish gain."
Thor had to be careful, or he would drive Loki away. Away and towards Laufey, who bore Loki no good will in this. "Then why did he not tell you, his son, his favourite? Have you not acted as counsellor to King Laufey? What would you have counselled him if you knew that he had rescued the Casket?"
Loki was silent. Thor knew he knew, but that Loki could not bear the truth. If he was strong enough to accept it, Thor had some chance of surviving the night. Otherwise, he might find himself facing the wrath not just of the throne of Jotunheim, but the wrath of its newest, youngest god.
And his love.
Loki looked him in the eye. "If my father had told me of it, I would have counselled him as you say. To use it to restore the realm, to aid our army. To defeat Asgard. To defeat Odin. To defeat you."
"And you might have," replied Thor. "You might have defeated Asgard. More likely we would have fought to a standstill, and a peace eventually made. Sacrifices made on both sides, justice done, peace restored. A suspicious and uneasy peace to be sure, but each realm free to pursue prosperity without undue concern for the actions of the other. But this is not what Laufey wants."
Loki grimaced. "You are trying to manipulate me, Thunderer."
Thor had no reply to this except to say sadly "No, Loki."
Loki jumped off the bed and began to pull on his tunic. "So, so you are telling me that my father, my father the king, orchestrated a bloody war against his own people to bring you here, to this place at this time, for...for petty revenge? Really, Thunderer? That he waited until I was inevitably captured so he could spring his trap, so I could lead you here by the cock, is that it? You think so little of Laufey, Thunderer, and so much of yourself and your own value!"
Thor sat up in the bed and said nothing.
Loki was panting now, green eyes full of fury and unshed tears. "He knew I would bring you here so that he could force peace on Asgard! I have been willing to pay the price for my people, Asgardian. And you will pay the price too. For what you've done to my people, you will pay. It is my duty to see you do. I will do my duty."
Loki turned on his heel and made for the doors. Thor was frozen in horror and heartbreak. He could do nothing to repair this. Before he knew it, he heard himself say "You would leave me alone tonight, Loki?" Loki did not turn around. "I cannot look at you. I have not had a moment alone since you bound me, you are always there at the edge of my perception. I welcome it, and thought it would break my heart to lose it, much as I hate and despise and rage against it -and you!- but I cannot wait to be rid of it." He turned now and he did look at Thor. "And rid of you."
He slammed the door.
Chapter 23: Plain Truth
Spoilers in the comments section below! Avoid reading them until you finish the NEXT chapter if you want to avoid spoilers. My readers are as crafty as Laufey...
Loki tried to stalk through the palace but found himself merely hurrying instead, almost stumbling if he did not think to place one foot in front of the other. His anger was directed at himself, firstly, for throwing a near-tantrum at Thor. Childish. He did not know why he felt so discombobulated, so on the back foot, so unsettled. He did not like that feeling, so he leaned into the anger instead.
His body however clearly was not as skilled as his mind in ignoring his feelings. He managed to stop himself from careering into a startled servant.
That Laufey would indulge petty personal revenge in favour of the care due to his realm. That he would prolong and worsen his people's suffering. The very thought. Loki quivered in anger. Yes, definitely anger.
Thor had already taken so much from him. Loki would not let Thor take his father from him too.
Loki knew though that Thor was too bluff and straightforward to use manipulation for advantage. It was not his nature. Thor had spoken what he thought was truth to Loki. It was not his fault. Thor did not know or understand Laufey, the father or the king, as Loki did. That was all.
It was a misunderstanding. Of course Thor wanted for Laufey to be the great deceiver, it would allow Loki to make the choice that Thor wanted him to make. Thor wanted Loki to reject his father and all of his works, for Loki to abandon his people and his duty and to choose Thor. So Thor chose to believe that Laufey's intentions were ill, driven by selfishness and not by the same sense of duty that he and Loki shared.
Thor was not deliberately lying. But what he said were lies.
Of course Laufey had lured Thor to his palace and doom, and he had used Loki to do so. These were the actions of a king in warfare, using all of the tools and weapons at his disposal. And what was Loki if not Laufey's greatest tool, his secret weapon? Laufey had known that if it was possible, that Loki would to survive capture and enslavement in the Asgardian tents, even if it meant having to beg for Thor's cock.
It was a sacrifice that Laufey made as a father and as a king for the good of the realm. He had sacrificed Loki for the good of the realm.
Laufey had known that Loki would lead Thor here, to Thor's own capture, his humiliation and his use as a pawn of Jotunheim to bring Asgard to its knees. It was no more than Thor deserved, and the cost Asgard deserved to pay. For the good of Jotunheim. Laufey had always acted for the good of his realm.
So why had Laufey not deployed their most powerful weapon, the birthright of Jotunn since time immemorial, the Casket that Laufey had shamefully given up in defeat and shamelessly stole back in the night? Loki had always known that his father had provoked this war by encouraging the 'renegade' assault on the Weapons Vault of Asgard. It had been an act of desperation by a king who could no longer watch his land die beneath his feet because of the absence of the heart of his realm. Laufey had gambled on on the recovery of the Casket, and had lost.
But Laufey had not lost, had he. The mission had succeeded. At least one of those young warriors had escaped and brought back the Casket. That warrior should have been lauded as a hero, but Laufey had deemed that the success of the mission be kept secret.
Loki refused to admit to himself that the young warrior whose bravery and resourcefulness had recovered the Casket for his people was likely dead at Laufey's word if not by Laufey's own hand after presenting the Casket to the king. For the good of the realm. Because the recovery of the Casket had to be kept secret. Because...why? Loki did not understand. But he was not king, and was not privy to the reasoning of the king. The king whose responsibility was the good of the realm.
Loki found himself on the roof of the palace. It was a freezing night so he fetched some furs rather than endure. He was sick of enduring. Twice in recent days he had feared for his life at Thor's hands, as well as feeling Thor's intense love, desire and need for Loki. All forced upon him. So what if he was feeling the same for Thor? He was heartsick of the subjugation and the fear and everything the damn bond forced on him. He could feel Thor's need tugging at their bond even now. He could feel his own need for Thor.
The closer he got to Thor, the more dangerous it was for both of them, the bond fostered suspicion and fear while it forced closeness.
Laufey had promised to free Loki from the bond when he and Loki had spoken just after Thor had loosened Loki's leash a little, and Loki knew he would feel such relief from its dissolution. Relief that he would not have to endure through the bond Thor's suffering at Laufey's hands. Thor's pain and humiliation would be Thor's to endure alone. Alone.
Loki could feel his heart breaking.
He sat and watched the light from the hundreds of fires in the Asgardian camp that surrounded the palace.
Thor remained on Loki's bed for a time, looking at the crystal-flecked ceiling. He did not know how else he could have handled ...what had just happened. Thor stood up, deciding that he would not wait in Loki's room like a rabbit waiting to be pounced on. He had willingly walked into this beast's den by Loki's side, and it would not be long before the beast descended on its prey. But Thor was nobody's hunt.
Knowing he would not find Loki unless Loki allowed it, he nevertheless started to walk the corridors of the palace of Jotunheim. They were strangely empty, unlike earlier when many servants had scurried by as he and Loki strode along. He could see servants ahead of him at junctures in the corridors but by the time he arrived at that point, there was no-one to be seen. He felt eyes watching him nonetheless.
As he expected, Laufey rose before him like a demon in a shadow play. He raised an eyebrow at Thor and in an enquiring tone asked "Have you lost your way, Thunderer? Your wanderings are disrupting my household."
Thor tried for politeness. "I am looking for Loki, King Laufey. I spoke words to him that he found ill and I would apologise if I could."
Laufey looked irritated. "You will wander the rest of the night unless Loki decides otherwise."
Thor was exasperated now. "Then I will persist in the hope that he decides so."
Laufey sighed. "He will be on the roof. As he ever was as a boy when upset. Dreaming of walking the skies and escaping this dull place." Thor knew he could not keep the surprise from his face. Laufey smiled and said "i would not have you between my son and myself after this night, Odinson, so make your peace with him if you can. His anger towards you would only shift to me once you are no longer our guest. If you knew anything of your bond with him -the one you imposed on you both!- you would know that it can lead you to him."
Thor allowed his awareness to shift to the bond and sure enough, he could sense Loki nearby. He poked the bond tentatively and felt it quiver. He sensed Loki's annoyance too. Well. He had one opportunity to make this right somehow. But first. Thor too had his duty.
"Laufey." A half smile graced the King of Jotunheim's face. He loomed over Thor, not deliberately intimidating now but imposing and regal. Thor was minded of his own father for a moment. "Why did you lie to Loki?'. Laufey laughed. "Of which lie do you speak?". Thor gritted his teeth. "The Casket, Laufey. Why did you lie about the Casket? You have had it since the war began, and did not tell Loki."
Laufey grew serious. "Loki wishes to win victory over Asgard. I wish to defeat Asgard. As king, I decide the strategy. And that is more truth than you deserve."
Thor nodded. "I thought so. And you wish harm to me, a guest of treaty in your house?" Thor hoped dearly that Laufey would withdraw guestright, or admit that he meant Thor harm, or act to injure him, so Thor could consider the treaty talks violated and unleash himself on Laufey.
Laufey wore that half smile again. "No, King Thor. I would not harm a hair on your head. It would hurt my son so. And you know that I speak the truth again."
Thor did not relax. It was not the plain truth, he knew it. Like many of Loki's truths, neither of Laufey's assertions were entirely true. But he could not pick his way through these mazes.
Well, nothing to be done about it now. He nodded at Laufey and made for the stairs.
The bitter cold hit Thor before he even ascended the final set of steps to the roof. He approached Loki but did not sit. Loki was staring at the horizon, and Thor thought Loki was going to ignore him entirely when Loki, still not looking at him, pointed at a mountain in the distance. "That's where we spent last night. Where we...made love. I don't think I've ever been happier, or more sad."
Thor sat, then. "I did not want to provoke you just now." Loki looked at him. "Ah, my prince. You are not stupid, but so obtuse sometimes." Thor grimaced, and then grinned, and then shivered. Loki made a noise, and took his furs to drape around Thor. Thor watched as Loki shifted to his Jotunn form to better cope with the cold. He was no less beautiful in this form, if somewhat alien, or perhaps exotic. They were silent together for a few moments. Tentatively, Thor asked "May I touch you?"
Loki was looking at the horizon again and murmured "That would not be wise." Because he would not welcome the touch, or because Jotunn skin could be dangerous to Aesir? Thor reached out his hand from underneath the fur and slowly moved it to touch Loki's, giving Loki ample time to withdraw if he did not want Thor's touch.
Thor's still-warm hand closed over Loki's, and Loki turned to look at him again and rolled his eyes. "You may need your hands in battle in the morning, my prince. Would you not consider acting with more care?" He turned his hand so he was holding Thor's gently. "You will not push me away, Loki," Thor said plainly. Loki was silent. Thor hesitated, but he had to ask.
"So you anticipate battle tomorrow? While I am sure it bodes no good for me or for Asgard, I confess I cannot predict Laufey's acts or discern his intent." "Nor I." said Loki. He was quiet again, looking now inwards, as if debating something to himself. "I promised Queen Frigga that I would return you to her as you are. Know that I will do everything in my power to keep that promise." Thor was too stunned to speak for a moment. He decided against commenting on this unexpected -and unexpectedly natural- complicity between Loki and Frigga.
"You can't keep that promise, Loki. You have already changed me irrevocably, so the son Frigga may welcome back even in the whole of his health is not the son she saw leave for Jotunheim at the beginning of the war. I only hope I have time to grown into and act on the changes you have made in me. And that you will be there to see that." Loki shook his head. "You ask too much, Thunderer," he said quietly. Thor silently agreed. So what if he could not get everything he wanted. He would demand it anyway. He would find a way.
Loki moved closer and Thor realised he was Aesir again. He lifted the fur to welcome Loki as he snuggled against Thor, and the two of them sat there til dawn, wrapped in furs and murmuring to each other as they watched the dull sun rise over the distant mountain.
The sun was not long over the horizon when Laufey arrived on the roof with a small retinue. Thor wondered if the retinue was intended to escort him or to arrest him, or even if there was a difference at this point. His hand went to Mjolnir and he made ready. He knew Loki was still restricted from attacking him directly but he moved away from the sorcerer nevertheless. Laufey crooked a finger at Loki, who stepped over to face his father and king.
"It is time, Loki," said Laufey. Loki made to reply, but before he could, Laufey produced a shallow, sharp blade and plunged it into Loki's side below his ribs, withdrawing it just as quickly and dropping it to the ground. Thor was frozen in shock. In the long second of realising he had been stabbed, Loki looked at his father in disbelief, fell helplessly down on one knee in a parody of obeisance, then collapsed completely in a convulsing sprawl of limbs. Poison.
Thor roared and made to attack Laufey with a devastating blow from Mjolnir. As he did, he became aware of a bloom of pain in his head, secondhand pain from Loki, he must have been in agony for Thor to be able to feel it so clearly. The pain began to fade from Thor's awareness...and so did Loki. Halfway through his strike, Thor fumbled, his body reacting to the confusion in his mind, his soul, his heart.
Loki was fading, dying. Thor managed to keep on his feet without completing his intended blow, which would have devasasted Laufey had it landed, and landed it would have if not for Thor's feeling that his soul was being unstitched. Turning from Laufey to Loki's prone body, he fell before his love and threw himself over Loki to protect him, surely Thor could protect him.
Loki stared back at him with empty eyes as Thor felt the light go out in his head. Loki's presence, which had been so familiar as to have become unremarkable, was gone. Thor realised he himself was passing out in shock, and just before awareness almost blessedly fled and the rest of the light faded, Thor felt something click around his neck.
Chapter 24: Turnabout
Loki convulsed. Poison. The sheer amount of pain was unexpected, although it had taken a moment to hit after the actual shallow wound that Laufey had opened in Loki's side. Loki had instinctively attempted to shape-shift to neutralise the poison's effects if possible but of course Laufey had accounted for that and Loki found himself essentially paralysed.
He started to black out, probably a combination of pain and the effects of the poison. Far off, he heard Thor roar, and then felt Thor's weight on him, a protective weight. Oaf, thought Loki. You should worry about yourself. Why didn't you listen to me?
Loki knew he was dying and hoped Laufey had calculated correctly. Loki hoped he himself had calculated correctly and that Laufey did not intend for Loki to actually die. This was madness. No more, thought Loki. No matter what the stakes, I will no longer be a play piece for Laufey's gambling. He has the Casket, he had the Casket all along, he did not have to do this to me. To Jotunheim.
He tried to groan as he felt the bond start to tear away from him, and when it finally severed, he felt like his entire being had been snapped back like a rope that had ripped under tension. Close to the edge now, he thought. The bond would not have torn unless his soul had started to make the journey away. He could not feel anything in his body. He was more than unconscious; he was on the cusp of going somewhere else.
Too suddenly, he was back. His awareness of pain again came into sharp focus, his whole body now flooded with it. A bitter taste had burst in his mouth and he felt a hand stroking his throat, encouraging him to swallow. Chest heaving with what felt like a thousand motes of flaming dust, Loki tried to sit up and breathe.
Thor was lying at Loki's side, eyelids fluttering, Mjolnir abandoned by his feet, a copper or bronze collar around his neck. An old, crude version of bonding magic. Loki knew it alone could not hold a god for long. Thor needed to be secured properly. Loki turned to the figure who had forced him to swallow the antidote, and saw the calculating face of his father, King Laufey of Jotunheim.
"I warned him," Loki said hoarsely. It took a lot of effort. "He didn't listen." Laufey's look grew more intense and held a hint of worry. "I will do my duty, my King," said Loki, able to manage barely above a whisper. "Never fear that."
"On your feet then, my son." Loki leaned on Laufey as he was pulled up to standing. "Bring back the Casket to us, now." Although it took a moment, Loki did so, drawing out the Casket and placing it safely on the ground. Two of Loki's retinue took it at a gesture from Loki and stood where Laufey indicated.
Laufey handed Loki something. With numb fingers, Loki held it up so he could see it properly. It appeared to be a twin to the collar that Thor wore, except this one did not have a ring attached to it for a leash. Loki looked at his father is confusion. Laufey smiled grimly.
"I told you the Thunderer would pay. Part of his price is that you may, if you wish, turn his power on his army. Inflict what he has inflicted on your people and mine instead on those who have killed and driven to despair your people and mine. Wear the collar, Loki. The Odinson and his raw power are yours for the taking."
Loki looked down at Thor, who appeared to be somewhere undetermined between wakefulness and unconsciousness. He looked at the Casket and sensed its humming power. He looked at the Asgardian camp, still mostly asleep in the early morn and unaware of their King's fall. He looked at his father, expectant and triumphant.
With a foot, he nudged Thor, whose eyes appeared to focus on him for a second from behind fluttering eyelids, and whose hand made a vague attempt to grasp the collar at his neck. Loki made sure to stand in front of Thor's line of vision, such as it was. Loki carefully placed the second collar on his own neck.
An awareness of Thor blossomed in his mind again. This was definitely cruder, and more invasive. A spear with a stone for a head rather than a finely balanced dagger. He could work with it. Thor came to with a gasp, stared for a moment as Loki looked down at him grinning. It was a horrible grin, Loki knew.
Seeing Thor awaken fully, Laufey snapped a command and the Casket of Winters was thrown open. Thor, still prone, attempted to call Mjolnir to him but they were overwhelmed by the ancient cold that spilled out of the Casket and over them both. A high pitched noise emanated from around Mjolnir as she struggled to leap to Thor's hand and away from the ancient unforgiving ice that encased her. Laufey and Loki watched curiously for several long moments as Thor struggled to a stand. He physically reached for the hammer, only a few feet from him, but Loki snapped 'Thor, no! Over here! Now.'
Thor looked at Loki in horror as he staggered over to Loki, Mjolnir abandoned and frozen in place. Loki could see that the power of the Casket had drained Thor considerably, but the real horror for him was the power of the collar. Thor again attempted to reach for it and tear it from his neck, but his hands cramped and he grunted in pain. Laufey reached out and clipped a surprisingly delicate chain to the ring on Thor's collar, and offered the leather handle to Loki. Loki shook his head. "This is your prize, Father, not mine." Laufey grinned, a mirror image of Loki's own, he knew.
Thor looked like death, pale and weak.
Loki knew it would not last long. He walked to the parapet of the roof and looked at the sleeping camp below. Thor tried to voice an objection but a tug of his leash by Laufey caused him to stumble and swallow his words. Loki spoke instead. "If it pleases you, your Majesty, bring the King of Asgard here, by my side. Come here, Thor. Then be silent and do not act. "
A mere twitch of the leash by Laufey was enough to bring Thor aside Loki and all three men stood by the parapet of palace which oversaw the Asgardian camp.
Thor looked at the camp and then at Loki, an angry look, silent. Loki took Thor's head in his hands almost gently, drew his face down to Loki's and kissed him very thoroughly. Shocked, Thor did not resist. Loki turned from him and focused his attention on the camp below.
"So perish all enemies of Jotunheim". Loki whispered as he drew on his seidr and funnelled Thor's sky seidr through their bond. His magic danced green around him as he felt it coalesce and whirl and focus. Thor's magic crackled through him, drawing a gasp from Laufey and a pained grunt from Thor.
Loki could feel his seidr and Thor's, so different, so similar. One was green fire skylights tearing through the airy heights like an unbroken horse, nose to the wind and mane flying. All was possible and nothing thought of. The other was lightning energy splitting the sky before it, awesome in its power, the land cowering before it.
Standing stock still on the roof of the palace of Jotunheim, the son of Laufey rode the lights and the storm that converged from all over his realm, reached out with his eyes closed and took it in both his hands. He opened his eyes and he struck.
Thor could hear the screaming in the distant Asgardian camp. The sky had fallen on it; lightning struck and leapt away, leaving behind burnt and boiling bodies. Thunder rumbled, frightening the pack animals and priceless warhorses into bolting from their restraints or injuring themselves in panic.
Ice rain fell and froze, burning the ground, splitting well-cured wood, ruining provisions, damaging structures. Winds howled and pushed and battered.
Distant mountains sprouted red rivers and showers of sparks as the hot currents under the ground shifted and the earth itself groaned and began to split around the palace and under the camp. Thor was quite sure for a moment that the whole camp was about to swallowed. He could feel the tremors underneath his own feet as they shuddered up through the palace and wondered if, in his lust for revenge, Loki might accidentally destroy them all. Loki's eyes were bright, near mad.
How is he doing this? His seidr is not connected to the earth. Loki turned those madness-lit eyes on him, smiled that horrible grin, and as if having heard him, said "Chaos, Thunderer. Your magic is sky and sex and battle. Mine is chaos. Give me a well-built wall and I will pull a brick loose for the curiosity and the joy of seeing what it will become after it falls."
Loki flicked his hands in a complicated and angry gesture, and screams arose afresh in the camp. "Their weapons?" Laufey enquired after a moment, perhaps seeing what Thor could not make out. "Yes. Each weapon in the camp has moved independently and chaotically just once. Once is enough, I'm sure." A sense of unreality washed over Thor. This could not be happening.
Despite Loki's admonishment not to act, Thor knew he could still call to Mjolnir. He did so, and felt her struggle to reach him. If she could come to him, Thor could free himself from this, and lay waste here, perhaps in time to save some in his camp. A slap to his face made him stumble, and he looked, outraged, at the perpetrator, to realise it was Loki.
Loki looked angry, beautiful and terrible in that anger, and Thor had to admit to himself that Loki's anger made him quail. Green eyes flashed fury and madness at him and a second slap blackened his vision for a moment.
"You again fail to listen, Thunderer. For your own good now, listen to me. Listen. Do not act. Do not try to act." Condescension dripped off of the words. Thor used to so love that tone, when Loki, despite being enslaved and surrounded by enemies, would use that tone to explain to Thor exactly what kind of an oaf he was judging by whatever actions Thor had taken that Loki disapproved of.
His Loki no longer. Thor wished he could blame Prince Loptr for the events of the past hour but he knew that this was Loki. He could see it in Loki's eyes, in his stance, in the seidr pulsing around his fingers, his beautiful hands, in the power he had wrenched from Thor. This was his love unleashed. In sorrow and anger and horror, he tried one more time to call Mjolnir to his side.
She heard and she struggled to reach him, but could not. He heard Loki make a vexed noise as his legs went from under him.
He barely got his hands in place to break his fall and almost before he realised he was again face-down on the ground. A hand grasped his neck and pressed his face in the dirt, and there was a knee on the small of his back. A voice full of poison was in his ear. "Stop now. Be still. It will do you no good and I swear by the Norns if you disobey me again, I will bend you over the parapet, strip you and fuck you while you watch the cold burn your camp and your comrades. I will make you bleed, Odinson. Do not force my hand in this."
Thor could not speak, could not move. The weight on his back and neck disappeared but he could not move. He could only be still. Thor would not bow to threats or violence, but he could not disobey. For now. He felt the collar quiver around his neck as he tried once more to call Mjolnir, call the storm, to move. He heard a muttered curse as Laufey's boot smashed into his head and bright lights flared behind his eyes.
Chapter 25: Fair Play
Thor awoke slowly. His senses were screaming, seemingly from very far away, that there was danger. The faint chill in the air helped him realise that he was lying slightly on his right side with both his arms chained over his head.
It wasn't uncomfortable, apart from some mild strain on his shoulder from his position. Stop snoring you oaf, Loki's voice grumbled in his head. Care had been taken when restraining him. There was a slight weight around his neck still. His head and ribs hurt. He didn't remember injuring his ribs.
He thought he could detect faint flickering light through his eyelids. The crackle and spark of a fire confirmed what he already knew; that he was back in Loki's room. In Loki's bed. Loki would regret that kindness. If kindness it was.
He called to Mjolnir, hoping that his face betrayed not his efforts. He could sense her somewhere, but muted, still unable to come to his hand. Blast it all. Alone, then.
Opening his eyes a crack, he could see Loki sitting cross-legged by the fire with a light blanket around his shoulders and a full cup at his side, staring at the fire. He looked faraway, but not lost, like he often did when he had a faraway look on his face. Well, why would he look lost in his own home, his own apartments.
Loki murmured, as if to himself "I know you're awake." and turned to him, smiling slightly, softly. He looked much like Thor's Loki. Not at all like the vicious warrior who had destroyed the Asgardian camp and all that had occupied her.
Loki's smile faded as he rose, rearranging the blanket on his shoulders. He still wore the collar whose twin had Thor bound. Loki approached the bed carefully and poured a glass of water, offering it. Thor turned his head slightly to refuse the glass. Loki laughed softly, took a sip himself and sat on the bed.
Loki's eyes flicked over Thor's seidr-enhanced restraints. He smiled again briefly, took a deep breath and asked "Are you well?".
Thor growled low in his throat, and met Loki's eyes. He pulled on the chains experimentally, steadily, to the limit of the slack on them. He flexed his arms and legs, feeling the tautness of his chains, still looking unblinking at Loki, took a deep breath, and pulled. The chains groaned. The bedposts that anchored them protested too.
Loki stood up from the bed, calmly, setting the glass down and backing up from the bed no more than three steps. Nothing budged, as Thor expected, but he took another slow, deep breath and continued to flex and strain, never breaking eye contact with Loki. Loki crossed his arms and waited. Thor eventually relaxed his muscles and breathed calmly and deeply, the shift in his efforts barely noticeable, a calm acceptance of his failure - for now.
He continued to meet Loki's eyes, saying nothing. Loki looked slightly relieved. So Loki wasn't sure of the spellwork that reinforced Thor's bindings. How much did he trust the collar? As if he had read Thor's mind, Loki said "I know that there is no way you can break your chains as I ensorcelled them myself, but I am so used to your force of will over-riding cold, hard reality when it displeases you that I admit I was slightly worried."
Thor gave him a disgusted look. Loki sat back down on the bed, staring at the blankets, seemingly at a loss as to what to do next. Finally he raised his head and said "It's close to noon. Negotiations have started well, I hear. I don't think you will be entirely displeased by the outcome. Laufey-King has agreed to almost all of the Asgardian demands, and Asgard has acceded to ours."
Thor grunted. "I have some demands of my own." "Ah, it speaks." Loki offered the half-full glass of water. Thor drank, and again when Loki refilled the glass.
Words came poisonously from Thor's throat, from his raging breast, not bothering with stopping by the filters of his heart or his brain before being spat out. "Why do you still appear to me as an Aesir, Jotunn? You are in your own home. Wear your true form." Loki looked at him, expressionlessly. "I no longer have a true form, Asgardian. This is not my home. And you no longer command me."
Thor laughed. "As if anyone has ever truly commanded you." Loki continued to look at him, as expressionless as before. "Why am I in chains, sorcerer? Am I not now your slave to command?"
Loki sat back on the bed, looking irritated now. "You are a very physical thinker, sometimes, Thor. Rather than you fighting a virtually intangible bond to no-one's advantage, especially your own, I thought it would be easier for you to understand the situation if you were properly restrained -chained!- for a while. And look, here we are talking, instead of me constantly having to set you down." Thor glared at him and tugged at the chain again, reflexively. Loki shook his head.
Thor tried to make sense of the morning's events. "Loki. You did a terrible thing to those under my command. Those you had lived beside, ate beside, rode beside..."
Loki's eyes flashed a dangerous green. "Those I was forced to fight beside. Those who tortured my brother and future king to the brink of death. Don't forget that, my prince. I watched as many of them slaughtered my father's subjects. I helped. They received better from me than they deserved, don't doubt that."
Thor was silent for a moment. He organised his swirling thoughts, loss and anger and love and impotence and guilt and frustration and want and humiliation and sorrow all mixed up together. Finally, he settled on "I did not think you capable of such cruelty." Loki snorted. "Surprised that I might match yours, Odinson? I do what I think is necessary." "Loki, you cannot have thought it necessary to do what you did. I would have handed you the camp if you had asked, save you spare my warriors' lives."
Loki was silent.
Thor continued. "I presented myself for punishment, you destroyed my followers. I would have submitted to anything you asked of me."
Loki rolled his eyes. "Do not pretend you and your army are not one and the same. You speak and your army strikes, it is an extension of yourself. Besides, I wanted to hurt you. I knew it would be easier for you to sacrifice yourself than watch them suffer, and knowing this, why would I allow you the easier punishment?"
Thor stared at the ceiling. He had not expected this of Loki in any circumstance. Mass murder of the defenseless, and defenseless they had been against the power of two gods. Loki had threatened him with violation, and Thor thought he knew who had kicked him in the ribs while he was unconscious on the roof. Not Laufey.
Had Thor truly been taken in by the sorcerer? Did he not understand Loki's nature at all? Thor felt a sense of deep loss for the time he had spent with Loki among the tents, where he had had Loki to himself, where Thor had belonged to everyone but Loki only belonged to him. The Loki that the sorcerer had wanted him to see at least.
He refused to indulge himself in self-pity, and turned his mind back to his soldiers.
"You used brave women and men as a tool against me, sorceror. A nasty trick."
"Spare me your sentiment. I do not enjoy the thought of making your soldiers suffer and die in fear and pain; that is not where my satisfaction lies. My actions this morning were mainly designed to hurt you, as viscerally as I could with what tools I had at my disposal, including those in the camp who love you. I meant to hurt you by striking at them. By striking at them with your power. Some may have thought that you had turned on them, seeing the storm strike them along with chaos."
Thor's heart dropped in his chest.
"How does that make you feel, Thunderer? The knowledge that your soldiers may have cursed you as a traitor as they died? Maybe they thought you sold yourself to a Jotunn whore. That's how the spoke of me, you know. Perhaps they guessed that I had made you my whore at the end, and were not surprised to see the storm descend upon them from the palace of Jotunheim where you had led them."
Thor took a deep breath. He could not believe how painful mere words could be. He would have gladly submitted to any torture than for the women and men who followed him to suffer for his sake. Loki knew this, and had used it. And for them to think themselves betrayed by their general, their king...
Loki sighed and made as if to brush Thor's face with his fingers. "Negotiations for your release, or not, are only begun. Laufey has not yet decided if there is a price high enough for your freedom, and Asgard does not dare attack to free you or recover your body while there is still a chance to resolve this peacefully, and with you intact. Laufey had given them no proof that you live."
In addition to the sickening horror Thor was feeling, a cold dread crept over him. "Who...is negotiating on behalf of Asgard?"
Loki did not look at him. "The Allfather. He has awakened."
The cold dreads were replaced by steaming hot humiliation. Thor closed his eyes completely and groaned, unable to cope with the pain of it all.
Odin had come to rescue his impulsive son from the trap he had walked himself into. Awakened, no doubt well before time, from his slumber, to do what Thor could not, end a war that Asgard has practically won but from a position of weakness due to his heir's stupidity. The whole of Asgard held to ransom for Thor's stupidity. Thor's father, the Allfather, shamed by his son's failure.
"This is part of my punishment, then? Refusing me the right to represent Asgard as her king at the peace negotiations, shaming me in front of my father and my realm?"
Loki responded "As much as you deserve, Thunderer, and no more. However, I will not claim full credit for your humiliation. Laufey is taking great pleasure in the pain of your father at his son's failure. I suspect that if Laufey decides to part with you, he will personally return you to your father's custody at the end of a pretty leash."
Thor opened his eyes and tried to breath calmly. He frowned and realised he had been so consumed with his own situation -and with Loki's infuriating calm in the face of all he had done- that he had not thought once about his companions. "Sif, the Warriors Three? Did they..." He stopped speaking as soon as he realised that he did not want to offer Loki any more ways to control him or cause him pain.
"They are fine. A little cold-burned and bruised perhaps. Nothing serious."
Thor snorted, but his heart lifted a little. "Am I to take your word for it, trickster?"
"Yes," replied Loki, "Or do not, it matters little to me. Now, shall I remove the chains? Or will you continue to bash your head needlessly? Accept this situation, Thor. If you are lucky, and you are always lucky, you will not have to endure being under my thumb for long." At this, he did run his fingers over Thor's face, as if trying to memorise it.
Thor shot him a filthy look, and Loki laughed with obvious glee, running a thumb along Thor's lower lip. Taking Thor's sullen silence for acquiescence, Loki spelled the runes artfully in the air between them and the chains erased themselves in a peeling back of green seidr. "Theatrical," muttered Thor. "You have only the faintest idea," murmured Loki, with a secretive smile.
Thor sat up and immediately reached for the collar around his neck and gasped as his arms cramped. Loki looked annoyed and made to retaliate but Thor forestalled him with "I had to try. I am done. For now." Loki gave an exasperated sigh and climbed on the bed properly, straddling Thor's thighs. Thor commented "Brave, sorcerer."
Loki raised an eyebrow. "Yes, Thor, always. Every moment I was in your presence in the camps I had far less protection from you than I do here, and you were much more unpredictable than you are now. Each night I lay down beside a man who might kill me on a whim before I woke, and feel justified in doing so. And you're too stubborn to be properly frightened by your situation now, so you will never appreciate the depths of my courage, my prince."
Thor laughed at Loki's description of his obtuseness, and Loki grinned at him. Suddenly did not feel as if much had changed. Loki making an acid observation about a situation that Thor had not bothered thinking about, and Thor realising what an oaf he was in his ignorance. It had been a familiar game between them, before.
"Why am I not in the dungeons?"
Loki ran a finger down Thor's chest possessively. He was not generally given to expressing his feelings in such a way and Thor was surprised. "Because I wanted you here. You might not survive the dungeons long, they are colder than are comfortable even for the mighty god of thunder, and the guards would not be friendly to a King of Asgard. Laufey-King gave me permission to keep you here."
"Like a pet."
"Yes, my prince, like a pet, neutered but still not trained. I had to work hard to convince him that I could be trusted with your leash. Did you like the rape threat? I thought it was wonderfully vicious. I might have had to go through with it too had Laufey not ended the struggle first."
Thor was stunned, even in the face of all he had seen Loki do already that day. "You really would have raped me." I raped him. He's entitled to his revenge.
Loki looked him dead in the eye. Thor had known at the time that it was not an empty threat, but he still had a hard time believing Loki, his Loki, would do such a thing to him, in hot blood or cold. "I would do anything that was necessary to keep you safe, my prince. You were lucky that Laufey feared you would succeed in breaking free and decided to end the struggle quickly. It could have been much worse than rape."
Thor snorted. "Worse than rape and slavery? Worse than being leashed and handed to your father, who hates me dearly?"
Loki smiled grimly. "It could always be worse with Laufey involved. Mark me on that. And leashing you in my father's tender care is the only reason he trusted me with you in my rooms."
"And you supposedly play this game with Laufey because you promised my mother you would keep me safe."
Loki looked away. "Yes. For her sake."
Thor did not believe him. "Loki. Come back with me. I will take my punishment, my humiliation, as you wish it, as I deserve. You know me for who I am and I would wish for a warrior's death on the battlefield as a finer fate or even breaking my neck falling off my horse more than anything you will offer me, but I will gladly kneel for beatings or whippings or any penalty imposed by you, by my father or yours in payment for my crimes if you wish me to. Say you forgive me and that you will come back with me."
Loki said nothing for a moment. Still seated on Thor's thighs, he placed his hands over Thor's, still on Loki's hips. "Too much has passed between us."
"Too much has. Because of war. The war is as good over, Loki. Let us forgive each other as our realms must accept and move on from the awful things we have done to each other. You say this is not your home; I know it. Your home is with me, where we are together. Tell me that I am wrong, if you can."
'Thor. If I told you that Sif and the Warriors Three did not survive the morning, what then?"
Thor took a deep breath. "If that is true, then they died honourably in the service of their king and their realm. As your brother did. I accept this. If it is true."
Loki threw up his hands in exasperation. "Again, you remake reality to suit your needs. You win, Thor. If you insist on believing that the impossible can happen simply because you will it, I cannot fight you anymore. Demand the future as you desire it."
Thor was delighted. "You will come with me then?" "Thor..." "Just consider it, Loki. We no doubt have some difficult times ahead today to navigate first." He closed the distance between the two of them and enveloped Loki in a thorough kiss.
Chapter 26: The Gilded Prince
Loki did not resist Thor's embrace -what was the point, the man was as unmovable by argument as a mountain when he decided to be- and let himself be kissed and then rolled on to his back. Thor settled himself on top of Loki and kissed him again, so Loki started to relax, finally.
It must be nice to live in Thor's world, thought Loki, where almost your every whim becomes reality. He knew he was being unfair but he was feeling very sour. Thor had accepted...everything...with such good grace. Loki had hoped for far more anger and bitterness and hate than he had received. Instead Thor had cycled through his grief and anger and loss with steady speed and had arrived at forgiveness with maddening ease.
Loki knew this did not mean that Thor was not suffering, and Loki did take some satisfaction in the pain he saw on Thor's face, the haunted look in his eyes when he thought his warriors had died thinking him a traitor to them. Thor would have done anything to spare his people that kind of pain. And truly, they did not deserve it. Cruel they may have been to Loki's people, and they surely deserved to die at his hand, but to think themselves played false by the young king that they had followed with joy in their hearts, that was cruel indeed.
Just as well it was not true.
Loki had taken a grim joy in flinging the storm and chaos at the Asgardian camp. He revelled in the fear and confusion that it must have caused, and some no doubt wondered how it was that their king's magical domain had been turned on them. There had probably been some broken bones and sore heads as a result of the winds causing tents and other structures to collapse, some deafness from the sound of thunder following nearby lightning strikes, some burns from the bitter cold that had crept silently but speedily along the ground of their camp, but that was the least the Asgardian soldiers owed in penance for their deeds. And it was a small price to pay for the safety of their king.
They had enough love for their king that they would consider such injuries to be a small price to pay for his safety, he knew. There were many among them who had enough honour to consider such injuries a small price to pay for the safety of even the lowest among them, Lady Sif and the Warriors Three at the forefront of those.
Both Laufey and Thor seemed to accept the picture he had painted with sound and fury. He wondered about Thor, Thor often saw more than he revealed, but if he did in this, surely he was smart enough to keep quiet about it. No, Loki thought he believed what Loki wanted of him to believe, for the moment. Thor's pain had been too real, too visceral for him to have suspected the lie. Or he may suspect, but will not allow himself to hope. Loki realised that perhaps Thor just trusted him in this, one way or the other.
Thor stroked his face gently, and frowned. "Take off your collar."
Loki was not sure he had heard properly. He opened his eyes and looked up at Thor in bafflement. Thor repeated "Take it off. I cannot touch either collar, and I want all of you now. Now, Loki." Loki laughed disbelievingly. "You no longer command me, do you understand this? The opposite is true, in fact. Why would I remove the collar?"
"Because, Loki Laufeyson, now first prince of his realm and sorcerer of the army of Jotunheim, I walked into this palace with you virtually naked and unafraid and submitted myself for punishment, which you have delivered and I have accepted. I demand you trust me as much as I trust you." Loki attempted to scoff and deflect. "Demand? And you were hardly naked, my prince, with Mjolnir on your belt..." Thor silenced him with a large finger on his lips, followed by a kiss and a bite, and continued to speak in a low voice.
"And because, my sorcerer, my master, because despite the collar, and despite your sovereignty here, and despite having the household and guard of the palace of Jotunheim at your command..." Another kiss and bite, and Loki felt Thor's half-aroused hardness trapped in his leather trousers flush against his own clothed thigh. Thor took Loki's wrists in his large hands and pinned them by his head so he was physically utterly dominated now. "Despite having me at your mercy, collared and bound, you know which of us commands in bed."
Loki astonishment melted into...he felt himself just melt. Thor's next kiss resonated through his entire body, scalp to toes and fingertips. He would have laughed if he had not been as deep in his bliss as he was. Thor had again turned the tables on him and Loki was helpless. Who had seduced whom? He could never be sure, despite the work he knew he had put into manipulating Thor, when Loki had almost from the first been as pliable in Thor's hands, bond or no bond.
Thor spoke in a low voice. "Now, Loki." Loki sighed. Thor's erection was flush against Loki's pelvis, and much of Thor's upper body weight was leaning on Loki's splayed forearms, keeping him pinned to the bed. How was he supposed to remove the collar when his hands were immobile? He knew what Thor wanted, so he squirmed beneath him and glared, helpless for a few moments. Thor laughed and kissed him again.
Loki's hands were loosed, and Thor apparently shifted much of his weight to his crotch. Loki groaned at the sensation but still managed to speak warningly. "Do not do anything stupid, Thunderer. Certainly not anything as stupid as I am about to do." He reached for Thor's collar first, even though Thor had not asked for that to be removed. Thor's smug smile spoke volumes.
As he removed his own collar, he waited for Thor to do that something stupid, such as crush the collars, crush Loki, go haring off to find Mjolnir, or Laufey, or Odin. Instead, Loki found himself being kissed again, and gently held.
That didn't last long, as Thor suddenly half-stripped him. He lifted himself off Loki and before Loki could protest the abandonment he found himself flipped over on the bed, tunic pulled up to expose his back, trousers pulled down to expose his ass, and again both his wrists pinned above his head by one of Thor's hands. Thor straddled his hips, forcing him belly and face down on the bed. Loki did not even have time to struggle! When did Thor get so fast?
Thor pressed his still-clothed cock against Loki's naked ass and nipped his neck where the collar had been. "Should I mark you here, sorcerer? For your father's court to see? If I bruise you just there, it will be quite clear that the King of Asgard took you from behind and you did nothing to stop it." Loki found himself going from sleepily and happily half-aroused to suddenly on the edge of something more urgent.
He angrily tried to kick back at Thor -is that why he wanted the collar removed?!- but realised he was just flailing helplessly face-down on the bed. He managed to gasp out "Finally there is no barrier between us, Thunderer, no coercion, no control, and this is what you choose to do at this moment?" Loki heard Thor unbuckle his own belt, the rasp of leather on leather, and the clink of the buckle.
Thor's voice was low and victorious. "You yielded control to me the moment you removed the collars, and you know it. Have you shown your palace courtiers this mark yet, Loki?" The belt dropped beside Loki, and he shivered on feeling Thor's free hand stroking down Loki's back, following the mark of the lightning scar. "I should force you to show it to the lowliest member of your household here so it is clear who owns whom. I made this mark on your back before I bound you, forced it on you in a straight contest of strength and will. No matter what the outcome of today, you will always know that I beat you first, and thoroughly."
Loki snorted. "It took you months to capture me and it was a knife-edge between us at the end, Thunderer. Don't count a lucky blow thrown out in more hope than strategy as a meaningful victory." Thor's voice had taken on a dreamy quality. "Nevertheless, sorcerer..."
Thor stopped tracing the scar and Loki heard the clink of a belt buckle again. He looked over his shoulder to see what Thor was doing, and yes, he was looping his belt around and tightening the buckle with his teeth in a leisurely fashion to create a handle for himself. "What do you think you're doing?" Loki did not shriek, and he tensed in outraged anticipation.
Thor grinned as he gripped the belt by the buckle and swished it through the air to get a feel for it. He climbed off Loki again and still leaned on Loki's wrists with one hand. Loki could now pull himself up on his knees but that would just be presenting Thor with an easier target. "I'm in a demanding mood, sorceror. I demand satisfaction for your crimes against me this morning." Loki was suddenly worried. Was this a game or no? There was a gleam in Thor's eye that he could not quite interpret.
Before he could concern himself any more, Thor was speaking again. "This," he said "is for slapping me across the face." He brought down the belt across Loki's ass and Loki grunted at the hot edged sting, and then groaned at the blossoming of the true heat and pain that followed, and squirmed. "This," Thor continued "is for slapping me across the face a second time." Loki managed to hold the grunt this time, but could not help groaning at the following pain.
"And this," Loki felt Thor prepare to put his full arm into the strike "is for kicking me in the ribs while I was unconscious." Thor surely held back despite telegraphing his full strength as the third stroke did not feel much worse than the second, but Loki had tensed with the anticipation of it and combined with already sensitized skin, and when the after-pain bloomed it felt like his ass was aflame. He hissed out the breath he hadn't realised he had been holding.
"A moment, a moment," he panted. He hadn't intended to for mercy just yet. Thor let go of his wrists and Loki placed his palms onto his buttocks to try to soothe the pain. He felt Thor do the same so he placed his hands instead onto the cool blankets and tried to control his breathing. Thor was massaging Loki's pains away to manageable levels, murmuring sweet nothings, leaving Loki annoyed that all it took was a few strokes of Thor's belt to reduce him to a breathless, pain-shy supplicant.
"How many more?" Loki managed to ask in a steady voice, hardly out of breath at all, really. "I was finished," grinned Thor. Despite his apparent tender loving attentions to Loki's pain, he was circling his hips and rubbing his cock against Loki's thigh. "How many more would you like?" Loki shook his head and hid his face in the blankets. Thor reached around and pump Loki's cock a few times, too slowly, too lightly. Loki groaned in complaint and Thor worked his cock in earnest now, leaning down to cover Loki, kissing the nape of his neck and grinning into his hair.
"I'm going to make you beg for it, Loki. I'm going to make you beg for me to fuck you so hard that you will still feel it when Prince Loptr addresses the court today." Loki was panting now, the weight of Thor on him, Thor's hand pleasuring him roughly, Thor's cock lying large and full and hot across Loki's slightly burning ass, his voice in Loki's ear, his breath in Loki's hair, his love and desire surrounding Loki...it almost felt too much to take.
Just as Loki felt himself begin on the home stretch, Thor removed his hot, strong, talented hand from Loki's cock and Loki whined in disappointment and frustration. Thor kissed his cheek and the side of his neck and moved back down his body to straddle Loki across the hips again. He began to trace the lightning bolt mark along Loki's back as he had done several times before, but with his half-hard cock this time. Loki could feel the heat of Thor's groin and the power of his thighs as Thor's cock swelled and hardened and travelled hot and firm up his torso.
Loki sighed as he felt Thor rub his precum along the mark. "If only I could make you lick this off yourself," muttered Thor. "Maybe I should come across your back again and refuse to allow you to clean it. How would you like that, presenting me as your pet to the court while my seed lies drying on as well as inside you?" Thor slapped Loki's ass for emphasis. "I will not allow you to forget your place in our bed, no matter which of us appears to lead in public."
Loki shuddered and hid his face in the blankets again, unwilling to allow Thor to see the effect his words had on him. Thor laughed. "You are a strange one, my love. Who knows what will happen today anyway? If you're going to fuck me in front of your father's court, then I will make sure you will do it while you still can feel what it was like to have my cock in your ass. Now, restrain your wrists, I need two hands if I am to take care of us both." Thor moved off Loki and positioned him so his hands could reach the head of the bed. Loki turned to look at him with an eyebrow raised. "Do it. Now, Loki. Both wrists, tied to the bedposts.
"This had better be worth it, Thunderer." Loki conjured cuffs and chains that wrapped around the bedposts with little give. Thor laughed and kissed between Loki's shoulders, murmuring "I accept your challenge, sorceror" into Loki's ear, making him shiver again. Loki thought to himself with a smile I knew you would.
Some time later, looking down at Loki whose were legs wrapped around Thor's waist, green eyes closed in pleasure and hands neatly pinned above his head so Thor could dominate and ravish him completely, Thor found himself almost at the limit of his endurance and self-control. Truth be told, he was approaching the climax of their bedplay with more enthusiasm than skill. His lack of finesse did not draw a complaint from his lover though, as Thor pounded his pleasures into Loki, having spent considerable time preparing and teasing and stretching and stroking him.
No doubt Loki ached from the fucking he was getting, and he was beginning to beg in earnest now, for Thor's hand, Thor's mouth, for permission to free his own hands and take care of himself. Thor ignored all and focused on kissing and teasing his mouth and neck, offering a merciful brush or pull of his hand on Loki's cock to keep him engaged in the fight, and fucking him hard.
Thor was not sure if Loki was drawing his pleasure from the feeling of being pounded by Thor's cock, the sparse pumps of his cock by the grace of Thor, or whether it was the experience of being the focus of Thor's attentions and demands, most probably all of these. Whichever the case, it was time to give Loki what he needed.
Thor realised he had a long road to walk to fully understand the needs and desires of his sorcerer, but he could not concern himself too much about it while Loki was beneath him.
Thor adored his sorcerer like this, choosing submissiveness and compliance despite possessing will and power to match any warrior or king that Thor had met, and still ready to spit in Thor's eye -and perhaps split his head- if Thor stepped out of line. Loki was now shameless in his desire to be physically dominated, yet still guarded himself emotionally. Thor accepted that; if pouring as much love for Loki as Thor had into him did not open Loki as Thor would wish, so be it. He would take whatever Loki offered him, and would be grateful.
He began to work Loki's cock now as he knew Loki liked it, and Loki began to thank him, mumbling affirmations and encouragement and compliments. Thor began to rise to his own peak; wouldn't it be sweet to come together. Thor knew that the only place that he had the advantage of Loki was in bed, the only place Loki could not read Thor's intentions and predict Thor's actions was here, especially now, in the heat of passion, so Thor decided to play dirty.
"Come home with me, Loki" he gasped out. "When this is over, come with me, say you will." Loki did not hesitate, caught up in the moment. "I will, yes, I will, I'll come with you, yes." They crested at the same time, and as they did, Loki began to cry. Afterwards, Thor held him close.
Chapter 27: Trust
Had that been a mistake? Thor knew that Loki's cold fury would not abate any time soon, and he hoped this would not lead to events going even more ill for him than was already inevitable. As soon as Loki had recovered himself, he had pushed Thor away, clipped the collar back on himself almost immediately and moved to replace Thor's too. Thor caught his hand. "Could you not simply conjure an illusion of the collar? I know you are as uneasy as I about this."
Loki snapped the collar on his neck and only then replied. "I don't trust you to behave as one collared when you are in front of Laufey, especially with Odin present. I know you; you will not hold your tongue or your temper and it is too big a risk while you are still in Jotunheim. I don't trust you, Thor." Thor winced at these last words, knowing that they were for more than his tongue or his temper.
Loki went to the reception room and retrieved some food that had been kept hot under a cover and a neatly folded pile of what looked like clothing. He put some of the clothing aside, and took a deep breath. "At least Laufey does not appear to wish to drag you in front of his court and the Allfather in slave garb. I am going to bathe alone, stay here and eat if you wish. Speak to no-one who might visit these apartments. Perhaps not even me."
With that, Loki swept into the bathing room, leaving Thor alone with no choice except to eat and contemplate trust in silence.
Loki was in a fury, and his baths, the one part of the entire palace which felt like home to him, a sanctuary, did not soothe for once. How could Thor extract a promise from him like that? I had to know what your heart wanted. And now I do and so do you, Thor had argued. Did he really think that Loki would follow his cock as easily and without fear of consequences as Thor could? Loki had let down his guard with Thor, his every instinct telling him this was right and good, but his instincts had failed him.
Thor had taken advantage of his trust. Turned the tables on Loki as surely as Loki had on him. Loki found himself as near laughing as crying. He was so sure that he understood Thor, could predict the Thunderer's every oafish move, but even if rarely, Thor proved himself far more subtle and dexterous than one would ever guess, and in matters that were crucial.
He wanted to go with Thor, it was true. His heart demanded it as much as his cock if he was honest. But it was impossible. Even if he could forgive Thor for past crimes, Loki would not further betray Laufey for him (for Frigga, he reminded himself. Misleading Laufey for Frigga's sake seemed like less of a betrayal.) He had a duty to his king, and to help repair his land once the Casket was publicly acknowledged as belonging in Jotunheim again. Loki would not betray his father to their people, he supposed, and would allow the Jotunn to believe that the Casket was only newly returned.
Loki would convince Laufey to release Helbindi from where-ever he had been tucked away and remind Helblindi of his duties in the aftermath of the loss of Byliestr. He would act as an ambassador of Jotunheim if Laufey decided it was wise, and help his realm take its place again as one of the Nine.
No time for frolicking with the once-king of Asgard, the enemy, in this picture. No matter what he had admitted aloud.
Thor would not hold Loki to a promise extracted in a moment of weakness. He could not.
Perhaps they would see each other on political occasions.
Perhaps Loki would visit Thor on Asgard once in a while, travelling by his secret pathways so as not to alert the dreaded gatekeeper of Asgard to Loki's presence. He would visit if Thor was not so angered by Loki's decision that he would refuse Loki an audience. He would visit until Thor grew too heartsick to see him or lost interest in him. No doubt the Golden Prince would have a rake of suitors pursuing him even if he was returned home in disgrace.
By the time he had finished bathing, Loki still was not calm enough to dislike the thought of the humiliation that awaited Thor this afternoon. Thor was to be paraded before what remained of the Court of Jotunheim as a slave, no doubt with the Allfather as witness. It was the price Thor would have to pay for his safe transfer to the Allfather's custody, which was likely humiliating in itself. Loki found himself looking forward to it.
Loki still suspected Laufey of plotting for something beyond Loki's sight; he had been far too quick to agree to much of Asgard's demands. He knew that the Allfather had dealing with Laufey from times long past and no doubt Odin was wise to Laufey in a way that Loki might not be. It was not Loki's responsibility. No matter what he felt for Thor, any concerns for Asgard were limited to the promise Loki made Frigga, to return Thor whole and himself. If the prince returned to find his kingdom in ruins, it was not Loki's look-out.
As if summoned by Loki's dark thoughts, Laufey was waiting in the bedroom. His back was to Loki and he was addressing Thor, who stood naked by the bed, looking mutinous. "It is worth the ruination of my kingdom to have you on your knees before me, Odinson."
'You heard him, Thunderer. Down." snapped Loki. Laufey watched Thor, in anger and humiliation, drop to his knees, then he turned and smiled at Loki, a wolf's smile. "Putting your slave through his paces, I see." Loki knew he was not controlling his expression well, and did not care. "Something like that, Father. Thor, go bathe." Thor got to his feet and walked stiffly to the bathing room.
Laufey took Loki's hands in his, but before he could speak words which Loki knew were meant to be comforting, he asked straight out "What is it you intend, Laufey-King? There are too many lies between us and I will have no more. Tell me plainly what you wish from this game as it comes to its end. You have yet to explain the rules to me, and I find myself tiring of it." He had never been so blunt, so disrespectful to his father before.
Laufey raised a eyebrow. "So the company of the Odinson has driven you to this? He truly has his father's presence and force of personality. I recognise much of Odin in his son, I fear. I could ask the same questions of you, boy. What is it you wish from this game?"
Loki hesitated. He withdrew his hands from his father's, and began to dress. "I wish for the war to be done. For Asgard to give us peace. For Jotunheim to rebuild with the aid of our ancestral birthright, the Casket, in the hands of her people again, without Asgard or any other of the realms questioning our right to it." There. He had neatly given Laufey an excuse for hiding his possession of the Casket for all this time, a pretense that Laufey was merely protecting it from prying eyes and grasping fingers. Why was he continuing to protect his father from his anger?
"Neatly done, Loki." Laufey acknowledged. Loki turned from him and checked his reflection in the mirror. Formal reds and blues for an appearance of the court. He felt overdressed, though the garments were reasonably plain. "But you did not answer my question, not really. What do you want? Or perhaps I should ask more specifically, what do you want for yourself? Not this, I am sure." Loki turned back, uncertain as to what Laufey meant by 'this', and saw that his father was holding a band of gold, appropriate for a prince of the realm. Loki recognised it as his, once, from another life it seemed now.
He shook his head. "No, Father. I'm not sure I ever wanted that. I had little reason to wear it before, and less now to tell the truth." Laufey made to place it on his brow. "You will wear it today as a favour to me." Loki laughed, looking up at Laufey. "You ask so little of me today, Laufey-King?" Laufey settled the band on Loki's brow. "That, boy, depends on what you want. I may have to ask more than you are willing to give. I need to know your heart, now."
Thor returned to the room, towelling off, still gloweringly silent, obviously trying to deduce the nature of the conversation between father and son. His eyes opened slightly as the sight of Loki in full royal dress, his personal sign of twin knives on the breast of his overcoat. Thor was not aware I had a sign. He suggested a green serpent for me. Perhaps I will add it.
Laufey observed the look exchanged between them and muttered "I may not have need of an answer." He brushed Loki's cheek with his hand. Laufey raised his voice for Thor to hear. "Odinson. Our negotiations are nearly done. Your freedom is almost assured, if you have patience." Thor clearly tried not to snarl. "Thor. Get dressed in the reception room." Loki could not help half-smiling in amusement at the outraged look on Thor's face as he moved to obey.
Once they were alone again, Laufey waved at Loki to sit, and they faced each other seated. "Keep your own counsel, Loki. If you wish to keep your desires hidden from me, that is your right. Do you keep them hidden from yourself?" Loki kept his face blank and looked at the table between them, knowing this was telling his father more of what he wanted to know. "This is what I require of you today. You are not the crown prince, though the throne has always been yours for the asking but equally, I always knew you were meant for greater things than merely master of this realm." Loki looked at his father at this.
Laufey continued, now sounding as if he had rehearsed somewhat. "From the moment you were born, you had an aura of a type of power not typical of our people. You were exposed in the temple with my full confidence that you would survive, a rare thing for a babe as weak as you were. I kept you apart from the throne in order for you to cultivate your power, your self, not to have to be corralled and force the raging river of your self down the tame channels of a canal. Do you understand?"
Loki understood. He did not care anymore. He wasn't sure he ever had. And he was losing patience. His anger was rising. Loki was beginning to accept that he had failed. That he had in his heart pledged to serve his people, those who believed in him. Not as a member of the royal family proper for that had been out of the question, but as their sorcerer, as a symbol, as a... as one of them. He had not spotted Laufey's lies -him, Loki, prince of lies and patron of mischief!- which had allowed Laufey to abdicate his responsibilities to his kingdom in favour of petty revenge. He had failed to protect his people from their enemy at their heart, their own selfish king. Loki had fought a fool's war, as much a tool of Laufey as he had been of Thor. He was deathly sick of being the puppet of those he loved, and who loved him.
"Loki, my son. Today I ask you to serve the Crown in a guise you have taken for us before. As an illusion, and as a knife in the dark. You will be by my side as Loptr, first prince of Jotunheim and my heir. You will deliver the Odinson to his accursed sire. You will agree to accompany them to Asgard." At this, Loki startled. Laufey continued. "As part of the negotiations, Asgard has agreed to cede ownership of the Casket to Jotunheim -as if that was in question!- and accept an envoy to speak on Jotunheim's behalf. I wish you to be that envoy. A diplomat."
Loki was purely stunned. Laufey could not expect him to...did Laufey think he was granting him a favour?
Of course, Laufey was offering him everything he thought Loki wanted. Where was the sting in the tail? "So Father, that is the illusion. What of the knife?"
Laufey smiled and said a word that Loki had heard spoken of in only hushed tones and muted voices. "Ragnarok, Loki. You are to bring about Ragnarok."
Chapter 28: Chains
Laufey swept by Thor on his way out of Loki's apartments without even looking at him. No gloating, no taunts. Thor knew this did not bode well. He re-entered Loki's bedroom to find the sorceror -the prince- sitting in one of his reading chairs, looking absolutely calm. Thor had seen that expression on Loki's face more often than any other and had come to understand that it was one Loki hid behind when he was at his most guarded.
Loki looked up at him and lazily pulled one leg up so his ankle balanced on his opposite knee, allowing his hands to drape over his crossed leg. He looked the picture of royal assurance and indolence, in simple enough but elegantly-cut courtly clothing and with a golden band on his head. The gold contrasted strikingly with his green eyes. Loki looked Thor up and down as if measuring him. Thor had put his hair back in a tail and was dressed plainly but well, black leather breeches and boots, and a red and blue doublet with what appeared to be Loki's sign on it, two throwing knives.
Loki too seemed to find what he saw pleasing. "Very handsome, Thunderer. All polished up and ready to be shown off. We shall leave for the Court very soon." He brought one hand up to his lips and tapped them with a long forefinger. "Do you think you can keep your temper when I leash you, or will I need to give you instructions on how to properly behave before the Court?"
Thor fought the urge to laugh; strangely he simultaneously felt bitterly amused at the harsh, humiliating reality of Loki's words but also fondly amused by the sorcerer's attempts to needle him. Did Loki think Thor had learned nothing of him in their time together? He had told Loki that nothing would keep Thor from him, including Loki himself. Thor was beginning to realise that he, Thor, was the only reason he would lose Loki. He would have to start dealing with the reality of that also.
Instead of retaliating, either in anger or in love, and playing Loki's knotted, twisty games, he spoke straightforwardly. "I will not ask you what you spoke about with your king, Loki, but you do not have to shoulder that or any other burden alone any more. And I will not insist on sharing the burden, either. I will not push you again."
For a wonder, his words stopped Loki for a moment, startlement clear in the green eyes of his otherwise jaded expression. Thor grunted as he saw Loki move his fingers, and the chains that had bound Loki to the bedpost earlier now bound Thor's hands together behind his back, snaked around his ankles and connected to his collar. A leash handle manifested in Loki's lazily draped hand, attached to the loop of Thor's collar by a slender chain. He had not moved while he cast or broken eye contact with Thor. Loki tugged absentmindedly on the leash, not enough to force Thor to move, just enough to make clear that it was there.
Thor knew he should not push, hadn't he just said so? But he could not help himself. He was speaking truth. "The chains you wear are invisible, my love." The snarl on Loki's face was enough to make clear that he had pushed. "Stop talking, Thor. You are truly a terrible advocate for yourself. Will you sit, please." Thor growled and did not. Loki sighed. "Oh, speak up if you must. Just... do not make this harder."
"Six. So far." said Thor.
Loki looked wary. "Six what? Do I want to know?"
"Six strokes of my belt is what you have earned since you put this collar on me anew. I will not count that as worthy of a stroke in itself since I know you do it reluctantly, but continue to take advantage of my situation and I may change my mind." With as much self-possession as he could, given the short chains attached to his ankles, he stepped so that he was looming over Loki, with his hands chained behind his back, crotch angled towards Loki's mouth as much as was possible. After the exertions of the morning, and trussed as he was, he was in no position yet to make good on any promises or threats made with his mouth or his cock, but that was no reason not to make clear exactly what he intended.
Loki's arrogance was undermined utterly by the flash of want that crossed his face. Thor fought the urge not to laugh again.
Loki's expression changed to annoyed amusement and he replied "I see. One for ordering you to your knees, one for ordering you to the bath, one for ordering you to dress outside in the reception room, one for chaining you just now and one for ordering you to stop talking. Am I correct? No, that's five. What misdeed have I omitted, Thunderer? Do you really expect to get the opportunity to collect what you feel you are owed, my prince?"
"I will make the opportunity, Loki. So, continue as you were of course, I cannot stop you, but there will be consequences." He was grinning down at his sorceror now, enjoying how Loki's eyes dropped to Thor's groin and flicked back up to his eyes and back down again. "The sixth is for putting me in clothes bearing your sign. You forget who owns whom, sorceror."
Loki scoffed. "I hold your collar, Thor. Enough games." Thor agreed. "Yes. You hold me, Loki. You do not need a collar."
Loki stood, wrapped his arms around Thor's chained torso and kissed him. "Alright, Thunderer. Now for the love I bear you, please, I beg you, shut up. You will need to act on the wisdom I know you possess, if reluctantly, to truly win the day. And that means using words judiciously."
Thor nodded. Loki was right. "Do not think I did not notice you judiciously slipping in a declaration of love among your words, sorcerer."
Loki grinned, but just for a moment. "Thor, after speaking with King Laufey, I have made a decision." The chains disappeared from around Thor. Loki looked away for a moment, visibly collected himself and continued. Thor cupped his face in his hands and tilted Loki's face so he looked up at him. "So many secrets, and time has caught me up. Quiet, Thor, listen. Yes, I know. Seven. Alright, speak, if you must."
Thor sighed. "So Laufey intends you as a dagger in the heart of Asgard." Thor saw Loki's expression change to grim acknowledgement, and not a little surprise. "Loki, I have the measure of both of you. Father and son are not that different in many ways. Just in the ways that matter." Loki frowned but remained silent. Thor stroked a thumb alongside Loki's face "And your reward for the destruction of Asgard is to be me, cowed by the destruction of my realm, of myself, and collared at your whim." Loki nodded, barely.
"Let me speak plainly then, Loki. I do not expect you to return to Asgard with me as mine. I will not compel you nor hold it over you should you refuse me. And I know why you will not come. No penance will cancel what I have done. I have accepted punishment for your sake, when I should be accepting it for the Jotunn people whom I have wronged. I am only beginning to understand what my crimes cost them, truly. I had simply wanted you to forgive me so I get what I want, what we both wanted. But I realise that this not humility, Loki, there is no redemption in this, and it does not deserve forgiveness."
Loki had retreated into a mask of calm and self-possession, his jaw tense under Thor's hand. Thor did not, could not know his heart in this. He took a deep breath and plunged on.
"Now it seems you will have the opportunity to do the same to my realm. What does Laufey wish of you? Will you tell me?"
Loki was silent for a moment. "I am to use your trust to arrange the death of your gatekeeper, and then Laufey-King will bring the anger of Surtr to Asgard."
Heimdall dead. Asgard blinded. And in flames. Ragnarok. "You will not do this thing, Loki. You would not...be like me." Loki laughed outright. "I do not think so little of you, Thunderer. You would not plot in the shadows to do such a thing. You would show up at the Bifrost full of sound and fury, demand combat with Heimdall, and damn well expect Asgard to spark aflame because you desired it."
"Loki. Say you will not do this. You are talking about provoking Ragnarok." Even with having shared the details with him, Thor knew that Loki would find a way if this was his decision. If he felt he had reason.
Loki smirked. "Ragnarok. Months ago, I would have thought how sweet that would be. If Laufey had thought to offer Thor Odinson to me as my slave, what a reward that would have been. I would have taken you apart, Thunderer. I would have made you watch the destruction of Asgard and of yourself. I would have broken you in a way you never could bring yourself to break me, in the way you tried to break my people. And I would have recreated you as my toy. Put you back together to my liking. What if that is my decision now? How much would you want me if Asgard was destroyed by my hand, and you along with it?"
Thor shook his head. "Then you would not be Loki." Loki scoffed. "Convenient for you, Thunderer. If that face does not suit you, why should I find another to wear?"
"Enough, Loki. Enough lies, enough poison, enough of your hateful games. Tell me, how would you put me back together? What version of me would be to your liking. Who would you wish me to be, truly?"
Loki stilled, face blank. Thor could feel his panic. He placed both his hands gently around Loki's face, looking down at him where he sat in his elegant courtly garb, master of all he surveyed, and more. Thor ran his thumbs along Loki's temples, and the sorceror's eyes fluttered shut, causing Thor to regret the beautiful green now hidden. He stroked next along the band of gold that Loki wore there, and then smiled possessively and knowingly as he began to move Loki's head forward into his crotch. Loki's eyes opened, green eyes full of tears, but he laughed quietly, smiling up at Thor. He allowed himself to be drawn from his seat and went to his knees, while Thor continued to caress his temple and his gold band and rolled his hips in front of Loki's face.
Despite having expended so much energy so shortly before, Thor felt his cock stir as Loki reached for the ties of his breeches. "Seven," Thor said softly. Loki stopped before his hand reached the leather, and glared at Thor with a question, unsure, outraged, but acquiescent, unshed tears still in his eyes. Oh this was delicious. Loki spewing hate and spinning lies one moment, pushing Thor away as hard as he could, then on his knees the next, begging for the comfort of giving up control and accepting Thor's commands or whims as the moment took him. "The seventh is for pretending to not want me exactly as I am, monster though I may be." Loki shook his head but started opening Thor's trousers and reached in, taking him in hand, and immediately swallowing Thor's half-hard cock.
Norns. Thor felt his cock grow in the hot wet suction of Loki's welcoming mouth, nudging the back of his throat. Thor used his grip on Loki's head to maneuver him as he wished. He had never been rough in this way with the sorcerer before but he felt the need to now, and knew Loki felt the same. Thor tightened his grip on Loki's head and started to pump into his mouth, down his throat, which Loki quickly adjusted to, taking all of it into his mouth without having used his hand once. Oh, he was a treasure, his sorcerer. They found a rhythm for three, four, five pumps and then Thor just held himself there for a count of three, prompting wide-eyes from Loki, and a tightening of his grip on Thor's hips.
He pulled up enough to allow Loki to take a breath through his nose and started to pump again, marvelling at the restrained gulping noises that Loki was making every time Thor thrust just far enough in and pulled far enough out. He looked at the standing mirror by the corner. "Loki. Turn a little. I want you to see this"
Thor pumped again and held himself there while turning Loki's head towards the mirror. Thor smiled what he acknowledged if only to himself was quite an obnoxious smile as he saw his reflection, standing tall and dangerous over a kneeling Loki whose attention was otherwise entirely focused on Thor's cock in his hot quivering throat, blocking his breath. Thor pulled out a little again so Loki could breath and he did, panting around Thor's cock. "Eight, nine, ten." Thor pushed back in without explanation and began to fuck Loki's face, hard enough for Loki to know that he was placed right now for Thor's pleasure and Thor's pleasure only. Loki was looking up at him pleadingly, drawing breath through his nose when he could in between thrusts as he continued to suck and swallow, tears beginning to fall involuntarily from the roughness of the treatment.
"Are you watching?" Thor turned Loki's head towards the mirror so he could see what was being done to him, what he was allowing to be done to him. Thor rolled his hips and held Loki's head so he could not look away as he did so. Thor withdrew to a gasp from Loki and began to slap his cock over Loki's tear- and drool-streaked face as he panted and tried to calm down. He never took his eyes from the mirror. "Eyes up here now," commanded Thor. Loki stuck out his tongue to lick at Thor's cock as it swiped over his mouth, still slapping his face. "What...what were the extra three strokes for?" he managed to gasp. There was a trail of precum across Loki's face now. Thor grabbed Loki's jaw roughly and said "Open wide. Stick out your tongue. Choke on it." Loki obeyed, the sensation of his gag reflex and the instinctive jerks and twitches of his throat and tightly-held head were bringing Thor towards a peak far quicker than he had though possible.
"The extra three were because I want to whip you three more times, Loki. I am adding one, no two more because you questioned me. That's twelve." Loki tried to protest or beg around Thor's cock, and this put Thor on the road to the inevitable. He started to fuck Loki's face without mercy now, using his mouth and those delicious noises to spur him as high as he could go. Loki could no longer look in the mirror as Thor used him hard, but Thor watched for both of them and it was a thing of cruel beauty. Loki red-faced and tear-streaked, holding onto Thor like a supplicant, Thor snapping his hips into Loki's face, hands clamped on his head, twisted in his hair. Loki was crying now around Thor's cock, great heaving sobs when he could grab a breath at all. Thor found himself on the home stretch.
"You should have used your energy to breathe instead of begging," he gasped out as he fucked harder into Loki's face, giving his sorcerer no opportunity to breathe. Loki hung on to Thor's hips and had his eyes squeezed shut. Thor knew that Loki could end this at any time, end Thor at any time but he did not. As he came, Thor wondered what he had done to earn the trust of this quicksilver, brightfire soul, this beautiful, daring, intoxicating man.
Loki was too exhausted to swallow, so Thor found himself pulling out of a mouthful of drool and seed which spilled down Loki's chin and clothing as he heaved for breath and collapsed to his side, still sitting up but barely. Thor knelt beside him while he recovered himself, and after a few moments kissed Loki on the cheek, murmuring how beautiful he was and how good that it had been for Thor and asking him gently if Loki was alright, seeking reassurance that Thor had not gone too far. Loki gasped a sticky laugh and said hoarsely "You will know if you have gone too far, Thunderer, I will be sure to draw your attention to it."
Thor smiled and kissed his cheek again and made to get a cloth from the baths. Loki instead gestured and removed all evidence of their sport from their skin and clothing. "Thirteen," grinned Thor. "Wh..." said Loki before he could catch himself. "Thirteen is an appealing number, is it not? This one is for cleaning my seed off without asking permission. You may lead in public for the moment, but I do and always will in the bedroom, Loki." He rose off the floor pulling Loki to stand with him. He slapped Loki on the rump and chuckled at the noise of outrage that resulted. "Now, Prince Loptr, you may restrain me again, for fear I will ravish you in the throne room before your father and his court otherwise." He placed his hands behind his back, still grinning. "Now, tell me, what decision have you come to? For or against initiating the destruction of the Nine Realms?"
Loki did not understand how Thor could be so light of heart in this moment, no matter how thoroughly he had enjoyed fucking Loki's face. Loki's jaw and throat felt very thoroughly fucked, though he did not want to heal the aches just yet. Loki knew that Thor was taking the threat of Ragnarok seriously but he did not seem to be overly worried. Loki couldn't help being distracted by Thor's emotional and sexual ambush, true, yet looming doom for the Nine Realms was still in the ascendant in his mind. It would not stop at Asgard. If Ragnarok was truly what Laufey planned, it would eventually encompass the Nine Realms, whether in the decades coming or a century or two later, unstoppable disaster would come to them all.
Are you mad, father? Loki could not bring himself to ask the question after Laufey outlined his plan. Loki suddenly knew that Helblindi was indeed dead. He could not have believed it of his father before now. Loki thought he knew why, too. Helblindi had found out about the Casket and had objected to it being hidden while it was needed for the war effort. He may even have threatened to tell Loki about Laufey's lies. And so he perished at his father's hands, for no other reason than for championing the defence of their realm.
Laufey was sure that in the aftermath of Ragnarok destroying Asgard, Loki would be content with his war prize of Thor Odinson in the heel of the hunt for whatever time they had left to them. A beaten down king without a kingdom, a god whose powers were contained by a crude collar and his lack of understanding of the breadth and scope of his godhead. One who could be made pay every minute of every day for his crimes. One who had to look at the face of his kingdom's destroyer every day while he fucked him, performed for him.
Loki's skin crawled at this. He had always known he would not be a king to match his father, and he was very glad of it this day. It was not a question of ability, it was of character, and Loki had found fault in himself in this for most of his life. Now, he was relieved. He had castigated himself for being not being ruthless enough to do as a king of his father's calibre must do, and now he was only thankful. He would not face the burden of exterminating an entire realm, mostly innocents who had no part in the destruction of Jotunheim. He would not face the horror of seeing Thor's intensely blue eyes deaden into despair and his beaming smile become a puppet's facsimile.
He would die first. It might come to it, and he was willing if it was necessary. Thor would certainly die for his realm if it was the price he had to pay.
How did this happen? When did Loki become prepared to die for his own realm and for Asgard, side by side with the King of Asgard? He glared at Thor, who raised an eyebrow, and smiled, patiently awaiting an answer, or perhaps just awaiting their summons to the throne room. The reversal of their public positions seemed to be spurring Thor on to be rougher than he had before; Loki was sure of that was a large part of Thor's deepening interest in subjugating Loki. Thor still required training in this regard, of course, and Loki allowed himself a faint ribbon of hope that perhaps they would have the time together to do so. He almost found himself wishing for their time together in the tents again. It was simpler. And he had had almost free reign there to torture Thor for his own amusement. They almost felt like good times. Loki laughed and then sighed and wondered if he himself was going mad.
"I don't have a plan, Thor. All I know is for the moment, your only goal is to leave in peace with the Allfather. Everything else can be negotiated, you understand? Even Mjolnir." Thor growled. Loki placed a hand over his mouth. "Enough. You are too foolish to realise that Mjolnir is but a focus for you and your power, not its source. You are too foolish to realise that if you really tried, or if I really motivated you, that you could break that collar like an egg. You are too foolish to realise that everything depends on you reaching home safely. Asgard cannot defend against Surtr without her king. And her king is no longer Odin, no matter what today's circumstances bring." "Fourteen," muttered Thor from behind Loki's palm. "No, Thor. You will not punish me for telling the truth. Have you listened well?" Thor nodded mulishly.
They sat and waited for the summons, and did not touch.