Loki and Thor climb Idunn's apple tree and Odin finds himself impressed with Loki's magic.
Chapter 4: Apple Tree Climbing
Why did he always let himself get dragged into these things?
"Come on Loki! Please!"
Oh that's right because Thor would give him his little baby boar look if he didn't. Loki rolled his eyes and let the older boy drag him to the tree that held Idunn's golden apples.
He knew what Thor wanted to do and he was not happy. The blond boy wanted to impress the fair lady Sif by climbing to the highest branch and eating the apple from it. Fair lady, according only to Thor and unfortunately everyone else. He did not understand what was so fair about a female rough-housing with boys, going home covered in dirt and grime, with her hair all over the place. Although he was amused that since he had cut said hair she looked a little less, "fair". Although a part of him did still feel sorry for it, but he would never admit it.
His amusement was short lived, however, when Thor began to climb the tree and he began to wonder whether the Norns were punishing him for playing such a prank on the girl. He really was sorry!
"Come one brother!" Thor called out in joy, beckoning Loki to follow.
The younger boy rolled his eyes and reluctantly started climbing, he always had to follow the oaf because said oaf would always get himself into trouble if Loki didn't look out for him.
"I don't see why you're going through all this trouble to impress a maiden." Loki grumbled catching up to Thor as they climbed higher.
"Because, Sif needs to see that I can be a great warrior. And a great warrior needs to prove his courage. And for that she needs to see me climb to the highest branch." Thor replied enthusiastically.
"Thor she's not even looking." Loki continued to complain, because indeed the girl was not even looking. She was a little farther away, too busy practicing with her sword. Sure she was good in a fist-fight but she could barely lift it for Norn's sake!
"She is too looking!" Thor argued, "She's just pretending not to."
"Why are you so bent on this?"
"Because!" Thor had to jump to reach another branch before he continued, "I also have to prove to her that I respect her decision to be a warrior."
Loki paused for a minute, a small twist had formed in his gut. He jumped to climb to the same branch Thor had before voicing a doubt.
"But, don't you think she should just stick to doing what maidens should do?" he asked hesitantly, fearing the answer.
"On the contrary!" Thor grunted, having difficulty with a certain branch, "I find it admirable that she's trying to prove herself worthy of being a warrior."
That right there is what did it for him. He began to climb down, he didn't want to be near Thor for a moment longer.
Loki kept on climbing down.
"Loki where are you going?"
The younger boy concentrated more on climbing than the tears threatening to fall. It was unfair. It was so unfair that Sif was encouraged by his brother in wanting to be a warrior, but he was ridiculed for wanting to practice magic. He wanted to be as far away from his brother as he could right now, possibly plot to do something worse to Sif's hair. Maybe this time he would make her go completely bald!
He was so focused on his thoughts that he failed to notice he had stepped wrongly and slipped. A yelp escaped him before his hands caught against another branch, his palms burning but he dared not let go seeing as how they had climbed a very far distance from the ground.
"Loki!" Thor yelled in panic, hastily climbing down, "Hang on! I'm coming!"
Loki whimpered in pain and desperately trying to hold on as long as possible. Thor was climbing down as fast as he could, unfortunately when he had gotten close enough they both realized there was no foothold for him. Instead he hung from his knees upside down to grab hold of Loki.
"Come on!" Thor coaxed.
"I'm too far!" Loki cried out fearfully, beginning to panic when his grip started to loosen against his will.
"No!" Thor yelled frightfully, "No you're not too far! Just give your hand! You can do it!"
"Thor I can't!"
"Yes you can! Come on! Use your arms!"
"I can't I'm too weak!"
"No you're not Loki!"
"Yes I am! That's what you always say!"
"Well that's always a lie! You're not weak! You're the strongest person I know!"
Loki sniffled, looking up at Thor not sure whether to believe him but the gentle smile on the other's face made him falter.
"Do you mean that?" he inquired.
"Of course I do, I swear to you! So just come, please!" the desperation in Thor's voice was evident but also his sincerity.
Loki's heart jumped when the branch shifted again but one last look at Thor made him more determined. He stretched his hand out to Thor's expecting one, just barely touching their fingers. He heard a loud crack and he realized he was out of time, he used all of his strength to jump and was just barely held by Thor. The two saw the branch collapse to the ground and both let out deep breaths.
"That was close." Thor exhaled while moving to lift Loki.
Their victory, however, was short lived. The branch Thor was on began to crack as well from Loki's added wait. The two looked at each other in panic feeling the branch continue to crack.
"Oh-oh." they both whispered before the branch fell completely.
Loki was definitely never listening to Thor again.
Frigga had come to him bearing the news, as it turned out it wasn't anything serious and Odin was glad for that, but as he watched his two children laughing on the beds in the healing chamber he couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed. He was sure to let it show when he stepped forward. The two ceased their conversations and stiffened at the sight of him.
"An explanation would be nice." he ordered.
They looked to each, fearful of what to say. Odin gazes at the sternly then eyed Loki, "Was it your idea Loki?"
"No!" Thor exclaimed, "It wasn't his fault. Not this time."
"It's never my fault." Loki added.
"Shush!" Thor hissed.
Odin hated placing the blame on his youngest but it was usually the only way to get Thor to confess. Sure Loki pulled tricks on everyone but it was more often Thor who got them into real trouble. He sighed crossing his arms and waited for him to answer.
"I wanted to climb to the highest branch, I talked Loki into coming with me and we ended up falling."
Odin considered this and turned to eye their injuries, they weren't as bad as Frigga had told him. He wondered why that was.
"What exactly happened when you fell down?"
"Well I grabbed Loki to shield him from the fall and then he used his magic. It helped a little."
Odin turned to his youngest, the boy held his head down when he met his gaze. Odin knew the boy was easily intimidated but there was nothing to worry about, for he held nothing but pride for his youngest.
"I see your magic is paying off, well done my son." Odin couldn't keep his smile at bay when he saw Loki look to him with shock and happiness. He was glad that to let his youngest know he was proud of him, it almost made him forget truths that might one day might make the boy resent him.
"Now, I have important matters to attend to." he walked to the boys and gave each a pat and a kiss to the head, "But I'll be back later. And don't think you're in the clear, you will face punishment for this foolish action."
"Yes father." the boys muttered, he smiled bidding them farewell.
"Well that went well." Thor chimed.
"Yes." Loki whispered, full of joy at his father's words.
"We should do it again!"
"We are most certainly not doing it again!"
"What if I gave you one golden apple?" Thor reached under his pillow, Sif had been by earlier, apparently she had been watching. He took out two golden apples the girl had picked up and brought as a get-well gift.
"...Maybe." Loki reluctantly agreed, that was enough for Thor who tossed him the apple. The two ate their apples occasionally conversing before Thor remembered something.
"Loki, I meant it. You're one of the strongest people I know." he admitted and it filled Loki's heart with joy. He didn't say it though, he didn't have to because Thor could see the little smile as he continued to eat.
"...We should scale the palace walls next."
"Then the Bifrost."
"Heimdall would have our heads!"
"You're no fun!"
Again thanks for waiting. Thanks for the support!