Yet another norsekink fill. Lady!Loki has her period. Thor makes her a hot-water bottle against the cramps.
1+ Everyone lives in fear of pmsing Loki.
All Asgard lives in fear of Loki.
This may seem like a foolish thing to note given Loki's past record (for how could they not fear him?), but since he has come back as a she (which, curiously, doesn't seem to bother Loki in the least except for once a month), everyone has held their collective breath. The first month, Loki's temper rode a killing edge, and the god of mischief was just as likely to break down weeping as to tear a man's heart, still beating, from his chest. The second month, Loki was not as wildly violent but rather twice as mischievous, and the people of Asgard suffered pranks that ran from the inane (colored water that stained their blonde hair various obscene colors) to the horrific (all the weapons in the vault blunted and made useless).
It is out of self-preservation that Asgard's population begins to count the days, and it is out of interest for their continued well-being that they make themselves scarce for that one week.
The only person who seems unaffected by the change is Thor, but Asgard suspects it should give him a bit of a break and allow this. He's been through so much, has done so much, that maybe it's alright he doesn't react to his brother now being his sister.
So while all of Asgard quietly cowers, Thor storms through the halls with his usual graceless, overzealous steps.
Loki throws open the door to her rooms – and though she usually thinks of herself as a man regardless of the body, she simply can't today – and stabs at her brother with her spear. The point of the blade rests against his neck as he comes to an abrupt halt.
"Loki!" he greets her warmly, smiling.
Bumbling oaf. Stupid, loud, annoying, bumbling oaf. "Must you be so loud?" Loki asks, her quiet tone a threat.
Thor looks flummoxed for a moment. Or, rather, Loki thinks he looks flummoxed, but Thor's face consistently swings between two expressions: furious, murderous rage, and baffled confusion. So it's hard to tell exactly what Thor is really feeling at any given moment in time.
"Ah!" His face lights with what might be understanding, but if understanding is a Midgardian light bulb, Thor's is broken. "Have I interrupted one of your spells, brother?"
Some days, Loki does appreciate Thor's thickheaded and well-intentioned nature. While everyone else tiptoes around her and her new form, to Thor, Loki is Loki, and Loki is brother. She appreciates that, for Loki is a fluid creature, constantly changing. Whenever that constant flux threatens to eat away her sense of self, she needs only return to Asgard, needs only to see Thor, and she remembers exactly who she is.
It is sometimes disturbing to be defined so solidly by someone who is so outside of herself, but Loki, in her own way, loves Thor for it.
"No. You disturbed my rest." Loki lowers the spear with a swift gesture, the blade singing as it cuts through the air, and she places it against the wall, just inside the door to her rooms.
Thor is an overbearing creature at times, and Loki remembers this belatedly as her brother's brows knit with concern. "My apologies, brother. You are unwell?" And Thor is barreling into her rooms, his hand warm around Loki's thin wrist.
She resents it sometimes, how frail the female body feels to her, and it feels yet more frail for all her vulnerability. Stumbling after Thor, trying to match his brisk pace across her chambers, she flicks her fingers at the door to her chambers to close them with a simple spell. Even that little bit of magic is a knife against her body, and she hisses with pain.
A fleeting glance at Thor's face reveals the noise did not go unnoticed. Thor, for all he blunders his way in and out of everything, is surprisingly perceptive about those things and people for which he cares. He will not notice a burning building unless that building is somehow important to his friends, but he will notice the smallest of limps, the slightest of maladies.
"Sit," Thor commands, gently pushing Loki onto her bed.
Loki does Thor one better and, without prompting, stretches across her bed. She pulls one of the long, body-length pillows into her arms and wraps herself around it as she wonders how women manage this every month. It is amazing, she thinks, that women aren't pregnant as often as possible. And then she recalls that childbirth is considerably more painful than mere cramps.
"What ails you, brother?"
Yes, Thor would be so dense. All Asgard cowers in fear, afraid of Loki's hormone-addled temper, and Thor is oblivious.
"Women's problems," Loki returns, rolling away from her brother. "You need not be concerned."
But of course he is.
Thor leaves his brother wrapped around a pillow, quietly shutting the door to Loki's rooms before hurrying down the hall.
He only wishes Sif were here. Sif would know what to do, and it feels somehow strange to ask another woman how to cope with… well… that.
The irony is not lost on him that, as a warrior, he can hack bodies to pieces and bathe in the blood of a glorious slaughter, but a woman's monthly time makes his stomach turn. Perhaps it is a bit hypocritical. Perhaps it is simple fear.
Fandral rounds a corner, walking in the direction from which Thor comes, and lifts his hand in greeting. "Hail, Thor," he calls. "How fares the lovely Loki this morning?" Fandral is one of the least bothered by Loki's new body, perfectly content to have another pretty face to gaze upon.
Not that Thor's brother has been anything other than beautiful for the entirety of his life.
"Resting," Thor replies, pausing to clasp Fandral's arm. "He is unwell."
"Ahh." There is a knowing look on Fandral's face, and Thor wonders if all of Asgard has been holding its breath for this day. And then he realizes Fandral may have a solution for him so that he does not have to go to one of Asgard's women.
"My friend." Fandral suddenly looks uncomfortable as Thor grips his shoulder, but Thor can't fathom why. "Perhaps you could help me. Loki is… is indisposed, and I know not what to do for him."
Fandral's eyes fall on everything but Thor's face before suddenly finding the space of floor between their shoes very interesting. "Is that so?"
"Indeed. You are well-known for your skill with women, perhaps you could—"
Fandral's looks like he might be ill, and he pulls away as he lifts his hands and laughs nervously. "I'm not the one to ask, Thor, but I hear chocolate and flowers usually help. And I've just remembered I promised Gunnlaugr I would help him with his fencing this morn, if you'll but excuse me." The last is all but shouted, as Fandral has made his way down the hall with great haste.
Thor frowns as his friend disappears down another corridor. "The training grounds are in the opposite direction," he mutters to himself, perplexed by Fandral's behavior.
Shrugging it off, Thor considers his options. He would usually go to his Lady Sif if he requires advice about women, but Sif is not in Asgard. There is always Brunnhilde, except that Brunnhilde is more than moderately terrifying. The Valkyrie are always terrifying, and he has no desire to tangle with them. They bristle at his every word, quick to take offense and slow to appease. So he will not go to them.
He passes through the gardens where he comes upon Hogun. Hogun holds himself above the surface of a flat rock, his eyes closed, using only his index fingers for support. As ever, Thor is impressed by his strength and dedication to his foreign arts.
It is several minutes before Hogun opens his eyes, and though Thor is anything but patient, he waits. Perhaps Hogun, quiet and observant Hogun, will know how one can help a woman who is laid up with her pains.
Hogun lowers himself to the rock's surface and stretches his legs before him, inclining his head to Thor. "Good morning," he says, his tone brusque.
Thor grins. "Well met, friend. I was wondering if I might bother you for some advice. My brother—" He watches Hogun's expression twist before the man gets his emotions under control and his face is placid and blank once more. "It is strange," Thor says slowly, thoughtfully. "Fandral had that same reaction. I assume you are done with your training and now off to pursue other things? Immediately?"
"Most immediately," Hogun replies, collecting his things. He is gone a moment later, leaving Thor to stand in the gardens alone, arms crossed.
That is how Volstagg stumbles upon him some fifteen minutes later, for Thor is a slow and careful thinker, unwilling to rush through his thoughts when he actually has them.
"Thor!" Volstagg's voice rolls like thunder across the quiet gardens, disturbing the maidens who sit on a stretch of grass weaving their garlands of flowers. With quiet noises of disdain, they flounce away.
Thor takes Volstagg's arm in his own with a small smile, unable to bring himself to his usual jovial expression.
"You aren't yourself," Volstagg says. "What ails you?"
"It is what ails my brother," Thor replies with a heavy sigh. Volstagg makes a noise of agreement and nods, and it is then Thor remembers that Volstagg is married. Volstagg has children. Volstagg should know how to deal with a woman's time. "Volstagg, your wife. When she is… as women are," Thor says, trying to be tactful about the whole thing, "and pained by it, how do you help her?"
Volstagg, bless his overeager, generous soul, is all too happy to explain the entire situation to Thor. At great length. And in far too much personal detail. But all the same, some two hours later, Thor believes he is fully equipped to handle Loki's situation.
"Go away, brother. I do not wish to be disturbed."
Loki is on her side, having turned away from her bedroom door the moment she heard the sounds of Thor's approach. Thor is incapable of being sneaky, especially when he wants to be; his footsteps ring like thunder against the marble floor.
"It is not my intent to disturb," Thor says, his voice modulated to a low rumble.
That Thor speaks so quietly, which takes a considered effort, is remarkable to Loki, and she turns her head over her shoulder. Her body follows her face a moment later, and she flops gracelessly onto her other side, still curled around her pillow.
Thor has placed beside her bed a tray piled high with a variety of foods and drink. There is a bouquet of flowers in a vase, and this he takes from the tray and sets on the nightstand. Loki considers the flowers. The color choice is abysmal, a wild array of reds and pinks and yellows that could hardly be called coordinated, but the flowers themselves are worth his notice. A handful of carnations and several shafts of mullein flowers make up the bulk of the arrangement, both of which mean health in the language of flowers.
Loki is immediately suspicious. "What is this?" she asks, sitting slowly.
Thor pours steaming tea from a pot into a mug, mixing in a dollop of milk and a single cube of sugar, just how Loki likes to take herbal teas. "This is a tea made of willow bark and mint," Thor says, offering it to Loki.
She takes it, curling her fingers around the warm ceramic glass, and inhales the scent of it. She takes a sip hesitantly, some part of her wondering if Thor has drugged the tea so she will sleep for the next three or four days. But there are no strange flavors in the tea, nothing that is out of place, and so she takes another sip, longer this time, relishing the burn of the liquid in her mouth.
"I am told it is an analgesic," Thor continues, and he places a bowl of mint candies next to the flowers. Mixed with the mints are wrapped chocolates, and Loki reaches for one.
The chocolate, too, is laced with mint, and Loki smothers an amused laugh. Thor has never known the meaning of moderation.
"And that?" Loki gestures to a covered part of the tray.
Thor takes the metal cover off the plate and picks up a folder towel. He holds it against the inside of his wrist for a moment before turning to Loki. "For your abdomen," he says. "A hot towel."
Loki sets the tea on her nightstand and reaches for the hem of her loose-fitting tunic. She rolls it up as she leans against the headboard of her bed, and Thor unfolds the warm towel and spreads it over her abdomen. It is a bit hot, but the burn is pleasant, not painful, and Loki sighs, her eyes fluttering closed. "Oh," she says softly. "I never thought to do that."
To be fair, she has never thought to do most of this. She has looked through Asgard's library, but on the topic of coping with a woman's monthly cycle, it contains little information. She supposes because it is such a private thing and they are a society that leans heavily on oral tradition, this makes sense. It is much more likely mothers pass this kind of information to daughters.
Loki expects Thor to pull away, now, to leave her to her thoughts. Instead, Thor settles his hand lightly on Loki's abdomen, applying just enough pressure that she feels another wash of relief.
"Would you like to hear something interesting I learned today?" Thor inquires as his fingers ever so gently massage Loki's lower abdomen.
She makes a quiet sound of permission, and Thor begins to relay to her a conversation with Volstagg. He pretends he overheard Volstagg speaking with his wife about supplies she would need for her next cycle, but Loki knows immediately that Thor grilled Volstagg for all this information. She listens intently, eyes closed, and files away everything Thor tells her. Thor leaves out no details, having a phenomenal skill for recalling spoken words. Loki may read a book and remember every word on a page, but she cannot hear a story once and then tell it, flawlessly, to another as Thor can. By the time Thor leaves, Loki knows a number of ways to ease the pains that come with a woman's flow.
He ventures out of his rooms for dinner, feeling much more himself and considerably less female for all his body and his issues du jour. Sitting beside Thor, he is amused by the brittle tension in the room; every person is afraid that, at a moment's notice, he may snap and kill them all. But he is in good humor and even laughs at one or two of Thor's terrible jokes, if only as tacit thanks for Thor's help earlier.