More than a friend
For the record this is when they're teens
"Can go I can too?"
"Sorry, Loki. I don't think you up for something like this."
His reply caught me off guard. For the longest time, Thor and I were always together, but ever since he met Sif, Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg he hasn't had time to hang out with me anymore. It hurt to think about another day, all alone.
"Please! I'll be fine. I'm just as tough you guys!" I yelled in defense. I knew it wasn't true; I just couldn't take anymore loneliness.
Sif laughed at me, not even trying to be polite about it. "You think you're can handle a trip like this? Please..." I turned to Thor for support, but he just looked away. How could he just abandon me like this?
"Give him a chance." A voice to the right said. Fandral smiled at me while everyone else gave him a surprised look, including myself. We've spoken before, but I never considered Fandral more than an acquaintance. I never thought he'd help me... at least not before my own brother would.
"Fine... just don't slow us down." Thor said, clearly unhappy with me joining. Sif and Hogun sighed as they turned and began to walk down the path. Volstagg, at least, didn't give me any bad looks, although I figured he was just being a bit more subtle with his disappointment. Fandral gave me a reassuring glance before walking along.
"Thanks... for earlier." I said to Fandral. He was the only one who was even close to me, for the others had increased their pace. They probably wanted to leave me behind. Fandral, on the other hand, walked slowly taking in the scenery. Never took him for the nature loving type. He was always flirting with every girl he saw.
"Oh, no problem. Just try to keep up. I'd hate to have to carry you back if you passed out." He replied with a friendly grin on his face. I smiled back at him before running ahead to catch up with the others. Fandral soon joined.
They had planned out a long trek across the mountains, and it would be a few hours before we got back. Hogun insisted that we bring weapons in case we were attacked or supplies if we had to spend the night there. It was winter, but for some reason the snow didn't hold me back. In fact, it was almost as if it helped me keep up with the others. For once I didn't feel so weak.
"I've been practicing a new spell! It's really neat!" I stated, in an attempt to start a conversation. Whenever I see Thor talking to his friends they're always laughing, but when I show up there's only silence, just silence.
"That's great..." Sif answered sarcastically, glaring at me as she walked. "If you're as tough as us, then why can't you fight with an actual weapon?" What did I do to her to make me hate so much. I swear every time I see her, it's like she wants to kill me.
"I.. I... can fight with... a sword."
"Really?" Sif stopped and handed me one of her swords, with a fiendish smile. It was heavier than I thought, but I held it up. She had pulled out a sword and gotten into a fighting stance. "Then let's see you fight!"
I tried to tell her that I didn't want to, but she charged at me with her blade. I lifted my sword to block the strike.
"Sif, you need to be a bit more civilized."
"C'mon, Fandral. He said he could fight."
It took me a moment to register the situation. Sif stood with her blade against Fandral's, who had stepped in to aid me. I was on the ground with my hands over my head. Sif picked up my sword and sheathed it along with the one she used. When she did Fandral put his sword away and offered me a hand. Instead of accepting the offer, I scrambled to my feet by myself.
"Let's go. We still have a lot of ground to cover before we can head back." Thor said, trying to change the subject. I guess he was embarrassed by his weakling of a brother. I'd be disappointed too.
"Humph... 'I can fight with a sword'... as if..." Sif muttered to herself as she continued walking. Without a word, Hogun and Volstagg followed behind her. I knew that they thought I was pathetic as well. Why am I so hopeless?
Fandral gave me a sympathetic glance. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine..." I don't need your pity.
Another hour of walking and I was exhausted, yet the other five showed no sign of fatigue. When we finally reached the summit I was excited for a change. The view was breathtaking, even with the snowfall keeping me from seeing the entire landscape. Fandral had also taken the time to look out over the edge. He seemed to enjoy it ever more than I did. Honestly, all you could really see was snow, but if you looked closely you'd see the trunks of trees and small animals dashing about, trying to find shelter before a storm.
Volstagg finally said something. It was the first time he had this entire trip. "We should get going. If we don't we may get caught in a storm." He had to shout, for the wind was picking up and it was all one could hear out there.
As we began to descend the mountain I began to feel a chill go down my spine. Not from the cold, though. I seemed to be the only one that wasn't fazed by the temperature. Rather, I felt as if we were being followed. Occasionally I would see a pair of red eyes in the snowfall. Just for a moment, but it was becoming more frequent. I attempted to tell the others, but Thor dismissed my worries as 'hallucinations from being tired'. I was beginning to believe him when suddenly a large wolf jumped out in front of us from the storm. Before long, more circled us and barred their fangs with the intention to kill.
The others pulled out their weapons immediately. All I had was a knife that I usually used only to cut up plants for potions. I doubt it could do any real damage to them.
Before I knew it, the wolves began their attack. Everyone else handled themselves well, knocking back the wolves with ease. This was my first, real fight and I wasn't as good . I couldn't move my body; I just froze up with fear. None of the wolves had noticed me, so I was okay. But then, a large one came out of the storm and eyed me hungrily. I tried to will my body to move, but I couldn't. I could only watch helplessly as the wolf ran at me to take my life.
When I awoke everything was a blur. What happened? Am I dead?
"Son, you should really be more careful. I don't want to see you get hurt." When my vision finally cleared I saw the face of my mother, Frigga. Her expression was full of concern as she wiped my forehead with a warm towel. I looked around I found myself back in the palace. The infirmary to be exact. I glanced down at my body to assess the damage, but I seemed fine.
"Thor and his friends brought you here a few hours ago. What in the worlds were you doing?" She asked.
"I... I.. was hiking with them when we were attacked by wolves... I think..." My memory was still a little hazy. I suddenly thought of the others. Are they okay? Looking around, I saw that none of them were there. Except Fandral.
When my mother saw me look at him she stated "He fell asleep on the chair waiting to see if you were alright. When they brought you in, he was carrying you on his back." I looked away from her, hoping not to see her disappointment in me, but she smiled at me instead. "I don't care what happened. As long as you're okay."
Before long, she got up and left the room to attend to other matters. On her way out she tapped Fandral's shoulder to wake him up. It must have startled him, for he jumped a little and fell out of the seat when she did. Seeing this I laughed a bit which got his attention and he walked over and took a seat next to me.
"How are you holding up?" He asked with that same friendly smile.
"I seem fine... thanks... again." I replied with embarrassment. Gosh I'm hopeless, being carried to the infirmary after passing out without even being hurt.
"That's good to hear. When I saw you fall over, back on the mountain, I thought the wolf may have killed you. I figure it would have had Thor not immediately ran to help you."
"Thor wouldn't have done that... He hates me now..." I replied gloomily.
"I don't think so. He just won't admit how much I care about you."
That didn't sound right. Giving Fandral a funny look, his face turned a bright shade of red and he quickly turned his head. "I mean 'how much he cares about you'. I must still be a little tired from the hike."
"Um... sure." Before I could say anything else, Fandral stood up and began to walk away awkwardly.
"I have to go now! Don't want to be late for dinner. See you later!" He said impatiently as he rushed out of the infirmary, cursing under his breath and knocking over a potted plant. "Oh! Dammit!"
"What a weirdo..." I muttered while I got out of the bed.
I made sure during dinner to keep my distance from Thor and his friends. I'm sure they had enough of me as it is. Instead, I sat near my mother and father.
"Loki, I hear you went on a trip with your brother and his colleagues. How did it go?" My father, Odin, inquired.
"It went... well. There was a lot of walking and I..."
Luckily, my mother interrupted me before I made a fool of myself. "Sounds like quite the adventure! How is that spell you've been working on going?" She smiled at me and shook her head. She's right. I probably shouldn't talk about fainting around father. He'll scold me for not being as stung as Thor.
"I finally think I got it down. The book disappeared, but no matter. I memorized it. I can only make a couple projections at a time, but if I work on it I'm sure I can make even more!" I answered happily. Magic was one of the few things that I was interested in. Thor wasn't very good at it, so father would actually praise me for my accomplishments and tell Thor he needed to work harder. It was a nice for a change. It also kept me occupied when I was alone.
"That's good. And your knife throwing?" My father asked.
"I still have to work on that. I can throw them and hit the target, but most of the time the blade isn't the part that connects..." The conversation continued like until the food was served.
The cooks always did a marvelous job. There was garlic-stuffed shrimp, grilled quail with tomatoes, and a rich soup with various brightly-colored vegetables that floated in the broth. Dishes kept pilling onto the table; it made my mouth water. I usually never ate much, but after today I was starving. Father must have thought my appetite was a good sign, for he smiled and encouraged me to keep eating until I had more than my fill of food. Mother, on the other hand, worried a bit when I started to fill my sixth plate and tried to tell me to slow down, but I didn't hear her. My mind was racing with thoughts.
Did Thor really save me? He seemed so distant I thought he would have gladly let the wolf kill me. And why is Fandral being so nice to me? I can't remember any time I've been that nice to him. Was it simply pity? No... pity would only go so far.
"Loki, you really shouldn't eat so much." My mother said in between my bites.
"Huh, why?" My father's smile had been replaced with a grossed out look. Glancing down, I saw chunks of food everywhere around my plate. When I wiped my mouth with a napkin, it was covered with sauce from the meal. Some of the quail bones had even fallen onto my lap.
Rolling his eyes at me, father stood up and pushed his plate aside, to show he was finished. "I have business to attend to. Loki, I think you should stop eating." He chuckled as he left the room. Mother still sat across from me, with an eyebrow raised.
"Are you feeling alright, son?"
"You know Fandral, right?"
"Thor's friend. The blond one."
"What about him?"
"Do you know why he's being so nice to me?" I wished I had chosen my words a bit more carefully.
"What do you mean?" Mother asked, failing to understand my question.
"I can't recall a time when I was as friendly to him as he has been to me."
"As far back as I remember, you two never talked that much. He was mainly Thor's friend."
"Maybe you should ask him." She said as she stood up and pushed her plate aside. "Maybe he remembers a time you were kind to him." Giving me one last smile, mother returned to her room. I soon followed. As I was leaving I glanced back at Thor and his friends.
Was it my imagination? Or, was Fandral just looking at me. Hmmm...
"Where are you guys going today? Can I come?"
Sif looked like she wanted to hit me. "Not this time Loki. We don't want you holding us back." Ouch... At the very least, she could have tried to let me down a bit more gently.
"Sorry Loki, but this time is going to be even harder. If you couldn't handle wolves then you should just stay home this time." Thor stated very bluntly. I held back any tears that were trying to force their way out. My bother practically calling me pathetic.
"No! Just go away!" Thor shouted. As he did something fell out of his backpack. A book? I feel like I've seen that one before. He frantically scrambled to pick it up and hid it in his pack. Quickly, he turned and dashed down the dirt road.
"C'mon guys. Let's go." Sif said gazing at Thor as he began to fade in the distance.
"Sorry for being such a burden!" I screamed, hoping Thor could hear me. Even if he couldn't I still ran off to the palace. If I had stayed any longer Sif would have made fun of me for crying.
"I hate him! I hate all of them..." I told myself. My eyes were red with tears and my nose was getting runny. Why does he have to be so mean to me?
"Here..." Someone said from behind me, holding out a tissue. I grabbed it without checking who it was and blew my nose on it. Fandral walked around to my front and sat down next to me.
"Why are you here and not with Thor..."
"I told them that I'd rather hang out with you today."
I looked at him with disbelief. "Why?"
"We're friends, right? Friends comfort each other when their sad."
"Since when have we been friends? You're Thor friend."
"Not exclusively. Why can't I be friends with both of you?" I had never actually thought of that. "You two should really learn how to share. C'mon, let's go do something."
I'm not sure why, but I was kind of happy. For once I didn't have to force myself onto others. Someone actually wanted to be with me. Wiping away my tears, I stood up and smiled at Fandral. "Sure... what do you want to do?"
"How about this? I show you my favorite place in Asgard, and you show me yours." He suggested.
"Sure, sounds like fun." Fandral grinned and grabbed my arm, pulling out me of the garden and towards the outskirts of the palace where a small forest was. I hardly ever went here. It was truly one of the most peaceful places I've been to. No loud noises, just the quiet movement of water in a nearby river. Maybe I should go here to sulk from now on...
"I love this place!" He exclaimed. It's was strange to see someone so excited about some trees and flowers, but I guess they had a sort of serene quality. You could say it felt safe here. "Whenever I need to think about something, I always come here."
"Hmm. I can't say I've been here before."
Fandral gave me a disapproving look before speaking. "What are you talking about? You've been here before." My face said otherwise, so he sighed and tapped his temples like he was in a deep trance. "It was awhile back. I guess you could have forgotten. A few years ago, I was really hungry, so I snuck into the kitchen while they were preparing for dinner. I didn't get any of the food, though. They chased me out before I could. But, you followed me here and offered me some snacks to eat until dinner. It's seems like something silly to remember, right?"
Yup. "No of course not. If it's an important memory then it's definitely worth remembering."
"I guess was pretty hungry." We sat in silence for a bit, absorbing the beautiful plants and animals that the forest had to offer when Fandral finally spoke up. "It's your turn now!"
"Well, there is one place I spend a lot of time in..."
"Ugh gross! The library!" Fandral had a look of disgust as he picked up a book and set it back down when he saw how small the print was. "How in the worlds can you spend time here. I loathe reading."
"Really? I guess I just have a lot of time to read. Most people are only allowed to take a couple books at a time, but since I visit here so often, they let me take as many as I want, as long as I return them eventually." I smiled at him, but he continued to frown at the idea of reading in one's spare time. "There are couple books here that I really like."
"Which ones?" I couldn't tell if he was just going along with the conversation or if he was genuinely interested. Either way I answered.
"Here's one. It's about a Valkyrie who has to go around Midgard to recruit people to fight for the gods. Oh and this one is my favorite! It's about a princess who forced to leave her home because she is the host of a powerful spirit and she must fight to stop a wizard who is trying to abuse the spirit's power. They're really good. You should read them sometime."
"I don't know... Reading and I aren't good friends..."
"But you can learn a whole bunch stuff from reading. If you can't live out amazing adventures then you can read about them instead. It's just as fun."
Laughing at me he said "I'll have to take your word for it."
Today was a pleasant one. I enjoyed the fact that I didn't have to try so hard to keep up with anyone. Fandral made it easy to talk to him, always asking me questions and answering mine. Sadly good things don't last.
"Hey guys." Fandral said as we passed Thor, Sif, Hogun, and Volstagg. They must have returned from their trip recently. Thor seemed really depressed about something, and it must have affected the other because they seemed down too. Without saying anything they walked past us leaving me and Fandral alone. "Hmm. I wonder what's wrong with them?"
I honestly didn't care to know why they were sad. They treated me badly so they can expect the same from me. Fandral on the other hand was a little worried and told me that he was going to check up on them. After a short goodbye, he left.
The days continued like this. Fandral would spend every other day with me and the rest with Thor. When they returned from their trips on the days Fandral stayed behind, Thor was always depressed. I enjoyed this arrangement, for I had given up on trying to hang out with my brother. The days I was alone, I would read books in the library or practice magic. Most of the days were similar to the others, but two were different.
The first occurred when I found Fandral in his favorite place, all alone.
"What are you doing here, Fandral?... Are you reading!" Fandral quickly shoved the book behind him.
"No! I was... uh... um! Okay, I was reading, so what!"
"What book were you reading. You seemed real in to it." He sighed and gave up trying to hide the books. He pulled out three of them from behind. I recognized two. In fact, they were the ones I had recommended. Ha! So he was listening that day. The last one I hadn't read before.
"You already know these two. The librarian said that the same person wrote this one. It's about a boy who gains the power to sacrifice people to become stronger and he has to decide if he'll use the power or not to avenge his father who was killed. I just finished the first two, and haven't had a chance to start this one. You can read it with me if you want."
"Sure." I said with a grin. If the book is anything like the last two, I'll love it. Scooting up next Fandral he placed the book in my lap. When I opened it to the first page he rested his chin on my shoulder. Normally, I hate it when people are this close to me, but with Fandral it felt different. Rather than move away, I rested my head on his and began to read. He smiled and began to read as well.
The second unique day was when I discovered a old book with spells I hadn't seen before and asked Fandral if he'd help me out by reading out the instructions for a spell. It didn't go so well.
"Oh my gosh! Loki, are you okay!" Fandral shouted after putting down a bucket of water.
"I think... do I smell smoke?"
"Yeah. You set your room on fire!" He screamed as he ran over to help me up.
"I won't be attempting any of those spells for a little while."
"I hope not! You almost killed yourself!" I was still dizzy from the blast, but I was pretty sure Fandral had picked me up and placed me on my bed. He looked over my body to check for burns and was relieved to find me unharmed. "I was so worried!" He said as he held me in his arms for a moment.
"Uh... Fandral... do you mind?" I whispered with what little breath he left me from his hug. After noticing my struggle to break free from his grasp he finally let go.
"Oh sorry..." I didn't want to admit, but I actually didn't want him to release me. His body was warm and comforting. My skin was always so cold. I panicked when the heat began to leave me.
"Could you help me to the infirmary?" I asked as innocently as I could.
"Sure thing." Using his shoulders as a support I wrapped my arm around his neck and he lifted me from the bed. He didn't notice when I pushed myself up against his side. What's with me? I don't understand myself anymore...
That night at dinner, my parents told me that I needed to be more careful about what spells I practice. I listened to them, but my mind was elsewhere. I couldn't stop thinking about Fandral. Before he was just a friend, yet now I yearned for his touch. I rubbed my arms all throughout dinner in an attempt to simulate the heat his body gave off. It was to no avail.
After dinner ended I was walking down the hall when I heard someone arguing with another person. Eavesdropping is wrong, but I couldn't help myself. Following the voices, I found myself at the entrance to my parents' room. Pressing my ear against the door, I could hear two voices, Mother's and Thor's.
"Thor, you shouldn't steal from people. Especially your family."
"...I was going to give it back..."
"Why did you take it in the first place? You never cared for magic."
"I just..." He stopped. Thor must have been upset because his voice was riddled with anger and sadness. "He's always been better than me at magic. I thought that if I could learn some of the spells he talks about..."
"Thor? Do you not like it when your father tells you to that your magic isn't as good as Loki's?"
"No! I hate it! I can't stand it!... I don't know why I can't do it as well. I'm a son of Odin aren't I!" He screamed. It sounded as if he was about to start crying.
"How do you think Loki feels when compared to you in fighting? He feels the same way as you, but he's acting more mature about it. You two are brothers and should go to each other for help, not try to avoid one another all the time." Mother said calmly.
"But I don't! AHH!" Thor yelled as he burst through the doors to find me there. "Huh!... Take your book! I don't want it anymore!" Before I could speak he stormed off to his room.
So all along Thor had taken my book. "Loki, perhaps you should go speak with your brother. Maybe help him with his magic. He's spent much time trying, but it seems that he lacks your talent." Mother said from behind me. I wonder if she knew I was there the entire time.
"Okay..." I didn't know what I would tell Thor but I guess I should try to talk to him.
"Thor? Thor it's your brother, let me in. We need to talk."
"... go away..." He mumbled from inside his room. Why did his room get a lock? When we were kids he would always burst into my room while I was reading. I asked them for one, but they said I didn't need one.
"Please, let me in, Thor." I heard the creaking of his bed and soon he cracked the door open. He already looked like a mess.
"If you want me to, I can help you with your magic." I didn't expect him to react so violently. With a quick motion, he slammed his fist into my cheek.
"Don't you dare pity me!" He said as I tumbled to the floor. Gosh that hurt! I don't want to see the bruise I must have now. After getting up and regaining my composure, I knocked on the door that Thor must have shut after punching me.
"I said leave me alone!"
"Thor stop acting like such a baby!" He slammed the door open, nearly crushing my feet and balled his fist up for a second hit. This time I was prepared. Before the blow connected I used my magic to knock him back into his room. He scrambled to his feet, cursing at me. "Thor just listen!"
Putting down the chair he had picked up, I assume to toss at me, he slowly walked over and looked me in the eye. "What."
"Thor, I don't want us to hate each other. If you need help with your magic then just ask. I'm not pitying you. I'm just worried."
"I don't need your help. I'm a son of Odin! I shouldn't have to have someone show me how to do magic!"
"I'm a son of Odin too." He looked away realizing that his argument wasn't sound. "If I too am a son of Odin then why am I not as strong as you!" Thor bite his lip trying to defend his case before falling to the ground with his head between his knees. "Thor why do you care so much about learning magic?"
"I'm sorry okay! I'm sorry... The whole reason I've been avoiding you is because I didn't want to look weak... All those trips were just so I could practice magic. I only planned out difficult ones, so you wouldn't follow. I'm sorry..." He said full of anguish.
"You... you... purposefully left me all alone..." I know I should've forgiven him, but I couldn't bring myself to take the better road. "How could you! Do you have any idea what it feels like to be alone every day, with no one wanting to be with you!"
"Loki, I'm sorry... I didn't mean to..."
"No! Gods! I can't believe I was going to forgive you!" Thor tried to apologize, but I couldn't stand him anymore. I sprinted out of the room before he could stop me. On my way out I'm pretty sure I saw Sif go in. But I wasn't sure, my eyes were too blurred by tears.
It was cold and dark outside. Rain had been falling and puddles were scattered throughout the streets. I was in nice clothes, but I didn't care. I just kept running until my legs could no longer take another step. There in the middle of the street I crumpled to the ground and cried until I could hardly breath.
I looked up when I heard a shout, hoping that someone followed me and was going to comfort me. I guess fate was against me.
"Who do you think you are!" Sif yelled at me. The rain continued to pour endlessly. "How dare you yell at Thor!"
I would have apologized and tried to avoid Sif's anger had I not been so furious myself. But now I was in the mood to argue. "Don't talk to me like that, Sif. I'll talk to my brother any way I see fit."
"Why you little!" Sif tackled me to the ground and began to beat me with her fists. With all my strength I grabbed by the hair and tossed her to the side. It felt good to finally get back at Sif, but something wasn't right about what I saw. She was crying.
"How could you hurt him like that! He'll never notice me if he's always depressed! I try so hard to get his attention and you just... GAAAH! I hate you, Loki!" She screamed as she kicked me in the gut. My stomach howled in pain as I keeled over onto the ground clutching myself. I thought she'd continue her assault, but instead she fell to the ground as well. She looked so heartbroken. "I love him... but now he'll never love me..." She laid there with her face in her hands. Before she could remember that she was beating me I ran off again, to the one place I felt safe, the forest.
"I hate them! I hate Sif! I hate Thor! I hate..." The list went on and on. My legs hurt from the running, my face hurt from Thor's punch, my chest hurt from Sif's tackle, my stomach hurt from being kicked, and my heart hurt from being hated. I didn't think anything could console me.
"...Do you hate me?" I turned to face Fandral, who stood in the rain with eyes torn with grief. I was going to yell at him to for anything that came to mind, but I couldn't. All I could do was fall into him as he held me in his arms. "Loki..."
"Why does everyone hate me, Fandral? I should just be left alone..." Fandral pulled me up against his chest. His body was warm. I continued to cry into his shirt that was already wet from the rain.
"I don't hate you Loki. I want you to be happy..."
"Then just leave me here to di..." Before I finished speaking Fandral pressed his lips to mine. It startled me, but my rage hadn't been soothed.
"Don't you dare say another word..." Every time I tried to speak he stopped me with a kiss. I tried to push him away, so I could speak, but he wouldn't let me go. When I finally got loose, he tackled me to the ground and refused to release. I couldn't keep myself from crying. Was it from anger, sadness, confusion, or joy?
"What... are you doing... Fandral... you're just... my friend." I said in between sobs.
"No, Loki... I can't stand it anymore...I want to be more than just a friend. I won't let you go until you realize someone does want to be with you... me."