Odin knew his children well. Ever since they were young, his sons had a tendency to get themselves into trouble. It was no surprise when, at a young age, Thor declared that he and Loki were going to be the greatest warriors that Asgard had ever known.
As the boys grew older, it became clear that Thor would continuously run off on some ill-advised, reckless adventure without any concern for receiving his father's blessing or permission. The young, blonde was very charismatic and could easily enchant the Warriors Three into following him with tales of promised adventure and glory. And for reasons only the All-Father-knew, Loki could not say no to his brother.
Therefore, the king deemed it wise that his sons and their friends receive proper training in becoming warriors. The five passed from teacher to teacher, learning everything they could.
When the Lady Sif joined their group, it was only natural that she attend their classes as well. She was proving herself to be as tough as any valkyire. As such, Odin found one of those fierce female warriors of the north to come serve as a teacher for the winter.
Sif adored their new teacher, one Lady Hildr. Thor and the Warriors Three had been uncertain about this woman at first, but after she had earned Thor's respect by thoroughly trouncing him in the ring with a new fighting technique, the boys were very eager to learn.
Unfortunately, there were very few sorceresses in Hildr's tribe. They shunned magic use in daily life, as well as in battle. It was a topic that Hildr seemed to take great joy in waxing eloquently on. What was worse was that Sif had taken to parroting her favorite teacher's words. Her imitation of their teacher was so prefect that it set Thor and his friends laughing whenever Sif would "perform" in the dining hall.
A storm was brewing, although most were oblivious to it.
After dinner that night, Sif discovered that the windows to her chamber had been left wide open and everything in her room was covered in at least two inches of snow. She was furious, to say the least.
Sif growled and slammed the window shut, so no more snow could get in. She took inventory of the damage, books were ruined and her bed was soaked. Everything would take hours to dry.
Slamming the door to her room shut, she stormed back to the dining hall.
"You little snake!" she snarled at the dark-haired prince. Seeing Loki casually enjoying his meal was the absolute last straw. "What in Niflhel did you think you were doing?"
Loki looked up from his cup and regarded the angry warrior calmly. "Pardon?"
"Don't play stupid with me!"
"I have no idea what you're talking about Sif," Loki replied. Then with impressively fast reflexes, he moved out of the way as Sif dove across the table for him.
"Calm down, Sif." Hogan set a hand on her shoulder. "What's wrong?"
Sif glared daggers at Loki. "He left t he window to my bedroom open all day!" she hissed accusingly. "All of my things are ruined!"
"You shouldn't leave your window open during the winter then," Loki replied calmly.
"I didn't!" she growled. "I never do! Why in Asgard would I open it in the middle of winter in the first place?"
"You've always been a mystery to me," Loki responded.
Sif went to slap him in response and Loki ducked. She suffocated a scream and dove for him again, clasping her hands around his neck.
"Put me down!" Loki exclaimed, "I haven't done anything!"
"Oh really?" Her eyes narrowed dangerously.
"It's not my fault you left your window open!"
"I didn't leave my window open!" she snarled, bringing one booted foot hard down on Loki's left foot. To her dismay, he didn't make a sound, just cringed a bit.
"Lady Sif!" came a stern female voice. Frigga, queen of the Aesir (and Loki's mother) set a firm hand on Sif's shoulder. "Enough. Let him go."
There were two long moments of silence before Sif obeyed. Loki took two long steps back away from the angry woman.
"Now, tell me why you accuse my son of this."
"My queen," Sif took a deep breath, "That child snuck into my room, opened my window, and let snow get all over my things. My books are ruined, and my bedclothes will take hours to dry."
"Mother," Loki spoke up, ignoring the fact that his brother was trying to hold back a laugh, "I have never set foot in Sif's chambers."
"You're a liar!" Sif would have attacked him again, but Frigga's hand remained firm.
"This is not the way to settle this," a new female voice broke in to the conversation. "Brawling in the Hall is not honorable."
All looked towards Lady Hildr.
The tall Valkyire glided across the floor towards Sif and the others.
"Sif accuses Loki of a crime against her property. Sif, by accusing Loki, challenges his honor," the woman continued, "There is only one proper way to settle a matter such as this."
Sif's eyes lit up, and Loki paled. They both knew how Hildr felt about honor.
"In the practice ring."
"Wonderful idea!" Sif lit up. She turned to Loki. "I challenge you. Right now." She smirked, "Unless you are too scared."
"Now?" Loki repeated. "But I haven't finished eating."
"Come, brother." Thor slapped a hand on Loki's shoulder. "She has insulted your honor. You must respond."
"It really doesn't bother me that much," Loki started to protest.
"Nonsense!" Thor pulled him up. "We're all behind you."
"I'd really rather you were in front of me," the dark-haired Aesir muttered as he was herded along with everyone else out to the practice ring.
Hildr took a seat where she would be out of the way, but have a clear view of the ring. "I shall serve as referee," she said firmly, "This will be an honorable match. You each may use the melee weapon of your choice." Loki opened his mouth to say something, but Hildr leveled a glare at him. "Enchantments, of course, are dishonorable."
"Oh, of course they are," Loki grumbled as his brother pressed a sword into his hand.
Sif took up her preferred double-bladed weapon and glared at Loki. IYou're dead/I. She mouthed.
Loki responded by giving a rather courtly bow. She rolled her eyes.
Sif didn't waste any time, swinging for the prince's head. He ducked and darted under her staff, rushing around behind her. Sif whirled, swinging again. There was a clank as he blocked her onslaught with his sword. The ring echoed with blow after blow.
Sif was an aggressive fighter. When she was angry, she was reckless. Her teachers had often scolded her - when she attacked so recklessly, she left openings for her opponent.
Luckily for her, Loki was using everything he had to prevent her from decapitating him and was too busy to fight back. It seemed like magic, but the truth of it was that he was just fast. Learning magic had taught him to have quick reflexes. Not that any of that did him much good against one very angry Lady Sif.
"Stand still!" she ordered, swinging at him. He blocked her first blade, but she whirled and scored a vicious slash across his left thigh.
He gritted his teeth against the pain and tried to keep his balance, but her next attack pushed him back and he lost his footing. Sif lost no time in bringing one of her blades inches from his face.
In response, he kicked out, catching her ankle with his left foot and yanking her down into the dirt next to him. He scrambled up to his feet, retrieving his sword and coming into a defensive crouch.
"You little cheat!" Sif shouted, "That was magic!"
"Did not! It was not!" He turned to Hildr, "Judgment?"
"Sneaky as that was, that attack was not forbidden," Hildr declared. "You may resume."
Sif scowled and raised her weapon again, swinging madly at Loki. The prince ducked under her staff and swung at her from behind - his first offensive move of the match. He meant to sting her arm and hopefully force her to drop her weapon, but she moved and his sword caught her hair, slicing off about half an inch of her ponytail.
She froze, slowly reaching up to touch her hair. Sif looked horrified, and then furious. She turned and rushed after him, smacking him hard with the flat of one of her blades in an angry whirlwind of blows.
Loki tried his best to block, but he stumbled when she hit his already bruised thigh. When he staggered, she hit him in the shoulder, and then hard in the stomach with her elbow.
The wind knocked out of him, Loki lost hold of his weapon and fell on his back. He laid there for a moment, trying to breathe. He held still as he lay there, looking up Sif's weapon, which was pressed against his throat.
"Y-you," he took a shaky breath, trying to get enough air, "You'll have to move that then."
Sif raised her weapon and took two steps back, allowing Loki to sit up.
"I should beat you again, you little snake," she hissed at him.
"I've had enough, actually."
Sif glared at him for a long time before suddenly smacking him once more with the flat of her blade.
"What was that for?" he yelped, "You already won."
"That was for cutting my hair." She broke her weapon back into its two parts and stowed it safely away.
"For what it's worth, that really was an accident," he told her, standing up slowly.
"This match goes to the Lady Sif," Hildr said. Turning to Sif, she asked, "Are you satisfied?"
Sif gave a nod. She was more than satisfied. The warm feelings surging through her would more than make up for the snow in her bedroom. She walked past Thor with her head held high, ignoring the fact that the blonde prince was laughing hysterically.
"It's not funny," Loki muttered to Thor once the others were gone.
Thor snorted, "Sure it is." He gazed after Sif, "But did you see that?"
Loki just stared at him incredulously.
"She's just perfect, isn't she?" Thor continued to watch Sif walk away, "Beautiful, and an amazing warrior."
"I'm going inside," Loki responded storming past his oblivious brother. He was careful to walk strongly inside, and not to cringe every time he took a step with his left leg. He would not cringe and he would not limp.
The next day, Loki was in the practice ring alone, throwing daggers at a target rather angrily. Even though the targets were on the far side of the ring, he hit them with enough force to crack them. His entire world narrowed to the daggers and their target.
Thor had been watching him for a few minutes, arms folded across his chest. "You have anger issues," he finally said.
The next dagger hit the bullseye and the target burst into flames.
"I stand by my point."
"So?" Loki snapped, waving his hand; the fire went out instantly, leaving a rather charred target behind.
"You did sort of deserve that," Thor pointed out hesitantly.
"Who does she think she is?" Loki growled.
"Sif?" Thor grinned. "You shouldn't have angered her like that, brother."
"No, not her," Loki said dismissively, "I sliced her hair off. She let me off easy."
Thor looked confused, "Then who?"
"That woman," he hissed, "Our useless teacher." He threw another dagger, landing a second bullseye, "Magic is cheating," he raised the pitch of his voice to imitate their teacher, "Ranged weapons are not weapons of a warrior." He stormed over to the targets and started retrieving the daggers.
Thor had no answer to that. Instead, he joined Loki in pulling the daggers out of their targets. He was a bit surprised when he saw how deeply some of them were embedded into the bullseyes.
"I want to go to Vanaheimr," Loki said suddenly. "Father said he would think about it."
"You want to leave?" Thor looked stunned, "Why?"
"Not forever," his brother replied, "but Heimdel is from there, and you know how much power he has!" He yanked a stubborn blade free. "Magic can't be dishonorable there, right?"
He finished putting his daggers away. Thor never could figure out where exactly his brother kept all of those knives.
"You really wish to leave Asgard?"
Loki sat down on the steps leading to the ring. "I just don't feel like I fit here sometimes."
"Where else would you belong?" Thor sat down next to the other prince. "You are my brother - of course you belong here." He slapped him on the back. "Stop with such talk."
Loki gave him a weak smile.
"Now come," Thor said, "let's go get something to eat."