A little bit of sappiness to make up for the fact that I keep writing deathfic. Had to republish this because the end was missing first time!
Slightly AU as everyone knows Loki was adopted from Jotunheim.
"Frigga… No I can't call her that… Mother, I have to ask you something…"
Loki stood in his room, clasped his hands together and brought them to his mouth. He was deep in thought, desperately trying to find the right words to ask the most important question of his life, but had not found the correct ones. He slumped onto his bed, feeling defeated and wondering why his legendary silver tongue was not up to the task.
He had loved Thor for so long he could not remember a time when he simply regarded him as a brother, and had finally come to the conclusion that now was the right time to ask for what he needed. It crossed Loki's mind briefly that the answer might not be the one he wanted to hear, and then a gentle tap at the door dragged him from his anxious thoughts of rejection.
"Come in," he said, and stood as his mother entered.
"My son," she said, crossing the room and taking both his hands in hers.
"Please mother, sit," he said, as he directed her to a seat near the window, where she perched regally.
"What is it?" she asked, noticing her youngest sons fidgeting state. Loki took a deep breath.
" Mother…" He said, nervously "I have a very important question I need to ask you."
"Go ahead," Frigga said, placing her hand comfortingly on his knee.
"I... I wish to ask you for your permission to court my brother, I mean your son… and by that I mean Thor."
Frigga smiled and took Loki's hand in hers again.
"My child," She said with a smile "Do not be so nervous. I have long thought it would be a perfect match, and I give you my permission."
"Well…" Loki said, a huge smile creeping across his face as he breathed a sigh of relief and then stiffened again "You think Thor would agree?"
"Thor loves you, of course he will agree."
"And what of Asgard, will they think it strange?"
"Everyone knows you and Thor are not related by blood, Loki," she said and then smiled again "Anyone who dissents will have to answer to me."
Frigga stood and said: "Come, we must tell your father."
Despite his mothers blessing, Loki still felt a crawling, panicky feeling in his stomach as they entered the room, that perhaps his father might declare him an unsuitable match for his only heir, or that Thor himself may reject the request for courtship.
Odin was stood in front of the throne as they entered, Thor by his side smiling, and Sigvaror, Captain of the royal guard, was on one knee before them.
"Ah, your timing is excellent," Odin said, "Sigvaror has declared his intention to court Thor, and I have given my blessing."
Loki felt like his heart had been ripped out of his chest, and unconsciously his hand twitched in his mothers. She turned and gave him a tense smile, and squeezed his hand comfortingly in response.
"That is unfortunate," Frigga said firmly. "Loki asked me for the right to Thor's hand some time ago, and I said yes."
Loki saw Thor's face change, his expression unreadable, somewhere between surprise and sadness, but sadness at what? Was he upset that Loki had asked, or that he was too late?
"I have already given Sigvaror my word."
"You dare to suggest that my word is not equal to yours, my king?" she said with a glare, walking forward and dragging Loki reluctantly behind her till they were next to the now standing Sigvaror.
"Well…" Odin coughed. He knew from past experience that the wrong side of Frigga was not a pleasant place to be.
"Or perhaps we should ask Thor who he would prefer?" Frigga suggested.
"My Queen," Odin said, "We must follow the proper procedure. This is not the first time such things have happened and by law we must follow tradition."
"And what is proper in such matters?" she asked.
"There must be a duel. The winner will be declared worthy of our sons hand," Odin pronounced, "The fight must be a fair fight. It will not be a fair if one combatant can heal themselves from any injury. Loki you will be forbidden from using your magic during the course of the battle."
"Father!" Thor shouted, "That is unfair, you know Loki will not be able to win without the use of his magic!"
"I accept," Loki said with his head held high, and Thor turned towards him.
"Loki you cannot do this! Sigvaror is a great warrior and I have seen him kill many enemies in battle. You will not win."
"It appears brother that you underestimate me just as much as the rest of Asgard," Loki said with a glare, and then turned back to Odin "I accept your condition."
"Excellent," Odin said "Sigvaror do you accept these terms and wish to duel for Thors hand?"
"I do," he replied gruffly, flashing Loki a small sneering grin.
"Very well. The duel will commence tomorrow, when the sun is highest in the sky."
"Thank you Mother" Loki said, turning to her, and then walked angrily from the room. Thor trotted after him, grabbed his arm and spun him round.
"Loki please," Thor said, pleading, "You cannot do this"
"Thank you for your support brother," Loki said bitterly, and walked away leaving Thor stood in the corridor.
The weather, Thor mused, was perfect for sparring. It was not too hot, there was excellent light and a gentle breeze. But this would be no sparring session, and it was likely that his brother would be bested today. He knew that Sigvaror was a fierce, unmerciful opponent who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted, and without his magic Loki would stand no chance of beating him. Thor hoped it would at least end quickly and without injury.
Sigvaror stood by the entrance to the arena in full armor that accentuated his muscular form, looking every inch the fearsome warrior that Thor knew he was. Thor turned and spied Loki, dressed in one of his black tunics that he wore every day around the palace and although Loki was the same height as Sigvaror he looked small in comparison.
"Brother, you cannot do battle dressed like this," Thor asked, "Where is your armor?"
"I do not wish to wear it," Loki said bouncing on the balls of his feet anxiously.
"It is not safe, you need clothing that will protect you."
"I know what I am doing Thor, now please leave me be."
As Sigvaror walked into the ring the vast crowd in the tiered stands cheered as if he had already been declared the victor, and it was obvious whom Asgard would prefer to win. As Loki moved towards the entrance, Thor grabbed his arm and pulled him back.
"Please brother," Thor pleaded, "Do not do this. I do not wish to see you die today."
"Answer me one question Thor. Do you prefer me as a suitor? Do you wish me to win?"
"Loki… You know I am not allowed to answer that. I cannot show a preference. It is against the rules of the battle."
"Thor. Do you wish me to win?"
"I will not answer," Thor said and Loki shook his head. He ripped his arm free from Thors grasp, and walked into the ring to muted, polite applause.
As Loki stepped onto the white sand he felt his magic leave his body. He had thought that perhaps Odin would bind him before the fight, but instead he had sorcerers enchant the arena so no magic could be performed inside it. It was strange to no longer feel it flowing inside him, the mild tingling buzz of power absent beneath his skin.
"Choose your weapons," Odin stated, presiding over a mighty arsenal. Sigvaror deliberated for a while before picking up a large sword and a dagger. Loki walked over and picked up only a simple wooden staff.
"This is your choice?" Odin said with a disapproving frown.
"Yes father. It is."
"Very well," Odin said, as palace guards picked up the remaining weapons and carried them away. He walked to the royal box and took his place on the throne with Frigga and Thor on either side of him.
"This contest will last as long as it must," Odin declared, "The winner will be allowed to court Thor, and the loser will remove any claim to his hand. The contest ends when one of you yields, loses consciousness or is dead." Odin stumbled over the last word slightly "Do you agree with these rules?"
"Yes," both Sigvaror and Loki said, as they stood opposite each other in the center of the ring.
"Then let the duel commence."
Before Odin's words had even finished echoing around the arena, Sigvaror screamed and rushed at Loki, raising his sword in the air. Loki blocked the sword with his staff, feeling the vibrations of the surprisingly powerful blow run up his arms, and then landed a quick jab to the side of Sigvaror's head with the end of the pole.
Loki grinned as Sigvaror stepped back, stunned that the Prince had landed a strike upon him so early in the fight.
"Enjoy it while you can, Loki. You will be tasting the dirt soon enough."
"The only thing I shall be tasting today is wild boar at a feast thrown in my honour."
Loki was quick on his feet, far faster than the warrior in his heavy armor, and he deftly sidestepped Sigvaror's slashing sword again.
"Stand and fight me you coward!" Sigvaror bellowed, swinging his weapon wildly.
"Only in Asgard would it be seen as cowardice to skilfully avoid a blade," Loki said, twirling to avoid the onslaught.
"Dancing is for women, not warriors." Sigvaror shouted, bringing his sword down again.
Loki wasn't fast enough this time. The blade caught him across the forearm, carving a deep trough through the sleeve of his tunic and the skin below. He dropped his staff in shock at the sudden burst of pain, brought his hand to the wound and watched, as blood oozed between his fingers.
"I will be a hero tonight. Half of Asgard has longed to see one of us spill your Jotun blood since you were brought here." Sigvaror spat, "Sitting in the throne room like a cuckoo in the nest. Soon I will take your place by Thors side, and I will see to it that you are banished once and for all."
Going against all his instincts, Loki launched himself at Sigvaror, a move which surprised the captain of the guard as everyone knew the Prince preferred ranged combat and never liked to get his hands dirty.
Sitting on Sigvaror's chest, Loki delivered a heavy punch to his jaw quickly followed by another to his nose, but before he could land another blow, Sigvaror had grabbed his arms and powerfully brought his knee up to Loki's back. Loki flew over Sigvaror's head and deftly rolled over onto his knees.
Loki was almost to his feet, one knee still on the arena floor, when Sigvaror appeared behind him with his arm high in the air. His hand came down in one swift movement, and Loki screamed as Sigvaror plunged a dagger into his back.
"No!" Thor screamed as he jumped to his feet, his voice drowned out by the noise of the crowd, and he turned to Odin "Father, you must stop this now!"
"Loki is the only one who cannot stop this Thor, we cannot intervene," Odin said "If he wishes, he can yield."
"This is cruelty! It never should have been allowed."
"No Thor," Odin said "This is the depth of his love for you. He fights for YOU, and it would do you well to pay attention."
Thor gripped rail of the royal box balcony till his knuckles turned white, as Odin continued to watch impassively.
Loki had been injured in battle before; stabbed, burned, he'd broken bones and had his skin raked open, but he had never known pain like this as the blade tore into the thick nerves near his spine. White-hot agony surged through his entire body, radiating in waves from the cold knife between his shoulder blades, and tears of pain filled his eyes.
With a desperate elbow to the nose, Loki managed to dislodge Sigvaror from his back, allowing him to stagger a few steps forward. He reached behind himself with his right hand and frantically tried to pull the knife from his body, but discovered that he could only touch it with his fingertips. Panic gripped him momentarily when he wondered just how close the point of the dagger was to his heart, and he realized for the first time just how vulnerable he really was without his magic.
Suddenly Sigvaror was on him again, knocking him to his knees and grabbing Loki's left arm. He pulled it back and then took hold of the knife again.
"Do you yield?"
"No," Loki ground out through gritted teeth and then screamed as Sigvaror pushed the knife further in, its hilt now resting up against the cloth of his tunic.
"Yield, before I am forced to kill you."
Loki could not speak. He shook his head and let it flop forward.
Sigvaror dropped Loki's left arm and then pushed him down so he was on his hands and knees. He took hold of the knife hilt with both hands and twisted it viciously.
For a second Loki thought he would pass out. The pain was so raw he couldn't breathe, he couldn't even scream, and he was vaguely aware that the drops of blood that were appearing on the dusty arena floor were coming from his mouth. When the movement of the blade finally stopped he took a breath and let it out in a ragged cry of agony, as tears ran down his face.
"Yield!" Sigvaror hissed "It will not bother me to have the death of a Jotun prince on my conscience."
Loki shook his head once more.
"Very well. This is your choice" Sigvaror said and twisted the blade deeper this time, making a circling motion to ensure it caused maximum pain. Loki's arms gave way and he collapsed down to the floor, the only sound was his desperate attempts to draw air into his lungs as he threw back his head.
"Yield!" Sigvaror shouted.
"Noooo," Loki wailed, his face contorted with pain and his eyes screwed shut.
Sigvaror put pressure on the knife hilt once more and shouted: "Do you yield?"
Loki heard someone calling his name in the distance, but dizzy from the blood loss and pain, he found it difficult to discern where it was coming from as he looked at the faces around the arena. Movement caught his eye and he focused on Thor waving his hands in the air to attract his attention.
"Yes Loki," Thor shouted, "My answer is yes!"
Loki felt a surge of adrenaline and endorphins flow through his body. Thor said yes, Thor wanted him to win. Thor wanted HIM.
"It is time for this to end," Sigvaror said, and yanked the knife from Loki's body. He kicked Loki over so he was lying on his back, walked away, and then returned with his sword. Sigvaror raised it high above his head, his spine curving as he leant back.
Loki weighed up his options quickly. He could either have his head severed right now, or he could strike Sigvaror in his only unarmored part, which was currently being presented to him quite clearly by the arch of Sigvaror's body. A low blow, yes, and one that would no doubt be seen as improper by the gathered warriors, but it was his only chance for survival.
Loki raised one foot, twisted his hips, and kicked Sigvaror in the crotch as hard as he could.
The crowd emitted a painful "Oooof" sound, as Sigvaror, his eyes wide with pain, dropped the sword behind him and doubled over. Loki climbed unsteadily to his feet.
"That was a dishonorable strike, trickster," Sigvaror said, his voice shaking and reedy. "Asgard will not look favorably on this."
"Do not fool yourself Sigvaror," Loki said, wiping the blood from his mouth with the back of his hand "Asgard's memory is short. They will only remember who wins, not the manner in which the battle was fought."
Finding his discarded staff, Loki crouched to pick it up, not wanting to betray the fact that his left arm was barely working, or the amount of pain he was still in. Sigvaror limped over to his sword, no longer moving so freely, and grabbed it, holding its heavy weight with both hands.
They circled each other once more, each waiting for the other to make their move, and finally Sigvaror rushed at Loki, thrusting wildly with his sword. Loki sidestepped the blow and threw his staff into the air. As it came back down he grabbed one end with both hands, and slammed it down onto Sigvaror's arms, causing him to drop his sword with a scream of pain.
Sigvaror grabbed desperately at Loki, taking hold of one knee and trying to force him into the dirt. The larger man had all the advantages; his strength, his weight, his armor to protect him, but Loki knew from experience that sometimes those things counted against you, especially when your opponent was faster and more maneuverable.
Loki hopped backwards briefly on his free leg, dropping his staff as Sigvaror continued to push him, and then gathered himself in. He crouched slightly, and in one fluid but powerful movement he leapt up and arched his spine. He executed a perfect back flip with so much speed that Sigvaror, still clinging to his knee, was carried with him by the momentum and landed with a solid crunch on his face.
Sigvaror saw stars from the blow and wondered what exactly had happened to him, as Loki pounced on his back and wrapped one arm around his neck, holding it tight with the other in a punishing choke hold.
"Will you yield?" Loki asked as Sigvaror struggled for breath. The answer was obviously no as the warrior climbed to his feet, carrying Loki up with him.
For a second Loki wondered if he had made a serious mistake with his move, fearing he would be dislodged, but then he wrapped his long legs around Sigvaror's chest, hooked his ankles together and squeezed his arms tighter.
Sigvaror staggered round the ring spinning, trying to force Loki from his back, and grabbed weakly at the arm that blocked his airway. With unsteady strides he headed towards the edge of the arena, turned and rammed repeatedly against it. He slammed Loki's back against the wooden slats, smearing stains of the trickster's blood across the wall.
Pain erupted through Loki's body, but he held fast, even though his vision was dimming with every blow. He was aware of sound from everywhere; the strange choking sound coming from Sigvaror's throat, and the roar of the crowd, but soon that began to fade and eventually his world narrowed down to just one thing, one thought, and one aim – he had to keep holding on.
Sigvaror was leaning on him now, constant pressure pushing his back against the wall, and then he was sliding down as Sigvaror's legs finally gave way. They crashed to the arena floor leaving a bright red slick of fresh blood in his wake on the slats behind him.
Suddenly Odin was in the ring, and two guards knelt beside him. One of the guards tapped Sigvaror on the face, waited for a response, and when none was forthcoming he rose to speak quietly to Odin.
"I declare Loki victorious!" Odin shouted, raising his spear, and the crowd roared in response. "Tonight there will be a great feast in his honor."
The guards disentangled Loki's arm from Sigvaror's throat, and dragged the Captain away, as Odin bent down on one knee.
"Perhaps now all of Asgard will see what I have always seen in you, my son," Odin said quietly. "I had no doubt you would win, even without your magic."
"Thank you Father," he said breathlessly, as Odin stood and walked away. His mother was right. She had said it to him many times, but he had never believed till now. Odin always had a plan.
"Loki!" Thor shouted, as he ran to his side and knelt. "Loki, you won! I'm so proud of you brother!"
"I heard you Thor," Loki said weakly, raising his head "I heard you shout, and you gave me the courage to fight back."
"To fight back?"
"You said your answer was yes. That I was the one you wanted."
A confused look crossed Thors face.
"I told you to answer him yes," Thor said. "I meant for you to say yes when he asked 'Do you yield?'"
"Oh," Loki said, letting his head flop back against the wall and closing his eyes "That's rather different."
Thor smiled. and as he took his brothers hand he said: "I love you Loki. My answer was always yes."
"That's lovely Thor," He mumbled in reply "but can you please drag me out of this arena so I can heal myself before I bleed to death?"
"Oh, yes," Thor said and gently scooped Loki up into his arms and carried him towards the exit.
Loki forced open his heavy eyelids and asked, "Thor, will you accompany me to the feast tonight?"
"Yes Loki, I would enjoy that very much."
"Excellent," Loki said with a blood rimmed smile, and closed his eyes again.
Thor ran through the gardens, laughing and ignoring the slight drizzle as he chased Loki between the trees. He reached out, almost catching his brother, and then would be left with nothing more than a cloud of green smoke as Loki would vanish and re-appear somewhere else.
"You are far too slow, my love," he playfully taunted from the high branches of a tree.
Loki vanished again and Thor readied himself. As the trickster re-appeared Thor grabbed him and tackled him to the ground.
"And you are far too predictable," he said laughing as he pressed his weight down onto Loki's body.
"You dullard, I've been following the same pattern for the last 6 months waiting for you to catch me," Loki said smiling, and ran his hands tenderly through Thor's hair.
They lay breathless for a moment and then Thor leaned forward, planting a kiss on Loki's mouth. Chaste at first, the kiss soon deepened until Loki squirmed away.
"Thor, we cannot," he said, his face red "You know we must wait."
"Then ask me to wed you You know I will say yes."
"You promise me you have no secret suitors waiting to challenge to me to another duel?"
"Loki…" Thor said, leaning in for another kiss, "None would dare."