Sooo... It's been a long time since I've written anything. This was a comment fic fill on LJ that I whipped up today in a fit of inspiration. :D

Like everything they did, it started as a competition. Training for the sake of training had long since become tedious; the sound of metal hitting shield, hitting floor, hitting skin repetitive and rhythmic and tedious.And so, one afternoon as Thor stood over his latest victim in the ring, he had made an announcement: no longer would it be Aesir vs. Aesir. No. They would play with chance and the loser would become a monster, representative, for an afternoon, of the slyest of the dark elves, the fiercest of the fire demons, the cruelest and the coldest of the most vile frost giants.

It was a game.

If you refused to play your part, you lost. If you failed to perform to Thor's high expectations, you lost. If you engendered the hatred of your companions and tasted blood and dirt in return, you won.

Loki was good at winning this game.

Loki was excellent at playing a villain.

Today, he was Jӧtun, decked in wolf's pelt and onyx beading, bareheaded and scowling. The irony was not lost on him; he, the smallest of their number save Sif – the woman– was so unlike a giant that the comparison was laughable. He made the most of it, however, and iced his sword with magic. Thor would respect the touch.

It was fortunate as well that Thor respected his costume and forswore Mjolnir, which would crack his head like an egg. Instead, he also sported a blunted blade, which he swung artfully in a circle before settling in to fight.

"How dare you trespass here, in Asgard?" he roared, excited laughter tingeing his tone. "You lack in wit to overstep your boundaries so." He struck at Loki's thigh to provoke; the blow was easily deflected.

Loki was not supposed to talk back, being a Jӧtun and, as such, little better than a beast, but his tongue, as always, had other plans. "Foul invader. You take from us what is ours and expect us to wait quietly for a straw death? What hubris," he declared. "Give me the Casket of Ancient Winters or be struck dead, Princeling." He went for Thor's left, his weaker side, with gusto. The ice-blade sparkled in the afternoon light, unnaturally still and clear.

The Warriors Three were watching from the sidelines in various states of interest. Hogun tracked their footwork with a discerning eye, silent as always. Fandral and Volstagg absently placed bets on Thor, though no one would bet against them. Sif gazed at Thor's shoulders, and his hands, and his face.

Loki was sweating in his wolf skin, his hair matting to his neck. He was going to lose the fight with Thor, like he always did, and hurt for it in the morning. The bruises were not the cause of his distress.

It was late when the deciding blow came, a vicious strike that knocked Loki's sword from his hand and left it to thaw in the dust. He wasn't surprised when Thor kept going, grabbing his hair and forcing him to the ground in submission. The taste of iron flooded his mouth as Sif and the others let out the inevitable cheer. He choked back his rage.

"Do you concede, little brother?" asked Thor, friendly in victory. His grip held Loki's head still, nose pressed to the ground like a commoner's. "Renounce your actions and I shall set you free."

How humiliating.

Loki felt a burn that he had long kept secret start in his chest and creep surely up his throat until it coated his lips and teeth. He snarled. "Remember to whom you speak, my mare," he hissed, for Thor alone. "In the dark, is it not you who crawls the ground on his knees and begs for mercy?"

Thor's fingers tightened sharply, bringing a mist to Loki's eyes, but he said nothing. After a moment, he let go and walked away.

Such an insult was punishable by death, but Thor would never kill his brother. He would never kill the object of his lust.

In the hall that night, Thor turned his back and kept counsel only with his friends. Loki sat alone by the hearth, smiling into his mead and cherishing his permanent victory.

Hope you enjoyed! Comments are very much appreciated. :)