A/N: Wow, I honestly was NOT expecting such a freakin' aHUGE response. So many favs and alerts. And a few reviews in the mix as well. Here's y'all's reward. Hope it suits. I'm pretty proud of it myself...after a bit of editing anyway. ^_-
Finally, it had arrived. The day all of Asgard had been looking forward with barely contained excitement. Today was Thor's coronation. Needless to say, Thor himself was also exceptionally excited. However, he wasn't so excited that he could not resist the urge to leap out of bed and get dressed, especially not with Loki's adorable face sleeping safely against his shoulder.
One look at that calm façade and all the urgent need faded to just a dull thrum in the back of his head. Loki's face was still, not a single wrinkle or mark of exhaustion. He looked more content then he ever did when he was awake. Well, unless he counted his post-coital expression.
Brushing a few serpentine bangs out of his face and leaned over placing soft, chaste kiss on his lover's forehead before carefully disentangling himself and climbing out of bed. He left the room to wash up before dressing, but upon returning, he found he was alone. Loki had apparently woken and left. All things considered, that was for the best. Turning back, he picked out his finest clothes to ready himself for the coming ceremony.
The morning sunlight spilled into the main throne room filling it with a soft golden brilliance. Each Asgardian stood still, unmoving, reflecting the golden light like a great many mirrors as Thor knelt before the All-Father. The grand celebrations, cat-calls, and cheers from mere moments before were silenced instantly when the All-Father stood.
"Thor," he said, his words quiet but powerful, echoing in the spacious chamber. "Odinson. You will be a wise king."
Thor raised his head to meet his father's gaze proudly as any warrior should.
"From here on, it will be your sworn duty to choose peace over war, life over death, duty over love the people over yourself, and Asgard over all other worlds. Do you so swear?"
"I so swear." A smile adorned Thor's face and a sparkle lit his eye as he replied in a loud, powerful voice. This was what he had waited for. Loki shifted his weight incidentally drawing Thor's attention, the smile brightening upon seeing his beloved. He winked, and Loki predictably blushed and ducked his head.
"Do you so swear?"
Returning his attention to Odin, Thor tried to remember what he had been asked, but decided it was unnecessary. The ceremony must continue. "I so swear."
"And do you swear to where the crown honorably, to rule justly, and to set aside pride for humility toward your people?
"I so swear!" Thor exclaimed, his excitement mounting with his soaring mood.
The All-Father studied his son for a moment, nodded, then raised his staff high above his head. Not expecting the sudden silence, Thor narrowed his eyes studying his father's expression. Loki moved near Lady Frigga anticipating the unknown. Instead of a war cry, or an explosion, or whatever it was each person's imagination had conjured up, Odin slowly lowered his staff and murmured, "So be it. I hereby name you, Heir to the throne of Asgard and the Nine Realms. Rise, my son and take this helm as a symbol of your new station."
True to ceremony, Thor rose and strode up the steps of the dais to kneel at Odin's feet. The All-Father gathered up the silver helm which bore the semblance of eagle's wings on either side of the visor, and placed it upon Thor's head. Instantly, the crowd roared to life and Thor, ever the crowd-pleaser, turned and drew Mjolnir from his waist belt and raised it high in the air to the crowd's immense pleasure.
Thor turned to his mother and brother standing on the right of the stage and winked at them. Frigga snorted in a rather unladylike manner and shook her head in mock annoyance. But little did she know, the wink was not aimed at her. The true receiver of the wink did exactly as expected. He blushed and ducked his head to which Thor only laughed harder and lifted his voice to join the crowd's.
Today was the start of a new era.
Laughter filled the air just as much as the mead and meat filled the people's stomachs. Smiles decorated the celebrants' faces. Thor leaned back in his chair smiling as Fandral kissed the fifth woman of the day, and it was still midday. He chuckled, no doubt his promiscuous friend would find himself tumbling into bed with at least two different women tonight judging by the seductive looks several of his obvious conquests were currently sending his way.
Volstagg bellowed out yet another laugh at one of Lady Sif's newest snarky remarks. A pause for breath, and the turkey leg in the Warrior's hand vanished, only to reappear completely stripped of meat.
Lady Frigga was currently engaged in a comparably calm and collected conversation with Hoggan who was, surprisingly, smiling and nodding along with her in agreement to an unheard statement.
Flicking his eyes up in contentment, Thor caught sight of his brother standing in a secluded corner of the dining hall near one of the many side hallways. Their eyes met and Loki lowered his head, the golden horned helmet giving him an intense expression softened only by the dark smirk tugging at the corners of his mouth.
Well, now. Who in their right mind could possibly resist that face?
Smirking smugly, Thor rose from his seat, nodding to several guests who acknowledged his presence, and made his way as inconspicuously as possible, over to the hallway. Slipping into the empty hall, Thor paused to allow his eyes time to grow used to the dimmer light before turning the corner and coming face to face with Loki. Loki smiled brightly and opened his mouth to say something, but whatever it was was quickly swallowed by Thor's mouth. Loki stiffened in surprise and his hands immediately gripped Thor's arms but did not push him away, not that he could when Thor was in this mindset, but it was the principle of the thing. What if they were caught? What if someone saw? What if Heimdall saw?
Instantly, Loki slammed his shields up. He had allowed them to lower for the time being but naturally Thor had to go and surprise him, again. Once the magic was successfully locked, Loki gave in to the urge and wrapped his arms around his brother's strong neck. His fingers absently traced the indents of Thor's new, shining silver, feathered helmet.
He could feel Thor much larger hands press against his mid-back, forcing their bodies close, and gripping the nape of his neck, tilting his head to the side to further deepen the kiss. He blushed and let his eyes droop closed for only a moment. And then it was over.
"Wha…what was that for?" Loki gasped, trying to gather whatever dignity he had left from that rather, unexpectedly arousing encounter.
"Do I need a reason to ravish my brother?" Thor replied with an arrogant smile.
Loki rolled his eyes in mock annoyance. "Thor, how many times must I remind you. We are not brothers. The Norns forbid if we were. Imagine how much trouble we would be in if our relationship was discovered then?"
The god of thunder shrugged nonchalantly. "About as we would be in now. But it's not like that's going to happen. If even Heimdall cannot see passed your barriers, then who can?"
Loki shook his head. "No, brother. You misunderstand. My magic only blocks other magic, it does nothing for physical eyes."
"Are you telling me you would rather I not ravish you as your body only rightfully deserves?" Thor teased, stepping closer, now very much in Loki's personal space.
"Thor, that is not what I meant."
"Then you do want to be ravished?"
"Yes, well no! Thor, stop talking circles around me. That is my job as you well know. Do not take my words from me and use them as a weapon against me."
"I am using no weapon. And I am not taking your words, I am merely utilizing your battle tactics. Why should you be complaining? You are a good teacher."
"Sometimes too good, I fear," Loki sighed in defeat.
"Then you admit to your desire to be ravished."
The mischievous god blushed and turned his head aside. "Thor, I only wished to give you my blessing. I know you have been looking forward to this day, as have I. I admit, sometimes I'm envious." Here he paused, took a deep breath, and lifted his gaze back to meet Thor's. "But never doubt that I love you."
Thor's gaze softened and he smiled tenderly. Gently placing his hand on what would have been Loki's cheek had the horned helmet not been there and whispered, "Thank you, brother."
Loki smiled genially. Then Thor caught sight of the mischievous glint he had come to love so much sparkling in his brother's eye and he braced himself. Without warning, Loki leaned forward, abruptly invading Thor's personal space and said, "Now give us a kiss."
Thor threw back his head and laughed, his hand batting Loki's shoulder a little harder than he meant to in his exuberance. "Thought you would never ask."
Planting his lips solidly on Loki's, Thor pushed his tongue passed his lover's teeth and swirled it around inside Loki's mouth tasting him for all he was worth. He sucked Loki's own twitching tongue into his mouth and sucked his like a favorite candy. Loki whimpered when Thor pushed his own tongue too far, just barely brushing the back of his throat. It felt like he was going to swallow his older brother's tongue if the kiss had not ended as quickly as it started.
His knees quivered but he would not fall on the floor in public, he was too proud for that. Instead, he drew a deep, much needed breath, nodded absently, and strode passed Thor back to the dining hall.
Upon entering, he scanned the room before movement beside him drew his attention. It was Lady Sif and his mother. He smiled at his mother and kept up the smile for Lady Sif. "Ladies," he murmured respectfully before moving on deeper into the room.
Frigga glanced at Sif who was just as shaken as she. They shared an unspoken oath never to repeat what they saw. Nodding hurriedly, Frigga followed after her younger son. Catching up to him, she wrapped her hand around his arm drawing his attention and pulling him aside.
"What is it mother? What is wrong? Has something happened?"
Frigga closed her eyes and shook her head negatively all the while holding back her smile at her beloved son's tender heart. Ever putting others before himself. "No, no Loki. Nothing is wrong, as long as you listen to me and heed my words."
Ever obedient, Loki narrowed his eyes and nodded, waiting patiently for her to continue.
"Loki, I tell you this because I am your mother and I love you. No matter what happens, promise you will never doubt that."
Loki's eyes widened fractionally and he nodded. "Of course, Mother. I would never doubt that. Do not dishonor me by suggesting such a thing."
"No, Loki. Do not dishonor yourself."
Bright emerald eyes studied Frigga warm ocher. His forehead creased in concentration. "Mother, I am afraid I do not understand."
Frigga placed a gentle hand on her son's face taking in the feel of warm skin and cool armour. "Son, of all the laws of Asgard, this is the one you must not break."
Loki was already shaking his head, confusion written all over his features. But when he opened his mouth to speak, she took her chance. "You must stop this relationship with Thor. Do not let it deepen any further."
Anything Loki may have said was lost in a matter of moments. All his confidence suddenly froze and crumbled under his mother's knowing stare. She knew. She knew.
Terrified, he backed away from his mother, the woman who had the power to destroy everything. He quickly cast his eyes around the celebrations seeking any sign, even the tiniest hint that his most deeply held secret had been revealed. He probably would have fled if his mother had not caught him and pulled him back into the small alcove.
"Listen to me, Loki. Listen," she whispered frantically.
"Who else knows?" Loki whispered over her.
"Who else knows?" Dark forest eyes rose to again meet Frigga's wise and loving amber.
"Sif. She was with me when I saw. She will tell no one. But Loki, you must listen to me. Stop this before it is too late." Her strong hands, equally used to caressing as they were to wielding a sword, squeezed Loki's arms where they held him in place and shook him to keep his attention from wandering. "You must stop this. Odin will not hear of this from me, but that says nothing of Heimdall. Do not place yourself in a position where I cannot help you, my son."
"I am not your son," Loki whispered so quietly as to almost be inaudible.
"Not by blood no, but some bonds are stronger and deeper than blood. Love between two people is one of the strongest bonds there is, and it has nothing to do with blood. I love you Loki, and nothing will ever change that. You have my word. I will always love you and protect you as my own child, but I cannot protect you from everything. There are some thing out there even I cannot withstand. Your father is one of them.
"Loki, I can and will keep this secret. But you must promise me that you will end it 'ere it goes any further. While blood makes no difference to me, Odin, as king, is bound to his people. You are not the heir, nor are you bound to be in any foreseeable future. If push comes to shove, you know what will happen. Who will suffer." She tenderly brushed a stray strand of raven black hair damp with sweat back under the helmet and whispered gently, "Please, Loki. Do not make me lose you. Not now, not ever. I love you too much."
"Lady Frigga!" hollered Volstagg's unmistakable voice. "Come and join us. I was telling our friends here about Thor's misadventure in Idunn's apple orchard, but I seem to be forgetting a few details."
Schooling her features to that of a playful happiness, "Of course, Lord Volstagg." Turning back to her terrified child, she brushed away a single tear from Loki's cheek, and pulled him into a tender hug. "Please, Loki. Heed my words."
And with that, she was gone leaving Loki to his panic and despair.
A/N: Well, there you go. Tell me what you think. Oh! And thank you to Erie-danna for pointing out a (to me) glaring spelling error in the previous chapter. Oh well, that's what I get for writing late at night.
Hey, speak of the devil. I'm actually posting this at 5:10pm... OH HECK YES! I've finally written and posted something before the sun went down. That's a first...well, a first in an extremely long time. ^_^
Rate and Review! ;)