Just a little ficlet to take a break from my Marvel big bang entry. I wrote this at 4am, having gotten no sleep, so it's probably really whacky. Oh well. And never mind the timeline. Imagine that the events of Thor never happened, and Odin's sent his children to Midgard as an olive branch or something.
Five of Loki's Suitors Whom Thor Deemed Unworthy and the One Who Was Perfect
1. Loki does not always hang out with the Warriors Three, and she is not like Sif, who trains with the boys. Loki is a typical girl who likes to study magic spells and runes (although a little atypical in that she enjoys using them on others as pranks). Her relationship with them can hardly be called 'friendship'.
Isn't it odd then, that as Fandral puts on his armour one day, gaze wandering over the training grounds, that he pauses over Loki? Loki is sitting on the fence, perfectly balanced, her chin in her hands and observing a couple of other aspiring young warriors spar. She sees their every move, her eyes bright and sharp. Fandral knows that look from experience; she is plotting mischief. He is captivated.
'Do you plan on mooning over the princess all day, Fandral?' Sif hails, to laughter from Volstagg.
He blushes at being caught, and turns around, but not quick enough to escape the look that Loki gives him. It is between amusement and puzzlement, and it is a charming look on her slight, feminine features.
When did Loki grow into her long, awkward limbs and become the pretty creature she is now? Fandral muses. He has not taken a good look at her in a while.
After he is finished training and is unwinding at dinner, he watches Loki being pampered by her brother ('Are you comfortable there, sister?' 'Is the wine to your taste, sister?' 'Have you eaten enough, sister?'), and weighs the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing her as an interest. It would not be anything lasting, of course, and he supposes no one would know that better than himself. But it would be enjoyable to enter into relations with the diamond of Asgard, claim her for a few moments as his own.
On the other hand, Thor would not like it at all. It was well-known that Thor was very protective of his younger sister, and would probably destroy anybody who attempted to approach her with anything other than friendly intentions.
That, perhaps, could be half the fun of it.
Early the next day, Fandral seeks out Loki. She is in the kitchens, simply standing in a corner and smirking at the cooks and maids who pass her with wary glances. He has no idea what she is doing, but approaches her with his best smile in place.
'Good morning, Princess,' he greets.
'Good morning, Fandral,' she returns courteously, sparing him but the barest look.
'What is it that you look for in the kitchens?'
'Business that does not belong to you, I am sure.'
Her tongue is as silver as they say, and Fandral admits that he is impressed. It makes him want her more.
'I can concede that. I should leave you to your affairs of course, but before that –' He summons a rose, and offers it to her with a short bow, '- a token to the most beautiful of the ladies of Asgard.'
Loki looks surprised, and opens her mouth to answer, but she is interrupted by a mighty roar of rage. Fandral whirls around to see Thor running towards him with an expression that screamed murder.
'You dare tarnish my sister's purity with your filthy ways?' Thor bellows, his fist raised.
Fandral does not need telling twice. He drops the rose and flees through the kitchen, Thor hot at his heels.
The princess watches with a mirthful smile.
2. The feast is nothing, a meeting arranged only to maintain the peaceful bond forged between Alfheim and Asgard. The ambassador is new, having only just replaced his predecessor, and he is young. He gawks openly at the sights, and it takes a hard nudge to the ribs from his assistant for him to shut his jaw.
But he thinks he has seen nothing until he lays eyes on the princess of Asgard. She is the only daughter of Odin, and she is regal and beautiful. The only thing it seems that she has inherited from the family is the grace that always accompanies royalty, yet he thinks hers is different, somehow. Her voice when she speaks is soft, the faintest musical lilt to her tongue, and he understands in a moment why she has been granted the title of 'Silvertongue'.
'May I sit by you, Your Highness?' he asks politely at the banquet.
She smiles like the very jewels of the crown on his king's head, and it turns his stomach backwards and over. 'Of course.' She extends a fair hand in the direction of the chair next to herself.
'It is a great kingdom you have here,' he says as a means to begin conversation.
'Oh yes, Asgard is the very gem of Yggdrasil,' she answers. 'But it is not mine. It belongs to my father, and my brother. I will only ever be the Princess of Asgard.'
'But you would make a very fine queen,' he offers.
'Thank you, you flatter me,' she says, bowing her head politely.
'Pardon me, sister,' a rough voice interrupts them. The ambassador turns in his seat to see the heir to Asgard's throne, Prince Thor, towering over both of them with a haughty expression. 'I must take this man from your company a little while.'
'Certainly, brother,' and her smile widens almost sinisterly.
Let nothing more be said except that after that day, never again will the ambassador so much as allow his eye to linger on Princess Loki.
3. Tony has no excuse. She's a cute girl, she's a princess, and never let it be said that Tony Stark would pass up the opportunity to offer help to a damsel in distress.
Thor appears at SHIELD headquarters with his little sister right behind him, and she watches the proceedings with a bored expression. When Cap asks if she will be joining the Avengers, Thor's reaction is to put an arm around Loki's shoulders and draw her close to himself.
'Do you think I would risk endangering my sister in such a manner?' he says harshly.
'I'm just asking,' Cap says, hands raised in surrender.
Since she's so delicate (according to Thor, anyway) Tony decides that means she needs someone to, you know, show her around. It's a big place. She could get lost. And who knows what would happen to a beautiful young lady if she got lost in an office full of master assassins and rough men?
'Good morning, Your Highness.' Tony sidles up next to her when she is looking out over the grounds from a balcony.
Loki looks up and nods at him. 'Good morning.'
'So what're you doing hanging around if your brother thinks you can't handle it?' he asks conversationally, leaning back against the railing.
'My brother underestimates me,' she says coldly. 'I insisted that I was brought along for his visit to Midgard, and he only agreed out of affection for me. I am surprised that he has left me alone for more than five seconds.'
'Overprotective brothers aren't too good, y'know. He needs to back off and give you some space.'
She turns and surveys him with a bemused expression. 'Is that what you believe?'
'Well yeah. Don't they have feminism up there?'
'Feminism?' she repeats confusedly.
'Uh, so I'm guessing you guys don't have sexism either, if feminism's not a thing. You guys being gods and all ...'
'Perhaps if you explained the concept, I would be able to confirm or deny its existence on Asgard,' she says with a hint of impatience.
'Okay, okay, don't jump down my throat yet, Princess. Feminism is the theory that supports women's rights. Sexism is the theory that supports men and women in stereotypical gender roles. Men working for the bread, women staying at home to cook and take care of the kids and stuff, right?'
Loki turns back to the view underneath the balcony. 'Women in Asgard are typically magicians, and men are typically warriors,' she says slowly, 'but it is not unheard of to reverse roles, although the man or woman will meet disapproval from a few quarters.'
'Well Earth's not too different, either. It's only the douchebags who still believe in sexism.'
'I see,' Loki says, appearing to ponder this for a moment.
He allows her a few moments before saying 'So, want a tour of the place? I kinda helped building it, I'd be the best guide.' He winks at her, and she looks at him amusedly.
'Your offer is unwise,' she smiles, and it throws Tony off.
'Meaning my brother is behind you, and would like a word with you.' With that, she saunters off, and Tony turns around. Thor is there, looking furious.
'Um ... that was so not a pass at your sister or something,' Tony stammers lamely.
'C'mon, you can't blame me!' he blabbers, trying really, really hard to stop except he kinda can't because Thor is looking at him like he's going to throw him off the balcony and – oh shit.
4. She's not much taller than him, but she looks like she's wearing six-inch heels just from the way she stands at the counter, back poker-straight, expression commanding respect. She's alone, her hair is cut short to her shoulders, she's wearing something really long and regal and oh God, his knees are going weak just looking at her.
'J-just the coffee and pastry, Miss?' he says, one hand hovering over the till, the other on the tray with her order on it.
'Yes, thank you,' she smiles, and it reminds him of the candy store he worked in when he was 15 and how the colours and scents would drive him half-mad when he was sorting the sweets on the shelves. 'How much will that be?'
'On the house for you, Miss,' he says, regaining confidence at the move, especially as she looks surprised, then laughs.
'Thank you, you are very kind.'
Holy all deities that existed, this woman cannot be human. She walks like the goddess of beauty herself.
He harasses one of his colleagues to take over his shift 'just for half an hour, please!', then ducks out underneath the counter to join her underneath the shade of an umbrella on one of the outdoor tables.
'Hey,' he says, hands in his pocket, back straight, feet apart, trying to look self-assured, yet casual. 'Mind if I join you?'
'Not at all,' she says pleasantly, waving to the seat opposite her with the hand that holds her pastry. Even her hand wave is captivating, he thinks. 'I owe it to you, after all. I understand it is not usual to buy customers free lunch. Especially here, where you know not of my heritage.'
Crap, he hasn't landed himself some kind of British noblewoman, has he? No wait, that would be awesome. That would be something to brag about. Some pretty foreign lady with ranking talking to a lowly barista like him. Oh, please let this be real.
'Pardon me, Miss, but what do you mean?' he asks in what he hopes is his most dignified and gentlemanly tone.
'I am not of this – country,' she answers, biting delicately into the pastry. He sincerely hopes she hasn't heard his intake of breath at the action – how is everything she does so sensual? 'I am a princess of a different place.'
It's worse than he thought. She's a fucking princess. No, no, no, he can totally handle this. He's cool.
'I-I'm flattered you're mingling with the common people, and in a foreign country too,' he manages to say without sounding too desperate. He hopes.
She raises an eyebrow. 'You will not be happy about it much longer, I think.'
He knew it. Too good for him. How could he have been so stupid to hope? His face falls and he feels like a class-A idiot, but he bravely ploughs on. 'And why's that, Miss?'
'Because my brother is not at all happy with the attention you are giving me,' she says calmly, before he finds his feet off the floor, and he's face to face with a very angry-looking muscle-builder.
'BRAVE MORTAL YOU ARE THAT YOU DARE APPROACH MY SISTER?' the brother thunders, and he decides that today was so not worth it.
5. Of course, Darcy's heard about Loki's guard dog by now. After the incident where Tony ended up sprawled on the grass, saved by breaking any bones by a rose bush, but ending up with numerous cuts and literal thorns in his side for a week, word went around not to touch the Asgardian princess. She's off-limits.
And Darcy's not gonna hit on her, honest. She just wants to talk. Loki seems like a cool girl. And lonely sometimes, too. She likes to watch the boys (and Nat) spar, but Thor doesn't let her join in, so she watches with a wistful look. Darcy bets that Loki could take Barton on, and would, if Thor didn't restrict her movements so much. Darcy thinks it's a crying shame.
Darcy sees her opportunity when Loki's eating a quiet lunch by herself in the library. She's poring over a hardback, holding a sandwich in one hand. Miraculously, she manages to swallow every crumb. Not one bit falls onto the book, or sticks to her lips. Darcy guesses it's a royalty thing, then takes a seat opposite her.
'Hey, you mind?' Darcy says.
'It is not my library,' Loki replies with a casual wave of her hand, that somehow manages to not dislodge any crumbs.
'How do you do that?'
'Read and eat at the same time?' Loki asks sardonically.
'Eat a sandwich and not drop a crumb,' Darcy says, ignoring the slight.
'Child's play for the princess of Asgard,' Loki sniffs arrogantly, and Darcy decides she was right. Loki is totally cool.
'Why do you let Thor control so much of your life?,' she decides to ask without preamble. 'It is yours, isn't it? I mean like, Asgardians aren't bound to obey the guys in their family, are they? Or is there like some kind of sub-dom dynamic?'
Loki clearly has no idea what 'sub-dom' is, but says 'Thor is the heir to the throne of Asgard and the future king. To disobey him would be unwise.'
'But he loves you so much, wouldn't he let you more freedom if you asked?'
'I have as much freedom as I could wish,' Loki says coolly.
'Even though that much freedom isn't really considered normal on Earth?' Darcy asks eagerly, folding her arms on the table and leaning forward ever so slightly.
'I am not a Midgardian, fool,' Loki scowls.
'Hey, don't be mad!' Darcy says with a half-hearted surrendering gesture. 'I think it's cool that you don't care what other people think.'
There is a moment where Loki looks at Darcy with a curious expression, then smiles. Darcy takes this to mean that she's safe, and says 'Do you like being controlled by your brother all the time?'
'What are you implying?' Loki asks, but she doesn't sound dangerous.
'Nothing. I'm just curious. You always do what Thor says. Like, why?'
'He is my brother. Is that not reason enough?'
'Well I kinda don't get it. I wouldn't do everything my brother tells me to do.'
'Your Midgardian culture is different, how often must I say it before it penetrates your thick skull?' Loki says, irritated, and turns back to her book.
'Okay, I didn't say that properly. It's different here on Earth, so I wanna know what it's like up there.'
Six seconds of silence before Loki tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and finally looks up, saying 'Thor has my best interests at heart. As a fragile porcelain doll,' she spits out the words with venom, 'I must do as he says so no harm can befall me.'
'Do you resent Thor?'
Loki looks hard at Darcy, but Darcy refuses to break eye contact. She revels in triumph when Loki says 'Sometimes.'
'That's not a bad thing. Why don't you tell him that?'
'It would upset him,' Loki sighs, and it's kinda cute. Little sister still shadowing her big brother, who'll protect her from the monster under her bed. Thor and Loki are mature in ways that humans couldn't dream of achieving, but there's a kind of naïveté there too.
'You ever dated someone before?' Darcy asks after half a minute of stillness.
'Of course not,' Loki scoffs. 'You've seen Thor.'
'But he only acts like that around guys, right? Would you consider dating ... a girl?' Darcy bites her lip, excitement beginning to sparkle in her eyes. 'That'd be fun, right? And I'm a girl, so I couldn't hurt you.'
'That ... is a new idea ...' Loki begins slowly, frowning, and not quite looking at Darcy. But Darcy gets the feeling Loki would say 'yes' just to rebel, for the chance to be different. Loki looks Darcy in the eyes again, and Darcy's just about to begin planning a first date at the greasy diner downtown as a prank, when a shadow falls across the table.
She knows what's going on instantly. Hey, it was fun while it lasted.
'It was a joke,' Darcy says, backing her chair by an inch, hands up, expression as playful as she can manage, but insides shifting uncomfortably. She heard about the poor barista that Thor left in a back alley skip. She does not want to end up in a skip. 'Like, gigantic "what if", right? You know. It'd be funny. Loki wouldn't say yes anyway, right?'
Instead of dignifying the question with a response, Loki closes the book and gets up. She stuffs her sandwich into Thor's mouth, kisses his cheek, then leaves two stunned individuals staring after her.
Then Darcy falls to the floor laughing hysterically.
+1. Thor is not an idiot. Thor is very clever. He has been taught from a young age things from how to rule a realm, how to keep peace between all realms, right down to simpler things like growing his own grapes. So he really, really, is not stupid.
But he feels moronic right now. Because the answer has been staring him in the face for centuries and he hasn't seen it.
'I will not lie and say I have been waiting for you for almost all my millennium of living,' Loki says casually. 'But you are rather slow.'
'Apologies,' Thor chokes out once he manages to swallow past the thick lump in his throat that arises from the sight of his sister draped over the sofa in his room, her body stretched long and inviting. 'I – it did not occur to me –'
'I do not need your excuses, brother, now come here.' The last three words are bit out as an order, causing heat to coil in the pit of Thor's stomach. He hurries to her, bending down onto his knees by her side.
'What do you say?' she commands, running fingers down the side of his face. He shivers at the touch, and it takes all his self-control to ground himself and think of his answer.
'Sister ... please,' he gasps.
Loki drops her hand and sighs, and Thor gives a whine. 'You are pathetic, and extremely lucky that I love you.'
'A-absolutely, yes,' Thor breaths, and he doesn't know what either of them has said.
So Loki gives in, pulling him in for a searing kiss, and a long night.