A/N: Hello all!
This one shot is a reward fic for the wonderful DGfleetfox who was my 200th reviewer for 'Guardian of the Princes'. She asked to see a little AU fic where Herja tries to help Loki come to terms with his Jotunn heritage by proving that being blue isn't all bad!
It's been great fun to write and I hope you enjoy it!
"It is conventional to call 'monster' any blending of dissonant elements. I call 'monster' every original inexhaustible beauty." – Alfred Jarry
Herja was becoming far too influenced by her fiancé's love of mischief and tricks.
Her footsteps were light on the steep stone steps as she skipped further down into the underbelly of the palace. This trip into an area of the palace she had never been before had been initially inspired by a conversation that had taken place between herself and Loki yesterday...
Herja had been holding a basket of fruit when she entered Loki's chambers to see something she had never seen before.
She had been enjoying a relaxing day off in the gardens picking fruit and talking with Thor. She had invited Loki but he had declined quietly, saying he wanted some time alone. That had bothered Herja, not because she did not like that he would not come with her, but because she was concerned that he was spending so much time alone. Since he had discovered his true parentage, he had remained with his adoptive family but he had become subdued and withdrawn; eating dinner alone and never coming to visit her like he used to.
But as she entered his room, hoping to cheer him up with freshly picked fruit and perhaps a sneaky kiss or three, she started in surprise as her blue eyes met a pair of red ones in the mirror. Loki wheeled around, the blue of his skin fading back to the paleness she was used to. Herja let the basket of fruit drop onto the desk as she said,
"Loki? Was that your Jotunn form?"
"Yes." He said shortly, his voice clipped and strained. He turned away from her again, his jaw taut. Herja seized his hand.
"Show me again?" She asked, rubbing her thumb across the back of his hand.
He tensed visibly and pulled his hand away from her. He made no response to her question but she knew he had heard her. She sighed.
"Loki? Why will you not let me see?"
"Why? Why?!" Loki hissed, his eyes stinging with angry tears. "I do not show you because I am ashamed. I am ashamed to be this...this monster." He shook his head woefully and turned away from her again. "You could not understand."
So Herja decided that she would take matters into her own hands and show Loki that she certainly did understand what he was going through. After a conversation with Frigga that morning, Herja had managed to obtain the name and location of Loki's tutor who had helped him master his magical ability. Herja was hoping that he still cared enough about his young protégée to help her.
When the stairs levelled out and the only light visible were the flickering torches on the walls, Herja found herself faced with a narrow corridor and a barred gate at the end. When she reached it, she shook it a little to check that it was indeed closed before calling,
A man appeared from the shadows stealthily, eyeing her with suspicion. "Who are you?"
She smiled reassuringly and said, "I am Herja, a valkyrie from Valhalla Hall. I am here to ask something of you; I need you to aid me in helping my fiancé."
Kvasir frowned, coming into the light a little more and Herja saw that he was old, perhaps even older than the All-Father himself. His clothes looked faded, his beard was grey and wispy and his grey eyes were cloudy.
"Who is this beloved of yours?" He asked finally, peering at her through the gaps in the gate.
"Loki, son of our All-Father. I believe he was once a student of yours – "
"Loki!" Kvasir cried, all suspicion melted away and replaced with sheer joy. "How is he? I have not seen him in quite some time!" He fiddled with the lock on the gate and it swung open. "Come in, come in! Had I known you were Loki's love then I would not have held you outside for so long!"
Herja smiled gratefully and entered his rooms which were mostly work benches filled with bubbling potions and reams of notes. He cleared a chair for her, pushing books onto the floor.
"Sit, please! What did you say your name was, my dear?"
"Herja, sir." She replied politely, beaming as he laughed and waved his hand.
"Oh, I am no sir!" He laughed again. "But I thank you for calling me it nonetheless. Now, what is it that you need my assistance with?"
And then Herja told Kvasir the events of the past few months, hoping he would understand that Loki needed help now more than ever. She told him of Thor's banishment and eventual return and, most importantly, Loki's discovery of his true parentage. By the end of the tale, he was nodding solemnly.
"Yes, I was afraid of this."
Herja was surprised. "You already knew of Loki's adoption?"
Kvasir sighed, sitting opposite her on top of large pile of books. "I had my suspicions. I knew when Odin brought him to me there was something different about him but I was not able to place it." He thought quietly for a moment before asking, "But what business is this of mine?"
"Loki is, understandably, struggling to come to terms with the knowledge that he is of Jotunn dissent. I need you to help me show him there is no shame in it."
She told him of what she wanted to do and the more she said, the more he smiled. Once she had finished outlining what she was asking of him, he beamed and said,
"You are a good woman, Herja. Loki is very lucky indeed."
Herja felt a blush burn on her face. "T-thank you. Now, where do we start?"
The journey back up into the more residential areas of the palace was difficult, more difficult that Herja realised it would be.
The cloak she thankfully had the good sense to take with her did not cover her face as much as she would like and, by the time she reached the first floor of the palace, she had already received several odd looks. She was about to hurry up the next flight of stairs when she realised something. She was doing this to show Loki that being a Jotunn was nothing to be ashamed of...so why was she hiding? She took a deep breath, unclasped the cloak and let it slide off her, hearing gasps from those passing by as she did.
Instead of feeling embarrassed, Herja felt rather empowered and continued on up the stairs, her head held high. She reached her chambers and peered at herself in the mirror, grinning as red eyes stared back at her. She changed into a plain white dress and snuck up another flight of stairs to Loki's chambers. When she saw he wasn't inside, she sat on the bed and waited for his return, anxious and excited.
Loki took the stairs slowly and deliberately, thinking over his afternoon with Thor in the library. To his surprise, since his return Thor had been kinder to Loki than he had since they were children. And that just made Loki feel more ashamed. Ashamed because of his actions and ashamed of who he was. Thor had begged him for his help to convince their father to allow Thor to pursue a mortal woman he had met on Midgard.
Their father. Loki shook his head. He wasn't sure if he should be thinking that anymore. Frigga had made it clear that she wanted him to call her mother but then that was easier anyway; Frigga had been in his life since he was young but she was not either Thor or Loki's biological mother. But Odin...he was more difficult to suss out. Loki knew he should sit with him and discuss it but he couldn't bring himself to right now. He was willing himself to change, to pull himself out of this awful depression but he couldn't.
And he was sure that Herja was going to leave him soon. They had announced their engagement not long after Thor's return, partially to cover up the scandal of the royal family, but Loki was sure it would not last. How could it? He didn't think she would be very willing to marry a Frost Giant, an enemy. A monster.
He pushed the door open with a huff, fed up with himself, and did a double take when he saw his fiancée led on his bed. He tilted his head, wondering if he was seeing things.
"Hello, Loki." She said mischievously and Loki wondered if he'd had too much of an effect on her.
"What are you doing?" He eyed her, studying her newly red eyes and blue skin with intrigue.
She sighed, flicking her hair to one side and pushing herself up onto her elbows. "I am showing you that you are not a monster."
Loki didn't know whether to feel moved, annoyed or...flustered (that dress she was wearing was very revealing). Then he noticed something else. "Where have your wings gone?"
"Oh yes, that was a side effect of the shift: no wings until it wears off. But, on the positive side, I am gorgeously blue." She winked one of her red eyes.
He sat down on the edge of the bed, unable to take his eyes off her. One of her legs pressed against the base of his back as he tried to find the words he wanted to say. "Why are you doing this, Herja?"
"Loki," She began, sitting up and taking his pale hands in her blue ones. "You are so convinced that you are some awful monster that does not deserve happiness or love. By shape shifting into a female Jotunn form, I had hoped that you could see that being a Frost Giant is nothing to be ashamed of. And after what I saw yesterday, the Jotunn form is stunning."
It was no good, he realised, he couldn't resist her. He brushed his lips over hers, touched by the fact that she had done all this for him but it seemed she would not settle for a simple light kiss. He felt her shift to her knees and wrap her arms around his neck, pressing her lips against his harder. He was just about to give in and surrender himself to her when she nipped his bottom lip and pulled away but was still close enough for him to feel her breath dancing over his skin.
"Well I have shown you mine, now I believe it is only right that you show me yours."
Loki's breath caught in his throat. "P-pardon?"
Herja grinned and brushed her fingers over his jaw. "Show me your Jotunn form."
Loki sighed, shaking his head. "Herja, I – "
"Loki!" He jumped then and realised she sounded rather cross. "What did I say this was all about? Why did I take the effort to visit your tutor and ask him to help me shape shift if not to get you to show me your true form?" She seized him on either side of his face and forced him to look her in the eyes. "Do you think I look like a monster?"
"No." He swallowed. "I think you look..." He couldn't stop his gaze slipping down to her plump lips. "...very beautiful." He leaned in to kiss her again but she pulled away, smiling softly.
"Loki...I will not kiss you yet. I want our next kiss to be in your Jotunn form."
He slumped and studied her, knowing that she would not budge on this. "Very well. But...you...please do not...I do not want to scare you."
To his surprise, she laughed loudly. "Loki, look at me!"
He couldn't stop his lips quirking into a smile. Then he closed his eyes and concentrated. He had found that he had become much improved in being able to shift into his Jotunn form and then back out of it at will. Oddly, the way he controlled it was clearing his mind and letting his control go. He heard a gasp and he opened his eyes to see his own blue hands in his lap. Herja's fingers brush his face again, only this time her fingers travelled over blue bumps and he knew that if he weren't blue, a red flush would have lit up his face. He felt so self-conscious, like he had when he was young and had been madly infatuation with Herja. Those times when she spoke to him...he would spent all of his time wishing it would happen and then, when it did, he would be lost for words. That panicked feeling was coming back to him.
His head whipped up suddenly. Her voice was low and husky and that was something he wasn't used to with her. He was used to her being beautiful, sweet, elegant but she had never really been so...demanding. Impatient, Herja took matters into her own hands and kissed him passionately, moaning softly as he pulled her on top of him. He smiled against her lips as her hands pushed against his chest, making him fall onto his back onto the bed, her legs either side of his. His hands had just slid up her thighs, playing with the hem of her dress before sliding beneath the white fabric, when the door banged open and a large figure crashed in.
"Hello, Herja, brother!" Thor threw himself into Loki's desk chair and bit into an apple noisily. "Why are you both blue?"
Loki shook his head and rested it on the bed, laughing slightly as Herja clambered off him, berating Thor for not knocking. He listened to them, closing his eyes. Maybe not that much had changed after all.
So...what did you all think? There's nothing like angsty Loki, sneaky Herja and oblivious Thor!
Please leave a review! Thanks :)