A\N: Nothing much to say here, just a note to say that Thor is about 14 here and Loki 12.
It had started innocently enough, and perhaps Thor could not be held completely at fault, as Loki had technically started it. It had been a simple joke that had quickly spiralled out of control.
The brothers had been walking back from the training fields, still clad in their light armour. Their practice weapons had been returned, but Thor still carried his new hammer, made of real steel and not just cushioned wood. Of course, he wasn't allowed to use it in sparring, but he practiced with it to become used to the weight of a real weapon. It was something that the older prince was overtly proud of, and he constantly pointed out to his little brother that he was now 'old enough to use a real weapon,' though truth be told, it was only half the weight of one.
Their sparring session had been cut short when a serious injury to a seasoned warrior had called their teacher away, and they had been sent back an hour early. Both princes had tried to catch a glimpse of the injury, but all they'd seen was a crouching man covered in blood before their sight had been blocked and they were sent away.
During their swordplay, Loki had been soundly and unquestionably defeated, not once, not twice, but thrice in fifteen minutes—something that Thor was keen to rub in as much as he could as they walked along the golden halls. He took great pleasure in retelling the humiliating battles blow for blow.
"The look on your face when you landed on your back," the larger boy laughed like the idiotic fool he was. "I have never seen you so surprised, brother. Not even when Fandral and I replaced all your books with rocks."
Loki gritted his teeth in annoyance. He had not been amused by that 'joke' either, regardless of whether or not it was payback for another jest. He had repaid Thor in the end, though, by replacing his hammer and sword with bouquets of flowers.
"You may have bested me today, but if it had been a battle of magic then I would have beaten you within the first move."
Much to the younger prince's annoyance and frustration, his brother simply brushed off the comment with a grin. "I would have it no other way; magic is not the tool of a true warrior."
"And I would rather have brain than brawn," the intellect snapped back. Having his fill of the whole affair, he sped up his pace. "But I am glad to know that you think me a coward."
Thor frowned at his brother, quickening his steps to draw level. "My apologies, I did not mean it sincerely." His tone was genuine, perhaps realising that he was pushing the matter too far, heaping insult onto injury. "I only meant it in jest." He paused his stride to look at his brother intently.
The sable haired boy stopped with him and sighed. "There is nothing to forgive." A small white lie.
The golden prince grinned again. "Good, I would not want to scare you away from the battlefield."
Loki snorted. "It will take more than you to scare me away." And then a wicked thought came to mind, the perfect reply for vengeance: "Certainly not by someone who was defeated by a little girl."
His older brother's eyes went wide, his face colouring with the most fetching shade of red. Oh yes, Golden Boy had had no idea that he knew about the Sif incident. However, the blond's expression quickly shifted to anger, and a grinning Loki took several paces back.
"You take those words back."
"Make me." And the mischief maker turned to run, Thor hot on his heels.
Loki had one advantage over Thor: he was quicker, and he planned on using that as much to his advantage as possible. He sped down the corridor and sharply turned right to try to throw off his brother. Running down a staircase, he swung himself round the bottom and nearly flew into a serving girl. She squealed in alarm and dropped the basket she was holding, the breads spilling across the floor. The young prince called back a hasty apology, but didn't stop. He could hear Thor stumbling into the loaves, kicking one across the hallway as he attempted to not trip and fall. Loki couldn't help laughing at the image it produced in his mind, especially when his brother let out a curse that he really shouldn't have known.
Ducking down a passage to the left, he burst into Bor's Square, a courtyard that would have been pleasant if it was not for the 'invaluable' statue of the late king that towered in the centre. It was one of the few monuments to their grandfather in the castle, or the city for that matter, and from the way it glowered down at passer-bys, Loki couldn't say he was surprised.
The boy jumped over the low wall and ran across the grass, looking over his shoulder at Thor rapidly closing the gap. He leapt up onto the base of the statue and swung round, looking for the best escape. Thor skidded to a halt not six feet away from his sibling. He glared up at the smaller boy and jabbed a finger at him.
"You will not breathe a word of this to a soul. Do you hear me?"
A small laugh bubbled up and escaped Loki's wide grin. "Or what? You will send little Sif round to my chambers to scold me?"
His brother's expression darkened. The hand that gripped the hammer tightly rose, hauling the weapon high above his head in an obvious threat. The smile slipped from the target's face.
"You would never." Perhaps he really had pushed his brother too far this time. No, he was trying to scare Loki with an empty threat, to cower him into a vow of silence. The younger prince was sure of it.
"Try me." The hammer waved wildly in one hand.
Loki scowled. "Over something so petty?"
That had been the wrong thing to say. Thor's hand jerked forward, but judging from the look on his face, he had not really meant to let go of the weapon, just to frighten the younger boy into thinking he would. Loki jumped away from the statue to avoid the projectile. Fortunately for him, his brother was far from perfecting his aim. Unfortunately, the statue was not so lucky.
Loki barely had time to note that the hammer had completely missed him before he heard an almighty crack. The dark prince looked up in time to see Bor's head tumble backwards, cracking in half as it hit the pedestal, and land in the grass with a soft thud. A second later, the hammer struck the ground two feet from Loki.
Silence filled the courtyard. For a heartbeat or two the children simply started at the scene, the honoured statue of Bor standing headless and desecrated. Slowly the culprits turned to each other. Their eyes met and for a brief moment the partners in crime shared exactly the same thought: Father would be furious.
The realisation of just how dire their situation was kick-started them into action. Thor spun round and ran. Loki paused only to grab Thor's hammer, the only evidence that they had been there, and followed. They ran as if they were both chased by demons and did not stop until they had burst into Thor's chambers.
Loki rested his back against the door, his breathes coming out heavily from more than the burst of exercise, and he groaned.
"Father will murder us."
"This is ridiculous, Thor," Loki exclaimed from inside his brother's chambers. "Why are you being so pig-headedly stubborn in this matter?"
"I am not the only one being stubborn," his brother hissed back. Loki was the one who had been arguing with his sensible logic for the past half-hour. "We can mend this and no one needs know."
"Of course they do." The darker haired prince started to pace, the dramatic effect diminished every time he had to side-step the items that Thor had strewn across the room. "We cannot possibly keep this a secret."
"We can and we will. Father cannot know of this."
The younger boy actually laughed at this comment. "You think he will not notice that you have broken the statue of Bor? How do you propose we keep him from finding out?"
Thor looked away, glaring at the hammer that Loki had dropped onto the floor when he had entered, as if he could make the instrument take the blame for the whole affair. If they could just mend the damage…
The answer hit him suddenly and he felt the world brighten. He grinned across at his brother.
"Loki, you can use magic."
His confidence faded at the look the to-be-sorcerer sent him. He'd clearly just said something extremely foolish.
"Yes," Loki replied, his voice filled with such cynicism that he may as well have just told Thor that it was beyond his ability, "because altering the form of stone and melding it together is so much easier than heating water."
Thor glared back at him. How was he to know how magic worked and what was more difficult to achieve? For all he knew, Loki had already studied how to shape stone and was a master at it.
"How would I know? They sound similar enough to me."
Loki made a sound of disbelief. "Water is fluid, easy to manipulate. Stone is solid and extremely sturdy. To break down its very structure would take a great deal of my energy; to then shape it requires a level of control and finesse that I have yet to achieve. It would look more like wax from a candle than a stone statue."
"Then we shall have to feign ignorance. There is no reason for him to suspect that it was us." He was careful to put the emphasis on the last word to remind his brother that they were in this together.
"Do not be a fool," Loki hissed. "He will find out, and then we will be in more trouble than ever for not telling him immediately."
"He will be furious. I would have thought that you, of all people, would be eager to keep this secret."
"The longer we hide it, the more uncompromising he will be. I just know when and how to play my hand. If you listen and do as I say, we can come out of this with no guilt placed on us."
"Easy for you to say, you can weasel your way out and leave me standing with all the blame."
"Me? You're the favourite son; I will most likely bare the responsibility for this incident."
"Yes." Thor had little patience to argue such a moot point at present. "I am also the eldest, which means we should do as I say, and I say we do not tell Father."
"I do not care if you are king of all Asgard," Loki snapped. He spun round and walked to the door. "I am going to tell Father and sort this out."
Thor panicked. As his brother strode past, he grabbed his arm. "I will not let you."
The younger boy jerked his arm back. "And I will not let you drag me further down. If you will just let me talk to him, then all will be well. I can get us through this."
"He will see through your lies and then we will be in more trouble than ever."
Loki tried to push past him again, but this time Thor took a hold of both of his biceps. "The best way to make it through this is to pretend that we are not a part of it. If luck is with us, then we will never be suspected."
The smaller prince struggled to break free and Thor tightened his hold in fear that his brother would slide from his grasp. He never knew Loki could be so slippery.
A small gasp escaped his captive's lips. "Release me," he hissed with a small wince.
"No, you will run to Father."
"You are hurting me."
"I will let go when I know you will not take the chance to run."
"Fine! I will not run away. Now: Let. Me. Go."
Loki stilled and Thor loosened his grip. When the younger boy merely glared at him, he relaxed. Confident that is brother had calmed down, he released him.
"Good. Now that you are seeing sen— LOKI!" He growled in frustration as the younger prince ducked out of his reach and ran to the door. All the blond could do was take after him. He would not let him leave the room until he was certain his brother wouldn't confess their offense.
Reaching out, his finger snagged Loki's tunic, but the material glided over his fingers. It didn't matter, though; Thor's next step closed the gap and his hand clamped firmly onto the collar. He gave a harsh tug and Loki was brought to an abrupt halt, letting out a choked gasp before he stumbled backwards. Unfortunately, Thor could not stop so quickly. Unable to stop himself, he crashed straight into the slim boy and they tumbled to the ground. He was about to pin him down when smaller brother slipped out from under him. Damn, it was like trying to catch a fish with his bare hands. Would he not sit still!?
Thor was quickly on his feet. Loki swung open the door, no doubt planning on squeezing through as soon as it was wide enough. The older boy didn't give him time to do that, though. He barged into the door, slamming it closed with a thunderous bang. He did not think; he just knew he had to get Loki away from the door. So, taking hold of his brother, he pushed him away as hard as he could. He grinned madly, knowing that he had won, as he stood blocking the only escape and his brother flew into the heavy oak cabinet behind him.
Thor's elation did not last long, though. His smile faltered as Loki's head smashed into the oak with a painfully loud thunk that made the older prince wince. He hadn't intended for his brother to hit the cupboard, let alone that hard. He had just wanted to get him away from the door.
The younger prince's legs collapsed underneath him and he slipped to the floor. It reminded him of when Sif used to throw her dolls across the room in temper tantrums when she was little. The manner in which they fell lifelessly to the ground reminded him so much of how his brother crumpled into a heap.
Thor was not sure what scared him more—the way his brother lay motionless, or the thin red trail that Loki had left on the wood in his wake.
A/N: There you go. First chapter of a new fic, with a new beta reader, it all feels new and exciting. As always, all comments and con crits are welcome. Hopefully the next chapter should be up soon/.
Oh yeah, I'm sorry for the lame title. I was really stuck on what to name the fic so I went to default mode and just flicked though song titles (taken from the Poets of the Fall song). If anyone does come up with something better, feel free to suggest it.
A/N 2 (21/8/2013): Also, after comments of mistakes in the fic, I asked LaughableBlackStorm to re beta the entire fic. So, once all the chapters have been reposted, she will have betaed this fic. Much thanks to her on that part.