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It was a warm late summer's afternoon and a solitary figure was enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the river.

Sighing contentedly, Loki sat on a fine woollen cloak, propped up by her elbows and simply revelled in the calm atmosphere.  On the cloak, lay a pair of beautiful yet deadly throwing knives, as well as a dark brown, leather saddlebag containing a chunk of fresh bread and cheese, a chicken leg, a selection of wild berries and a skin of fresh water.  Her dark green skirts were hiked up to mid-thigh and her long, shapely legs dangled over the river's edge as her feet absently moved back and forth in the cool, clear depths.  Loki threw her head back, causing the long, sleek sable tresses to cascade wildly over slender shoulders as she closed her eyes and allowed the sun's rays to warmly caress her face.

In theory, Loki was supposedly researching new spells at the palace library; in practice – after sneaking a couple of thick tomes containing magical texts from said library – she was avoiding her tutor, whom she’d fallen out with earlier that day when the doddering old fool had stated that as a woman, she had no business in learning or understanding Asgardian politics.  That a woman’s place, whether as a Royal or a commoner, was to hold her tongue, keep her opinions, no matter how well intentioned or thought out they were, to herself and to always know her place … and that place ?  Silently submissive and subservient to the man of the house.  Loki, naturally, reacted badly to the blinkered man’s antiquated beliefs and had dealt him such a tongue-lashing, that had her words been blades, she would’ve surely drawn blood.  Afterwards, she’d stormed out of the library, fuming and had been lucky to elude her tutor for the remainder of the day.  Yet Loki was keenly aware that no matter how long she kept her head down and remained hidden, her parents would surely come to hear of her vehement outburst and knowing the All-Father, he would be most displeased with her behaviour … something which he always unfailingly found cause to condemn.    

Despite what many thought of her, she wasn't a self-absorbed or self-centred person, but there was one thing that Loki insisted upon and in this matter she refused to bend or yield to anyone.  She liked spending time alone, just to reflect and unwind.  Time she could call her own, to do as she pleased.  And right now, at this very moment, Loki intended to do exactly that.  Just close her eyes, let her mind drift completely & enjoy the warm sunshine as it tickled her bare skin.  To be at peace with the world.  Alone.  Undisturbed.  And with only her precious books for company.

All in all, it was Loki's idea of heaven.  Sheer bliss.

Loki's lips curved into a gentle smile of contentment as she absorbed the surrounding noises. Birdsong ... the sound of running water ... the breeze softly rustling the long grass and the leafy canopy which partially shaded her from the sun’s warm rays.  Sighing once more, Loki stretched out her legs and raised her feet out of the water, allowing the cool, wet rivulets to trickle down her heated skin, giving welcome relief.  The heat made her feel drowsy.  Indolent.  She stretched once more.  Her movements gracefully feline and languorous.  Perfectly at peace, Loki's mind began to wander as it was often wont to do to the subject that was never far from her mind.  The All-Father.  And her family … the ones she cared for. The ones she loved.

As always, Odin was the first one she thought of.  Just thinking of the All-Father had Loki’s  striking green eyes narrowing in contempt.  The gentle smile which curved her lips became a sneer.  It was a look that hardened her lovely face.  This hadn’t always been the case.  There had been a time where Loki adored her father.  Practically worshipped the ground he walked on.  Would have done anything to gain his favour.  To please him.  But not anymore.  Not after that fateful day.  The day she finally discovered why Odin always favoured her brother.  Why Odin was always so quick to judge and find fault with her.  Why he always denigrated her and her aptitude for magic.  Why he never cared for her.  And the reason for all those “why’s?”  She wasn’t of his blood.  Wasn’t kith nor kin to him.  No, she was nothing but a mere foundling.  A Jotun babe taken from a temple’s sanctuary.  A relic stolen along with the Winter Casket from her true home.  Jotunheim. 

And all the love and respect Loki once bore for the All-Father vanished.  Disappeared as swiftly as the winter snow during the first thaw of Spring.  The Loki of old ceased to exist.  Lost, deeply hurt, betrayed, humiliated and full of anger, Loki’s heart hardened and became as cold as ice where Odin was concerned.  He had knowingly tricked the Trickster for so long, for reasons known only to himself and being duped was something Loki didn’t take kindly.  It was something she wasn’t willing to forgive … nor forget.  Ever.  And as far as Loki was concerned ?  She no longer considered the All-Father to be her “father.”  He lost that right, that privilege, the moment he knowingly decided to conceal her true identity from her.

Naturally, her thoughts then drifted to her “mother,” Frigga.  No matter how badly Loki longed to hate her adoptive mother, she found it impossible to do so.  The willowy, kindly goddess known as the All-Mother, had always treated Loki as her “brother’s” equal.  Although there’d often been times, Loki fondly recalled, where Frigga had favoured her over Asgard’s Golden Prince and those instances had meant the world to a young, confused Loki.  Still did, if truth be told.  And to this day, Frigga continued to respect, care for and love Loki – even if she did often despair of her adopted daughter’s fun-loving, mischievous streak - as much as her adored son.  And Loki ?  Well, she couldn’t help but return that care and respect, for she loved Frigga deeply. 

Feeling sleepy under the heat of the sun, Loki gave a yawn, then stretched languorously before lying comfortably on top of her cloak.  She sighed happily as she thought of her best friend.  Her partner-in-crime.  Or rather mischief.  Her “brother.”

Tall, well over the six foot mark, strappingly built with long, golden hair, a neatly trimmed, sun-streaked beard and cobalt blue eyes, her sibling was a strikingly handsome man and her elder by four years.  Boisterous, adventurous, fun-loving and far brighter than given credit for, he was always the one she could rely upon and turn to whenever she had a problem … not that she’d ever consider doing so, well, not without some sort of a protest.  And he, in turn, believed she clearly needed his protection at all times.  A thought which constantly amused Loki, as she was more than capable of taking care of and defending herself.

A soft, gentle smile curved Loki's lips as she mused about her older brother.  Bold, confident and funny, he was extremely popular with the palace's female residents and had no shortage of admirers.  And he hadn't been shy about taking advantage of it, when he had an itch that needed to be scratched ... Then, to Loki’s horror – until she remembered they weren’t blood kin – and bemusement, he'd been the one who'd silently crept under her defences and unwittingly captured and stolen her heart with his laidback, fun-loving, winsome yet passionate nature.  For the first time in her life, Loki did the unthinkable ... She fell for him.  Hard.  And to her astonishment, he reciprocated her feelings and returned them wholeheartedly.

Loki gave a heartfelt sigh.  Without even trying, the attractive,” impulsive fool” meant everything to her.  Thor had become her world.  He was the first person she thought of when she woke in the mornings and the only person on her mind last thing at night before she fell asleep.  And her dreams ... ?  Well, they were full of him.  In a way, it was laughable and so out of character.  Her.  Loki.  The woman reputed to be the most hard-headed, cold-hearted bint throughout the whole of Asgard.  Who didn't believe in love and thought it was a fool's game ... The palace’s resident, prank-loving minx had finally fallen victim ... had softened her heart and succumbed to her feelings.  Beguiled by a deep, husky voice which made her pulse race; mesmerized by striking, intelligent, sky-blue eyes which effortlessly penetrated her thoughts and clearly saw into her soul and captivated by an endearingly cheeky grin that never failed to coax a smile from her own lips.

The more she thought about Thor, the more she found to like in him.  Even though she knew the Odinson heir's reputation for being short-tempered and impatient preceded and made everyone wary of him, in Loki's eyes, Thor was perfection itself.  Not the flawed, reckless trouble-maker which his lying, conniving father - in Loki's mind - erroneously and stupidly believed.  His little quirks and foibles, although sometimes irritating, only added to his charm and made him irresistible to her.  They were what made him appear human ... and what made him humane.  What made her love him with all of her heart.  Whether Thor realized it or not, he now owned her.  She was his completely and she knew instinctively, that no other would ever compare to him ... or replace him in her affections.

As far as Loki was concerned, she was in love and was loved - in her opinion - by Asgard’s finest.  Its sun.  The realm’s heart and soul.  The God of Thunder, the most handsome of all its deities.  And his beauty wasn't just skin deep either.  He had an inner beauty, as well as strength and fire.  Just the sight of him alone was enough to make her heart race wildly.  Whether bone weary, bloody and bedraggled from battle or simply completely at ease and enjoying the company of his companions and fellow warriors, he simply took her breath away.

Yawning once more, Loki felt her eyelids droop and with a gentle sigh, finally succumbed to sleep.  Her thoughts as always, firmly captivated by the golden, charming “oaf” that owned her heart.


And that's how he finally found her.

Slumbering peacefully.  Surrounded, unsurprisingly, by her beloved books.  She lay curled up on her right side upon the cloak; her head resting upon a snow-white forearm, with the highlights of her blue-black tresses shining like a raven’s glossy plumage beneath the sun's rays.  Her normally vibrant beauty appearing serene for once.  With lithe, feline grace he silently crouched beside her, his lips curving into a loving smile as he reached out his right hand to tenderly sweep a stray lock of hair away from her brow.

Loki shifted slightly and softly murmured something which sounded suspiciously like his name.  Her thin, sensual, oh-so kissable lips transforming from their usual seductively thoughtful pout to a warm, genuine smile.  The one she reserved for him alone.  His breath suddenly hitched as he realized she was clearly dreaming of him.  Even while in repose, Loki stole his breath away ... and caused his leathers to feel unbearably snug around his nethers.

Groaning inwardly, he moved slightly, transferring his body weight to ease the sudden, heavy discomfort he felt ... He was all too aware of the increasing pressure of his hard, thickening member straining against the confines of his leathers.  An intense ache of need and want that Loki alone was capable of inducing within him.  It never ceased to amaze him that this tall, lissome, dark haired, green eyed beauty held such overwhelming power over him ... and that she was completely oblivious of that power.  That the woman who'd been his sibling, best friend and closest confidante since infancy had now, somehow, unwittingly enslaved him ... and captured his heart.

Before Loki, he'd always been the "love 'em and leave 'em" kind.  Unable or not wanting to commit.  Only seeking amusement and instant gratification whilst keeping his emotions firmly in check.  He was all too aware of how most of the wenches he’d bedded were only attracted to his Royal status and the prestige of being a Prince’s consort.  And that's what made him keep his distance.  The knowledge that those wenches were only out for what they could get out of him.  And then Loki happened ... and promptly turned his entire world completely upside down.

Bold, bolshie, fiercely independent, proud Loki.  A feisty, spirited wench who's wickedly mischievous sense of humour equalled his own.  A fiercely intelligent woman who continuously thirsted for knowledge and one who skilfully wielded her sharp tongue in the same manner an experienced warrior used a lethal blade.  Swift.  With deadly precision and often, without mercy.  Loki possessed a rare and stunning beauty and sensuality which had his heart racing and made him weak at the knees.  But more importantly and to Thor’s astonishment, they shared the same sense of humour and devil-may-care attitude, enjoyed creating mischief and could never resist a challenge. Basically, Loki was his equal in every way imaginable ...

Warm, observant, cobalt orbs hungrily feasted upon the sight of the beauty that had him bewitched, beguiled and completely under her spell.  He slowly shook his head as he struggled to comprehend that this lovely, untameable creature had chosen him to be her lover.  That she wanted him.  Him.  Not what he had or could give her.  Just him.  That she was in love with him and had allowed him to be her first.  With a gentle sigh, he moved to lie facing her, his head resting upon his left forearm, marvelling at the fact that she was his.  All his.

He grinned when a slight breeze made her nose twitch.  Then an elegant hand lethargically rubbed it, before she settled down once more.  Feeling mischievous, he absently plucked a blade of grass and used it to idly tickle the tip of her nose.  Loki's hand immediately swatted the blade away, causing him to stifle a snigger.  Suddenly, that very same elegant hand fastened around his wrist in a deceptively vice-like grip.  She stirred and gazed at him with drowsy, sultry eyes that slowly widened in recognition and delight.

"Th-Thor ? Is ... Is that you ? Truly you ? " she breathed, hardly daring to believe her own eyes.  Nodding, he grinned and shifted his powerful frame, closing the gap between them.

"Aye, Trouble ... it's me ..." he replied huskily, reaching down to brush his lips against her forehead.

"Gods ! It is you ... It really is." Loki reluctantly released his wrist and sat up.  A tremulous smile graced her lips as Thor immediately followed suit. "They said you wouldn't be back 'til tomorrow at the earliest- "

"We finished earlier than expected ... and I had an added incentive to come back," he paused when he felt the warm, soft skin of her palm gently cradle his cheek.

"A-And what was that ?" Loki sounded unusually hesitant, yet her limpid emerald eyes firmly held his intense gaze. Enthralling him.

"I wanted to see my Trickster," he replied with a gruff honesty.  Want thickened his husky voice.  "I missed my feisty, wilful, bad girl- "

"Why ... you- " Loki began indignantly, only to fall silent when she felt the pressure of his lips tingle against her sensitive palm. "Oh ..."

"You impudent oaf !" she muttered as she felt those very same lips curve into a smirk. "There are times when you can be the absolute limit- "

The rugged blond moved his head a fraction in order to watch her calmly. "Aye, I know ... and that's why you love me ..."

Blushing faintly, Loki bowed her head, causing her long raven locks to fall forward and partially conceal her face.  She murmured softly, "Gods help me, I do ... I truly do. Warts 'n' all, you cocky bastard.  Warts 'n' all ..."

Chuckling, the God of Thunder immediately placed a forefinger beneath her chin, tilting it upwards, forcing Loki to meet his gaze and causing the pink tint on her high cheekbones to deepen. "As I you, minx ... as I love you."

Loki gracefully sprang to her feet and hastily smoothed down her skirts, covering toned thighs and long, slim legs from Thor's heated gaze. His barely audible, needy moan of disappointment drew a faint, teasing smile to her lips. She bent down and began to gather her belongings and bundled them hastily within her cloak.

"I'm glad to see you back safe and well, Thor ... Now, are you going to get off your arse, or not ?" Then without warning, she grabbed the water skin and tipped its contents over him.  Completely drenching his tunic.

"LOKI ! " Thor growled, carding his fingers through his soaked golden mane, sweeping it away from his face as he leapt nimbly to his feet.  His eyes narrowed with intent as he stalked towards her.

Backing away warily, Loki giggled breathlessly. "Now, Thor ... don't do anything hasty.  Aye ?  I didn't mean anything bad by it ... Just wanted you to get off your lazy arse and back home, so I can show you exactly how much I missed you ..."

"Lazy arse ? Me ?" The fair-haired God slowly licked his lips in anticipation, his eyes never leaving his lover's flushed face.  Taking in her bright dancing eyes and ready, teasing smile. "Just wait 'til I get my hands on you, you little hellion- " He made a sudden lunge for her and it was only her swift reflexes and agility which helped her evade his grasp.

"You'll have to catch me first !" she teased. An impish gleam lit up her eyes, making them sparkle.

Thor shook his head in awe of her nerve. "You are so on, woman ... By the time I've finished showing you how much I've missed you, Loki, you won't be able to leave our bed for days !"

"Promises ... Promises !" a laughing Loki retorted, then gave a shriek and fled as her beloved oaf  immediately gave chase and followed her back home.