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Green-Eyed Monster

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Green-Eyed Monster

The sound of the door being slammed violently shut resonated throughout the large, luxurious chamber.

Breathless, hurt and humiliated, the tall, willowy, raven-haired Trickster, impatiently stripped off her green dress and rolling it into a ball, hurled it to the furthest corner of the room in a fit of pure glacial pique. Clear emerald eyes glittered with unshed tears as she scanned the room, taking in the food on the table which had now gone cold and was past its best and the full skin of ale she'd brought especially for him. The sight of them made her heart lurch. Her gaze then fell malevolently once more upon the green dress. The one he'd always claimed was his favourite, as the gown's material clung lovingly to her figure, making the most of her assets.

"Pig !" Loki spat viciously and tucked a stray lock of glossy hair behind her ear as she stalked over to the bed and reached under a pillow for her chemise. She then hastily wriggled into the garment, pausing only to smooth the white shift over her hips. "Arrogant, selfish oaf ! Who the Hel does he think he is ? If he thinks he's getting away with this, he's got another thing coming. All-Father's heir or not … No one disrespects me like that and gets away with it … No one !"

XXXXXXXXX

The Golden Prince lurched unsteadily along the corridor which led from the Great Hall to the Royal Family's quarters. The hour was late and he'd just left a feast which had been held – yet again – in honour of himself and his loyal companions, Sif and the Warriors Three, who'd successfully returned from yet another quest.

Their welcome home had been warm and effusive, yet for Thor it had been marred by the absence of the one person he'd longed to see above all others. The one who'd effortlessly claimed his body and soul and had captured his heart without even realizing it. Asgard's very own Silver Tongue. His Trickster. Loki.

From the moment he and the others stepped – well, in Fandral's case it had been more of a strut than anything – into the Great Hall, Thor's strapping frame positively thrummed in anticipation. Nervous tension coiled in his gut like a serpent poised to strike at the first opportunity … at the very first sight of his precious, green-eyed temptress. His beloved Loki.

Yet despite constantly scanning the huge chamber for even a glimpse of the raven-haired sorceress, of Loki there was no sign. And although Thor accepted Loki's reluctance to attend large gatherings and functions and that her preference lay with peace and solitude, he couldn't help feeling the pang of acute disappointment caused by the lack of her presence. It gnawed at his heart in the same manner the palace hounds worried the bones they came across on the Great Hall's floor on feast days.

After a while, he lost heart waiting for his elusive younger "sibling" to show her face. And having lost heart, he turned to his four companions – some of them who were well into their cups – for solace.

As the night progressed and the ale continued to flow, Thor's thoughts eventually turned away from Loki. He succumbed willingly to the influence of his high-spirited friends as they caroused and made merry and, in doing so, forgot all about a certain, bewitching Lie-smith. Forgot about her entirely and in his inebriated state, allowed himself to be thoroughly distracted by an attractive, flaxen-haired, blue-eyed serving wench. One who was all too eager to flirt with and shamelessly throw herself at him, much to an envious Sif's chagrin. Envy that intensified the moment she realized Thor was more than happy to accept and reciprocate her advances.

Glaring at the girl, Yrsa, through narrowed eyes, Sif's previous good humour faded away. The expression on her lovely face became sullen as she failed to comprehend why Thor was incapable of returning her affections … that he preferred to dally with and enjoy the company of numerous, identical, fair-haired simpletons. Why he would prefer giggling, simpering fools over a proven, skilled warrior who had a brain and wasn't afraid to use it. Sif shook her head unhappily at the thought and her smooth brow furrowed as Thor, predictably drew the giggling, buxom blonde onto his lap, trapping her in an unyielding hold.

The final straw came when the Golden Prince, who'd been nuzzling the column of Yrsa's throat, allowed his right hand to roam freely beneath her dark blue skirts, slowly revealing inches of smooth, tanned thigh which he leisurely wrapped around his waist, before burrowing his golden head in her voluptuous cleavage, causing Yrsa to throw her blonde head back as she writhed against him.

A snarl of disgust escaped Sif's full lips as she rose abruptly from the table. The rough scrape of her chair against the hall's stone floor instantly drew both Volstagg and Hogun's attention. Ignoring Hogun's dark, impassive gaze as well as the obvious pity in Volstagg's kindly blue-grey eyes, Sif wordlessly stormed out of the Great Hall, her toned, willowy frame coiled with tension and frustration. Both men were aware of the Shield-Maiden's feelings for the God of Thunder and that nothing would come of it and they were also shrewd enough to keep their own counsel on the matter. Volstagg sighed heavily as he met Hogun's concerned gaze and shrugged his broad shoulders helplessly, before wisely deciding not to become involved and hoping fervently that the situation wouldn't turn out badly.

Thor meanwhile, had been oblivious to his friend's anguish and his attention was firmly fixed on the wanton girl pressed against him. The feel of her small hands roaming across his torso, before slowly descending and coming to rest upon his thick, hard shaft covered by snug-fitting black leather. Smirking with satisfaction, Yrsa braced her left hand upon Thor's shoulder and shifted until she was able to straddle his hips. Her other hand briefly toyed with the laces of his leathers, before pressing boldly against his erection and flashing him an unmistakable "come hither" look through lowered lashes. Thor groaned throatily. His muscular arm flexed around her waist and she began to grind against him, as she nipped his jawline and throat.

And then it happened.

Thor felt an unexpected icy chill in the air and a shudder coursed through him. The chill was accompanied by a clean, fresh scent that reminded him of the first snowfalls of winter. It also briefly made him think of Loki. Yet just as swiftly as the thought entered his head, Thor dismissed it along with any further notions of his errant sibling and turned his attention to Yrsa once more. His large hand skimmed Yrsa's slender waist to cup and fondle a full breast. Thor's lustful touch was by no means affectionate, yet it made her keen softly. The sound instantly had Thor lowering his head to hungrily claim her lips.

Another cold blast of air swept past the God of Thunder, raising gooseflesh across his skin in a parody of a lover's feather-light caress. Although brief, the sensation lingered and somehow, inexplicably, felt oddly familiar. As if he'd experienced it before …

It almost felt like a warning of sorts. An omen. Yet Thor, having fallen prey to the ale, stubbornly chose to ignore it. And that proved to be a mistake …

"Traitor !"

The soft-spoken accusation startled Thor. He withdrew abruptly from Yrsa, breaking the kiss. Feeling disgruntled, she pouted then attempted once more to close the gap between them, only to discover he was distracted. That she was no longer the sole focus of his attention.

Thor meanwhile, appeared to be frozen, his sky-blue eyes full of confusion. For an instance he almost believed, could've sworn he'd felt Loki's presence. The weight of her pure emerald gaze locking upon and skewering him. The accusation of betrayal in their clear depths piercing him to his very core. The Thunderer abruptly shook his head in denial and almost convinced himself that he was imagining the Trickster's proximity. That he'd actually felt her touch. Had heard her speak …

"You are a fool, Son of Odin … A betrayer of trust …"

The words although uttered softly, rang in Thor's ears. The "bite" in them so very Loki-ish which made Thor feel a pang of guilt. He spun in his chair, dislodging a grumpy and neglected Yrsa from his lap. Thor rose to his feet, half-expecting to see Loki standing behind him, hands on hips, chin raised defiantly, the shade of her eyes a baneful, malevolent green and her sharp, deadly tongue poised to stab him to the quick.

Yet to his surprize, there was no Loki standing behind him. Nor could he feel her presence. But the damage had been done. He no longer wanted Yrsa's company. Didn't want her in his bed or felt the need or desire to take her. All he could think of was Loki. How much badly he needed her … That he wanted her desperately, but more importantly, that he loved her more than anything. More than life itself.

That thought alone was enough to goad him into action. With a cursory nod in Volstagg's and Hogun's direction and a purposeful glint in his eyes, he strode out of the Great Hall in search of a certain raven-haired, green-eyed mischief maker.

XXXXX

To say the Trickster was upset would be an understatement. "Upset" didn't even begin to cover how she felt.

She knew he was home before she even laid eyes on him. She could always tell. Always knew the precise moment he returned to Asgard; could sense the exact moment he would stalk across the realm's borders like a sleek, powerful, territorial feline. Whether it was a slight change in the atmosphere. The silent awe his presence naturally commanded ... The warm, tingling feeling of anticipation she felt ... Or some kind of sixth sense ... it was of no matter. She always knew ...

His effect on her was always the same.

The way he could make her lose all rational thought. The way he never failed to exasperate her beyond belief or left her quietly amused by his actions whenever she found herself in his presence. How her heart would race madly at the sight of him. How his deep, gravelly voice would make her knees buckle with need and longing ... and how his shrewd, observant gaze would fall upon her, leaving her breathless with anticipation … and full of longing. All reactions and emotions she fought to conceal from him, lest he discovered her weakness for him and decided to prey upon it. And up to now, she'd been successful … until he'd played her for a fool. For that was exactly what Thor had done. He'd wounded her pride and crushed her fragile heart and for those offences alone she desired vengeance. She would make him pay …

Her honour and self-respect demanded it. Craved it. Needed it.

Loki prowled restlessly across the chamber floor, oblivious to the cool marble slabs and luxurious fur pelts beneath her bare feet.

It had been weeks since she'd last seen him and even now she could recall their last encounter all too clearly. Could remember him trying to quietly sneak into this very chamber – her sanctuary – in the early hours of the morning of his departure. The morning when he and his merry band of four fools were leaving for yet another pointless quest for glory. Loki suddenly shook her head in denial. No, not four fools, she swiftly corrected herself. Three … There was no way she would include Volstagg among that company of witless, idiotic arse-lickers. Despite her contrariness, Loki had always been fond of the big man. Genuinely liked him for his big heart and gentle soul and respected and admired his loyalty, honesty and courage as a warrior. But the other three ? She cared for them not one bit.

Fandral the Dashing … Loki gave an inelegant snort of disdain. That smug, vain, foppish prat who always believed himself to be irresistible to any poor wench who had the misfortune to stumble across his path. Any feeling he managed to elicit in Loki was severe nausea and repulsion and a desperate need to punch him in the face. Or strike him in the balls. Hard. And repeatedly …

Then there was Hogun. Or, commonly known as Hogun the Grim. Never had she come across a man who was so dull or so dour in personality. Loki snorted once more as she hastily re-considered that final assessment. What personality, for mercy's sake ? It'd be easier to find more cheer in a graveyard than in that silent, morose barbarian.

And finally, Sif. There was no way Loki was going to address her as "Lady Sif." Not when the arrogant, self-righteous, jumped up madam was anything but … No, Sif was a bitch. One of the first order. And why did Loki think that ? Well, it took one to know one … and for all of Loki's faults, she never denied that she was a bitch. In fact, she took a great deal of pride in being one, especially when it was wielded as a weapon. As a form of self-defence.

There had always been a fierce rivalry between Loki and Sif. From the moment they'd first met they'd clashed. And since then, almost every encounter they shared would result in a cat-fight of sorts. Sif, relying on brute strength and a desperate need to hurt and humiliate Loki by any means possible and Loki, retaliating with her cunning, using her wits and the sharpness of her tongue to wound the Shield-Maiden. Cutting her to the quick with ease and deadly precision. No, there was no love lost between both women. And now there was another bone of contention.

Thor.

Ever since Loki discovered Sif's growing affection and attraction towards the God of Thunder, Loki's contempt for the female warrior turned into intense loathing. She hated the way her rival for Thor's heart constantly shadowed his every move in her determination to be at his side. Loki hated the way Sif would flirt with him. The way she'd always try to curry his favour by demeaning and disrespecting Loki at every given opportunity in a woeful attempt to turn him against his "sibling." Loki found Sif's attempts to lure Thor pathetic. Pitiful, considering Thor was oblivious to his friend's attentions as his heart was firmly set elsewhere …

Yet despite the fact that Thor loved or claimed he was in love with her, Loki couldn't help doubting it. Although appearing outwardly confident and self-assured, all that was just a front. An enormous, thick, defensive wall she used to hide all her insecurities. Inwardly, Loki was just that. Insecure and lacking in self-worth. And for the life of her, she couldn't see what it was that drew Thor to her. How he could claim to need her. How he could want someone so … so insignificant. What made him love her so.

Astoundingly, Thor refused to be swayed. He assured her constantly of his love, devotion and loyalty to her. That he was Loki's and would always remain so. But Loki's doubts still lingered, no matter how often or genuine Thor's reassurances were. She couldn't help it, for they were deeply ingrained within her soul. And now, having discovered what had happened during this evening's feast, those doubts and insecurities refused to be cowed.

Loki wrapped toned, bare arms around her slender waist, in a vain attempt to hold herself together. She fought to keep her composure under control, yet feared it was a losing battle. Thor had vowed to her that morning, made a promise that she would be the first person he'd seek and spend time with alone upon his return. Yet that hadn't been the case.

Instinctively, she'd known the exact moment of his arrival. Had prepared for it carefully. She'd even raided the royal kitchen for his favourite foods as well as the finest ale. Nothing had been too much trouble for him. And she'd done it all. Eagerly. Willingly. Anticipating his boisterous mood and irrepressibly high spirits as he'd burst into her chamber. The sensation of his strong arms wrapped around her; his hard body covering hers. Thor's gentle touch and the feel of his lips on hers. The sight of him alone, the sound of his deep, husky voice and his scent … That attractive, musky, virile scent that was purely Thor.

To her great dismay, Thor never showed up. He'd broken his word. His bond. The oath he'd solemnly made to her that morning before he left with his companions. And that wounded Loki deeply. Hurt and disappointment quickly turned to glacial anger. And with that anger, came an intense need to find out what had kept him from her side. What made him forget her.

FLASHBACK

It didn't take long for Loki to reach her destination. Yet once there, hearing the raised voices and the sound of laughter and merriment emanating from the Great Hall, she paused in the empty corridor to gather her thoughts and more importantly, her composure. The last thing she wanted to do was boost the insufferable oaf's overwhelming ego, by bursting into the chamber seemingly suffering from a monumental fit of jealousy and in desperate need of a much craved tumble. And no matter how excellent a liar Loki was, she was unable to deny the truth from herself that a) she was intensely jealous of whoever dared claim or steal Thor's attention from her and b) she had an intense itch that only Thor was capable of scratching to her satisfaction. An itch which she'd fallen victim to the moment he'd set off on that blasted quest with those four lunatics of his.

No, Loki's plan was to calmly enter the Great Hall, take her usual seat at her beloved mother's side whilst unobtrusively seeking her lover's exact location. And once successful in her hunt, subtly draw his attention back to where it belonged … to her.

Unfortunately, like the best laid plans of mice and men, it wasn't to be. Instead Loki heard his deep, rumbling laugh followed by coy, feminine giggles which instantly put her on her guard. So rather than have Thor see her seething with envy, Loki allowed herself to be ruled by her head and not her heart. With a swift and elegant gesture of her slim, delicate hand she silently cast a spell, one that shielded and made her invisible.

It didn't take long for Loki to find him … and a blonde, curly haired trollop writhing on his lap, shamelessly groping the Trickster's God as if she owned him. And that was an offence Loki simply wouldn't tolerate.

Thor sat with his back to her, completely absorbed in the common, little minx who blatantly sought to occupy both his bed and his favour … two things Loki would never allow and would do everything in her power to prevent from happening.

Gliding silently behind the Golden Prince, she deliberately lowered the temperature around him which made the magnificent, hard, sinewy body that she loved so much, suddenly shiver. And out of pure spite, influenced by wounded pride and deeply hurt feelings, Loki made sure that icy breeze was accompanied by a scent that Thor knew intimately. A scent so pure, clean and fresh that he'd only had the privilege of knowing first hand. One that was undeniably hers.

Yet much to Loki's dismay, Thor quickly returned his attention to the simpering serving wench in his arms. The upset Trickster watched his hand roam across the blonde's waist before claiming her breast, causing Yrsa to keen softly before he claimed her mouth once more.

Cursing softly, Loki sent another icy blast towards her inebriated fool. She absently watched the gooseflesh spread across his golden skin and it briefly reminded her of tiny ripples of disturbance caused by pebble skimming a lake's calm surface.

A sudden overwhelming need to warn him how foolish it was to forget her, had Loki leaning across his broad shoulder and breathing softly her intent to plague him with guilt.

"Traitor !"

Thor was instantly thrown by soft-spoken accusation. Withdrawing abruptly, he tore his lips away from Yrsa, breaking contact between them. Disgruntled, she inched closer to him then pouted like a spoilt child when she realized that she no longer possessed his attention.

The effect was immediate. The God of Thunder froze. Sheer bewilderment clouded his normally brilliant, guileless, blue eyes and an equally puzzled frown furrowed his brow. Just one look at his open, handsome countenance revealed to Loki that he'd finally remembered her. His Goddess of Mischief and Trickery. His Loki. That he could feel, or at least thought he'd felt, her presence exactly as she'd intended. She glared at him. Soft, wounded emerald eyes hardened into ice-cold jade that conveyed intense anger, disappointment, humiliation and how deeply he'd hurt her. She knew he could sense the weight of her disapproval. That he was shaken by it. How the way he abruptly shook his head in order to clear his thoughts, was his way of denying her presence or any guilt he felt about his actions. That he'd begun to believe he'd actually felt her touch gently caressing his skin. That he'd heard her voice. Yet the fact that he'd tried to deny all of that with a simple shake of his head, infuriated her. Angered her so deeply that she couldn't help but hiss a parting shot in his ear.

"You are a fool, Son of Odin … A betrayer of trust …"

Loki couldn't ignore how those softly spoken, carefully chosen, biting words affected him. How they made the guilt he'd been struggling to suppress rise swiftly to the surface. That they'd stabbed him to the quick far more effectively and brutally than any lethal blade in Asgard's armoury. And having seen the fleeting awareness on his face as he suddenly vaguely recalled a vow made between sweet, tender kisses and fevered caresses that fateful morning all those weeks ago. A promise he'd made to her. That he'd sworn never to forget yet had unwittingly done so. A solemn oath which had him shifting uncomfortably in his chair and dislodging his lap-warmer in the process.

Loki chose not to linger after that and simply vanished, intent on returning to the calm sanctuary of her chamber to lick her wounds in peace and solitude. Had she stayed, she would've seen her bewildered, repentant lover rise swiftly to his feet, his striking, sky-blue gaze expectant and full of longing as he sought the pleasure of her company. If she'd remained, Loki would've witnessed Thor's hope wane as he realized his cunning Trickster wasn't standing behind him, nor could he sense her presence … that his imagination had run wild and his mind was playing games with him.

And had Loki only tarried a moment longer, she wouldn't have missed Thor's lust for the bold serving wench and her all too obvious flirting turn to dust. She would've realized that his thoughts and desires were firmly fixed upon another. If the canny, green-eyed mischief maker had only stayed put, the look of grim determination on Thor's face and in his eyes, equalled by his purposeful stride as he stalked out of the Hall, would have spoken volumes to her. All those things combined positively shouted the Thunderer's sole intention … to track down a quarry that had persistently eluded him since his return. His extremely intelligent, stunningly beautiful, wilful, mischievous sorceress. His elusive Loki.

But the wounded Goddess of Mischief saw none of those things, having fled before learning vital information which could've been to her advantage …

END OF FLASHBACK

XXXXX

At first, it was just a gentle tap on her door. Loki pointedly ignored it. She lay on her back, upon the large bed and appeared to be staring blindly at the constellation of stars she'd absently conjured upon the midnight hued ceiling.

The tapping on the heavy oak door gradually became a persistent rap that Loki was determined to disregard at all costs, despite knowing that the offender – well, there was only one idiot residing in the palace known for such dogged persistence – would continue to do so until she relented and allowed him access into her domain.

"Loki, please …" Despite Thor's attempt to speak softly, no matter how hard he tried, his voice still carried loudly. Discretion was far from being his strongest suit.

Sighing heavily, Loki flipped onto her side and lay with her back facing the door, her lithe body curled around a pillow. Closing her eyes, she began to pray fervently that he'd just leave her alone and return to his quarters.

"Please, my love …" he pleaded huskily, "let me in."

Irritated, Loki huffed, then grabbed another pillow and used it to cover her head to muffle the sound of his voice. It was deeper than usual, thick with ale, full of need and desire. Emotions which had her body tensing and burning with identical longing and passion.

"I want … I wish to see you. Open the door."

Even though, Loki wanted to relent … to soften her heart to his pleas, she stubbornly refused, ignoring the desperate ache she felt inside that demanded that she see him.

"No. I … I don't want to see you, you stupid oaf," she coldly hissed. "It's late and I'm tired. Go … just leave me alone- "

"But, love- "

"I. Am. Not. Your. Love ! Now, go to Hel !"

It was only when the door quietly opened and revealed the strapping frame of Odin's beloved first-born, Loki realized to her dismay that she'd forgotten to ward it.

Furious, she sprang to her feet and glared at him with icy contempt, chest heaving in agitation, sleek dark tresses tousled, and a scarlet stain upon her high cheekbones. Yet despite her anger, Loki couldn't help but appreciate how attractive he looked clad in a simple sleeveless, black tunic, leathers and boots. How she found his dishevelled appearance so very appealing … Not that she'd ever admit such a thing to the arrogant, conceited oaf, for his head was swollen enough as it was … any further praise or an inkling of just how desperately Loki desired him, would simply make him impossible to live with. No, Loki would hold her tongue and guard that bit of knowledge fiercely come what may … well, she was still furious with him, after all …

"Are you deaf as well as stupid, Thor ? I told you to leave me be. That I didn't want to see you … that I was tired. What do you want from me so badly that you ignore my wishes ?"

Loki stood before Thor, green eyes burning with glacial fire, small chin raised in defiance, elegant hands resting upon the gentle flare of her hips. The fact that he dared enter her chamber without permission left Loki distinctly unamused. Her irritation intensified as Thor stalked forward and closed the gap between them, his heated gazed roaming boldly and freely over her scantily-clad body. Loki immediately wrapped her arms around her slender waist, only to groan inwardly as her actions caused the sheer chemise to cling and highlight her assets. Curves her "brother" was more than enamoured with. The possessive, almost predatory look in Thor's normally gentle, blue eyes made her tremble.

"You know why I'm here, Loki. I told you. I haven't seen you in weeks and I've missed you … missed you greatly."

Loki snorted in disbelief. "Oh, I bet you did. You missed me so much, that you waited 'til now before you sought me out. You missed me so badly that even though you'd been back hours, you still went to the Great Hall first and feasted with your companions before you gave me a single thought … Well, if that's how much you miss me, then I … I'd prefer no part of it and that you leave. Now."

Thor reached across with the intention of tenderly skimming the back of his fingers against her cheek, only to frown when Loki abruptly shied away from his touch.

"I can't, Loki, you know that. I've no intention or wish to leave you. Been away from you far too long as it is. I want to hear what you've been up to while I was gone. I desire your company. To hold, kiss and pleasure you … and to share your bed …"

"Well, I don't," Loki replied coldly as she eyed him balefully. "I desire none of those things. So, if it's the pleasure of a woman's company and body you seek, I suggest you look for it elsewhere. You'll find nothing here."

Thor grinned slowly and moved closer. The grin widened as Loki backed away from him. "But I've already found the one I seek. Why would I waste time and energy looking anywhere else ?"

"Oh, for the love of Norns … Can't you get it through that dim-witted, thick skull of yours that I'm tired ? That I want to be left alone, for mercy's sake … that I don't want you here ?" Loki spat in exasperation, before adding caustically, "Though I'm sure if you hurry back to the Hall, you won't find a shortage of willing bed-warmers who'd be more than happy to keep you company."

"Oh, really ?" Thor drawled, puzzled by Loki's reserve and curious by her last remark. He drew closer, backing her towards the large bed. "And who might they be ?"

Loki shrugged her slim shoulders nonchalantly. "Oh, I don't know. Let me see … How about that manly harridan that constantly shadows your every move ? Lingering after you like a bad smell. That she-man, Sif ? Or … Or that whorish, little baggage that pretends to be a serving wench who has ideas above her station ? Filthy, plain-looking trollop. Name escapes me for a moment – no, wait ! I remember, Yrsa … type of girl that if you lie with her, you're certain to wake up scratching from flea-bites !"

Loki flashed a humourless grin that was all teeth and didn't reach her eyes, as comprehension finally dawned upon Thor.

"Hold on … You were there. In the Hall. That breeze I felt earlier … the voice in my head … that scent … It was you. I knew something was "off," that I could feel you there, even if I couldn't see you."

Loki didn't reply, merely raised an elegant brow condescendingly and smiled grimly before trying to slip past the handsome god in order to show him the way out.

Thor reacted swiftly. Like lightning, his hand darted out and grabbed Loki's slender wrist in a firm, yet gentle hold. She stumbled and as she tried to regain her balance, fell against his hard, powerful torso only to be enveloped by strong, muscular arms that locked in an unbreakable hold. She immediately began to struggle, unaware that the low neckline of her chemise had dipped further and that her captor was delighted by the sight of further silky-smooth, porcelain skin and the deep "v" of her cleavage.

"L-Let go of me, you damn fool ! Stop manhandling me !" she demanded breathlessly, her chest rising and falling rapidly the more agitated she became.

"I'm not manhandling you in the slightest, you little hell-cat," Thor's deep rumble was distinctly amused by her accusation. "I'm merely propping you up and trying to keep you from harm."

"Th-Thor, please …" To her dismay, Loki found herself pleading. She was that desperate for him to release her, before she did anything stupid … like fall into his arms like a helpless wench and allow him to have his wicked way with her without any objections.

"Please, what, Loki ?" There was a teasing lilt in the Asgardian heir's voice and, once Loki found the nerve to look at him, he appeared thoroughly enthralled by the writhing, beautiful trouble-maker in his arms. "Tell me, my love, what do you want ?"

"I-I … I want you to let me go," she muttered hopelessly. "Is that too much to ask ?"

"What do you think ?" he replied. "I'd be a damn fool if I did."

"Wouldn't be much of a change then, considering …" she murmured absently.

"A fool for you, Loki. Only you … No one else, love. Just you …"

"Stop calling me that !"

"Calling you what ?"

"I'm not your love. If I were you would've …" her voice trailed away unhappily.

"If you were- ?" he prompted idly, watching the various emotions rapidly flickering across her face.

"Oh, never mind. Just don't. Like I said, go and find yourself a simpering idiot who doesn't mind being fawned over and having you look at her like a love-sick whelp !"

Thor shifted, his grip subtly becoming firmer and grinned. "Why, if I didn't know better, my lady, I'd say you were jealous- "

"WHAT ? Why would I be jealous ? Why would I be envious of two such insignificant, pitiful excuses- ? I've no need to be jealous of those who are beneath me in every way that truly matters," Loki spat in furious denial only to confirm Thor's suspicions, much to his glee.

"You are ... You're jealous !" the broad grin that graced his handsome face became a knowing smirk. The type that infuriated the woman in his arms no end. She began struggle in earnest once more. Pounding repeatedly at his broad chest with her small fists, only for him to grab both of her wrists with one hand and place them behind her back.

"I'm not ! I've no cause – no reason – to be jealous of anyone in any way," she retorted smartly, green eyes fiery with passion and defiance.

"No point denying it, my wilful Silver Tongue. You'll only be lying to yourself," Thor stated bluntly, trying not to look smug and failing miserably, whilst revelling in the feeling of the lovely Trickster writhing against him.

"I'd be doing nothi- Mmmph !" Whatever protest of defiance Loki had been about to utter was promptly silenced by Thor's mouth swiftly claiming hers. She struggled briefly once more, before submitting to his will and her feelings for him.

Loki revelled in the feel of him and his bold confident touch. The way Thor crushed her against him, dominating her effortlessly with his passionate, voracious kiss until she clung helplessly to his strapping torso. Consumed by the feel, taste and scent of him, Loki wound her slim arms around Thor's neck and pushed wantonly against him. She gave a soft mewl of protest as he broke the kiss, only to sigh in breathless pleasure as his sensual lips roamed possessively across her jawline and neck, whilst he insistently pressed a thick, sinewy thigh between her slender ones.

Thor grinned as the normally articulate, quick-witted beauty was gradually reduced to an incoherent, writhing mess by his touch. That he'd finally rendered her speechless was a massive boost to his ego. Well, almost speechless if you ignored the way she softly gasped his name or begged so prettily for "more."

He slowly raised his head from the base of her throat and took in her dishevelled appearance. Long, raven locks wildly tousled, smooth, pale skin delicately flushed and those mesmerizing emerald eyes blown wide by need and want. To Thor, she'd never looked lovelier or more desirable. He carefully tucked a stray lock of hair behind Loki's ear, then noting that all previous resistance had left her, let his large hand skim an appreciative path down her nubile body. A delicate shiver immediately coursed through Loki's responsive, slender frame.

Soft green eyes met and held curious, hungry blue. Begging … silently pleading with him. Craving more. Demanding release. A demand he was more than happy to fulfil. By now, his wandering hand had come to rest on Loki's right hip. It leisurely drifted to her thigh and slowly dragged the white cloth, that shielded her skin from his gaze, upwards.

As soon as Thor's hand came into direct contact with her bare skin, Loki gasped sharply. Its warmth seared her. Branded her his. His alone. The gasp became a low, needy moan when the same hand, raised her right leg and wrapped it around his waist and she could feel the all too obvious evidence of his arousal pressed against her wet core. Long. Thick. And so very hard.

Loki's response was immediate. She quickly coiled her other leg around him and began to claw feverishly at his tunic. Frustrated and more than annoyed by its presence and desperately wanting to feel Thor's bare flesh against hers.

"Off ! Take that damn thing off, you daft oaf, before I rip it off …" she demanded, whilst glaring resentfully at the offending garment. Her cool green eyes were heated yet promised much. It was the incentive Thor needed to start moving swiftly towards the large bed and placing her to lie in its centre. Half-reclining amongst numerous pillows, Loki impatiently watched Thor slowly crawl up the bed until he came to rest between her parted thighs.

Moving leisurely, Thor knelt upon the bed and boldly held Loki's gaze. Teasing her. Tormenting her. He could sense her growing frustration and he gave a knowing smile. And that sheer frustration coupled with a severe case of lust caused the Golden Prince's grin to widen further. He sat back on his heels and deliberately took his time to strip off his tunic before throwing the garment over his shoulder, not caring where it fell.

Loki ran the tip of her tongue across her lower lip as she shamelessly studied him. Appreciating the hard, taut sinews that flexed and rippled beneath smooth, golden skin. She fidgeted restlessly, her movements lacking their usual grace. All Loki could think of – all she truly wanted – was to feel the weight of Thor's impressive torso crushing hers. To revel in its warmth and the sheer power it exuded … and for once, to simply enjoy being vulnerable, knowing that his presence promised safety and protection.

Thor continued to silently watch her as she lay sprawled beneath him. The sight of her took his breath away. Raven locks spilled over green silk pillows; emerald eyes smoky and dilated; soft pink lips now red and kiss-swollen … Pale, flawless skin, now delicately flushed, bore faint scratches where his beard had lightly scraped as he'd gently nuzzled her throat.

His heated gaze continued to roam downwards, appreciating the lithe body with its womanly curves accentuated beautifully by the sheer, white chemise. Thor swallowed hard as he noted the garment's skirts had ridden up, revealing endlessly long, shapely legs. Toned, slender thighs which possessed, as he knew only too well, boundless strength. And how he loved that strength and craved to feel those silky-smooth limbs entwined around him once more …

"Oh, Norns …" he groaned softly, suddenly realizing how close he'd come to losing the one thing – the one person – who'd meant more than anything to him. How his foolish, reckless actions nearly cost him everything he held dear. How blind lust – influenced by ale - and a lowly, boldly ambitious, flirtatious wench could have easily been his downfall. How he could have considered bedding someone so insignificant when he already had the love and trust of a goddess like his beloved Loki – and Loki was a goddess, of that Thor was in no doubt. His goddess. The knowledge that he'd almost risked losing everything he had with the beautiful mage left him distraught … and the fault lay with his obstinacy and foolish pride

Hearing the regret in Thor's voice, Loki raised an elegant eyebrow questioningly. When she noted Thor appeared to be a little distracted, she gave a pointed cough. The look on his face was sheepish to say the least. And it was a look she thought most endearing.

"Thor." Loki curled a long, slim finger and slowly beckoned him. "Come here …"

Despite the slight hesitancy in his blue eyes, Thor didn't need to be told twice. He fell upon her, raining kisses on every inch of exposed skin. Pale, cool skin which warmed instantly at his touch. And a slim, yet curvaceous body that writhed seductively with every caress from his callused fingers. Caresses which drew soft, breathless gasps of want from Loki and had her clinging desperately to him. Everything about her sent a bolt of lust coursing through the Thunder God's body. All Thor could think of was Loki. How deeply he wanted, needed and loved her. No one else … Only her.

He sighed heavily, before resting his forehead gently against hers.

"Loki- "

"Shhh, Thor. It's of no matter now," Loki said quietly, raising her right hand to gently cup his cheek. "Though I'm sorry I was such a bitch earlier- "

Surprized, Thor pulled his head back and looked at her in disbelief, clearly unable to believe what she'd said. Loki lay pliantly beneath him, anxiously chewing her lower lip, green eyes glistening with what appeared to be unshed tears.

"No, Loki. No ! You've nothing to apologize for. I swear to you on my life, you've done nothing wrong. If anyone here's owed an apology, it's you."

"But- "

"No, love, hear me out. I'm sorry. Sorry I broke my vow to you. Sorry that I forgot my promise to see you before anyone else on my return. Sorry for being a stubborn, proud, drunken fool. And above all, I'm sorry I hurt you. That I betrayed and upset you with my actions earlier. I regret that more than anything. You didn't deserve any of that. Nor should you have to put up with an idiot like me …" Thor admitted bluntly. "You deserve far better."

Her response was immediate. Slim, elegant fingers sharply tugged a stray lock of long golden hair, causing the Odinson heir to wince.

"No, I don't. As far …" A slight tint of pink suddenly stained Loki's cheeks and for once, it seemed her composure had left without a trace. "As far as I'm concerned, there's no one better than you, Thor. I don't want anyone better. I'm more than happy with what I've got …"

"Oh, Loki."

She fiddled absently with his lock of hair, twisting the golden strand idly around her forefinger, before sheepishly confessing, "Well, it's true. You make me happy. And the reason why I've suffered you for so long, for the love of Norns, is that I love you, you daft oaf. Though why you choose to be with me, when you can have anyone you desire, I'll never know. You could have anyone, yet you settle for a cold, moody, jealous bitch- "

Slowly shaking his head, a grin broke across Thor's face. "Oh, Loki … Loki … Loki … You're supposed to be the bright one here. Don't you know ? The reason why I settled for you, why I choose to be with you, is because I love you."

"Y-You do ?"

"What's not to love, Loki ? Why would I want anyone else when I have you ? You're all I need, Loki … all I want. Why would I risk losing all that ? I may be an oaf, but I'm still your oaf. Yours and yours alone." Thor reached down to brush her lips with his.

The kiss was just a brief caress, yet tender and full of love and longing. It conveyed exactly how he felt about her, leaving Loki in no doubt where his heart lay.

"You've no cause to feel jealous of anyone, my love. Of that, I swear …" Thor vowed solemnly, intent and sincerity radiating off him, providing the beautiful, insecure sorceress the reassurance she needed.

And as soon as that promise left Thor's lips, he began to prove it to his precious Loki.

Finis