Blaze (1,511 words) by LokiOfSassgaard
Fandom: Thor (Movies), Thor (Comics)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Thor (Marvel), Loki (Marvel)
Summary: Thor and Loki graduate to real horses. It goes about as well as can be expected
The horses didn’t frighten him. It was something else entirely that Loki felt around them. The something else that came with any large creature that might step on him, or smash his skull with a single kick.
No. He wasn’t frightened. Cautious, nervous, and wary, perhaps. But not frightened. The ponies he and Thor had learned to ride on had been fun. But as Thor outgrew the ponies, he got to graduate to a real horse. Which meant Loki also had to graduate to a real horse, because for some reason he’d never understood, Odin insisted they both move at Thor’s speed.
And the real horses were quite a bit bigger than the ponies. Loki still liked his pony, and standing in the stables surrounded by enormous beasts, he felt even smaller than ever. He stood in the wash by the tack shelf, listening to the snorting and stomping from the stalls while Thor picked his new mount. The stable master had half a dozen horses picked out and ready, and Thor had already looked at half of them, inspecting each one as if he had any clue as to what he was even looking for. Loki held back, knowing he had no idea what he was supposed to be looking for in a horse. He watched from a distance as the stable master led a big, bay brute from one of the stalls, guiding it as though it wasn’t the biggest horse in the entire realm. As Thor rubbed the horse’s snout and let it nibble on his clothes, the stable master dressed and tacked it with a set that had clearly been made for the animal.
When he was done, he helped Thor take his mount.
“You look like a dwarf on that thing,” Loki said, still safely in the wash.
Thor laughed. “You might ride ponies forever, but I’ll never be seen dead on one again.”
“I might see you dead by supper if you fall off,” Loki said.
Thor laughed again as the stable master led his horse out to the ring. Loki nearly followed, and then thought he might be better sneaking off in the other direction. Before he could make up his mind, the stable master was back, and heading straight toward Loki.
“Come on with you,” he said. “I’ve been given orders and I’m not going to let you run off on me.”
Loki nodded, hesitating before stepping into the aisle, staying as close to the middle as possible. He stopped at the second pair of stalls, looking at the blue roan that seemed more interested in chewing its gate to splinters than anything else around it.
“That one might be a bit too hot for you,” the stable master said.
Loki looked up at him, and then back to the horse. It tossed its head back, throwing bits of gate over its shoulder before taking another chunk out.
“Can I pet it?” Loki asked.
The stable master hesitated for a long moment before shaking his head in defeat and stepping forward.
“Come on, you nightmare,” he said.
He tugged on the horse’s bridle, bringing its head over the gate and down to a level Loki could reach. It was a big horse, but not the same way the one Thor had taken out was big. It was tall, but lean, built for speed and agility rather than power. Cautiously, Loki stepped forward to pet its cheek, careful to stay away from its mouth and the massive teeth inside.
“Is it a boy or a girl?” Loki asked.
“She’s a girl,” the stable master said. “Róta.”
Loki snorted. “She doesn’t seem too bad.”
He moved his hand to stroke the blaze between her eyes, tracing the stark white hair down to the black velvet on her snout.
“Can I take her out?” Loki asked.
“So you can fall off and get me killed?” the stable master asked.
Loki frowned, biting back on shouting once again that he wasn’t too small.
“How am I supposed to get a new horse if I’m not allowed to ride any of them?” he asked.
With a sigh, the stable master stepped aside and shooed Loki out of the way. Loki quickly gave him room to let the horse out, no less wary about being stepped on than he’d been when he first entered the stables. As the animal was brought into view, Loki stopped to catch his breath at the sight of it. In the stall, he could tell it was big. Out in the open, it was huge; dappled blue, with black points. The only spot of white on it was the blaze that ran down the horse’s face. She fought against the stable master leading her into the open, nipping and tugging at his tunic with each step. Rather than let her stand free, he tied her off so she’d stay put while he dressed her. Ignoring the tightness in his chest, Loki stepped forward and reached out toward the horse again, stroking low on its shoulder with his hand. He didn’t think he’d ever be able to ride her properly, but he wanted her all the same. He could keep her as a fancy pet, and ride around on ponies for the rest of his life.
Once the stable master had her dressed to ride, he helped Loki into the mount. Sitting in the saddle, his feet dangled down uselessly at the horse’s sides. Grumbling to himself, the stable master adjusted the straps on the stirrups, struggling to make them short enough for Loki to reach.
“This day will be the death of me,” he said, giving up and taking the horse’s reins.
He led Róta out to the ring, where Thor was taking his horse in circles around the edge, riding at a quick trot. Rather than letting Loki ride as well, the stable master kept hold of the reins and led him around the ring.
“I know how to ride,” Loki said.
Thor laughed from across the ring. “If I look like a dwarf, you look like a baby,” he said.
“I bet mine’s faster than yours,” Loki said.
He looked to the stable master, waiting patiently to be handed the reins. After a long moment of both of them staring at one another, the stable master handed the reins over and stood aside. Under his own control, Loki didn’t feel quite as secure in his seat, but he kept it to himself as he led the horse over to Thor.
“What? Do you want to do a whole ring around it?” Thor asked, gesturing around the edge of the ring.
Loki looked around and nodded. “Loser has to hand over his allowance,” he said.
“You never spend yours. I’ll be rich,” Thor said, grinning widely.
They managed to get their horses side by side with only a small amount of difficulty, both ignoring the stable master’s defeated protests. Thor counted them off, and at once, they both rode as quickly as they dared. With no purchase with his feet, Loki tried to hold on as tightly as he could with his knees. He couldn’t see above Róta’s head as they ran around the ring, but trusted she’d understand the game and cracked the reins to get her to go faster. She quickly pulled ahead of Thor and his massive draft horse, running along the edge of the ring much faster than Loki had quite known what to do with. They had raced their ponies countless times, but Loki could fit on a pony. His feet could reach the stirrups, and he could see more than just what flashed between the animal’s ears. When he reached what seemed like the end of the loop, he tried to stop and turn the horse without the control of his legs. Róta did stop, just long enough to buck him right out of the saddle. He tried to hold on, grasping for her mane as he was flung toward the dirt. His hands found nothing, and into the dirt he fell, landing so hard his lungs forgot how to breathe. Around him, he could hear the panic from Thor and the stable master as they both rushed over, kicking up more dirt around him.
It was the stable master who tried to help Loki up, but trying to sit hurt so far beyond anything Loki had ever known. Even his sudden flights from tall windows had landed more gracefully than he had after being thrown, and all he could do was look up at the sky above. The pain made him cough, and soon coughing turned to something that resembled breathing, and after a moment he didn’t feel quite so dead.
“Loki,” Thor said, kneeling by his side.
Loki tried to laugh, and only coughed some more.
“What are you sitting there for?” Loki asked once he found his voice again. “I won. Give me your allowance.”
Thor punched him hard in the shoulder. “You ass,” he said.
As he sat up, Loki looked around for the horse, and found it scratching its face on a post.
“She’s perfect,” he decided.