Loki-Sif Rematch (1,683 words) by LokiOfSassgaard

Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Thor (Movies)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Loki (Marvel), Sif (Marvel)

Summary: Missing Scene from Second Rite

Loki had not been to the training grounds since his return to Midgard.  He’d got quite enough of exercise and fighting while he was there, and returned home wanting nothing to do with matters of blood and sweat.  But after so much time confined to his hall and few other places of safety, he craved the action.  His muscles burned to be used and tested.

He sat by at first, watching various warriors spar with one another in the ring, keeping to their areas and out of the way of the other pairs who fought alongside them.  Loki wanted to fight, but he needed to pick his opponent carefully.  Too many yet cowered away from him, frightened not of his station, but of his skills outside the ring.  Then, he caught a flash of red off to his left and reached for the training sword at his side.  As Loki rose to his feet, Sif entered the ring on the prowl for an opponent of her own.  But Loki wouldn’t give her that choice.  He strode straight toward her, holding his blade loose at his side.

“Lady Sif,” he said, stepping into her space.

She stepped back, looking up at him with the same apprehension she always wore in his presence.  Her eyes flicked above his, looking for something higher up.  But with his horns hidden, Sif found nothing to stare at.

“Loki,” she said, meeting his gaze.

“What say you to a rematch?” Loki said, holding his hand out toward the ring in a plain invitation.

They had not sparred since they were children.  Since the time Sif had rushed him from behind and pressed him into the dirt.  But he was no longer that same boy, short and scrawny and uncoordinated.  He had gained height and bulk on her since then, tall even for an Asgardian, though still far too small to be Jötunn.  He watched Sif contemplate his invitation, knowing there was a point of pride on the line.  But he also thought there was something else in her hesitation, though he could not place it.  Finally, she nodded and strode out toward the ring.  Loki followed her out to an empty spot, watching her as she looked around the ring at the other pairs around them.

“No cheating,” she said, her voice unusually stiff, even for her.

“Of course not,” Loki said. 

He swung his sword in a few tight arcs at his side, testing its weight and balance.  A moment later, Sif did the same, and Loki could see her hesitation to even spar with him.  It didn’t look like the same wary hesitation many of the men in the ring wore, afraid of what Loki might do to them.  Sif’s reluctance was born of experience of what she might do to him.  Embarrassing him as a child had been one thing.  Embarrassing him now would surely bring no end of trouble.

It was a good thing Loki would not be embarrassed.  He took his stance, and as soon as Sif took hers, he swung.  While Loki was accustomed to fighting right-handed opponents, Sif clearly faltered at Loki’s left-handed stance.  His swing came from the wrong angle, forcing her to twist her body to block it with her blade.  Loki paused to give her a moment to reset herself, offering a small shrug.  It was all that was needed to get her on the right page.  Sif resettled her stance, this time not giving Loki the opportunity to swing first.  She threw her entire body into the attack, wasting energy as Loki easily blocked and stepped away.

“Shall I make it easier on you?” Loki asked, switching his sword to his other hand.

Sif frowned at him.  “Easier?” she asked, still hesitating to fight him properly.

Loki gave the sword another swing, finding it somehow heavier and less balanced in his right hand.

“I’m not right-handed,” he said.

Still, he swung at her with a practised, even motion.  This time, she blocked him without theatrics and swung back at him in the same arc.  Loki deflected her blade, rather than blocking it, using the continued momentum to throw her off her balance again.

“Quit hesitating,” Loki said.  “I thought you were supposed to be good at this.”

That raised her ire enough to cause the last of the hesitation and wariness she wore on her face to evaporate at once.  Her stance became something more solid and sure, and this time when she swung her sword at her, she meant it.  Loki still fought right-handed, blocking her swings and taking his own.  While she charged ever forward, Loki moved side to side, constantly stepping out of the way to make her re-evaluate her approach.  The dull practise blades sung as they clashed against one another, strike after strike as they both danced around one another in the ring.

Sif watched him from a blade’s length away, some unasked question troubling her brow.  Each time he dodged her strike instead of blocked, she recovered with a deep frown.

“You’re holding back,” she said finally, circling around him as he did the same.

“Should I not?” Loki asked

“No,” Sif said plainly.

Loki almost laughed as he switched hands again.  He sorely needed practise with his right, but if Sif wanted a challenge, he wasn’t going to withhold one from her.  With his left hand, he swung faster and tighter, all wrong angles and fast side steps in odd directions.  Sif kept up, but only barely.  That unasked question that worried her brow was quickly forgotten, replaced with something closer to panic as she struggled to keep up with an opponent who did not fight as she had been trained.  While Volstagg had his own methods, Loki also had other teachers.  Teachers used to fighting opponents who didn’t fight fair, while the entire world rocked and swayed beneath their feet.  Teachers who fought for sport and spectacle.  Loki’s style was a combination of all of them, breaking rules and following others where they fit.  Sif had only had one teacher, and Týr tought his students to fight with honour and dignity.

Honour and dignity had no place in a fight to the death.  And Loki did not need to cheat fight dirty.  He did not need to teleport or cast shades of himself to distract.  No fancy tricks of light or smoke to obscure.  He relied on footwork and skill alone.  As he dodged and stepped, and redirected instead of blocking like Sif expected him to, he could see her mounting frustration.  She tried the same things again and again, charging forward, wide swings, and flourishes meant to be distracting.  Soon she would tire and start trying to win for real. 

When she swung wide, trying to hit Loki’s ungarded right side, he spun on his heel and struck her sword with his from above.  It was enough to disrupt her balance, sending her forward with just the smallest hint of a sumble.  A well-placed boot on her back was all he needed to send her into the dirt.  Sif quickly turned to right herself, finding Loki standing over her with his sword pointed at her neck.  He held it there just long enough for her to know that he had won.  A moment later, he pulled his sword back and offered his empty hand to help her to her feet.

Sif looked at him, and then his hand, hesitating again before taking it and getting to her feet.

“Where did you learn that?” she asked, dusting herself off.

“Midgard, mostly,” Loki said.

The look Sif gave him was not kind as she looked him up and down.  “Do all mortals fight as dirty as you?” she asked.

Loki made a sound that was almost a laugh.  “Most are even worse,” he said.  “Would you like a lesson?”

“And fight without honour?” Sif said.  She chuckled quietly and without mirth, and shook her head.

“The enemies you face in battle won’t fight with honour,” Loki said.  He walked a wide circle around her, keeping himself on her left side even as she turned to face him.  “If you can’t keep up with me while I’m playing without tricks, how will you best an opponent who makes no such promises?”

“You fight with the wrong hand.  How is that not using tricks?” Sif asked, nodding toward the sword Loki still head.

Loki laughed again.  “I’m left-handed,” he reminded her.  “You expect to never cross paths with another left-handed swordsman in battle?”

Sif frowned at him, something contemplative and distant.  A moment later, she nodded.  “All right,” she said.  “Show me, if you know so much all of a sudden.”

Loki stopped his slow, circular path around her and stepped back.  “What makes you think I’ve not been doing this for years?”

That question returned to Sif’s brow as she readied herself. 

“First lesson,” Loki said, holding his sword ready as he began to walk a wide, slow circle around Sif, forcing her to keep changing her stance.  “Every warrior on Asgard and every Einherjar guard have been taught the same thing by the same people.”

As he stepped, he moved his sword as if to swing it, drawing Sif’s attention away from him and toward his blade.

“Which means you’ve been taught to predict your opponent’s moves based on how you would act in his place,” Loki said.

Instead of swinging his sword, Loki stepped quickly to the side and dropped in a fluid motion, swinging his leg out to catch Sif at the ankles.  He swept her feet from under her, throwing her to the dirt.  By the time she looked back up at him, he was already back on both feet, standing over her.

“Watch your opponent; not his sword,” Loki said, offering her his hand once more.

She did not hesitate so long to take it this hand.  With a stiff nod, she retook her stance and watched Loki with a critical gaze.

“Second lesson.  Strike me,” Loki said, standing open for an attack.

Sif frowned at him.