The last thing Loki wanted to do was wake up, but he couldn’t stay in bed all day.  Bad things happened when he did that.  He tried to sit up, grunting quietly at the sharp stiffness in his back that already threatened bad things, and fell back down onto the bed.

“Fuck,” he said, trying to stretch his arm to reach his phone on the night stand.

Even that small amount of movement pulled sharply at something near his spine.  He didn’t know what he’d done to deserve this.  Nothing he’d done the day before was anything that should have been bad for him.  If he was in a bad enough state that five minutes of action was enough to lay him out flat, it was time to reconsider everything. 

No, Loki knew his problem had nothing to do with his brief sojourn the night before.  He’d been tense from the stress of having his home invaded by strangers who only cared about his grandfather’s money, and had simply made the mistake of going to bed at four in the afternoon, and then falling asleep flat on his back.  Through the haze of still being half asleep, Loki managed to find the right app on his phone and inclined his bed as far as it would go so he could sit up.  Even with the extra help, he hissed sharply and let out a long string of swears as he forced himself to sit up and put his feet on the floor.  He sat on the side of his bed for a long moment, hunched over and staring up at the dim light that filtered through the heavy curtains that hung over glass door leading out to the deck.  Even with the curtains, enough light filtered through to see by, so he flipped over to a different app on his phone and turned off the lights that had stayed on all night.  Eventually, the tension in his back eased enough for him to stand with only a moderate amount of effort and complaining, and then the hardest part was over.

Rather than getting dressed, he wrapped himself in his dressing gown and dared to face the disaster that awaited him beyond his door.  Sylvie’s door was still closed, and assuming it meant she was still asleep, Loki left her to it and headed toward the stairs.  By the time he reached them it was already clear that most everyone else was up and moving above him.  He slowly climbed the stairs up to the kitchen, not caring who heard him grumble and complain, and stopped at the landing to look out over the crowd.  The entire table was full, all ten seats, as well as the four seats at the bar next to it.  And still, people had spilled over onto sofas in the adjoining sitting room.  He must have slept through it, but more people had clearly arrived that morning.  Even without the extra crowd of extended family, the house had never been big enough for all of them.  Now, Loki wondered how the foundations hadn’t crumbled beneath their feet yet.

Balder and Vidar both sat at the kitchen island on bar stools, eating their breakfast far away from the crowd.  Deciding they had the right idea, Loki shuffled into the kitchen to see if there was anything left for him.  He tousled Vidar’s hair, and then knocked into Balder as he passed, and opened the fridge to stare inside.

It wasn’t completely empty, but it was close.  Loki frowned at it all, and found a Tupperware that didn’t look too dodgy on a shelf.  As he closed the fridge door, Loki turned and found himself face to face with yet another stranger, tall and blond with a build like a football player.

“Who the hell are you?” he asked.

The stranger actually the audacity to look confused.

“I’m Hoder, dipshit,” he said, his English heavily accented like the rest of them.

Loki shook his head, ignoring Balder snorting beside him.  “No you’re not,” he said.  “Hoder’s like, twelve.”

Balder laughed, turning around in his seat to face both of them.  “He’s two years older than me, you dumb fuck,” he said.

“What do either of you know?” Loki said, shoving past his cousin as he unfastened the lid from the Tupperware.

He tossed the whole thing into the microwave and mashed the one minute button a few too many times.  As he turned to lean against the counter, Loki adjusted his dressing gown and looked back over the crowd, counting heads.  His grandmother, he recognised, only because it had only been a few years since she and his grandfather had moved out.  Bestla had made it her entire personality to refuse to speak English just to watch everyone else struggle around her, and it did not seem to be a habit she had since broken.  Three uncles, who he knew were his uncles, but not which name belonged to which man.  Two of them had wives, but if he ever knew their names, they had been long forgotten.  Hoder belonged to one of them, though who, Loki had no idea.

Then there were the wild cards.  Two older men, who he could only assume were his grandfathers’ elusive brothers.  Two older women, who Loki assumed were their wives.  And five who may as well have been strangers in off the street.  Who they belonged to, or how they related was anyone’s guess.

And that was on top of everyone who actually lived in the house, or at least had at one point.  Both Loki’s parents, Odin and Frigga, and a handful of siblings; Thor, Sylvie, Balder, Vidar, and Laussa, who at least got to stay out of the way in her high chair.

And with Tyr and Roger arriving shortly, no doubt with whatever family they’d decided to drag along with them, Loki had no idea what they were supposed to do with everyone.  Even with Angela and Hela keeping their distance, the house was far too small for everyone.  But short of shacking their various relatives up in scattered BnBs across the entire county, or taking up half the resort at the marina and praying even half of them spoke fluent enough English to get by, there really hadn’t been any other options.  Sylvie’s remark about not being able to take the subway may have been in jest, but she wasn’t exactly wrong about their sort of people.  They couldn’t exactly go to a motel around the corner when the entire area had been built up in an effort to keep the riff-raff out.

And even if they could, there was still the matter of whether or not any of them spoke English.

Angela and Hela had made the right choice, and for the first time in his life, Loki wished he had joined everyone’s exodus into the city so he had an excuse to not have to be amongst the crowd.

The microwave beeped obnoxiously, and as he turned around to rescue his breakfast from it, Loki pulled the silverware drawer open and fished out a fork.  He delicately pulled the Tupperware from the microwave, holding it with just the tips of his fingers under the edges so he didn’t burn himself.  As he looked around the crowd once more, he spotted a seat that had opened up at the table.  Not wanting to annoy his back further by hunching over a bar stool, Loki decided to brave the crowd and join it.  He settled in next to Frigga, trying to put enough room in between them so he didn’t knock his elbow into her each time he dared lift his fork.  Only as he poked around in the small, square container did Loki realise what he’d even grabbed.  Lamb from a few nights before, with potatoes and carrots.  He hadn’t been thrilled by it then, and now he’d decided it was going to be his breakfast.

He couldn’t even get dressed before coming up,” one of his uncles said, obviously not caring whether or not Loki heard or understood.

Showing the same about of care to who he offended, Loki shook his head and shrugged.  He ate in silence, picking through the vegetables to fish out what meat was available.

I wish I could sleep in that late,” the same uncle said.

Leave him be,” Frigga said.  “He’s up; that’s all that matters.”

She rested her hand on Loki’s shoulder for a moment, giving him a tired smile.

“And good morning to you,” she said.

Loki forced a weak smile and hummed quietly.  “I need into the medicine cabinet,” he said.

Frigga looked around the crowd, and then back at Laussa and the mess she’d made in her high chair.  For a moment, Loki thought Frigga was going to try to stall, but she got up and hurried back to her bedroom behind the kitchen.  Loki ignored quiet titters and smug chuckles, wanting nothing more than to just get through the next two days and get on with his life.  Both Odin and Frigga had been extremely lenient with him while family was taking up their attention, but the stress of it all was not worth the extra slack.

“So what does insurance pay out on a brand new Tesla?” someone else asked, no doubt speaking in English so he was certain Loki understood.  “I couldn’t believe it when I saw that green thing you got him, Odin.”

Frigga returned, setting a napkin with half a tablet on it in front of Loki, along with a glass of water.  Loki immediately forgot about his leftover lamb and took the tablet with the entire glass of water.  It wasn’t even worth complaining over only getting half, because he knew the second he opened his mouth, some crusty old bastard he hadn’t seen in ten years would have something to say about it.

“Thor said the car’s right-hand drive,” the first uncle said.  “How much extra did that set you back?”

Odin looked up at both of them, letting the newspaper he was reading fall to the table.  Then, he turned his attention to Loki.

“You’ll have to ask Loki that,” he said.  “I haven’t the faintest idea what he spends his money on, and don’t care to know.”

If Odin’s remark was meant to stifle the conversation, it didn’t work.  Both uncles, or whatever they were, laughed lowly.

“I wish my old man had paid me to sit around all day in my pyjamas,” one of them said.

Suddenly, Frigga let out an exasperated sigh and slapped her napkin down onto the table.

“Njord, honestly,” she said.  “You have no idea what we’ve been through.”

She reached out to put her hand on Loki’s shoulder, but he was already halfway standing, struggling to get back to his feet without making a bunch of noise.

“I’m going back to bed,” he said, picking up his leftovers to take with him.

He heard Frigga continue to chastise Njord and everyone else, but ignored it as he gingerly made his way back down the stairs, sideways and one step at a time.  He made it to the half landing just as Sylvie did on her way up, and paused to look back up toward the growing argument at the table.

“Watch it,” he said quietly.  “They’re all a bunch of fucking cunts.”

She raised her eyebrows at him, but continued on her way.  With a deep breath, Loki carried on down the second half of the stairs to the ground floor.  Once on flat ground again, he shuffled down the hall back to his room to drop off his leftovers before slipping into a bathroom.  As he stood in front of the toilet, he had to brace himself against the counter beside him to keep his balance.  Sore stiffness was a normal part of his morning, but this was worse than normal.  Whether it truly was stress, or if he had somehow managed to tweak something without realising was no longer relevant.  Something was wrong, and the only way to fix it was to get off his feet.  He put a token effort into washing up before returning the few steps to his bedroom and making a decision that would set his fate for the rest of the day.  If he got back into bed, he’d never get out, so he settled instead into the recliner near the door.  Getting everything into position, leaning back with his feet propped up sent shocks down his entire spine.  He let himself grunt and groan through it as he finally got settled, only then realising the TV remote was buried somewhere in his bed.

Not wanting to get back up, he used his phone to play music through the speakers mounted on his wall, and picked up his pathetic breakfast of stale leftovers.  He picked at it slowly, not really wanting it, but wanting even less to go through the hassle of finding anything else.  Once he finished about half of it, he gave up and set it aside on the table, and with nothing else to do, began scrolling through various social media feeds on his phone.  Between his back and his boredom, he became so disconnected from everything that he only noticed the maid as she stopped in the door and turned to leave.

“Oh.  Sorry, Mr Loki,” she said.

Loki looked up at her and shook his head.  “No, it’s fine.  I’m not here,” he said, waving her in so she could do what she needed to do.

Nodding, Anne entered his room and picked up his laundry from the small hamper against the wall.  She worked quickly to tidy up, sparing only a moment to make sure he was done with his breakfast before putting it with the stack of everything else to be taken away.  It wasn’t until she began stripping his bed that she acknowledged his presence again.

“Mr Loki, the bed,” she said.

Loki looked over, realising he had left it inclined.

“Oh.  Sorry,” he said, pulling up the app so he could lower the bed again.

He sat back in silence, resuming his impersonation of an empty chair while Anne made his bed.  His presence while she worked was no doubt just as uncomfortable for her, but he’d disrupted the routine by going back to his room in the first place.  With all the extra load on her schedule, Loki knew that if he didn’t let her get to it now, it wouldn’t get done at all.

She didn’t do much else around his room, and finished up fairly quickly.  As she began to take his laundry away, Loki reached out to stop her.

“Anne, could you tell my mother I need the other half of that pill, please?  Thank you,” he said.

Anne nodded.  “Of course,” she said.

It wasn’t her job, but he didn’t want to send a text and risk Frigga not having her phone on her, or worse, catching someone’s ire if she did.  Loki grumbled quietly to himself as Anne left, wondering if he should have given up on the entire day and gone back to bed for good.  But he stayed where he was, scrolling through various feeds until he heard footsteps approaching down the hall.  Loki looked up to see Frigga wearing a concerned look about her, and found himself feeling guilty about asking for something that was his to begin with.  She stood over him by his side, bending close to peer at his face.  As she tried to tilt his gaze toward hers, Loki grunted and moved away, sending a sharp jolt through his back.

“Mum.  Please,” he said through his teeth.

“Loki, what have you done?” Frigga asked, standing tall again.

“I don’t know,” Loki said, trying to get comfortable again.  “Slept wrong.  Got tense from all these awful people.  Who was that ghastly old man, anyway?”

Frigga took a very deep breath.  “One of your father’s uncles,” she said.  “He tried to gave a go at your sister, but she’s not as nice as you are.”

“If I didn’t want to roll over and die, I wouldn’t have been nice either,” Loki said.

With a sigh, Frigga handed him the other half of his pill and a bottle of water.  He immediately took it, chasing it with enough water to get the feeling of sharp edges out of his throat.

“Do you want me to get Thor to help you back into bed?” Frigga asked.

Loki shook his head and set the water aside.  “No, but I would like my laptop,” he said.

He pointed to its case, leaning up against the side of the TV stand.  Frigga fetched it for him, handling it as though holding it too tightly would break it.

“Angela says she’ll be in around one,” she said as she handed Loki the laptop.

Loki groaned lowly.  He’d forgotten all about the beach.

“This is why I don’t make plans,” he said.

Frigga watched him in silence for a long moment.  “Are you sure you haven’t done anything?” she asked.

“What I did was go to bed at four o’clock in the afternoon, like an idiot,” Loki said.

His mother frowned at him, but refrained from chastising him. 

“Well, the reading’s tomorrow,” she said.  “And then they’ll all be gone by Tuesday.”

“They’d better,” Loki said.  “This house was already too small.”

Shaking her head, Frigga petted Loki’s hair before turning to leave.  Loki could only imagine the question and accusations about her drug addict son she’d face once she returned.  He waited until she was up the stairs before pulling his laptop from its case and opening it.  There were several things he could have got into, some moderately important, but what he did was pull up Google to look up his wretched great uncle.  Now that he knew who Njord belonged to, he had a full name he could search for.  When results on the American site didn’t yield much information, Loki switched to the Icelandic domain and tried again.  Loki spoke the language better than he read it, but he could read enough to paint a fuzzy picture.

Njord had not been amongst those present for Bor’s funeral the previous month, but he had certainly gone out of his way to find himself in New York for the will reading.  Loki wished he knew more of his relatives by name, to help him paint a bigger picture.  But he had enough information to make a few guesses about why so many strangers had invaded his home, and he didn’t feel wrong about any of them.  If he needed to, he could always rope Thor into some espionage.  Or better yet, Sylvie.  But for the moment, it all sounded like too much work when all Loki really wanted to do was find a way back on his feet, even if that meant doing nothing at all for the rest of the day.

Deciding he didn’t actually care enough about Njord or anyone else to keep nosing around further, Loki closed the tab and opened Steam to stare at all the games he knew he didn’t want to play.  Occasionally, something would catch his attention, and he’d wait forever for it to load and then mess around with it for about ten minutes, before deciding he did not actually want to play that game at all.  And then the cycle reset itself as he found himself once more browsing his library.

Eventually, he gave up on Steam and went back to the endless scroll on his social media feeds.  More than once, he drifted off into a light doze, waking as people stomped up and down the stairs or let doors slam too hard.  He tried to close his own door, but he couldn’t reach to swing it shut from where he sat, and didn’t want to get up.  Even as the pain in his back was slowly masked prescription pain killers, he couldn’t quite force himself to get up, if even to move back to bed.  It wasn’t until the front door opened that Loki realised he had spent an embarrassing amount of time being lazy.

“Is anyone down here?” Angela called out from the foyer.

“Me!” Loki shouted back, trying to force himself to sit up a bit better.

He was able to turn enough in his seat to see Angela walking down the hall toward his room.  He offered her a weak smile, but didn’t even try to get up as she reached his room and let herself in.

“What’s wrong with you?” she asked, looking down at him.

Loki snorted.  “Hurt myself sleeping,” he said.

Angela laughed and sat down on his bed, only to become immediately startled as she sank into the mattress.  She looked around at it and struggled to sit up while the mattress tried to swallow her whole.  Deciding to help, Loki pulled up the app on his phone again.  But instead of inclining the back, he raised the feet so Angela was knocked off balance completely.

“Loki, what the fuck is this?” Angela said, barely managing to sit up.

Loki laughed and left the bed exactly as it was.  “It’s what Dad actually bought me after I sent the Tesla,” he said.

“God, you are such a spoilt brat,” Angela said.  “If I destroyed my graduation gift, I’d had been thrown out on my ass.”

“No, you gotta really scare the hell out of them,” Loki said.  “That’s the trick to it.  Let them spend a few days getting mad enough to start arguing, and then eat shit on the stairs.”

Angela stared at him, wide eyed for a moment.  “Jesus, you didn’t?” she asked.

Again, Loki laughed.  “Apparently,” he said slowly, “you can become so accustomed to being in pain that you can walk around for three days with half your back torn to hell before your brain gets sick of your bullshit and tells your legs to stop working.”

“I always knew you were a moron, but Jesus Christ,” Angela said.  She shook her head and looked at Loki for a long moment.  “They never found that guy, did they?”

Loki shook his head as well.  “Nope.  He was probably some drunken tourist from halfway across the globe,” he said.

The irony did not escape Loki, and it was days like this when he was rendered near immobile that it weighed on him most.  Letting himself huff quietly, he turned to look out the window to the trees blocking his view of the beach.

“I walked away from a crash that should have fucking killed me, but it’s some room temperature IQ frat bro I’m going to spend the rest of my life dealing with,” he said.

He grumbled lowly, and decided that he was sick of sulking around in his room, feeling sorry for himself.  Loki dropped the footrest on his chair and sat forward a bit more, pointing to his dresser.

“Fetch me some trunks.  Let’s get out of here,” he said.

As he tried to figure out how he wanted to do this, Angela wiggled her way back to her feet.

“Should I get someone to help?” she asked as she tried to find the right drawer.

Loki shook his head.  “No, I should be able to manage,” he said.

Angela found a pair of swim trunks and tossed them at him as she walked toward the door.

“Hey,” Loki said before she could leave.  “I think they put Dad’s ghoulish uncle in your room.  Make sure nothing’s missing.”

Angela turned to frown at him, tilting her head as she considered his warning.  “All right,” she said slowly.

She closed the door behind her as she left, making Loki reconsider turning down help.  He managed to swap out his pyjamas for his trunks without standing, and only then dared to try to find his feet.  The painkillers helped, but they didn’t dull the pain completely.  Loki could still feel his back protesting as he stood and shed his dressing gown, letting it fall back onto his chair.  He looked down at his pyjamas on the floor and tried to kick them closer to the hamper, but quickly decided he didn’t care. 

Though his back still pulled sharply if he moved too much or too quickly, it was easier to move around at all now he was on his feet.  He found a silk shirt printed with parrots and palm fronds and managed to get into it, letting it hang open off his shoulders, and hid his uncombed hair under a white Panama hat.  He snatched up a pair of cigarettes from atop his dresser, taking just a moment to check that a lighter had also been stuffed in with them before dropping them into his shirt’s front pocket.  With a glance toward the windows, Loki picked up his sunglasses before trying once again to leave his room.

As he pulled the door open, he paused briefly to look at the closet.  Inside, buried behind boxes of old junk and hanging jackets and pressed trousers, he knew he’d find a set of crutches.  He considered them for just a few seconds before deciding against them.  Even if not for the hassle of digging them out, the thought of using them brought forth a rising bitterness he didn’t know what to do with.  He ignored the closet and everything in it, and slowly made his way toward the front of the house.

The sun would do him some good, and maybe the warmth would help relax things further.  But first, he had to get there.  He made it as far as the sitting room before giving up and sitting back down, and immediately recognised his mistake.  The sofas were low and soft, and tried to swallow a person whole.  He’d never get back up.

“Fuck,” he said as he tried to sit back up.

All he managed to do was sink further into it, so he gave up before it got any worse.  He’d left his phone behind, so all he could do was stay glued to the sofa until Thor finally found him.  Thor stopped in the doorway, taking the time to laugh at Loki’s predicament.

“Shut up and help me,” Loki said.

Thor did not shut up, though he did step forward.  Rather than taking Loki by the arms to pull him to his feet, Thor bent over him instead.  Loki wrapped his arms around Thor’s shoulders, holding on as Thor wrapped his own arms around Loki’s waist and stood to haul him up.  Loki hissed loudly as his back still protested, but he made it to his feet without screaming, and that was always a win.

“Let’s get a head start,” Thor said as he opened the door to the back deck.  “Maybe we can get there by sundown.”

“Shut all the way up,” Loki said.

He slowly followed Thor out to the deck, using Thor’s shoulder to balance himself as he stepped into his sandals.  Once Loki was steady on his feet again, Thor left him in a hurry, trotting off toward the pool.  Assuming Thor was an idiot who had forgotten where the beach was, Loki began making his way toward the stairs that led off the deck.  As he reached them, Thor returned with a sun lounger in one hand, and a parasol slung over the opposite shoulder.

“Do you got it?” Thor asked as they neared the stairs.

Loki nodded.  “Maybe,” he said.  “Teach me to sneak out for a midnight orgy.”

He took the stairs one step at a time, making sure he had both feet solidly on the same level before stepping sideways down to the next one.  The rail was weathered and splintered, forcing him to keep only the most tenuous of holds on it as he went.

“This is what you get for spending all day in bed,” Thor said, stuck behind him on the stairs.

Loki sighed, wondering what the hell he was supposed to do about any of it.  “Thor,” he said.  “Go eat an entire dick.”

Thor shuffled everything to hold onto it with one arm, freeing himself to hold his hand flat against Loki’s side.  Loki resented the need for help, but said nothing and let Thor help keep him balanced.  He made it back onto the level boardwalk and looked ahead at the next set of stairs he had to navigate.  There were three more sets before they even hit the beach—one heading back up over the dune, and two more as the beach sloped down to the surf—and they each seemed impossible to navigate.  But on level ground, he was able to move a bit faster, and while going back up the stairs was slow going, it wasn’t quite as awkward.  They made it to the point where the stairs started going down again before Loki caught the sound of footsteps approaching from behind.  He looked up as Sylvie and Angela caught up with them, both giving him matching looks in a mix of exasperation and pity.  Angela held a small cooler, while Sylvie had a ridiculously oversized bag over her shoulder, making clear the intent was to spend all day on the beach.  Loki waved everyone through, letting them get on with their day without having to wait for him.  Even Thor left him, which he hadn’t anticipated, but it made the awkward trip down the stairs feel a little less like he was on display.  By the time he caught back up with everyone on the beach, Thor had set up the sun lounger and drove the parasol into the sand so they could all hide under a bit of its shade.  Loki was just able to get himself onto the lounger, but as soon as he was settled, he knew he would not be getting himself back up.

As he grunted and groaned, trying to get comfortable on it, he caught Sylvie giving him a questioning look.  Loki responded just by rolling his eyes and shaking his head.

“Our genius baby brother hurt himself sleeping,” Angela said.

Sylvie shook her head at Loki.  “Why are you like this?” she asked.

“Don’t worry, I did it just to spite you,” he said.

Sylvie shook her head at him and turned to open the cooler.  She started passing around beers to everyone, and Loki half reached for the one that was offered to him before he changed his mind and shook his head.

“Mum might actually kill me,” he said.

“Told you,” Angela said. 

She reached into the cooler and pulled out a can of soda instead.  Annoyed that this is what his life had become, Loki took it and cracked it open.  He didn’t want soda, but he also didn’t want to sit around sulking because he was being left out of the fun.  He looked out over the water, watching the waves lazily roll over the sand.  If the weather had been any warmer, he might have been properly angry about the day’s turn of events.  But as it was, nobody was going into the water, so the only thing he was truly missing out on was getting sand all over his ass.

Holding his soda between his legs, Loki freed a cigarette from the pack and lit it.  As he settled back to enjoy the breeze, Sylvie leaned back against the side of the lounger and pulled his arm over her shoulder.  For a long while, the four of them stayed silent, watching the waves and the birds, and enjoying a peaceful moment away from the chaos at the house. 

“Hey, what was that earlier?” Angela asked, turning to Loki.  “About Daddy’s uncle?”

Loki took a deep breath, trying to decide just how petty and vindictive he was feeling.

“He’s only here for the money,” Loki said.  “Like most of these sad old fuckers.”

“The one who tried to hang you for your car?”  Thor asked with a snort.  “I’m surprised you didn’t let him have it at breakfast.”

“I should have,” Loki said, shaking his head.  He took a drag of his cigarette as he looked out over the empty beach.  “Nasty old prick.”

The closer they got to the reading, the more Loki was dreading it.  As he replayed Njord’s ridicule in his head, Loki decided petty and vindictive was exactly how he was feeling.

“I looked him up,” he said.  “He’s broke.  Lost everything during the crash.  He probably flew out here on credit to get the money as quickly as possible.”

“Lost everything?  How?” Angela asked.

Loki shook his head.  “I could only get the gist.  Something about a bank nationalising, but there were a lot of big words I didn’t know.  Apparently I need to learn how to read again.”

“God, if I went back home, I’d be so fucked,” Angela said.  “I’ve forgotten everything.”

Beside her, Thor laughed.  “Blame it on Mum and Dad.  They’re the ones who wanted us to speak English.”

Loki laughed as well.  “We don’t speak English at all unless you lot are around,” he said.  “Mum knows you can’t and doesn’t want to be rude.”

“What, seriously?” Sylvie asked.  She looked up at Loki, squinting like she didn’t believe him.  “What changed their mind?”

Loki shrugged and took another drag of his cigarette.  He could come up with a dozen reasons, none any more or less likely than the rest.

“But I do know that if that old man’s broke and sniffing around for money, he’s not the only one,” Loki said.

Sylvie twisted to face him better.  “What makes you say that?” she asked, snatching his cigarette away to take a drag.

“Half the family was involved with the banks,” Loki said.  He took his cigarette back before Sylvie could smoke it all.  “Where do you think Dad got the money to get started?  Did you think he just pulled himself up by the bootstraps the second we hit dry land?”

Angela laughed suddenly as she started digging through her bag.  “Is this what you do with your free time?” she asked.  “Dig up dirt on people you haven’t seen since you were twelve?”

“Only if they insult me in front of the entire family,” Loki said.

Angela pulled a eyeglass case from her bag and opened it, and instead of sunglasses, she pulled out a joint.  Loki watched her scrabble about in her bag for a few moments before pulling his lighter from his pocket and offering it over.  She took it, and after closing the case and slipping it back into her bag, lit the joint and took a puff.

“Well, I didn’t see anything missing,” she said as she passed the joint over to Thor.  She coughed harshly and shook her head.  “But I don’t keep anything important here, and I don’t think Hela does either.”

“I’ll check ours when we go back in,” Thor said.  He shrugged and took a puff as well.

Occasionally, Loki was struck by the absurdity of seven bedrooms not being enough, and this was one of those moments.  He knew the reason he was constantly hounded about moving out was to free up his room for more space for other things.  But he liked his room, small though it was.  He liked the security that came with staying where he was.  If he left, he’d have to figure out how to do things like pay electric bills and hire help.

The joint came round to him, and he took a long puff from it.  He looked down at it in his fingers as he slowly exhaled, wondering if it might get the job done better than his painkillers had.

“Is this wedding cake?” he asked, passing it back to Angela.

She shook her head.  “Hybrid, I think.  Apple something.”

Loki shrugged as his mind drifted off to ways he could get away with smuggling anything into the house under Odin’s watchful eye.  His thoughts were quickly interrupted by the pitter-patter of small feet running down the boardwalk from the house.

“So much for not letting the kids find out,” Thor said lowly.

Vidar led the charge toward the beach, running straight past the four of them and stopping just before the surf.  He stood there, looking out over the water for a long moment before turning back toward the house and sitting in the sand.  Shortly after, Balder and Hoder bought caught up with him, taking the two of them to drag him farther from the water.

“God, I’m never having one of those,” Sylvie said.

While everyone else laughed, she took a puff from the joint and handed it back to Loki.  As soon as he brought it to his lips, he felt a great presence standing over him.  He looked up at Odin, and deciding he was apparently in the mood to fistfight God, took a puff of the joint.

“What?” he asked, holding it out for Angela to take.

He slowly exhaled the smoke as he stared right back at Odin.

“Am I some sort of joke to you?” Odin asked.

Loki shrugged.

“Daddy, it’s one joint, and he’s in pain,” Angela said.  “Don’t be such a tyrant.”

“One joint.  Vicodin.  Beer?  Where do we stop?” he asked.

Rolling his eyes, Loki held up his soda can for Odin to see.  “I’m an idiot; not completely brain-dead,” he said.

Odin looked over the four of them, before finally settling his gaze on Thor.  “I don’t want him out of your sight,” he said.  “Not for a moment.  Am I clear?”

Thor nodded.  “Fine,” he said.  “It’s not like he’s going very far on his own.”

With a displeased hum, Odin turned and left to go join the rest of the group that had come down from the house.  The four of them managed to wait until he was at least few meters away before losing the battle and laughing.

“Fucking asshole,” Loki muttered.

“Why do I feel like he only gave in because he didn’t want to shout in front of everyone else?” Angela said, before taking a puff and passing it along.

For some reason, Loki didn’t think she was wrong.



He couldn’t sleep, and he didn’t know why.  He’d already jerked off into a dirty shirt twice, but he couldn’t stop thinking about Sylvie on his bed, her hand on his cock.  It was wrong.  She was his sister.  His twin sister, at that.  If anyone found out what they’d done, he’d never live it down.  Even if he did survive whatever punishment Odin might deliver, he’d simply die of shame anyway.

Sylvie would probably scrape by without incident.  She wouldn’t even have to say anything for everyone to be convinced it had all been his idea.  She was always good at that sort of thing, while Loki was always good at catching everyone else’s punishment.

But knowing that they weren’t supposed to have done any of it only made Loki want even more to do it again.  No girl had ever shown even an ounce of interest in him, but Sylvie was right there in the room next to his.  Sylvie had been the one to ask to see his dick.  She had been the one to touch it unprompted, and then to undress herself.  Loki wondered how long she’d wanted to see him like that, only to get lucky and catch him in a moment of foggy-minded vulnerability.  He wondered if he was sick for hoping that she’d do it again.  As his thoughts once more drifted to the feeling of her around his fingers, he wondered what would happen if he dared to ask her to do it again.

The worst that would happen is she would say no.  She might have been good at getting out of trouble, but she wouldn’t seek it for herself just to get Loki into trouble.  With this in mind, Loki got out of bed and crept over to his door.  Beyond it, the house was dark and quiet.  Just next to his, Sylvie’s door sat closed, with just the faintest sliver of light shining from underneath.  Daring to take that short step, Loki quietly opened Sylvie’s door.  Peering inside, he found Sylvie in bed with a book on her knees, and headphones over her ears.  She didn’t notice him right away, until he stepped inside.  Startled, she took her headphones off as she looked up at him.

“What do you want, Loki?” she asked.

Loki quietly shut the door behind him, finding he suddenly could not form the words.

“Couldn’t sleep,” he said.

Sylvie looked at the door behind him, before staring at him in a way that made him want to turn and leave.  “Are you asking me to touch your dick again?”

Loki didn’t know why he was suddenly so embarrassed at being caught out.  He felt his face go hot, and resisted the urge to turn and flee. 

“I was gonna ask if you wanted to.”

Sylvie looked up at him for a long moment, biting her lip as she considered him.

“Come here, then,” she said, setting her book aside.

Loki stepped over to her bed, surprised when she moved to lie on her back.  He climbed onto the bed, sitting on his knees by her feet, and waited to see what she was doing.

“I want to try something,” she said.

She let her knees fall open, spreading herself with obvious intent.

“Keep your pants on,” Sylvie said.

Nodding, Loki crawled over to her.  This was too much.  This wasn’t what he’d wanted, but he was hard and trembling, and she was inviting him to climb on top of her.  He stopped between her legs, looking down at her and wondering if he was really about to do this.  Then, he lowered himself onto her, letting her shift beneath him.  He couldn’t feel much between the layers of fabric between them, but then she wrapped her legs around his hips and nudged him forward, and every last reservation he had faded away.  He rutted against her, and it was so much different than anything he had ever done on his own.  Her body moving against his, her hands pulling his shirt up to rake over his skin, her legs wrapped around him and holding their bodies together.  He got lost in her, no longer caring that she was his sister.  He wasn’t inside her, so they weren’t doing anything wrong.  It was jerking off with extra steps, in a way they both wanted and liked.

Then, she moved beneath him again, and her hand found its way into his pyjamas and onto his cock, her fingers dragging along the top while her body pressed against him from beneath.  He gasped sharply at the shock of it all, and driven by a need that nearly consumed him, he used all of his weight to grind against her.  Sylvie shifted beneath him again, moving his cock to sit differently, and began moving against him as well.

“Right there?” Loki asked, barely able to keep his breath.

“Yeah, don’t stop,” Sylvie said, her voice low and breathy against his neck.

Loki choked back as much sound as he could, letting out only sharp hisses and whimpers.  The rest of the house may have been asleep, but he didn’t dare risk waking anyone.

He felt himself slowly starting to rise, and even though he wanted to slow down to make himself last, he couldn’t.

“I’m cumming,” he said, panting heavily.

He thought Sylvie might move her hand away, but she gripped him instead.  He came a moment later, making a mess inside his pyjamas and on Sylvie’s hand.  Loki didn’t realise he’d slowed until Sylvie moved her hand from his dick, and began rubbing herself through their layers of pyjamas.  He watched her get herself off, transfixed by the faces she made as she came beneath him.  Holding himself above her on shaky arms, Loki watched as she came back round to herself, her eyes heavy as she looked up at him.  As they both slowly caught their breath, Sylvie shifted beneath him and untangled her legs from around his hips.  Loki rolled off and laid down by her side, unsure what to do now.

“Give me a few minutes, and we can do that again, if you want,” he said.

Sylvie laughed.  “Only if I get to be on top,” she said.

Loki nodded.  “Okay.”

They lay together, neither saying much.  Loki wondered if Sylvie was as confused and uncertain about the whole thing as he was.  It wasn’t sex.  Their clothes had stayed on.  At the same time, something about humping his own sister didn’t feel like anything but sex.  He twisted and turned it around in his mind, but before he came to any conclusion, Sylvie sat up and threw her leg over his hips, straddling him suddenly.  Loki rolled over to be flat on his back, watching as she started moving on top of him.  He wasn’t hard yet, but it took only a few moments for his body to respond.  She moved on top of him, rolling her hips and biting her lip.  Soon, Loki was fully hard, and she reached into his pyjamas to put him right where she wanted him.  He could almost feel her spreading around his cock, even through their layers of pyjamas, and gasped at just the thought of it.

With her on top of him, he was able to touch her.  Just as she had done, he snaked his hands under her shirt, finding she didn’t wear a bra to bed.  Damning caution, he felt her breasts and squeezed and pinched her nipples, watching her gasp loudly.  Loki rolled his hips into her, imagining he was inside her, and wondering what it would look like.  He tried to imagine the sounds she might make, and how it might change the way she moved on top of him.

He forced himself to keep his eyes open as he watched her, realising that she was cumming while riding him.  She rode it out, her jaw slack as she panted heavily, but before she could still completely Loki took her by the hips and kept her moving.  Controlling her like that, it took only a few moments before he came as well, leaving the front of his pyjamas a sticky mess.

Sylvie moved off of him and settled beside him once more, still breathing heavily.  Watching her, Loki wondered if she might want to go again.