Anthony’s yacht was quite a bit smaller than the one they used to take down to Florida, but being out on the water, laid out on a deck chair beneath the sun made Loki realise exactly how much he had missed this. It was a bit colder out on the open water than it had been on the beach, but with his Panama hat and his sunglasses, Loki was content to lounge around on the deck of his neighbour’s yacht, pretending shorts and flip-flops hadn’t been a poor choice for the outing. He watched as Anthony busied about, making sure everyone had a drink in their hand. Loki worked on his second beer of the afternoon, listening to the conversation ebbing and flowing around him as simply enjoyed the experience of being back on the water.
“Does your boat have a kitchen?” Hoder asked, frowning down at the soda he was given, while everyone else got beer.
“It’s called a galley,” Anthony said. “And yes it does. You hungry?”
Hoder looked around, silently mulling something over.
“Can I see it?” he asked.
Anthony waved one of the stewards over, and pointed him toward Hoder.
“Give him the tour, would you?” he said.
He slapped Hoder on the shoulder as he was led away, and walked over to join the rest out on the deck.
“Sorry, I thought he’d be more interested in being on the water,” Loki said.
“How old is he again?” Anthony asked.
Loki didn’t know. He shook his head and looked over at Tyr.
“Nineteen,” Tyr said. “He would have been about eight or nine when the banks over there collapsed. He probably doesn’t even remember what it was like before.”
Thor laughed lowly, gesturing to both of them with his beer. “Do you remember that summer we went back home and Dad bought Mum a horse? When was that?”
Loki didn’t, but the way Tyr laughed suggested there was some truth to what Thor was saying.
“That was the year I decided to stay,” Tyr said. “You two must have been about ten.”
Loki shook his head, looking back and forth between Tyr and Thor.
“I remember you staying, but not the horse. Why’d he do that?” Loki asked.
“They got in a fight,” Thor said. “He tried to make up for it by buying her a horse that wasn’t allowed to leave the country.”
Loki stared down at his beer, desperately trying to find this memory somewhere inside his bottle. “I don’t remember this,” he said. “What were they fighting over?”
Thor shrugged, and Tyr laughed again.
“We spent two months in Reykjavík every two years. I never understood a single word they ever said to one another,” Thor said.
Tyr shook his head, and for a moment he and Roger looked at one another. And once again, Loki realised he was the last to know something.
“Mum caught him fucking the nanny,” Tyr said after a moment.
Suddenly, the story did seem familiar. While Anthony cackled like a lunatic, and Thor choked on his beer, Loki grappled with a memory that sprung up from the darkness.
“Fuck, I do remember that,” he said, looking out over the water without really seeing anything. “I always thought they dismissed her because we were old enough to not need constant supervision.”
“Yeah, the hellspawn twins and the human bulldozer did just fine without any adults nearby,” Tyr said, gesturing to Thor.
While Anthony laughed on, trying to get himself under control, Loki tried to slot everything together in a new order that suddenly made too much sense.
“I told her months ago she needed a nanny for Laussa and she got so mad at me,” Loki said. “I figured she thought I was insulting her parenting.”
Suddenly so many small things made sense, when for years he had accepted these oddities as just another way in which their family was slightly abnormal. And he couldn’t help but wonder if things might have been different after his accident if Frigga hadn’t been so overwhelmed with so many other things. Though by then, Loki figured they probably could not have afforded help to begin with.
“So,” Anthony said, still struggling to keep a straight face. “Your poor mother raised ten of you—”
“Eleven,” Tyr said, cutting in.
“Eleven of you,” Anthony said, gesturing to the four of them, “without help because she didn’t trust your old man?”
“The girls and I were already out of the house, but yeah,” Tyr said. He laughed, even though there really wasn’t anything funny about the situation at all. “She refused to let another woman into the house after that.”
“Oh my fucking god.” Loki snorted and shook his head, realising more than he ever wanted to. “We only hired Anne after Laussa was born. Mum was doing all the housekeeping on her own too.”
Anthony cackled again. “Who needs TV with neighbours like these?”
Loki looked over to Thor, watching him struggle to accept what he’d been told. Thor looked down at his beer, shaking his head at it, before returning his attention to Loki.
“You don’t believe this, do you?” he asked.
“Of course I believe it,” Loki said. “Have you met our father? He’s a pig.”
There was so much Loki hadn’t known just three days earlier, that he didn’t think there was a single revelation remaining that could startle him.
“You’re serious?” Thor asked, looking up at Tyr. “Dad had an affair?”
Tyr shrugged and looked over to Anthony, who was struggling to calm himself down.
“More than one. I thought you knew,” Tyr said.
Thor stood and walked down the deck away from the group, stopping to look out over the water. Looking up at Tyr, Loki wanted to ask him how many accounts their father had set up for him by the time he was eighteen, but that was one can of worms Anthony didn’t need to be made party to. Instead, he got up and followed Thor, standing beside him and leaning against the taffrail.
“I didn’t know either,” Loki said. “This is all new to me too.”
Thor turned to him, deeply unimpressed, and Loki supposed that maybe his ignorance on a subject wasn’t the best benchmark. Suddenly unsure about what he ought to do, Loki only stared at him, watching and waiting nervously for Thor to say something. Anything. Finally, Thor shook his head and looked back out over the water, endlessly drifting on toward the horizon.
“I remember nothing but fighting,” Thor said. “For years, the fighting. You missed the worst of it, but I was there.”
Loki snorted. “I didn’t miss that much,” he said. “Funny thing about spending all day in bed is that you don’t sleep very well at night. There were some nights I heard them going at it upstairs and thought he hit her.”
Thor looked back at him, wearing a sad and confused expression that was becoming irritatingly familiar.
“Why didn’t you ever say anything?” he asked.
“To what ends?” Loki said. He gestured vaguely back to Roger and Tyr, still chatting with Anthony. “They were long gone. You were seventeen. What would you have done?”
Instead of answering, Thor reached forward to tilt Loki’s face into the sun. Loki let him, not knowing what else he could do that wouldn’t cause a scene. He knew Sylvie had hit him hard enough to leave a mark, and was certain the sun was only making it stand out more. After a moment, Thor let go of him and sighed.
“I should have paid more attention,” Thor said, turning again so he didn’t have to face Loki. “To you. To Mum. To all of it. I’m terrified of what I’m about to learn next.”
Loki shrugged. He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to say to that, so he took a drink of his beer and looked out at the water as well.
“I just wanted to get out of there like they all had,” Thor said. “Go to school. Get out in the world. Visit every other Christmas like Hela does.”
“Then why the hell did you go to work for him?” Loki asked, resisting the urge to look over at him. He didn’t want to see whatever sad expression Thor was wearing now.
Thor took a deep breath, and for a moment Loki thought he wasn’t going to get an answer. “The same reason you didn’t finish. Bastard talked me out of it. ‘Medical school only puts you in debt.’ I’d make more money working for him.”
Loki watched the water, sun sparkling on its surface, reflecting back a million colours at once.
“Huh,” he said, making sense of one more puzzle piece he hadn’t even realised.
It wasn’t surprising that Odin had fed Thor the exact same line of bullshit, but hearing that it had happened twice put even more into perspective. He dared glance back at Tyr and Roger, but neither of them were paying any attention. Anthony was showing them a fishing reel, and the two of them were doing a stunning job at pretending to be interested.
“He didn’t want any more of us leaving,” Loki said. “He’ll pull that same shit with Hermod, watch.”
“He’s threatened for years to kick you out. I’ve always wondered why he never did,” Thor said.
Loki snorted. He leaned in close to Thor, making sure nobody else overheard him.
“You didn’t hear this from me, but Balder’s been talking about running off with his little girlfriend once they graduate,” he said. “He wants to go get a job in the Parks Service.”
“Oh, Dad’ll love that,” Thor said. “Two drop-outs, whatever the hell you are, one who isn’t even going to try.”
Some part of Loki knew he should have taken offense, but he didn’t even know what the hell he was. He had a degree, but it was utterly useless in the real world. He thought he’d had an idea about who and what he was, but but that was before he was forced to admit he was every bit of the clueless idiot everyone seemed to think he was.
“What about you?” Thor asked. “You’re not moving in with Sylvie.”
Loki shook his head. “No. God, no. I don’t know how she convinced me it was a good idea.”
Thor turned to face him properly, and held a hand on Loki’s shoulder.
“Don’t rush into this thing Mum wants you to do either,” he said. “For the love of god, humour her, but don’t let it go any farther than that.”
With his hand on Loki’s shoulder, it almost seemed like Thor was being honest. But Loki wasn’t sure who to trust, or if he could even trust himself. So many lies and secrets—his own and everyone else’s—had come to light that nothing seemed real anymore.
“Do you know this woman?” he asked.
“No,” Thor said, shaking his head as he dropped his hand from Loki’s shoulder. “Some daughter of a friend’s, no doubt. Which means she’ll be just like the other ones.”
That much, Loki didn’t doubt for a moment. She’d either be too young for him and constantly in some sort of trouble, or too old and mourning the loss of her youth. Her words may have been cruel, but Sylvie was right once again. Nobody Loki’s own age was looking for their parents to set them up.
“How much longer have you got?” Thor asked.
Loki looked down at his beer. “Eight months,” he said. “Think I should lead with that? If she’s any kind of reasonable, it might scare her off.”
“You got a year? For a DWI?” Thor asked. “Your first one?”
“No, I got a fine for the DWI,” Loki said. He looked at his beer again and shrugged before finishing it off. “The year’s for possession.”
A silence fell between them for a moment while Thor turned something over in his head. “I didn’t hear about any possession. How much did you have on you?”
Loki shrugged. “I didn’t think I had anything, but…”
He saw the look on Thor’s face, so tired and run down, and realised what he was being led into.
“Don’t,” Loki said. “I don’t want to do this.”
He couldn’t handle one more revelation out of nowhere, especially while he was out on the water on their neighbour’s yacht, at least an hour from home.
Thor nodded, but it was too late. It was already in his head, and it wasn’t going to go away any time soon. He took the no contest plea because Odin had said it would be easier than fighting. With a deep breath, he looked back out over the water and wished he’d stayed home. But he hadn’t stayed home, and he couldn’t get back without causing an even bigger scene, so he shook his head and pretended he hadn’t had one more thing to wonder and worry about.
“I suppose next someone’s going to ruin those summers in Florida,” he said.
Thor laughed mirthlessly. “I could always throw you in the water and stand by while everyone else panics,” Thor said.
Somehow, Loki half expected Thor to do exactly that, and he couldn’t help the small step he took to put distance between them.
“I don’t know why you think that’s funny,” Loki said. “I nearly drowned.”
“You’re fine,” Thor said. “That was ten years ago.”
“And since then you think I’ve magically learned to swim?” Loki asked.
Thor actually had the audacity to look disappointed. “Loki,” he said with a tired sigh. “What the hell are we supposed to do with you?”
“You can start by not throwing me into the water,” Loki said.
Thor didn’t throw him into the water, though Loki suspected it was only because a steward had come to fetch them. Hoder’s curiosity in the galley had indeed led to lunch, and they were all called to the upper deck to graze on sandwiches and some sort of spicy dip. It was clear by the strained tone that everyone else had figured out that Thor and Loki had wandered off to have an awkward conversation about the day’s revelations, but nobody said anything about it. Instead, they talked about fish and Tyr’s business back in Reykjavík, and Roger’s business in California. The more they both talked about their big projects that kept them away from New York, the more Loki knew he and Thor had stumbled upon yet another buried truth. Odin wanted them close because appearance was everything, and it didn’t look good when all of his children kept running away as far as they could.
By the time they finished with lunch, the weather had begun to turn. Rather than taking a chance that it might improve, Anthony directed the captain to return to port. As the sea began to get a bit rough, most of the group went into the cabin to get out of the spray and the rain that began to fall. Except Hoder. Tyr quickly led him to the lower deck, and held onto him as he leaned over the side.
Loki watched through a porthole as he settled down next to Thor on a long sofa.
“Well, that was inevitable,” he said.
“Loki, be nice,” Thor said. “You invited him. You should be out there with him.”
“I didn’t invite him,” Loki said. “I asked if he wanted to come along. How was I supposed to know he’d never been on a boat before?”
Anthony laughed, and the tension slowly eased from the cabin as they sped back home. By the time they reached the marina, rain and begun to fall in heavy sheets, and Loki had finished off two more beers. Anthony apologised for the weather, and with Hoder still on unsteady feet, they said their goodbyes and returned to Thor’s truck. As Loki reached for the passenger door, Tyr redirected him to the back.
“Let him sit in front,” Tyr said, guiding Hoder to what should have been Loki’s seat.
“You suck,” Loki said.
He got into the back, finding Roger already settled against the opposite door. Loki paused, realising the situation as Tyr started to get in behind him.
“I don’t want to be in the middle,” he said.
“Are you twelve?” Tyr asked. “Sit the fuck down.”
He slapped Loki across the back of his head, and gave him a hard shove against Roger. With no other choice, Loki sat down between them, squished in the middle like he didn’t matter.
“I will punch you in the back of the head if you get pulled over,” Loki said as he tried to find a seat belt that didn’t seem to exist.
“Don’t worry, if I get pulled over, I at least having a driver’s license,” Thor said.
The seatbelt failed to materialise, so Loki sat back and tried to pretend he didn’t care that he’d be the one on the hook again if Thor did get pulled over. Once everyone got settled in, Thor began to take them home. Every single bump and corner along the way drew another uneasy sound from Hoder, and despite the rain, Thor rolled the passenger window down.
“I’d rather go to a car wash than have to get the seats done,” he said.
Nodding, Hoder leaned out the window, ready to puke all over Thor’s pristine white paint. Thankfully, he did nothing of the sort, and they made their way back to the island without any other calamities befalling them. Right up until Thor opened the gate and tried to pull into the driveway, finding his spot taken by a familiar red sports car.
“Angela you bitch,” Thor muttered.
Loki knew he probably should have taken some of the blame, since the driveway was still a mess after everyone had hastily re-arranged their cars to let him out the day before. But he said nothing as Thor tried to find a space for his pointlessly large truck. Once Thor finally parked, everyone piled out and ran across the lawn to the front door, eager to get inside and dry. Loki nearly slipped twice on the grass, his leather flip-flops designed for lounging rather than sport. Cringing at what he knew would be a problem for future him, Loki shook his head and rushed inside with the rest of them before the rain could soak him all the way through. As soon as he was through the door, Loki kicked off his shoes so he didn’t fall on his ass because of them, and walked barefoot to the stairs.
“Where are you going?” Thor asked.
Loki didn’t even turn to him as he climbed the stairs. “If I’m going to be stuck inside all day, I refuse to do it sober,” he said.
He could hear Thor snorting behind him, while Tyr got Hoder camped out in the sitting room. As Loki reached the landing above, he was met by Angela, no doubt eager to get away from the chaos upstairs. For a moment, they stared at one another, while Loki stood in her way and tried to figure out how ornery he was feeling.
“Thor called you a bitch,” he said suddenly.
He watched as Angela’s face screwed up with confusion and offense. “What? Why?” she asked.
Loki shrugged. “You parked in his spot.”
She shoved past him and rushed down the stairs, already shouting at Thor. Laughing to himself and his supremely lame prank, Loki headed toward the fridge to find something that could keep him a bit drunk, and maybe help get him even more drunk. The beer had been utterly and completely picked over, so Loki moved instead to the liquor cabinet to mix himself a drink, pouring too much rum and not enough Coke into a glass.
“I’m sure you’ve already had quite enough,” Frigga said, suddenly behind him.
Loki turned, offering her his most innocent of smiles, knowing she wouldn’t believe it for a moment. But before she could say anything, she became distracted by something else, concern washing over her face. She stepped a little closer to Loki, tilting his face into the light above, and then taking off his hat and setting it aside.
“You got a little burnt out there,” Frigga said.
Loki knew he hadn’t. They hadn’t been out in the sun long enough, and now he prayed Frigga didn’t look closely enough to see the outline of a hand print across his jaw. He didn’t think Sylvie had struck him quite that hard, but she had obviously got him good enough that Frigga noticed it.
“Go sit down,” Frigga said, waving him off. “We’ll get this taken care of.”
Not wanting to argue, Loki picked up his hat from the bar and put it back on, not caring that he was inside, still wearing sunglasses, and looking like a damned fool. He found a spot on one of the sofas, drinking his rum while he waited for Frigga to come back out from her bathroom. She joined him a few moments later, again taking his hat off and setting it aside, and then taking his sunglasses and putting them inside his hat. Loki sat quietly, letting her do as she pleased in the hopes it might keep her from inspecting his face more closely. As Frigga moved him around this way and that, Loki caught Sylvie’s eye from the other sofa. He said nothing, letting Frigga fuss over him and smear something cold and sticky all over his face.
“Grown man still needs his mother to wash his face for him,” some low voice said from across the room.
Loki responded only by holding up his middle finger, much to the mixed delight and scandal of those around him.
“Loki,” Frigga scolded. “Stop it.”
Loki put his hand down, only because his point had already been made.
“He started it,” he said.
“Be the bigger man and ignore it,” Frigga said.
Loki shrugged, breaking away long enough to take another drink of his rum.
“I gather Thor’s told you by now?” Frigga asked.
She finished putting her sticky potion all over his face and sat back. Loki looked at her, and then to Sylvie. He could see Sylvie’s anger; practically feel it radiating off of her, even if nobody else noticed.
“He did,” Loki said, putting his hat back on and settling back into his seat.
For a moment, he considered putting his sunglasses back on as well, but settled for hooking them into his shirt collar instead.
“You haven’t got out much since Zelma, and I know these things are difficult for you,” Frigga said.
Loki tried not to look at Sylvie, though he could still see her barely concealing a glower in his direction.
“No, I’m looking forward to it,” Loki said, not looking forward to it at all. “He said next week?”
“Nothing’s been set in stone,” Frigga said. She smiled weakly, and let herself settle back in her seat as well. “But I’m glad you’ve at least decided to humour me.”
Sylvie snorted, her arms crossed over her chest. Loki dared to look over at her, watching as she shook her head.
“I can’t believe you still waste your time on him like that,” she said, staring right at Loki as she spoke. “It never works, because women would rather be with a man who doesn’t need his mother’s help to set him up.”
Frigga turned to face her as well, all the softness gone from her features.
“Sylvie,” she said angrily. “That was a very cruel thing to say. Even for you.”
Loki drank his rum and pretended he hadn’t heard that same insult only hours before. Instead, he looked around the room, and at a mix of distant relatives both watching intently, and pretending with all their might that they hadn’t heard.
Sylvie gestured to the crowd on the other side of the room, bringing them in whether they wanted to be part of it or not.
“They’ve been saying it all weekend, because it’s true,” she said. “You guys wouldn’t have let anyone else mooch off you this long. But Loki gets away with it because he’s poor little Loki, and we wouldn’t want to let him accidentally hurt himself again, would we?”
“I don’t know what’s got into you today,” Frigga said. “You could have got all the help you wanted if you’d just asked.”
“Oh, is that what this is?” Sylvie asked. “Help? I thought they called it enabling.”
“Your brother is disabled, and you know this,” Frigga said.
Loki looked over at her, feeling vaguely offended for a reason he couldn’t even identify.
“I’m not disabled,” he said.
“I didn’t know laziness was a disability,” Sylvie said over him, drowning out his words.
By now, their captive audience was laughing openly, and it was the last thing Loki wanted to hear.
“I have a job,” Loki said, staring straight at Sylvie. “What do you do for a living? Lure men into your apartment and rob them while they sleep?”
“Oh, that is quite enough!” Frigga shouted, turning her outrage to Loki.
“You’re right. It is,” Sylvie said, getting up.
She got up and walked out to the deck to go stand in the rain like a martyr. Loki knew he was expected to follow her to make up, but he stayed right where he was, pretending the entire room wasn’t staring at him. Behind him, Thor startled him by suddenly clearing his throat awkwardly, announcing his witness to the entire ordeal that had just taken place.
“I never did hear the details about your deal yesterday,” Thor said. “How did that go?”
Loki shook his head, struggling to catch up. He realised that he hadn’t even discussed it with Odin yet, and now that they were both in the same room, he realised he might as well at least get a start on it.
“The paperwork should have got here today,” Loki said, looking at his father.
Odin nodded slowly. “A little parcel in Brooklyn,” he said. “We should have the deed within the month.”
“How’s that work?” one of Loki’s nameless uncles asked. “He just goes all over the state and spends your money, and you’re left to deal with the rest?”
“He spends my money on what I allow him to spend it on,” Odin said. “He can decide to buy up whatever he likes. But my signature needs to be on the cheque.”
“I wouldn’t trust him with that kind of power,” another uncle said. “Who knows what he could cock up for you before you caught it.”
The first uncle laughed. “If you’re gonna give that job to one of these brats, at least give it to one of your own. They might respect it more.”
Loki had already known exactly how his father’s side of the family felt about him, but his capacity to ignore it was diminishing by the second.
“Wow,” he said, standing up and trying not to spill his drink on himself. “I really do not have to put up with this. Fuck all of you.”
Somehow, his remark garnered more scandal and outrage than anything said about him, but he ignored it all as he walked toward the stairs. He made it to his room and collapsed into his chair, just listening to the sound of the rain on the deck outside. He hated that Sylvie was right; that he was sad and pathetic enough to need his mother to set him up with a girlfriend he didn’t even want. He hated that there wasn’t a single person in his entire extended family who saw him as anything more than a drain, and that nobody who ought to have stood up for him did.
He hated that he was even starting to believe it himself.
Loki barely had time to stew on any of it before a quiet knock sounded from his door. For a moment, Loki thought about ignoring it, but if the person on the other side were polite enough to knock, they probably didn’t hate him completely.
“What?” he asked.
Rather than an answer, his door cracked open and Angela peered in.
“Do you want some company?” she asked.
Loki wanted to tell her to leave. He wanted to tell her to mind her own fucking business. Instead, he waved vaguely and watched as she let herself in, closing the door quietly behind her.
“I think everyone’s a little disappointed that your brush with the law last night didn’t end in a public show,” Angela said as she sat down on Loki’s bed.
“What a goddamn shame,” Loki said.
“God, I can’t believe she did that,” Angela said. “Did she really tell the cop you’re on probation?”
Loki snorted, realising he was still beyond pissed off about it.
“Yes,” he said bitterly. “First words out of her mouth.”
“God, what a little bitch,” Angela said.
They were quiet for a moment, both of them looking over at the dim light that filtered through the blackout curtains hung over the door.
“But you are fine, right?” Angela asked finally. “That’s not going to bite you on the ass later?”
Loki shook his head. “No, I don’t think so,” he said. He finished off his rum and put the empty glass down on the table beside him. “Pretty sure the cop saw right through it and let us go to avoid the paperwork.”
He realised he was sick of sitting in the dark, and pulled his phone from his pocket. Not liking any of his pre-sets, Loki cycled through all of them, changing his lights this colour and that before giving up and making a new one, bathing the room in green and blue just bright enough to see by. Angela watched him from his bed, laughing quietly as he fiddled and finally got it set up in a way that didn’t offend him for no reason.
“I would have loved something like that when I was your age,” she said.
“Quit being old,” Loki said.
He looked down at his phone, and remembered something else he’d been told. Something that he was fairly certain wasn’t part of any deal, and which he didn’t need to put up with. He swiped through all of his apps, finally finding the one that let Odin keep track of where he was, and presumably what he was doing. He couldn’t delete the app, because it was apparently built into the phone somehow, but after enough fiddling he was able to tell it to stop sharing his location.
With that taken care of, Loki sighed and dropped his phone into his lap. The phone which suddenly didn’t even feel like his own.
“How long are you sticking around tomorrow?” he asked.
Angela shrugged. “I don’t know. I half expect this thing to get delayed again so I took the rest of the week off.”
Loki nodded. “After it happens, if it even does, will you go into town with me? Help me figure some shit out?”
She nodded, slowly at first, and then she seemed to understand what Loki was really asking; what he wasn’t saying.
“Yeah, I can do that,” she said. “We might need to take Mummy if you want to keep your number though.”
Loki groaned, trying not to sink all the way into his chair out of frustration. He did want to keep his number. He needed to keep his number. He did not want to take his mother with him while trying to do something for himself.
“Why does everything have to be so goddamn difficult?” he asked.
“Oh this?” Angela said. “This is nothing. Whatever you do, keep your accountant or you’ll regret it next April.”
Loki looked over at her, suddenly very concerned.
“Why, what happens in April?” he asked.
The way Angela buried her face in her hands and groaned quietly was not a good sign.
“What the fuck happens in April?” Loki asked.
She texted him just as he was getting ready for bed. Loki nearly ignored it, but as he picked up his phone and read the message, a surge of anticipation jolted through him, starting in his chest and ending in his dick. Sylvie wanted him to meet her on the beach, but the weather was turning cold and he could still barely walk on his own even on solid ground. Loose sand wasn’t even something he wanted to deal with yet. Despite his dick already being half hard, Loki considered pretending that he didn’t see the message and going to bed.
And then Sylvie sent another. A picture this time, legs spread and holding herself open with her fingers. Any resolve Loki had crumbled away. He sat on his bed and stared at the picture, his legs pressed tightly together as he resisted every urge to touch himself. Finally, after what seemed like hours, Loki heard her sneak out of her room and along the deck toward the beach. He waited just a few moments before getting up and carefully sliding his door open so he wouldn’t be heard sneaking out as well. He still felt a bit uneasy and uneven on his feet, even on solid ground, and as he reached the boardwalk where Sylvie had slipped off behind the hedges, Loki stopped again. He looked down at the drop below him, only a few feet and terrifying all the same.
“What’s wrong?” Sylvie hissed in the darkness.
“I can’t get down,” Loki said.
“You’re not gonna hurt yourself,” Sylvie said. “Hurry up.”
Loki bit his lip, trying to balance caution with desire. Looking over at Sylvie, sitting on a blanket she’d laid out across the sand, he could see her impatience even in the darkness. With a deep breath, he tried to lower himself down, struggling to even remember how he’d got down off the path before. He finally managed by sitting down on his ass and sliding beneath the rail to the soft sand below. With both hands held out at his sides for something that wasn’t there, he carefully made his way, step by step, over to Sylvie.
“Hurry up,” Sylvie said.
“Shut up,” Loki said, struggling to find sure footing on ground that shifted beneath him. “This is my first time down here again. Leave me alone.”
It occurred to him, belatedly, that he should have grabbed one of his crutches just to have something to balance himself with. But it was too late, and all he could do was trudge forward. Finally, he made it over to the blanket and got himself settled beside Sylvie, surprised he had managed without falling on his face. He looked up at Sylvie, not sure what he expected from her, but was disappointed to get nothing all the same. She looked at him, shaking her head slowly, and leaned back onto her elbows. Loki looked at her, hard again, but not daring to do anything she might not want.
“Sylvie?” he asked finally.
She looked up at him, her loose t-shirt hanging low over her shoulder and showing no bra beneath.
“I’m waiting on you,” she said, letting her knees fall open.
Loki looked down at her, to her legs, clearly inviting him. And now that he knew what she wanted him to do, he wondered why this was what she had chosen.
“Sylvie,” he said again, tempted to go jerk off in his room and forget the whole thing. “You know I can’t do that.”
“Can’t, or won’t?” Sylvie asked.
“It’ll fuck up my back. I don’t want to do that,” Loki said.
Sylvie sighed and reached for him, tangling her fingers in his hair that fell down over his ears and onto his shoulders. He hadn’t got it cut since before summer, and now it was almost as long as hers, dark while she kept hers bleached to an unnatural blonde. She pulled him close and kissed him, sitting up enough to get closer to him as he dared to lean over her. The angle was awkward, and Loki wanted to feel her beneath him, so he moved over her, settling between her legs and holding himself up with one elbow. With his other, he explored her body beneath her shirt, finding her breasts and squeezing them. She rolled her hips against him, pressing her cunt against his dick hard in his pyjamas, and the last ounce of his resolve finally crumbled. Loki responded, rutting against her through their layers of clothing as she wrapped her hands behind his neck.
He liked being on top; having more control over her body and how he used it. He moaned into her mouth as he humped her, wanting to do so much more than that, and not daring. In a way, he liked this better. It was safer, and they weren’t doing anything wrong this way. Sylvie moved beneath him, encouraging him to move faster even though he didn’t dare.
Then, Sylvie’s hand was between them, fighting against his pyjamas and managing to get beneath them. Loki gasped at her hand on his cock, stroking and playing with him lazily, before settling him against her right where she wanted. Loki tried to fuck her hand, but then she was moving beneath him again, and a moment later pushing him off. Confused, Loki looked down at her, taking too long of a moment to realise she was pulling her own pants off.
“Shit,” she hissed, stopping halfway.
She felt around on the blanket beside her, looking this way and that, while Loki only sat by confused.
“Fuck, I left it inside,” she said.
Sylvie looked up at him, half naked and exposed in the cool breeze, and Loki realised what she was looking for.
“Do we need it?” he asked, knowing he shouldn’t have even been entertaining the thought. “I thought that’s what the other thing was for.”
She searched her pockets again, and then once more felt around the blanket.
“Fine. Just don’t cum inside me,” she said, settling back down.
Loki nodded and pulled himself free of his pyjamas before getting back on top of Sylvie and kissing her again. While part of him knew this was wrong and didn’t want any of it, he let the part of him that did want it take control. He had to use his hand to guide himself in, keeping his weight on his knees as much as possible so his back wasn’t doing all the work. It took him a moment to get settled, fully buried within her, before he was able to kiss her again.
Being inside her again, with nothing between them, made Loki dizzy and almost unable to breathe. He had forgotten this; how perfect they were for one another. How well he fit inside her as though they were made for one another. He had more hair for Sylvie to tug on, and when she did, it went straight through him, drawing a loud moan as he slowly, carefully fucked her.
He didn’t want to move too fast. He didn’t want to hurt himself all over again, but he also wanted to savour this. Loki kept himself buried as he rocked into her, feeling himself moving within her as she tried again to encourage more from her. Even then, something in his back pulled, warning him not to get too carried away.
“You’re too slow,” Sylvie said against his lips.
Loki resisted her pleas. “I told you, I don’t want to hurt myself,” he said.
She wrapped her legs around him, leveraging herself against him as he kept fucking her into the sand. She arched and rocked beneath him, using her legs to try to guide his pace. Loki moved a bit faster within her, testing his limits as he tried to give her what she wanted, and slowing again when something in his back popped with a hollow sound he could hear in his head, rather than with his ears. She liked it when he was on top, just like he did, but he was so uncertain about it now.
“I don’t like it this slow,” Sylvie said, again pushing him off.
Loki sat up on his knees, hurt and confused as he watched her try to sort this out. As she moved to sit up, she found the errant condom beneath her and picked it up. For a moment, Sylvie looked at it in her fingers before handing it over to Loki.
“Put it on,” she said.
Loki took it, but didn’t open it. “I don’t like them,” he said.
“Well, neither of us is getting what we want tonight. Put it on,” Sylvie said.
She watched him with a deep frown as Loki unwrapped the horrid thing and slipped it on, rolling it down over his shaft so he wouldn’t feel a thing that happened next. Sometimes, he thought he could slam his dick in a car door, and he wouldn’t feel it.
Finally satisfied, Sylvie rolled onto her knees and elbows, presenting her bare ass to him. She didn’t need to tell Loki what to do then. The intent was obvious. Loki moved behind her, sinking his dick into her waiting cunt, hating that it didn’t feel the same. He had to fuck her harder just to feel anything, but like this he didn’t have to worry about his back as much. He held onto her hips and let himself go, fucking her so hard she whimpered and yelped beneath him. This was what she had wanted from him, and he bit his lip to muffle his own sounds as he picked up his pace. The cold breeze off the ocean stung his bare ass and made his balls feel tight, and as Sylvie continued to make startled noises each time he drove his dick into her, he became acutely aware that anyone could see them who might happen to be out on the beach that night. Their beach may have been a private one, but they had neighbours on either side, and some of them liked to walk their dogs late at night. Somehow, that sent another thrill through him, and he wrapped his arms around her hips and held her tight as he tried to make her scream beneath him.
She didn’t scream. She gasped and cried out, sharp and stuttered, but she didn’t scream. And when he came, able to feel himself filling the condom around him, he tried to keep his pace. Sylvie obviously noticed he’d spent, and quickly turned around, pushing him down onto his back. While he was still hard, she got on top of him and rode out the rest of him, rocking and bucking against him as she dragged her cunt over his dick. He watched her cum on top of him, mouth open and eyes closed as she arched into it, her entire body going stiff and still. A moment later, she let herself fall onto the blanket beside him, panting heavily.
“How’s your back?” she asked.
Loki thought about it, but he too was too dizzy and out of breath to be able to tell.
“I don’t know. I’ll probably know in the morning,” he said.
He looked down at his dick, still wrapped up in his own fluids as it grew soft, and frowned.
“What’s the point of the other thing if I still have to wear these?” he asked, peeling the condom off.
“Because the IUD doesn’t always work, and you’re dogshit at pulling out,” Sylvie said.
Loki looked up at the sky, clear and cold above them. He thought about that afternoon in the back seat of his car, when he came inside her and was too afraid to say anything. Not that it had mattered in the end, because she’d already been pregnant by then anyway.
“They have pills,” Loki said. He pulled up his pants, even as Sylvie lay half naked beside him. “What if you took that too?”
Sylvie smacked him on the chest. “You need a prescription for that,” she said. “And then Mummy and Daddy would know.”
“Oh,” Loki said.
He looked down at the condom next to him on the blanket, wondering if he should throw it into the sea to get rid of it. But then he figured it would only wash back up, and somehow their parents would see it and know it was theirs.
“What if I promised?” Loki asked. “I was reading online some things you can do to go longer. I could do that, and then we wouldn’t have to worry as much.”
Finally, Sylvie reached for her pyjamas and pulled them back on. “What things?” she asked.
Loki shrugged. “Things,” he said.
“Okay, you’re lying then,” Sylvie said. “And you’re bad at it.”
Again Loki shrugged. “Jerk off,” he said finally. “I read on the internet that if you do that first, it takes longer to cum next time.”
Sylvie threw her head back to look at the sky. “That is such bullshit,” she said. “Just learn some self control.”
Loki frowned at her, having no idea at all how he was meant to control that when she wouldn’t let him take his time. But before he could say anything, the glow of a light behind the hedges suddenly flipped on, followed by the sound of a door opening.
“Shit,” Sylvie hissed.
Loki moved quickly to hide the spent condom beneath the blanket, listening to the sound of footsteps along the deck. A moment later, Frigga walked out along the boardwalk, stopping as she spotted Loki and Sylvie on the sand below.
“What on Earth are you doing out here?” she asked.
Loki stared at her, even as a shadow looking worn down and exhausted. It was all he could focus on, while Sylvie was left to deal with the real trouble.
“We were just hanging out,” she said. “We didn’t want to keep Thor and Balder awake.”
Frigga stared at them for a long moment before finally shaking her head.
“Get inside, now,” she said.
Loki waited for Sylvie to get up before he followed, picking up the blanket and using it to conceal the condom. He bunched everything together, hoping all that fell out was sand as he walked uneasily back to the boardwalk. Frigga said nothing as Sylvie climbed back on, taking the blanket back once she was up. Then, it was Loki’s turn to climb up, and he couldn’t for the life of him figure out how.
“What now?” Frigga asked tiredly.
“I don’t think I can get back up,” he said, feeling exceptionally stupid.
“Well, you got down, didn’t you?” Frigga said.
Sylvie laughed, drawing Frigga’s attention.
“Get inside,” Frigga said sharply. “Now.”
Sylvie turned, leaving Loki alone to their mother’s wrath. With a deep breath, he tried to find a way to pull himself up that wouldn’t pull on his back, but everything he tried protested before he even got started. Loki looked up at Frigga, half expecting to get shouted at.
“I’m going to walk around,” he said.
“Do that,” Frigga said, glaring down at him.
With an awkward nod, Loki turned to walk along the hedges to the other side of the property where there was only an empty gap that led from the driveway to the sand. Once on solid ground again, he felt a little more comfortable in his ability to walk at all, but all of that comfort drained when he looked up and saw Frigga waiting to meet him by the deck’s stairs. With nothing else to do, Loki trudged forward to meet her, flinching away as she swatted at him.
“What the hell are you thinking?” she asked.
“It’s the back yard,” Loki said.
“I don’t care if it’s the back deck. You don’t leave the house after dark,” Frigga said. “I didn’t raise you to be a common criminal. Don’t start now.”
Loki looked at her, surprised somehow that he no longer had to look up at her. And for a moment, he wondered when that had changed.
“We weren’t doing anything,” he said.
“You are out of the house after dark,” Frigga said. “I am too tired to deal with you right now. Go to bed, and pray your father wakes up in a good mood tomorrow.”
She dragged him back to his room by his arm, closing and locking the outer door behind them. With nothing else to do, Loki sat down on his bed, watching his mother stride angrily across the floor.
“Go to bed, Loki,” Frigga said, flipping off the light and closing his door as she left.
Loki didn’t go to bed. He sat up and listened as she went to Sylvie’s room to deliver the same threat of their father’s punishment to come. He could hear Sylvie arguing through the wall, though he couldn’t understand what she said. Her arguing made Frigga raise her voice in turn, and soon they were both shouting; Sylvie about nearly being an adult, and how she ought to have been allowed to go outside without supervision. Frigga about how she needed to get herself under control before she embarrassed herself. And that was when he heard the unmistakable sound of Odin stomping around upstairs, fading until he reached the stairs and started making his way back to them.
Loki got beneath his blankets, just in time for Odin to start shouting.
“What the hell is going on?” His words echoed over the walls, and Loki could hear his brothers in the rooms nearby waking and moving around.
Soon, they were all shouting over one another, and Loki was glad their neighbours weren’t close enough to hear any of it. He stayed in bed, staring at his door while the shouting raged on, waiting for the inevitable. Finally, his door flew open, bouncing against the wall as Odin stepped in and flipped the light back on.
“And you,” Odin said, pointing straight at Loki.
“I’m sorry. It won’t happen again,” Loki said, staring up at his father.
For a long moment, they stared at one another. Loki watched as his father, red-faced and scowling, tried to find something to continue shouting about. He wasn’t wearing his eye patch, and although Odin had been missing an eye since Loki could remember, seeing him without his eye patch was always unsettling on a visceral level. Odin’s vanity rarely allowed him to be seen without it, and he always seemed wrong and alien in those brief moments.
“I’ll deal with you in the morning,” Odin said.
He flipped the light off again, plunging Loki into darkness as he slammed the door shut. Loki stayed still, staring at the door and waiting for Odin to decide he wasn’t done at all. But slowly, Odin and Frigga argued their way all the way back up the stairs and to their room above Thor’s. But they weren’t so far away that he couldn’t still hear them up there, arguing endlessly even as Vidar started to cry. Loki tried to drown it all out and calm down enough to go to sleep, but it was clear they were only getting started. He was fairly certain they wouldn’t sleep at all that night, which meant he wouldn’t sleep at all that night.