Mo hurried through the halls, trying to get to the throne room before her brothers arrived from their trip. For nearly a year, Thor and Loki had been away negotiating with another realm. Thor, the eldest child, was the one who was supposed to take the throne someday; it was an unspoken fact. Mo loved her brother, but she doubted he was anywhere near to being ready for it. Even Odin, their father and the current king, knew, and was hoping for Thor to learn and grow from this. Mo herself was the youngest of the three siblings and, though she loved both of her brothers dearly, she had always been closer to Loki. Whenever they had time, they would sit on the grand balcony of their home or in the gardens, doing nothing more than reading. She enjoyed his company and she missed him when he was gone.
She was supposed to still be studying, but had been allowed to leave early to welcome her brothers home. Entering the hall, she saw her parents standing on the steps to the throne, talking silently. "There you are!" her mother, Frigga, greeted with a bright smile.
"I wanted to be here, when they arrive." Mo responded, with a smile of her own. Her father gave her a nod, but she could tell that he was not happy she was there. They never been close, and Mo was sure it was because she was a girl. She wasn't a warrior, like Thor and Loki. He considered her only value to be future political alliances through marriage. She was useless to him until that point, and with her brother gone from her side; she felt it more than ever. Loki always managed to cheer her up, even though she watched him being put down by Odin and Thor himself. He was only the second son, and it seemed his word and opinion didn't count as much as Thor's did. Mo knew how he must've felt and he was the only one who seemed to understand how she was feeling.
"The princes have returned, my king!" one of the guards announced, putting an end to Mo's musings.
"Very well", her father answered, taking his seat on the throne, "Bring them in!"
As the guards obeyed, bringing her brothers in, Mo found it very difficult to contain herself, wanting desperately to run to them. It was her mother who gave in to impulse first, unable to contain her excitement at having her sons back. Frigga walked towards them, pulling Thor into her arms. Mo decided to follow the queens steps as her eyes fell on her other brother, who was standing aside, looking back at her as well. He had changed since she had last seen him. His hair was a bit longer, and he appeared to have grown. Not in height, but in a way that couldn't put it into words. His warm smile made her heart skip a beat and she flew into his arms, happy to have him back.
"It is wonderful to see you again, little sister!" Loki told her as he hugged her tightly, "I have missed you greatly…" It felt good to Mo, that he was saying exactly what she was feeling. He had always been more capable of finding the right words than she was. That's why he was always been called 'Silver Tongue' by their friends. Or to be more precisely Thor's friends, Lady Sif and The Warriors Three. While Loki was at least accepted as a fellow fighter and companion, Mo had always felt like they didn't want her around, and simply never said anything because she was Odin's daughter. So she always stayed at home when they went into the city, celebrating their newest victory. More than once, Loki had stayed with her, claiming he was still sore from the fight or simply didn't felt like drinking.
Still clinging to each other, they heard an amused coughing behind them: "I would love to greet my other son, too."
"I am sorry, of course…" Mo replied, letting go of her dark haired brother, who was immediately embraced by their mother. Mo now looked at Thor, who was shaking his head with a grin and hugged him as well, before stepping back to let them report back to their father. Everything had gone well on their trip and, though Thor indirectly claimed its successes was due to him, Mo knew very well that Loki had most likely been the one to handle the negotiations. Yet he stayed quiet, mostly looking at his feet. From time to time, Mo would catch him, peeking over at her, with a look in his eyes she couldn't comprehend. After being dismissed by the king, who was overly satisfied with the outcome, Mo decided she needed fresh air and went down to the gardens to read.
Mo had hoped reading would take her mind off of certain persons. Namely Loki, who had disappeared into his chambers immediately after being dismissed from the throne room. Something was different since the last time she had seen him. Clearly, the mission had gone very well for him, and helped him evolve further. His whole presence and aura seemed more grown up, self-aware and… attractive. Oh my, did she just think that about her brother? Mo always had thought that Loki was more handsome than Thor, yet everyone else seemed to lose their minds (and hearts) over her eldest brother. Mo shook her head slightly to banish those thoughts from her mind, afraid where they may lead. She should just be happy to have them back.
"What were you thinking about?" a low voice claimed her attention and she looked up, smiling. It was Loki, standing next to the bench she was sitting on. His green eyes looked questioning, yet amused down at her.
"Nothing…" she answered, making room for him to sit down next to her.
"You are a bad liar, sister", he stated matter-of-factly as he sat down. He must have taken a bath, Mo realized, recognizing the familiar scent of his normal soap.
"Okay, then let us say, I would like to keep my thoughts for myself for the time being", she grinned at him, hoping he would drop the topic.
"How have you fared? I can hardly believe it has been a year…" he trailed off, looking at his hands.
"For me as well", Mo sighed as she closed the book that she hasn't been paying any attention anyway, "It was far too long, but I wish to hear about your journey. How was it?" For the rest of the afternoon they sat in the gardens as Loki told Mo about the great landscape, the delicious food, and the good beer.
Not long before it started to get dark, they both retreated to their chambers to prepare for the banquet that evening. Their father wanted to celebrate that the princes' return to Asgard, and it was an unspoken ordinance that everyone was attending. Mo didn't really care for those events; she always felt she was being watched and judged by everyone there. She had chosen to wear the gown she had gotten from her parents for her birthday a few months ago. It was a dark blue and it seemed it was glittering with stars. It fit her perfectly and clung to her body like a second skin. She had braided her brown hair so it would not fall into her face and pulled the rest into a ponytail which hung over her right shoulder. As she entered the room everyone went quiet and seemed to look over at her. She didn't like this kind of attention on her, but managed a small smile as a greeting before she headed over to the table where the rest of her family was already gathered.
"Oh, look how stunning you look in that gown!" her mother exclaimed, "I am so glad you are finally wearing it!"
"Indeed, little sister!" Thor, sitting to their fathers right, cut in, "It shall be a challenge to shield you from would-be suitors!"
Again, Mo didn't know what to do but smile at those kind words. As she went to take her seat next to her mother on the left to her father, she caught a glimpse of Loki who was seated next to Thor. He had not said a single word, but she knew him well enough to know the expression of admiration in his eyes. He gave her a slight nod but looked away immediately. Not knowing what to think of this, she sat down next to her mother.
"Well as I can see you are a woman now, it would be time to find a fitting husband for you.", Odin stated in his common calm voice that had no room left for arguments.
Mo suddenly found difficulty eating, the knot in her stomach still present from her father's words. She didn't feel ready to be married. Let alone she would not know who. It was not like she got out of the palace that much. "He did not mean it, darling", her mother tried to smooth her anxiety but it didn't really help at all. They both knew very well, now that he mentioned it, it wouldn't be long until he had found someone. Any prince of the nine Realms would do. "Come, enjoy yourself tonight", Frigga laid an arm around her daughters shoulder, squeezing her lightly, "Drink, dance and do not worry yourself over the future."
The sound of someone clearing his throat made both women look up and finding Thor standing in front of them. "Mother, it would be my honor to open this evenings dancing with you." Smiling, Frigga took her son's hand and allowed him to lead her onto the dance floor.
Watching them moving to the sound of the musicians made Mo's heart ache a bit. Of course he would ask their mother over her, she wasn't anyone's favorite. "Well…?" an all too familiar voice spoke up next to her. She turned to find Loki standing next to her.
"Well, what?" she asked, irritated.
"Come. Dance with me", just now she realized he had his hand extended towards her. She was touched by his gesture, so that she accepted his offer with a smile. Her first honest smile of the whole evening. As they arrived next to their mother and brother, Loki scooped her in his arms and started leading her smoothly over the dance floor.
"Thank you…" Mo whispered quietly as they moved. Loki wasn't someone who really liked to dance, so it meant a lot to her, that he was doing this. For her, obviously.
"You looked so sad, watching them… And after fathers words, I thought you may needed a distraction", he answered in a matching whisper.
"It was simply…" Mo tried looking for the right words, "I am always the second choice…" She knew it was absurd, since it was just about her brother dancing with her mother. Still, it was a good representation of where she was standing in this family.
"If it helps, you were my first choice…" his words, spoken so low in her ear, made her shiver. She was so thankful, having him back; she hadn't felt complete without him. She didn't know what to respond to that, so she just squeezed him a bit closer towards her. "Never question that I am the envy of every man here tonight", he added, making her stomach tingle.
After the dance Mo got herself something to drink and tried to socialize amongst the guests, but even though she had a fantastic connection to the staff of the palace, she felt she didn't belong with the other royals and warriors. Sighing, she got herself a new glass of wine and headed for the balcony for some fresh air. It was still too early to leave, so she just might as well sat down on the stone bench, enjoying being alone for a few minutes. To breathe and clear her mind a bit.
"Some things never change, do they?" again, it was her brother, standing next to the bench.
Mo smiled. "How did you find me?"
"Do not insult me. I know you, and how much you hate these events. It never takes you overlong to hide yourself away", he replied with a low chuckle.
"True. Though I am supposedly a woman now, I feel I shall never be comfortable in there…" Mo mused with a mocking voice. It had hurt her to know how her father thought of her.
Loki just nodded as he leant against the handrail of the balcony, standing in front of Mo. They stayed silent for a bit, before Loki spoke up again. "You do look truly enchanting tonight…"
She looked up to him, puzzled. Even though they always had a close relationship, Loki had never said something like that before. "Thank you", Mo whispered in response. She had never thought, a compliment form him would give her such a chill.
"I don't believe you even realize how beautiful you truly are." It was a bold statement, and it hit her so hard, she had to gasp for air. What did Loki just say? He laughed. "Whilst we were away, we found many rumors about the beautiful daughter of Asgard. With eyes as blue as the ocean, hair as brown as the finest wood and a smile shining brighter than the sun." Mo was speechless. He couldn't be serious! "It is true. And, to be honest, those rumors do not live up to the reality. To you", he added before looking down at into glass. How much had he been drinking?
"Here you are!" their mother joined them on the balcony, smiling, "You two better come inside, your father has an announcement to make."
Mo and Loki exchanged a quick glance at each other, not knowing what this 'announcement' could be. Following Frigga back inside the hall, Mo almost panicked. That was until she felt her brother's hand on her shoulder, squeezing lightly. "Worry not; he'll not marry you off that quickly." Mo looked up at him, wondering how he could've possibly known, what she was thinking. "As I said, I know you", he blinked down at her, "Now relax, I am sure it won't be anything terrible." Mo took a deep breath and nodded, though she had a hard time relaxing, between her father's sudden announcement and her brother's strange behavior. He had always been the one to cheer her up, make her feel better, but now it was different. The way he looked at her, spoke to her… It wasn't the feeling of a brother taking care of his baby sister, but more of a man that tried to woo a woman. Maybe it was she who had drunk too much wine tonight…
The sound of her father's scepter hitting the ground made her look up, paying attention to the king, just like everyone else in this room. "As you all may know…" Mo had zoned out of his speech right away, as she became very aware of her brother's presence next to her. He still had an arm around her shoulders, holding her close to him, even stroking her skin with his thumb. Even though he was intending to comfort Mo, it just got worse for her, feeling her body react like it did. "… I am proud to announce that Thor, my firstborn son, will be crowned the new king of Asgard one week hence!"
Everyone in the room began applauding, seemingly happy for the soon-to-be-king, but Mo wasn't. And Loki wasn't either, as she could tell from his sharp intake of breath. She stole a quick glimpse of her brother to see if he was alright, but he managed not to show how he really felt. Loki actually managed a smile to let no one know how much it hurt him. It was no secret that it would be Thor who would get the throne someday, but that this day was about to happen was quite a shock for his siblings.
"Are you alright?" Mo turned to face her brother, only to see that he was gone. Looking for him, she saw him hugging their brother. Once more she realized that as brothers, they couldn't be more different. Thor was outgoing, with the mind of a warrior, bordering on arrogant. Still, he cared dearly for those he loved. So did Loki, but he was more reserved, thinking before talking, a diplomat. Not to mention their looks. Mo wondered why their father couldn't see, that Loki would be a better king than Thor. With a sigh she walked up to said brother to congratulate him as well. He nearly overlooked her in his joy, which was no surprise for her after all. Then she started looking out for her other brother once again, only to find that he had already left. Of course it had hit him more than he was letting everybody see. Luckily she knew where to find him, so she also left, heading for the gardens. As expected, he was sitting on that same bench they had talked on earlier this day. "Are you alright?" she asked once more.
"I do not know", he answered, not looking up from his hands on his lap.
"Do you wish to be alone?" Maybe he wasn't in the mood for company right now.
"No…" it wasn't more than a whisper, but the gardens were so quiet, she heard it very clearly. Without another word, she sat down next to Loki. Mo patiently waited for him to speak. It didn't take long. "I… I don't want you to think, that I begrudge Thor for getting the throne… It's just…"
"He is not ready yet", Mo stated, making Loki finally look up at her.
"I thought I was the only one who holds this…"
"No, you are not. I love my brother dearly, but he is no king. Not yet", Mo looked back at her brother, "But you are."
"Do not say that!" Loki exclaimed, jumping off the bench, "I am not. And I do not mourn the throne, I have little fancy for it. But I am scared of what might happen, when Thor is king."
Mo chuckled, amused. "And here I thought my brother was the God of Lies." Puzzled the dark haired man looked down on her. "For one with such reputation, you are a rather horrid liar", she stated, smiling up at him, "You would not mind, getting the throne. You simply long ago came to terms with the fact that you won't be king." Mo got up from the bench as well, grabbing both his hands.
"You are certainly not incorrect in your assessment", Loki admitted, a small smile appearing on his face, "And I am incapable of lying to you, for you know me too well, and I have no wan or reason to deceive you. You are likely the only person of all the realms that is able to claim that honour."
"And I am very grateful for that." With that, she was pulled into a tight hug by her brother, who seemed relieved that at least his sister was there for him. Mo enjoyed being so close to him, which made her remember how she had felt earlier, when he was holding her close. It gave her a funny feeling inside, which she couldn't describe. As they relaxed back from the embrace, he continued to hold her in his arms, looking down at her. She wasn't that much smaller than him, her nose touching his chin. And Mo couldn't possibly look away from him; she was enthralled by his green orbs, unable to breath. Just as their noses bumped together, both of them realized what was almost about to happen and snapped out of their daze. "I… should retire for the evening. The evening has exhausted me", she let go of him, yet not daring to look at him again.
"Of course…" he answered, sounding just as confused as she did, "Sleep well."
"And you as well." With a nod, Mo left Loki, still shaking from what had just occurred.