You may recall my post in which I described the very weird sequence of events that resulted in me becoming Heathen, which I often point out happened by accident. Or a series of small accidents and weird decisions which, if not necessarily HAPPY accidents, were at least entertaining.
Bob Ross would be so proud.
You may also recall that I said I never finished it. At the time, that was true. But in August, while checking my Facebook memories and seeing my contextless post about throwing a composition book out of a window, I was reminded that, holy shit, I set out to write that ridiculous trollfic TEN YEARS AGO. I became a Heathen by accident TEN YEARS AGO.
So, against all better judgement, I finished it. I have kept the kinkshaming. I have kept the thing about Beck (as in, the loser scientologist folk-singer slob) living in Loki’s closet. I have kept the stitch-n-bitch and the baby shower and all of the other absolutely ridiculous bullshit and–the stupidest decision of all–decided to publish it.
Notes on content: Because this is literally based on Loki getting knocked up by a horse, this is kind of unavoidably an mpreg fic. I have pointedly kept it goofy. Also, holy shit, this is over 4,000 words.
“Well, at least we’ve got the wall,” He snorted derisively. “A lot of fucking good that did me.”
It seemed like a good idea at the time. The horse was the major deciding factor in whether that wall would have gotten finished. You get the horse out of the way and everything else, hopefully falls into place.
And then, some things just get knocked loose.
One of many annoyances you might encounter if you are a deity who is technically not bound by the constraints of time, but whose surviving source material implicitly locks you in the Nordic Iron Age:
Your maternity wear options ultimately come down to women’s wear, which is simply not going to be sustainable when you are trapped in an era full of patriarchal bullshit…or you can play very loosely with time and space and work it to your advantage in order to enjoy the one and only positive offering of industrialized society—elastic.
“I need you to come with me to the mall.”
“Like a market. But much larger, it’s down there with the humans,” Loki explained brusquely. “I need to get-,” he paused and rolled his eyes, forcing his hands together to keep them from traveling across the folds of his tunic again. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…I need maternity wear.”
“Trying for another one with Angrboda?”
“No. That’s, uh…not currently on the table anyway, but this is for myself.”
Thor smiled, amused.
“Usually your jokes are much better than that.”
Loki’s hands separated, forming fists now.
“I’m craving dirt. Dirt. My back hurts. My feet hurt. I can’t focus on anything worth a damn. And this thing, whatever it is, is constantly kicking me.”
Thor shifted from amused to bemused.
“You mean you’re actually–”
“Yes. I know the signs, I’ve seen this plenty of times before.”
There was a pause before Thor spread his arms, trapping Loki in a bear hug, gushing congratulations. Loki allowed it for a few seconds before pushing his burly friend away.
“What incredible news, though. I mean, unheard of, but…”
“Oh, no. Very much heard of. Just not terribly common.”
“Then what good fortune!”
Loki blinked owlishly.
“Hm. Yes. Lucky me. Shall we?”
Thor lifted a nauseatingly beige garment into the air and stretched the two straps at the top.
“What is this?” He inquired.
“It’s a bra,” Loki responded, irritably flipping through the hangers on the rack. “I need support.”
Thor looked offended.
“Am I not being supportive?”
Loki rolled his eyes.
“No, Thor, I mean I need,” Loki grabbed his slightly swollen chest for emphasis, “support.”
“Tits. I have tits, Thor. And they’re swollen and they move around too much and they hurt.”
Thor cast his eyes to the floor and scuffed the toe of the sneakers Loki had given him on the gray marbelized tile. When sneaking into the ren faire they could get away with the Iron Age garb, but it didn’t fly when they had to go see what the future-present humans were doing. Thor was always just a little disappointed that the red hair meant he didn’t get recognized. But today was not the day to be worrying about that. The goal was specifically to avoid being spotted, due to the circumstances.
“It’s just one of the many joys of pregnancy,” Loki sighed sardonically, continuing to search. “Well, joyful when it’s not happening to you, I guess.”
“I can’t say I have much perspective.”
“Well,” Loki shrugged approvingly at something and tossed it over his arm. “I do. And so far, I vastly prefer being a father.”
Loki swirled the last of the slushie at the bottom of his cup pensively, casting another glance at someone across the food court.
“This guy with a pretzel keeps staring at me.”
“There’s a pretzel staring at you? Where?!” Thor shot up from the hard bench, searching before he finally followed Loki’s-now anxious-gaze over to the hipster with a mouthful of Auntie Anne’s.
“A guy with a pretz—Thor, it’s really no big deal, you don’t have to…fffuck.”
Thor had already marched over to the man, torn the pretzel out of his hand, and thrown it to the ground, at which point he called for Mjolnir. The hand that had been resting on Loki’s stomach slowly rose to his face in exasperation as Thor proceeded to violently smash the pretzel to a doughy mass on the floor…cracking the tile beneath it significantly.
The mall cops arrived quickly. Thor put up a—Loki really did have to admit, spectacularly entertaining—fight, but he was eventually apprehended successfully, and it was made painfully clear that he would have to leave the mall.
“Well that was a fantastic mess, I’m actually a bit impressed.”
“Just five minutes ago you were furious.”
“Yes, but now I’m proud of you. I haven’t caused a stir like that since…” Loki paused. “Well, I suppose you don’t want to rehash when I shaved Sif’s head.”
“You–” Thor squared up, but Loki firmly planted his hand on Thor’s chest to create some symbolic distance.
“Uh-uh. I’m in a delicate condition, remember? Speaking of which, if you think I’m walking all the way back, you’re out of your damn mind.”
“Can’t you just do that thing where you use one of your devotees as a foothold?”
“For the future, or the present day, or whatever, yes. Plenty of options to choose from. It’s a little harder to do that to get back. You, on the other hand, have lots of places to find your way in.”
“And why would I cooperate when you’ve just gone after my wife yet again?”
“Hold on.” Loki fixated very carefully on something in the distance, as if he was straining to hear something. “Some woman is stoking her fire. Close enough. 3…2…” Loki firmly grabbed Thor by the shirt.
“And what’s all this?” was Odin’s immediate reaction upon coming back from another one of his vaguely world-saving excursions. Supposedly. This was always his explanation, but Loki knew better.
“Well,” Loki carefully folded another pair of jeggings with a nice wide band and added it to the top of the stack. “I’m pregnant.”
Odin rolled his eyes.
“Usually your jokes are much better than this.”
“That’s what I said!” Thor chimed in. “But–“
Loki interrupted him.
“Do you not remember how I helped secure us a wall, with little cost to you?”
“You…” Odin looked repulsed. “You made love to the mason.”
“I’d be exceedingly cautious about calling any of what happened loving, and it wasn’t the mason.”
“Then who? The only one with him was the horse.”
“You fucked the horse?”
“I didn’t do it on purpose,” Loki calmly replied. “I mean…I seduced the horse on purpose, but the rest just…kinda happened. And anyway, at least I’m not off at swinger parties with that Zeus fellow.”
“I’ve told you, it’s business. We talk about how to save the world, over drinks.”
“Yeah, well, we know where that drinking leads…especially on that fishing trip with Osiris.”
Thor forced himself not to laugh.
Odin wasn’t ready to back down.
“You’d benefit from coming along some time. Quite a few people there are into, ah, pony play…”
“That’s what you throw at me? Really?”
“…And don’t even get me started on the giantess thing.”
“I’m a giant,” Loki snapped. “You fucked the Earth and you’re going to get on my case about my girlfriend?”
“At least I got a normal kid out of it. And some of your internet history, Loki…” Odin cast a glance at Thor. “Well, I won’t mention it in front of him.”
You tie your cajones to a goat, one time, in the future, and you never hear the end of it.
Here is the other problem when you are a deity who is technically not entirely bound by the constraints of time but whose source material keeps you, in large part, locked in the Nordic Iron Age:
It is stupidly hard to come by Vlasic pickles.
It doesn’t have to be Vlasic, specifically. Any kind of pickled cucumber would be fine. But there just isn’t any. You can load up on gravlax and kraut, but it is not the same. And when you are a mostly humanoid living thing that is pregnant with what has to be a foal because there is no way something human-shaped kicks like that, and especially when it seems to have way too many legs, and which therefore seems to require a ridiculous amount of calories to keep adequately fed…there is no wiggle room in satisfying cravings.
Usually this would be resolved by taking stock of what offerings were being put out, which had some decent variety if he looked far enough ahead into the future, but there was also just absurd amounts of sugar in everything. The strawberries could stay, but everything else was on thin ice.
Chicken nuggets…pixie sticks…mead, more mead, swedish fish…
Burger. Burger with a pickle. It wasn’t nearly enough. It was still better than nothing. Off he went.
The door opened, meaning Thor was finally back from whatever troll-smashing errands he had assigned himself for the day.
“I regret nothing.”
“What happened to ‘hello,’ or maybe even, ‘hi, Thor, my nephew whose house I am constantly staying at, despite having plenty of stranger’s beds to sleep in’? What are you even eating?”
“These are hamburgers,” Loki said, proudly gesturing to the massive pile of them he was currently lying in, scattering waxed paper all over the floor. “And they have pickled cucumbers in them, and they are glorious.”
“What is a cucumber?”
“And anyway,” Loki continued, completely ignoring the cucumber question, “It’s much harder to get into a stranger’s bed lately. All I can find is weird fetishists on Grindr. And honestly, it’s a little tiresome to hear them all brag about having a horse cock. Do they even know who they’re talking to?”
Thor groaned in disgust.
“What the fuck is Grindr?”
“Don’t worry about it,” Loki theatrically sank his teeth into another burger. “Check this out, though. I love humans. You plant one little thought in their heads, they post it on this thing called the Internet, and suddenly, everyone goes out and does it.”
“Does this apply to other things?”
“Well, you have that massive supply of socks…do the humans offer you socks?”
Loki slowly shifted his gaze over to the closet, seeming alarmed.
“No.” The giddiness had abruptly fallen off and he was deathly serious in his response. “I have no idea where those come from.”
It definitely did seem like there was an endless supply of socks, despite Loki never really seeming to wash them. Nor did he ever seem to make them, and yet the pile would be constantly growing.
But that was not the key thing that made looking for anything in Loki’s closet so nervewracking. Socks are just socks, even if the circumstances behind them are mysterious. Rather, it was the strange noises emanating from it. Random jangling, twanging sounds, the ominous, rhythmic chanting, and the occasional cry of “odelay!” Of course you get used to sounds like that from, say, Freyr’s priesthood, but not from your uncle’s closet, in the middle of the night, leaving you to ask yourself why you let him crash at your place so much that he has a closet in your house.
But he needed fresh socks, and Loki let Thor help himself to the continuously self-replenishing supply of them, as long as Loki didn’t have to be the one to go fetch them.
One wondered if maybe Loki was scared off by the ominous twanging and chanting and just didn’t care to admit it.
Thor stepped back and let the avalanche of socks work itself out before starting to sift through the pile to find a matching pair. Normally he would have shut the door to keep away that feeling of being watched, but of course, the plot needed him to forget this time.
This ended up being unfortunate for him, because when he looked up to scan the closet for any forgotten socks, still not successfully finding a matching pair, he finally looked up and made eye contact with something in the closet.
Thor, legendarily the brave one, froze. This was not a known enemy in the open. He did not have the advantage he was used to.
“Hello,” said the mysterious figure.
Now it was Loki’s turn to come back to the house to find the floor strewn with socks, which, as usual, seemed to have magically multiplied. But this time, they seemed to be slowly collecting at Thor’s feet instead of being accidental closet spillage.
Thor was knitting. Which was especially impressive because, again, kinda sorta mostly stuck in the Nordic Iron Age, and knitting hadn’t caught on quite yet.
“I’d say I regret nothing,” Thor began, “but I don’t feel like there’s anything to be regretted. I’ve overcome my fear of the thing in the closet.”
“Huh. Since when do you knit?”
“Since I solved the mystery of where all these socks are coming from.”
“And that is…?”
“A surprise. You’ll see.”
What Thor did not explain is that finding out required sitting through a baby shower attended by a surprising amount of his friends and neighbors…and a horse-shaped cake.
Loki stared at it, vexed.
“I baked it myself,” Thor added jovially.
“Yes?” Thor’s tone was sweeter than Heidrun’s tit-mead.
“A child is a blessed thing and it should be celebrated!”
“We want to share in your joy!”
“I’m actually pretty pissed right now.”
Thor waved that away as he handed Loki a brightly-wrapped package.
“This is from Odin!”
Loki slowly, meticulously peeled away the paper, hoping to make his captive audience increasingly resentful towards Thor in the process. Upon opening the box, he forced a smile.
“A bit gag!” He lifted the shining, vinyl-strapped object from the box. “How…thoughtful.” He could see Frigg elbow her seated husband. That softened the blow.
“And this is from Frigg.”
Frigg’s present, of course, was much more considerate—bundled herbs, and a bar of lye soap. Of course. This was her specialty. It probably wasn’t possible for her to give an inconsiderate gift at a time like this.
Thor presented yet another gift.
“And this is from Beck and me.”
Loki moved to tear away the paper before pausing.
“My stitch’n’bitch companion. He lives in your closet because he likes the acoustics.”
“He makes music.”
Finally, the strange sounds of jangling guitar strings he sometimes heard in the middle of the night were explained. Not that there was time to metaphorically unpack all of that, when there were things that needed to be literally unpacked. At least Loki could take an educated guess at what “stitch’n’bitch” was supposed to convey. He pulled the paper away a little faster this time to reveal what looked like a mass of knitted tubes.
“Is it a…scarf?”
“It’s a sweater for your child! A soccer jersey to be exact.” Thor was far too enthusiastic about his creation. “You said it seemed like it had 8 legs, so…4 sleeves!”
Loki raised it to the light. That sort of made sense. Maybe not the soccer jersey part, because soccer hadn’t caught on yet. Nor had knitting, but this didn’t exactly stop Thor, and it would certainly be hard to argue that a creature who definitely seemed to have eight legs might not be good at a game like soccer. He clutched it to his chest, genuinely flattered.
“I don’t know who this Beck is, but please give him my regards.”
“Hm.” Loki was focused on carefully folding things neatly so that they would fit into the closet next to the ever growing pile of socks, which had begun doubling in size much faster than before thanks to Thor joining in. Apparently, Thor would talk through his frustrations with this mysterious “Beck,” while knitting. An odd concept, but not too far off from what a lot of the Asynjur would do together while spinning. And Loki had to admit it seemed to have put a dent in Thor’s rage issues.
“We’ve been meaning to ask—Sif and I—what exactly your plan is, when, uh, you know…well, you’ve said before you’re pretty sure this baby of yours will be a horse, and I’m wondering how that will fit in here, and…”
“I mean, I don’t have a plan. I figure I’ll go horse around for a little bit and find some stable to crash in and be out of the way for a while. It’s more than crowded enough with you, and Sif, and your own little ones.”
“I’ll figure it out. I always do, eventually.”
Around midwinter is when Loki decided to pretend he had everything figured out. So while everyone was distracted by the festivities from the humans—an occasion where he tended to be ignored, anyway—he gathered his things and slipped outside. Choosing a full moon when everyone was distracted meant that his path would be both well-lit and clear, at least.
When he had initially stated that he had no plan, he was, of course, telling the truth. That said, he also couldn’t leave without explaining his absence to Thor and Odin, so they, at the very least knew the when and why.
Not the where, though. Loki didn’t even know that. After standing outside the front door for several minutes, staring at the moon, Loki eventually turned east and disappeared into the trees.
The chill of the late winter air felt different this year. But he didn’t usually have a foal slumped against him, keeping his right leg and both of his shins uncomfortably warm, for starters.
He knew babies slept a lot. Everyone he knew had at least one newborn around him at some point, though those hadn’t been horses. But this one seemed like he wanted to nap every hour, on the hour. Not that, being kinda-sorta stuck in the Nordic Iron age, he had a working concept of an hour to begin with. But he kept time based on naps and insistent nudges, at which point he would just have to shrug and go back to being horse-shaped enough to do his job.
He was a mother now, you know.
He had to admit he was surprised to end up being right about the number of legs. Eight, indeed. Getting him to stand up had been much easier than anticipated, because while gaining control of twice as many legs created an initial hurdle, it wasn’t necessary to have command of all eight legs to stand up and do the basic stuff. Time would tell if he would ever get the hang of running.
Not that Loki would love him any less.
That was the weird part. Of course he knew what love was! Every weird little child of his was loved. This was viscerally different, after months of discomfort and weird, vague resentment. There had been no anticipatory investment. This was just a getting-it-over-with kind of thing, even as instincts kicked in and Loki did all the necessary stuff, somehow emotionally hovering in the background.
And then suddenly while watching this weird spider-horse awkwardly scuttle around, exploring his environment, shaking off snowflakes that stubbornly stuck to his fuzz, and at one point tumbling down a small hill unscathed, Loki realized he gave a shit and wasn’t going to worry about whether it was instinct anymore.
A breeze washed over where they were huddled and Loki shook it off. The little horse fluttered his ears, startled and awake again, and tossed his head as if asking for an explanation.
“We’re heading out,” Loki stated matter-of-factly, generously assuming that speech was something his foal was ever going to grasp. “You’ll have to get up.”
Little horse demonstrated quite plainly that he did not, in fact, understand speech by snuggling back into place, which was ruined by Loki pulling his legs away. With difficulty, and much tearing up the snow with eight hooves, he eventually got himself into a standing position.
That blanket from Thor and Beck—whoever the fuck Beck was; Loki still hadn’t encountered this mysterious Beck—had been coming in handy. Unfortunately that sweater, or soccer jersey, or whatever, had been outgrown rather quickly. Not that it didn’t still get rolled up and packed away with everything else, though. At worst, it made a handy pillow.
Little horse knew the drill and bounced along, keeping a few paces ahead of Loki but occasionally doubling back to try and trot circles around him. Of course, this was more fun for him when Loki was a little more mare-shaped, but Loki tried to keep that to the minimum necessary. It was…awkward to say the least. And it was also a fair bit harder to charm his way into someone’s house and get a heaping plate of food. For whatever reason, even tapping into offerings from people not kinda-sorta stuck in time and place (or stuck in a different time and place), he had a hell of a time getting appropriate food unless he was vaguely human-shaped.
And anyway, try eating a bag of swedish fish with a horse’s digestive system and see what happens.
At this point, Loki was done making his way from house to house. He needed something a little more familiar and stable…and with stables. He hadn’t had a plan when he snuck out previously, but he had been spending a lot of time staring up at the moon when he was too nervous to actually sleep, paranoid about the wolves and bears potentially going after the foal, and he was starting to realize that summer was coming.
What better way—and what more gratifyingly dramatic way, really—to mark the beginning of summer by returning with the living, breathing consequences of his successful sabotage from last year?
“And this,” Loki announced proudly, gesturing to the little horse peeking out from behind him, “is Sleipnir.”
“’Slippery’ is an odd choice of name for a horse. What prompted that?”
“Well, I figured, with eight legs I can only imagine he will be twice as fast once he gets the hang of it. And he’s not just any horse, you’ve seen what kind of stock he comes from.”
Odin cast Loki a judgmental, but amused, look from under his furrowed brows.
“No, I suppose not. His circumstances are a little exceptional, to say the least.”
“Not me. Svadilfari. A horse like that is exceptionally strong, and with the kind of stamina he had…” Odin made a face. “No, not that kind…I’m sure this little one will grow into an exceptional stallion.”
Odin nodded approvingly.
“Then I’ll take him. Sleipnir will join my herd and be cared for like the rest of them. Of course, you can visit him whenever you like. He looks far too young to be separated from you for too terribly long.”
Loki shifted his weight from foot to foot uncomfortably.
“That would be correct. He’s just about a month old.”
“And you were basically just fending for yourself for four months?”
Loki nodded. It sounded incredibly weird, when stated plainly like that. But he had proven that he would, indeed, figure it out eventually. Because he always did.
Odin shook his head, not necessarily in disapproval but more in disbelief, and gestured towards the open door of his hall.
“Shall we give you a proper welcome, then?”
Loki was more than a little perplexed, but upon searching Odin’s face realized the offer to join in the summer festivities was entirely serious. He took one more look at Sleipnir, who was being coaxed over to the paddocks, and stepped inside where he was immediately greeted with a full cup and a spot on the bench. This wasn’t like last year where everything was a flurry of last-minute, frantic arguments about how to handle the giant situation outside, Freyja reasserting once more that she was not going to casually let herself be married off to some stranger, and everyone eventually turning to Loki because they needed someone to save them, and someone to blame. Instead, there was booze flowing freely and a gleeful sense of abandon.
Because thanks to Loki, at least they had the wall.