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Nightmare

By Pengping

Adventure / Children

Deep Water

The five children stopped by the market place before they headed to the docks, and raided some food stands. All of the food was steaming hot to stave off the cold, and Thor happily helped the other three children pay for food. Although Hogun lived in the palace as a guest and a fellow noble, it turned out that Fandral and Volstagg lived outside of the palace grounds. Their supply of coins was far more limited.

Loki had less to eat then the others. When he got his food and took a bite of mutton, the heat burned his mouth. It was too hot for him to tell the taste, but he forced himself to swallow it anyway.

He offered the mutton leg to the collar of his jacket, but Slítas poked his tongue out at it and then vanished back inside. I guess he doesn't like it being hot either. The rest of the group was happily eating the hot meat and Loki wished he could to; it just burned him.

Where Volstagg managed to eat two in the time it took everyone else to eat one, Loki had only eaten half of his. It hard to eat fast when he first had to wait for it to cool. With a sigh, he abandoned the rest of his food and followed after the group.

Instead of heading straight through the crowd of the market place doing their early shopping for Yuletide, Loki offered the option of cutting through the woods. It was accepted. After a bit of walking, they found the Ífingr river and followed it as they headed through the woods to the harbor in their quest for an airship. They soon got thirsty and stopped for a drink.

Thor carefully dipped his hands into the water, filling them with the liquid. Then he lifted his hands and took a drink. The water was nice and cool. Beside him, the other Godlings stopped for a drink as well, Slítas coming out of Loki's sleeve to sip from the river. As he did that, he dunked his head in the water and rubbed it on the rest of his body, cleaning the remains of Jaro's blood from him.

Their drink done, the group continued to parallel the river until they came to the harbor. This close to shore it was safe to be out on the water and there was no chance of being swept over the Edge. The children watched the boats coming and going with their catch of fish.

"No sign or Jaro, or an airship," Loki murmured as they walked onto the rocky cliffs.

He wasn't surprised. To his right, the river continued to wind around the rocks and eventually went over the edge to form a waterfall. Being near the water reminded him of both his nightmare and the actual experience of drowning, try as he might to forget the similarities.

"Rats," Thor growled.

He went down closer to the water's edge, standing on High Dive. The pool beneath was deep and there was no undertow in this little secluded cove below, making it the perfect place to dive into the water. Well, dive into the water on a day where you couldn't see your breath.

"Hey Thor," Loki smiled, "want to go swimming?"

Thor didn't look back at Loki. "No. It's too cold."

"Ah," Loki hummed. "The big bad warrior too scared of a little cold?"

"I am not!" Thor snapped.

"Good," Loki smiled.

Thor frowned, worried, and stepped just a little too far back. He yelped as his foot slipped and he disappeared from sight. A second later, they heard a tremendous splash.

Loki went over to the edge with the other boys and looked over it. Thor had come up. "Not fair brother! Not fair!"

Loki smiled. "I didn't do anything. You just stepped back a little too far."

Thor treaded water, too far down to splash Loki or drag him in. He took a breath and dived under the surface. The sky was cloudy out, and so Loki couldn't see Thor or the bottom of the pool. Loki hesitated slightly, his nightmare flashing before his eyes. Then Thor broke the surface with a laugh, shaking his head. Relax, Loki told himself. That was a nightmare, this is real life.

Thor waved. "Come on in, the water's fine once you're wet!"

Fandral pulled his jacket closer, "you are so out of luck my prince."

Hogun stepped up behind him and suddenly pushed him.

Fandral yelped as he tumbled into the water, landing on his back. He came up sputtering, "Loki!"

Loki shook his head, "not me."

"Hogun! You? Come in here!" Fandral called.

Hogun shook his head. He knew he'd get Fandral back for that ridiculous nickname at some point.

"That is sooo not fair, bilgesnipe! Get down here!" Fandral splashed the water.

"Hey," Thor whined as Fandral splashed him.

Thor splashed him back. A small splash war ensued between the two and ended when Thor dunked Fandral.

"Brother come on in!" Thor laughed again once he vanquished Fandral.

"Hardly, "Loki shook his head. " I have a cold blooded animal in my jacket."

"One native to Jötunnheim," Thor shouted back.

"All the water on Jötunnheim is frozen. I doubt he knows how to swim, like me." Loki sat on the edge of the stone, legs dangling over the edge.

"Well, come down here and let me teach you."

Loki thought about it, but the nightmare flashed by again and he thought he saw something in the water with Thor. He didn't of course, but it scared him enough that he pulled his feet back over the edge. "Maybe when I'm not babysitting Slítas."

Fandral suddenly surfaced, grabbed Thor, and dunked him. The two started shouting and splashing each other again.

Volstagg wondered if this was normal behavior, but judging from how calm Loki and Hogun looked, it was.

Loki looked back towards the forest. What was he so scared of? Being near the river didn't bother him. He followed Hogun and Volstagg as they took the drier route down to the sandy shoreline. Fandral and Thor were still splashing each other as they walked out of the water and onto the sand. Thor had forgotten about his earlier threat to Loki in his new battle against Fandral, so Loki remained dry.

The five children walked along by the shore, heading over to the docks at last, but taking their time. Thor and Fandral were soaked and shivering. Ice crystals were starting to form in Thor's hair and the snow they stepped through clung to his wet clothes.

"Br-brother, c-can you warm me up?" Thor asked Loki through chattering teeth.

Loki shook his head. "I just started with magic a week ago." He thought about it. "When we get back to the palace, we can get some cider. I bet you can beg some drinks from the cooks, you look miserable enough."

Thor glared at him. "You pushed me."

"I tricked you into stepping back," Loki waved a hand. "There's a difference."

Thor was about to try a snappy answer when we heard a familiar whine overhead. They all looked up. It was an airship. The sleek gold craft cut through the air as it soared overhead.

"Hey, is Jaro aboard?" Thor went on his tiptoes as if that might help him see better.

They looked.

"I don't see him," Loki hummed, sharpening his sight, "Just some Guard."

The waters tides waved up, just touching Loki's boots. The ocean was deep and even Loki's sharpened sight he couldn't see through much. Anything could be hiding there. He stepped back, away from the water's edge.

"Come on Thor, before you freeze to death."

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