Is this the place we used to love? Is this the place that I’ve been dreaming of?
“Loki! Where are we going?” The girl demanded as she hopped over a fallen log. The boy in front of her glanced back, a frown on his mouth at her impatience.
He wove under a thicket. “Shush, it’s just up ahead!” Sif followed, pulling the twigs from her bright hair with a smile. She always loved playing in the woods on the Odinsons’ estate, and she, Loki, and Thor spent almost every summer afternoon in its shade. The tomboy could not count how many times they had gone on adventures or climbed to the canopies of the tall trees that made up the forest.
Although she loved roughhousing with the elder brother, she also greatly enjoyed her softer friendship with Loki. While Thor burst with exuberance, Loki radiated a quiet energy, which could be something more refreshing than most would think.
She looked behind her briefly, and quirked an eyebrow. The trio had always been careful to stay in sight of the manor. Sif wondered just how deep into the sea of trees they had wandered. “…I can’t even see your house anymore. How much further into the woods are we going? If you fall and break your face, there’ll be no one here to help you, you know.”
“You’ll be here,” he shot back with a chuckle. Sif smiled. She had always liked the sound. It was different than his brother’s - Thor laughed hard and laughed often. With Loki, Sif felt a small sense of triumph whenever his soft laugh escaped his lips.
“Maybe. Maybe I’ll just laugh.”
Another smothered sound of excitement. “And my parents say I’m the mischievous one.” He skipped over an exposed root.
“You are. I heard that you put glue on Thor’s chair last night before dinner. They had to cut his pants off!” She pushed a branch away from her face.
“Weeeeeell, Mother is always complaining that he never sits still long enough to have a decent meal.” A large grin replaced the small smile on his face. The boy sniggered softly. “You see, Sif, I was just helping him enjoy some family time.”
“I also heard that you were grounded after that. You’re not supposed to leave the house until Monday when school starts up again.”
“And yet, here I am.” The grin became a self-assured smirk, and he paused beneath one of the largest oaks Sif had ever seen. “And here we are.”
Sif stared at the bark. “What’s so special about this tree?”
Loki walked behind her with a sigh. “It’s not the tree that’s so special, Sif… it’s what is in the tree.” He took her head and tilted it up towards the branches.
It took her a moment to acclimate to the sunlight filtering through the leaves, but she saw his surprise after a moment. “Is that…?”
An old tree house sat nestled between the trunks of the surrounding oaks almost completely camouflaged by the leafy canopies. It was decently sized, and, as far as Sif could tell from the ground, free of rot.
“How do we get up to it?” The blonde murmured in awe. Loki released her and grabbed one of the knotholes in the giant oak’s trunk.
“Oh please, I know you must be half squirrel. I’ve seen you scurry up these trees like one many times before.”
Sif ignored his veiled compliment as she began scaling the trunk. “Does… anyone else know about this?” She managed to puff out as she hauled herself over a branch. She felt her shirt snag and tear on the bark, but she could not bring herself to really care that much.
Loki had already reached the door, pushing it open to climb inside. “Nope! It’s ours. It can be our secret place.” He reached down a pale hand, and she took it, pulling herself up through the trapdoor and into the structure. “Look - I’ve already started adding a personal touch to it!” He laid on the floor, hands folded on his stomach. Sif followed his line of sight and snorted at what she found.
“Loki, is there anyplace that you will not hide your books?” He shook his head as a negative, and she let loose an excited laugh. She flopped down next to him, and her gaze fell through the open window. She knew without standing that if she looked out of it, she would be able to not only spot Loki’s and Thor’s house, but probably her own as well. A small smile slipped onto her lips. “So… our secret place, huh?”
“Yes. So don’t tell Thor… he’ll ruin it.”
“Alright. Somewhere only we know.”
“Somewhere only we know,” Loki agreed, and they shook on it.