The Blossom and the Bumblebee
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Once upon a time, in the gardens of Asgard, there lived a beautiful, fragrant blossom. He was part of a flowering vine, a family of violet jötunns, as they were called, and Loki was his name. Loki was the shyest, sweetest, cleverest, most desirable flower in all the gardens. His stems were long and green, his leaves full and shiny, and his bud was a gorgeous purple-blue crown made of the softest, silkiest petals.

But he absolutely refused to open up.

Bees and butterflies came from miles around to court him, lured by his sweet perfume, but they couldn’t get past his tightly shut petals. Loki would clench himself up tight and shake off any intruder who dared try to enter him. He had no desire to be ravished and pollinated, his precious bud violated, penetrated by dozens of strangers with their hairy legs and probing tongues. The very idea was abhorrent to him.

At first his family were amused by his protests. He was young, after all, this being his first season, and they were sure he would open up eventually. However, their amusement quickly turned to worry when a week passed and still Loki refused to bloom.

“You must let them in, dear,” his mother Laufey said, “or you will not survive to see another spring.”

Loki crossed his stems petulantly and furled himself into an even tighter ball. “Good! I would rather die unspoiled and beautiful than sprout each spring just to be savaged by pollinators. The indignity of it all! I don’t know how you can stand it.”

His family tried to persuade him that pollinating was not the coarse, ignoble act it might appear; that it was in fact good and necessary, even pleasurable sometimes, but their attempts proved fruitless. Loki shunned even the prettiest flying suitors his family sent to him, until finally they gave up altogether and let him be. They despaired that their Loki, the loveliest blossom among them, should live such a short life. Perhaps he would see the error of his ways before the summer heat drove them and the neighboring jötunns into their seasonal dormancy—if it wasn’t too late by then.

One afternoon in mid-spring, a huge, handsome bumblebee came thundering into the garden. Instantly captivated by Loki’s aroma, he alighted upon the flower’s leafy collar.

Loki stirred from his nap and was rendered mortified at the sight of this latest suitor. He had never seen such a terrific beast in his life.

“Good day, fair flower!” the bee boomed, wings still buzzing. “You smell exquisite! What is your name, and may I taste you?”

Loki finally found his voice after a moment and snapped, “I am Loki, and you certainly may not taste me! Get off me and go away!” He shook himself, trying to dislodge the intruder, but his efforts were for naught.

The bee flitted his wings and cheerfully ignored Loki’s rudeness. “Loki! That is a lovely name. Mine is Thor.”

“I don’t care!” Loki cried. “Get off me before you bruise my petals, you buzzing great imbecile!”

Thor was taken aback; he pressed his front foot to his hairy golden breast dramatically. “I would never bruise such a sweet, beautiful blossom as you! My queen did not raise a common hornet. I know how to treat a flower properly. Come, beautiful Loki, let me show you how tender I can be.” And he began to caress Loki’s bud with astonishing grace and gentleness.

Loki blushed purple. Thor’s touch soothed his temper and aroused in him things he had never felt before. He rather liked it but was also terribly confused.

“Wh-what are you doing?” he demanded.

“Relaxing your sepal. You’re very tense.” Thor wiggled his antennae flirtatiously. “This must be your first time. Don’t worry, I treat all virgin buds with great care.” He moved past Loki’s calyx and began to massage his petals with careful strokes, paying special attention to the sensitive tips.

Through the haze of growing pleasure Loki distantly recalled his vow of chastity, and the last shreds of his stubborn pride compelled him to make one last objection, even though his words were wholly halfhearted at this point.

“I don’t want your care,” he insisted dizzily. “I want you to get… oh. Oh my…”

Encouraged by the sighs, Thor buzzed his wings and sent vibrations through his legs and into Loki’s whole body.

It felt incredible. Loki stretched and shivered, loosening his clenched petals.

“That’s it,” Thor murmured, rubbing Loki’s bud with four of his six legs. “Let me inside, fair Loki. Let me taste you.” He slipped his feet carefully into the tight furl and began to spread Loki open.

“Oh!” Loki shuddered as his intimate fragrance, strong and concentrated, rose into the air. “Oh, please be gentle, I’ve never…!”

Thor licked him with his long, curling tongue. “Don’t fear, my sweet flower. I will be so very careful. Just”—he pulled Loki’s petals open wide, revealing his glistening stamen—“let me drink you.”

Without further warning, Thor slipped inside Loki, wriggling through his tightly-clenched petals—first his head, then his thorax, and finally his big abdomen—and entering his sweet, close interior. It was dim inside, the sunlight blocked by Loki’s violet petals.

“Oh!” gasped Loki. He sat full and heavy on his stem, pregnant with this great bee, his bud bulging. He swung back and forth on his stalk as if moved by a strong breeze.

It was a bit much for a young bloom’s first time. But true to his word, Thor was gentle and courteous.

“Your sweetness is incomparable, Loki,” he murmured, wriggling around inside the jötunn, his tongue darting in and out of his mouth, licking and lapping. “So delicious. I’ve never tasted anything like you before. You’re exquisite.”

In the back of his fevered mind, Loki was pleased; of course he was exquisite. He had never been pollinated before, and now this big, beautiful, well-spoken gentlebee was inside him. He never imagined such an undignified act would feel this pleasurable, and even if he had, he would never have let one of those wheedling, whimpering, vain butterflies pollinate him.

Thor rubbed the base of Loki’s pistil admiringly. “Your ovary is swollen. You are very fertile. No wonder you are so sweet. It must have been maddening to wait for so long.”

Loki hummed and pushed a little nectar through his stigma—an offering for the lovely compliments he was being fed. “It’s worth it once you find the right one.”

Thor lapped up the juices hungrily, petting Loki with his rear legs. His tongue tickled as he stroked each individual filament and sucked on Loki’s anthers, wings fluttering and body vibrating.

Loki groaned in ecstasy and produced another gush of nectar. Thor’s black and gold hair gleamed with it. He drank and drank and drank, until he was almost bursting with Loki’s sweet moisture and could drink no more.

He emerged from Loki’s closed bud covered in a fine layer of golden pollen, waddling and quite full. He bumped his head against Loki’s petals and wiggled his antennae—a bumblebee kiss.

“Thank you for feeding me, Loki,” he said. “I must go now, but I shall return as soon as I can. Stay sweet, my beautiful blossom.” And without another word, he lifted off and buzzed away.

Once the euphoria of his first pollination faded, Loki fell into a terrible depression. He liked Thor, so big and gentle, so polite, so kind and generous with his praise. And now he was gone. When would he return? In the evening? Tomorrow? The day after? Even a moment seemed to be an unbearable length of time.

Such was the way when one has just fallen in love.

That night Loki curled up into a tight, sad bud and shrugged off the moths that landed on him and probed him with their curly tongues. He thought of the strong, careful strokes of Thor’s tongue and wished he were there now. He would gladly let Thor inside him again. Holding him, being full of him, had felt better than the first kiss of morning sunlight. Alas, all he could do was heave a dreamy sigh and wait for his love to return.

Some members of his family had witnessed that afternoon’s deflowering spectacle and were not as optimistic.

“I wouldn’t count on seeing your bumbling bee-friend again,” Helblindi, Loki’s sibling, told him underneath the full moon. “His kind are wild and faithless. They drink from any flower they see, even weeds. You should have let one of those stately butterflies be your first. Now you’re ruined.”

“Shut up,” Loki muttered, and Helblindi said no more.

The next morning Thor returned, his antennae waving cheerfully. “Hello, sweet Loki! How are you today?”

Loki cried out in joy and wrapped his stems around the big bumblebee the moment he landed. “Oh, Thor! I thought you might never come back! I’ve never been so glad to be wrong.”

Thor laughed and returned Loki’s hug with his front legs. “And break my promise to you? Nay! You are the only flower for me, Loki. My days of aimless flying and feeding are over. I hunger for no other, nor shall I go hungry as long as you are with me. You are all I need.”

Thor remained with Loki the entire day. They pollinated several times, each act as wonderful as the very first. That night, instead of returning to his hive, Thor stayed with Loki and slept inside his bud. Loki embraced him all night, and it was the best rest he had ever had. It was as if he held the sun itself within him, golden-warm and full of love.

Spring passed and the days gradually became warmer. Loki and Thor spent their time together in idle, love-drunk bliss, pollinating and sleeping and basking in the sunlight, completely ignorant of the passing season. Soon all the spring flowers in the garden began to wilt and fade, and Loki, his nectar spent and his petals losing their youthful beauty, began to fade, too. Thor was distraught, his wings drooping as he caressed Loki’s wrinkled bud.

“Don’t cry, Thor,” Loki whispered to him tenderly. “I have been pollinated. I will return again next spring.”

“But I will not,” Thor wept. “I am but a humble worker bee, you see, a male of little value. Our lives are short. We exist only to pollinate flowers and find a virgin queen to mate with. I shall be dead by the time you wake.”

Loki was utterly stunned. He had not known this about bees. “Oh, Thor! Thor, I’m so sorry! I kept you from fulfilling your life’s purpose. My love for you has doomed you!”

“Nay, Loki. I would rather spend a single season with you than mate with all the queens in the world. You are my flower, and if I must die, I would like to die beside you.”

“Oh, Thor.” Loki wrapped his remaining petals around his beloved bumble. “Sleep, my darling. We will sleep together, one last time.”

And so they did, on a late spring night beneath the balmy Flower Moon, one passing into hibernation, the other passing into the realm of death.

But their story does not end here.

These two tiny lovers did not know to whom their world, this sprawling green garden, belonged. It was the garden of the goddess Frigga, the Allmother and Queen of Asgard, who next morning found a dead bumblebee clasped lovingly inside one of her violet jötunns.

“By the Norns, what have we here?” she said to herself, crouching down for a closer look. “You poor thing. You loved my little Loki-bloom, didn’t you? And he loved you, too. Well, we can’t very well let death separate you, can we? Certainly not.”

She departed and returned a short while later with a golden apple from Idunn’s orchard—an enchanted apple which imparted eternal youth and vigor to all those who ate of them. The queen knelt and carefully cut through Loki’s stem, separating him from his family. Then she dug a new hole nearby and sliced the apple in half. She whittled out each side of the apple enough to make a small hollow, and in this hollow she placed the dead bee’s body and the flower it had so loved. Then she fitted the halves together, laid the apple in the hole, and covered it with soil.

“There,” she said with a warm smile. “Now sleep until spring, little ones.” And she laid her hand upon the patch of turned-up soil, giving them her blessing.

Across the realm of Asgard, spring ended and summer swept in, powerful and bright. Rain fell and thunder rolled. The breezes grew stronger, turning hills of grass into waving seas of green. The sun soared through blue skies and played hide-and-seek behind huge puffy white clouds. The moon went through her cycles while the crickets and frogs and nocturnal birds sang a symphony to her splendor every night. Blossoms dropped and new fruit began to appear. Eggs hatched and the chirp of fledgling birds filled the air. Fish leapt in streams and rivers. Hayfields turned golden and vegetables burst from the ground.

The air began to cool. Autumn came, days of harvest and cheer and clear nights where every star shone bright in the velvet black sky. Leaves erupted into flaming colors of red and yellow and orange, and even the humblest trees became stately kings clad in fiery raiment. Then the leaves withered, dried out, and fell. The first frost dressed the realm in a gown of shimmering white, like the veil of a young queen newly married. Soon winter was upon Asgard, turning the landscape white and blue and gray.

Beneath the snow and ice, the blossom and the bee slept inside their golden apple coffin.

Eventually the snow began to melt. The sun grew warm and yellow, painting away the colorlessness that winter had left behind with the bright green of new life. Spring had finally arrived. Plants sent up shoots and budded and bloomed and blossomed, turning the Allmother’s garden into a riot of color. The sound of birds and buzzing insects filled the hair, humming and trilling, an orchestra of life.

Loki’s family woke and opened and saw that their lovely child had not returned. They mourned him, sighing and shaking their heavy heads, and turned their faces toward the sky in remembrance.

Not far from the violet jötunns, a strange new flower emerged from the ground: a single large bulb rising up on a thick, sturdy stalk. It grew taller and bigger every day, and all the flowers in the garden whispered to one another about who or what this stranger could possibly be.

On the day of the spring equinox, the bud suddenly shivered and began to unfurl, its sepals slowly peeling back to reveal a beautiful gold and purple flower. The flower then began to bloom, unrolling its regal petals, baring itself to the sun. Inside the cup of its bud lay two small creatures curled up around one another.

Fairies. Their wings wet and their naked skin glistening and sparkling. They were fast asleep, in the deepest of winter-born slumbers, and slow to wake. Only when the sun had dried their wings and warmed their bodies did they began to stir.

The smaller one was the first to wake, pulling himself up and blinking at the world around him.

It was Loki. Instead of petals, he now had a head of wavy black hair that shined almost violet in the light. His eyes were as green as the leaves he once wore, and his wings shimmered with all the colors of the rainbow.

He started when he realized his form had changed. He was no longer a jötunn, nor any flower he had ever seen before. He held his hands before his face and stared at them in confusion. Then he wiggled his fingers, and his bewilderment gave way to delight. He laughed in a voice that could be heard by all creatures now, a sound as beautiful and silver as a wind chime.

Beside him, Thor rolled over onto his back and mumbled sleepily, scratching his belly. He was large and powerful and golden, just like his bumblebee form, and the wings on his back were twice as broad as Loki’s. When his eyes blinked open, they were as vivid blue as the sky itself. A few sleepy moments later, they popped open wide.

Thor launched himself upright, sputtering for words, and was greeted by Loki, who threw his arms around him and laughed. Thor’s shock abruptly vanished when he recognized Loki; they embraced each other joyfully, sharing a kiss and a nuzzle with their new faces. Happy tears were shed for the first time. They were alive.

As the other flowers stared in amazement, the two fairies stood up and tested their wings. Thor batted his a few times and lifted off without a problem—one never really forgets how to fly once one has learned—and held out his hand to Loki.

Loki accepted, clasping Thor’s hand tightly. Thor lifted him up, and then they were flying—or doing their best, anyway. They bobbed through the garden together, Thor showing Loki how to work his wings, leaving sparkling, corkscrew trails of fairy dust behind them wherever they went. They tumbled and fumbled and shrieked, bumping into honeybees and haughty roses to whom they begged their pardons with giggling, flushed faces.

Loki soon got the hang of flying, and in a short time he and Thor were chasing each other through the garden, hiding in shrubs and behind mushrooms, one waiting to ambush the other with a kiss, their tiny voices harmonizing with the birdsong.

Seated on the nearby veranda, Frigga the Allmother smiled, sipped her tea, and watched her new children play.

The End

Chapter Endnotes: The talented @erakubi on Twitter made this lovely (and sweetly funny) fanart of Thor and Loki in their fairy forms!

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