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Second Chances

Chapter 58

Sigyn told the story of how she had returned to Asgard, how she and Loki had fallen in love despite Odin’s opposition, and how they had carried out an illicit affair for some time. Darcy was swept up in the romance of a covert relationship and asked how they had finally come to be allowed to be together.
‘It’s a long story, and it starts months before.’ Sigyn said, somewhat sadly.
‘And as with all good love stories there is a villain to the piece.’ Sif added.
Sigyn and Loki had spent the night together in his bed, it was still hours from dawn and Loki thought Sigyn asleep. Her breathing was even, her back pressed to his chest, his arms tightly around her. He knew he never wanted this to end between them, he wanted to marry her, he was just unsure of how to go about winning his father around. He had to first address it with his mother, he was sure she would be delighted, but it would be a long road until then. He was a prince and it would not be a simple thing to arrange, a royal wedding, but he wanted the betrothal, wanted everyone to know she was his and, most importantly, wanted her to know. He took a deep breath, knowing she was sound asleep, enjoying the warm scent of her in his arms.
‘I love you.’ He murmured, knowing how much harder it was to say when she was awake. He didn’t know why, but it was. He loved her more than anything else in any realm but he always teased when she said it to him, never used the actual words. He had said them almost every night while she slept, hoping it would make it easier when she woke, but it never did. The words just wouldn’t come.
‘What did you just say?’ She mumbled, tension running through her shoulders as she moved her head to try and see him in the faint light from the dying fire.
His eyes went wide. She wasn’t asleep. Did he pretend to be asleep? What did he do? He was being cowardly, he knew it, but he didn’t know how to reply honestly. ‘Say, sweet?’
‘Yes, what did you say?’ She shifted enough that he could see the confusion on her face.
‘I thought you were asleep.’
‘It’s not important, sunbeam, go back to sleep.’ He leant in to kiss her and she moved away.
‘It sounded important.’
‘Nonsense. You’re dreaming. Close your eyes again.’
She glared at him. ‘I hate you.’ She turned back over and settled down again, knowing full well what he had said and not understanding why he couldn’t say it to her.
‘No, you don’t.’
‘I hate your emotional repression.’ She elbowed him in the ribs. ‘How many times have you said that when you were sure I’m asleep? When you knew I would never know?’
‘I didn’t say anything.’ He said defensively.
‘For a God of Lies you are terrible at it.’
‘What would you have of me, Sig?’
‘I would have you make me feel like you actually share what I feel. But apparently you are unable. You should seek a potion of some sort to make you spill the truth because nothing else works.’ She said crossly.
‘You know how I feel.’
‘I know how you feel better than you do. I love you, Loki. I share a bed with you every night against the wishes of your father, my body bears more marks from you than from any battle, and yet it all means less when you cannot tell me what I long to hear.’
‘You know why I don’t.’
‘Because you claim once you do we shall be wed. As you are not even attempting to make headway with your father I assume that will never happen and you shall never say it. You get what you want without a commitment and I continue to look like I hold no interest in men, or women. My father grows increasingly frustrated with my avoidance of Theoric, who may I say is certainly making an effort despite my polite indifference towards him, and your father is still suspicious of matters. Tell me, my prince, how long should I continue to warm your bed with no recompense?’
‘No recompense?’ He teased. ‘I recall you having recompense several times in just the last few hours.’
‘Good sex works for both of us, Loki, there is no denying our niche, however just once, I would like you to offer the words.’
He sighed, about to reply, but there was a knock on his chamber door. ‘It’s gone three, who can that be?’
‘Maybe someone who can actually say the words. Did you call for a translator from repressed to Asgardian?’
‘Shush.’ He threw the furs over her head as he got out of the bed, checking she was completely hidden before creating himself a robe and opening the door to find a servant.
‘Can I help you? It’s the middle of the night.’ He asked firmly.
‘Sorry to disturb your slumber, my prince, but your assistance is required. The Lady Sigyn is missing. A search party is being organised.’
Loki sighed. ‘Are you sure she is missing?’
‘Quite. Her lady in waiting went to check on her and found her bed made, unused this night. She fears the worst.’
‘And what might the worst be? Anyone trying to take the Lady Sigyn would suffer a world of pain. She is not some delicate flower to be spirited away in the night.’
‘I am merely the messenger.’ The servant said apologetically.
‘Fine, I will dress and join the search.’
‘Thank you, my prince.’
He shut the door and locked it before starting towards the bed. ‘Hear that, petal, you’re kidnapped.’
‘Hilarious.’ She complained as she threw back the furs. ‘Redress me so I can be found again.’
‘How will you do that? The entire castle is looking for you.’
‘You can hide my appearance as I climb from your balcony and I will merely have been for a long walk.’
‘A five hour walk?’
‘I really could not sleep.’ She said as he returned the simple pale green gown she had been wearing and shoes onto her then dressed himself.
‘I shall find you myself, be the hero of the hour.’
‘You’d be that just by telling me you love me.’ She ignored the fact he was walking towards her and headed to the balcony. ‘Create the illusion, my prince. Perhaps Theoric will find me first.’
Loki narrowed his eyes at her, pulling her by the upper arms to him. ‘Do not forget who you belong to, precious girl.’
‘Do not forget your hold on me depends upon your silvertongue.’ She slapped his arms away and stepped onto the balcony, feeling his illusion coat her as she climbed over the edge and onto the climbing plants.
Minutes later she ran across the gardens, staying close to the bushes and trees so as not to be spotted and Loki left his room to join the hunt for her.
Sigyn was amazed she made it to the palace without being found by any of the groups she could hear searching for her. She all but rolled her eyes at their incompetence as she trotted up the final steps to the main doors. She stepped through them…to find Frigga giving her an expectant smile.
‘A little late to be taking the air, Sigyn.’ She stated as the young woman came towards her, having got over her initial surprise.
‘I walked further than I meant, Queen Frigga.’ She shrugged.
‘Are you sure it was not more climbing than walking?’ The Queen offered her her arm which she took and began walking her back down the golden hallway.
‘I…’ Sigyn sighed. ‘I am quite caught, aren’t I?’
‘My dear girl,’ she laughed, ‘you have been caught for months. I see you most mornings, alighting from my son’s room, most evenings climbing not just to his chamber but his arms. A mother sees things, Sigyn, and I would have to be blind not to see what is right before me.’
‘Should I apologise? Promise it will not happen again?’ Sigyn was unsure what to say. Frigga had known of their affair for months but had kept their secret.
‘Do neither one. You and Loki are wonderful together, and you keep him on his toes, however is the secrecy not becoming tiresome?’
‘Somewhat.’ Sigyn admitted. ‘But The Allfather does not approve of me as a match for your son, and we saw no other way.’
‘You will learn, as you age, that there is no better way to convince a man of an idea than to have it planted and watered by the woman he loves.’ She assured her. ‘I will help him see the error of his ways, if that is what you would both wish?’ They both fell silent as two guards came in the opposite direction. ‘I have found Lady Sigyn, you may call off the search.’ She announced loudly and they rushed off to pass on the word. ‘Is it something you would take up? If Odin permitted the union?’
She sighed. ‘I would love nothing more than to be able to claim myself his.’
‘I sense a but.’ Frigga led her to the stairs just as Loki and Thor appeared at the top.
‘Mother, you found her.’ Loki smiled as he came down the stairs with Thor beside him.
‘I would not have had to if you had not lost her in the first place.’ Thor and Loki both looked at Sigyn and Frigga laughed. ‘You boys do not give me enough credit. I am not stupid. Thor, go and ensure the guards are aware Lady Sigyn is safe and that Loki and I are escorting her to her quarters.’
‘Of course, Mother.’ He gave Loki one last look before running down the stairs.
‘And as for you, my son,’ Frigga gave him a serious look, ‘it is high time you made an honest woman of this girl.’
‘What?’ Loki said in confusion.
‘Walk beside me and pick up your jaw. It suits you not, flapping so. I speak of your love for Sigyn.’
‘I wouldn’t go that far.’ Sigyn said as Loki stepped to Frigga’s other side of.
‘What makes you say that, dear?’ Frigga asked.
‘She is being ridiculous.’ Loki said, knowing what was coming.
‘If it is so ridiculous, you tell your mother.’
‘Did I really raise you no better?’ Frigga glared at him in disbelief as they began up the stairs. ‘Tell the girl you love her.’
‘How did you know that was what I meant?’ Sigyn asked as Frigga continued to glare at Loki.
‘Because his father was the same. Claiming he would only say the words when he was sure I was his officially. Quite absurd.’
‘At least I know where he gets it from.’
‘I am more interested in my making an honest woman of you. What do you mean by that, Mother?’
‘I mean now that the two of you know I am aware of your ongoing charade I will petition Odin to allow you to wed. The realms need a good royal wedding.’
He gave her an incredulous look. ’How long have you known?’
‘I’ve known you loved one another since you were children.’ She said flippantly. ‘Loki always trying to save you, Sigyn, when you didn’t need it. How many times did you end up over his shoulder, screaming to be put down because you wanted to fight?’
‘More than I can count.’ She said as realisation dawned.
‘To be fair he did not realise what it was he was feeling, much too young of course, but it was very clear he wished to protect you, even then. You do not do that without an emotional attachment. But of the affair? Tell me, was your first kiss the Yuletide feast?’
‘Yes.’ Loki nodded.
‘Then.’ Frigga confirmed. ‘I had no idea Odin would immediately try and ruin your relationship, but I am quite relieved you ignored him. I had to be certain that the two of you were sure of what you felt before I could interfere.’
‘Please, Mother, interfere.’ Loki asked in relief.
‘I will, as long as you tell this poor girl you love her, now.’ She stopped and turned to look at her son, her face serious.
‘Now?’ Loki asked in horror.
Frigga looked down at Sigyn who had gone red at being put on the spot. ‘Do you love my son?’
‘More than anything.’ Sigyn said quietly, looking down so she didn’t have to meet either of their gazes as her hands twisted over one another nervously, and there was so much emotion in that one sentence that Loki felt guilty for having kept this from her, realised how much he had hurt her, despite the way she teased him for it.
‘Sig, I’m so sorry.’ He whispered as he stepped forward, his mother passing Sigyn’s hand from her arm for him to take as she stepped back. ‘I don’t mean to hurt you, but how could I not love you? I do, more than mere words could ever show. You are my weakness, and my strength. I feel unworthy every time you tell me of your love, every time you say my name. I see you in everything I do, everywhere I go, you are the reason I wake. I love you, Sig, so very much.’
Sigyn was crying softly by the time he finished. It was all she had ever wanted to hear and more. She stepped into him and wrapped her arms around his torso, burying her face in his chest as he held her, one arm around her back the other holding her head tenderly as he rested his cheek on her hair.
Frigga was crying too. She had had such hopes for her sons to find love, and Loki so happy, with a girl she adored, made her happier than she ever imagined. Now she just had to convince Odin to allow the coupling, and she would. Nothing in the world was more important to her than her family and their happiness.
Loki promised to ask Sigyn’s father for her hand as soon as he returned from the mission he was leading his garrison on before she went back into her quarters, where the lady in waiting was relieved but angry, until Frigga made it known that she had not been lost but had been working with the Queen and had fallen asleep, assuming as a grown woman an alarm would not have been raised. The lady soon apologised for still treating Sigyn like a child.
Sigyn lay in her own bed for the first time in months, sleeping soundly until the lady came in to wake her excitedly.
‘You have to dress, Lady Sigyn, there is quite the excitement.’
‘Is there?’ She asked innocently as she took the clothes the lady passed her.
‘Indeed there is. Your father returned just an hour ago and there is talk of a betrothal.’
‘That’s fascinating. Whose?’
‘Yours, silly girl.’ The woman laughed. ‘Dress! Your father awaits you!’
Sigyn bit her lip to stop from grinning as she dressed. Loki must have realised her father was returning and asked immediately, which meant Frigga must have convinced Odin immediately that it was a good idea. She owed the woman so much she only hoped she could make Loki happy enough to repay her.
Dressed in a purple gown and her hair loose she went out to the living area to find her father eating breakfast in the window of the room. He smiled at her as she approached and put down his fork.
‘Daughter, you look beautiful.’
‘Thank you, Father, and welcome home.’ She kissed his cheek. ‘How was your trip?’
‘Hunger inducing.’ He laughed. ‘Sit, I have news.’ She did as he asked and he took a long drink as though prolonging what he had to say. ‘Someone has petitioned me for your hand.’
‘Really?’ She managed to look somewhat surprised.
‘And I have accepted. Odin will make the announcement in his council meeting this morning then we just have to set a date.’
‘Do you not think you should have consulted me first?’ She said, managing not to smile inanely.
‘Even you cannot disapprove of this union. I have see the way the two of you are together.’
‘You are too perceptive for your own good, Father.’
‘Of course I am.’ He blustered. ‘And Theoric will make a fine husband.’
Sigyn’s face fell. ‘Theoric?’ She said in alarm.
‘Indeed. He propositioned me while we were on our mission. He is quite taken with you.’
‘Theoric?’ She yelled as she got to her feet. ‘I don’t even like Theoric!’
‘You will learn to.’
‘No, I won’t.’
‘It is too late, Odin will announce it and…’
‘Not if I can help it.’ She ran for the door and threw it open, heading down the hallways that seemed longer than they ever had before, until she reached the throne room. She ran to the door to Odin’s council chambers and was through them before the guards on them realised her intention.
‘Here is our blushing bride now.’ Odin said from the head of the table as she ran to it, leaning on the corner.
‘Please, you didn’t announce it yet?’ She asked breathlessly.
‘Lady Sigyn…’
‘Did you announce it?’ She yelled.
‘It is official. You shall be wed in due course.’
‘No!’ She shouted and Odin gave her a stern look as he stood.
‘I do not allow yelling in my council chamber. Compose yourself.’
‘Please, Allfather, retract it. I cannot marry Theoric.’
‘The deal has been made, both parties have signed their parts of the contract.’
A sob escaped her throat as she turned and left, knowing once the contract was in place there was little she, or anyone else, could do. Her heart hurt, she couldn’t breathe, and she left the throne room, walking down the hallway and outside, not caring where she went, just walking until she ran out of energy, collapsing amongst trees and crying helplessly.



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