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Second Chances

Chapter 80 - Epilogue 8 - Flashback

Sigyn poked her head around the corner of the back staircase she had just taken. Seeing no one on the small corridor to the archway leading to the training area she hitched up her skirts and ran, not caring that the leather pants she wore became visible when she did so. She had to be swift and sly or this would be yet another day spent listening to her father and Theoric discussing war and weddings. The first one bored her, absolutely and completely, simply because they wouldn’t let her make any suggestions, and the second terrified her. Quite frankly she would rather spend the day mucking out the stables than suffer another day of that.
‘Fandral!’ She hissed, as he was nearest to her, glancing around in case she was overheard. ‘Fandral!’
He finally looked around and spotted her hiding in the shadow of a pillar and he nonchalantly strolled over, leaning against it but not acknowledging her with anything other than his voice.
‘Lady Sigyn, you are overdressed for sparring.’
‘You know that’s not why I’m here, my friend.’ She replied. ‘I need a distraction or I will be dragged back to my chambers for a day of civilised behaviour, and I will not go quietly this time.’
‘That is almost tempting to see, did I not like you so much.’ Fandral replied. ‘I shall give you your distraction if you promise to dance with me just once at the next feast.’
‘If you can tear me away from Theoric you may have as many dances as you please.’ She hissed, stepping back into the shadows as two of the Einherjar passed close by.
‘Very well.’ Fandral pushed away from the pillar and she slipped further down the open walled edge as far as she could go. ‘Volstagg.’ Fandral greeted him then leant in. ‘Lady Sigyn needs a distraction, care to aid a damsel in distress?’
‘For our little Sigyn, anything.’ Volstagg replied. ‘What did you have in mind?’
Fandral replied loudly. ‘And I say the only reason you have the beard so long is so you can contain all the food you drop during your gorging!’
Volstagg gave him and angry look that was only half feigned. ‘You whelp!’ He shoved at him and in moments they were scuffling, and with it being out of the practice ring they quickly drew a crowd.
Sigyn took the opportunity to climb through the last opening and drop to the ground, sprinting behind all those gawking with her skirt bundled in one hand, the other on her head holding the ridiculous headdress Theoric had given her. It was heavy and uncomfortable and once she reached more cover she could remove the stupid thing, as it was attached to her hair in more than one place. Deciding not to take the risk of being seen she shortcut through the orchard, racing past Idunn as she harvested apples.
‘Good morning, Lady Idunn!’ She called as she ran by. ‘If asked you have not seen me!’
‘Indeed I have not, Lady Sigyn.’ She called after her with a chuckle as the young woman disappeared from view.
She was out the other side of the orchard in no time and hit the trees of the forest without breaking pace, following a path she knew and yet was not well trodden. She and Loki had created the path with magic and it constantly looked overgrown but she knew it intimately, both in daylight and darkness. She reached the first clearing and stopped, pulling at the braids that interlaced with her headdress until they hung loose, four thick cords of auburn, relieving her head of the wretched thing before she dropped it to the floor. Next she loosened the cord on the back of her dress and as she did so, Loki arrived, walking casually as no one ever asked him where he was going.
‘Mmm, love, you look like you need a hand.’ His fingers folded over her wrists and stopped her progress. ‘Allow me.’
She let out a long breath, letting him take over until she had enough give to remove the material, pulling it over her head and, picking up the headdress again, she wrapped it in the cloth and shoved it in the end of a hollow log. ‘Thank you.’ She took the hand he offered her, drawing her to him.
‘Was the fight between Volstagg and Fandral your doing, dove?’ He asked as he bowed his head and placed soft kisses across her cheek.
‘I asked for a distraction, Fandral provided the solution.’ She explained as her eyes closed, enjoying the sensations his lips on her skin brought.
‘At what cost?’
‘A dance at the next feast.’
Loki snorted a laugh and leant back, giving her an amused smile. ‘You believe Fandral will be able to coax that ox you are betrothed to to relinquish you for a dance?’
‘Fandral seems to think so, and good luck to him, I say.’
‘He will need more than luck. The man is a menace, you should just let me kill him, pet.’
‘Oh that I had the courage.’ She sighed as Loki took her hand and led her towards their next secret path. ‘But I cannot in good conscience sanction his death.’
‘You have too pure a heart, Sig.’ He replied as she went ahead of him through the narrow corridor of trees.
‘I believe you will find that is to balance the mischief in yours, my prince.’ She glanced back over her shoulder. ‘Are we to wander the forest aimlessly until we see fit to return, or do we have a destination?’
‘A destination. Keep as you are, love. We will be there soon enough.’
He instructed her to head east, a path she had not taken before, but she trusted him enough to do as he suggested, and shortly they came to a river and the bank was wide enough for them to walk beside one another again, their fingers entwined as the morning sun played over the surface of the gentle flow of water beside them.
‘Just up ahead.’ He informed her and the river seemed to speed up as the terrain grew slightly more rocky, ending in a small waterfall that fell into a large, crystal watered pool.
‘Why have we never found this before?’ Sigyn breathed at the beauty of the place, completely untouched and isolated on all sides.
‘It was magically hidden, by whom I am unsure, but once I established it was safe I saw no point in us not utilising it.’ He swept her up in his arms and grinned at her. ‘Hold your nose, kitten.’ And he stepped off the rocks.
Sigyn squealed in surprise as she and Loki fell through the air, splashing down inelegantly, still fully clothed, the water tepid and pleasant, yet still a shock. He swam them both to the surface and altered his hold on her so one arm was around her waist and he kissed her the moment they both had their breath.
‘Isn’t this more fun than, well, anything quite honestly?’
‘You, my prince, are a menace!’ She pushed wet curls out of her face, her legs treading water in time with Loki’s.
‘You cannot deny it is fun!’ He laughed, such a free sound that it made Sigyn’s heart soar.
‘You cannot deny you are a menace.’ She splashed him before pushing out of his arms and swimming across to the bank, walking up the gentle slope where she wrung out her braids.
‘Come back in, sweet.’ He called her.
‘You’ve ruined my leathers! I shall never be able to subtly replace them, and father is now so dead against me fighting it will be near impossible!’ She complained as she removed her belt.
‘I shall replace your leathers, with nothing more than a wave of my hand.’ He promised as he stalked out of the water towards her, the white tunic he wore over his black leather pants sticking to him enticingly.
‘In the meantime I will endeavour to have these dry in the sun.’ She replied. ‘You are quite sure we are not going to be disturbed?’
‘Even if whoever hid the place originally returned they could not find it.’ He promised. ‘Their power does not rival mine and we are quite secluded and safe.’
‘Good.’ She unbuckled her tunic and removed it, looking up to see him eyeing the very wet, very see through pale linen blouse she had on underneath. ‘I suppose this should dry too.’ She said innocently before unlacing the neck slowly and removing it. He stayed where he was, as though rooted to the spot, as the blouse were lifted, revealing the many bruises around his teeth marks that had not yet healed from an earlier liaison and his body jolted to attention. Her ribs and breasts were smattered with them, his own torso almost identical as they both seemed to enjoy the little pangs of pain that went with the wounds, but they were always careful not to leave them anywhere visible.
‘You have the best ideas, dearest girl.’ He finally snapped out of the hypnotism her body caused him and removed his own belt, laying it beside hers as she removed her boots, his tunic going next.
‘I suppose I have some.’ She quipped as she finally tried to remove her pants and glared at Loki. ‘I hope you have as much trouble as I when trying to remove your pants. Wet leather is most cumbersome.’
‘Allow me to ease the burden for you.’ He walked towards her, barefoot and bare chested, pulling on the open waistband of her pants until she was pressed against him and her pants were no longer on her but laid in the sunlight beside her other clothes.
‘Thank you, my prince.’ She smiled up at him, letting him kiss her before she stepped back. ‘Now I can swim comfortably.’ She said as she passed him and back into the water.
‘In the water, out of the water, in it again.’ He murmured as he made his own pants appear with hers and headed back to the pool.
‘What was that, Odinson?’ She asked as she turned to swim away from him on her back.
‘Nothing, love.’ He replied as he reentered the pool.
They swam for a while, playing and laughing, kissing and touching, finally taking to the bank where Loki conjured several blankets, to sit upon and to wrap around their wet skin, and some refreshments. Sigyn rested her head on Loki’s shoulder as she ate grapes and sighed deeply.
‘Deep in thought, love?’ He asked quietly as they watched a dragonfly hum over the water.
‘Too deep.’ Her voice held an edge of sadness and it made him turn to look at her.
‘What’s wrong?’
‘I’ll miss this.’ She admitted.
‘Miss it? Are you leaving, sunbeam?’ He gave her a curious look.
‘I may well be.’ She dusted her hands. ‘I meant it when I said I would leave rather than marry Theoric and it is looking less and less likely that I will find a way out of my betrothal. I believe the time has come for me to do just that.’
‘You’re actually going to run away?’ He looked at her in horror. He didn’t want to lose her.
‘I am trying to think of it more as I am moving on.’ She swallowed the emotions threatening to choke her. ‘I was forced to leave before, start a new life, and I can do it again.’
‘Sig, you can’t be serious?’
‘Deadly.’ Her eyes held so many emotions Loki could not pick just one. She was determined, her resolve set, and she truly had made up her mind, there was sadness too, but through it all he could see the fear that the thought of the union caused her. He hadn’t realised she were this scared which meant she had been hiding it from him.
‘Oh my darling, I’m so sorry.’ He pulled her to him in a tight hug. ‘I did not realise how this was affecting you until now.’
‘Now, Loki, don’t go soft on me.’ She pushed him away. ‘I have warned you often enough that this was coming.’
‘I thought we would have had a solution by now.’ He ran his hands over her shoulders, still not letting her go despite her obvious attempt to stay strong and detached.
‘As did I, however as one has not presented itself I must leave.’
Loki gave her a long, hard look as he thought. He could not lose her, no, he would not. His mind made up he made her a promise. ‘Then I shall come with you.’
She had been expecting this, and she knew it could not happen. He was a prince of Asgard, he had a family who would search for him, all nine realms if necessary, but alone Sigyn could remain anonymous, and though it broke her heart to do so she saw no other way. ‘No, my prince, you won’t.’
He narrowed his eyes at her determination. ‘As your prince I order you to run away with me. Marry me, promise you will stay with me always and we will make a new life together where no one knows us.’
‘Loki,’ she started with a small groan but he didn’t let her finish.
‘Don’t you want to be with me, Sig? Don’t you long to be free? This way we can be, we can be all we have ever wanted together and more. Let us be wed, let us start a life, children, and no one telling us we cannot.’
‘It is a romantic notion, my prince, but a childish one. You would be found in no time, too many would seek you out.’
‘I have illusion on my side, beloved.’ He reminded her as she gave a small sigh, recognising the signs that he was whittling her down. ‘We will want for nothing and can be safe and together, with our joint power. Come with me, take my hand and don’t look back.’ He held his hand before her and willed her to take it with everything he had, with his eyes, with his words, with every part of his being, and as a small smile began to grace her lips he knew he had her.
‘You would give everything up for me, truly?’
‘For us.’ He specified as her hand hovered above his. ‘Be mine for more than just the night and stolen liaisons such as this. Be mine for eternity, in every way you can.’
He saw her swallow, her eyes finally softening, and her palm pressed to his, fingers curving around it. ‘Let’s leave here, Loki. Just you and I.’
His other hand came up and cupped her cheek, kissing her firmly. ‘Not one regret will you ever feel, sweet girl. You will be my bride before the next moon. Let us not delay and go tonight. We can be halfway to anywhere by dawn and it matters not where, as long as we are together.’
‘Together.’ She repeated as he rested his forehead against hers. She had been determined not to drag him into this, although she knew he would never have let her go without a fight, nor would he have stopped seeking for her, she hadn’t thought it fair, but he had such a way of convincing her and her heart would have broken had she had to leave him behind.
They returned to the palace under cover of darkness, agreeing to wait until the early hours, taking only that which was important to them so they could travel fast and light, unaware they were being watched on their return. Not overheard, but the change between them was noticed, blatant to those who knew them.
Sigyn took one thing from her dresser, a gold ring that had been her mother’s, the only thing she truly remembered her wearing as a young girl. Loki was more sentimental, but he could store away in his vault whatever he wished for a later date, and the things he chose were a book Frigga had bought him when he began his sorcery, a small wooden horse Odin had carved when he told them stories by the fire one winter, and, from Thor, a bracer he had had commissioned after their first true battle bearing both of their insignia. He had long since outgrown it yet it held great sentimental value. He dressed simply, a black tunic and pants, very similar to Sigyn’s simple tan leathers, although she had caught her hair fully to her head, and with her hooded cape she would not be instantly recognisable, and they met in a servants stairway, planning on alighting through the below stairs corridors.
‘You’re sure you want to do this?’ She asked quietly as he took her hands in his. ‘I do not hold you to it, if you wish to stay, or change your mind.’
‘Together, love. Forever.’ He smiled at her. He would miss his family, he knew he would, but to live without her, not knowing, not holding her every night, part of him would die, he was sure.
‘I love you.’ She whispered as he bowed his head and kissed her softly.
‘I love you too.’ He squeezed her hand and together they started down the stairs, knowing it was too early for the staff to be preparing for the day ahead, and too late for any of those who had worked late the night before. They went unnoticed through kitchens and laundry rooms, ensuring the route they took would bring them out the furthest from the palace gates, where the supplies were delivered and few ventured without need. Several stone steps led up to the courtyard before the gates and Loki checked they were clear. Nothing moved, no sounds were heard, and he pulled on Sigyn’s hand, encouraging her up the stairs behind him. Their feet made the smallest of noises, almost silent in their progress across the yard, and they reached the gate uninterrupted, until Loki’s hand fell upon the latch.
A shadow moved to their left and Sigyn raised her hand, power with it, startled and wary as Loki too began to spin, calling a dagger to his hand.
‘Brother, no.’ Thor said simply, and Sigyn let out a breath of both surprise and relief; glad it had not been a guard and yet this somehow being so much worse.
‘Thor.’ Loki said simply, stepping up beside Sigyn.
‘You cannot do this.’ Thor shook his head, his body covered in a deep grey cloak that had hidden him in the deep shadows.
‘We are doing this, and you cannot stop us.’ Loki insisted, reaching for the gate but Thor leant on it, preventing it from opening.
‘I only wish for you to see sense. Running is not the answer.’
‘We’re not running, we’re walking.’ Loki replied indignantly.
‘You are leaving. You are running away, eloping, absconding, fleeing, call it what you will, it is all the same. You cannot do this, either to yourselves or our families. They will search for you, they will find you, and you will be no further forward from this point.’ Thor said reasonably with no malice or anger, just as a matter of fact.
‘That is untrue. We shall be married and no one will be able to change that.’
Sigyn watched the exchange between them as it continued, her heart hurting.
‘Father can change that, father could have Sigyn arrested for going back on a contract.’
‘A contract she did not sign! She is being bartered like cattle!’ Loki hissed. ‘I love her, Theoric does not, and he shall not have her as long as there is breath in my body!’
‘Loki,’ Thor rested his hand on his shoulder, ‘Mother will be heartbroken, she struggles enough trying to find a way for the two of you to overcome this difficulty, but if you leave it is she who will hurt the most. You cannot do that to her, and you cannot do it to the two of you.’
‘We can, and we are.’ Loki shoved his hand off him angrily.
‘Perhaps cannot is the wrong word. You should not.’ He looked between them.
Sigyn swallowed hard as she realised their chance was gone, that Thor would not allow this. ‘He should not.’ She said quietly and they both looked at her.
‘Sig, no.’ Loki pulled on her hand so she turned to face him. ‘Together, remember?’
She swallowed as emotions filled her. ‘Thor is right, and you know he is.’ She gave him a sad smile. ‘I cannot wed Theoric and once I leave I am an oath breaker, unfit to reside on Asgard, let alone be the consort of a prince, and as much as I will miss you, I cannot marry him.’ Her voice cracked as she said the last. She cupped his cheek with her hand. ‘Stay, my prince, there will be others.’ She released his hand and stepped around them, opening the gate now Thor no longer barred it, and stepping through, trotting down the path and away as her heart broke in a way so painful she had no idea it were possible.
Thor and Loki watched as she walked into the night, down the dirt track that could lead her anywhere in the realms, her power similar enough to Loki she could find a path to another in no time, away from Heimdall’s gaze.
‘No.’ Loki started towards her but Thor caught him around the upper body, preventing his progress.
‘We let her go or we bring her back, brother, you do not go with her, but I promise you this; I will do everything in my power to ensure this marriage never happens, that you and Sigyn get the happy ever after you deserve, but this is not the right path to it. Which is it to be?’
Loki knew Thor was right, but he also knew Sigyn had her heart set on this being the end of the matter, the beginning of something new. He let out a shuddering breath. ‘We bring her back.’ They both broke out of the gate at a run, heading towards the dark figure who continued down the path, neither one daring to call her for fear of alerting the guard. Their pace was even and quickly reached her, Loki’s fingertips touching her cape…as she disappeared.
‘Illusion.’ He breathed as he glanced around, realising she had used one of the very tricks he had taught her on him, cloaking it so well even he couldn’t tell.
‘Where is she?’ Thor asked, turning a full circle and finding no one in the vicinity.
‘She’s hidden herself.’ Loki said desperately. ‘She is determined to go, Thor, she will not stay as long as the contract remains.’
‘We need to find her and convince her otherwise.’
‘Sig!’ Loki yelled, the suddenness making Thor jump and he had no doubt they would draw the attention of the guard and he clapped his hand over his mouth.
‘Quiet, unless you wish the Einherjar knowing you planned to elope with the general’s daughter!’
‘I’m quite certain they would not be surprised.’ He pulled away from him. ‘If she is this good I may not be able to trace her power.’
‘Did you not realise she could do this? You have practiced your sorcery together for years.’ Thor stated as he tried to start them down the path.
‘She was planning on doing this without me, I believe she only told me out of courtesy as it was. If that is the case she will have been hiding this ability carefully lest anyone else noticed.’
‘The only ones who may have noticed are you and Mother.’ Thor stated as they reached a fork in the path. ‘You take the left, I shall go right.’
‘If she is cloaked you will not see her unless she wishes it.’ Loki said as he thought of something. ‘I have an idea. You may wish to crouch.’ Thor gave him raised eyebrows but did as he suggested. Loki clapped his hands and rubbed them together, frowning as he concentrated on calling power. ‘Let’s see where you are, love.’ He murmured. He threw his hands out to either side, throwing darts of power that would momentarily cause collapse in every direction, the move one to bring down an enemy force as the ground troops moved in, but it worked, and they heard a yelp to their right and turned in time to see a cloaked figure falling forwards onto the ground. ‘There she is.’ He said unnecessarily as they started towards her at a run.
The magical paralysis Loki had often used in battle coursed through her, her legs giving as her momentum carried her forward, falling face first onto the dirt track. She wanted to scream in frustration, or yell at him, but her vocal chords were equally useless and by the time it wore off they were on either side of her, pulling her to her feet as the effects began to clear.
‘Let me go, I swear, Odinsons, I will only leave again without your knowledge!’ She argued as on an unspoken clue they lifted her off the ground so her feet dangled.
‘Sig, please.’ Loki argued. ‘We both know this is not the answer.’
‘No, Loki, this is not the answer for you!’ She glared at him.
‘It is not the answer for either of you.’ Thor interjected. ‘You are loved, Sigyn, by not only Loki and myself, but by Mother, and your own father, Sif and The Warriors Three, and all those who have served with you in battle. If you disappear they will never stop looking for you. You consider yourself of no consequence when you would be missed more deeply than you perhaps realise, by a good many people who would not rest until you were safely back on Asgard, and while it may pain you, Theoric is among them. If you think no one would miss you, you are sorely undervaluing yourself, because your loss would effect so many the kingdom would mourn.’
Her eyes filled with tears as he spoke and she swallowed heavily. ‘Please, Thor, let me go.’
‘We cannot.’ He smiled sympathetically before looking over her head at Loki and giving him a small nod. They lowered her to her feet but before she could consider her next move Loki bent at the knee and threw her over his shoulder, he and Thor starting back towards the gate as one.
‘Sig, he’s right.’ Loki said as she growled in frustration, trying to find a way down, but his arm was across her legs, holding her to him. ‘We will find a way around this, we will not allow the marriage to come to pass, but we have to do so responsibly, not act rashly like children.’
‘You promised!’ She punched him as hard as she could in the middle of his spine and he flinched.
‘I acted spontaneously. We need to be mature, not foolish.’
‘This from the man who keeps offering to kill him for me?’ She squirmed in his arms.
‘Loki…’ Thor looked at him disapprovingly.
‘She will not permit it so it may as well be a jest.’ He tried to shrug but she hampered his movement with her constant shifting. He sighed as he lifted her effortlessly off his shoulder and onto her feet, taking her by the upper arms and making her look at him. ‘Sig, please. You must listen. As much as I hate to admit it, Thor is right. We need to reconsider our next course of action much more carefully.’
The look she gave him was hurt, but not at him, at the truth, as it sank in with her what a bad idea this was, for now. ‘Alright, but know this, both of you,’ she looked between them, ‘if the date grows too near I will do this again, and next time I will not be fool enough to tell you.’ She growled at Loki specifically.
He sighed but nodded, knowing he had perhaps damaged her trust in him slightly but also knowing she would forgive him, eventually, and next time, if there truly were no other way, he would disguise them both, just as she had, and they would walk out of the palace in daylight, when no one would suspect, if she would just trust him again. ‘Let us return to the palace.’
‘Let us partake in a drink in my chambers, and discuss what we can do.’ Thor suggested and Sigyn nodded reluctantly. It was the best idea they had.

Notes

This is probably my first ever song fic, although the entire relationship of young Loki and Sigyn was inspired by this one, this chapter in particular I have incorporated lyrics from Evanescence’s song Anywhere. Which I told my bestie Deni to listen to after she read the fic and it made her cry! Whoops and yet win too!

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