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Second Chances

Chapter 81 - Epilogue 9

Narvi and Vali were celebrating their first birthday, and to mark the occasion Sigyn had suggested their first trip to Central Park Zoo. Loki had wished to throw a large party, plenty of sweet treats and games, but Sigyn had put her foot down. The boys would not truly care what they did, they would not remember, and as long as there were a few photos documenting the occasion it didn’t matter what they did. The result was all their family, that is Uncle Thor and their adopted Avenger aunts and uncles, and maternal grandparents, would join them later in the common room for cake, but until then it was a trip to the zoo.
Sigyn guided the double stroller through the entry gates and waited the other side for Loki who was bringing their brochure and map. Both boys were wearing shortie onesies with The Avengers logo, courtesy of self proclaimed favourite-godfather-who-wasn’t-a-godfather-officially Tony, little sneakers and sun hats as the weather was almost as warm as the day they were born. Sigyn had slathered them both in the highest factor sun cream available as not only were they babies but they were as pale as their parents, both with Sigyn’s freckles, not to mention they were descended from the frost giants.
‘Where to first, my great cartographer?’ She asked Loki as she slipped on her sunglasses. She was dressed as casually as their sons, but her t-shirt was honouring her husband. Tony had thrown out merchandise from his marketing department and she was wearing one of their white t-shirts with a pocket on the left breast with a gold print of Loki’s helmet on it. With her denim shorts, sneakers and simple ponytail she looked less like an Avenger and more like a mom just out with her family, it was, as it always had been, Loki who drew the attention. He had tried to dress down for the occasion, he really had, but he drew the line at shorts. Instead he wore a white v-neck t-shirt with a grey suit jacket and blue jeans, and Sigyn had had to argue him into them. He didn’t necessarily stand out less, perhaps more than he would have in a suit in this weather, but he was still tall and recognisably handsome, his hair now beginning to brush his shoulder blades.
‘Straight on to the tropical zone, or right to the sea lions.’ He showed her the map before crouching beside the boys. ‘What do we think, little princes? Sea lions or snakes?’
Vali clapped excitedly at his father’s question but Narvi simply put his foot in his mouth, sucking on the cloth of his shoe.
‘Very well, snakes it is.’ He nodded, getting to his feet.
‘That is not what they chose, that’s what you chose.’ She knew why he had picked the tropical zone and she frowned at him.
‘They are behind glass, sunbeam, they cannot harm you.’ He smirked.
‘I’m not worried about them harming me, I just don’t like them.’ She grumbled as he joined her behind the stroller, wrapping his arm around her as she moved her own to his waist, taking a handle of the stroller each as they often did when out walking together.
‘You fear them.’ He reminded her.
‘They’re…’ She shuddered. ‘Sorry, me and Indiana Jones are in agreement on this.’
‘You and who?’ He frowned at her as he steered the stroller towards the tropical zone.
‘Oh God, you don’t know who Indiana Jones is? I want a divorce.’
He rolled his eyes as he shook his head. ‘Would it not be simpler merely to educate me, kitten?’
‘I suppose. Movie night tomorrow, see if Steve and Bucky have seen the Indiana Jones movies yet. Even if they have I don’t think anyone will complain about watching them again.’
‘Very well.’
She released his waist as they reached the entry to the tropical zone. ‘I’ll go grab a coffee while you boys amuse yourselves with the creepiest creatures known to man.’
‘There are other creatures here besides snakes, love.’
She pulled a face. ‘You aren’t going to make me see them, are you? Because if you are, punishment.’ She said warningly.
‘I won’t make you.’ He smiled. ‘But the boys may pick up on your fear if you do not face it, and become afraid themselves, quite unnecessarily, as you know.’
‘Shut up.’ She frowned at him and went and opened the door for him, knowing he was right and not liking it one bit.
‘I love you, Sig.’ He purred as he walked past her.
‘I said shut up.’ She said as she followed him through and he chuckled.
Sigyn made sure she read the labels for each enclosure before checking it closer, finding the lemurs and frogs much less stressful, but soon enough they came to the snakes. She took over pushing the stroller and deliberately kept her eyes away from the inhabitants. This was as brave as she could get and would not only show Loki but wouldn’t make the boys think there was anything wrong.
‘They’re not going to do any harm.’ Loki promised her as he went up to the glass containing the boa. ‘And you cannot let fear rule you.’
‘I just don’t like them.’ She shuddered slightly.
‘There is nothing to fear, watch.’ Suddenly Loki was no longer in front of her, he was instead on the wrong side of the glass, standing beside the boa in its tree, its head turning towards him, tongue flicking out as it sensed his presence.
‘Loki!’ She squealed in sheer horror, frozen on the spot as her eyes went wide in terror. ‘What are you doing?’
‘Proving the point, sunbeam.’ He stroked his hand over the snake’s head and turned a smile on her. ‘There’s nothing to worry about.’
‘You’re going to get arrested, or worse!’ She hissed as Narvi reached towards the glass as though to go to his father in the enclosure.
‘No one else can see me, petal. Just you and the boys.’
She covered her face with her hands out of fear and frustration. He was a god, this wouldn’t kill him, he could just beam himself out of there if he had to, but dammit, and if she complained and yelled at him she would look like a crazy person screaming at the animals. ‘You are such an arsehole.’ She growled, grabbing the handles on the stroller and pushing the boys on to the next exhibit.
‘Don’t be like that, love, I’m doing no harm.’ He commented, petting the boa once more before walking through the wall and into the next enclosure. ‘The boys like it.’
‘I’m not talking to you.’ She growled under her breath, heading towards the exit.
‘Just let them see there’s nothing to be afraid of.’ He paced her through each of the exhibits.
She stopped, sighed, and looked around, waiting for a couple with a small girl to pass by before she spoke. ‘If you don’t get back out here the boys will assume it is perfectly normal to teleport yourself into the enclosures with the animals and will cause mass panic when they first do so of their own volition! You are setting a terrible example, Loki Odinson!’ She spun the stroller so she could back through the door and found him standing in front of her and the stroller, a small smile on his face. She glared at him. ‘You can see the rest of the zoo by yourself.’ She snapped as she backed through the doors.
‘Oh, petal, it was a little funny.’
‘Not even that. For a trickster you are the most unfunny man I have ever met.’ She pushed his hand off her waist as he tried to resume his position.
‘I know you don’t mean that.’ He persisted until she spun on him, poking him in the chest as she spoke.
‘I mean every word. Showing our children it is okay to endanger themselves is not a laughing matter, and if you think it is then we have a problem.’
He closed his eyes and sighed, she had a point but he was not through making his. ‘I do not wish our children to be afraid of those who could be their allies.’
‘They are too young to know any different!’ She shook his hand off hers where he was trying to take it in his own. ‘All you are doing is showing two children with sorcery potential that walking into the habitats of potentially dangerous creatures is fine! That there really is no point in having a barrier between them and us. That is a sure fire way of getting them killed!’ She lowered her voice as a group of school children filtered past them with a selection of chaperones. He already drew enough attention without her yelling at him in public.
‘Okay, sunbeam, I’m sorry.’ He admitted. ‘But I will find a way of showing them, and you, that there is nothing to fear.’
She growled in frustration and dropped her head. ‘I don’t want them afraid, but I also don’t want them blasé about their potential and lineage. They could get themselves into trouble.’
‘I would not endanger our boys, Sig, you know that.’ He assured her, hooking his finger under her chin and raising it so she looked up at him. ‘Perhaps we should address your phobia first, then there will be no need to worry they may pick up on your fear?’
‘Maybe, I don’t know!’ She took hold of his wrist, planning on pulling his hand out from under her chin, but he realised what she planned and quickly bent to kiss her, his lips suddenly on hers bruisingly as the fight she was putting up left her with a faint whimper.
When Loki was sure her fight had gone he finally ended the kiss but moved his body up close to her, all but pinning her to the stroller. ‘Let us defeat your terror for the enemy it is, show our boys that nothing in this world is worth fearing as long as there is love to guide you.’
‘Stop it.’ She mumbled.
‘Stop it, love?’
‘Being romantic and reasonable, it’s unfair.’
‘But it is what you need, is it not?’
‘I’m mad at you.’ She scowled up at him.
He quirked her a sideways smile that he knew she couldn’t resist. ‘Are you? Truly?’
‘No.’ She said as angrily as she could muster before turning to push the stroller to the next enclosure. Loki chuckled and followed her. She never could stay mad at him for long.



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