James wasn't entirely sure how it had happened, but minutes after being confronted with Frigga, he had found himelf seated around a blazing fireplace, Sirius and Remus (who worryingly had a trail of blood running down his face) opposite him, and the Queen of Asgard calmly pouring them large tankards of mead.
Lily had taken one look at them though narrowed eyes, and with a flick of her wand transformed all the beverages into a rather elegant tea set.
(The guards had all jerked forward as she had produced her wand, but Frigga had merely waved them back, looking amused.)
"Really, tea at this time of the day," James definitely didn't hear her mutter under her breathe as, 1) he wasn't entirely sure what time of the day it was anymore (his watch declaring that it was half eleven at night, despite the bright sunlight he could see though the windows) and 2) he really didn't want to be the one to break the news to his sweet Lily that she sounded rather like her mother.
All in all, in terms of awkward tea parties, James had had worse. There was that one time, for example, that he had been invited to Grimmauld House for tea. That had been two hours of pointed silences, only broken by the occasional 'Pass the sugar' and a few poisoning attempts. Then there had been that time that he had stormed into Malfoy manner after a tip off about Dark Artifacts underneath the drawing room floor, only to interrupt Draco's third birthday party.
(And look, yes he had been invited and should have probably known that the place would be packed with people as Lucius and Narcissa proudly presented their spawn. But he was bad with dates! That's what he had Lily for.)
In any case, the point was that he had nerves of steel. He could wield the polite silence as well as anyone, and was master of the fine art of well-timed sips that had been drilled into him by his father. Not to mention what he could do with a cucumber sandwich…
Lily poked his side, the polite (intensely worrying) smile on her face becoming rather fixed. James sharply brought his attention back to the present, as Remus gave a small giggle at his side. Sirius rolled his eyes at them all and took a more aggressive slurp of tea.
(Sirius had been brought up with impeccable manners, and used this knowledge at every possibility to be as obnoxious as possible.)
Frigga merely gave a serene smile at the byplay, daintily nibbling at a slice of apple.
"I haven't been to Midgard in an age," she continued smoothly, "Mortal lives are so short that it seems a tragedy to get invested."
"I dunno," he said, batting his eyelashes 'winningly', "Seems that there could be a few upsides to a bit of investment if you ask- OW Remus, that was my favourite foot…"
"Please ignore my friend," Remus said, "He's a moron. Although Lady Frigga, it does seem to me that despite what you're saying, your son is getting rather invested in our short mortal lives."
Frigga's gentle smile never changed.
"Ah, but one's children can be so unruly," she replied. "They must learn life's lessons on their own: it wouldn't do for a mother to intervene in every small mishap that came their way."
"Small mishap! Are you calling your son's ABUSE of mine a small mishap?" Lily cried.
"Not at all. I only wanted to suggest that in time it will all work itself out, and the bonds that brothers share will be all the stronger for the suffering."
James caught his wife's hand before she could get up and do something regretful. There was a reason that they had chosen Remus to speak for them, head injury or not, and although he wholeheartedly supported her outrage (because what sort of parenting advice was 'eh, stuff happens?') there was a time to attack the Queen of an alien Realm, and it was not while being surrounded by her guards.
Lily flushed angrily, and ground out: "I… apologise for my outburst."
The guards relaxed, and Sirius removed his hand from the wand holstered at his side, simulating a stretch that didn't fool anyone but maintained his plausible deniability.
"There is no need," said Frigga, "I understand that mortals burn brightly. I appreciate your outrage on the behalf of my youngest son-"
("Youngest son my arse," Lily muttered)
"-however misplaced. Lady Potter, I do not wish to be your enemy. I merely wish to help."
"Well Lady Frigga," said Remus, once again interjecting himself into the conversation, "That I convenient, as we also wished to seek yours."
Frigga looked amused.
"Indeed?" she asked archly, "And what boon have you come to beg?"
"Not a boon my Lady, but a mutually beneficial conversation. I understand that Thor is your heir. We ask that he take a small sabbatical from Earth. I understand that he has declared it his sword duty to, ahem 'Protect the Realm of Midgard', however I believe that the Earth has enough protection as of right now. Whereas Asgard has only one heir. Wouldn't favouring one Realm over the other lead to accusations of favouritism? Shouldn't he be preparing to lead the Asgard instead of, and I hope you'll excuse my saying so, having an extended jaunt on Earth?"
Many of the guards had bristled at Remus as he has spoken, especially a dark haired woman to Frigga's immediate right, but the Queen herself merely looked amused.
"You would dare tell a Goddess how to rule her kingdom and subjects?" she enquired sweetly.
"Of course not your Majesty," returned Remus mildly, "I would never dare. No this is merely some friendly advice on Harry's behalf. Why not convince Thor to return home for, oh three hundred years or so? After all, as you said before we mortals have such brief lives. Would you put your son through all that pain and grief twice in his lifetime once Harry dies?"
"Thor would be most grieved to hear of his brother Loki's death, 'tis true," said Frigga. She placed another slice of apple in her mouth, its golden skin catching the light.
"However, I fear that there is nought I can do to persuade him. As you well know Lord and Lady Potter, there is little one can do once one's children have made up their minds."
"I see," said Lily tightly, getting up.
"Well then I suppose that's all there is to it! If you'll excuse me, I'll be getting back home then." Lily paused and glanced around meaningfully.
"Unless we're prisoners here?"
"Prisoners!" Frigga gave a dainty laugh. "Of course not, my most honoured guests. Sif," she continued, gesturing at one of the guards, "Do escort my guests to the Bifrost. It was lovely to meet you, mother of my son-"
(James felt like waving and shouting, "Hey, I'm here as well!", but took a look at Lily's face and reconsidered.)
"-and I do hope that we can have another little chat in the future."
With that she swept away, in a cloud of sweet smelling perfume.
"Well Moony," muttered Sirius as they made their way to the door, Sif giving them a narrow-eyed glare as she fell in behind them, "So much for your idea."
Remus glanced around, and surreptitiously punched his shoulder.
"Sirius you git, we had to try talking. But fine," and his placid mask finally broke and he smiled. The blood that was still on his face made him look even deadlier than usual, and James handed him a handkerchief so that he could finally clean the gore off.
(No use giving up your secret weapon before you had to!)
"Next time, we do it your way."