24. Worry

Frigga enjoys the time spent with Sigyn, often seeking her company. She finds the girl interesting, always clever. She does not doubt that this is what made her appeal to her son because as reserved and meek as she is in court, privately she has unbounded wit. She also, Frigga knows, understands her son in a way that she never will. She is the one who he goes to, speaks to, interacts without hesitation. She has seen them since they were wed always so casual with each other. Once, she came across them in the library, Sigyn holding one of his spell books to her chest, gripping it for dear life while he tried to pry her fingers away, her assuring him he could have it back the minute he promised to dance with her. She had left before seeing if he had agreed, if he had relented. But she believes that he did because that girl was one of the few who he would listen to.

She waits on balcony, staring out, waiting for her daughter-in-law to come, or for the servant to return with news. With Sigyn, Frigga realizes, the likelihood of a message of regrets is fifty percent. The young woman hardly ever cites a reason but she suspects it is the children. She knows they are a handful for her daughter-in-law, who takes the task of raising them fully upon herself.

"My Queen."

Frigga turns, smiling broadly. "Sigyn, I thought we were past such formalities."

"I always forget." She is caught in Frigga's hug. "What is it you wished to see me about?"

"I wished to know how you are, how the children are." She releases Sigyn and the younger woman wanders towards the railing, her fingers running over the cool stone.

"I am fine." She leans her elbows on the railing, staring at the city that stretches out beneath her. "The children are fine, though they miss him terribly."

Frigga rests her hand on her daughter-in-law's when she sees the girl's gray eyes grow misty. "They were promised to return soon."

"I know."

She looks at the younger woman's face, focusing on the dark lines that are faint beneath her eyes. "You do not look well."

Sigyn is quiet for a moment, biting on her lip. "I will sleep better when he is back."

Frigga sighs, patting Sigyn's hand, focusing on the horizon. "To always worry and wait, such is the burden of a wife." She can remember the days when she would wait for Odin's return, how she had begun to lose her patience when the days he told her he would be back by came and went. That dread had been multiplied when the boys had been around for she never wanted to consider that one day she might have to tell them that their father wasn't coming back. And the day when Odin had taken them with him, she had shut herself away, crying and inconsolable.

"I know." The girl shuts her eyes and Frigga sighs.

"I am sure they are simply delayed." When she meets the gray eyes, she sees the dread she once had. "And they will return very soon."

"I hope so."

Frigga smiles at them when they return, stepping over towards her husband who returns the smile. They have seen enough of these to both understand protocol, he clasps at her hand and she lightly kisses his cheek. She glances at her sons, watching Thor be surrounded by his friends, discussing everything that has transpired, noticing how Loki stalks off, going to the edge of the crowds where Sigyn stands.

Loki approaches her, embracing her away from the throngs of those who seek to praise his brother and father. She touches his face, kissing him and smiling. The lines from lack of sleep are hidden under spells and powder, her hair pulled back, hiding the messy state of it. The dread is gone from Sigyn's eyes, replaced with a lighter fear, one that mingles between excitement and worry. As they stand, smiling at each other, the world moving around them, she whispers to him, his smile freezing. And no one -because why would they bother to glance over at a second-born son when the eldest should be the one who is praised and receive all their attention- sees his knees go weak.

Author's Note: Sorry it's a short update, but it needed to be broken apart from the next bit.