Jorgumand tiptoed quietly into his mother's bedroom, careful not to make a sound. The armchair that sat next the old wooden cradle served as a ladder as he climbed up and peeked inside. Adelis was sleeping amongst the blankets, her face peaceful in slumber. Jorgumand was very tempted to reach in and wake her, but the last time he had, he'd not only gotten a fierce scolding from his mother but Adelis had cried for nearly a whole day. His lesson learned, Jorgumand resigned himself to waiting for his sister to wake before practicing the new spell he'd learned.
His mother's magic had not returned the moment the baby had been born, but now three months later it had finally returned to full strength.
Jorgumand remembered the day his sister arrived, or rather, the night. He remembered waking up in his mother's bed and not his own. He'd had a nightmare earlier and his mother had allowed him to sleep in the familiar bed with him. It was still dark when his mother woke him, asking Jorgumand to pass him the cell phone that was on the night table. He remembered the strange urgency in Mama's voice that had chased all the sleepy cobwebs from his mind instantly.
His mother had then called someone, trying to maneuver out of bed as he did so. He only managed to sit up though, and Jorgumand sat back on his legs and watched his mother anxiously. It seemed like only minutes later that there was someone knocking on the door to the apartment and Mama asked him if he could let whomever it was in.
The knocking had woken Sleipnir, and that was why he was in the main room when Jorgumand went to get the door, and that was why they both saw the dark figure standing near the sofa at the same time. Sleipnir didn't even stop to ask who it was like Jorgumand wanted to. His older brother only reached out, grabbed his hand and yanked him into their mother's room shouting all the way. They had only just begun to explain that there was a stranger already in the apartment when the front door opened by itself and more yelling occurred.
It would turn out that his little sister Hela; who though their mother insisted was younger than them, she was actually quite big. The shouting had come from some of the Avengers and Other men who had come to help Mama. They had been startled by her presence and her appearance, which Jorgumand didn't quite understand. Hela was pale, almost grey in colour, but there wasn't really anything to be scared of. Jorgumand had never seen his mother look so relieved.
"She is here to take care of you three," Mama said as their Uncle helped him into a chair that had wheels on it. The other people who had come all seemed unsure of that, but left eventually, taking their mother with them.
Alone with their strange younger big sister, Jorgumand studied her silently. She was tall and thin, with long black hair that fell about her like a dark curtain. He felt that he might not have felt so nervous if she had any sort of expression on her face, but it was blank. In fact, she had yet to speak a single word. Sleipnir seemed unwilling to break the silence, and Jorgumand wanted nothing more than to go with their mother.
Speaking up, Jorgumand told her so, and started walking towards the front door.
When his sister spoke, her voice was low and smooth, it was actually quite pretty. She told him that he couldn't go with mother this time, that bringing a child into this world is very hard work.
"I can help!" Jorgumand insisted, but Hela shook her head solemnly.
"There is nothing more you can do. You must stay here where you are safest."
"This whole tower is safe, that's why we live here. The Avengers protect us," Sleipnir said, though he didn't sound like he was arguing, more like he wanted to know what Hela would say to that.
"The Avengers are distracted, and not all of them are here right now. Now would be the best time for an attack. Mother knows this. That is why I am here, so that he does not have to worry for you. I can protect you much more than the mortals can with my magic."
Jorgumand perked up at that. "You can do magic?"
He shared a look with his brother who looked as eager as he did. Turning back to his sister he asked, "Can you teach us some?"
For the first time since her arrival, Hela smiled.
The practiced magic until the sun came up and Fenris stumbled into the room, rubbing sleep from his eyes. Jorgumand had worried that his little brother would be upset by the stranger looking after them, but to his surprise Fenris barely faltered in step before walking directly over to their sister and wrapped his arms around her leg. This was the strangest thing yet, Fenris neverliked anyone right off. But then Hela reached down and pulled Fenris up into her arms and smiled.
It was their mother's smile, exactly the same one. Fenris smiled back and relaxed completely against their sister, resting his head on her shoulder as she went back to explaining the spell they were learning.
The rest of the day was a mix of learning new spells, showing Hela their toys and napping. No one came to visit, though at one point Sleipnir expressed concern over their mother.
"Mother is well." Hela said in her soft voice. The words were spoken with such certainty, nothing like a platitude but as a fact.
"How do you know?" Sleipnir asked.
"I know." she answered cryptically. "It will be soon."
After that, it became hard to concentrate on anything else, and Jorgumand found himself looking at the door every few minutes. Hours past, they ate lunch and then dinner and still their mother was not back. Hela would not tell them anything other than their mother was fine. Eventually Jorgumand became so exhausted from the excitement of the day that he went to bed before the sun went down. He didn't sleep in his own bed though; instead he tucked himself into his mother's bed.
It seemed only moments later that he woke, but knew it must have been longer because the sun was gone, and there was someone larger that Sleipnir getting into bed with him. His eyes focused in the darkness and he realized with a jolt that it was his mother.
Uncle Thor was helping him under the covers, piling pillows behind him so that Mama could sit up comfortably. It was only when Mama leaned back that Jorgumand was able to spot the small bundle tucked safely into his arms.
Mama sank into the pillows with a tired sounding sigh, and Jorgumand barely registered Sleipnir coming to sit on the bed beside him with Fenris in tow. Their uncle stayed a moment to talk quietly with their mother before he looked over and gave them a warm smile. Then he left, along with everyone else that Jorgumand hadn't even noticed, until the only people left in the room was his mother, brothers, his sister and the new baby.
"Sleipnir, could you please turn on the light there on the table?" their mother asked, because it was rather obvious that no one was going to be sleeping anytime soon. But instead of crawling over the bed to reach the night table, Sleipnir just made a gesture in the air towards it and the light clicked on.
Mama smiled wide, "Well I was going to ask how you three spent the day with Hela, but I suppose that answers that." He glanced at their sister where she stood stoically by the door. "Thank you darling."
Hela just nodded in response. Fenris, apparently fed up with all the talking, moved closer so that he could peer into the blankets in his mother's arms and Mama tilted so that they could all see better. "May I introduce Adelis, your new sister."
Jorgumand studied the tiny red face that was displayed in front of him, and felt a little underwhelmed. Sleipnir however, he was disappointed and voiced it.
"A sister?" he repeated, sounding dismayed. "But I already have a sister."
"You also already have two brothers Sleipnir." their mother reasoned.
"She's really small," Jorgumand observed as Sleipnir bit back an argument that he had wanteda brother. "Why is she so small? Fenris wasn't this small."
"He was when he was born, you all were, I assure you." Mama told them. "Babies are born very small and very fragile. You won't be able to play with her until she is older."
Jorgumand wrinkled his nose at the news as he stared down at the tiny little sleeping face. That hardly sounded fun at all, why even bother having a little sister if you can't even play together? Their mother seemed happy though, smiling as he used his free hand to stoke one of the baby's cheeks. They all stayed up a little longer, Jorgumand and his brothers wiggling a little closer when the baby opened her greyish eyes.
Eventually they had to go to bed, and Hela moved from the door to take the baby from their mother's arms to place it in the cradle. No one moved to leave the bed though, and their mother pulled the blanket over them briskly showing that even he didn't expect them to sleep in their own beds that night. Hela sat in a chair that had appeared beside the cradle, her posture suggesting that she had no plans to leave that spot for some time.
In fact, the only time she did move what in the middle of the night when the baby let out a small cry. Jorgumand blurrily remembered seeing Hela reach into the cradle and bring the baby to their mothers waiting arms. The crying stopped shortly after that, and Jorgumand went back to sleep.
Their mother stayed mostly in bed for three days, still so tired from having the baby that even sitting up was a struggle. After the first night, Jorgumand and his brothers began sleeping in their own beds again once it became obvious that the baby would continue to wake at all hours of the night. Hela was always there though to bring the baby to their mother, or to bring whatever was needed. She ended up staying with them for a week, helping in her quiet, stoic ways. She never ate, and never slept Jorgumand noticed, but he found that he was rather comforted by her presence. She was always there with them, watching over all of them.
She only left when their mother was able to get out of bed and move easily around the apartment without help. She did promise to return to visit, accepting an invitation to Sleipnir's birthday party.
Even once she was gone, there was no shortage of visitors to their home. It seemed every day there was someone new to see their baby sister. Many of the Avengers came by, offering congratulations and gifts for the baby. The Fantastic Four came with Valeria and Franklin, bearing gifts for Adelis. Their uncle had brought a loud group of people from Asgard whom their mother seemed weary of at first, but allowed at least the largest of them to hold their sister in the end. Sleipnir and Jorgumand spent some time listening to stories their uncle Thor told them with his friends, but Fenris seemed to dislike them, and stayed quietly behind their mother until the rowdy group departed.
Another visitor was a beautiful woman that for some reason Sleipnir knew on sight. She was introduced as their grandmother, and Jorgumand had felt a surge if fear at the revelation and he didn't know why. It was confusing, because the woman seemed very nice, and his mother seemed happy to see her. Still, he was rather shy to greet her, and absently stuck close to his mother for a while after that, anxiety pulling knots in his stomach.
His mother seemed to understand without him even having to say a word, and held Jorgumand tightly in his arms for several long minutes, telling him that it was alright and that they were safe.
Jorgumand felt much better after that, and did his best to ignore the nervousness he felt when he was with his grandmother. She seemed very happy to spend time with not just the new baby but with all of them. She was very kind, and allowed them to direct her around their home, showing off their toys and creations. She even sat on the floor in her pretty gown as Sleipnir explained his Lego and Fenris sat happily in her lap. Like Hela, she accepted the handmade invitation to Sleipnir's birthday party, promising to be in attendance. She too stayed for several days, and Jorgumand sometimes woke in the night to get a glass of water only to find his mother and grandmother still awake and talking quietly on the sofa.
After she left, most of the excitement died down, and life went back to being mostly normal. Adelis slept a great deal, and they had to learn to be quiet when their sister napped. Their mother hadn't been lying either when he'd said that they couldn't really play with her for a while. She seemed content to lay in a padded basinet, making incomprehensible noises as they played around her. Sometimes they would lean in to show her a toy and laugh as she threw her arms and legs about in delight.
When their mother's magic began to return, it was almost a shock to see it. Jorgumand had gotten rather used to his mother doing everything the 'muggle' way as Sleipnir called it.
It started as small things, items that their mother reached for leaped into his hands, and doors shut and locked on their own. It was Sleipnir who fist noticed the wards that had appeared. Severeal of them in fact, covering the front door, their bedroom, even the bathroom. They were protective wards put in place by their mother.
Soon after the wards went up, Mama began teaching them about magic again, much to their delight. They started with small spells, easy ones like what Hela had taught them, but those spells turned into bigger ones. Their mother explained how an easy spell like lighting a candle is only the beginning, and once they learn how to control the magic, they could use the same principals to hold fire in their hands, or even shoot fireballs at an enemy.
Today's lesson had been illusions, bending light to take form and colour. Their mother could make doubles of himself, and could even make them solid as though they were real which he told them was very difficult. To start their mother showed them how to make small forms, without worrying about colour or tangebility. Sleipnir got it right away; he usually did much to Jorgumands fustration. Their mother had noticed and told them both very seriously that it was not a competition.
"Sleipnir may be able to cast the beginner spells easily, but that is because everyone, every sorcerer casts differently. We all learn a different paces and what might come easy to your brother may be a little more hard won for you. But remember the opposite may be true in other things. What might be easy for you is difficult for him." his mother lectured once.
"But he always gets the spells on the very first try!" Jorgumand insisted.
"Yes, he does. But though he was able to light the candle, it took him much longer to be able to make the flame move about or change its shape. A talent that you grasped right away I remember."
Jorgumand did remember, but remained sullen. Finally his mother held him by his shoulders and spoke earnestly. "Your brother thinks very logically. His thoughts are very linear, in the way that to him a plus b equals c and once he understands a subject, it is as simple as following the steps. But when he needs to change those steps to alter the spell, he struggles. You, my imaginative son, you can see what you want the magic to do, and very nearly skip over all the steps for the end result. But once you have your flame lit, you have no issue with making it do whatever you want it to do. You both have your strengths as well as your weaknesses."
Put that way, Jorgumand reluctantly felt better. And when they began learning illusions and Sleipnir created a fox out of the light on his first try, Jorgumand held back on his frustration and kept trying again and again to make his own form. When he did, his brother was very happy for him. And when they were instructed to make their illusions move around, he helped his brother when his fox struggled.
Now their mother was sitting with Fenris, teaching him the basics, Sleipnir was busy making his fox falteringly trot around the main room. Or rather he had been busy with that when Jorgumand snuck into their mother's bedroom. Now Sleipnir was poking his head through the door looking alarmed to see Jorgumand leaning over the crib.
"We aren't supposed to wake her!" he said in a quiet but urgent voice.
"I'm not!" he insisted, and glanced down to see pale grey green eyes peering up at him. "She's already awake!"
Sleipnir scrambled up next to him and looked into the cradle to smile at their sister.
"I wanted to show her what we learned," Jorgumand explained and Sleipnir nodded absently, dangling a hand near Adelis who threw her arms about trying to catch him.
"Are you going to show her your rabbit?" he asked as Adelis latched on to one of his fingers and wouldn't let go.
Jorgumand shook his head; he'd had something else in mind but didn't want to say in case he couldn't do it. Instead he closed his eyes, and tried to focus on what he wanted. Several minutes passed and when nothing happened, Jorgumand let out a disappointed groan.
Suddenly a pair of hands were on his shoulders, "Try again," Mama said encouragingly.
Taking a deep breath, Jorgumand closed his eyes and did as he was told. This time, when he opened his eyes, three blue-green butterflies hung in the air over Adelis' crib. The baby was staring at the still images with rapt attention, and with a grin Jorgumand set them into motion, fluttering around made out of irridesent light. Adelis squirmed happily, her arms and legs flying about in the air.
"Well done!" Mama said, squeezing his shoulders. Jorgumand grinned, and sent the butterflies fluttering around their heads. He even tried to put a different colour in them but they remained the same. He would have to work on that.
Mama reached over him and gently lifted Adelis out of the crib. "I think that is enough practice for now, any more and you will be asleep before supper I think." he advised as they climbed off the chair to where Fenris was standing. Their mother started to walk out of the room and Jorgumand shared a look with Sleipnir. His older brother nodded, and took a deep breath.
"Mama?" Sleipnir called, "May we get a pet?"
Their mother's smile twitched at the question, and he turned to face the three of them. "A pet?" he repeated as he thought it over. "As in a cat I suppose, or a goldfish-"
"We were hoping more for a dragon," Sleipnir corrected.
"A small one!" Jorgumand added when their mother's eyebrows rose at the suggestion.
"I don't believe that dragons are considered a congenital pet here on Midgard, or anywhere else actually."
"The X-men have one!" Sleipnir insisted, "Logan told us when he was here last week. It's only this big!" he held up his hands to show approximately how small the dragon had been described as.
Their mother didn't seem instantly displeased with the idea, so Jorgumand pushed on. "We even know where to find some! We did research, and talked to Uncle Thor and made a whole list of different places that dragons live."
"And in two of those places the dragons will be nesting soon, so we can just get an egg and when it hatches it will recognize us as family, so when it gets bigger it will be the best guard we could have. It would protect us!" Sleipnir explained enthusiastically.
Mama's eyes moved back and forth between them for a moment, clearly amused. "I can see you've put a lot of thought into this."
They nodded, even Fenris who hadn't really done much to help but Jorgumand appreciated the support. If their mother thought that all of them wanted a dragon then he'd have to let them get one. "Even Adelis likes Dragons! See?" jorgumand concentrated hard, focusing on thought and form, and suddenly a small blue green dragon appeared in the air and flew a few circles around their mother. Adelis caught sight of the shimmering creature immediately and let out a happy shriek, nearly leaping out of their mother's arms in an attempt to grab at it when the dragon flew close.
Their mother adjusted his hold and sighed. "I will... consider it." he said finally and Jorgumand jumped into the air with glee. That practically meant a yes!
Mama smiled and shook his head, taking the baby with him back out into the main room. Fenris began chasing the fake dragon as it looped around the room and Sleipnir grinned shyly.
"So when do you think I should tell him about the robot Tony's been letting me build downstairs?"
Oh my gosh it's done! I hope you all enjoyed reading this story as much as I did writing it. I'm sorry to say, I don't think there will be a sequel. I imagine there are a lot of adventures I could write the boys into, especially since Franklin and Valeria join the power pack in the comics, and I can totally see Sleipnir and Jorgumand tagging along. The idea is there in my head, but I don't yet have the drive to write it (yet?) Maybe once my next two stories are done and out of my head I can put together a series of one shots of when the kids are a little older, but I will need to do some serious avenger research before I do that.
Thank you to everyone who reviewed, and all your help and guidance that made this story such an experience! I also want to thank my Beta reader, who suffered so with me throwing chapters at her in a rush and then badgering her constantly if it she was done yet. Personally, I think I need to take elementary grammar again because I do not get this comma business AT ALL. (… or would that be punctuation….)
I have two more stories in the works, one quite small, and the other looks like it's going to be a multi story saga. I am VERY excited for both!
I think that's all I wanted to say, so thanks again for reading! It's been amazing!
P.S. If you're confused as to why Jorgumand was afraid of Frigga, please refer back to chapter 11. If you're still confused just let me know.