30 years later…
Sigrunn pushed the heavy door of the wooden shack open and secured it with a stone she kicked toward it. Then she coughed lightly, covering her mouth with her wrist. She looked around the yard as the light wind tangled her long dark hair. The summer scents reached her senses and she had to fight the urge to close her eyes. Yes, it was summer, although in the shadows of the trees, there were still spots covered in dew or white frost as she looked at the soft grass.
The air was significantly clear and soft this Saturday morning. She breathed in, stretched her body lazily and wondered if some of the art admirers would climb here, to her home, to have a look at her paintings. She would have to wait until the end of July before her works could return to the city gallery. Of course she wasn't pleased with the procrastination in the reconstruction of the place, but well, it wasn't something she could decide.
However, it felt some kind of exciting here as well. Displayed in the shack, her paintings received a new perspective, a new point of view. She even played with the thought to move a part of the work here for good.
A movement roused her from the thoughts on the future. Well, her children had left for a summer camp, her husband was last seen reading newspaper in the kitchen, so…
A visitor. Yes.
She straightened for a better view. A young, short woman with chestnut hair stood in the opened wicket. She wore a simple white tunic and a pair of loose-fit jeans. And she was not alone. There was a girl in long green dress by her side, holding her hand. Her hair was dark as a raven and fell in slight curls to her waist. She inclined her head slightly and waved.
"Good morning!" the woman called merrily. "May we come in?"
"Yes, of course! The exhibition has been just opened, you see." Sigrunn smiled and gestured for them to come closer. "Good morning to you, too!"
"I've heard a lot about your art as we walked through the city yesterday." Said the woman when they stood in front of the shack. Her eyes were soft, intellectual and the color of dark honey. She looked straight into Sigrunn's eyes. And Sigrunn wondered where she had encountered her before.
"Are we going to see the paintings now?" the girl asked. Sigrunn estimated her age to be around nine.
"Of course, little curious one." Sigrunn promised and bent down to level her eyes. They were grey-green, cunning, yet mild as her mother's. "But may I know your name first?" She asked with a smile.
The girl grinned at that. "I was named after you." She explained.
"You were…" The older Sigrunn echoed, looking away suddenly. She straightened. "I… Maybe I'll ask stupidly but… Have we met somewhere before?" she addressed the mother of the child.
The latter smiled lightly and somewhat apologetically. "Yes, we have. But it's been a long time ago. You were even younger than Sig back then." She said and brushed a gentle hand over the girl's hair.
"Younger?" The older Sigrunn blinked in confusion.
"Yes. I mean…" the woman sighed, smiling somewhat nervously. "My name was Jane Foster. But – "
"Jane Foster." Sigrunn frowned, bringing her hands to her hips. "Yes. Yes I know. You worked at the SHIELD facility, am I right? You were discussed quite often in the city. And in the news from time to time. But then we moved and I've lost the track since then, I'm afraid."
"Well, I continued my research back in America and… a place even further." Jane smiled faintly. "Then I got a bit busy being a mother as you can see, but I'm still trying to look over the main projects and do something here and there."
"Yeah." The older Sigrunn nodded. "I understand, no worries." She grinned, but then the confusion took over her again. "But… Wait. It's been…" she let out a chuckle of disbelief. "It's been almost thirty years. I mean… I mean you look great. You – you haven't changed a bit."
"Yes, I – "
"That's because we live in Asgard." The girl stepped in.
"Uh – "Jane scratched at her temple, grinning insecurely.
"Asgard!" The older Sigrunn repeated blankly. "That… That would actually explain it. Yes." She nodded her head. And then chuckled to herself. "I'm sorry, I just still have a hard time to believe such place truly exists."
"It does!" the girl cried out.
"Yes. Yes I know, Sig." Sigrunn sighed in resignation and stroked the child's hair. "I know it does. Well… I have a wonderful cheesecake in my kitchen." She added, sounding more cheerful again. "What do you say? I believe we have a lot to talk about."
"So, here on this wall is the complete 'Sigyn's Flower' series. Well, not completely complete, the very first one I keep in the house, it is not for sale, you see." The older Sigrunn grinned, all satisfied and proud as she gestured at a set of paintings on one of the walls, a series of variation of one flower motif. Her guests from afar listened carefully.
"I mean… It's great to learn finally where the inspiration came from. I always knew it had been something extraordinary, but Loki…"she shook her head, still smiling though. "That's just incredible." She reached for a lamp switch. "Now, that's better, isn't it?" she chirped, adjusting the light.
"Sigyn?" The girl asked, somewhat confused, her tiny dark brows furrowing. "Of Vanaheim?"
"Yes." Jane sighed and stroked the girl's hair. "Your father was once in love with her."
"And gave her the flower?" Little Sigrunn spun around instantly with a curious look in her eyes.
"Apparently." Jane confirmed softly.
"And when I was a little girl like you, I received the same, made of ice. But your father erased my memory of him, so there was just me and the blossom in my hand, and I was left there all perplexed as to where it came from." The big Sigrunn added, leaning down to the girl.
"It had me wonder about it for days and months. I might have even forgotten about it for some time, but only to discover it again in my paintings."
"So you started painting just because of that flower?" the young Sigrunn asked.
"I guess so."
"But that is great!" Little Sigrunn smiled. "Can we…" she bit her lip minutely as she turned to her mother. "…buy one?"
"Actually," Jane said, studying one of the paintings closely, fingertips on her lips, "I think that's one of the reasons we came here. Isn't it?" she asked, viewing her daughter sideways, a conspiratorial smile tugging at her lips.
"Yes!" the young girl beamed. "But which one, which one? I like that one in the corner." She exclaimed and pointed at the picture with a black silhouette of the flower on the yellow and green background.
"You seem to like green color, don't you?" the older Sigrunn asked, grinning. "And you can take it of course. Not buy. It's a gift, all right?"
"I – uh," Jane gasped a little, "You don't have to, really."
"I insist." The older Sigrunn declared, looking back at Jane and folding her arms before her. "And which one would you choose?" she asked then, tilting her head to the side, curious.
"I…" Jane breathed, leaning one wrist against her mouth as she gazed at the paintings intently. "The one up there." She said and raised her hand to point at her choice.
"I see." Sigrunn nodded. "Not many people favorite this piece. They say it's too cold. But it's one of my favorites, to be honest."
"It may appear cold." Jane admitted. "But just at the beginning. It grows warmer when you inspect it a moment longer." She went on almost quietly, eyes still fixed on the colors, the striking sapphire blue mingling with crimson. "Not to mention I have a weak spot for blue combined with red." She added, smiling softly.
They fell silent for a while.
"I give you both." Sigrunn revealed then.
Lowering her eyes and with a modest smile Jane turned to the other woman. "Please, Sigrunn – "
All the intended words had been stopped as the girl cried out. Covering her mouth, the little Sigrunn was staring at a painting that hung right in front of her, at her eye level. Then she turned to look at the two women, her face full of guilt, her eyes confused. She put her hands down eventually.
"What happened?" The older Sigrunn asked calmly.
"Nothing." The girl peeped, her big eyes twinkling in the lamp light.
"Sig, what did you do?" Jane stepped in and rushed to the picture.
"Nothing, mom. I just reached out and… it just…" Little Sigrunn flailed her arms in helpless gesture. Jane stood before the painting, which was another abstraction of the flower. It looked unharmed. She did not remember the view and the colors properly but there was nothing wrong in there at the first sight.
"My goodness…" the older Sigrunn gasped as she saw her painting.
"What?" Jane asked quietly.
"What's of them?"
"They are… reversed." The older Sigrunn explained, astounded.
"But I didn't want that. It wasn't on purpose, I swear it!" the little Sigrunn whined.
"I'm sorry." Jane said to the other woman, wrapping one arm around her daughter's shoulders. "It happens from time to time. We can buy that one, if it bothers you."
"Bothers me?" the older Sigrunn looked at them and lifted her brows. "I'm not – "
"I can try and fix it!" the girl offered, a pure hope in her wide green orbs.
"Sure. But the poor thing would sooner explode."
They all stopped and turned to the entrance as a new voice spoke calmly. And somewhat mockingly as well.
A young lad stood there, leaning lazily against the doorframe. Sigrunn guessed he could have been around fourteen. She was wondering who that might be at first, but one closer look at his face made it clear for her. There was no doubt this young man was little Sigrunn's older brother.
And from the beginning, he gave the impression he belonged somewhere else. He wore a long white linen tunic, brown pants and boots, and there was a long knife in the threaded sheath on his belt. Something was fastened to his back with another strap of leather and Sigrunn realized it was a bow and a set of arrows. A collection of fangs of different size and shade of white or yellow hung on a leather line around his neck. And beside this unusual necklace there was something more. A golden chain that held a golden ring with a rough green stone.
His face was angular, yet his features were cut very finely and softly. Apart from being considerably taller, he took after his mother, it was too obvious. His long hair fell in slight brown waves to his shoulders, the soft, dark eyebrows accentuated his fascinating eyes, two glittering orbs of amber. They were witty and deep, and overall honest with just a hint of certain sharpness, Sigrunn noted as they lingered a second on her, studying her to the very core.
"Oh, shut up!" Little Sig snapped at him. "And what are you doing here anyway? We haven't seen you in hours. Did you really have to come right now?"
"And just in time, I see." The boy replied calmly. His voice was soft, flowing like a melody. "I'd grab my favorite painting and get out of here before this shack catches on fire, dear lady." He suggested to the big Sigrunn.
The girl rolled her eyes theatrically and viewed the woman with compassion. "Please excuse my insolent brother, lady Sigrunn. He's just envious."
"Of what, waving hands and making valuables burn?" One doubtful eyebrow on the young lad's face went up.
"Repeat that to father!" The girl bit back, her eyes two narrow slits.
"Stop it at once!" Jane snapped at both of her children. "Can't you spare me your quarrels even here?"
"I'm not quarreling." The boy shrugged casually. "I was merely pointing out…"
"Quiet you!" Jane silenced her son abruptly. She knew better than to try and reason with him. It was just as pointless as with Loki. However, there was the familiar knot in her heart the next instant. As always when she was forced to be severe with her children.
The boy glared for a second, then turned slowly and paced away. And her heart sunk even lower.
"Where are you going again, young man?" Jane called after him. He slowed a bit, but did not stop.
"You haven't picked your picture." The older Sigrunn added all of a sudden. The boy halted and turned halfway.
"I wasn't aware I could." He said.
"Of course." The woman smiled. "You should know, young man, there's nothing more rewarding for an artist than to spread their work to the farthest places possible. I'll be glad to give you any painting you choose."
The lad watched her for a long, doubtful moment, and then walked back, his eyes fixated on the ground as he passed by his mother. Eventually, he looked up and viewed the walls, studying the pictures one by one, turning around and leaning forward here and there, everything only to stop before the very painting with reversed colors.
"I choose this one." He said then, crossing his arms.
"What?" his sister gasped.
"That's your choice. But may I ask why?" the older Sigrunn spoke softly.
"It has…" he tilted his head to one side, and then to the other, his arms still folded tightly in front of him. "…a very original touch." He explained then and darted a fleeting look at his sister.
The girl frowned wildly. "You're mocking me!" she accused.
"No, I really like it. The colors seem…" he paused, narrowing his amber eyes, "…strange. But interesting." He added, amused, and leaned forward to level his sister's eyes.
The latter's eyebrows were still wrinkled lightly. "Don't expect me to kiss you for that." She muttered.
Exchanging a knowing look with the older Sigrunn, Jane smiled, relieved, and rolled her eyes meaningfully.
"Okay." The older Sigrunn cleared her throat and reached out to take the incriminated picture from the wall. "Let me pack them for you, then." She said and glanced at the young lad. "That makes me wonder, there's still some cheesecake in my kitchen. And fresh tea. Would you like some?"
"Why, of course, good lady." He smiled in a surprisingly charming way.
Sigrunn let out a small laugh at that. "Then please, go ahead and make yourself at home. I'll be right there." She said as she stood the painting on the ground and against the wooden wall. Then she reached for the other picture. "Oh, and I must have missed your name, young man."
"My father named me after his brother Thor, our good King." He stated, his voice solemn but joyful, and bowed.
"Oh, I see. It… befits you." She answered and it was only then that Sigrunn realized who really the unusual visitors were. And she had treated them like any of her friends! Well, it was too late anyway, she thought then and grinned to herself as she turned for the last chosen painting.
"Wait!" The little Sig cried out and halted on their way out of the shack. "And what about father? We ought to take one painting for him, too!"
"And wouldn't it be unfair not to let him choose on his own?" Sigrunn pointed out.
"Maybe…" the girl wondered aloud.
"Then perhaps I should tell him to pay you a visit himself." Jane offered to the matter.
"Ah… Yes. Yes, I'd be honored." Sigrunn smiled, straightening and taking the three paintings with her. "I'll pack them now." She announced. "But then I would love to hear all the stories about how you got all the fangs around your neck." She winked at the boy.
"It'll be my pleasure to tell you." He said, smiling lightly, his eyes gleaming in the sunlight.
"He just played at elves in the forest." Little Sigrunn waved her hand dismissively.
"Cut it off, Sig." Jane warned.
"And isn't it true?" the girl opposed.
Their voices melted into the fresh breeze as they approached the house.
And the older Sigrunn smiled.
Yes, she had been expecting visitors on that wonderful summer day. But... just visitors. Not her dreams come true.
So, that's it, dears! :) Did you like my OC's here? ;)
I know I've left some questions. However, know that I intend to return with a little tie-in here and there.
Thank you all for reading and reviewing, and see you soon! :)