A/N: WAH! So, here we are: the epilogue to my most successful story ever! It's happy and sad at once...it's great to be completing this story but I'm also going to miss it. I'm so pleased with how well this has done, how the plot has grown over time and the development of the characters and while it may not be perfect, I am so proud of it!
But, of course, I couldn't have done this story without the continued support from everyone who has read, favourite, followed and, most importantly, reviewed! You're all amazing and I cannot begin to tell you how much I have loved hearing each and every comment from you all. Thanks to all who reviewed the last chapter:
TruffleHead, Fuchsia Grasshopper, superkiran, Lexy Summers, WulfLuvr22, lostfeather1, The Yoshinator, xRDJ603, morbidly-funny, GabbyTheAngel, MayFairy, and Shadow Realm Triforce.
Epilogue – The Brothers Who Weren't
Herja felt so very weary.
She was being fussed over to the extreme. Her friends had all piled into her chambers, insisting that they all get ready for that evening's festivities together. Herja had agreed and surrendered her room to them; after all, they had all earned this, not just her.
She was desperately trying not to let her tiredness show as they all held up dresses for her, advising her which colours would be best if she wanted to stand out from them. They were all to wear white and gold, no choice for them. But none of them seemed to mind, each of them far too enthused about getting Herja – their great friend and leader – ready.
She appreciated the help, she really did. She was just so very, very tired.
And, if she was honest, she wasn't exactly looking her best to be the focus of such attention. The deep cut on her thigh had been sewn up and the skin was uncomfortably tight now while the smaller wounds were healing quickly but were still very much visible.
They are no matter, one of the other girls had said, they show everyone what you achieved.
That was true, Herja thought with a slight smile. And she had achieved so much. It was odd to think back to a week before when she was watching Thor disappear for Midgard and was feeling lost and alone again when that first tremor had shaken the palace. Just a week ago. Odd to think she had done so much in such a small amount of time.
Now, as the girls all laughed, gossiped and primped around her, all she could think about was Thor and Loki. Were they well? What had Loki been doing? Had Thor managed to stop him? What would happen if one had killed the other? Could she even live through that? She shook herself and cursed the lack of visions she had experienced since Thor had arrived on Midgard. It seemed Loki had been more careful about letting her into his mind after the last time.
"So which shall it be Herja?" Polina began, bringing Herja out of her reverie. "The green or the red?"
Herja studied both gowns and the girls watched her, waiting for a decision. She weighed up the benefits of the strong red and the benefits of the smoother green before sighing and saying,
"Neither. I shall have the yellow."
Thor Odinson felt his feet hit the floor and he breathed in the Asgardian air, relishing the sensation of it filling his lungs.
Midgard was all well and good, but nothing compared to Asgard. Yes, it was fantastic to be home. He glanced to his left and saw his brother, muzzled and hands tied tightly behind his back. Thor felt anger and pity all at once. He was furious at himself for still feeling sympathy for Loki but he was even more furious at his brother's actions on Midgard. He was ashamed that he had disgraced their race to the mortals.
Thor tried to brush that away for now; he was home and he knew his father would be the one to decide Loki's punishment. As Thor urged Loki forward with a rough push on his back, his thoughts became steadier and began matching his large footsteps. While he had faith in his father, he hoped he would not be too harsh to Loki and give him a cruel punishment; Thor knew Loki needed to repent for what he had done but he did not think he could bear seeing his brother suffer.
After all, to Thor, they were still brothers.
And when he watched Loki tread the familiar path to the palace, he could not stop himself seeing the little brother he had grown up with; a voice of reason and mischief all at once. He could not stop himself remembering all the things that they had done together, all the studying, the laughing, the jesting, the plots they had made. Whether they liked it or not, Thor knew that they would forever be intertwined as the brothers who weren't.
When they reached the stone steps leading up the great palace doors, they both stopped without any words of correspondence passing between them.
It seemed they were both caught up in their own thoughts about what lay inside for them.
Thor placed his large hand on Loki's back and this time he did not push, he merely guided him forward gently.
"Come, brother. We must go inside. They shall be waiting for our return."
As Herja waited behind the great swathes of curtain, she felt a storm raging in her stomach. She couldn't remember the last time she was quite this nervous. She had been flattered but exhausted by the other girls' attention earlier but now she missing it, not wanting to be waiting alone with her nervousness. Waiting. That was the worst part.
She fiddled with her dress for something to do, listening to the sound of indistinguishable voices that were all distracting themselves from the fact that they were all waiting too. For her. She fiddled with her dress again, admiring the shimmering colour as it pooled at her feet. They had all called it yellow but it was far more gold in the way that it looked like liquid metal that had been poured over her body and set perfectly against her until it reached her waist where it flowed down like a waterfall to her feet. She swished the fabric once more before a servant opened the small door to her left.
"They are ready for you. I wish you all the luck anyone could possess."
Herja forced a smile and nodded.
They were ready for her. So she had no choice other than to be ready too.
The brothers' journey up the steps was complete; as was their cautious walk through the foyer of the palace where they took the corridor they both knew led to the huge Throne Hall.
The closer they got, the slower Loki's footsteps became. Thor couldn't blame him, their father had never been one to give out light punishments. As they were growing up, they had always known that they could get away with pretty much anything with their mother and virtually nothing with their father. Of course, that idea had changed a little now. As much as Thor had hated watching Frigga grieve over her youngest adopted son, he felt may be even worse to see the look of disappointment on her face when Loki's crimes were read aloud and she was exposed to all he had done.
Thor wondered of thinking of Frigga made Loki feel guilty. He was sure it probably would...in fact Thor was sure that Loki felt most guilty when he considered the two most important women in his life and how he had let them down.
Thor suddenly realised that Loki had stopped abruptly and only just managed to stop himself walking straight past him. In front of them was a large door with two guards outside. When Thor listened, he was sure he could hear people inside the Throne Hall. He looked to the guards who seemed reluctant to let them pass.
"We must enter. We must speak with our father."
The guards shared a glance before the higher ranked one spoke. "We cannot grant you access to the Throne Hall at present, Prince."
Thor frowned. "Why ever not? I am – we are – princes of this realm and you cannot deny us access to our father's Hall."
"My apologies, sir, but we can. In fact, we have been instructed to keep all persons who have not been honoured with an invitation out of the Hall. That includes you and your miscreant brother."
From behind the muzzle, Loki glared and, for a moment, Thor allowed himself to be amused. But only for a moment before he returned to the task at hand.
"An invitation? To what?"
The guards shared another glance before the other one stammered, "We...we cannot say. We are not permitted to tell those without an invitation – "
Thor, not famed for his patience, decided that this was enough of the talking approach and that it was time to introduce a more forceful approach. He pushed over the youngest guard who clattered to the floor, his armour so complex, he couldn't stand back up. Thor had more of a challenge in the older, experienced guard but it still wasn't enough to make him break out in a sweat. He knocked him out with a solid blow to the top of his head and, like his younger counterpart, he crumpled to the floor.
Thor pushed open the doors and saw hundreds of faces turn to stare at him and his muzzled and chained brother behind him. He pulled Loki inside with him, walking down the aisle between the gathered nobles and royals as they all watched them in silence, following their procession to the front. Finally, they reached the bottom of the steps upon which the throne stood.
Odin was stood in front of it, watching his sons carefully. He had his hands out in front of him and between them was an elegantly thin band of gold adorned with small clear jewels and glistening white pearls.
A crown that was about to be the placed upon the head of whoever was lucky enough to earn it. The figure knelt before the All-Father turned around and slowly took in the two brothers, raising a neat eyebrow.
"Must you both steal all of the attention all of the time?" Herja said over her shoulder at them, sounding both amused and frustrated. "Please, All-Father...continue."
Odin held out his arms straighter again and slowly lowered them until the crown came to a rest on Herja's golden hair.
I know the epilogue has contained little action but I think it rounds off the story quite well as Thor and Loki are now home YAY! Woo! And Herja's adventures are still a mystery but you can be sure she has kicked some arse and is now reaping the rewards!
Now (prepare for a ridiculously long note...I wouldn't blame you if you fell asleep) here are my thoughts concerning a sequel:
First off, I am totally enthused about writing a sequel for this story and I hope everyone would be equally as enthused about the idea of one but it won't be coming right now. In fact, I'm afraid it will be a year until one it written. Why? Well, Thor 2 is out next winter and I don't write before that as, I am sure you have gathered, I like to keep to canon and I don't want to stray off. It's frustrating because I'm totally ready to start writing a new one but I can't until the next film comes out!
So, no official sequel yet...BUT...I am about to write more of Herja, Loki and Thor's adventures which I hope will appease anyone who is desperate for more. I have consulted my most faithful reviewer MayFairy about this idea and she has told me that she thinks it would be a good idea to bridge the gap between this story and the next. So here's the plan:
I will start a new story in which each chapter will be a separate one shot; some 'missing scenes' from this story and some that took place before where Loki was obsessively spying on Herja through gaps in doors (bless his crazy) etc. Most of them will be quite fun and hopefully will be quite a light relief from the drama of this story.
Does everyone think this is a good idea? I hope so as I think it'll be a lot of fun for both me and you guys!
So, tell me what you think about this idea – and of course the epilogue! – in a review. You guys know I love them very, VERY much!
Farewell lovelies and thanks for reading, reviewing and generally being incredibly supportive...I LOVE YOU ALL! xx