A/N:This story is something that came up out of the blue. It's specially dedicated to a few friends from Tumblr.
reindeergamesbitch - No real explanation is needed. She's been wonderful to me since I joined the site and since we started talking.
you-have-a-winter-heart - A really great person, despite the fact I've only known her for about a week or two. Wicked sense of humor, too.
awesomecrud - She came and talked to me and we've been pretty good since. She's an absolute sweetheart and I love that she can trust me enough to come to me with her problems.
This story, and the feels that might come along with it, are for them. Hope you all enjoy as well!
The resonating sound of hoof beats against wet, sodden earth grew in intensity as the remainder of Odin Allfather's army rode proudly to return to their wives and family. Once the men were settled in their homes with their wives and children around them, they would be able to mourn those who had lost their lives against the Jotuns and their allies. The villages that had been ransacked and left barren by these gargantuan monsters would one day thaw and sprout new life, but the war had left them under ice that would instantly destroy the skin that came into contact with it.
Atop his eight-legged steed, Sleipnir, the fastest animal that ran on land, Odin bounced on his saddle and led his army back to the city gates of Asgard. The towers of the castle could be seen from any vantage point near Asgard, and the light of the town acted as a guide to anyone trying to find their way in the night. The king could almost smell the perfume his wife would be wearing, the flowers that would be braided into her hair that her ladies-in-waiting will have adorned her with. The feel of her in his arms would certainly reassure him that he would be home at last.
And his son . . . Odin had long dreamed of holding his only son to his chest once more, many months ago when he had left Asgard for the first time after a nearby ally had called for help when the Jotuns began to destroy everything in their path. That had been only days after Thor had been born, and he had only held his son for a few moments before war had called to him. He had to leave his son, barely days old a babe, and head off to war. He had kept in his mind that he would be able to die after seeing his son, the beautiful prince, although he would have regretted not seeing him grow into a king.
Odin swallowed as he glanced down to the parcel he was carrying in front of him, with many shredded blankets lining the form and a thick cloth wrapped around the tiny body. He could see it shifting around, trying to make itself comfortable with the rocking of Sleipnir's gallops. It made a face in its sleep but remained as so and didn't cry out. He sighed with relief. The others had no knowledge of the fragile package in his lap. If they had any idea, any indication of what he was carrying, they would surely let him know in any way they could that his decision would be one filled with regret.
And they were home, the cheers of their awoken city roaring out into the quiet land. Odin raised his staff high into the air to declare their victory over their enemies, and he stopped his men in the square to see them dismount and take their wives into their arms. Some men took to their husbands. He cast a blind eye towards their affectionate displays and watched with a heavy heart as some women looked out amongst the soldiers and quickly realized their lovers were not to return. The women held their tears back as children shrieked and hiccuped. Those who knew they would never see their fathers again could not hide their pain from Odin. He knew of their fate as much as they did.
"My people!" he cried, raising his staff higher to attract them so they would listen. He looked out into the crowd of reunited families and widowed women. He swallowed again before continuing, "My people! The Jotuns have retreated and their army has fallen! Here, we have it!" Odin reached into his saddle bag, brandishing a luminescent casket that leaked a chilling air. The hairs of his arms stood simply from touching its handles. "The Casket of Ancient Winters belongs to Asgard! Their power is nothing but a weak ripple in the sea. We have avenged each lost life tenfold! Your husbands and friends and brothers died not in vain."
There were cheers and tearful smiles from the crowd. Odin returned the casket to its place in his bag and steered his horse away from the crowd. His people parted for his path, allowing him to slip from the crowd and trot back to his home. The celebration would begin at the home, a private reunion of family and lovers, and people would move to the streets in the morning.
Odin led Sleipnir to his place in the stable, rubbing the coat on the steed's neck and face. He leaned his forehead against the broad face and whispered his many thanks to the great beast before gathering the parcel bag in his hands and retiring back into the castle. Frigga must have already heard the many grateful cheers of their subjects. He could imagine taking her into his arms again, and his heart beat wildly in his chest. As he walked through the doors and stormed through the hallways in search of her, his many servants greeted him with applause and words of eternal loyalty. He thanked them all and continued his search.
He stopped in front of the nursery, a soft voice singing sweet words quietly. Odin took a deep, eager breath and pushed the cracked door open to see the beautiful, light smile of his wife's face. In her arms was his child, Thor, wide awake and smiling up at her. He looked to Odin and let out a squeal of happiness and clapped his small hands. Such an innocent move made Odin's heart break happily. He rushed to his family, pulling them both to him with one arm while the leather bag balanced in the other. Thor took hold of his ghost-white beard and gave it a curious tug. Odin yelped and pried the little fingers from his hairs.
"He has never seen you before," Frigga said quietly, her smile permanently painted over her features. She seemed to glow. "You are new to him. And he's excited. All of the work I have done trying to get him to sleep is now for naught because of you." She giggled and kissed his cheek.
"Do not blame me," Odin jested. "He is a man, and men do not sleep when wars are won. They are awake and celebrate the glory their country has gained!" He kissed Thor's head and petted the thin crown of gold hair that grew from the small child's head. He then turned to Frigga, feeling the bundle begin to wake in his arms. This child slept well. The maids wouldn't have much trouble with him. "Frigga, there is something I must confess."
"What is it, love?" She pulled him towards a chair sitting by an open window, easing him to sit and rest. He stopped just short and placed the parcel on a table nearby. In her arms, Thor was becoming restless. He squirmed and clapped his hands over her shoulder, her breast, her cheeks; anything he could hit, he did. She took his hands and shook her head towards him, urging him to be calm and not violent.
"Frigga, my dear, before I show you what I have done, please understand that it was in the best interest of our people. I could not let an innocent life be taken by my men, my people." He reached inside. "I must also ask of you to be silent about anything you hear in this room. The others must not know what it is I have done. If they knew, they would think of me differently . . ."
"Dear, what's wrong?" Frigga stroked her son's head as she watched her husband dig around in the bag and pull out a small bundle of cloth. He pinched an end between two of his fingers and peeled the first layer off, revealing a small, sleeping babe. His skin was blushed pink and light and he frowned in his sleep before awakening. Crystal-blue eyes stared up at Frigga as she covered her mouth in shock. He looked at her for a few moments before an innocent smile broke out his face, and he laughed.
Frigga looked to Odin in horror. "You took someone's child?" she asked in a whisper, afraid anyone who walked by the door would hear them. She reached out and touched his arm. "Odin, why would you . . . Who does he belong to? Whose child is he?"
Odin looked at his wife with still emotion, not surprised by her terrified response to get the boy to his rightful parents. He had been expecting her to act in the way she did, but he was surprised that her voice was low and that she was not screeching at him so that the entire castle's staff would hear. She hadn't struck him yet, and he hoped she wouldn't. He shifted the child in his arms as the small fingers ran through the beard Thor had just recently pulled.
"He is the son of Laufey," Odin admitted quietly. Frigga held her son tightly to her, keeping him from reaching out to the small bundle in his father's arms. "He is a giant. A small runt that was hidden away from his kind. His father was probably embarrassed." Odin touched the boy's face tenderly, chuckling as the small hands grasped onto his finger and stared at his nail in fascination. "I could not leave him to die out there, Frigga."
"How will you keep his roots hidden?" Frigga leaned in close to the child, her curiosity in his behavior growing. "And what about the giants' violent tendencies? They're monsters. He could grow old and begin leaving ruin in his path. What will you do about him then? How will you suppress it?"
"Look at him now, Frigga." Odin wiggled his finger in the boy's hands, and he began laughing. Thor joined in with his own joyous sounds, and the two began laughing at each other. "I have placed a spell in his bones that will cover his frozen skin. He will grow up knowing he is of Asgard, and he will be safe." Odin stroked the boy's cheek.
"Do you know what you will call him?" Frigga asked. "If you plan on raising him as your own, you must name him."
The child looked away from Thor to Frigga with the same excited smile on his face. She couldn't help but let the edges of her lips pull up into a smile. He seemed innocent enough. He wouldn't remember his time spent in the land of ice. He would live his life without knowing what he truly was, but he would be happy and alive. Knowing that, Odin could live with the guilt of stealing him away from his kind.
"I will name him Loki," Odin said, rocking the child slowly. Frigga looked to her husband for any sign of hesitation but saw none. "He will be a great prince, and one day, he may know of his origins. We could bring peace to our two kingdoms."
Frigga gave Loki a long, tentative stare before turning away and moving towards Thor's crib. The young prince didn't take his eyes off of his new family member as his mother gently lifted him over the bars and settled him in the sheets. He stared at Loki from where he lied, fingers curling in and out from his palms. Once Frigga had him settled, she returned to Odin and held her arms out to take the child.
"I am his mother now," she explained as Odin's brow furrowed. "It's natural that a child's mother tucks him into bed and sings him to sleep. Now, give him here." She did not wait for him to hold Loki out and slipped him easily from Odin's arms. The child crooned as she walked him slowly over to the crib and set him down beside Thor.
Thor turned over and the two stared at each other curiously. Frigga found herself giggling before she could help it. Odin came to her side, looking down at their complete family. Thor reached out and touched Loki's nose, squeezing it and laughing when he sneezed.
"They'll be close," Odin murmured with a smile. "And they'll protect each other."