The idea of travelling to Asgard immensely excited and horribly terrified Darcy. Jane had done what she could to alleviate her anxiety but the effects were short-lived. It would be awkward enough taking the month-old child of your sometime-lover to see his parents on Earth. Elevating Darcy's freak-out levels, her baby daddy just happened to be the banished prince from an alien world who had tried to enslave humanity. Walking alongside Jane and Thor into Asgard (on a bridge that really was a freaking rainbow!) Darcy swore to herself that she would never let her lady parts make any future decisions.
Before the trip, as the build-up was mounting, Darcy had needled Jane for every detail about Asgard. And while Jane had felt her descriptions of the Realm Eternal were apt, Darcy thought they left something to be desired. The cityscape they approached glittered in front of them and Darcy's heart beat frantically in her chest, matching the clop-clop of horsestep as they drew nearer to the palace. Here, there were no trumpets to herald them, no citizenry to marvel at their presence, to see what visitors their prince had brought. Just two outsiders in the magical kingdom.
Well, Darcy thought, two and a half. She adjusted the sleeping bundle in her arms as they were escorted through the palace, the guardsman navigating a maze of hallways, along high balconies and vaulted rooms before stopping in front of two grand and intricately carved doors.
There was a sudden and immense heaviness that pressed down on Darcy. Nervousness churned her stomach as she willed herself calm. Thor opened the doors and led them into the room. It was a warm, inviting space. Rich woods and tapestries filled the room as a fire crackled in a massive stone fireplace. Near it sat two chairs and in those chairs the source of all of Darcy's unease.
Odin and Frigga rose and Thor made the introductions, an obvious pride in his voice. Frigga's smile was warm and genuine and Darcy could tell that the queen's arms were itching to hold her grandchild. Odin, however, pierced Darcy with his gaze, taking two more steps to stand in front of her. He looked her over, his eye resting on the sleeping infant. "Darcy Lewis of Midgard…and her child." His voice echoed, its timber shaking her nerves. Odin looked down at Darcy with a critical eye. "Still a child herself."
Darcy held her ground against the All-Father, giving him a tight smile before replying, "And old enough to know better. But I think I've learned my lesson."
A there was a faint lift to one corner of the All-Father's lips. "It is only the hard lessons that teach us," Odin remarked as he leaned in to look the baby over. He straightened and glanced at Darcy once more before commenting, "She favors you, I think."
Beaming, Darcy smiled. "Thank you, sir."
"You will stay in Asgard for the day and feast with us tonight. When you have finished, Thor will return you to your realm." Odin's will was law and after his proclamation, he swept from the room with Thor following after, leaving Darcy and Jane with the queen.
Frigga was a beacon and Darcy found herself attracted to her immediately. Without a word spoken, she passed the baby to the queen and the two mothers shared a knowing look. In front of the fire, the three women sat and talked for a time. Eventually, however, as babies often do, the youngest of the group awoke and began to fuss. Frigga let Darcy take her back and then had the mortal women follow her.
The queen led them out and down the exterior hall to another room, smaller than the first but still grand by Midgard standards. It was a nursery. Colorful tapestries lined the stone walls and light blonde wood made up the furniture. A cradle was centered in the room and its design mimicked the one Thor had given Darcy at her baby shower.
Darcy sat in a rocking chair near the wide window and nursed her baby, Frigga and Jane continuing a previous conversation. When Darcy was finished, they had decided that Jane and her friend would change their clothes and take in the sights of Asgard, as well as Jane knew them. Frigga assured them that Thor would find them before they left the palace grounds and that she would look after the baby while they were gone. With plans made, Darcy left her infant daughter in the safe hands of her alien god grandmother. She doubted saying that phrase aloud would make it any less weird.
The feasting hall was loud and every sound echoed against the high stone ceiling. The clash of steins on tables, the wet slap of meat on plates and the merry laughter of warriors filled the great room around Darcy. Under the table, her feet throbbed. Jane and Thor had quickly pulled her along an obviously pre-chosen path of, what they hoped were, Asgard's highlights in an effort to see everything in one day. Darcy had the sneaking suspicion that this was the Cliff's Notes version of a trip…making her wonder if this would be her only trip to Asgard.
Before dinner, she made a stop off at the nursery to check in on the baby. She was napping soundly and the nursemaid that was watching of over her (as the queen's presence was needed elsewhere at the time) remarked on what a good baby she had been. It wasn't before long that Jane had come in and whisked her off to change her clothes, again, and get ready for the feast.
Now, Darcy was wishing she could have stayed behind in the nursery. She was sure it was simply because she hadn't been apart from her baby for so long a stretch before. She doubted that anyone at the table would understand the strange motherly feelings that having a child would bring about. She barely understood them herself and attributed most of it to hormones. But sitting there squashed between two of Thor's warrior friends, names forgotten, she felt like she'd be relegated to the children's table at Thanksgiving.
She was picking at the crusty end of her loaf of bread when a gentle hand was on her shoulder. Frigga smiled at Darcy and the two women left, the quiet of the outside halls a sweet sound to Darcy's tired ears. Back to the nursery Frigga took Darcy and opening the doors she explained, "I know the difficulty of being separated from your child for so long. It is not an easy thing for a mother."
Darcy replied, "I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually."
Peering into the cradle where the baby continued to sleep, Frigga said, "You never get used to it." It was no mystery to Darcy of whom the queen spoke, but she stayed quiet. Instead, she slipped her hands into the cradle and lifted her baby, holding her close and wondered if Loki knew how, along with everything else, he had hurt his mother.
A/N: Yikes! Sorry for the months-long delay. Time obviously got away from me. Obviously. This is just a quickie filler chapter. I'm more anxious to get the next one out and shall endeavor to do so a bit more quickly than I did with this one. Thank you so very much for still following along!