By popular demand, a brief epilogue. Also, some notes regarding the future.
Nothing moved at Thorn-Helm Estate but for the wind; even the horses slept soundly in their stalls. Sigyn, pleasantly tired from her work in the estate gardens, sat on the low rock wall that marked their northern border, gazing up into the last stars. Soon she would wake Katla to start breakfast preparations, but for now she centered herself with a moment of solitude.
Jora had asked her father, Sveinn Thorn-Helm, to hire the palace staff who had lost their positions at the palace during the chaos of the royal betrothal. He had relented, sending those they replaced to work for Vilmund the Winged, as Sigyn's newly-ennobled courier friend was now known. Royal messengers had come to Thorn-Helm looking for Sigyn as well, with the news that an estate had been offered to her. At Sigyn's request Jora had lied to them, saying she had no idea of the former palace servant's whereabouts.
Sveinn's household was a warm, welcoming place, and two months' time had helped Sigyn to settle, to feel at home. Her nightmares had stopped, and her scars no longer felt strange beneath her fingertips. But there was a small empty space inside her now: sometimes an aching void, sometimes a sweetly shaped hollow that turned the wind to music.
When she saw the shadow approaching over the starlit grass, she knew him at once by the silhouette of his wind-flared coat. Her thrill of joy was tempered by caution; she knew the man, but not his intentions. She appreciated, at least, that he chose to approach on foot rather than materialize beside her in an ostentatious display of power.
"My love," she heard herself murmur.
His steps halted. "Your love?" came his silken voice in the darkness. "I shudder to think how you treat those to whom you are indifferent. My messengers have gone unanswered, and Heimdall has been strangely silent regarding your whereabouts. Are you hiding from me, Sigyn Eiriksdottir?"
"Yes," she said. She hadn't seen the king since she had slipped away from the stage at the Aesir stadium in the chaos that followed his confession. "I am sorry, beloved, but I cannot move forward if I am forever looking back. What happened between us was terrible and beautiful, but there is no future in it. The realm would not accept an illiterate scullion as queen, and I will be no man's mistress. There is nothing to be done."
"There is always something to be done," he said, beginning to approach her again. He stopped when he stood before her; she remained seated on the wall.
"Perhaps," she said. "But some things simply take time. Your need for instant acclaim, instant forgiveness, instant resolution, has time and again nearly brought you to ruin. I would have you learn patience."
"And I," he said, moving closer to gently wedge himself between her knees, "would have you learn a sense of urgency."
He bent toward her, and Sigyn allowed herself a brief surrender; she let her head fall back into his hand, let him open her mouth with his. He was no longer feverish, but his mouth and tongue were warm, and his ardor left her lightheaded. He drew her against him with his free arm, groaning as though laying down a heavy burden. She shuddered at the sound and slipped her hand inside his coat to steady herself against the warmth of his back. He kissed her breathless, then drew away and looked down at her face. He smiled at what he saw.
"If time is what you require, then you may have it," he said softly. "But mark my words, Sigyn Eiriksdottir. I will find a way to make you mine."
With that, he brushed her mouth with one last kiss, then gave in to his penchant for theatrics and slipped away from her into the shadows like ink into a brush.
Sigyn gazed at the swatch of night where Loki had disappeared, and addressed it in a whisper.
"I am already yours," she said.
Thanks to all of you for the wonderful response to this story. You have no idea how much I adore all of you, and how your praise made me swoon. Your reactions were what kept me obsessed with this little tale for two solid weeks.
To answer some FAQ:
Yes, ItEYWK is really over. I will be polishing up the chapters a bit for the repost on AO3, but it will not see significant changes, probably. If you're truly addicted and want some continued fixes of Loki and Sigyn, I strongly suggest you follow my tumblr and/or Twitter!
You may email me at IncantationFetter at mail dot com. (yes, mail, not gmail)
I am on Twitter at IncantFetter.
I have a new tumblr at sigyn-eiriksdottir dot tumblr dot com, and I have great plans for it.
I know many of you are disappointed that Loki/Sigyn did not marry at the end, but the longer I wrote this story, the more I felt it just wasn't realistic for two people as prideful (in their different ways) as Loki and Sigyn, with as complicated a past as they have, to surrender to that sort of commitment after a handful of days. Loki is still the man responsible for Sigyn's father's death, he has still played mind-games with her and lied to her and slept with another woman during the course of this story, and I would not respect her if she pledged herself to him after one (admittedly spectacular and public) apology. They still have a long way to go before Sigyn can fully trust Loki, and before Loki can fully trust anyone enough to admit love.
On that note... I do have the beginnings of an idea for at least one eventual sequel, but right now it's time for me to turn my attention back to work and family. I also don't like to post things until they are very nearly finished; this allows me to update daily while people's interest is still hot. So it will probably be many moons before the sequel(s) is/are posted, and when that happens, it will be on AO3 (Archive of Our Own) for several reasons, not the least of which is that it may stray into M+ territory. Though I know people do post explicit things on this site, technically the site rules forbid it and I don't like to break rules. So if you're interested, please join AO3 and follow me there! Same handle.
I am sorry if the story feels rushed or incomplete. I did not slap down an ending in a hurry, I swear: I had a plan and I followed it from start to finish. But perhaps the plan itself was flawed, because it doesn't seem to have come across as complete as I'd hoped. However, I have literally spent two weeks of my life doing almost nothing but writing this, and there comes a point at which I have to go back to stuff like my actual job. If any of you have constructive suggestions about where I went wrong, email them to me, and I'll consider implementing them in a (far, far, far) future rewrite.
Right now, though, I've got a real-life novel rewrite and a new novel outline sitting ignored on my "to do" list, and people waiting to see them. Priorities, always. I am glad, though, for whatever enjoyment this diversion was able to bring you, and I do sincerely regret any disappointment it caused.
I will not be as frequent a visitor on this site in the next little while, so I really encourage you to get in touch with me via Twitter, Tumblr, etc. if you'd like to stay abreast of any more glimpses into Sigyn Eiriksdottir's universe. I live to please. Also, I'm just a little lonely without you. :)