Chapter 21: Sigyn
I woke up groggy and my throat dry. Yup. I thought. I have a slight hangover. I heard shuffling and looked over to see Loki changing into his Asgardian clothing. “Get dressed.” He said, adjusting his vest, not looking at me. “We are leaving for home.” Then he left my room, leaving me no chance to argue. Not even looking in my general direction.
The beautiful memories of last night entered my mind: The kiss. Loki holding me close. How he smiled at me. Then the bitter memories: Loki pulling away. His curt goodnight. What was that about anyway? Getting out of bed, I went to find Loki looking for breakfast. Leaning against the door frame, I waited for him to acknowledge me. He didn’t, even when he couldn’t find the Frosted Flakes. My patience wore out. “So, are we going to talk about what happened last night?” He ignored me, continuing to search through the cupboards. “So we are just going to pretend nothing happened?” Loki paused momentarily, before continuing his search. Silence greeted me again. “I don’t want to leave just yet.”
“We are leaving today.” He found the cereal and pulled it out.
“I planned to be gone for four days. It’s only been three.”
“That was before I killed four people. Please do not argue, I am in no mood.” Loki argued with me. I huffed out of the kitchen. If we were going to be leaving, I was taking my time. I wanted a nice long shower before we left.
What was Loki’s problem? Why didn’t he even want to talk about last night? Was I a terrible kisser? That could be it, since I haven’t had tons of practice. But you would think he would have kept kissing me, or maybe even taught me. But he didn’t even want to look at me today, let alone kiss me or teach me how to kiss. Then it hit me right in the shower, mid thought. He was avoiding me, he wouldn’t look at me. He didn’t want to talk about last night. Loki regretted kissing me. And the realization was enough to make my mind race in panic.
I had never liked anyone the way I liked Loki. I always wanted to be around him, to talk to him, to confide in him. Even our little arguments meant something to me. I thought last night went great, and Loki didn’t seem to mind kissing me. So why did he regret it? Did he make a drunken mistake?
Either way, Loki regretted kissing me. And it hurt. I felt crushed, defeated. Why did I even think he liked me? He obviously doesn’t. You’re just his friend, I told myself, trying to tell myself it would be okay, it was no big deal.
I wondered if all girls lied to themselves after cruel rejection.
In Asgard, a few hours later…
Sweat dripped down my forehead as I blocked my partner’s blow and dealt my own. I increased the force and pressure of the attack, speeding up to finish my opponent off. I was in no way feeling up to light sparring, and in no mood to dance around and give the new guy a chance.
I blocked his sword with one of my little swords, and with the other I swung in an arc, stopping just at his neck. He froze, his eyes on my face in surprise. “Good fight.” I said, taking my swords back and taking a step back. “Your defense needs practice.”
“I am not used to fighting two swords at once.” He said a little meekly to his own defense.
I sheathe my swords. “You may want to change that. Not every opponent will fight fair.” I turn to walk away, when the newbie stops me.
“What is your name, my lady?”
“Noelle.” I was trying to walk away. I wasn’t in the mood for chit chat. I just wanted to find another person to spar with so I didn’t have to think about earth or Loki, who still hasn’t said anything to me. I was still hurt, and I tried to find out what was wrong with me. Why did Loki regret kissing me? I spent a good hour in my room trying to figure it out, tears streaming, until I became angry that Loki was avoiding me, not giving me a straight answer. I think as his friend, I deserved one, and besides, he’s the one who made the mistake. So I went down to spar, see if Sif could offer me a way to forget my anger. Sure enough, the yard was full.
“The Lady Halfling? I am honored.” The man bowed a bit. He was certainly dramatic. “I am Gunnar.”
“It is nice to meet you Gunnar.” I tried to be as polite as possible. He grinned at me. I turned and left, looking for another partner. Gunnar seemed nice. Maybe we could be friends.
I almost gave up on finding a partner when I spotted Callum a few feet away, doing just the same. He caught my eye and nodded, walking over to meet me half way. Ever since our fight in the feasting hall, Callum became a lot more respectful towards Sif and I. We weren’t best friends, and we probably never would be. I had all I wanted from him: his respect.
We sparred, Callum working me hard and being technical. It was hard to fight Callum, mostly because he was strong and had good axe technique, and liked to use both those attributes. Other warriors tended to use one or the other. But I didn’t mind the hard fight, because it kept my mind off of my love drama.
After sparring with Callum and calling it a draw, I sparred for another hour before Sif called me over. “Let us go eat. You have worked hard today.” She noted. I nodded.
“I have been gone for some time. I needed to get back into routine.”
“You did not have lessons with Loki?” The thing with Sif was that she had an eye for detail.
I shrugged. “He had other business to attend to I suppose.” I didn’t really know what was going on with my lessons. Loki wasn’t talking to me, and as soon as we got to Asgard, he had our horses summoned, and he was gone. I really wasn’t sure if he was expecting me or not. I wasn’t going to go to the library to find out either. I was still mad at Loki for being so childish about this.
“You suppose?” Sif raised her eyebrows. “Are you two not courting each other?”
I gasped, slapping her arm. “Sif! Keep your voice down! You know how fast rumours spread around here.” I didn’t want to give Loki another reason to avoid me.
“Do not tell me that you are not. You two spend long hours together, you dine together, you ride together. He went tearing after you in Midgard and disappeared for days!”
“That doesn’t mean anything. Loki is not interested in me that way.” I walked away, not wanting to talk about it. Sif followed me anyway, catching up with me. Damn Asgardians and their long legs.
“What happened on Midgard?” She demanded.
“Nothing.” I snapped.
“Something happened. Tell me, I am your friend.”
I sighed. “Sif, I appreciate your concern, but I would prefer not to talk about it.” She looked at me expectantly and shrugged. Literally two seconds later, I cracked. “He kissed me.” She looked at me with a pleased smiled on her face. “And he hasn’t spoken to me since.”
“He has said nothing to you?” I shook my head.
“It was a mistake on his part. He didn’t want to kiss me. I’m just his friend.”
“That cannot be true. I see how Loki looks at you. There is only one other woman I have ever seen catch Loki’s eye, and even then he didn’t go tearing after her when she left the realm!”
I stopped dead in my tracks. Did Loki like another woman? “Who? Who was the other woman?”
“He never told you?” I shook my head and she sighed. “I am not surprised. Few know exactly what happened, and no one mentions it. It is a sensitive topic.” She sat down on a bench and I joined her. I guessed this would be a long story.
I pushed back the curtains in the library, scanning the scenery of the outside world. Noelle had not shown up for magic lessons today, and I wasn’t surprised. I suppose I had given her the proper message, and she had received it.
I scanned the grounds, wondering where she was. Not able to see her, I sighed and sunk down to the arm chair, my head in my hands. I had sat there all day, not able to focus enough to do any work for Odin nor complete my studies for the day. I felt horrible, guilt gnawing away at my heart and it ached.
Horrible for what I did, kissing Noelle when I had no real right to take her heart. I didn’t deserve her. I was too cruel, too afraid to love. I should have restrained myself better, instead of giving in to my desires and pushing her away. She deserved a better man, a man who would not lead her on.
But I wasn’t leading her on. I thought, sinking deeper into the ache my heart gave off. I…I loved her. I love her still. And I couldn’t have her. She would never forgive me, even if I found it in me to explain. She would only remember the pain she felt when I pushed her from me.
You are a coward Loki. You will always be a coward. This is why you do not deserve her, Loki’s own voice in his head, joined with the raspy one he heard, whispered. I could not picture myself without her. I had already unintentionally claimed her as mine.
I felt myself burn with jealousy at the thought of another man kissing her perfect lips.
I walked back to my chambers, shutting the door and starting a bath. I had an hour before dinner, and needed to process all that I had learned.
“No woman had ever caught Loki’s eye, except Sigyn, who later became his wife.” Sif’s voice echoed through my head.
A few centuries back, a woman named Sigyn came to court with her family. She had been courting another man and was ready to marry him when he passed away suddenly. Her family decided to find her another suitable husband at court. As luck had it, the beautiful Sigyn had caught the eye of the youngest prince, Loki. After only weeks of courting, they were engaged.
“I remember it all being so sudden.” Sif continued, searching her memories. “We were all very young, none of us were thinking of marriage. The All father and the Queen were unsure of what to make of it. Thor cautioned Loki against marrying so young. But of course, he never listens.”
Loki and Sigyn were married, they had a son soon after, Nari, who apparently was an exact replica to Loki. And they were happy. Months passed, and people could see changes in both Sigyn and Loki. Both of them looked tired and stressed. Loki randomly started bringing Nari with him everywhere, while Sigyn became less social. Rumours flew, but no one knew what was going on in the marriage, except for the fact that the newlyweds were unhappy.
And then it was announced to the kingdom one day that Nari had died. “The kingdom mourned for the child. He had been a little over a year old. Sigyn was not fit to be in public. She was in hysterics. Loki had to address the tragedy in public on his own, though we all knew he took Nari’s death terribly. After the mourning period, Loki requested to not be married to Sigyn anymore. The All father was too worried for his son to not comply.”
I closed my eyes in the tub. Such a sad, sad story. Now I knew why Loki didn’t talk about his past much, why he said people judged him. I felt a little guilty for being mad at him.
“How did his son die?” I asked. “Surely children do not simply pass away without cause.”
“We do not know.” Sif looked sad. “It was never declared how he died.”
I got out of the tub some time later and dressed in a one shouldered silvery blue dress and flats. I checked my appearance in my mirror, happy with what I saw. Then I left my room, pondering over Loki’s situation I had learned of.
I understood Loki not telling me about it. It was his business, and it was a pretty personal, sensitive topic. How do you even bring that up in a conversation? What’s my story? I got married young, my son died and I got a divorce. Yeah, didn’t think it was something he would just bring up.
I wondered why he divorced her. I had heard stories of parents growing apart when their child dies. But he had divorced his wife after days. It couldn’t have been that fast. But then again, Sif had said they were unhappy.
Maybe that was why Loki regretted kissing me: he didn’t want a relationship. And as much as I liked him, I couldn’t push that. I felt bad for being mad at him, but at the same time I didn’t because he still kissed me and toyed with my emotions, which wasn’t fair, whether he had demons or not. Either way, the whole situation was odd. I didn’t want to tell Loki that I knew about his wife and child, because I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable. He clearly did not want me to know about that, and I didn’t want to betray Sif. And he wouldn’t speak to me. I didn’t know how this situation would solve itself either. It would have to be resolved by one of us making the first move.
I entered the great hall, heading towards the table where Thor and Volstagg were passing around drinks. I scanned the table, disappointed that Loki wasn’t there. Stop it. He doesn’t care, why should you? I tried to tell myself. But you didn’t have such a hard story. Try as I might, being mad at Loki was hard after learning what I had from Sif.
I arrived at the table and greeted my friends, sitting next to Sif. Thor was passing around drinks, keeping the table occupied with toasts. I knew while I was gone Thor had been ensuring the peace was still being kept around the nine realms. He must had been successful, to be handing out ales. “Come, take a drink with us, Lady Halfling!” I smiled and took a small mug of ale. I had missed Thor and his boisterous voice.
“Thank you Thor.”
“How was Midgard? The same as you left it?” Fandral asked, scooting closer to me on the bench. I grabbed a thick slice of bread from the middle of the table and started buttering it. I was hungry after a day of training, and my muscles were a little sore.
“Yes and no.” A lot of things were the same, but a few things had changed since I began living in Asgard. “My mother has begun to court another man.” I didn’t know why I was talking about that. I didn’t think Fandral would care much about it. I mean, it’s my mom. Who talks about their mom and her dating life? “I was glad to go back and visit her. I missed her, though I do not often think of Midgard.”
Fandral nodded. “We were worried you would not return.”
I shook my head, grinning. “You have no reason to worry; my life is in Asgard now.”
“And I am sure Loki would have brought you back himself, should you have chosen to stay.” Volstagg remarked. I avoided rolling my eyes; he brought me back anyway. I understood why he wanted to live. I mean, he killed four people with his bare hands. And that should scare me. It really should. But it didn’t. Maybe it was because he killed four people who had threatened my life not only once, but twice.
And he killed them for me. I could deny it all I wanted, but Loki killed Garrick for me. He killed the three others to protect himself, out of defence. But he probably could have let Garrick go free. He could’ve erased his memory or done something magical to make him forget. Instead he made sure that I would never be in danger going to Midgard ever again. He did it for my peace of mind.
When I thought back to that day, I saw a darker side of Loki I had not seen before. He had even told me that he had restrained from giving Garrick a longer death, because I was watching. I didn’t know Loki could be that dark. And the way his eyes turned that bright blue. I had never seen that happen either. At first I was too panicked at what had happened to think about it.
It must have been a trick of the light. People’s eyes didn’t suddenly changed color. I must have imagined it. I wasn’t thinking rationally then.
I realized someone had asked me a question, since they were all staring at me expectantly. “I’m sorry.” I apologized. “I have other things on my mind.” I felt bad for neglecting my friends.
“I asked if you knew were Loki was.” Hogun asked quietly.
I shrugged. I really didn’t know. “I have not seen him since our arrival.”
Thor shrugged. “Perhaps we shall see him later.” He passed out more ales.
Later came and went, and Loki never made an appearance. Nobody seemed concerned with where he may have gone or what he was doing.
Days passed. I didn’t see Loki at all. I continued with my usual schedule, training for half a day, then returning to my room and doing my own lessons. I used the book Loki gave me, which was really handy. I taught myself something, then practiced it until it became second nature. I brushed up on the other things I had already learned, and kept to myself. I went to dinner with my friends and had a good time. I took Frost out for rides.
I began to worry about Loki after not seeing him for five days. I wondered if he was holed up in his library or if he had left the realm. Either way, no one really saw him. Thor began to worry as well, and went looking for him one night at dinner.
“He has never not shown his face for this long.” Thor said, leaving to find him.
“Have you spoken to Loki?” Sif asked me quietly while Fandral, Hogun and Volstagg ate and chatted about weapons.
“I have not seen him.” I said simply. “He has not spoken to me or sought me out.” I was feeling a little down about that. I used to see Loki every day. It felt like we were drifting apart, and I was afraid we wouldn’t be friends anymore. I know this was silly to worry about, but I valued Loki as my friend, and he understood me in this odd way. I missed him. I wanted to talk this out with him. I wanted to put my feelings out there to him, so we could be honest with each other and move on. But if Loki didn’t want to see me, and actively avoided me, how was I supposed to get him to sit and talk to me?
I mused over this question while eating supper. Dancing had begun and couples were gliding on the floor. Fandral had left to ask women to dance. I watched as the couples moved to the rhythm of the music, laughing and smiling.
I had never once cared in my life about sitting out on dances. I didn’t even go to my high school prom, that’s how much I didn’t care. But for the first time in my life, I was wondering why I couldn’t be that happy. Maybe because I finally found someone I could be happy with. I glanced over to see Sif, her eyes glazed, gazing over the dance floor. She did that often. “Are you envious of them?” I asked her.
He snapped out of it. “Envious of who?”
I tipped my head towards the dancing couples. She eyed me suspiciously. “Sif, you never dance with anyone. You refuse the men who ask you. Either you have someone in mind or you like creeping people.”
“Excuse me?” I forgot that Asgard didn’t use the word ‘creeper’.
“What I mean is, you must have feelings for someone or you would not be staring at the dance floor.”
She sighed. “Perhaps one day, he shall realize…but until that day, I will wait patiently.” I turned my attention back to the dancers. Would that be me one day? Waiting for Loki to come around? I hoped not. I didn’t want to pine after him forever. But right in this moment, I didn’t think I would ever get over him. It didn’t feel like I was.
I felt a tap on my shoulder, and turned to find Gunnar grinning behind me. “Hello Gunnar.” I greeted him.
“Would you honor me with a dance my lady?” He offered his hand. I was incredibly surprised. I didn’t think I would be asked to dance. And I didn’t really want to dance right now. I was about to refuse him when Sif nudged me. I looked at her, and she gave me a pointed looked. Go and have fun, is what her face said.
I sighed, standing up and taking his hand. “Why not?” Gunnar smiled wide, it was funny to see. He led me on the dance floor, grabbing my hand and putting the other on my waist. I put my hand on his shoulder and let him guide me. I didn’t know how to dance, so I didn’t resist his movements, and just went with it.
“You are a beautiful dance, my lady.” Gunnar complimented me. I tried to decipher if he was lying or not, but he sounded sincere.
“This is the first time I have ever done this.” I admitted. He laughed.
“You are quite talented. I natural, I believe.” We danced a few more dances, Gunnar engaging me in small talk. I just went along with it. It was better than sitting down and moping. As another dance began, Gunnar twirled me around gently, pulling me to him. I gently pulled myself from him. I didn’t want to be that close to him, or anyone, at the moment.
“My lady, I enjoy our dancing together.” Gunnar said smoothly. I opened my mouth to come back with a reply when I was interrupted by a smooth, melodic voice, the one I loved to hear.
“Perhaps it is time to find another dancing partner.” I whirled around to see Loki standing directly behind me. “A word.” Loki said to me, grabbing my hand and pulling me along, leaving poor Gunnar standing there.
Loki pulled me outside the hall and out into the night air. I pulled my hand back when he stopped. “I need to speak to you.” He said.
I crossed my arms over my chest. “Finally. Where have you been? You haven’t spoken to me in days.”
He looked guilty. “I am sorry. I should not have avoided you.”
“You shouldn’t have.” I agreed. All the anger I had felt was boiling up, ready to be let out. “You shouldn’t have pulled me away from Gunnar either. That was rude and you had no right.”
“I should not have.” He said. “But I needed to speak to you before he decided to court you.”
“Why?” I asked, still angry, my voice getting louder. “You obviously don’t want me. Someone else does.”
“I never said I didn’t want you.” Loki argued with me.
“You didn’t have to.” I seethed. “But you could have expressed it better. You didn’t have to push me away.” We were quiet, both looking at each other, ready to fight. But I guessed he had come to see me for a different reason. “Why did you come to see me? I don’t want to fight Loki.”
Loki sighed. “I have come to be honest with you. It is the least you deserve of me.” I sighed. Here we go. I had wanted Loki to seek me out and be honest with me, so I could be honest with him. I wanted to move on with our predicament. Even if it meant facing his rejection all over again.