They share the study well together, Loki engrossed with his drawings, Frigg at her letters which pile high. Her quiet son forgets himself when they are alone. He hunches cross-legged on the floor, his scrap paper spread before him, as dear as gold leaf. She likes to have here the sound of his breathing, the careful scrape of his nib. Thor has found no use for craft, or anything that involves sitting still, but they are both still young — only little boys, and still learning what they like. That is well. Frigg knows that Thor will come running back to her at dinner, and regale her with the high places he leaped from, the stones he heaved up, the horses whose bellies he touched.
Loki circles her desk. Frigg sets her pen down. He holds the paper close to his chest, blank side out.
“Do you have something for me?”
“I need the scissors.”
“What do we say?”
“Please, I need the scissors.”
“They are large,” she warns. “And sharp.”
“I am careful,” he insists. He is right; she knows this. She opens the desk drawer and holds the scissors by the blades.
“They may be too big for your hands. Do you want my help?”
He reaches for the handles. “I can do it.”
She lets him have it, and watches him return to his spot on the floor. Loki loves surprises, and she keeps her eye on her work to allow him that. The legal matter at hand is tedious, and requires a delicate response. The scissors and the paper snip and rend in the background.
Frigg has nearly untangled her central argument when Loki presses up against her hip. She slips one arm around his shoulders. “What’s this?”
He deposits a handful of shapes in her lap. She picks one out of the pile: it’s a bird, with wings folded into slots cut into the side. Loki reaches for one of the tabs and wiggles it, so the wings move. Frigg examines some of the others: a warrior with a reversible face, a goat that grazes, a house with a figure who appears at each window. All the detail is diligently inked in. She toys with the bird’s wings. “Did anyone show you how to do this?”
“No.” His expression is cautious, verging on offended.
“They’re wonderful.” She hugs him again, and feels him lean into her.
“Will you show them to Father?”
She strokes his hair, so much silkier than Thor’s. “Why not show him yourself?”
“He’s so busy.” Loki picks up the goat, dipping its head up and down. “And Thor will rip them.”
“Who’s to say Thor will be there?”
Loki says nothing.
“Thor can be careful with your things.” Frigg watches him avoid her eye. “But if you’d prefer, I will show these to Father when we’re alone.”
He tilts his face up. “And tell him I made them.”
“Yes,” she says, and cups the swell of his head. “My clever son.”