“He’s going to marry Laufey’s son one day.”
Odin looked up, startled and sure that he’d misheard his wife. Frigga was still looked down at the newborn baby asleep in her arms, apparently unaware of her husband’s confusion. She smiled at Thor before raising her head to meet Odin’s eyes.
“I can see it in him already. They’re just made for each other.”
Odin just kept looking confused. “But they’re both so much older than him. And… Surely, as a prince of Asgard, he’ll marry a princess, not a Jotun prince.”
“Ah, but Laufey will have another child soon, and he’ll be a princess. You’ll see.”
Three years later, Odin looked around as he walked through the Jotun palace with Frigga and Laufey. It had been a long time since he had visited Jotunheim, since the current peace between the two realms gave few reasons for him to meet Laufey in person; ambassadors and other diplomats could deal with any small issues that arose. Now that he was here, though, he noticed many small changes to the palace, which he realised must have been to make it more child-friendly. He was wishing he’d had similar changes made to his palace back on Asgard – it might have helped keep Thor out of trouble. Right now Thor was probably sulking – he’d wanted to accompany his parents to see the baby Jotun prince, but he’d been grounded for sneaking into Idunn’s orchard yet again and attempting to steal one of her apples. He’d said he just wanted to know what they tasted like, but he’d been told several times before that he had to wait until he was older. Apparently he thought that being a single day older was enough.
A nudge from Frigga’s elbow brought Odin out of his thoughts and back to those around him. Laufey had led them to a nursery not far from the throne room, with ‘Loki’ on the door in brightly coloured crystal letters. It seemed a bit out of place in a palace made almost entirely of ice and grey stone, but of course bright colours seemed more suitable for a child. The room itself was decorated with colourful scenes from across the nine realms; on just one of the walls were the golden citadel of Asgard, lush green plains of Midgard, and frozen lakes of Jotunheim. Rainbows seemed to hang magically in the air above their heads – a miniaturised version of the Bifrost to link the images of the realms. At the side of the room was a crib, and from it issued the burbling noises of a happy child. Helblindi, Laufey’s eldest son and heir to the throne of Jotunheim, was bending over the crib with his back to them, and was entertaining the baby by pulling faces. Hearing the others enter, he reached ever so gently into the crib, lifting Loki out so they could all see him.
Frigga’s immediate reaction was to squeal, at such a high pitch that Odin glanced around hurriedly in case the ice and crystal of the palace began to crack. Looking back to the baby, he supposed he could see why his wife was so excited. He’d heard that the child was small for a frost giant, but hadn’t realised quite how small. Already a few months old, Loki fit easily in the palm of his brother’s hand with plenty of room to spare. From where Odin was stood, all he could see was a sliver of a miniature blue face with piercing red eyes peeking out from within tiny, luxurious furs. If it wasn’t for the barely visible rise and fall of his chest (he’d fallen silent at Frigga’s squeal and was now staring at her curiously) Loki could have been a doll, albeit one made by the most skilled craftsman in all the nine realms.
The silence which had followed Frigga’s outburst was broken finally by Loki giggling and burbling happily when he caught sight of her earrings. She’d turned to speak to Laufey and the light had caught the diamonds hanging from her ears, which Loki seemed like. Grinning, and obviously trying very hard to suppress another scream at how incredibly adorable Loki was, she walked over to Helblindi and removed one of her earrings to dangle it before the baby prince. His face lit up, and he poked experimentally at the pretty sparkly thing in front of him. It moved and sparkled some more, making him laugh again. He reached out a miniature hand to grab it, then promptly put the end of it in his mouth.
Everyone but Frigga instantly froze, unsure how she would react or what they should be doing. Helblindi started to reach towards Loki, intending to prise the earring out of his mouth, but faltered when he saw that Frigga was still smiling and didn’t appear to mind at all. In fact, she seemed to find this just as cute as everything else about Loki.
She carefully pulled the earring out of his mouth and replaced it in her ear, seemingly unaware of the drool on it. Reaching both her hands out, she carefully picked Loki up from Helblindi’s hand. Only then did Odin realise that Loki was actually about the size of a normal Aesir baby of his age – it was being next to his fellow Jotuns that made him look so incredibly small.
Frigga cradled Loki in her arms, just as she used to do with Thor, and Loki stared up at her, apparently still fascinated by the earrings and trying to reach for them. Smiling gently down at him, Frigga began to demonstrate her apparent fluency in baby-speak – at least, noises were coming out of her mouth that made no sense to any of the others, but Loki seemed to be delighted, laughing and burbling back at her. Odin, Laufey and Helblindi just looked at each other, bemused, but were spared finding a way to end the awkward silence between them by a servant, arriving to inform them that dinner was served. Frigga placed Loki back in his crib with the utmost care, and followed her husband towards the dining room.