Thor had dragged them both into the Fen-halls one morning, and valiantly had somehow managed to prevent Sif from murdering Loki. Frigga had raised one brow at the tangled mess of the three younglings. Her hand-maids had scattered from the ruckus, and Fulla had chided them for dropping their tools while Thor swung Sif away whilst still holding Loki secure by the neck.
“How dare you, Thor!” the girl had snarled, “This is a matter between me and him!”
Her eldest had grunted, wrapping one arm around her waist as Sif launched herself over him. Loki clawed at Thor’s face in a bid for freedom. Drawing herself up to her regal height, Frigga glared down at the writhing tangle of limbs.
“You will desist,” she commanded, and they did.
And when the flailing had stopped, then did she see the cause of Sif’s ire. The shock of it doused Frigga cold, and something like fury stirred within her.
“Fulla, Gná, take the maids to the gardens,” Frigga spoke, not taking her eyes off Sif and her sons, “I would have a floral display for tonight’s feast.”
Footfalls of scurried feet sounded until Fensilar had emptied of all noise but that of her own beating heart. Thor’s look was worried. Sif blinked back tears, and Loki refused to meet her gaze.
“What,” she said coldly as she stepped off the dais, “is the meaning of this?”
“The Lady Sif,” Thor began slowly, “believes Loki to have…shamed her.”
Still Loki would not look at her, so she turned to Sif. One hand clutched at the stubble of her hair, whilst the other held back a sob. Frigga would not believe it of her son, could not. He would not have violated Sif so? She had not raised him thus. Her hands shook as she stood before them.
“Loki,” and her voice held all the anger and fury of a storm, “what have you done?”
He tilted back his head, and his sneer was almost flawless but for the shudder of his shoulders.
“The Lady Sif,” he slowly drawled, “stated that she did not wish to wed. I simply-“
“What have you done?” Frigga repeated stonily.
“I cut her hair,” his words were abrupt, almost surprised, “She should be thanking me. No man of worth will bother her for a bride now.”
Frigga stared flintily at her son. Even as her chest felt open and hollow, some small pin of relief pricked; he had exposed Sif to ruin, but no further. Nonetheless, there was fear enough in Sif’s face to tell Frigga that she knew exactly what shame Loki had exposed her to.
“Now they will all think me a whore!” Sif barked, voice hoarse, “My honour-“
Loki had laughed at that, and Frigga slapped him. The sound echoed loudly, and Loki’s wild eyes were wide with shock and fear.
“And what do you imagine a woman is without her honour?” Frigga asked him, “Do you imagine the court would forgive her if they thought she held her own value so cheaply? That they would forget? That they would not shun and scorn her and turn her out? I never took you for a fool, Loki, nor a knave.”
With each sentence, Loki had flinched, and Frigga wondered if he’d even thought of the consequences of his actions. Cutting Sif’s hair had claimed her a harlot, and a woman of loose loyalties would not be welcomed in court no matter how much Thor loved her. She’d be sent away to some small corner of the realm to end her days in quiet, bitter disgrace.
Had Loki even considered what he’d wrought? Unlikely, Frigga concluded; for all Loki’s controlled demeanour, when riled his passions became as vicious and frightening as a wild fire.
His brother stepped in front of Sif.
“You will not send her away!” Thor growled, and never had her heart been so conflicted with pride and sorrow. Frigga shook her head, unwrapping the shawl from her shoulders and stepped toward him.
“Do not imagine me so cruel, son,” and Thor quietened, but did not relax. His face rippled with fury, hurt and confusion, but she could not sooth him now. “Do not imagine that things will be simple if this wrong be not righted.”
“Then righted it shall be!” he declared and Frigga felt Loki flinch.
The burnt orange silk in her hands was soft and cool. Frigga beckoned Sif to come forth; the shield-maid almost crumbled, but her spine stayed straight. Frigga’s heart bled for her bravery. Taking care, she lifted the shawl over the roughly shorn head. With gentle hands, Frigga wound it artfully around, watching Sif’s bright eyes all the while.
“My queen…” Sif began.
“There,” she said once done, grasping Sif’s shoulders. “You will stay with me for the time being. Loki.”
There was a shuffle behind her.
“Yes, Mother?” came the hesitant answer.
“I do not wish to see you again until you have righted the grievous wrong you have inflicted Sif,” the calm of her voice belied the storm in her heart. He was her son and she would hold him accountable.
“It will grow back,” Loki exclaimed.
“Not fast enough.”
“You think I can wiggle my fingers and magic her hair into existence?” Loki asked, desperation and panic tinging his voice. “Seidr was not mean for such trivialities. Such things-”
“Mayhap, you should have considered that before you dishonoured one under my protection.”
“I will go with him,” Thor declared, causing Frigga to turn to stare him down.
“This task is for Loki, and Loki alone,” she coolly told him.
Her eldest had chaffed at that, unwilling to stand aside while his friend hurt and his brother repented.
“You would have me leave immediately?” Loki asked, voice quiet and eyes sharp.
“I would,” Frigga replied, and sadness felt heavy on her chest as she looked at him. What fool notion had cause him to act thus? She dearly wanted to know, wanted to tear his motives out of his mind. Not for the first time she’d seen a wildness in his soul. It was the first time it had become something so destructive. The corners of Frigga’s mouth drooped down. “You’d best get started. I will make your excuses to the Allfather.”
A hiss had escaped his teeth. Odin’s wife knew then he’d not looked past his fury in acting.
He strode away like a prince unburdened, without a word or gesture. Thor bowed to both her and Sif and went to follow his brother. Frigga’s heart felt like it would burst and she dearly wanted to weep. Quietly, Sif stood to her side, hugging herself tightly.
A long sigh left her lungs as Fensilar’s door finally closed, and Frigga took her ward’s hand and drew her to one of the many couches in her hall. Sif had not looked at her, lips tight and eyes fearful without her anger.
Frigga was reminded of how they were little more that children.