When Frigga stepped foot in Jötunheim, the aftereffects of war were obvious; though she had fought many battles, she was a mother now, and the absolute destruction in the snowy tundra -blood heavily scenting the air- hit her harder than it would have. Her guards and select handmaidens joined her as one of her husband’s men led them to what used to be the palace of Jötunheim’s king.
“Frigga, my beautiful Queen!” Odin welcomed, taking her hands and kissing the backs of them (a move that never failed to soften Frigga’s chest with fondness). The war had left him looking older -she had a vision of him in the future, worn and haggard from politics and war (he wanted to conquer and control all Nine Realms, though he’d fail), but that was in years to come- but he still held that boyish, enthusiastic grin that was one of the many reasons Frigga had fallen for this powerful man (even though their marriage was arranged -a political move by their fathers- Frigga did love him). “I must have you in these meetings for Jötunheim’s surrender. I trust your Sight and judgement in negotiations.”
“Finally, my darling husband has realized when he must admit his faults and rely on his wife,” she jested, making her handmaidens titter and blush as Frigga kissed the Alpha’s frown. “Can you spare a man to escort my maidens to their rooms while you lead me to the Jötuns?”
“These peace talks are simply to avoid setting up Asgardian governments. None of our dignitaries or nobles will care for the climate.”
“Are you certain it has nothing to do with the fact they could get crushed underfoot by their own subjects?” she teased, looking up at the tall, high vaulted ceilings, halls and architecture, obvious made and designed for frost giants.
“I’d imagine that may have an effect… do not dare admit that to anyone,” Odin said, pushing the large door effortlessly and, inside, sat Odin’s most trusted men -his advisors and a few generals- and Jötuns hardened from living in an arctic tundra and years of fighting wars, many of which were with Asgard. “This is my wife, my queen” -he pulled his lips back in a snarl as he threatened- “disrespect towards her shall not be tolerated.”
The Jötuns did not move or verbally acknowledge her; instead, they tilted their heads up, nostrils flaring as they scented the air, obviously trying to figure out her second sex. Although the Asgardians in the room looked disgusted -in Asgard it was an insanely rude gesture- Frigga simply cocked her head confidently, not ashamed of her second sex as she had been in her youth. Yes, she was an Omega, could bear children, but she was also a Seer, a sorceress, a Queen, and a feared warrior.
The middle aged, tallest of the Jötuns stood and bowed low. “Apologies, Queen of Asgard. We are not used to your ways and have not seen the benefit of learning them.”
“And what about them has confused you now?”
“Omegas are held in high regard in Jötunheim -children are important given our environment” another spoke, the less… political of the trio, Frigga guessed with his blunt phrasing, “We are simply unused to an Omega receiving a secondary seat of power.”
“I assure you, it is in title only,” she joked, earning chuckles from the Jötuns, “Now, let us discuss your terms of surrender. My lord-husband has informed me that there is some objection.”
“Your Majesty, the Jötuns have been adamant in refusing peace!” one general snarled, sneering across the table, “As expected of their kind…”
“I have no interest in your bigotry,” she said, easily raising her voice over the Jötuns’ growling.
“A-Allfather, your Majesty-!”
“Leave her be. You have not been able to bring these debates to a close -let your Queen speak or I will have you removed.”
A tense silence settled over the Asgardians, much to the Jötuns’ pleasure. “We will surrender to Asgard and agree to all aforementioned stipulations…. On one condition,” the third Jötun spoke, older than the other two by years , “but you must agree to it before knowing what it is.”
“...Do you see, your Majesty? This is the heart of the issue-.”
“We shall agree to these terms,” Frigga said after silent contemplation, raising her hand to silence her husband’s men, “We have a successful surrender. Now… about this mysterious stipulation…”
“Please, your Majesty, follow us.”
The Jötuns led Frigga out of the room -not waiting for Odin who yelled orders at his men -but dutifully made sure the female Omega did not get lost or injured by the Jötun palace falling apart around them. “As you know, our realm is ruled by King Laufey and his mate, Farbauti,” the youngest and bluntest of them informed, slowing his stride to respectfully make eye contact with the golden Omega Queen, “In one of the battles, King Farbauti was slain… he had been leading our forces.”
“I’m sorry for your loss. And your King’s,” she said sorrowfully, her heart clenching painfully, “Losing your mate… is such a horrible thing. I have seen many driven mad by grief.”
“Our King Laufey is strong,” he said, puffing out his chest as if boasting, “While he was not unaffected, he set aside his feelings selflessly for his people. He was vicious, took many lives, and brought great pride to his family and the memory of his mate.”
“We are here,” the elderly Jötun said and Frigga suddenly realized they were in the private living quarters of the Jötun royalty. King Laufey. “We will leave the two of you to speak with the King.”
She let Odin open the door for her, watching his back muscles move. He could have fallen in battle, too. It was not the first time Frigga had realized or stressed over this but, now that she had three year old thor and was not fighting for her Alpha or at his side, her worry had only doubled. Luckily, Thor burned up all her energy during the day and saved her from sleepless nights in an empty bed. Once inside, the Omega caught her husband’s hand, tightening her hold. Odin squeezed back and smiled at her reassuringly, though he had no idea what had her so worried.
“King Laufey, we have settled the matter of your surrender,” Odin said loudly, keeping his wife close as he crept further into the room, “What is this term of yours?”
“Lower your voice, Asgardian,” Laufey appeared from behind another door looking tired and resigned, “I just got him to sleep.”
“Him…?” Frigga’s eyes widened as she suddenly noticed his hand cupped around a small bundle of furs, a tiny blue hand peeking out and curling around Laufey’s much larger finger. “A baby…”
“My son… Loki…” Laufey said and, although Frigga did not doubt that he was a feared ruler, animalistic in battle, his face and voice were gentle -soft- filled with pure, strong love, “He was born sick and weak, as some Jötun babes are. That is why he is so small. About the size of an Asgardian child.”
“I wish,” Frigga said with a small giggle and a nostalgic smile, “Our Thor was larger than average. Almost ripped me in half on the way out.”
“Helblindi, my eldest, was like that,” Laufey smiled as the infant in his arms cooed -he shifted the infant to the crook of his neck and began to hum. Oh, that look in his eye… Frigga knew that look too well.
“Your Majesty, may I smell you?”
“You may,” he said with a knowing smile before turning to Odin, “Do not worry, Allfather. On Jötunheim, sniffing for someone’s second sex is not seen as crass or rude.”
Frigga stepped closer and inhaled; he smelled of blood, iron, snow, but -beneath that- was the sweet, cloying scent that allowed any of all races to identify his second sex and biology. Her eyes widened despite herself, “You’re an Omega…” His scent did not lie, despite his intimidating height, his well muscled (on display) body and his aura of tightly controlled rage. It was not surprising that Frigga did not peg him as an Omega, on Asgard, male Omegas were few and far between -not to mention usually kept in hidden away, their second sex kept a secret from society until they could be married off and mated
“But… you are a king,” Odin said, speaking thoughtlessly in his disbelief.
Laufey scowled, lip turning up in a sneer. “Unlike you Asgardians, Jötuns value an Omega’s role. As caregivers, the bearers of children -it is only natural that an Omega is in the role of ruler, a protector and caregiver to the people,” he explained in an even tone and -despite his clear irritation -it sounded as if he were explaining something simple to a young child. Frigga did not step between them, too entranced by the small, blue limbs peeking out from the furs. It was not long ago that Thor had been that age, so ..small. How I miss him… “Would you like to take a closer look, Your Grace?” Laufey asked suddenly, his expression kind on the queen, “You can even hold him.”
“I… If I may…?”
Carefully, Frigga took the delicate babe in her arms, her gloved hands tightening around the thick bundle of furs and making sure there were no parts of him left uncovered. He was small with round cheeks, a small nose, doe like, red eyes and a thick head of black hair; he blinked up at the woman, eyes widening at her tan skin and golden hair, babbling at her curiously. “Aren’t you precious…” Frigga cooed sweetly, making the babe squeal and wiggle in response.
“Even though he is weak physically, he makes up for it in intelligence,” Laufey boasted, eyes on the Asgardian queen and his son, “Some of our sorcerers even believe there is magic in him. An extraordinary amount, perhaps… though it is only speculation.”
“I do not doubt it…” she said, slipping a finger into his palm. Even through her leather glove, she could feel magic coursing through his small body. As it did hers. “I am a sorceress and a seer… I can feel the magic waiting to be unleashed.”
“What are the conditions of your surrender, Laufey?”
The Jötun did not look at Odin, merely leaning back in his chair and sighing. “Take Loki back to Asgard with you. Raise him. Teach him how to harness his magic,” Laufey said, defeated and clearly heartbroken, “and how to be a good man.”
“You will impose your rule on us, your laws, and will expect us to obey. When you leave, there will be more war; my people will fight amongst themselves and against me. They will try to overthrow me…” he said matter-a-factly, “I have many who are loyal to me, my eldest sons who have positions in my army, the respect of their men, and devotion to not only me, but their Father’s memory. There is no doubt in my mind that I will overcome these obstacles, but how long might that take? Loki… is unlikely to survive if he stays.” Placing a hand over his mouth, blinking back tears, Laufey looked at Frigga. Beseeching. “Asgard is a place of eternal spring and he is sure to flourish there. I… just want my final child to live.”
“Your final child?”
“With my mate, Farbauti, gone… I shall not take another. Not as a life partner and, as of now, not as a bed partner.”
“We will take him,” Frigga said quickly, before her husband had time to object, “We will raise him as if he were our own son.”
“He cannot go looking like a Jötun,” Laufey quickly said, eyes feverish -hope, happiness, relief, slipping across his features- “Is there a way you can alter his appearance?”
“There is a spell… but it will not last forever,” Frigga said before turning to glare at her husband, “Do not go back on this agreement. He is just a babe, Odin. He is helpless.”
“What shall you do about Thor then?”
“I will introduce Loki as his brother,” Frigga answered easily, waving a hand over the Jötun infant’s form, magic tingling between the joints of her fingers; her gold colored magic slid over him and he babbled, trying to grab at it.
“You expect him to believe this is his blood brother when you appear out of thin air with a child as old as this one?”
“He will believe it because I am his mother,” she said, her voice so firm with certainty that it made it impossible for Odin to argue. She turned to Laufey with a gentle, reassuring expression and gestured to his son, “What do you think?”
Laufey watched as the blue receded from his son’s skin, replaced by pale alabaster, his Jötun markings fading into nothingness and his red eyes being swallowed by a bright, emerald green. Only his black hair and frame remained unchanged. The Omega’s eyes watered, his chest heavy; though he admired Frigga’s skill -she was clearly a powerful sorceress and would make an excellent teacher for Loki -he felt worse than he did when his Alpha was slain. The child in front of him did not look like his son. “You are talented.”
The Asgardian queen could smell the sorrow hanging heavily in King Laufey’s scent, could see his skin pale and the cloud that swept over his eyes, and her own heart grew heavy empathetically. He had lost his mate and now his child. So many pieces were being chiseled out of him. For the first time, Frigga touched the Jötun; it was her first time touching any Jötun in such a nonviolent way -not counting Loki -and she was surprised at how warm the frost giant was. “I swear to you,” she promised seriously, “that I will love your son as if he were mine. He will know love and want for nothing.”
He smiled sadly, leaning close to whisper, “You are not the one I doubt, Your Grace.”
Thor shifted in his seat, unable to focus on his tutor, who was going over letters. When would he need to know how to spell? He wanted to fight monsters and save princesses!
“Pardon my intrusion,” a servant -a pretty girl with lots of freckles and hair the color of a strawberry -said as she entered the classroom and bowed, “the Queen has returned and would like Thor to accompany her in her gardens.”
The tutored sighed, obviously exhausted by Thor’s lack of attention, and quickly dismissed the prince, who ran towards the door, grabbing the servant’s skirt and pulling. She tried to slow him down but he didn’t listen (unless they were Mama or Father, Thor didn’t think listening was important because he didn’t have to… he was a prince) and eventually the servant gave up, only trying to lead him to where his mother was waiting. When they found her, she was sitting in the grass, butterflies fluttering around -and sometimes landing in- her loose blonde hair and her long, green dress pooled around where she sat. Thor was struck by how pretty his Mama was (the prettiest) and he ran at her with a joyous cry; she had been gone too long and he had missed playing with her and being sang to at bedtime and everything because only his Mama could do all those things perfectly. He jumped on her back, hugging her around the neck and was happy that she laughed, pulling him against her side and pressing kisses all over his face. “Hello, my son.”
“Welcome back home, Mama!” Thor greeted excitedly, cuddling up to her, “Did you have fun on your trip? Did you save any princesses?”
“No, no princesses,” she said with a smile, “but I do want to introduce you to someone. Your baby brother.”
It was only then that Thor noticed the barely dressed baby sitting in his Mama’s lap, lounging back against her chest, one hand half in his mouth and the other trying to grab at the butterflies and sun beams. “Baby brother?” Thor asked, scrunching up his face in confusion, “What does he do?”
“Nothing yet. Loki is just a baby,” Frigga explained, tickling his chubby pale tummy which made Loki giggle, “We have to teach him lots of things and protect him.”
At that, the blonde boy’s head perked up, “Protect him? Like, from monsters and bad guys?”
Thor “ooh”-ed, bending down to get closer to the baby’s face. “Hi, Loki. I’m your big brother Thor.” Loki’s eyes snapped to the blonde, almost like he was sizing Thor up, before he removed the hand in his mouth -smearing his saliva all over his belly -babbling and making grabby motions at Thor’s face. “Mama, I think Loki wants me to hold him,” the older boy said and Loki moved in what looked like a full body nod, making a sound that sounded like “yah” or “yes”.
“Alright. Just be careful. Gentle.”
Frigga helped position Loki in Thor’s arms, though the blonde felt it better he wrap his arms around Loki’s torso and hold the one year old against his chest, so they were face to face. “Loki, I’m your big brother so that means I’m going to look after you and protect you, ‘kay?” Thor said seriously, despite the small hands that rose to rest on his cheeks, pinching them, “We’re… uhm… com-comrades, so we have to stick together forever.”
Loki squealed happily, squishing the blonde’s cheeks and doing that full body nod before rubbing his face on Thor’s, a clumsy and a tad painful version of a nuzzle. The action made Thor feel all warm and fuzzy, and he was overcome with a feeling he didn’t really understand; Thor wanted to protect Loki from all the bad guys forever and give him all the treasure and everything! Even though Thor didn’t understand, he was too young to overthink his feelings. He labeled them “All the Love in the World that I Have for My Brother” and kissed Loki’s round, pink cheeks.