Aada stood with her ear pressed to the door of the throne room. She knew it was wrong to eavesdrop on the proceedings of such a meeting between the Odin and Laufey, but considering the topic of war was on the table she thought her father would understand this once. It wasn’t as though she could hear much through the doors anyway; just the occasional raised voice and words like “war” and “union” and “marriage.” Wait...marriage? At the sound of footsteps she moved away from the doors abruptly and rounded the corner as not to be seen.
She pressed herself back against the wall, hoping to go unnoticed as King Laufey and his party passed her by. She had forgotten how large Frost Giants were and she couldn’t help but shrink even further back, not so much in fear as general discomfort.
“You can come out now Aada.”
She jumped at the sound of her brother’s voice, rounding the corner and smiling sheepishly at Thor. Normally he’d offer a smirk and a knowing comment about her snooping around. But not today. His face was uncharacteristically serious and if she didn’t know better she would say he looked sad.
“What’s wrong brother? Is there going to be a war?” she asked.
Thor shook his head and Aada let out a breath. No war. That was good at least. But then what could bring such a look to her brother’s face?
“Father wishes to speak with you,” he told her, gesturing for her to enter the throne room.
She nodded, not missing the look he gave her. One of...pity. She tried not to dwell on it as she came to stand in front of the throne.
“Father,” she greeted, offering a brief bow to Odin.
“Aada. You know there has been unrest between Asgard and Jötunheim?”
“And you know that we would like to avoid a war?”
“I do. Father, what’s going on?” she asked, unable to quell her curiosity.
“Laufey and I have reached an agreement to ensure peace. There will be a union. Laufey’s youngest son will be wed...to you.”
Aada’s blood ran cold as she gaped at her father.
“Father, you-you can’t be serious! You’re marrying me off?”
“I have arranged for him to live on Asgard so you will not have to set foot on Jötenheim. A small consolation I know, but-
“You would have me marry a monster?!” she cried.
“Enough! It is your duty. To your people. As my daughter. You will be wed to Laufey’s youngest son and that is the end of it,” Odin said, fixing her with a look that meant the discussion was over.
Aada stormed out of the throne room, ignoring Thor’s calls for her to wait. She didn’t stop until she was safely in her chambers. Marry a Jötun? This had to be a joke. Her doors opened a moment later as Thor stepped in.
“You took that better than I thought you would,” he said, smiling.
She whirled around to face him.
“Are you trying to be funny? Now is not the time!”
Thor steeled his expression.
“I know. My apologies sister, I was merely trying to lighten the mood.”
Aada wanted to be angry. She wanted to shout. She wanted to hit something. Instead she felt tears running down her cheeks and she couldn’t help but throw her arms around Thor and just cry.
“It’s because I’m half human isn’t it?” she sniffled.
Thor’s hand stilled on her back. They didn’t talk about her parentage often. It was a sore subject. Odin stepping out with a mortal woman, resulting in a child being born on Midgard. She had lived there, with her mother, until she was fourteen. Her mother had gotten sick and when she passed away Odin had appeared and brought her to live on Asgard.
She hadn’t belonged on Midgard and she didn’t feel any more at home on Asgard, despite being here for over a hundred years now. Her pattern of speech was different. Her hair was bright red and curly as her mother’s had been. Half human and half god. She was strong as all Asgardians are, and she had the same longevity to her life. But she wasn’t a true goddess. Where Thor was God of thunder, she was Goddess of nothing. Odin had told her once, before she was of age, that her power could appear over time, but she had always doubted that would be the case.
“Your parentage is nothing to be ashamed of,” Thor said finally, pulling back to look at her face. “You are of Asgard. You are my sister. Father is only doing what he believes to be right.”
Aada sniffed again, wiping at her eyes and nose.
“Easy for her to say. You’re not the one marrying a giant.”
“From what I understand Laufey’s youngest son is smaller than an average Frost Giant. He’s somewhat of an outcast.”
“Great. Two outcasts thrown together for sake of convenience. How fitting.”
Thor sighed and gave her shoulder a squeeze.
“All will be well sister. You’ll see,” he told her before leaving to attend to whatever future king of Asgard things he had to do.
Aada had always been thankful for Thor’s kindness. He had accepted her as his sister the moment she set foot on Asgard. While Frigga was warm there was something behind her eyes that made Aada feel guilty. It couldn’t be easy having Odin’s daughter from another woman under her roof and though she had cared for Aada and offered her kind smiles and words of wisdom, she knew it pained her.
Her thoughts drifted to her future betrothed. What did he think of all this? He couldn’t be happy to be marrying an Asgardian, let alone a half human. Frost Giants were known to be cruel.
She could only hope that he would not be.