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If You'd Pardon The Pun

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He supposed that, considering the circumstances, it was actually quite good that he’d never quite known how to shut his trap around ladies. He’d spoken once or twice to the woman before him, flirted with her, and considering that he knew it was more than she usually got, it might tip the scales in his favor.

Fandral frowned. He shouldn’t have been here. He’d never even considered the idea of dying outside of battle. Hell (if you’d pardon the pun), he’d never even considered dying before. He was one of the Warriors Three. To fall due to sickness was a disgrace. Especially one so preventable, one that he’d only gotten because of his rashness in Jotunheim. Hogun had always told him that courting death was a bad idea.

And now he was gone, standing before Loki’s daughter, the so-called abomination. He’d never actually seen her face. She was so embarrassed most often that she asked her father to conjure up an illusion to cover it, or at least whenever she was allowed to spend time in Asgard. Rather, when she and her father were allowed to spend time in Asgard together. This had been maybe once or twice total over the past few centuries. And no one ever saw her outside of that unless they had died.

Well. Here they were. He could see her plain as day. And truth be told, it wasn’t as bad as he had thought.

Certainly, he could see her flaws. Half of her was rotten and decaying, the hair white and the eye socket empty. That was a fairly large flaw. Maybe her nose (or what was left of it) was a little too sharp, and she resembled her father more than he would’ve liked on the side that still had features.

But that wasn’t to say he found her ugly. No, she was quite stunning, if truth be told, and not in an entirely negative way. Her legs were slender and shapely, the fleshy one crossed over the decayed. The half of her head that was covered in lively hair was curly and blonde, and her eye was a clear blue that he couldn’t help but stare at. Half of her was… interesting. And the other half was that of a beautiful maiden. Surely this wasn’t enough for her exile. Was it?

Regardless, Fandral gave her a smile, charming as always, and strode up to her. She looked perplexed, as though not many approached her before they moved into the realm of the dead. He stopped for a moment, wondering if she were as obsessed with asking her lessers to kneel as her father was, then dropped to one knee anyway.

“My lady,” he said, extending his hand toward her.

She smiled, giggling like a young girl, and put her hand out toward him, then flinched back when she realized it was the rotten one. Grimacing, she shook her head and looked away. “I’m sorry. You should go.”

Fandral slipped his hand under hers, bringing it to his lips briefly and lifting his gaze. “No, it is I who should be sorry for taking so long to revel in your beauty. Surely you have dealt too long with others treating you badly.”

Hel blinked, taken aback by the show of affection. “What is your intent, warrior?” she asked, her voice chilly. “Are you trying to court me, so that you might return home? I assure you, that is entirely less than feasible. Some have tried. All have failed.” Fandral shook his head, still grinning. “No, I know my place is no longer among those in Asgard. I am merely showing that since I am to spend my time here, I would like to honor the noblest of all maidens in this land.”

“You come not with intent to mock me with your wiles? I have seen you with other women, Fandral. I know you.” Her gaze had turned judgmental. Maybe he wasn’t doing it right. “I do not intend to mock you in the slightest. I have never thought it necessary before to settle down, but since I have been so handily provided with the opportunity and a means, I would be more than willing to do so,” he said as he leaned in toward Hel, suddenly breathless as he got close, a chill forcing itself into his lungs. Their lips met, warrior of Asgard connecting with daughter of Loki. And truth be told, it was one of the best Fandral had ever had. He definitely wanted to discover more about this maiden.

Yes, she was flawed. But, if you’d pardon the pun, he could live with that.