Right, so I know I haven’t posted anything on my over-sized WIP since April, but here I am starting another fic that I have absolutely no business getting into. At least this one should be shorter than the other (famous last words). Sorry.
Rating: M (this is subject to change at the whim of the author’s muses)
Characters: Loki, Sigyn, Frigga, Theoric, and various supporting OCs
Description: This is an attempt to fill the propmt requested by @someillplanetreigns (and now I can’t even tag you!): “you asked for prompts and pairings - I would like to humbly beg for more Logyn? I don’t have a great prompt, but this odd thought is in my head about a way to make the comic plot about Theoric and the marriage into something about marriage by proxy? Maybe something like Loki has the duty of proxy-marrying Sigyn cos Theoric’s in the army, and totally plays everyone by going the whole hog and appearing as Theoric, but then Sigyn, who thought Theoric was dull as ditchwater and Loki is… well, y’know, Loki.”
I’m not sure this is precisely what you wanted, so I apologize in advance for my wayward muses – Loki does what he wants.
Chapter: 1 of 2?
Acknowledgements: thank you @icybluepenguin for serving as one of my favorite institgaors and sounding boards – you rock!
Mis-Matched, Part 1
Herr Braggison loomed over Sigyn as she slunk down lower into the chair, nose buried deep in her book, brown hands clutching the pages tighter as he moved closer.
“Sigyn — I just received a letter from the All-mother.”
“Apparently, the fighting at the front has become entrenched.”
“Put the book down and look at me when I speak to you.”
Sigyn abruptly dropped the large hardback with a whack onto the desk, folding her hands demurely as she smiled up angelically at her guardian.
A dark scowl passed over his face before he began again, “I have just received a letter from the All-mother that tells me the fighting has become entrenched at the front. As such, Theoric will not be granted leave to attend your upcoming nuptials.”
“Oh really?” Suddenly Sigyn was all attention, back straight, eyes bright.
Herr Braggison’s scowl deepened. “As you know, there is a limited time during which you must be married, or the contract must be annulled or re-negotiated.” Sigyn nodded and a little smile began to blossom across her face.
“As a result, we will have to fulfill the contract by proxy.”
Her guardian flinched, then frowned once more. “Yes. There is a legal provision that allows for marriage by proxy. Thankfully, the All-mother has offered to send a representative from the court who can serve as a stand-in for your intended spouse, after which you will go to court with him to serve the queen until Theoric can return from the hostilities. In this way, the contract will be fulfilled. No fuss. Everything perfectly legal. No re-negotiations necessary. Neither will we be forced to seek out another candidate. You see? Everything is taken care of. In another month, I will have completed my legal obligations as your guardian by providing you with an appropriate husband of suitable political standing, and you will no longer have to endure my presence.”
Sigyn rose out of her chair. “Wait just a minute …”
“No. no. no. You and I have both been anxious to get rid of each other for years, and now here’s your chance. Theoric is a highly-respected officer is His Majesty’s army with excellent political connections. It’s a marriage much better than anything you could have hoped to get had your own family been in charge of the negotiations. I will not put this alliance at risk just because your intended can’t keep a schedule.”
Herr Braggison paused at this point long enough to line up Sigyn’s book precisely with the edge of the table. “You will be married by the end of this month, and go off to live under the protection of the All-mother until your husband gets back from the war. Either way, you will be out of my house! You. Your books. Your seider. Your temper. Your … disorder … your …” And here he looked her up and down waving his hands around in the air before spitting out, “everything! The delegation from court will arrive one week prior to the ceremony. End. Of. Discussion.”
And even as Sigyn drew breath for a reply, he turned on his heel and stormed out of the library, leaving her fuming.
“Ohhhhaaaaahhhhrrrgh! My ‘everything,’ is it? My evil alien outlander contamination, you mean! Go fuck a goat, Iric! I never signed that cursed contract! You think you’re so clever, getting everything lined up a month before my majority so it wasn’t necessary!”
Sigyn flung the chair backwards before she began pacing about the room. “A month! A month and then I’ll be privileged to sit around with the All-mother’s handmaidens doing needlework until my eyes cross and listening to a bunch of insect-brained idiots gossip about big, blond musclebound, testosterone-poisoned bachelors who have rocks for brains. And then, whenever my husband returns triumphant from the battlefield, I will be expected to take up housekeeping like a meek little domestic pet and cater to the whims of my own personal rock-headed Einherjahr! Oh, look at my lovely brown-skinned alien — isn’t she exotic? If I weren’t ready to burn this house down and be rid of you, Iric, I would set fire to those contracts myself! What happened to the spinster option? Why could there not be a clause in the papers for that? Why marriage? And why him? Dearest Norns, he is so boring! And stupid! And … Aesir!”
But the dictates of her father’s will were explicit, Sigyn was the legal ward of her guardian until she was suitably married. Period. There was no spinster clause. No femme sole provision. Only marriage.
When the delegation arrived, she was supposed to be there. “Supposed to,” being the operant phrase. She was not. She was not there to greet them in the grand hall as they entered. She was not there for the state dinner that evening. She did not show for the formal brunch the following morning. Instead, Sigyn went out to an old, disused greenhouse and started target practice, pointing at tiny widows in succession and creating a lovely pattern by throwing runes at individual panes and shattering them. Sigyn filled her lungs with the ozone after-burn of her seider as she went.
K-pish! “That’s for my mother for getting herself knocked off by that stupid wizard!”
K-pish! “That’s for my father for drawing up that ridiculous contract!”
K-pish! “That’s for Herr Braggison for being such a money-grubbing accountant of a negotiator!” She inhaled deeply.
K-pish! “That’s for the All-mother who refuses to nullify that stupid-ass contr-“
“Good morning, Lady Sigyn!”
“Ahhh!” Sigyn jumped a good six inches off the ground and fired off flash of blue seider that was just barely deflected by a green shield thrown up by her visitor.
“Goat’s piss—I’m so sorry!” And then just as quickly she covered her mouth when she realized who he was. “Hel! I mean, Sorry! Shit.” She slapped her forehead. “Oh, your majesty, I so very sorry, are you hurt? You startled me … I mean, I had no idea you were part of the delegation. I didn’t … I’m so very sorry. Are you hurt? Oh Norns, this is terrible.”
Sigyn hastily bent into a deep curtsy and lowered her head. “I’m so sorry!”
She maintained her obeisance for several long moments and grimaced as she thought she heard him make some vague noise of disapproval, but then the noise shifted a bit, and she suddenly realized he was laughing.
She scowled and jerked up her head. “Are you laughing at me?”
He was laughing. It started as an almost silent chuckle as he tried to suppress it, his shoulders shaking ever more violently until he was full-on laughing, smile wide across face. Her scowl deepened for a moment, but then she couldn’t help but smile back, and before long she broke into giggles of her own.
A full minute passed like this before the prince closed the distance between them and reached out to help her off her knees with one hand and wipe his eyes with the other.
“Oh, by all that’s blessed, you should have seen the look on your face! I should have loved to capture that image forever!”
“Your majesty, I really am so sorry. No one has ever followed me out here. I never expected someone to show up, least of all you, and I was, well, preoccupied.”
He looked up at her handiwork. “I can see that. Quite an inventive way to work out your frustrations.”
Sigyn blushed deeply when she remembered what she had said. “Ohhhh! You heard that, didn’t you? Please don’t say anything. I’m already on the verge of … well, I guess I don’t know what Herr Braggison would do to me at this point — permanent confinement until the contract is signed, I suppose, so I don’t embarrass him any farther? And the queen … I know it’s not her fault. A contract is a contract and can’t be unwritten. I’m just. No. I didn’t mean it. It’s fine. Really. It’s all good.” And she folded her hands and smiled a beauty pageant smile that looked very nearly convincing.
Loki nodded slowly. “Well, I won’t mention it, if you like.”
She let out a breath she’d been holding. “That’s very gracious of you, your majesty.” She dipped a tiny curtsey once more and her smile softened into something more natural.
In response, he flashed her a smile that could easily have turned her into a pile of goo had it not been for the words that followed. “Please, call me Loki, after all, we are going to get married next week.”
“Oh yeah, “married”. Ha ha.” Her smile abruptly turned brittle and she sobered considerably, reminding herself, Not flirting. Off the market. Big tag marked SOLD! And Loki backed off with raised hands.
“Sorry.” He raised an eyebrow. “I gather you aren’t thrilled at the prospect?”
The beauty pageant smile returned. “Oh no, it’s a great privilege. Theoric is an excellent match. My guardian has worked very hard to ensure an advantageous contract, and I’m grateful that you’ve agreed to serve as a proxy to ensure the terms are fulfilled.”
A smirk spread over Loki’s face. “Did you memorize that speech?”
Her eyes looked slightly ill at that that, but the smile didn’t waiver and she didn’t answer. Loki inhaled and he backed off once more, pursing his lips as he concluded, “Right. An excellent match.”
An uncomfortable pause followed until Loki finally started up a new topic, “I was unaware, Lady Sigyn, that you practiced seider. Have you studied long?”
“Oh! Well! It’s mostly self-taught. Mother had just started my lessons when she passed away, so I’ve had to rely on the books she left in the library. That’s the one argument I won when father’s estate was cleared out—I managed to keep control of nearly her entire library. I’m afraid I’ll never be a master of the craft like she was, but I’ve managed pretty well, for all that.”
“You have her books? I wonder if you would let me take a look while I’m here.”
“I would be honored Prince Loki.”
“Loki. Just Loki.” And he extended his elbow to escort her back to the house.
She hesitated a second before resting her hand in the crook of his elbow. “Thank you, m’lord. Just Loki, then.”
Later that night, Loki stood in his room and reached out to draw a set of runes on the mirror, eyes moving deliberately as they followed the green shimmer as it creeped in from the edges of the frame, turned slowly to gold, and then cleared to reveal the face of Frigga, All-mother.
Loki inclined his head, “Good evening, Mother. It is good to see you.”
Frigga offered a wry smile as she replied, “Good evening to you, as well, Loki. How has your ambassadorship fared today? Did you finally manage to greet Theoric’s intended?”
“I did, indeed.” Loki returned her smile. “I found her out in an old greenhouse knocking out window panes with her seider.”
“I barely missed getting winged myself when I startled her.” He snickered. “Why did you not warn me of the danger I would face?”
“I had no idea she practiced seider. She was so young when her mother passed, I assumed that she never trained.”
“Apparently she is self taught. Is that even possible?”
“Not unheard of, I suppose, but certainly rare. How did you find her — will the marriage suit, do you think?”
“Do you wish my honest answer, Mother, or a diplomatic one?”
“Loki,” she chided.
Loki’s face soured. “Frankly, I can’t imagine a more poorly made match. She is bright, well-read, quick-witted, and blunt, whereas Theoric is, well—none of those things. They will make each other perfectly miserable. I can’t imagine why he would seek out such a match, unless she’s …”
Loki read the warning on his mother’s face immediately, “ahhhh, of course, unless she’s rich.” He paused. “She is, isn’t she? He’s to get a big, fat dowry.”
“Shush, Loki. Everything has already been arranged. If the couple are pleased enough with the match to sign the contract, there is nothing to be done against it.”
“I’m not entirely sure she is. What does she get out of this arrangement?”
“Out of her guardian’s house, I suppose. He has certainly made no secret of the fact that she has been a difficult charge. I believe she is anxious to cut those ties as soon as she can.”
“By marrying Theoric?” He asked dubiously.
“As near as I can remember, the terms of the wardship dictate that she cannot leave her guardian’s care until she marries. It’s an old fashioned arrangement, but it cannot be altered.”
“But … Theoric?”
“Loki—it is not your place to approve or disapprove of the match. You are there only to ensure the contract is fulfilled before the terms are up. There must be mitigating circumstances that lead her guardian to believe that another match might be difficult to attain, or perhaps difficult to attain with such advantageous conditions. Marriage negotiations can be complicated, especially for orphans like Sigyn.”
“Yes, like Sigyn.”
“You mean outlanders.”
“Yes. People prefer …” And here Frigga had the decency to hesitate and even blush a bit.
“Their own kind.”
“Well, yes. It’s tricky.”
“Right.” His face had drawn into a deep scowl by that point, but knew she was right. Aesir are insular and slow to accept anything, or anyone, different. But Theoric! That imbecile. She’s wasted on him.