He left the morning that he told me he would. I got to stand outside of the palace to say good-bye. He didn't want me to go down to the Bifrost to say good-bye. There was a crowd of people gathered around, all saying their good-byes and wishes for a quick return to the group going to Alfheim. I was surprised when Loki grabbed me around the waist and kissed me in front of everyone. He hugged me close after and held me for a few minutes. The metal parts of his armor was cold against my skin, but I didn't care. I wanted to feel his heartbeat for as long as I could.
"I will be home soon Darling," he said reassuringly as he kissed my forehead repeatedly.
For my part, I was trying not to cry. I was determined not to leave him with an image of me with tears in my eyes. His brother told him it was time to go. He kissed me again before mounting his horse to ride off. Once he was out of sight, I turned to go back to his chambers, holding my head high and biting my lip so as not to cry in front of everyone. Once I was back in the privacy of his chambers, I threw myself on his bed, cuddled his pillow to me and cried myself to sleep. I was grateful that his bed sheets hadn't been changed so they still smelled of him.
Those days slowly stretched into weeks. I tried to fill my days with reading, learning more about herbs and their healing properties, as well as long walks in the gardens. His servants took care of my needs, but I was lonely without Loki here. None of them really talked to me, other than to ask if I needed anything. I asked every morning if there was any news of his pending return and every morning I was told no. After three weeks, I stopped asking every day. I was beginning to feel rather despondent.
Five weeks after he had left, I began greeting the dawn sick to my stomach. It didn't last all day though and by noon I was ravenously hungry. After the third straight day, a female servant named Katerina, was concerned about me and sent for the royal physician. He examined me quickly upon his arrival and congratulated me. I was pregnant. I was so shocked that I was speechless. Pregnant? How would I ever tell Loki? How would he react? Would he be happy or upset with me? Then a little thought slithered into my mind: what if he doesn't come home this time? I would have to raise the baby entirely on my own; royal child or not, we weren't married, so his child would have no claims. I wouldn't even be able to prove it was his child. I took several deep breaths and did my best to calm myself down. I had to think positive. Loki would return and he would be happy to have a child with me. I couldn't stress myself with worry and negative thoughts; that couldn't be good for the baby. It then occurred to me that I knew little about babies. My sister was only four years younger than me so I had been too young to assist Mother in caring for her. I went searching through Loki's books and was pleased to find one that explained pregnancy, childbirth and child care. I read over the entire book and kept it close to me so I could refer to it often.
CHANGE TO LOKI'S POV
We honestly didn't expect it to take long to rid Alfheim of the fire giants invading their land. Apparently someone along the way underestimated the numbers of the giants and overestimated the numbers of Vanir already here. I suppose it could be that many of the Vanir had gotten injured. A good multitude of Vanir Mages are arrogant in their abilities and this is what happens when you get overconfident. Not to mention, there was only a very small number here skilled in elemental magic. It was the hardest to master and often feared by novices. There were few who bothered to learn it, even though it was highly effective. Upon our arrival, I easily spent most of my time attempting to heal the injured. Healing magic had never been my strongest suit, but I did what I could to ease their suffering and help speed their recovery. On more than one occasion, I found myself wishing Evelyn was here to help me. Healing was her forte. As much as I would love to have her assistance, I wouldn't want to put her in harm's way, so I certainly was not going to send for her.
One day faded into another in a mindless blur until two months had passed. I began to wonder when all of this would come to an end so I could go back home. I missed home and I missed my Evelyn. I found myself laying under the stars at night searching for Asgard among them and missing her. Her beautiful face framed by her dark brown wavy hair with lovely blue eyes, danced in my mind every time I closed my eyes. I loved her eyes; as blue as the sky on a clear summer day. Every night when I finally fell into an exhausted slumber I had dreams of her that were more like vivid sweet memories. The way she smelled, how her skin felt beneath my hands, the soft moaning that escaped her pretty lips when we made love, and the way she screamed my name when I made her come. I missed the feeling of her body against mine the most; warm, soft and smooth skin laying against me. She haunted my every thought and the longer we were there, the worse it got until some days I had trouble concentrating. I would have to drive down my mental images of her so that I could focus on the tasks at hand if I was to ever get home to her.
I couldn't believe how much she really did fill my mind. I'd never felt this way about the other women I'd taken for sex partners. Over the great many years I'd been alive, I'd had plenty of sex partners, but only one wife: Sigyn. My beautiful devoted bride who had promised to be with me always, even though I had deceived her into marrying me. In the end, I had loved her and her death was very painful for me. My children had also either died or were estranged from me. I had no one to love me anymore, but my Mother. Oh, I suppose Thor cared for me even though we annoyed each other more often than not. Isn't that what brothers do though? A Mother and brother were not the same kind of love though. Romantic love was all together different and I missed it. She was just a servant girl though. I had taken her as a lover because she was so beautiful and completely oblivious to it. Her lack of arrogance about her own appearance was a pleasant change; most women I knew were vain. Not Evelyn though; not my sweet little Evelyn. She had been so shy the first time I stripped her and gazed upon her glorious body. Her cheeks had flushed and she refused to meet my eyes. Then what did I do to this beautiful creature? I took her virginity. I made her my lover. I ruined her for other men. I felt a little guilty about the way I had so callously taken her, but I wasn't sorry I had ruined her for other men. I didn't want her to ever desire another man. I realized I was in love with her. My Evelyn. I had to get home to her no matter what.
One dreary day turned into another seemingly with the pace of glaciers in Jotunheim. I felt like this damned war would never end. We had been there nearly four months at this point. Every month more troops from Asgard arrived and more Mages from Vanaheim. At last the fire giants realized that it was no longer worth their trouble, so they surrendered; most of the ones that lived escaped to their home. At last! I could go home. Father and his guard would remain to deal with diplomatic issues, but the rest of us were free to return home. The seriously injured went first, then the other soldiers. As a member of the royal family, I was in the last group to return home. I was at last going to return to my Evelyn. My only regret is that I would not be going home to her uninjured. Thanks to my magic skills in illusions, no one here knew just how serious some of my injuries really are. I did the best that I could to heal them, but my resources were so depleted that I wasn't very successful. I was confident Evelyn would take care of me when I got home.
RETURN TO EVELYN'S POV
They were finally returning home! I received word from Katerina, the servant girl who was the only person, other than Loki, to show any concern for me. Heimdall had seen the end of the war and knew they would be returning the next day, after sending the seriously injured home first. I was eager to see my beloved and I hoped he would be pleased to see me. I could hardly contain the joy in my heart, so I had difficulty sleeping. I laid there, staring out the window at the beautiful full moon while gently rubbing my abdomen that was just beginning to show off the life growing within me; I kept thinking about how I would tell him I was carrying his child. In my imagination he was overjoyed with the news, swept me up into his arms kissing me passionately, then immediately proposed to me. It was a lovely fantasy, but in truth I had no idea how he would respond. He could be cold and calculating. It was very difficult to get a read on him because he worked hard to conceal his emotions from everyone. I eventually fell into a troubled sleep out of exhaustion. I had been tired a lot lately; I supposed growing a baby was tiring work.
I awoke with the dawn. I had no idea what time to expect them home. I had butterflies in my stomach fluttering frantically, so I barely ate breakfast. It had been so long since I saw him. I hoped he would be happy to see me. Not long after the servants had cleared away my breakfast dishes, they returned to scrub the chambers. Katerina apologized profusely for intruding on my morning solitude, but they would need to get the chambers properly in order for Prince Loki's arrival. He could often be moody when he returned home from war and liked everything ordered and cleaned in a certain manner.
Katerina took me aside after they had cleaned the bathroom and presented me with a black silk garment. "His highness gave this to me before he left asking me to present it to you on the morning he would return. He wants you to be wearing it when he arrives. It would be best if you take it and wash up now."
I took it from her and went into the bathroom to bathe. I examined the garment before I hung it up on the brass hook on the back of the door. It was a short black silk robe sized to fit my body. It had the letter E on the front left side intricately embroidered in the gold and green snaky style of Loki's long black robe. I turned it around and discovered the same gold and green snake on the back. I suppose this was meant to be a surprise gift for me. I found it curious that it was same as his. I wonder what this was supposed to mean?
I filled the tub with warm water and got in to bathe. I took my time, hoping it would help to calm my anxious nerves. I had put in some herbal oil I had made that was supposed to help relieve anxiety. I thoroughly cleaned myself and washed my hair. I got out after the water turned cool and dried my body, wrapping the towel around myself after. I stood before the mirror above the sink and carefully combed out my damp hair. I wanted to style it attractively for him. I decided to pin it up while leaving out curly tendrils to frame my face. An up-style would show off my neck and make it more inviting. I assumed that since he'd been gone for four long months, we would be spending the next few days in bed together. His passion could be insatiable; not that I minded. I then removed the towel and slipped into my soft silk robe. As I tied the emerald, black and gold sash I realized it reached ever so slightly below my mid-thigh level and showed off cleavage. I was just entering the now empty bedroom when I heard the sound of trumpets below.
I rushed out to the balcony and peered down below. No one below could see me from this vantage point, not that I expected anyone to be paying attention to higher levels of the palace anyway. Loki and Thor approached together. They both had smiles on their faces, but I could tell something was wrong with Loki. When people were sick or injured, I could see their auras. I had learned what this was and what the differing colors meant in one of the healing books. I had picked up for myself many years ago that it meant something was wrong since I never saw them in healthy people. As soon as they were out of my sight because they had entered the palace, I retreated to the chamber. I went to sit on the black leather sofa to wait for him. I was worried by what I'd seen. At last, the door to his chamber opened slowly and he entered, closing it quickly once he was in the room. He turned to look at me and I rose haltingly to my feet. I longed to rush into his arms and rain kisses upon his face, but what I saw before me frightened me. He was paler than I thought was possible and his aura was erratic and weak. We stood there staring at each other. His armor was singed in places, scratched up in others. He had a streak of blood and dirt across his forehead. I realized that when I saw him below, I was seeing the illusion he projected to everyone else. Now that we were alone, that illusion faded and I was seeing him as he really was. I finally moved toward him just as he sank to his knees. I caught him in my arms before he could fall forward. I felt a sudden jolt of intense pain sear my mind and body down to my core. I gasped in shock as I realized I was feeling just a shadow of the pain that wracked his body. I tried to block it out, but could not. I had never experienced this before and it frightened me. The only thing I knew to do was softly chant my healing spell to attempt to relieve a little of his agony. My bracelet quickly grew warm and the vibrating sound it normally made became louder.
As I ran my hand over his face and chanted repeatedly, he shifted in my arms so that he could see me. He was now laying down with his head and some of his upper body laying in my lap and arms. "Evelyn?" He asked, sounding so confused.
"Yes my love, it is me," I replied as I moved my hand down onto his chest and abdomen.
I could feel the tension in his body relax. He put his hand on my left cheek and said, "Thank you Darling. I've missed you so much."
My ears had to have deceived me. He missed me? He raised his head up to softly kiss my lips. He then carefully stood back up and walked cautiously toward his bed and sat down. I helped him out of his armor and clothing that he wore under it. It was worse than I thought it would be. I could feel tears burning my eyes as I took in his injuries. I went to the bathroom and grabbed several small towels, a couple of large ones and a basin to fill with warm water and few ground herbs of cleansing. When I returned to the bed, he was laying down, staring at the ceiling. I quickly began cleansing his wounds. He had gashes on his right arm, chest, and a small one on his forehead. It was the large gash on his left leg that went from his hip to halfway down his thigh that had me concerned. It was caked with dried blood and once I cleaned it, I realized it was rather deep. I got my balms and bandages and went to work on the smaller cuts and bruises. His ribs were an angry purple on the same side as his leg gash. He watched with interest as I hastily applied balms, bandaged and chanted. When I got to his face, he pulled me down for another gentle kiss. I couldn't help myself; I began to softly kiss his face and neck. He moaned lightly as if he was becoming aroused. I pulled back quickly and said, "We can't do that now Darling. I have to get you all fixed up."
I swiftly moved to the door and summoned his male servant. I ordered him to go retrieve a suture kit from the royal physician but to tell him only that it was needed, his services were not. He was to remain silent about Prince Loki's injuries. He rushed off immediately to get what I ordered while I returned to Loki. I retrieved the basin, took it to the sink where I emptied it and cleaned it, before refilling it with fresh warm water and herbs. I went back to Loki and began cleansing his leg wound again. It was still oozing blood. Fortunately I had thought to put a towel under it so the blood wouldn't get all over his black silk sheets; I knew they were his favorite and I didn't want to see them ruined.
He servant soon returned with a large suture kit that had plenty of thread. I was assured that it was sterilized already and ready to be used. I applied a balm I had made that would numb his skin for quite a while and began to carefully stitch up his large gash. I was grateful for my sewing skills so I could make the stitches small. It took me over half an hour, but I finally tied it off and snipped it with the tiny scissors that were in the kit. I then covered it with my healing balm for bleeding wounds and covered it with a series of bandages that wrapped around his leg.
By the time I finished, he was more relaxed and comfortable, while I was feeling drained and nauseous. When I took everything back to the bathroom, I couldn't help it, I threw up. I cleaned myself up afterward and went back out to be at his side. I sat on the bed, opposite of his massive leg wound and stroked his hair while I hummed a song I remembered my Grandmother used to sing to me when I was sick. After a bit he said, "That's a beautiful tune you have going there. Does it have words or it just music?"
I began to softly sing the lyrics. I felt his body relax even more. "I think your song is magical," he said in a whisper.
"It could be. My Grandmother used to sing it to me when I was sick and I always fell asleep."
"I may fall asleep soon. I haven't felt this relaxed in the last four months."
He then caught my hand in his and kissed my palm. "Evelyn, I missed you so much. It's good to be home and in your arms."
I felt myself tear up a bit. "You missed me, Milord?"
He looked up into my eyes then. His normally bewitchingly bright green eyes seemed so much more dim. He must have still been in a good deal of pain. His aura was a bit brighter though. "Of course I missed you. I...I love you Evelyn."
He seemed to wait with baited breath to see how I would respond to his confession of love. Those tears threatened to spill out of my eyes. I caressed his left cheek and replied, "I've missed you so much that the words don't even fully describe it. I've ached to have you by my side and in my arms again. I love you too."
He drew me down for a sweet kiss that was as passionate as he could manage in his state. "This body of mine better heal quickly. We have four months of separation to make up for my beautiful lover."
I giggled and kissed him again. I would have to figure out a way to tell him about the baby, but for now I wanted him to heal and regain his strength. It could wait a little while longer. He snuggled up next to me and soon fell into a peaceful sleep. I covered his nudity with his blanket just as his servants came in to gather up his clothes, armor and the blood stained towels. I asked Katerina to bring me a lot more bandages. She returned quickly with them, leaving them in a neat pile on the table where we had our meals. I soon dozed off as well. My sweet Prince had returned to me safely so I could rest at ease finally.
Surprise for Loki