This Too Is Peace
by Rana Eros

Written for the challenge of "mistletoe" in the Winter 2008 round of Wishes for Kisses. Betaed by Eliza.

She saw this when she was a girl, again when her bright son was born. She has never been able to turn aside any of the things she's seen, and still she took the oath of nearly every living thing not to harm him. Still she has allowed these contests, these games, as though his invulnerability were ever anything but a false hope.

He was dead before he hit the ground.

His wife makes a terrible, choked sound, opens her mouth and gasps up blood, falling where she stands. There is no other sound, no other movement but beside Hodr, whose white eyes bulge as though he could see what he has wrought if he opens them wide enough. The one who guided his spear smiles at her, sharp-toothed, and in that moment she knows him.

"Loki." The name is bitter, bitter, and she sounds like Baldr's wife when she speaks it. He smiles wider.

"You should have made the mistletoe swear, Frigg."

I should have, she thinks, but the other gods are stirring at last, and she must act before Loki vanishes. She raises her hand to her mouth, presses her lips there, then tilts her fingers and blows across her palm. She has never tried this before, but the kiss is hers, the bond it creates, and for her son, she will stretch that meaning. Loki watches her, bemused, until she feels the connection and drops her hand.

"Interesting," he says, and it's clear he doesn't know what she's done.

It's her turn to smile like an unburned skull. "Run, Sly-One. You are marked now."

It cannot be said he's not clever; he raises his own hand, opens the palm and stares at it. One moment, one flash of his eyes back to her, and then he runs.


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