This part of my ongoing tale follows immediately afterhttp://uncawes.livejournal.com/3249.html
Champions sports bar in the Marriott wasn’t exactly the most romantic place to contemplate the events of the past 24 hours. But, it was close, it was quick, and Grant and Lea both had work that needed doing for Kublacon. So, Champions it was.
They persuaded the hostess to put them in a booth, a little bit away from where the other patrons were seated. Not that they expected to have much privacy but every moment mattered right now.
“This is strange” Grant began. “We’ve been friends for so long, and I’m wondering if last night was real, or if the Guinness took over.”
Lea gave him a look that women give men the world over. That ‘how can you be so stupid when it comes to relationships’ look.
“It’s possible the beer had something to do with me opening up like I did. But it was going to happen sometime this weekend. Once you told me on Facebook that Jo had left you, I had every intention of testing the waters. Maybe not quite as quickly as it happened, but before the weekend was out.”
Grant’s eyebrows shot up.
“Really? You came here planning to hit on me?”
“Yup. Is that a problem?”
“No problem. I was just thinking, if you planned this ahead of time, you could have arranged it so we didn’t both have other room mates.”
He winked, and Lea rolled her eyes.
“I’m a mere mortal, not a goddess. I didn’t do the room assignments. Besides, what if you’d rejected my advances?”
Now it was Grant’s turn to roll his eyes.
“If you thought that was a possibility, you’d have never made a move, drunk or sober.”
Lea nodded in agreement.
The burgers arrived and the conversation stopped for a few minutes. For a chain sports bar, Champions burgers aren’t half-bad.
Grant finished first, either because his appetite or his mouth were bigger than Lea’s.
“Here’s my thinking then. Since we don’t live on the same continent, let alone the same area – yet – we’ll have to see how well we cope with a long distance relationship until Jack’s done with school.”
Lea nodded, her mouth full of lettuce from the burger she’d almost demolished. She knew Grant well enough to figure a song quote was about to happen. He didn’t disappoint her.
“Everybody wants a flame,
They don’t want to get burnt
And today is our turn
Days like these lead to...
Nights like this lead to
Love like ours.
You light the spark in my bonfire heart.
People like us—we don’t
Need that much, just someone that starts,
Starts the spark in our bonfire hearts.” *
Lea shook her head, but with a smile that went all the way to her eyes. If she was going to have a relationship with this man that went past platonic, she was going to have to get used to his musical mind.
This part of the tale follows immediately afterhttp://uncawes.livejournal.com/6248.html
Hel and Baldr stood with Frigga, Thor, and Sif, on the dais beside Odin’s bier. Frigga had insisted Hel accompany Baldr to Asgard this once, so things could be set right.
The great hall was filled with the Aesir and other Asgardians, come to pay their respects to the fallen king.
An empty helmet topped the body, where his head should have been. There were faggots stacked all around the bier, and they were very dry.
All five of the gods were acutely aware of the stares being directed at Hel. Some looked at her wondering why she was there. Others could scarce conceal their loathing of the monster they had been taught she was.
Frigga struck the marble floor with her staff and the great hall fell silent.
“Fellow citizens of Asgard, we are here today to send one king on his final journey, and to enthrone a new king.”
Thor winced at that, but said nothing.
“We must also take note of recent events. The legends say that Hodr must kill Baldr and that will start Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods.”
She pointed dramatically to Hel, and to Baldr.
“These two gods have shown us we have a choice. They chose to defy the legends, to pursue a different course. My husband, Baldr’s father, your late king, could not accept this choice. He stubbornly refused to believe anything other than what the legends decreed was possible. He paid for that stubbornness with his life.”
Frigga paused to wipe away an unqueenly tear or two. Queens might have to be regal at all times, wives are permitted to cry at their husband’s funeral.
Having regained her composure, Frigga continued her tale.
“As we have been shown to have a choice, so I now ask our new king to rule with an open mind and on open heart.”
With that, she struck her staff on the floor once more, and the five gods moved away from the bier as Ullr lit an arrow and shot it into the faggots.
Bragi, as he had been asked by Baldr to do, struck up a mortal song.
“We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since Asgard's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But he tried to fight it” **
As Bragi finished the words, Thor spoke to the assembly, his voice rising over the crackling of the flames.
“No more shall we follow like sheep. If you choose to fight the fire, you are free to do so. Let the Fates fall where they may, we will no longer be chained to them like prisoners waiting for the axe to fall. Now, go to the Feasting Hall, where we will all celebrate a blót to honour my father.”
He pointed at Hel.
“Yes, I meant ALL. You will join us, and you will henceforth be invited to feasts in Asgard should you wish to attend.”
Hel nodded her assent, and Baldr’s grin spread from ear to ear as the mourners filed out as their new king had decreed.
For those who came in late, you can read the whole story, in order, by following the links herehttp://uncawes.livejournal.com/5650.html
* from Bonfire Heart, James Blunt
** from We Didn’t start the fire, Billy Joel. Slightly modified to fit the locale