“The difference between grace and mercy is simple.
Mercy is not getting what you deserve, and grace is getting
What you do not deserve.”
As Loki walked around the palace, he made his way to the gardens. He still couldn’t believe that Thor had simply let him go without a punishment. Yes, he had sentenced Loki to imprisonment in the palace, but it was no different from what his life had been before he’d escaped to Jotunheim. There was no added stipulation, there was no privilege removed. Nothing had changed.
He continued to walk, lost in his thoughts, until he heard someone come up beside him. Glancing over his shoulder he saw that it was Frigga.
“May I join you?” she asked.
Loki nodded. “Of course,” he replied, and the two continued to stroll through the variety of trees and flowers.
“I am pleased with Thor’s decision,” Frigga said as they walked.
Loki glanced at her. “I still don’t understand why he did it. He, more than any of you, would know every reason why I should be imprisoned, or better, executed.”
Frigga nodded slowly, considering her words. “That may very well be, but you have been given a second chance.”
“Why?” Loki questioned, stopping abruptly. “Why did he let me go?”
Frigga gave a soft smiled. “You ask a question that you already know the answer to, Loki.” She replied.
Loki stared at her, still not understanding, which nearly drove him mad. That, or he simply did not want to admit why.
Frigga laughed softly at Loki’s confusion. “The child, Loki,” she said at last. “She is why he has shown you grace.”
“I would have at least expected mercy from Thor,” Loki said absently.
Frigga’s smile faded slightly. “You were given mercy the day you were brought back and were not killed,” she replied. “And Thor has shown you much grace.”
Loki nodded slowly as he resumed walking. “But how did Caedra convince Thor?”
Frigga smiled again. “When she was there, with you, Thor at last saw the truth. He saw your love for her with his own eyes. He saw how you were with her. The way you held her, how you spoke to her. You’ve never treated anyone with such love.”
Loki nodded again. “She is an angel, mother,” he replied. “She is my light.”
“Then keep her as your light,” Frigga said with gentle encouragement. “She is what holds you back from the darkness you have for so long been lost in. The bond you two share is a powerful bond. She is your light and you are her guardian. For as much as you protect her from dangers, she protects you from yourself. Don’t ever let that bond be severed, for you will be again lost without her.”
“I swear I won’t,” Loki promised. “She is as her name means – a saving light.”
Frigga nodded. “Then go to your saving light,” she said, looking forward. Loki also turned his attention to the path before him.
As they rounded the corner, a few yards away near the fountain were Sif and Caedra. They were walking towards Frigga and Loki, though they weren’t extremely close just yet, and neither had noticed that they were not alone.
At the sight of Caedra, Loki felt relief and pride as he watched her walk. Her laugh, her smile, it was all Loki needed to see to keep any anger away from his heart. That was Caedra’s gift.
Caedra looked up quickly and saw Loki. Immediately her eyes grew wide with excitement as she tore away from Sif and started running towards him, calling his name with childish laughter.
Loki smiled and took a few steps towards her, and as she neared him he knelt in the ground with his arms out towards her. She ran to him and threw her arms around his neck, laughing with delight.
As Loki held her close, he felt the warmth of her love seep into him as it had so many times, and at last he understood why. She was his daughter. She was his saving light. She would be what kept him from the evil that was within him. He was not a perfect man, nor would be ever be, but for this child he would try. He had been alone and dead inside for so long, but with Caedra, he was alive again. He was done running from himself. He finally had a reason to start living again.
It had stared in the silence, with the soft sound of a child’s cry. It had been a journey that had showed Loki that he could still love and be loved. All that had been needed was someone to love him and trust him as Caedra – as his daughter – did.