Every moment of the Allfather’s silence was another weight on Thor’s shoulders. He knew defying him more than once was not going to win him any favors — but surely a just and noble king would see reason?
“Very well,” Odin said. “You are free of your bonds, Loki. You have proven a good amount of your innocence in this matter.”
There was silent rejoice, and Odin dismissed both Sif and Loki, ordering Thor to remain behind for a few moments.
“You are noble indeed, my son,” the Allfather observed. “To watch the woman you love be with another.”
Thor swallowed the lump forming in his throat before he turned his back, preferring to speak to Sif’s disappearing shadow than face his father. “It is her life, her freedom.”
Sif held her breath as they stood silently awaiting the All-Father’s judgement, hardly daring to hope that he might finally see reason. When he finally spoke, she nearly wanted to weep for relief, happiness that Loki might be free, and that her King’s wisdom had not failed her this time.
And Thor! How noble a brother, how honorable a man he was. She had always known this. “My King,” she murmured reverently, abiding the pain as she dipped to one knee before the throne. “My Prince,” she added before she rose, a barely suppressed smile pursing her lips as she turned, meant only for Thor. She gave a slight nod of her head in thanks to him, a conspiratorial gesture she shared often with her Prince.
Walking tall and apart from Loki, the Lady managed a neutral expression as she walked from the golden hall.
Loki was stunned—speechless and frozen. It took Sif’s movement into a genuflection to remind Loki that he should be doing the same. Hurriedly he copied the gesture, remaining on his knee a moment longer than she had. He didn’t speak—he didn’t trust his voice to utter words that wouldn’t get him right back into trouble.
He rose and turned without looking up at Odin, but raised his face to give Thor a glance of mute wonder as he hurried past. Once outside the doors of the throne room he stopped and leaned against the wall, waiting for Thor to emerge with the key and remove the hated shackles.
He raked his hands through his hair—and only then realized that they shook.
They did not have to wait long, for a guard emerged moments later with a key. Thor was keeping his father’s council for a time. She would remember to thank him later, for both her life and Loki’s.
Without a word, she watched as the man turned the key, listened to the sharp ‘clang’ the cursed metal made when it fell to the floor. The guard stooped to unchain his ankles. Sif knew not what to make of everything — even by Asgardian standards, it was quite a busy day. And regardless of appearances, she was not completely healthy just yet.
For what felt like an emotionally charged moment, it was over very quickly. Suddenly she found herself alone in the vast corridor with Loki, newly freed. What would he do now? she wondered. Where would he go? How would he lie?