Frigga felt her husband before she turned to acknowledge him standing behind her chair. Swinging one arm gracefully over its back and holding a chalice in the other, she turned to smile serenely at Odin, who extended a gloved hand to his wife.
"Might I interest you in a dance, my lady?" her husband asked, mirroring Frigga's smile.
The designated royal dancing area had cleared out, its previous inhabitants of young and energetic royals had disappeared. Due to free-flowing ale and wine, everyone knew where the youthful members had fled.
Standing gracefully from her seat, Frigga took her husband's hand and allowed him to lead her around the dais and into the dancing area. Courtiers and servants bowed deeply when the couple passed by, stepping to the side to allow them to pass through. Odin's slight smile, barely perceptible, contrasted with his wife's beaming countenance; she smiled and laughed with everyone they passed, from noble to maidservant. They made a handsome couple; the reserved and imposing husband, and the outgoing and approachable wife. Upon reaching the dancing area, Odin gracefully spun Frigga around and placed a hand lightly around the small of her back. She responded by placing her free hand upon Odin's gilded shoulder. The gleaming armor her husband sported complemented the muted golden dress that Frigga wore. Together, they danced slowly and serenely around the floor.
"Thor is rather stately this evening," Odin noted, switching hands with Frigga and leading her in the opposite direction.
She nodded slowly.
"Yes. He looks every inch a king," she responded, allowing Odin to change direction of their dance. "But Jane seems…anxious," she finished, searching for the proper word to describe her eldest son's betrothed.
"Yes, I had noticed her disappearance some time ago," Odin replied, his eye darting around the feast room, which was becoming more boisterous, if possible. "And do not think, Frigga, that I missed Loki leading her away from the dais. I assume the idea was yours."
Frigga smirked. "Why, husband, I wouldn't dare suggest such a thing. Thor himself called for Loki to escort Jane." She shrugged her shoulders and quickly switched hands with Odin, forcing him to lead the pair in the opposite direction again.
Odin sighed. "Frigga, I feel the same as you regarding this matter. Thor and Jane are not properly suited. I felt it as soon they stood before me in the Throne Room." He spun his wife deftly in a tight circle before resuming. "Why do you think I've been so distant to her? She would die, emotionally and spiritually, if forced to remain here as Thor's wife."
Frigga frowned and looked away, down past the tables laden with food and ale, out the balcony doors. Her eyes searched for her son and Jane, but the pair was hidden from view. Suddenly, a flash of black and green darted from a corner and descended the stairs into the garden. She then noticed Jane wandering out from the wall and throwing herself onto a marble bench. Frigga sighed and turned back to Odin.
"But you do have another son," she whispered, her voice nearly imperceptible but to her husband. She stopped moving her feet and allowed Odin to fling her gracefully away from him, only to return, twirling, into his arms. With hands resting on her husband's chest, she murmured into her husband's ear. "You know this. You have seen it."
As the music ended, Odin bowed to his wife as she returned a flowing curtsy. Before they could exit, he again pulled his wife against his armored chest.
"I have seen it," he whispered back. "And I cannot say anything. And neither will you. If Thor thinks we played a hand in his marriage's ending, it may further widen the rift between him and Loki, a thing that must not happen."
Odin closed his eyes and leaned a cheek against his wife's forehead.
"Frigga," he said quietly, "Loki and Thor still have parts to play together. I will not allow a mortal woman to come between them. They must reach this conclusion on their own." With that, he again took Frigga's hand in his own and began the walk to the dais.
Beside him, Frigga glanced out to the balcony, and noted a flash of grey as Jane dashed down the stairs to the garden. She smiled.