And Kirsty, Bjorn, Mikael and Sven…
Well, I am old enough and wise enough to know there is no such thing as ‘happily ever after.’
But I know something more important…
Love is the only thing that can save any of us.
There is a tiny bit left to finish up but it is more of an epilogue than anything else. Just wrapping up some things and setting up some more stuff….assuming some of you wants more that is…
Goddess bless you all with the life changing love that I have found with Cookie Monster…and that Kirsty, Bjorn, Mikael and Sven share.
Sven smiled down at Kirsty as his mother finished cleaning and straightening her and the bed. He could barely focus upon his wife’s face through the blur of tears that he made no attempt to hide as he held the tiny wriggling blanket in his arms.
The baby had an impossibly fine sprinkling of blondish-red down upon the top of her tiny head and the most piercing blue eyes that seemed to stare directly into his soul…and found him wanting. He had not released her since his mother had wrapped her in the blanket and passed her to him before turning back to deliver her little sister.
He was not sure if it had been minutes, seconds or hours before her heard the lusty cry of her sister join the chorus with the whimpers that had begun to quiet as he rocked her gently in his arms. The passage of time had meant nothing then. It reminded him of that thing his mother had tried her best to teach him something about relativity, but all he had been interested in then was the sea.
But everything was changing now. And as he had stared into those old eyes of their newborn, he knew it was time that he did too. Past time in fact.
The three of them had barely made it back to her bedroom before this tiny bundle had made her surprise entrance into the world. It had taken everything inside of him to allow Mikael and Bjorn to practically carry him up the stairs with one on either side and his arms wrapped about their shoulders. His legs, despite all these months of therapy under her less than tender care and supervision, had been virtually useless as they dragged behind them.
He bent and kissed the fuzzy head as his eyes met Kirsty’s. The lump in his throat felt the size of a fist and he had trouble swallowing around it. But he forced a reassuring smile to her anyway.
It was more than just his legs that was broken…and he knew it. Those steps had broken the pride that had been his warrior’s shield against the perversities of this life. But sitting there holding his baby daughter, surrounded by all the people that he loved and loved him, he knew that it was worth it.
He might not know where he went from here. How he would overcome the insurmountable challenges that loomed over him like the cliffs of the fjord that surrounded the Holding. But he knew that those same cliffs were what had protected this land from invasion and kept it safely in their family’s hand for hundreds of years. And he was determined that it would remain that way for these little girls too.
“I know they are not the sons you wanted, Sven.”
He shook his head and laughed as he reached for her hand, “It doesn’t matter. You are safe and they are healthy.”
She smiled and nodded with that all too familiar look that he had come to know meant that she was drawing a line, “I am glad you see that. Because some things are changing around here. This family has three daughters, who will grow into three strong shield maidens,” she paused for just a moment as she held out her arms for the baby.
He did not want to release the tiny package that weighed heavier than ever upon his shoulders. But he was coming slowly to realize that it was not just his shoulders anymore. That this was a family. A team. Together they would make a way through the turbulent waters.
He kissed the baby’s head one more time before surrendering her to Kirsty’s arms. She smiled at him before holding out her other arm to take her sister from Bjorn’s arms. His heart stopped when Kirsty nodded to Mikael to sit with Monika on the other side of the bed next to them.
She looked from one brother to the other, “This is not just a new decade or new century. It is a new millennium, a new world. And these girls have as much right as any sons we may ever have to choose their destinies. Njord and the Holding are their heritage too. If they want to fish, that is their right.”
She looked him directly in the eye when she spoke again, “And no more primogeniture. Who captains the boat is decided on ability not age. Leadership and responsibility is shared. Not just for them but for us too from now on.”
She smiled at Petrine then, “I think one of your country men said it well. ‘A house divide against itself cannot stand.’ From now on this family fights to save our way of life…not against one another. Am I understood?”
Bjorn was the first to nod. Just as he had been the first to see this one’s potential. Mikael smiled as he too nodded, “Ja, lilla gumman.”
Sven tried his best to use his sternest Dom face when he replied, “Seems to me, someone is forgetting again who is the sub and who are the Doms.”
She shook her head and sighed, “No, that I shall never forget. But I am not that shy, confused and inexperienced girl you met in that café in Tilbury anymore, Sven. Time, experience and your loves most of all have crafted her into a shield maiden.”
“And while in this room she will always be yours to command, to dominate, she has become so much more than that. I am your wife, the mother of your children and your partner. Your full partner in all that life throws at any of us,” tears spilled from the corner of her eyes as they pleaded with him.
He would have continued the teasing except that he recognized she did not realize that was what he was doing. Instead he too nodded as he bent and kissed her softly on the lips, “And I would not want it any other way.”
“Now you figure this our?” It was her turn to tease him. “Oh and one more thing. These girls are ours. All of ours. Monika too. Children are meant to be loved not claimed like package at an airport. There will be no more…mine or yours in this family. Only ours. Do I make myself clear?”
Sven considered her words carefully. For the first time in history, they possessed the technology to painlessly settle the argument of who’s your daddy. No need to look for eye or hair coloring, signs of paternity that were tenuous at best among brothers. A simple swap and there would be no doubt.
But she was right in this too. It just did not matter. Biology and DNA mattered less than love and responsibility. Shared as one. “Yes, elskling,” he replied.
She laughed as more tears slipped down her cheek, “That was easier than I thought. Only one thing left to decide. Names.”
Monika jumped up and down excitedly on the bed next to them. “Elsa. Elsa. Elsa and Anna,” she cried out.
“Oh no,” the three brothers sighed in unison, knowing they had all been bested by a five year old.
Mikael kissed the top of Monika’s curls and looked over it firmly at Kirsty, “I blame you. It’s all your fault for teaching this one to talk. Now she never shuts up.”
Sven chuckled as he fought back tears of laughter and joy. He tried to remember a time when he felt closer to his brothers, his family. But he could not.
She had done this for them. In the space of a year, she had taken three shockingly different and damaged men…brothers…and united them as a family. Her understanding, patience and especially love had healed them all…even their mother. She had brought them together as nothing else ever could.
He leaned in and kissed her again, “Æ ælske dæ.”
She smiled as both girls began to fidget and cry louder, “Æ ælske dæ. You too. All of you. But I think right now, I need to feed these babies.”
Petrine stepped from behind her sons’ shadows with tears streaming down her cheeks, “Yes, and then get some sleep.” She began to fuss and help arrange the pillows and babies to make Kirsty comfortable as she shooed them all away.