28-TORUNN-Some Things Change

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A/N: ...Let me just apologize in advance for the feels this may cause 😥. It had to happen. (TORRUN IS BACKKKK!!!! *throws confetti*)

I can feel again...I can feel... Pain gushes through my foot as a piece of glass from the strange box splices through my tender skin. But I welcome the pain. Anything is better than that.....life in the void.... Though I am not bothered I tread carefully, wishing to avoid any other intrusion to unguarded heel. I feel almost as if I am in chains. The sheer weight of my gown is ridiculous. What purpose does it serve? The fabric gleams and shines with the very magnitude of gold itself. Is the element woven into the fibers? The absurdity of the gown only prompts me to discover my whereabouts even more.

Where am I? I lift my long, heavy skirt so that I can move quickly and hopefully without noise. Who knows where my body was kept...I manage to walk through the doorway into an all too familiar hallway. I sigh in relief as I gaze upon the ornate, pillars that rise above the marble floor. This is Asgard...my realm...

Relief surges through me and I laugh, happy to be safe and free at last. I did it....I'm awake!

I confidently walk towards the throne room. I shall see my Father at last! A servant passes by me and nearly drops his goblet when he recognizes me.

"Mi-Lady!" He exclaims as he bows as low as his back will allow him. I give him a quick smile, but leave him behind. Father is waiting.

As I turn the corner I hear the sound of the great doors that lead to the heart of the palace close with a clatter. Pounding footsteps echo down the hall and before I take another step my father's arms are wrapped around me.

"Fathe-"I choke as tears trickle down my cheek and splatter onto his shining armor.

"Torrun...I...I thought I'd lost you..." His voice quakes as he repeatedly kisses my forehead and embraces me even more.

We stand like this for moments that seem lost in time. As I lay my cheek against his crimson cape fear edges into my mind. What about what I did? How I left? My newfound power...I... He seems to sense my sudden stiffness as he pulls away for the first time.

"We shall have a banquet! Asgard will celebrate your return! Ballads will be sung! My daughter has returned!"

I drop his hand and take a step away. I close my eyes and look to the floor as I quietly voice my fear. "Do they know? Do they know what I am?"

When he hears my whisper his smile morphs into a discouraged frown.

"No. They do not. You are a Princess to them. The future queen. Nothing more. You need not worry. They will neither fear you nor acknowledge your power." He says with a confident nod.

I am not sure of whether I should be feeling relief or disappointment. It is a burden to bear...this inheritance....I do not even know how to control it....Until I have mastery perhaps it is best to keep it hidden...to bury it...

I push the horrors of captivity from my mind and try to regain the joyful spirit I had moments before. Where is that energy, that life? My Father lays a hand on my shoulder and begins to walk.

"We have much to discuss...You and I....As for now let us celebrate our reunion. We shall settle these matters at a later time."

His words are final and sincere. My betrayal has not been forgotten...I have returned to the same world I left...

"How was I freed?" I question. Did I do it? Perhaps Hela was defeated or exiled?

"The details are unknown to me. After Hela declared that I would receive no entry to her realm the mortal you brought here and a small band of his fellow warriors left to bargain with the witch. It is apparent that they were successful." He says simply.

The mortal I brought here...FRANCIS? He survived...I saved him...These trials of mine were not in vain....A band of warriors...Could those be the other members of the team?

"Are they here? Have they returned?" I frantically ask, concerned for their welfare after their venture to Nifleheim. Who knows what Hela would do to them.....

"I left my position in Heimdall's observatory as soon as he informed me that you were conscious. Unfortunately I do not know their present location," My father looks at me sadly, sympathy filling his eyes.

Please be safe...Let no harm befall them....I move as fast as I can manage in my dress down the corridor. I want to be the first to welcome them when they return. They will come back... My father trots beside me wordlessly.

A familiar streak of white hair enters my vision.

"Francis!" I call to direct his attention to me. Within a second he turns around and freezes when he sees me.

"Torrun," he says softly, almost hesitant to say my name. Then his demeanor changes and he walks with confidence towards me, even dropping the bow in his grip without any hesitation.

My father stands to the side, watching, but not saying a word. What he must think....

Francis reaches for my hand and I allow him to take it.

"Hey, beautiful."

I'm unable to find the words to respond. So many emotions flood my head, but I can't find a way to voice them. Relief, fear, uncertainty, and happiness all make themselves present in my thoughts. My cheeks burn and I wind up releasing a small smile to ease the tension within me.

"Hey..." My voice trails off when he leans down with the clear intention to press his lips against mine. I...I can't...What do I do? Francis....I can't.... I tilt my head to the side so that I just barely avoid him. He's so close and I can hear his loud swallow when he realizes what I've done.

Silver eyes, only inches away flicker with confusion and for once his mouth gapes open, speechless.

"I...I can't..." My hoarse voice is just loud enough to where he can understand.

"I just can't...I've changed...Give me time...something..." Broken sentences are all I can conjure in this rushed, emotion charged moment.

He slowly releases my palm and takes a step back. "Take all the time you need. I'll be here, waiting."

I'm sorry... The enormous gown I am wearing only seems to get heavier as my energy level declines with the deflation of the moment. I cast him an apologetic look before gazing past him at two other familiar figures. James! Azari! Even though they both have enormous smiles across their faces they approach with apparent caution. They must have witnessed what happened with Francis and I....I pale for a second when it dons on me that my father saw it as well.

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