She was right. I had not been thinking anything resembling straight. And I had…I knew now in a rush why I had never asked her. Because when the person with the power asks, the one with less power can only say yes.
That was why men proposed to women. But with her asking, with that look in her eyes, the knowledge that she was not only asking because it was, yes, the obvious answer.
“I…thought you would never ask.”
Now I did offer her a hand up. As I touched her hand, fire washed over her, but it did not burn her.
Instead, it settled into her eyes and form. “Oh…wow…”
I grinned. “Welcome to Muspelheim…my queen.”
And this time the roar from the crowd was uncertain, but far less conflicted. “Will you accept both of us?”
Great. I was going to need a lot of advice. We were. But I stood with my hand in hers, feeling the land flow into me.
There would be a lot of learning, but we would learn it together. I did the only thing I could do.
I kissed her.
Odin smiled. “Well, I think that settles that. I think I will leave you ladies to your planning.”
“I was not sure he’d approve,” she whispered to me.
“Approve? That’s the god who gave up an eye so he could understand women and women’s magic better,” I murmured back. Meaning he wasn’t exactly a bastion of traditional gender roles.
And he had already turned away. The brief visit was, I knew, a statement.
It was a peace offering. From Odin. That might break the cycle more than anything else.
A peace offering, and I felt the tension flow out of me as he remounted and left. I could have sworn Sleipnir winked at me.
The two valkyries left with him. My mother, of course, stayed.
For right now, though, I was not about to release Kanesha’s hand to go to her.
Neither of us was willing to let go of the other.