DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Continued several weeks after 'Nightmares and Sorrow'.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To howlingturtle[at]hotmail.com

Odin: God of Matchmaking
By SilverTurtle


Rahne remembered pain. She remembered heat, fire, blood, screams. She felt her parched throat, knowing she'd inhaled smoke and flame, knowing she'd died and dissolved into bits. She thought about where that memory would come from. She'd been...saving students. The mansion had been under attack, falling apart. Students had been trapped. No one else was willing to go in and help them. Rahne couldn't let them die. She couldn't stand by and watch as students she'd seen every day, kids she'd taught, burned in a living version of Hell. She had run back in, though others had tried to stop her. She'd asked Scott to tell Dani she loved her, she couldn't leave without telling her best friend that, and she'd rushed head first back into the flames. She'd managed to save a handful more and dove back into the burning wreck. She remembered running through the halls seeking anymore trapped kids when the whole world had shaken with a deafening roar. It was so loud in her ears that it all faded into silence. The light had been so intense she'd been blinded. And the heat...the head had seared her to her soul. She'd known the explosion had killed her, had made peace with her own death the instant it happened. So why was she awake now with those memories?

"Ah!" a booming voice exclaimed into the air above her face, "Ye're awake lass? I knew ye would not stay slumbering o'er long."

Rahne's eyes popped open and she stared into the single eye of the bearded man above her. In her shock she reverted to her accented English as she sat up and gained her feet, "Who're you? Where am I? Is this Hell? It canna' be Heaven."

A hearty laugh was her answer, "Neither, lass. Ye lay in the Halls of Valhalla!" His voice echoed like thunder as the large muscular man opened his arms wide and turned to encompass all they could see in his open embrace.

"But tha's impossible! I dinna' believe it! It canna' be! This place does na' exist!" Rahne felt her head spinning and leaned heavily upon the table she'd risen from.

The man turned stormy eyes on the little redhead and rumbled lowly, "Does not exist? Lass, be careful of how ye speak of my realm. I assure ye, it exists as surely as do ye."

Rahne puffed out her cheeks and muttered, "Tha's the trouble. I'm dead. I know it. I felt it. So how did I come to be here?"

The man straightened up and laid a gentle hand upon Rahne's shoulder, "Twas I who brought ye here."

"You?" Rahne looked suspiciously upon the man making this claim, "And who're you to claim bringin' me back from the dead?"

The man's chest seemed to broaden, his armor gleamed, and lightning crashed as he looked into Rahne's eyes, "I, little one, am the Allfather. I am Odin. Master of Asgard. King of the Aesir."

Rahne felt her jaw drop and her heart pound. "Tha's not possible! I'm Catholic! I don't believe in you! I canna' be here!"

"Nevertheless, here ye are." The Allfather grinned down upon the little mutant, amused at her histrionics.

"Why?!" Rahne wailed. Confusion, crisis of faith, and fear warred for attention in her heart.

"Because one of my Valkyries needs ye, Rahne." Odin smiled benevolently upon her and continued, "She is a daughter of my heart and her heart is hurting without ye."

Dani landed before the halls of Valhalla, intent upon seeking Odin and receiving her new mission. She dismounted her winged horse and sent him back into the sky with a swat to his rump. She stalked up the stairs, her mood black, and flung open the doors to the hall.

"Odin?" She called, "I've returned."

"So I see, Valkyrie," Odin's voice boomed from the shadows of the hall drawing Dani's eyes to a particular table.

"Dani?" a breathless accented voice asked from Odin's side.

Dani hadn't noticed the small form beside the towering hulk of her master but now that it had spoken her eyes zeroed in on it. On her. On...it couldn't be! She's dead! "You're dead!" Dani accused.

"Yes," Odin said, "She's also here, lass."

Dani turned furious eyes to her god, "You made her a Valkyrie?!"

Odin took a cautious step back and raised his hands in submission, even he didn't want to be on the wrong side of an angry Valkyrie, "Nay, lass. I merely summoned her here." When he saw his Valkyrie's shoulders droop her put a gentle hand on Rahne's back and propelled her forward with an unexpected push.

Rahne stumbled the few steps to crash into Dani's arms, which came up to reflexively catch the slight weight of the one she'd claimed as her soul-mate.

Dani stood as stone, frozen with Rahne in her arms. She turned haunted eyes to her god and asked in a pained whisper, expecting some sort of trick, "Why?"

"Ye need each other," was the Allfather's simple answer. "And I need to be...elsewhere. Gods to rule, ye know how it is. Enjoy yerselves." Odin blinked out in a blinding flash and left the two alone.

"Dani," a small voice whispered into her chest, "Dani, is it really you? Am I really here?"

Dani felt tears flood down her cheeks and her heart squeeze painfully, with relief and love, "It's me, little wolf. You're here." The words bred belief and Dani wrapped her arms all the tighter around the young woman she'd sensed the death of weeks ago when she'd been unable to do anything about it. Her time since had been filled with wrathful reapings, bouts of rage and grief, battle fury, and a heart so wounded she feared it would never work right again. "Oh Rahne, I'm so sorry?"

"Sorry?" Rahne murmured, comfortable leaning against her taller friend, "What for, Dani? You've done nothing wrong."

Dani shook her head viciously, she pushed Rahne away to look her in the eyes, "I wasn't there!" she wailed in an anguished cry, "You died! And I wasn't there! I couldn't stop it! I wasn't with you! I should have been! I should have done something!"

Rahne reached up and cupped Dani's face in her hands, shaking her own head gently, "No, Dani. There's nothing you could have done. There's nothing anyone could have done. I was stupid and got myself killed."

"No!" Dani said fiercely, "I saw it Rahne. You were saving them. You're a hero!"

"Then what are you upset over, Dani?" Rahne smiled sweetly up at her friend, "I died well. The best way I could wish."

Dani felt more tears pour over her cheeks, burning down her face and flooding her eyes over and over again, "I wasn't there," she whispered brokenly, "I didn't get to say goodbye."

Rahne felt her own eyes well with tears of sympathy for the pain Dani had been through, but she saw things a little differently, "You dinna' have to. I'm here, saying hello."

Dani couldn't help it. She felt it growing in her chest, bubbling up her throat, and spilling from between her lips a lighthearted laugh. "You're right, carrot top. You usually are," Dani pulled Rahne close once more, pressing a fervent kiss to her lips, "And you have no idea how happy I am about that right now."

Dazed but pleased Rahne responded, "Oh, I think I may have some idea." She tilted her face up and claimed Dani's lips in a much softer, reassuring kiss.

Dani smiled. Rahne was here. Her soul-mate was with her once again. She felt all the hurt she'd been carrying since Rahne's death dissipate. She smiled wider when she realized Odin had brought Rahne's soul here to be with her, a gift to surpass all gifts. She kissed Rahne's temple and held her close. Rahne was a spirit given physical form unable to die and Dani was immortal...and Odin had given them all eternity to be together. Dani was looking forward to it. "I have quarters here," Dani said leadingly, "Perhaps you'd like to see them?"

Rahne looked at her with a grin that was almost too salacious for her sweet face, "Lead the way."

The End

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