"Haddock Reunites with His Family" is a Season 3 thread that occurs on February 8, 2015.
Haddock walks back with Stonegit to his family's chambers, though Stonegit remains outside to guard. Mera reluctantly lets her husband inside. Haddock immediately heads to the back room to reunite with his children, whom he has not seen in a year. Egil is frightened upon seeing his father in the doorway, thinking he is a ghost. Mera rushes up to her son and encourages him that this is indeed his father, and that he is safe. Egil loosens up, warming up to his father yet again after Haddock reaches up to tickle him. The king also picks up his fourteen month old daughter, who is shy and frightened of him. Mera informs Haddock that Signy's development has been slow. Haddock has the children return to bed and then shuts the door.
Full Text Edit
Although Mera was stiff and silent, not once speaking to him even as she shut the door behind him, the king at least was thankful she had let him in. He stepped in without the intention of speaking up and irritating her. Instead, his eyes roved the room for the children.
"They’re in the back room," Mera said bluntly. She stood a far distance away from him.
He was somewhat surprised when she followed behind he husband. “They might be scared,” she said, reminding him implicitly of the last time Egil had seen Haddock. Though Mera had told Haddock earlier that she explained the incident away as an apparition, the tense but sad way in which Mera held herself suggested that Egil still struggled from the encounter. Nightmares, maybe. or something.
Haddock supposed he would find out. He entered the room.
Signy was tucked in her crib and Egil in a bed. The boy stirred, however, as soon as the door creaked open, and he blinked weary eyes toward his visitor. His eyes gaped when he saw the tall figure of his father in the doorway.
"Mom!" he shrieked. "Mom, it’s a ghost! A real live ghost! Maaa!"
"Sh, sh, now dear," Mera murmured, charging past her husband quickly and straight to Egil’s side. She hugged the boy close up to her and whispered, "It’s not a ghost. This is your dad, okay? He’s here. It’s safe. You’re safe."
Haddock felt something blocking his throat. After hesitating, he stepped slowly forward and knelt down in front of Egil, looking the boy eye to eye.
"Hey there, bud," he murmured with a small smile.
Egil seemed baffled, not knowing what to say. He looked up to his mom. “You sure it’s him?”
"You bet I’m your father," Haddock said. "I know everything about you. Things only a father knows all about his precious boy."
Egil, looking less timid now and more fierce, demanded, “I wanna see it.”
"Well, first off," the king said, "I know you’re ticklish beneath the ribs."
The boy’s eyes bulged indignantly. “No, Dad, no!”
But Haddock reached forward and grabbed under the boy’s arms, tickling him as he did so. The boy’s pout turned into a laugh, squealing out, “Noooo, stop it!”
Haddock’s worry melted into a far more relaxed state. He yanked up the boy, pulling him into his lap while sitting on the floor, groaning, “Come here you.” As he plopped Egil down, he said, “You’re getting big.”
"Well yeah. I’m a swordfighter. I’m a big warrior. I’m as good as you."
"Oh are you?" Haddock raised his eyebrows up at the boy. "I guess we’ll have to see to that, won’t we? But not tonight!" he exclaimed as soon as Egil began squirming to grab his toy sword. "It’s past bedtime for you, bud!"
"I don’t care. I’m not tired." Egil yawned.
"I’m sure not."
Haddock let his son scramble off his lap. It allowed him to stand and head over to Signy, who had woken up from Egil’s squeals. “The Allfather’s beard, someone else has grown a lot, too,” he marveled, awed, and reached up to hold his daughter. She immediately froze, surprise bugging out of her eyes and falling silent.
"Oh come on, it’s your dad," Haddock murmured, realizing that the child had not seen him for so long he was but a scary stranger. He cradled the one-year-old in the nick of his arm, staring at her for a while, even as her eyes wandered off.
"She’s very quiet for her age. First word?" Haddock asked. "I assume I missed it?"
"It was ‘dad’," Mera admitted, reluctantly responding to her husband. "Egil talked so much about you that Signy picked it up first. I don’t know if it counts as a first word because I’m not sure she knows all of what it means…" Mera shrugged sadly, acknowledging the fact her husband had been away, "…but that was the first repeated syllable she seemed to keep saying intentionally."
"Well, here’s Dad," Haddock turned to Signy. Her eyes still stared away from him, but he pulled her chin so the round-cheeked girl could look up at him.
"Daaaa," she answered, though she still seemed very intimidated.
"You really are a timid one."
"The doctors are starting to wonder if her development is… slow," Mera admitted. She glanced down at her hands. "She’s not maturing like Egil did. Much slower."
Haddock leaned in and gently kissed Signy on the forehead. “Precious girl,” he told her, and placed her carefully back in bed. He turned, glared at Egil, and said, “Young man, it IS your bedtime.”
His son sulked and returned to his pillow. But even as he lay back down, he asked, “You’re stayin’ now, Dad. Right?”
Haddock glanced once at Mera, whose face turned expressionless. She was far from happy with him still, even for all she was being mild in front of the children. He tried to stifle a sigh, answering his son optimistically, even if he was not sure himself, “Of course. And Dad’s not leaving again.”