A/N: This is my first fanfiction in about six years. Wild! Sorry if it's melodramatic and boring, but I couldn't shake the idea. Anyway, this is a two-parter that might grow if I feel up to writing more. Enjoy.
"The Bright one in the highest
Is brother of the Dark one in the lowest,
And Bright and Dark have sworn that I, the child
Of thee, the great Earth-Mother, thee, the Power
That lifts her buried life from loom to bloom,
Should be for ever and for evermore
The Bride of Darkness."
- Persephone and Demeter, Alfred Tennyson
Thor watches her quietly as she pads across the carpet of her domicile, arms laden with the equipment he still cannot name. His eyes follow the flex of her thighs and calves beneath the short, torn denim as she sits on her heels, lovingly wrapping every piece in rags and towels like a mother might swaddle her newborn babe. She sets them into her luggage and arranges and rearranges, a puzzle of plastic, metal, and glass. She does not spare him even a glance as she travels to and fro, though he knows she must feel his eyes upon her every time she bends and straightens. She does not deign to acknowledge the uncharacteristic silence that is suspended taut between them. He is unsure if she notices it.
"Were you only able to tell me where it is you go, I would not be so vexed by your absence." He pushes the lie through his teeth, weary of the quiet. It is a lie because he would still be vexed by her absence, very much so. Maybe even more so. He knows her answer before it passes her lips.
"I can't, Thor, you know that. If I could, I would." She replies, halting on her path. Her expression is soft and her tone sympathetic, but these are lines from a script they have performed many times before. He knows her reaction is rote.
She has tried to tell him, but when she does, her tongue cleaves to the roof of her mouth, shielding the secret from his knowledge. When she attempts to write it or draw it, her hand cramps violently and whatever writing utensil she is using snaps beneath her seizing palm. She cannot even describe it to him; her normal eloquence is stunted into awkward gesturing as the proper vocabulary escapes her. The notebooks she keeps on her research are indecipherable to him. It is a maddeningly powerful spell that commands her.
Jane continues with her task and he continues watching her. Wherever it is she goes, she does not take anything but her contraptions. There must be much to study there. Every necessity must be provided for her. If she were to bring clothing, then he might be able to deduce the climate of her prison, which would narrow the possibilities, which would bring him nearer to finding where it is she is kept. Not by much, but he cannot allow him even that concession, apparently. The realms are too vast for him to find her without a hint; he has already tried and his opponent is far too thorough.
She has changed. In the months prior to her first abduction, she seethed, she fought with tooth, nail, and science to find a way to wrest herself from his grasp and he fought alongside her. When she left, tears of frustration and anger hovered along the rims of her eyes, but her pride did not allow them to fall. Those cursed three months were the longest of his life - a considerable length when his age is taken into account. Rage boiled in him for every minute of every hour of every day, excepting the moments he allowed himself to succumb to the unfamiliar sensation of complete and utter helplessness. His rage cooled to a simmer only when she returned, whole and healthy, but blank-faced. Different. Since then, her behavior follows the patterns of the seasons. When she returns, she is distant, but her kisses and touches increase in frequency as the weather warms. When summer touches North America, she is his again entirely. When the temperature cools, so does she, her affections fading with the leaves on the trees. Come the first day of winter, she is taken from him yet again. Tomorrow, she will be gone.
It never occurs to him to leave her, so he suffers this torture because even the bleakest day with her is far preferable to being without, and the perfection of their summers together are worth every pain inflicted upon him. He cannot blame her for the fate that has befallen her - she is hardly the first to fall victim to trickery - but in his worst moments, he can doubt her. She cannot speak of what happens between her and her warden, as that is protected by the spell as well, but he has suspicions. Why else would she surrender so easily? It is easy to say that these trips sate her curiosity and further her research, quelling her desire to rebel. At first, he thought her inability to describe their interactions was evidence of her innocence. Surely, if he had done something, if they had engaged in something, the lord of mischief would want him to know. Now, he understands that her forced silence on the matter is one of the finer, more elegant points of the misery inflicted upon him. Not being able to confirm, not knowing - that is part of the torture.
So Thor is forced to share her with the man with whom he would have shared anything else. He would have given him anything it was within his power to give - love, glory, mercy - but instead, he has taken the one thing besides Mjolnir he wanted to be his and his alone. He is beginning to understand the bitterness his brother endures. Thor used to believe he could not hate him, that he could forgive him of any wrongdoing, but he is no longer so sure.
Finally, she is done and now, he can have her attention. Usually, her dedication to the tools of her trade do not bother him; he is secondary to her work, but she, too, is secondary to his. This season always creates in him an irksome sensitivity in all things related to her. He grits his teeth against the metallic grate of her luggage being zipped. It is a jarring sound and one he associates only with her departures and arrivals. Jane stands and approaches him where he sits in her "easy chair" and reflexively, he opens his thighs to accommodate her slight frame. Her warm hand cups his face, cradling the curve of his jaw in her palm.
"Just three months." She reminds him with the beginnings of a smile meant to comfort him, but he takes no comfort in shadows.
"Three months." He echoes with a weight that hangs from and stretches the time implied.
She moves her small hands to the back of his neck and pulls him forward so that his forehead is cradled in her bosom. Her fingers trail through his hair and he sighs into her shirt, his eyes fluttering shut as he inhales her, refreshes the memory of her scent in his mind. She has not touched him so affectionately in weeks and has barely touched him at all in the past two days. His hands ghost along the backs of her thighs, skirting the edge of her shorts. Her whispery sigh emboldens him, so he allows his digits to wander further, up and between, toying with the hem of her smallclothes. Before long, both of their garments are gone and he has carried her to the bed, wearing her legs around his neck like a collar. She bows and breaks for him until they are both spent. Together, they bask in the afterglow.
His mind wanders down paths best left ignored. Does her body fit so perfectly against his? Does he know how her toes curl and uncurl as she drifts to sleep? Has she ever rolled over for him so he might scratch her back? Her habits and her body are the most tender knowledge he has and it agitates him to think that someone else might be as well-versed as he. It poisons this moment and with venom, he hopes he is still dripping from her when she and her luggage disappear to whatever realm Loki chooses.
She pulls herself up onto her elbows and stares at him, her delicate features twisted with a sudden and intense desperation. Brows pulled upward, eyes widened, lips parted, hair mussed.
"I love you." Jane says hoarsely, with feeling. The quaver in her voice chases away the demons and despite everything else, he believes her.