Author's Notes: Hi all! Brie here. I saw Thor yesterday and WOW. Can I just say that Tom Hiddleston did such a wonderful job with Loki? For some reason, I couldn't get this idea out of my head. So, without further ado, enjoy!
Disclaimer - I do not own the characters Loki or Jane Foster.
- Prologue -
Out here, it is pouring. The desert turns to brown slush beneath her fingers, sand through the sieve. A shiver gropes down her spine, slow and controlled, rattling her down to the very center of her being. She's still searching for him. She will always search for him. Even when she is old and gray and there will no longer be any use left in her and he would look on her with sadness of the most weary and wasted kind. If he ever saw her again, if they ever breached the otherworld borders that separated them.
But even if she could never configure the right algorithm to break through the laws of divine nature and science, feel her way through the tunnels of the afterlife and find him, his golden head wreathed in a halo of light before her. Is there even such thing as a mathematical equation that could shatter the walls of something so far out of human reach, escaping the simplicity of their understanding?
In frustration, she throws down her pen, the collision marked with a dull metallic thud. Her fingers rake themselves through the deep brown warmth of her hair, the frayed ends coming loose from the uncoiling bun that's beginning to slither out of its confines of bobby pins and rubber ties. She looks outside, a brief glance, and is surprised to see there are no gray edges of dawn to relieve her of this torturous night. For the first time in hours, she moves from her spot. Her back crackles like a disturbed candy wrapper as she stands, pushing the flat-backed chair with the small force of her movements. She takes a moment to stretch, ease the tension out of the tendons and muscles there, raising her arms over her head and reaching for that big black shield of sky. It protects them from the horrors of the otherworld, she thinks, and yet it's the very protection I'm trying to break through to find him.
The typical Law of Jane, like Erik had once said, when he wasn't prone to that odd seriousness of age he'd taken up recently. Wherever there is an impossibility, he'd said to her, warm gray eyes smiling down at her from the helm of wisdom, the possibility must, and will, be found. That's the law of Jane. Of course, she'd liked it. Erik had been, and always will be, a father to her. She looks over at him now, snoring into the pages of an old Norse spell book.
She'd tried following the guidelines of the law of parsimony upon developing her first hypotheses. The simplest explanation is often the correct one. If the bridge required magic to be opened, then perhaps magic is all there is to it. A simple spell, an archaic incantation, that could at least open the passageways of sound between their world and hers and let her speak to him.
Over and over in her head, she's practiced what she would say. I've missed you never had been good enough, though her inherent tendency toward awkwardness and economy of words led her to believe this was the simplest and sweetest of greetings.
He would understand. That she was not a woman who possessed great skills for oration. Simply a scientist, a girl who loved to drown herself in the supple world of books and logic and drift in the tides of stability such rationality brought to her. Life, she thinks to herself, is complicated enough; people are constantly changed pieces to a puzzle she's never been able to figure out for herself, always looking to the very fleshed-out origins of her problem to take care of it for her. She has other more important things to attend to, such as her studies, her research, the very reason for living. But as time went on, she began to see that they were only another facet of her troubles, and after the last one, she'd sworn men off for good.
But then he'd come along. And Thor, he had changed everything. He is everything she ever imagined a man should be in god-like form. The ultimate protector, the very essence of what evolution and genetic composition had dictated a man should be like. Courageous and chivalrous, imposing in stature but gentle in nature, and beneath the callused hands the cadenced pulse of a softly thrumming heart that knows nothing if not kindness and honor and the importance of truth. It rolls like thunder through his veins – the determination to protect what is right, even to a stubbornness that she sees in herself.
Weariness laps at the rim of her consciousness, calling her to the creased billows of her sheets. Her eyes listlessly slide in the in-between world, suspended over the black waters of sleep and dreams. But she can't. She simply couldn't give up now. Not when she's so close to the answer that she can taste it in every burnt mug of coffee, that lines the undercurrent within every quickly processed thought. She can see it now, dangling over the edge of discovery as she gazes absently out the window. She has to crane her neck to see over the towers of dirty dishes and not enough time to do any of them, but mostly she's memorized every detail of the scenery by now. Dirt and rock and an endless sea of nothing unfurling at the foot of a craggy mountain range like a great brown carpet.
And yet, there is something beautiful about the peacefulness of it all. No people, no cars, no buildings grazing the feet of the sky. Just...nature in her purest form. Untouched, not yet torn apart by human hands and reconstructed to fit their needs. It's only her out here. And Jane, she can feel her all around the outside of herself, trying to touch the inside.
Jane Foster stands at the threshold of great human innovation – for the most selfish and private of reasons. She only wants him. She doesn't want to share with the world what belongs to her and her alone. They needn't know what they could never understand. Erik, she knows, feels the same way. Let's keep this between us. No one needs to know but us.
When aggravation and doubt invade her every endeavor to focus, she takes a moment to step back, freshen her perspective and clear away the cobwebs of monotony from her head. Sometimes, she thinks they feel more like great black rolling storm clouds, threatening to wash away every last bit of progress she's made. For now, she tries not to think about anything but the scouring of her tired brain; the coffee is getting harder and harder to force down, but there's nothing else here, and even her Foldgers supply is running dangerously low.
She sets the emptied mug down into the sink, sighing, resolving herself to return to her unproductive search once more before surrendering to the human need for sleep.
And that's when she sees it, hears it, feels the explosion of the heavens in her every muscle, every blood-pushing vein. For a moment, she's blinded by it, the ignition of white light that tears into the flesh of the earth and rips it open, letting it bleed out as it digs deeper and deeper into the thick crust of terrain. She shields her eyes from the unfolding scene, backing away from the window. Her heart throbs painfully, beating against her chest as if against a cage. It's him. It's him, Jane. It must be him. He's come back for you.
"Oh..oh god," she whispers, glancing at Erik, who's as unconscious and dead to the world as ever. "What do I do? What do I do? "
Go to him!
Breathless with anticipation, she yanks her boots on and shrugs into her jacket as fast as she possibly can. Even as she practically tears the door off its hinges and takes off in a mad dash toward the site, she can hardly catch her next breath. It's a struggle to make her lungs pump, make them reach for the air. Her legs pound into the earth, feet slapping madly against the loose dirt. She kicks up dust in her wake, whirlwinds of her rush left to twist and sashay behind her. Thor. I'm coming. I've waited for you. I'm coming…hold on!
Her eyes are still throbbing from the pain of too much light sucked into them, but she can see the crater, not so far away now, growing closer with every second, every strike of her feet against the ground. Closer. Closer. She's so close. She can feel the dust sticking to her lungs, making her tongue swell, a flurry of it wafting into her nose and tickling the fragile skin there. There it is. It's not so much further, now. She quickens her pace.
"Thor!" She screams into the empty night, barely able to contain the agony of such raw emotion pulsing through her. He's here. He's come. No more waiting like she did all those months for an answer that might never come. He's come for me.
At last, she reaches the rim of the crater, and her breath catches in her throat. Her body struggles against the excitement lodged in her throat, blocking the flow of air that it so desperately needs after such a sprint.
But as the dust around the crash site settles, she finds that it is not Thor at all lying in the epicenter. The figure is too slight, too thin. The raven black hair too dark. The face too long and elegant compared to the rugged, bearded features of her Thor. No, it's not him. Her minds screams for purchase on the crippling realization. No. No!
She could almost cry, but runs a hand through her wild, liberated hair instead. She didn't even remember losing the pins that held it together. Where is he? How can it not be him?
Underneath the moonlight, the creature's skin gleams like fresh snow. Pale and bleached and colorless as bone. It must be a god, she considers. Who else could it be? Perhaps he knows how to reach Asgard, how she can reach Thor. Selfish as her second thought had been, it is the first that propels her into the crater and to the creature's side – I must help him…he needs my help.
"Sir?" She calls to him, pausing as she realizes she's referring to a god, a genetically advanced being, as sir. It seems much too ordinary a term to be assigned to such an extraordinary being. Nonetheless, she doesn't have the luxury of name, so she switches from her careful crouch to a more comfortable kneeling position. "Sir…uh. Wake up. C'mon now, sir, up and at 'em."
But he doesn't wake, not for her voice, not for the pain he must certainly be in, not for anything. She bites her lip, glancing over her shoulder at her R.V. parked at least a mile away. Suddenly she realizes how far she'd gone without even knowing.
A hand seizes her shoulder. She screams, reeling backwards, but the hand is too strong and it doesn't let go. It squeezes her bones, crushes her muscle to fit the form of its iron grasp. Beneath her, the face has awakened, bleary-eyed anguish bursting forth from every crevice and angle and jutting, starved bone in his angular features. They're green…pure, unclouded jade. She finds herself mesmerized by such a stark color. As if she'd never seen it before, as if it had never existed before this moment. Much like she had been taken aback by the glistening clarity of blue in Thor's eyes.
He is losing consciousness fast, much too fast.
"Sir?" She probes again with that ridiculous term, grimacing at the unnatural sound of it against the texture of circumstance. To use such a human word in the company of such otherworldly omnipresence. "Sir, who are you? Did you come from Asgard? What realm did you come from?"
At last, his eyes glide over her, taking in the face hovering before him. Recognition floods and overwhelms the question in his gaze. He didn't seem to hear most of what she'd said, picking and choosing the most familiar words in the midst of his delirium. "What realm is this?"
Before she can answer, his eyes flutter closed, his face crumpling back into itself, the awareness of it fading fast. His head falls back into the dirt, his raven hair streaked brown with mud. One last aching breath is drove out from his collapsing lungs. For a moment, she freezes, wondering if he's dead. Somehow, through the chaos of panic, she reaches out from her shell of panic and feels for a pulse. Thud…thud…..thud…..thud. She measures each beat. He's alive. She expected no less.
She sits back, shock consuming her expression, freezing it in the open vulnerability of hysteria.
And suddenly, it all hits her.
Oh my god-
Yes, it must be. It's Loki.