Just CAN'T get away from the Thor-ness ^.^
Decided to try some new perspectives, and touch on some things I've never really tried detailing before. Hope you guys enjoy!
As is the way of the fic-author, I own nothing.
She could see it in his gaze.
In the time that followed his return to Asgaard, Sif could see the changes manifest in him.
She could tell that Thor Odinson was not with them.
When he sparred with her in the early morning dew, she grasped at victory over him several times. Not because she had become a superior warrior, but because he was not really trying.
When they met with Odin and Frigga to discuss the future of Asgaard's safety and the rebuilding of the Bifrost, she never once heard him speak.
When they all gathered together, night after night, to eat and drink and laugh as they did, she could see his enthusiasm slowly fade and his appetite fail.
Thor, who so did love a good meal. Thor, who could drink even Volstagg under the table. Thor, who enjoyed a joke with the heartiest laugh.
His plates became increasingly untouched and his laughs increasingly quiet until one night, she saw him pick up a piece of food, bring it halfway to his mouth, and then promptly set it back down.
And then she saw the gaze.
His eyes narrowed into his cup of wine, and glossed over with the sheen of what she recognized to be loneliness.
And she knew what was happening.
As he excused himself from the banquet hall, she knew he would leave the great gates altogether and make his way to the bridge.
And every night since she first saw the gaze, he had done just that.
A few bites into his meal, and the glazed look would return.
No-one dared ask him to stay and finish eating.
But only a select few of them knew why their prince was becoming so downtrodden.
"….he misses her….the mortal…."
Frigga did not ask Sif for details on the girl.
She did not push her son to tell her of his newfound earthly acquaintances or prod her husband to order him to eat. She wanted to give Thor the distance and quiet she felt he needed.
But when Sif's worried glances at the banquet table grew desperate, the Queen decided to leave her own plate cold.
She followed her son onto the bridge one warm and starlit night.
Heimdall bowed curtly as he passed her by, and she realized her son had made a habit of asking the guardian to leave him be on the Bifrost. It took much, she knew, to convince the great seer to ever abandon his post.
Truly, her son's plight was fierce indeed.
Thor had not even acknowledged she had been following him.
She began to wonder if her skilled and mighty warrior even knew she was there.
"Mother. What brings you outside the gates?"
She smiled then, if only for the sake of offering him a warm and welcoming face to look upon when he turned to her.
"My son, you have been coming to the broken edge of Asgaard every night, abandoning your meals, silencing your tongue, losing your love for life. What is it that ails you to such extremes?"
She knew of course, the reasons her Thor had fallen so low.
He was stricken with guilt over Loki. He blamed himself for his brother's madness, blamed himself for letting Loki fall into the void, and blamed himself for severing all connection to the other realms. He did not acknowledge the necessity in what he had done, even if he knew it to be true.
He stared at the broken crystal beneath his feet with pain-stricken eyes.
Her son missed his brother, truly… but he also missed the mortal.
The desperation, written on his features as he faced her, was enough to make the mother of Asgaard want to weep.
"It will take quite some time, and much of Asgaard's power, to ensure the bridge is repaired. Father has agreed to lend his own power to mend the Bifrost. But it will surely bring about another Odinsleep. He…..he wishes me to take the throne soon."
Frigga knew these things of course; she had sat quietly at the meeting, acutely aware that her normally loud and demanding son was silent and respectful as Odin laid out his future plans for Asgaard. Odin knew the importance of reconnecting the realms better than any of them. He would sacrifice his own energy to help speed up the healing process of his damaged bridge.
But he expected his son to rule Asgaard while he slept, and even thereafter.
"Not long ago you would have been joyous over this development….not long ago, you came very close to becoming king. Why does the prospect of taking the throne now have you starving yourself?"
Her son's blond hair fell into the blue haze of his eyes as he cast his gaze into the void below them.
"I gave her my word that I would return to her. Return for her. If I become king, I will have to remain in Asgaard. Protect the realm. Rule as the king the people deserve. And I will not see her again."
Frigga heard his voice lower as he spoke, until the last words were but a whisper to her ears.
The Queen came to stand close to him now, close enough to lay a gentle hand on the soft fabric of his cape.
She could not stand to see her son so somber, so listless.
"Thor, tell me….this girl, this mortal who has stolen your heart and holds it on earth….what is her name?"
She already knew the answer to this question; Sif had made mention of "the mortal Jane" a time or two, but Frigga was wily in her ways, when she wanted to be.
She did not miss the sudden spark in her son's eyes, nor the quirk of his lips, nor the fierce look of pride and pure adoration that set upon him as he looked back at her.
The Queen ushered her son to turn and walk her back down the Bifrost.
"Tell me of her, Thor. Tell me what Jane Foster is like."
Odin Allfather had heard his wife's request.
He had thought long on it, watched her gentle yet nerve-melting smile over many meals, caught the subtle gestures she made his way when his son would, again, eat only half his food and then practically sprint to the healing Bifrost.
The father of Asgaard was weary. His power was great, but in short supply.
Thor was young; fierce and strong, but wise and kind. He had all the makings of the ruler the realm now needed.
But his son was not with the realm.
He had been lost to them the moment his hammer had destroyed the bridge.
He had wallowed in his self-loathing over the loss of his brother, and was drowning in the loneliness that his separation from Midgaard created.
His son could not rule in such a state.
Odin found him on the bridge, running a hand across the growing crystal as it extended several feet past the scars left from Mjolnir's blows.
The sight of the mending pathway reminded the King of the energy he put into it every day; the power of Asgaard flowing from him into the bridge, in the silent mornings before anything else in the realm had even thought to awaken.
It reminded him of how tired he was becoming.
Thor stood before him and bowed slightly, offering him recognition in silence.
"The Bifrost is coming along nicely, and with surprising speed. Soon Asgaard will be isolated no longer."
Odin was never one to offer blind reassurance, but he did admit he was pleased at the smile that graced his son's lips.
"Yes. It will not be long now. You have given much of yourself to help rebuild, Father. I only wish I could offer such similar assistance."
Odin smiled. His son must have inherited his ability to come straight to the point.
"When you are king, you will have the power of Asgaard. It flows through your veins as we speak, and when you ascend to the throne, it will be as strong and effective as my own. You will do great things, Thor. You will make a fine king."
The Allfather watched intently now, looking for what it was his wife and the Lady Sif had so vehemently pleaded with him to recognize.
The stark blue in Thor's eyes grew dull as they darted away from his own. The stars below whispered quietly in his ears, and Odin knew that if his son could hear any of them, it was most probably Midgaard.
Odin could hear the soft strum of the earth itself calling his son to it….
Calling him home.
"Thor….this woman you long for so desperately…what would you give to return to her?"
The moment the words left his mouth, the Allfather saw the prince's demeanor change.
The lightning returned to his eyes, the mighty hammer hummed in the air around them, and a look of determination, strength, loyalty and love filled the gaze Thor set on him.
Odin had not seen his son so full of energy since before his banishment.
"I would give anything. I would strip my armor and rebuild the bridge with my bare hands if possible. I would lay down Mjolnir and sacrifice my strength and accept mortality once again. I would give up my place as prince of Asgaard. For Jane, I would give my throne."
Frigga had been right.
Of course…she usually was.
This attachment to the earthbound woman was far more than a passing whim. She was more than the women who had once stolen their way into his chambers with no sense of virtue and no true appeal.
This Jane Foster had his son grounded, his heart standing solidly with her….on earth.
The earth that had constantly whispered its need for Thor's might and protection since he had left it and severed the bridge.
Odin nodded, to no-one in particular. Turned to make the journey back to the golden gates.
"It will not take much longer to finish the mending process of the bridge itself. But if you wish to return to your Jane, you can at least help Heimdall prepare the Chamber. Without the aid of Mjolnir. Your bare hands, my son. I will hold you to your word."
Odin did not have to look back to know his son was smiling in that delightful manner so becoming of him.
And he did not miss the whisper that flowed from Thor's lips into sparkling night sky.
A/N: Tried to make Odin a little less abrasive and a bit more...tolerant? First time trying such characters-let me know how it flowed! ^.^