WARNING: This is a sequel to my first story, Grounded. I highly recommend reading that one first because it gives a lot more background on my characters.
Midgard was falling. The never ending waves of oppression threatened to overcome the mortal's minds, with or without his assistance. One by one, the strong points of the world fell by his hands.
Only one still stood strong, the strongest of all, a beacon of hope in this sea of destruction. And soon, it would crumble as well. The United States of America stood no chance against his forces.
He prepared his army and stepped forward to fight.
Ande Hanson maneuvered carefully down the hallway in her high-heels, attempting not to spill the hot coffee from the cup she was carrying. She reached a flight of stairs, and sighed angrily. Slowly she began to descend them. One step at a time, she kept repeating in her head, just one step at a time.
Her shriek split the quiet facility air as she felt her feet suddenly fly from beneath her. She went down, hitting the tiled floor roughly and frantically tried to keep the coffee from splashing on her. She slid down the remainder of the small staircase, landing with a thump at the bottom.
Ande squeezed her eyes shut until she felt certain she wasn't going to slide anymore and hesitantly opened them to assess the damage. She noted with pride that the coffee hadn't spilt a single drop and congratulated herself on the ninja skills she didn't often possess.
Her notebook wasn't as lucky. As she had fallen, it had slipped from under her arm and it's contents were now strewn across the laboriously clean hallway. She groaned dejectedly. It had taken her hours to compile all of that data together and then organize it based on the dates it was recorded. She felt certain her boss would not be happy about this.
At least Ande had been able to spare the coffee- the gods knew that Ms. Potts desperately required it, and making her go without could end up with Ande losing this job she so earnestly needed.
Virginia Potts was a kind enough woman, high-strung, but for the most part, even tempered. It just happened that Ande wasn't the best assistant. She had always been headstrong, too much at times. She didn't cope well with having to follow orders 24/7.
Sighing, she gathered up the remnants of the once-was notebook and picked up the coffee cup. She made a mental note never to wear heels and carry important items whilst walking down stairs again. She brushed the dust off of her black pencil skirt and set off down the hallway again.
At last she made it to Ms. Potts's office. She precariously balanced the coffee cup and the papers in one hand and knocked on the door with the other, quietly composing herself. She still didn't understand why the assistant to the manager of the company needed her own assistant.
"Come in!" Ms. Potts voice rang out from the inside of the office.
Ande awkwardly turned the door handle with her free hand and stepped into the office. A surprise greeted her there; the manager himself was in the office as well, perched atop Ms. Potts's desk. Ms. Potts sat behind the desk in the spinning chair, typing away on her laptop. She looked up when Ande walked in.
"Oh, Andelyn. Thank you. If you'd just set that there-" she pointed to the edge of her desk, "-That would be great."
Ande followed her directions and placed the coffee cup down before turning to the manager.
"Mr. Stark, is there anything you would like me to get you? Coffee?" she asked politely, as Ms. Potts had taught her to do so, though secretly hoping he would say no.
Tony Stark took in her hair still mussed from the fall and the rest of her disheveled appearance and thankfully replied, "No thank you."
Ms. Potts smiled approvingly from her place behind the desk, "If you wouldn't mind, could you make copies of these and send them to the research department?" She handed over a stack of paper and nodded towards the high-end copy machine sitting in the corner of her office.
"Of course, ma'am," Ande said and took the papers from Ms. Potts. She clicked uncomfortably in her heels over to the machine and began the tiresome task of copying each paper.
"As I was telling you, Pepper," she heard Mr. Stark say from behind her. "Agent Fury himself is putting together this team. I really think I should join."
Ande heard her boss sigh. "I know Tony," she said resignedly. "I just don't think it's a good idea."
"It might be our only chance to stop this guy," Mr. Stark said. Ande tried to make herself appear busier as she secretly tuned in more carefully to the conversation from behind.
"So I've heard," Ms. Potts said off-handedly.
"Are you still listening Pepper?" Mr. Stark now sounded annoyed.
"Yes Tony. Please continue."
"Right. This guy is absolutely crazy. He was in the newspapers this morning, because they finally found out who he is. He calls himself-"
A particularly loud beep from the copy machine drowned out the name Mr. Stark said. Ande couldn't help but feel disappointed- she had been honestly curious to hear who this crazy man was. Of course she knew about the dire state their world was currently in, who hadn't? But now they were releasing the name of the guy who was causing this situation. She added grabbing a newspaper on her way home to her mental list of things to do.
"-and apparently he's the brother of that Thor guy who was here six months ago."
The copy machine spit out the last paper and settled into sleep mode again. Ande quickly gathered the copies together and turned to face her boss and the manager.
"Now please take those copies down to the lab," Ms. Potts said upon noticing her standing there, papers in hand.
"Yes Ms. Potts," Ande said and hurried out of the room, afraid they had caught her eavesdropping. But if it really was important enough to hide, they wouldn't have been discussing it so loudly in front of her, would they? And what was that bit about being Thor's brother? She had heard of Thor's return to Earth, nearly everyone had. But... Thor's brother? No, no... It has to be one of his other brothers... Does Thor even have another brother? Balder, of course, but didn't he die in the original mythology?
She soon became determined to find out who this person was.
She figured out the answer to that later in the afternoon on her walk home from work.
Ande had stopped receiving a newspaper many years ago. It seemed like a waste of money, money she didn't have. It wasn't as if she was poor, but she was saving for college tuition at the moment and didn't have the cash to spare. Now she wished she had never cancelled her subscription.
As she passed the newsstand on the way to her house that day, she remembered her decision to pick up the paper. She paid for one, and took it home to read.
Ande was exhausted by the time she returned home, so she threw the paper down on the kitchen table and nearly ran up the stairs for a shower.
Hot water always helped clear her mind and she was reluctant to turn it off, staying in much longer then necessary. She finally gathered up the courage and shut it off, drying herself with a towel before exchanging it for some more comfortable clothes.
Ande combed through her wet hair and watched with dismay as it began winding itself into her natural curls. It became nearly impossible to manage once it curled like that. Giving it up as a lost cause, she returned downstairs and threw a poptart in the toaster.
As she waited for the toaster to finish, she went and rearranged the collection of pens and pencils that sat by the phone, being her usual OCD self: erasers pointed up, tips in the bottom of the cup. When they were ordered to her liking, she glanced around for something else to do. Her eyes landed on the newspaper she had discarded on the table and curiously picked it up.
Sure enough, the front page article was about this crazy man Mr. Stark had been talking about. She skimmed over it, not taking in much of the words, her ADD brain already thinking of something else. However, as she got near the bottom of the page, her eyes and mind snapped to attention. One word, one simple name and she was completely focused.
'No, it must be a typo,' she thought frantically to herself. Quickly, she read the article again, this time taking in each and every word. It was no typo.
The picture in the middle of the paper was enough to confirm it. It was a simple headshot, taken from afar, but there was no mistaking the high cheek-bones, prominent jaw, and dark hair. She was sure that if the picture was in color, the eyes would be green. Emerald green.
She flew upstairs and grabbed the one photo of him she had left and dashed back downstairs. She held the frame next to the blurry newspaper's picture. Yes, it was him. Her heart rate sped up and she was moments away from hyperventilating.
Him. Her best friend.Loki.
It had been six years since she had last seen him. Six years since she had first lost herself in his deep emerald eyes. Six years since she had fallen head over heels for the god of lies and mischief. Six years later, he was destroying the world as she knew it. She was on the verge of a panic attack now.
She recounted what Tony Stark had been saying earlier, racking her brain to recall his words. Somebody by the name of Agent Fury was putting together a team. A team to stop this evil descending on the Earth. She felt the sudden urge to do something to help, anything.
Her stormy grey eyes fell on the insane amounts of purple cloth she had bought on a whim and suddenly, she knew exactly what she could do to stop him- her best friend- from annihilating mankind once and for all.
Author's Note:Welcome back! Sorry it's short, but this is just the prologue. I can't believe I'm actually writing this. I've had this idea for a while, but I never had the courage to put it down in writing. Originally, Grounded was not going to have a sequel, but this idea wouldn't leave me alone. So here it is.
I hope you liked it. It's the first chapter of many to come. Please review! Thanks!
-Loki's Little Helper