Oh. My. God.
Over 100 reviews? Seriously?
My friends: Thank you all so much!
This is my first fic to reach such a milestone. I want to hug each and every one of you ^.^
I decided to write an epilogue. In celebration of its finality, I included some heart-warming sweetness. I hope you guys enjoy, and don't find things too OOC considering the sugary taste of this final chapter. If it doesn't seem to fit, I can always delete it! ;)
Again, thank you ALL. You are awesome.
The realization that her alarm had not gone off was the first thing to hit her consciousness.
The next was the fact that the window across the room was now a very frozen, frosty white.
Jane looked at the glass a moment before her level of awareness grew to the point that she remembered it was mid-December. She looked down at herself and wondered what it was exactly that had awakened her:
The now ten pound, white-socked fluff-ball known as Lolo that had just pounced onto her chest?
Or the resounding echo of the back door slamming, accompanied by a very recognizable pre-teen huff?
Jane fought the extreme desire to stay in bed.
She had been up late the previous night, compiling her latest data to send off to Coulson.
And it was so much more comfortable cozying up beneath a warm blanket…..
She decided it was more important to discover the source of her daughter's obvious frustration.
Jane blinked a few times at her eleven year old.
Kari stood in the living room, dressed in her warmest winter clothes. Said clothes appeared soaked.
Her bright blond hair seemed a dusty shade of brown with the massive amount of melting snow dripping off of it.
Jane fought a laugh, and opened her mouth to ask her daughter what had happened.
Kari reached up and knocked a small lump of snow from the top of her head.
With two words, she answered Jane's question before it was even asked:
And with that, Kari poked out a lip in a pout and trudged off toward the bathroom, leaving a wet trail of melted snow in her wake.
Jane shivered in the biting wind as she walked through the snow in nothing but house-slippers and fleece pajamas. She regretted not paying more attention to the weather reports on television.
How could she have missed the fact that a blizzard was set to hit her area?
She followed the footprints that Kari had left behind towards the back of her property.
Tiny flakes still fell around her, and the sky was overcast. It created a gray haze that Jane found it difficult to see through clearly.
The old picket-fence that ran through her vast backyard came into view.
Jane often wondered if her property had once acted as a farm. Fields and fences complete with a small (and currently frozen) pond near the forest; she was surprised there was no barn to complete the image.
She passed the last of her posted satellites.
And finally spotted exactly what she expected to see.
A figure sat perched on the fence ahead. As she neared she could see the dark windbreaker he wore; its hood was up, faced away from her. She looked at the yard around him.
And shook her head with a small smile.
Part of the fence was covered in a thick layer of ice. It shined and reflected the lone ray of sunlight trying to peak through the clouds above.
Across the field, near the trees, was a similar wall of ice, beginning at one tree, and ending at another about ten feet away.
Between the two, small piles of upturned snow littered the field. Near the haphazard mounds of white were patches of bare ground that formed perfect circles of brown, dead grass.
Jane approached the figure and tapped the back of the hood.
A hand gestured to the disruption of her yard as he turned to look at her.
"Loki. Mind telling me what happened here?"
She did not flinch when met with the blazing red eyes underneath the hood.
Even as she waited for him to answer, a medium-green attempted to reclaim its territory within his irises. The intricate dark lines on his forehead were disappearing as his blue skin took on a more human pale white.
Jane had not seen Loki in his full Jotun form before.
But she did not want him think she was afraid.
Loki smirked at her, but she noticed it was rather sheepish for him.
An elongated fang jutted out against his bottom lip, shrinking and dulling slightly even as she looked at it.
He jerked his head toward the devastation of the yard.
"She challenged to me to a 'snowball fight'. I…may have taken it too far."
Her suspicions were confirmed. Loki had taken to showing off his mastery of ice against an eleven year old girl.
Jane quickly reminded herself that her eleven year old was not like all others.
Loki pulled the hood back to reveal his now normal-looking pallor. She stifled a laugh at the remnants of the snow in his own hair.
Apparently, Kari had given him quite a fight.
She shook her head at him openly.
"Sounds like something both of you would do. But seriously…." She gestured to the trees behind her. "Were the ice-walls necessary?"
The former Asgaardian looked at her as if offended. Jane swallowed slightly and wondered if, yet again, she had overstepped her bounds.
His voice was low when he spoke.
"They're for shielding….." He smirked at her suddenly. "Do you not pay attention when you watch those programs about ancient Midgaardian wars? The concept is more or less the same."
Jane rolled her eyes at his obvious teasing.
Since their conversation in the desert, Loki had come around much more often. Oftentimes, she would see him sitting in her kitchen early in the morning, watching Kari eat breakfast before school. Oftentimes, she would ask him if he wanted something himself.
Sometimes, he would say yes.
Jane ate breakfast with Loki at least once a week.
And watched T.V with him on weekends.
Though the past two years had brought a sense of comfort between them, Jane did not forget that Loki had once been a danger to them all.
Still, he had not once made anything resembling a threat towards either of them. Even when Jane forgot who she was talking to and spoke her mind in ways she would have never done before Loki had stepped regularly into their lives.
She was actually considering telling him that he could stay in their guest room if he wanted. It had to be better than…wherever it was he went when he wasn't with them.
Loki cocked his head to the side suddenly.
Puffs of white escaped his mouth when he spoke.
"Doesn't Kari have a sleepover to attend this weekend?"
Jane laughed lightly at his choice of words.
He spoke as if Kari's 'sleepover' was a mandatory meeting with important officials. Loki had picked up on much of their casual jargon during his time spent with them, but it did not chase away his unique manner of speech completely.
He seemed to notice that she was somewhat mocking him.
His brow furrowed a bit and she bit her lip to force herself to focus.
"She does, Saturday. Why?"
Loki leaned forward a bit, his head bending towards her slightly. The sunlight fighting through the clouds made his body cast a shadow over her as he loomed from his perch on the fence.
"I would like to take you somewhere. If you are not otherwise engaged."
Jane felt her eyes widen slightly.
"And where is this 'somewhere' you want to take me?"
One of his brows rose a bit, but his facial expression remained solid as stone. He'd perfected the art of hiding his emotions…
And his intentions.
"That depends. Where would you like to go?"
Jane swallowed hard.
Loki was indeed asking her out on a date.
Except she was certain he didn't realize he was asking her on a date.
She sighed heavily and cleared her head. She knew that Loki was simply growing socially. Where before he had only shown up in her life to spend time with Kari, in the past two years he had made very obvious attempts to spend time with her.
For the most part, she did not mind. Surprisingly, she found herself enjoying his company.
But he had never asked to take her somewhere before.
Jane climbed the fence to sit beside him. He turned his head and eyed her warily. She caught the uncertainty that flashed across his face.
He was still waiting for her to answer him.
She smiled when she noticed him lacing his fingers together. She had come to know that gesture to mean several different things:
One of them was nervousness.
"Um…well, it doesn't really matter to me. You decide."
Loki straightened and looked at her squarely.
"So you will go, then?"
She could tell he was trying hard not to sound thoroughly pleased.
"Yes, Loki. I'll go. It would do me some good to get out of the house anyway."
And it was true. Between working at home and….well, living there, Jane saw the inside of her house way too much.
Loki slid from the fence suddenly, landing on the snow in silence.
"Very well. I will take you to Paris. Have you seen Paris?"
Jane jolted with the sudden realization that Loki may in fact know that he was asking her on a date.
"Ah….no, I haven't."
He grinned slightly.
"I have. The Eiffel Tower is somewhat impressive. I have stood on its peak a few dozen times. Perhaps you will find it as splendid as the rest of the mortal 'tourists'."
His voice flowed casually, but Jane still could not force back the laugh in her throat upon hearing him use the word 'tourist'.
Loki looked at her quizzically.
She clamped a hand over her mouth to stifle herself yet again.
Hopping from the fence, she shivered instantly when her slippers sunk into the thick snow. Loki shrugged the jacket from his shoulders and handed it to her as he surveyed the aftermath of his and Kari's early-morning battle.
His voice was quiet and laced with concern when it met her ears.
"She stomped off with quite the glower. Is she angry that I employed such advantages over her?"
Warmth enveloped her as she slid her arms into Loki's windbreaker. She had bought it for him at Kari's demand, even though he seemed perfectly capable of obtaining Earthly clothing on his own.
She supposed, with a defeated sigh, that he did so with magic.
"Oh no, don't mind her. She's eleven, Loki. It's the coming hormones."
He shot her another quizzical look, but to Jane's relief, did not ask her to elaborate. He nodded quietly before lowering his gaze to her feet.
"You should go inside, Jane. You are not dressed for this weather. I will undo the chaos that Kari and I wrought upon the yard."
She watched him walk away towards the trees, a faint green glow coming to linger around the fingers of his right hand. She saw him touch the icy barricade near the forest. It crumbled and melted in a bright flash of light.
Jane smiled when Lolo suddenly raced through the snow, coming to a stop at the prince's feet. Loki allowed the glow to dissipate from his hand and kneeled to scratch at the cat's ears.
She tore her gaze from the scene in front of her at the sound of her daughter's voice.
Kari was running swiftly through the snow as well, seemingly unhindered by the thick white blanket beneath her shoes. With a grin towards Loki and not a word, she began kicking the piles of upturned snow back into their original patches.
Jane stood and watched quietly, ignoring the biting chill of the wind blowing through the field.
Loki looked at her briefly and gave a small smile.
He looked content, and Jane found herself genuinely happy at such a fact.
It suddenly did not matter that he had once acted so violently against them. It did not matter that he had once been considered a monster.
She turned and made her way back toward their home as the sun split the clouds.
Jane felt with sound certainty that if Thor was alive-wherever he was, whatever he was doing-if he could look down on them, he would be proud of the man Loki had become.
She certainly was.
Hope you guy enjoyed this fic and it's Loki-ful Loki-ness! ^.^