To all of you who have kept up with this so far:
'Awesome' just isn't a strong enough word to describe you all. Neither is 'wonderful'. Or even 'epic' (which is kind of one of my favorites).
So, officially, you readers of the "Guardian-verse" fics are hereby deemed 'METAL".
Which is good, if you're wondering ^.^
Anyway-here is the next oneshot to bring a sense of completion to "Paris" and "At Peace".
Please enjoy and see Endnotes for more of my rambling!
Also: You guys know I don't own anything :P
Loki stared into the darkness of the ceiling.
The soft whirr of the fan above him did nothing to lull him into sleep. Neither did the soft cotton pillows beneath his head. Nor the warm blanket that lay haphazardly across his body.
His gaze sharpened toward the closed door across the room.
Through the door, at the end of the hallway, lay the bedroom of Jane Foster.
His teeth dug into his lip as he listened to her quiet sobbing.
A week had passed with him avoiding the home altogether.
Uncertain of what exactly had happened to him in Paris (or of what exactly had occurred between them), Loki decided against spending the rest of the weekend watching television programs with Jane as was their ritual.
His next visit brought an immediate answer to the first question.
Loki had shrouded himself upon walking into the home and hearing the voices of Agent Coulson, Tony Stark, and….
He'd listened from the back doorway as his former friend and ally relayed the devastating news of Thor's fate to Jane in the kitchen.
Loki felt his breath catch in his chest. The dreadful feeling that had overwhelmed him in Paris was justified.
The King of Asgaard was dead.
Thor was dead.
His rival was dead.
His enemy was dead.
His brother was dead.
A sharp stab tore into his heart and he realized with a grimace that he was actually reacting to the reality of it….
He was feeling pain, remorse, sorrow...
Loki had stepped from the doorway back into the cold snow of the still winter when he'd picked up on Tony Stark making comforting gestures against the shocked female cry that had escaped into the air.
He would stay away and allow Jane the time and distance to mourn her loss.
He felt, if he did not, he would wind up exposing himself to them all in his urgent haste to pull Jane against his chest and desperately beg her not to cry…..
But of course, he could not leave them.
Not for long.
Loki had returned later that night, still shrouded from human sight, and come to stand in the dark hallway of the home as he listened to two female voices through the wall.
Nails dug into palms as he heard Jane explain to her daughter the truth of the day's events. He cursed no-one in particular when she told Kari that the father she had never known would never come home at all.
It did not matter that Kari took the news with far more strength than either of them. It did not matter that the extent of her emotional pain was a sad sense of empathy toward her mother's suffering.
It did not matter that Kari did not burst into tears for the father she had never met, instead opting to wrap her arms around her mother's waist and let the tears fall onto the top of her head quietly.
Jane felt pain enough for the both of them.
Loki had never wanted to undo reality so badly in all his life. He'd allowed himself to be seen as he stepped into the doorway of Kari's bedroom.
Watched as Jane wiped the moisture from her face and smiled at him weakly. He bent his head toward her in a small nod.
"I will stay tonight, if it is alright with you."
She had offered the spare room to him before- the night they had returned from Paris. He had declined. It would have made sense then, considering the disorientation he had been so suddenly struck with that night.
But the feel of Jane's soft skin had still lingered on his fingertips, taunting him in ways he feared would drive him to the brink of stupidity if he'd stayed in her home.
But at the sight of mother and daughter grasping each other on the pink comforter of Kari's bed, he simply could not fathom leaving them alone.
Jane had run a hand through Kari's long blond hair and smiled down at her. She'd glanced at him and nodded.
She hadn't spoken.
And he hadn't lingered.
He'd walked swiftly and silently into his designated room and closed the door, shutting the sight of her red face and wide, wet eyes out of his mind.
Now, hours later, snow was falling outside his window and wind was whipping against the home.
But it was not the storm that kept him from sleep.
He could hear her quiet, restrained whimpers- soft and aching and lost- through the walls that separated them. He gripped at the sheets beneath his hands and willed himself to ignore it.
He hissed at himself.
He does not quite remember throwing the blanket from his bed so quickly and with such force that it landed by the closet on the other side of the room.
The door was of no significance as he walked straight through it, no longer of the mind to care about adhering to mortal customs or habits.
Jane Foster's door met his vision in the darkness.
He passed through it without a second thought as well.
Her room was as dark as his, but he could make her out with ease.
She lay faced away from him, curled slightly in a manner reminiscent of the long nights when she would fight her pain during pregnancy. A fist was balled into the pillow under her head. Her face was shoved into it and she seemed adamant on calming herself down and keeping quiet.
Loki chewed on his lip in what could very well become a new nervous habit.
He listened to her sigh and sniffle a few times before reaching up with her free hand to wipe at the exposed portion of her face.
A picture sat on a nearby bedside table, facing her.
He watched her stare at it for a long moment.
It was his brother, dressed in mortal garb, smiling wide with both mouth and eyes.
Loki felt her breath catch, even from across the room. He felt the pain in her head as she fought back another onslaught of tears. He felt the uncertainty in her chest as her heart pounded and her frame shook.
He could not stand it. His body moved.
He didn't realize he had slipped into the bed beside her until she turned suddenly to face him.
He froze. So did she.
For several agonizing seconds, he lay tensed and ready to flee, head hovering over the pillow beneath it, staring across at her as she glanced at him warily over her shoulder. Her breathing shuddered in the aftermath of tears. He could see, even in the bleak, suffocating darkness the shine of salty liquid on her cheeks and in her eyelashes.
The weary pink in the eye she had been wiping fretfully at.
He watched as she bit the inside of her lip. A freed droplet ran down her face.
Loki reached out as if on instinct. Wiped it away.
And Jane relaxed in front of him with an almost silent sigh.
He felt his own muscles give way as she settled back down into her own pillow, resuming her position on her side. She reached back carefully, and he felt a trembling hand grasp his own.
He let her pull it forward, across her body, and place his palm against her stomach.
Loki swallowed. Released a torrent of held breath.
He scooted closer, his chest making light contact with her back.
And he lay quiet and still as he listened to Jane's breathing calm and her anguish slowly fade….
Loki wondered how long they had been laying there. Even after so many years living on Earth, he still had trouble following human scales of time….
It had felt to him like several hours.
The blizzard outside whipped snow against the window, coating it in a shadowed sheen of icy gray.
The woman beside him was mostly still. He felt her trembling slow into non-existence, her entire body radiating a relaxed awareness. A finger twitched against her stomach of its own volition as he bent forward to speak to her.
"Should I leave now?"
His whisper blew hotly back into his face and he reprimanded himself for coming so close to her ear. She shuddered beside him slightly.
Loki did not miss it.
A small hand reached up to grip his at her waist.
It seemed a long second before she found her voice to answer him.
"No….stay, Loki. Please."
He brought his face to hover over hers as she spoke, his entire frame looming over her own. He could see her searching through the darkness, pupils dilated and anticipatory. He watched her scan the silhouette of his face, her eyes darting toward his mouth and then flitting away in uncertainty.
Loki jolted when he felt his own tongue sweep hotly across his lips. He felt his head move suddenly, bending down and craning at an angle—and, one instant later, was very much aware that he probably had the most inappropriate timing of anyone in the entire universe.
But in that moment, he could not bring himself to care.
His mouth slid against hers, and he felt her lips part when a small gasp puffed a hot breath into it.
He watched as Jane drew her head back slightly, breaking contact.
His own eyes were wide. He bit into his tongue and tried to come up with the most sincere and humble apology possible. He opened his mouth to say something….
The air moved in front of him. Soft warmth brushed his lips and what few cohesive thoughts floating in his mind scrambled like the favored breakfast dish of the woman that was kissing him.
It was brief.
Barely strong enough to be considered anything, and yet soft enough to be considered everything…..
He pulled back to study her. For a long moment, all was silent and still.
Loki could see her looking him over again, struggling to make out his expression. He could hear her heartbeat accelerate in the pervasive quiet of the room.
And then, a softness on his cheek.
Gentle and light, they trailed across his jaw like a springtime breeze in Maine.
His eyes closed when one settled on his mouth. Before he could command himself against it, he leaned into the touch as if entranced.
Pressed a kiss into the pad of her thumb.
Felt her shiver beneath him.
A sharp heat shot down his spine. Loki grit his teeth and blinked at her, his eyes narrowing as he reminded himself of the entire situation. Of all that had occurred that day…
Of why he was there in the first place.
He scolded his body for its ill-timing.
Jane pulled her hand away. He felt her lean back and watch him in the black haze of the room. A quiet voice whispered between them.
"It's….it's been a long day. We should get to sleep…."
Loki's heart thudded hard in his chest but slowed its racing pace at her sobering words. He saw her smile, genuine but tired, sad but hopeful. She settled back into the pillows.
Turned to her side-away from the window this time. She faced him. Gestured meekly for him to follow suit.
His head met the cushion beside her own. Nothing more was said. He dared to snake an arm around her waist once again, pressing a hand to the small of her back. He brought his head to rest so close to hers that they could feel each other's breaths.
They watched each other silently for several moments.
Loki allowed himself to be drawn into the depths of brown in her irises, and nearly fell into sleep before she closed the lulling scene off from him, shutting her eyes with an exhausted yet peaceful sigh.
He smiled; moved carefully to press his forehead against hers.
And spent the rest of the night considering how to go about telling Jane Foster that he loved her….
Well, I had intended for this to be of a higher rating, but it just didn't feel...eh, appropriate.
So I'll likely be posting one more these Guardianfics simply to indulge myself ;) Consider this a forewarning to any minors o.o
Hope you guys have enjoyed everything so far ^.^ Lemme know, k?