Back again to update in the middle of the night! ;)
A reader (or two) expressed an interest in Jane's dream. I couldn't resist. ^.^
I do apologize if it feels a bit rushed; I found it just a tad more difficult to write than the others.
Hope you all enjoy regardless!
Jane wondered how many years she had been sleepwalking.
She does not remember slipping from her bed and wandering throughout the house in the dark, and she certainly does not remember coming to a halt in the middle of her hallway, leaning against a wall, and standing there for God knew how long.
But that's where she was when she woke up.
Her muscles jumped and her heart raced when she realized she was on her feet, in the near pitch-black of the hall. On instinct she threw her head around to gather her bearings, and the back of her skull made contact with the wall behind it.
Absently she rubbed the pain away and allowed her vision to adjust, calming her quick breathing and coming to the conclusion that she must have been meandering about in her sleep.
A dim light caught her attention suddenly.
Jane stepped away from the wall and could see that it was coming from underneath the door to Kari's bedroom.
She smiled to herself.
Considered the adorable idea that Loki was checking in on her daughter again.
And then remembered that Loki was supposed to be in her bed….
Where he'd fallen asleep beside her that night.
Or at least, she thought as much. She….hoped as much. She felt her face warm and pushed the memory of his kiss out of her head.
A frown pulled her lips down as a thought struck her.
If Kari was awake in the middle of the night, Jane was concerned it had something to do with the news she had received that day. She hoped her daughter was not suffering, wide-awake and upset….
She pushed the door open.
And her heart threatened to jump from her chest.
Kari's favorite candle was lit on her vanity, bathing the room in a soft orange glow. Kari herself was curled beneath her blanket, blond hair astray across her pillow.
And sitting there at the edge of her bed, head turned away to watch the girl sleep, was Thor.
Jane gaped at him, feeling frozen in time.
Her heartbeat rocketed, her breaths quickened and she felt as if she were about to faint. She blinked several times, considering the possibility that her imagination was running wild due to grief.
She clamped her eyes shut one good time, attempted to calm her racing heart, and then opened them again.
Her voice finally found her.
Blond hair whipped against his neck as he turned to look at her.
She saw him smile softly.
"Jane. She's beautiful….just as I imagined her."
A breath caught in her throat and threatened to choke her at the sound of his voice. He did not look a day older, nor did he seem to be battle worn, and he certainly did not appear to be dead.
He was there. Alive. Right in front of her.
"Are you….are you really here?"
A deep, hearty chuckle rang in her ears and threatened to melt her heart into mush.
Thor craned his head a bit and smiled. Jane recognized instantly that said smile did not reach his eyes.
They looked saddened. Somber.
But his teeth flashed at her nonetheless.
"I am. And…I am not. Does that make any sense?"
Jane felt herself shaking her head at him dumbly. He chuckled again, quietly, and turned away from her. Her heart sank before fluttering at the sight of him leaning over to pull the tangled blanket over Kari's shoulder, straightening it out over her legs and reaching forward to gently brush the wild strands of hair out of the girl's face.
Jane stood spellbound as Thor silently watched his daughter sleep.
She breathed deep and attempted to clear her head. The very idea of him being there, in Kari's room, right before her, not thirteen hours after Fandral told her that he was dead, had her brains scrambled and frying right there in her skull.
Finally, just as he began to lean away from his daughter's slumbering form, her voice found her:
"I don't….I don't understand. Thor….I…."
Jane pursed her lips and took a moment to consider the possibility that her usually sharp tongue went haywire when in the presence of alien royalty.
She cocked her head to side when Thor raised a finger to his lips.
He stood from the edge of the bed and walked toward the side, leaning over slightly to place a kiss against Kari's forehead. Jane strained her ears to listen when he whispered something to the girl, but found that it was in the same unfamiliar language that Kari had taken to singing in as a young child.
And then, her heartbeat spiked. Thor walked across the room slowly, and with not a word, slipped his hand into her own and led her from the room.
Jane jumped slightly at the contact. His hand was warm, firm, calloused and real.
He was there.
He was real.
Thor closed the door to Kari's room and they stood, quiet, in the darkness of the hallway.
Words raced through Jane's mind, so many things she had wanted to say, so many questions she had wanted to ask…..and now, he was there, and she could….
"I am dead, Jane."
Bile tickled her throat before sinking back down.
Even in the darkness she could see him smile sadly at her. She wanted to ask him the obvious question: How can you be dead, and yet be here?
Her brain formed the words but her mouth would not comply. She simply looked at him, and the soft silhouette of his face in front of hers brought an old sense of familiarity rushing through her. Emotions long forgotten spilled into her chest, words she thought she'd never say again…..
Except she had come very close to saying them earlier that night…..
Jane bit her tongue and tore her eyes from the father of her child. Trailed the floor of the hallway up to her bedroom door.
Was Loki still asleep in her bed?
She suddenly felt wracked with a double-dose of guilt at the thought. Her chest tightened and a painful fire ignited within it. Her breathing grew shallow. Tears danced at the corners of her eyes and….
A warm finger at her cheek, brushing a fallen drop away.
She felt Thor's arm wrap around her waist and pull her forward.
Jane fell into him, suddenly exhausted. Her face pressed into the metal of his armor, and she breathed him in. He smelled of the wild: water, cedar, and a faint hint of smoke. It was familiar, and yet new….and she realized how different it was from the deep, spicy-sweet scent that always seemed to linger on his brother.
Jane did not miss the fact that she could not confirm a preference between the two.
Warm hands pressed against her back and she could feel the stray strands of his hair brushing her cheek as Thor buried his face into her shoulder.
They stood silent for several moments before Jane moved to place her lips against his ear.
"You don't feel dead."
Even in the darkness she could see (and feel) him smile into her neck. He laughed lightly and she felt a comfortable chuckle escape her. It felt so familiar, so normal, like it was only twelve days ago she had last seen him rather than twelve years. It was almost as if they could just pick up where they left…..
"But I am. I cannot stay, Jane."
Hope and comfort crumbled in the wake of reality and massive confusion. A protest seared her throat. Hot fingers against her lips prevented its escape.
"I want to apologize, Jane. For not being here for you when you needed me. For not being the father our daughter deserved. For years I have fought; spilled my blood and my tears and tried so desperately to return to you. But I could not. I left you here to raise our child alone. I'm sorry…."
He was wiping the tears that were falling from her eyes away, and with every touch of his hands on her face a deep heat settled into her skin.
It contrasted noticeably with the chill she felt running across her left leg….
"But you have done so well. Kari is strong and smart and kind. You have been an amazing mother….and Loki has been good to her. To both of you."
The sound of his brother's name rattled her nerves, the sense of guilt sinking into her gut once again. Thor seemed to notice; his fingers pressed harder against her lips.
"You are happy with him here. You bring joy to each other without even realizing it. And you deserve as much, for all you have suffered. Let Loki love you, Jane. He wishes so desperately to do so."
The heat emanating from his body seemed to swallow her, his words a whisper that her mind could not fully comprehend. Jane licked her lips and remembered Loki's kiss, soft and desperate, and recognized the feeling of separation from them sink in even as Thor's own mouth settled onto her cheek.
Hot breath licked her skin and the chill on her leg intensified into an ice-cold grip around her calf.
"Jane, my love for you will never cease. But my time to love you has. It is his turn, now."
A light suddenly flooded her sight.
The smell of water and wood wafted into her nose as Thor kissed the edge of her mouth.
"Wake up to him."
Jane started slightly, squinting against the sunlight that glared through the icy windows. The cold on her leg moved, and Jane shifted to look down at it.
A hand jerked away even as she did so.
Loki blushed and avoided her gaze.
She inhaled the spice on his skin, felt her muscles relax and her mouth water simultaneously. Words tumbled onto the edge of her tongue.
She decided to ask if he had been dreaming instead.
Okay! This should be the final addition to this particular Tie-In. Mature companionpiece in the works. All my love to you guys!