This IS part of my "Thor" series—in a subtle way. It is an exploration of the brokenness of the universe, of how circumstance can get in the way of destiny. How a shard of destruction can leave you with only a shard of what could have been.
I listened to "Lament for Gandalf," followed by "Gandalf's Fall."
Jane sensed him the instant she shut the door behind her. Night had fallen, and a chill had entered the outside air—but somehow it seemed colder inside the lab.
And a deeper shadow waited in the darkness.
She froze, her heart leaping—then hammering against her breastbone.
He stood, a tall silhouette, next to the kitchen counter across from her. From what she could see, he had his arms folded.
"Hello?" she called, her voice shaking.
"Hello," he answered—and she jumped. His voice sounded so smooth—calm and delicate and low. She frowned.
"Who are you?" she demanded. "What are you doing here?"
"I came…" he paused, and took a deep breath. "…to see if I could understand."
"What do you mean?" she pressed, staying where she was.
"What happened to Thor."
"Thor?" she repeated—and before she knew it, she started toward him. "You…You know Thor?"
He didn't say anything. Quickly, she reached over and flipped on a single side light.
His head flinched away—but now she could see most of him.
He was very tall, dressed in silvery-gold armor that crisscrossed over his upper chest and reached up in a high collar. A deep green cape arched back over his shoulders and fell to the floor. He had collar-length, raven hair, a pale, angular face, soft mouth, noble nose and cheekbones, and a penetrating emerald gaze framed by black eyelashes and eyebrows. A few cuts marked his forehead and nose, and dust coated his whole frame.
He watched her as a hawk, and her hand stilled on the light switch. Her face got hot. He was studying her as well.
"What do you mean, what happened to Thor?" Jane wondered.
His eyes flashed—and he did not answer. His gaze bored into her, searching, seeking…
And all at once, Jane realized he truly had no interest in answering her questions. He was here to answer his own.
She went cold down to her bones. But somehow, she couldn't move.
He stepped toward her—slow, liquid, like a snake, his eyes unblinking and intense as blue flame.
He unfolded his arms, reached out—
And slipped his hands around her neck.
Jane didn't even have time to scream as she realized what he was about to do. In a flash of reflex, she squeezed her eyes shut—
And warm lips closed over hers.
Her eyes flickered open as her heartbeat began again, and launched into a fevered flutter. Her mind swirled in confusion and terror. She tried to rally herself to struggle, to strike him, to pull back…
His hands gentled on her neck—but then again, they had never hurt her at all. Jane's resolve floundered.
His mouth moved just slightly. Out of the edge of her blurred vision, Jane saw his brow furrow, felt him lean in just a little…As if he was still searching, trying…
As if he had never kissed anyone before. Ever.
Jane drew in a startled breath, opening her lips just a little.
And then, as if she had invited him, he truly kissed her.
He tilted his head and deepened everything—he slid his hands through her hair, leaning in only to break from her lips, then press in again, more urgently—like he had just discovered the tip of something priceless and he was rapidly running out of time to uncover the rest.
And as he did this, though Jane's mind screamed in a whirl of denial and chaos…
She kissed him back.
Her shaking hands came up to take hold of his collar, then wrap around his shoulders.
And she could find no other reason but that it felt absolutely, utterly, completely right.
Then, all at once, she saw it.
A gleaming, golden city, like the flutes of an organ, crowned by a bannering sky lit with nebula and brilliant stars.
A night in a silent, snowy forest, illuminated only by a single fire—and emerald eyes, and a song sung to the music of a lute.
Laughter filling this very lab—a book held open between two laps and held by two pairs of hands. A white tea set…
A shower of meteors, flashing past, and tumbling down into silvery clouds below…
A child. Taken.
Another night beneath the desert stars, next to a fire and a magical ring in the sand...
His mouth parted from hers. He gasped thickly.
Her eyes flew open.
She almost spoke, almost asked what was wrong…
But she was too stricken by the sudden look of vivid despair in those bright, blazing eyes.
Her hands slipped down from his shoulders—
And bumped into something sharp on his midsection.
She jumped, pulling her hand back—
Blood marked the side of it.
But it wasn't hers.
A gasp tore through her. Her gaze darted down…
To see the tip of a jagged object protruding from his middle, right beneath his left lung, where his armor had parted. And his tunic was soaked with blood.
"What…What is that?" Jane cried, her gaze flying to his. His eyes fluttered, then lingered shut.
"The bridge," he murmured. "Thor broke it. It burst like a dying star. A piece…" He gestured weakly to his wound, then gave a half smile.
She grabbed his wrists hard.
"We have to get you to a hospital."
He shook his head.
"Nothing can be done."
"That's ridiculous. Of course it can," Jane insisted. She took better hold of him and pulled him toward her white corner couch. "Sit…Sit down there, and I'll…I'll call 9-11."
He obeyed her. His face had drained of all color, his eyes had gone distant. He sank onto the couch—then laid down on his back, letting out a long, tight hiss. Jane held onto him for just an instant, finding it suddenly almost impossible to part from him, then ran to the phone. She snatched it up, dialed the number, then paced back and forth until she heard someone pick up.
"9-11 Emergency, what is your emergency?"
"This is Jane Foster," she started. "And I…I have a man here who's…He's been impaled by some sort of shrapnel…I'm not sure, it might be metal or glass—"
"Where is his injury?"
"Uh, his stomach," Jane answered—and all of a sudden her throat choked up and her eyes began to burn. "He's…He's bleeding pretty badly—I think it's gone all the way through him…"
"Is he conscious?"
"Yes," Jane nodded hard, squeezing her eyes shut and trying to make herself keep thinking, even though tears now ran down her face. "Yes, he's lying on my couch."
"All right ma'am, stay calm—what is your location?"
"Puente Antiguo, the old service station at the end of Main—it's got a big, blue neon tower on the top—"
"All right, ma'am, do not attempt to remove the shrapnel. We'll be there in about ten minutes."
"Okay," Jane said. She hung up the phone and turned…
To see the stranger watching her, his eyebrows drawn together earnestly. She swiped at her face, strode back over and got on her knees beside him. She forced a smile, and took hold of his pale, soft left hand with both of hers.
"It's going to be okay," she assured him. "They're coming. It'll be okay."
"Jane," he whispered.
Every fiber of her being resounded.
No one had ever said her name like that.
She squeezed his hand. He returned the pressure, and held her gaze.
He blinked. And two tears trailed down his temples.
"Oh, don't cry!" she begged, scooting closer to him and brushing his tears away with the shaking fingers of her right hand. His skin felt like ice. She left her hand there on his face, tilting her head so she kept his gaze. "Please don't cry."
His brow twisted. He swallowed hard.
"Jane," he said again—as if he were softly singing it. As if enlightenment had pierced him and caused his very soul to speak.
"I'm here, I'm here," she assured him, scalding tears running down her cheeks. She leaned even closer, stroking his forehead, rubbing her thumb against the deep tension line that had formed between his eyebrows.
He pulled her other hand up, and pressed it to the armor above his heart, curling his fingers through hers.
For a long moment, their gazes caressed each other.
Then, he twitched. His eyes flinched closed, and his throat spasmed. His breaths all at once came in short, stunted bursts.
"Wait—wait, no," Jane cried, clamping down on his hand and trying to turn his face back toward her. "Hold on—just a little longer—"
He choked, shuddered…
Then his whole body went limp.
He opened his eyes and found hers. He smiled faintly.
One more crystal tear fell.
He rubbed his thumb back and forth on her hand.
Then he closed his eyes, and let out a long sigh.
And stopped breathing.
Jane sat there, motionless.
"No," she whispered, panicking. "No, no…"
She pressed her fingers to his throat. No pulse answered.
She leaned up, over him, her hand fluttering helplessly over his face. Her tears fell down upon his lips.
"No…" she sobbed. "You have to tell me your name…"
Sirens cut the air outside. Red lights flashed and spun through the room.
Jane could hardly see them. She gave in to her broken cries, and laid her head down on his cold armor, grasping his hand between hers, and feeling like she'd just lost the world and all its glittering stars before she even knew she held them.
Oh, and if you'd like a happier version of this, please read "Fallen Star," if you haven't already.