A/N: So just fyi, this chapter corresponds to chapter 16 of my Darcy/Loki story (which should be up by tomorrow), and you get a little bit of Darcy's perspective on Thor and Jane in it. Things get happier from this point on! Also, to answer one reviewer's question: yes, both Jane and Thor are human in this. I'm using S.H.I.E.L.D. as the company that Jane works for, but it's not the S.H.I.E.L.D. from the comics/movies- just a convenient name. Jane's back-story is, I'm sure, completely inaccurate from a canon stand-point. Thor's is mostly made up as well, except for the rift between him and Loki. I've taken liberties with their personalities, too. =P
You guys are great! =)
At the end of March, Jane was requested to be transferred over to the Boston branch of S.H.I.E.L.D., the company that funded her research. Jane's skills would be appreciated on a new discovery. While Jane had mostly enjoyed her time in New Mexico, a change didn't seem at all objectionable, and really, she didn't have much keeping her there anyways.
By early April she'd moved into a tiny, one bedroom apartment in a respectable neighborhood in Boston. She was well paid by her firm, but didn't like to spend money. She remember well that first year of college when she'd lived on practically nothing as she spent long nights waiting tables after spending her days studying.
Having heard Darcy was now in Boston as well- a surprising, but pleasing, coincidence- she'd called her up. As well as catching up a bit- Darcy being warmer than Jane had remembered, making her feel bad that she'd thought her a bit less friendly- Darcy had invited her to Easter. Not having any plans and encouraged by Darcy's warmth, Jane accepted.
Easter rolled around and she found herself at Darcy's door, pecan pie in hand so she would feel a bit less like she was imposing. Darcy opened the door and grabbed Jane in a surprisingly fierce hug.
"Jane!" Darcy cried, hugging her tightly, though mindful of the pie.
"Darcy!" Jane returned, pleased by Darcy's enthusiasm. It was nice to be the recipient of her spiritedness.
"Come on in then, darling," Darcy said, adopting a sophisticated British accent as she pulled back and nodded toward what Jane assumed was the kitchen.
Smiling, Jane adopted a southern twang. "Well, thank you kindly, purdy lil lady." She followed Darcy to what was, indeed, a kitchen.
Ah. There was Loki- she nodded to him and he smiled and nodded back, engrossed in conversation with a tall blond man who had his back to her.
"We've just been getting water boiled for tea," Darcy said. "You want?"
The blond man turned slightly as Darcy walked past, and she could see his face. Jane blinked, shocked. "Hmm?" she said, vaguely remembering Darcy had asked something. Tea! That's right. It had been about tea. "Oh, no thanks," she said.
The blond man turned at the sound of her voice. And stared. It was the man from the bar! What an absurd coincidence. He'd had some kind of strange name...
"Oh, jeez!" Darcy said, slapping her forehead lightly and interrupting Jane's thoughts. "Of course- introductions. Jane, you and Loki know each other," they smiled at each other. Yes, they knew each other. There were a few months when Jane had even harbored a large crush on Loki, when he'd come to New Mexico to work with her. It had been clear that he'd become instantly smitten with Darcy though. "And this is Loki's brother, Thor. Thor this is my...ex-boss/friend."
Thor! That's what his name was! She smiled warmly at him. He had been...very interesting. Jane remembered him fondly. She wondered if he remembered her at all. Probably not. She imagined he talked to loads of women at bars, the thought making her unaccountably annoyed.
He hadn't said anything yet, so Jane decided that he just didn't remember her. "Hello," she said, a bit disappointed. She found herself wishing that she had made a better impression on him before, but then caught herself and let the thought go. There was no reason for her to feel that way.
Finally, a reaction from him. He held out his hand, his eyes still on hers- did he remember her then? He was looking at her as if he might...?
"Hello," he said, his voice as deep and powerful as she'd remembered. He had a slightly strange accent- like British with a hint of Australian.
Everyone seemed to wait a beat for him to say more. He didn't. Jane was amused by this. He was like the epitome of the strong and silent type.
The kettle started shrilling and Darcy flinched, rushing over to it.
"We were just talking about Smart cars, Jane," Loki explained. "And my brother was saying how he had a funny story to tell." They all sat down at the table, Loki pulling out Darcy's chair for her. How sweet, Jane thought. She was glad they were together. Loki and her really would never have worked, and she was glad to be over her crush.
"A funny story!" Darcy cried, grinning excitedly. "Those are my favorite kinds!"
Jane smiled at Darcy's enthusiasm. It was both endearing and foreign to her, to be so passionate over what Jane would classify as pretty mundane things.
"Well," Thor said reluctantly- Interesting, Jane thought. It's almost like he doesn't want to tell it anymore.- "I never said it was funny." He spoke in a tone that said not to get their hopes up, and she found herself intrigued. "I was driving back from the supermarket one day," he started, and Jane let his voice wash over her. It was so deep and masculine, and at some basic level, with his easy story-telling voice, it was comforting. "And there's this little Smart car in the lane next to me. And I'm in one, too, mind. Because I was renting a car, and all bloody Italy has are these tiny little things. So I'm hunched over in this ridiculously small car, my arms and legs barely being contained-" Jane giggled, picturing it, and something flashed in Thor's eyes that she couldn't read but had her giggles fading away to be replaced by a smile. He continued, getting more into the story. " Now, I didn't notice her at first. I was just driving. But then I start hearing these shouts, and I look over and the driver is yelling at me." People started serving themselves food at this point. Jane smiled as Thor took huge helpings of everything.
"What do you mean, yelling at you?" Loki asked. "What were you doing? And why were you driving to the supermarket in Italy? I would think it'd just be easier to walk."
Darcy gave Loki a look. "Oh, leave him alone," she said. "He was probably out in the country or something." She looked to Thor for confirmation. Thor nodded his head. "See?" Darcy said to Loki with a satisfied smirk.
Loki just smiled, shaking his head. "So what were you doing then, that someone started yelling at you?"
"Nothing," Thor said, shrugging his massive shoulders and taking a bite of mashed potatoes. He swallowed and continued. "I was just driving. Minding my own business. But I rolled down my window to hear what they were going on about, and it turns out that the driver is this tiny old woman and she's cussing me out. Being quite racist, too."
Darcy choked. "What? A racist old lady cussed you out? In Italy?" She turned to Loki. "See? This is why we should travel! I want to be cussed at by racist people too!"
Jane smiled at Darcy's bizarre claims. Back when she had been working for Jane, she'd always been saying things like that. Jane hadn't really known what to do with it. Loki seemed to know though.
"Well we don't need to travel for that," he said, looking at Darcy with so much warmth that Jane almost felt like she should look away. "If my girl wants to be cussed at by racist old women, I'm sure I can find her some right here in Boston. I'll put up an ad. 'Racists: you are finally wanted. Please bring your best insults to-'" Darcy punched his arm playfully and he stopped, smiling.
Seeing the two of them together and how right they were for each other made the ache for a man of her own like that a bit sharper. But it was difficult. Horribly difficult, to find a good man. And not only a good man, but one who was ready to actually commit to a relationship. So many men weren't. And Jane just didn't understand that. How could you not want the picket fence? The two car garage? The children playing out on the lawn, dogs barking happily as you threw a stick for them? That's what Jane wanted. A family. She longed for it. Had been longing for it since she was young. That was one of the reasons she'd been so blinded by Keith. Partly blinded by first love, and partly blinded by the desire for a family of her own- a dangerous combination that had led to her entering into a terrible relationship. And marriage, she thought gloomily.
"What was she saying?" Darcy asked, jarring Jane from her thoughts. She pasted a smile on her face.
"She was calling me things like, 'big heathen Brit, where's your big Brit army now, you hulking brute?' and stuff like that. It was all a bit mental and didn't really make sense. Still not sure what I'd done to make her so mad."
Jane was both amused and offended for him. What a terrible thing to say to this man! She quite liked him. He seemed...she searched for the word. Genuine. Yes, that word fit. Like he wasn't the kind of man who tolerated lying. But then, there she was, making snap judgments when in reality she barely knew the man.
The talk turned to other things and Thor got quieter, putting in his input rarely but paying attention. Jane found herself being drawn out of her shell and laughing and bandying words back and forth with Darcy. Again and again she found her gaze drawn back to Thor. He had some kind of magnetism that just drew her eyes to sneak peeks at his face, or his chest, or his arms...
At eight o'clock though, she was ready to go home. Her need to be social appeased, she was looking forward to reading a bit and maybe writing. There had been a few vague ideas floating around in her head that she'd like to get down...
Saying goodnight and thanking Darcy and Loki- and promising to call Darcy to go out for a girl's night sometime soon- Thor offered to walk her out. Well, he'd more actually declared, "I will walk you down." But she wasn't complaining.
"You have a boyfriend," he stated as they walked down the stairs.
"Oh," Jane said, startled. "Umm, no, actually." Anticipating his next question, she was filled with an odd combination of dread and excitement.
He raised his eyebrows in surprise at this, but said, "Good," and her heart flopped. They stood on the porch steps now. "I would like to take you out." Jane couldn't help but smile at that. He didn't like to ask for things, Thor.
Well...why not? She wondered. Instantly her mind came up with reasons she shouldn't, and ways it could end badly, but she decided to ignore them and give it a chance. She liked him.
"Okay," she said, and he...smiled. The effect was breath-taking. She literally gasped, his eyebrows furrowing slightly at her reaction. But when he smiled his face took on this sunny, entirely too gorgeous to be legal kind of look.
"Good," he said, and again she found herself smiling. He was so measured with his words. It had never struck her as something that she might find attractive, but she did. They traded phone numbers. "When are you free?" His first question, she noted with amusement.
"Oh, I've got tomorrow free, because of the holiday and everything, but then I'm pretty busy for the next week," The project she'd been transferred to Boston for had had a recent break-through that had everyone working a bit more intensely than usual, but she estimated that her work-hours would be back to normal before too long.
"Then how about tomorrow? Dinner?" His eyes were so intense. Warm, but intense. Jane grew a little bit flustered under their continued gaze.
"Umm, yeah. Yeah, I'd like that."
"Good," he said, yet again. She got the feeling that was a word that he used often to describe something that others might use synonyms like 'great!', 'awesome!', or 'wonderful!' for. She liked the simple, straightforwardness of 'good'. And she liked that he said it like he meant it, not like he was being polite. But then, he said everything like he meant it. It was an unusual trait.
They made plans to go to an Italian restaurant, and Jane left feeling optimistic about their date tomorrow. And she couldn't seem to wipe the silly smile off of her face.
A/N2: I've just been realizing that most of this fic is from Jane's point of view. Don't worry! The next chapter should be from Thor's. =)