Please read "For All The Days Inbetween" prior to this to understand.
You guys asked for it. Here it is. The sequel to Inbetween, that little one shot that became a huge thing. I love this story and where it's going, and I realise you are all going to be FURIOUS by the end of this CH, I hope you can give me time and let me tell my story.
M content and vulgar language. Super angsty, but you have to have some kind of conflict eh?
Forget your troubles
Come on get happy
You better chase all you cares away
Come on get happy
Get ready for the judgment day
Pepper sighed as she leaned against the doorframe that was the gateway to the roof of Stark, the very roof where her friend had gotten married, and subsequently disappeared off into the great beyond with her godly husband and golden son. She had accepted it, understood it. Not that she liked it, but it was where Jane had felt she needed to be, and Jane was a creature of feelings. Her warm heart touched so many, taming the beast inside them all with her great wit and calm reason. She knew that Jane would return someday, but she refused to pine away her life waiting.
Unlike Steve. He was standing on the patio stones watching the lightening race across the sky, "You should really come in Captain.," Pepper said softly, "I wouldn't want to see what lightening would do to you." He shrugged but didn't turn. "Come on Steve."
"It's been a year Pepper." Rogers said, his warm tenor fading into the wind, "She's – They're not coming back."
"She left too much unfinished Steve," Pepper walked to his side, and looked up, "She'll be back."
"She'll be a Queen. Wonder how she's liking that." He smiled, "Wonder how Hal's doing."
Pepper frowned and glanced at him, "You really love her don't you."
Steve shrugged, "I would like to think not." His head dropped and he stared at the toe of his boot, "She reminds me of Peggy – reminded me of Peggy."
"She's not gone forever." Pepper looped her arm around Steve's and tugged him back in to where Darcy, Tony and Barton were yelling at the TV
"He could have totally made that." Darcy said, "He's just being a pansy."
"Ah, grasshopper, you have much to learn."
Darcy glanced up and looked from Steve to Pepper. "Watching the storm?" She said and looked pointedly at Pepper, who nodded her strawberry blond head. "I used to too." She said as the commercials rolled past the screen. "Kept looking until I remembered something."
"What?" Steve asked, his voice betrayed none of the previous emotion he had let slip in front of Pepper.
"I love Jane like a sister, and I only want her to be happy. I know without a shadow of a doubt that there is nowhere she is happier than beside Thor." Darcy looked at the dashing Captain and smiled, "But she'll come back just to make sure we're happy."
Happy, Rogers thought as he slumped next to Barton on the long sofa. I'm doomed never to be happy.
She was sitting in the garden, Loki sitting across from her. "Feel strange?" she asked her brother in law, a hint of a smile in her voice.
"Yes," he glanced around and sighed, "I feel like this has all been a mirage, like you never came that day and saved me." His voice was quiet and solemn and she laid her hand on his arm.
"This is part of the healing process Loki." She said gently, "You need to overcome all that darkness." She smiled and jutted up her chin, "What kind of good uncle is all doom and gloom?" He chuckled and looked at the boy sitting in his lap. His one arm was wrapped loosely around Hal's waist, and both of Hal's hands were resting on his forearm. Loki freed his arm of her grasp and combed the wild hair down to no avail.
"Enough of me, how fair's the Queen of Asgard?" she winced and looked to the golden tree in the center of the garden where the raven haired Indun was tending to her apples. She fell into her thoughts as she smiled, she had never really noticed the pale woman before, but after Thor pointed her out at the coronation she saw her everywhere. Her own silent faery godmother.
"Dull. I'm pregnant, so therefore I'm infirmed. Doom to nothing but watching." She barked a dry laugh and snickered, "I dances with Thor at the proclamation ball and every eye was on me, shaming me to be up and about while pregnant." She rolled her eyes, "how little they know."
She smiled and shot him a wry look, "The first three months of my pregnancy with Hal I was moving my lab from Virgina to New York. Up at dawn helping them pack and last to bed packing the apartment for the move."
Loki chuckled and boosted Hal up further on his lap."Always on the move aren't you dear sister."
"Have been every day of my life." She shrugged, "Why should pregnancy stop me?" she looked to the sky above the walled garden, "I should get back." She sighed, "They'll be missing me in the proceeding rooms."
"I would love a busy day." She groaned as she stood, her knees cracking after the stagnation, "I miss running." She sighed and smiled, "Whatever would they think if I put on spandex shorts and a sports bra and went running through the city." She chuckled warmly and opened her hand to help Loki up.
His face was twisted in deep thought, "I recall a similar story of a human.. Godiva."
"Lady Godiva?" Jane said, momentarily stunned, "The naked Squire's wife." She threw her head back and laughed. The chiming sound echoed through the garden and Loki smiled, glad he could make her happy. The wife of his brother was a pleasant and intriguing woman. He felt that Thor did not appreciate her as much as he should, but the worship in her eyes whenever they were in the same room was disgustingly mutual. Loki always felt the curdle of jealously when their eyes met. He missed that joy, that love, but the one he loved had passed the gates of the nether world, the Valkryies had taken her, never to return through the golden gates. "You are a funny guy." She finally said, wiping tears from her eyes.
"I try, My Queen," he said, bemused at the blush that stained her cheeks. He stood and she gathered Hal as he brushed the nature from his long black coat.
She watched him as he inhaled the air, touched the plants that had once been his soul companions, his jailors. He wasn't as sallow as that strange man she had met all those days ago, nor did the darkness linger inside him. His black eyes were no longer deep pools of anger and bitter fury but in fact an inky coffee brown. His cheeks held a mite of colour and when he smiled, she could see he meant it. This was the man her husband had grown up with, this was the brother he had once loved. It broke her heart that Thor didn't see it, but in time, she knew he would. Time and patience.
He had broken the curse the All father had set on him days before their coronation, and had proudly stood by them as Frigga and Odin stepped down and Thor and Jane stepped up. After they had stood and waved to the crowd, Hal preened at the attention he was getting as the new Heir, she had motioned for Loki to join them. He had shook his head until Thor had nodded and the younger brother sidled up to her side, tickling Hal who giggled and gave a gurgling smile to his uncle.
Weeks later, the man Hal had deemed "Ki Ki." Walked with her to the throne room as they talked in hushed words. Her back stiffened as they entered the royal room where Thor was speaking with Sif and Fandral about a siege gone wrong. Their own method's of travel had become limited, but they still managed to limp through their duty of protecting the nine realms. There was much unrest in the galaxy, but Thor assured her it was nothing abnormal.
"This is what we were created for," he had told her, "We were made to protect those who cannot protect themselves." She had smiled and kissed his bare chest, grateful that the man she loved had such a large heart.
Loki stood slightly behind her, still wary of Thor and the warriors who had threatened him, but she feared none while in the great hall. No longer uncomfortable in her station. She didn't like it, but like many, she hadn't had a choice. She had fallen in love with a Prince, and by the time she had realised who he was, it had been too late. "My King." She said, a sassy tone in her voice made Loki's cheeks twitch. "Come bid your son safe dreams before he lays down." Thor looked up and tried to smile, she could see that he had been in a tense conversation, and it tugged at her that he didn't ask for her wisdom. But this was war, this was what he did best.
Thor glided across the room, his eyes narrowing on Loki, "And is he accompanying you?"
"Thor-" she said exasperated, "leave him be."
Thor pulled his son from her offering arms and cuddle him close, "Someday my son, you will charge into battle alongside me, but for now, all you will battle is the demons in your dreams." He kissed the boys brow as Hal squirmed, wanting to be put down. He was coming to the age which Jane called 'terrible two's'. Although he was only one, she believed him to be aging in a different manner than humans due to his godhood. Thor paid it no heed, and merely deemed he would be a strong lad to stand by his father.
"Dadd-a" Hal said, and his garbled words were that of frustration and annoyance.
Thor chuckled, "Mind your Mother m'boy." Hal his Father and Thor held him close, a feeling of calm washed over him like a tidal wave. He looked at Jane's kind face and nodded to her, her unasked question of his state of mind echoed without her saying a word.
Hal yawned and Jane rubbed his back, "Ok little man, time for your nap." Thor's heart skipped a beat when he relinquished his son back to Jane, the calm the boy invoke in him disappearing. "I'll come back Thor," she grabbed his hand and squeezed. He opened his mouth to say 'no', that he was fine, but she shook her head, "I may not know war, but I know you." She said sagely and he sighed, unwilling to admit before his brother and friends that he needed this small woman for comfort, for guidance. Her wisdom and wit was renowned through the city, her dealings with petitioners went far more smoothly then he had ever been able to accomplish. Less and less days were devoted to the common person, for she solved their problems so efficiently that less time was needed.
"I could use some wisdom," he finally said and she nodded. He kissed his son's brow and her cheek and the three disappeared back into the private quarters. "Where were we."
"They are unreasonable Thor," Sif said, "and are growing more violent by the day."
"You fear an attack?" Thor said looking to Hogun, who shook his head. The silent warrior knew the Elves better than anyone, having been raised there. Thor knew the struggle Hogun had facing his kith and kin, but he was the most valuable ally he had and Hogun knew where he was needed. "What would you suggest, My friend?"
"A treaty. They will test your wit and your wisdom as ruler."
Fandral smiled at the words, "They obviously haven't met the Queen." Sif and Hogun frowned, as did Thor when Volstagg and Fandral chuckled, "She would have them charmed and simpering at her beckoning."
"That's my wife." Thor said coldly and the two ceased their amusement.
Sif looked at Thor and exhaled, "She's got the mind of a tactician, if you would only let her."
Thor snarled and turned. "No, she will not take part in this."
"What won't I take part in?" Jane glided across the room, Loki absent from her side. "Sif?"
"We have a problem that you could easily solve with your wit." Thor shot his friend a look, "But your husband deems you too fragile to help."
"That is not what I said," he spat, "and you know it." Jane stepped between him and Sif, who was reaching for her spear, Mjölnir already in Thor's grasp.
"Enough," she said, "No brutality, no bloodshed."
"Where's the sport in that?" Fandral chuckled and Thor shot him a look that made the showy man bow his head, "Sorry milady."
"No harm done." Jane said and her gaze drifted across the four faces and narrowed on Thor, "Calm." Her hand rested on his thrumming heart and his on her barely showing stomach, "Peace Thor." He sighed and the others held back their urges to smile as the great and mighty Thor was tamed. "Sif, what's going on?"
Sif looked up as Jane, Mjölnir back on the ground beside him and she leaning against his chest, his arms wrapped around her. "The elves want to take our place as guardians, the do not – will not bow to Thor. They think him the simpleton he once was."
Jane smiled wickedly, "Well that could be an advantage." They all looked at her, horror and surprise on their faces, causing her to snicker. "I was a woman in a man's world. I know a thing or two about being underestimated."
"Jane-" Thor said but she patted his hand that was cupping her miniscule pregnant belly.
"No Thor, I do." She looked back to Sif, "My motto was always 'Let the think what they want.' Change is not natural," she sighed "To change someone's mind is a battle more arduous than any squabble you Neanderthals can beat out with your fists and weapons. Only go to battle if you are prepared to lose everything."
"What do you know of War." Sif said bluntly.
"War is when one person wants something and the other refuses to give it up. And the bigger the pride the larger the fall. Say the over grown ego of two princes vying for a position, can you see how that would be dangerous " She felt Thor flinch behind her and she smiled. "You forget to watch. To listen." She glanced around the room and smiled, "Words should not be used to fill silence, but to enhance the silence itself with thought."
Thor bent low till his beard tickled her ear, "You are a wise woman." He said and she smiled.
"I know." She said softly, "Now, tell me everything."
Thor knew the instant that they appeared in the great hall that it had been a bad idea. "Odinson," the tall creature said, his voice silky smooth, "you come without your army. How unwise."
Thor glanced to Jane who nodded, " Lord Seth, I come to make peace. War is not the answer." The animal beside him stomped its foot impatiently and Jane smiled and stepped towards the giant war horse. The two warriors watched, Thor in sheer terror, Lord Seth in bemused annoyance. She placed her palm on the horses velvety face and blew in its nose, smiling as it shook its head and bent low as she rubbed it affectionately.
"Making friends is easy, if you are willing to understand each other." She said, looking at Lord Seth, who was staring back in awe.
"Lord Seth, my wife, Queen Jane."
The large elf stared at the miniscule woman, "You are not of Asgard milady."
"Midgard." She said, still petting the great white stallion who's head was bent low so she could scratch the spot between his ears, "Formerly, I am now of Asgard."
"The Goddess of Youth saw fit to grant you with immortality."
She smiled and looked at Thor, "Someone has to make sure he uses his words before his Hammer." Thor smiled back affectionately, "And who better than beauty to tame the beast."
"Gimli seems to think you worthy." Seth said, nodding to his steed. "I trained him to be brutal and your human wife tames him in seconds to be more complacent than a snake in the sun."
"We have a saying on Earth," Jane said, "That you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. To be sweet rather than bitter will win more love. For love will always overpower fear."
"And the people love you I am sure." The warrior said, ignoring Thor who was flinching and flexing, wanting to toss the Elf lord across the grounds for his candor with Jane, but this had been the plan. To charm and outwit an Elf was a terrible risk, but one she had insisted upon taking.
"That they do." She said and Gimli snuffled his agreement, "You poor thing." She said to the horse. "All work and no play." He shook his head and she looked at the animal, without fear and with kindness. And it bowed to her. "Compassion is the key to any disagreement. The ability to see from a different perspective is necessary." She walked back to Thor's side and looped her arm in his, "I admit to be guilty of not looking in the past, but each time we make a mistake we stand up, brush ourselves off and try something new."
"You speak wise words and yet I don't know what you are trying to say." He was confused by the charming wife of Thor, the Queen of Asgard. This small woman who had such bravery to talk to a armed elf as she talked to her ladies over tea had earned his respect.
"I mean to say, you two need to put aside your differences and see what is truly best for the realms. Is new leadership needed? Or is this just an inflated ego wanting praise?" He flinched and flexed, but he saw the mighty Mjölnir clasped in Thor's hand and he backed down.
"You dishonor me."
"I speak like a mother." She said calmly, "I apologise if I'm blunt, but the point needs to be addressed."
"Aye," Thor said, "Seth, you swore to charge against Asgard to take over, but see reason," Thor glanced to Jane who nodded encouragingly, "Is that really what's best?"
"Asgard has become complacent, the Universe has seen fit to throw all of Yggdrasil into chaos and you do nothing." Seth's ire had once again risen and Thor glanced to the glint of light from the corner of the room where Sif and Fandral were hiding, covered by the overwhelming light.
"What is your definition of Chaos Lord Seth?" Jane said gently, "The universe doesn't care for the species within it like you say."
"Utgard have overstepped their boundaries and the Jotun's still seek war against your King husband."
"True Peace is but the fanciful whim of a child," Thor sighed, "In all the centuries I've seen pass, the vacuum of Peace withers easily."
Jane nodded, "But we must do what we can to assure that such unrest does not become dangerous to others." She looked to Seth, "Would you help us?" The large Elf stared at Jane, her kind brown eyes, "We do not see as you do, nor could we." Thor tucked her into his side and she shot him a look, "You need to have faith that we do want what's best."
"I believe I'm beginning to milady." Seth said, staring at the couple before him, "I am coming around to the notion."
Jane shared a glance with Thor and she smiled bemused, "Well then, let us sit and talk live the civil creatures we are."
The ball was to be a relaxed affair, officially celebrating the feats of bravery from the warriors who had returned from Alfheim where they were banging out another treaty with the elves. Though no one had said it, the largest part of the gratitude was owed to Jane for completely upending the Elves and stopping them in their tracks. But Thor had long ago realised that Jane was not one to take credit.
And so after weeks of disagreements and months of tension, they had finally reached a decision and; as Jane had quickly learned, when Asgardian's did anything, they expected a party.
Her dress was a cool pewter, the silver armband that encircled her bicep, the long chain with the emblem of Mjölnir and her diadem were all the jewelry she wore, apart from her wedding ring. The large gold band hadn't left her hand in nearly two years, and she smiled as she glanced at it. Rarely did she notice it anymore, but every once in awhile, the glittering gold and brown ring would catch her eye and cause her to smile. Through the good, the bad and the hard, she had proven herself strong enough, smart enough for him.
She patted the stain on her lips and stood, wandering into the nursery where Hal slept. "Milady this is the twelfth time you've checked on the boy." Gretel said bemused, "He had not moved a muscle that was not driven by dreams." She sighed and padded to the side of the crib. Her baby had grown up so quickly, her eyes watered as she pulled the cream midgardian blanket tight around his shoulders.
"Jane?" Thor said from the door, "You ready?" She nodded as she felt him approached her side. "He's so big now," Thor observed.
She smiled, "Remember that first month when we thought we would die of exhaustion?" she shot him a look and he rolled his eyes. "I was up every two hours feeding him, and you were up every hour fussing."
"I do not fuss." He said firmly and glanced down at his son, "I was .. concerned."
"Oh, that's what you call it." She chuckled and sighed as he wrapped his arm around her waist and kissed her temple. "Let's go, before I get all nostalgic." He smiled and laid a gentle hand on Hal's back for a split moment before tugging her away.
They endured the required blessing of the monarchs, of the queen to bear more hearty sons for the royal family, of the aged and tired All father who sat on the throne and watched. No longer King, he retreated to his tower and watched as the nine realms spun on.
He swept her on the dance floor as; once again, all eye looked at her disapprovingly. "They're gossiping about me, Husband." She whispered, her head tucked against his jaw, her lips exhaled warm breath against his neck.
"Let them gossip like the old hens they are." He muttered. "You're the Queen, my love, it matters not what they say."
She shivered and smiled, "I couldn't have gotten a better husband if I'd gone on a reality show."
"A reality show.." he said thoughtfully, "You mean that garbage you and Pepper used to watch."
"Yup." She giggled, and mused quietly, "I wonder who won."
"You are far too bright for that drivel." He whispered in her ear, "Let us not spend this evening bickering about television."
"Oh," she said as he spun her about on the floor, "did you have other plans, my lord?" she looked at him and batted her lashes coyly, causing him to chuckle and kiss her cheek.
"Yes. Happy three years my love." She shuddered in his arms and did the math that she hadn't focused on earlier. Had it already been three years.
"Wow." She said shocked, "Time really does move fast."
He exhaled and nuzzled her temple. "It was the most dangerous and arduous battle I ever partook in.. putting that ring on your finger." She smacked his shoulder affectionately, "But so far it has proved worthwhile."
She raised a thin brow, "So far?"
Looking down at her and he smiled, "I am bound to the most brilliant, beautiful and sensual woman in nine realms, who has already bore me a son, and is once more carrying my child. None has more than I, nor could be any happier."
"Don't speak too loudly," Jane smirked, "You'll anger the fates."
He beamed, "Look at you, speaking of the fates like an Asgardian woman spinning a tale. You're no better than those gossiping hens." She dug her nails into the bare shoulder of his arm and dragged them ever so slowly down to his bicep.
"No better?" she said coolly, but her eyes betrayed her amusement, "You may want to reiterate that."
He bent low and pecked her lips chastely, "You are the best wife, best queen I could ask for." He said firmly, "And I love you."
"I love you too." She smiled up at him and they continued to dance across the floor, the two lovers enrobed in their moment as the gossiping women spoke of the dangers the Queen was putting herself in while with child. But Thor nor Jane noticed for they were far too entrenched in the moment, smiling at each other, laughing and spending the rare moment just for them.
Jane often missed the days of simply being 'Mrs Donald 'Thor' Blake.' She missed their room, the nursery she had assembled herself that was lacking in the opulence of the golden godly city. She missed their kitchen and naked midnights beneath the moon when she would make a late dinner after exhausting their energy making love. They would eat together in silence as they simply reveled in the other's company. Words had become unnecessary, while not knowing his entire history, nor he knowing hers, she had long ago realised that it didn't matter. She loved him with her whole heart, she loved the man that he was; the hero, the warrior. He fought for what was right, not what was easy. And most days she prayed that; when her time came, she could show as much strength as he did daily.
He looked down at her in his arms, curiously, "Are you alright?" She nodded but didn't respond. "Tired?"
"A bit. Mostly I'm just homesick." She looked up at him and gave him a half hearted smile, "But we're going back soon so I'll be ok."
He looked at her confused, "Going back? To New York?"
She looked back at him, equally confused, "Yes, you said-"
"That was before you were with child. We've been through this Jane." he said, recalling his stalling year and a half prior when he had been adamant that it would be too risky while carrying Hal to travel. Oh how cruel fate could be.
"That is all I'm going to say on the subject." Her eyes grew dark and she spun away, as she pulled from his arms and disappeared into the private quarters. Thor sighed and scrubbed his hand with his face. Looking to his mother he saw her worried face, pinched in concern. Jane would need a few minutes to calm herself and so he walked over to the Dowager Queen and smiled. "Mother."
"Thor," Frigga said warmly, "whatever did you say to your charming wife." the crowd around them leaned in for any gossip of the otherwise perfect King and Queen.
"I may have been a might too bold for her tender condition." He said, mostly for the benefit of those around them, but having grown up a royal, he knew how to hide behind the mask, and yet he couldn't hide the fear and hurt from his eyes. "She took offense." Frigga's chiming laugh rang through the hall and made many ears turn away in disappointment.
"Ask me to dance Son," Frigga said, her eyes too guarding his secret, "Your father is lost to the stars this evening." Thor bowed and pulled his mother to the dance floor where the lively jaunt kept most of the muttermongers at bay. By the end of the dance, they had become attached to another dirty detail. "Now what really happened."
"She wishes to return.." he sighed as they walked to the edge of the room.
"For good?" Frigga said, trying to hold in the edge from her voice. The fear of losing her daughter, her grandson shrouded her.
Thor shook his head, "For a visit. A few days at most."
Frigga frowned, "So what's the problem."
"The machine is too dangerous."
Frigga scowled at him. "Do not lie to me son." She said harshly, "What is it you fear?"
Thor glanced across the room, to the hall guarded by three of the terrifyingly large palace guards. They would protect the inner sanctum of the private chambers of the royal family to their last breath, but they could not protect Thor from Jane, or Thor from being forced to sleep in his chambers as he had whenever he had truly upset Jane, or did not wish to disturb her. Rarely would he make it through the night without waking in sheer terror; as he had so long ago, fearing that none of it had happened, that he hadn't gone to Jane in those three glorious days, he hadn't married her, they hadn't had a son together. "What if she doesn't wish to come back?"
"Oh my poor son." Frigga gushed, "is that what you fear?" Thor looked at her, the terror, the worry in his eyes was thick, on top of all his other concerns of being King, he feared if he took her back to her home, she would ask him to stay.
And he had never been able to refuse her. "Aye mother. That is my fear."
Frigga smiled and sighed, "You are a wonderful King, Thor. And you are an even better Father, but you have lost sight of why Jane was so important."
"She would not let you give this up. Indun believed her to be with a warrior's heart, as did your father when he permitted you to return to Midgard." Thor looked away from his mother, his guilt hidden behind the mask, "she is far to rational to ask you to abandon your throne for longer than necessary." He looked back at the three guard standing vigil at the mouth of the corridor that would lead him to Jane. "Go to her Thor."
He didn't need to be told twice. He would apologise, but he wouldn't relent.
He had returned to their room only to find her already in bed, grateful to have passed the storm for the time he had crawled into bed behind her and had fallen asleep almost immediately, but as the morning light dawned he realised he hadn't been relieved of the argument, as it had only been delayed. He had woken to her standing at the bedside, glaring down at him. He sat up and frowned, as she walked to the antechamber of the suite without saying a word.
The day was full of tense looks and glaring glances as she stared at him from across the hall. None of the courtiers said a word, fearing that their Queen's anger was enough that a mere mention would have them thrown from the room or worse, maimed in her anger.
Thor watched as she waved away the servant that held a picture of water for her. He had ordered the boy to always keep the Queen's goblet full, remembering the large bottle that she had carried around the house while pregnant with Hal, the bottle had been the same size as her forearm.
Sometime after midday Loki sat next to her and the two whispered conspiratorially, causing much more gossip, but Thor ignored it, secretly glad that she wasn't too angry to speak with Loki. He could handle her anger, even her rage, but never her sadness. As long as she merely remained angry, he would tolerate her coldness.
She disappeared as the sun began to set and he followed her, keeping ever the watchful eye on her. She stopped in the ante chamber and whirled around, "Why don't you send one of you faithful servants to watch me, Oh Mighty Thor."
"Jane, please." He said gently, eyeing the staff in the room who all remained professionally stoic.
"Thor, I won't give in on this one," Her hands her on her hips, and her chin was jutted out belligerent to her husband, and King. "It's time to go back. I need to go back."
"No." His voice was firm and all the maids and guards grew a little more stiff as they watched their Queen.
Jane whirled around and stopped him, her hand on his chest, her dark eyes glaring at him. She was nose to nose with him, her ire was spiking as he glared back at her. He had cancelled their trip. "But they're my family."
"And you're carrying mine." He said vehemently. "We do not know what that machine will do to the child you carry."
Tears sprung to her eyes, "So that's how it's going to be, my King." He flinched at the pain in her words, "You're all promises and sweet words until you don't think you want to keep your word and then it's too dangerous."
"Jane, see reason." His voice raised to match hers, but he should have known that he could never out do her.
"You see goddamn reason!" she screeched, and all in the room winced. They were all on edge now that the Queen was growing increasingly agitated. No one wanted to see her upset, for she was such a golden presence in their lives and; most importantly, the life of the King, whose face was pulled into a painful frown.
"Jane, calm down." He said, trying to backpedal before she stormed off again. The palace had no 'Couch' that she could relegate him to, but his former chambers had remained empty, a place he often revisited when frustrated or annoyed. The rooms would soon be reorganized for his son once he reached an age of her choosing. For the time being, his nearly three month pregnant wife was glaring at him and he was wavering under her stare. "Please Jane, calm yourself, it's not good for-"
"I bloody well know what's good for the baby," She snapped, "I've been pregnant before your royal ass should know that!"
"ENOUGH!" He bellowed, finally having enough of her degrading him, "Until the child is strong enough to travel, we will not be going to earth. End. Of. Discussion." She snarled at him and gave a haughty huff as she stormed off.
He sighed and leaned against the cool wall, his hand covering his eyes. "Woman, can live with them, and certainly can't conform to their ideals of necessity." He heard Loki's purr, and he groaned as his brother slunk to his side. He hadn't heard Loki enter the large living quarters but he assumed his brother had come to see Jane as Thor had. If Thor didn't have absolute faith in Jane he would be more than overly concerned about all the time she spent with the trickster, but she had proven herself over and over and he knew better than to question that.
"Try not to enjoy this Loki."
He tutted and gave a dry chuckle, "Ah, but I don't. She's upset, and I like my new sibling, I favour her far more than I like you."
"Put your silver tongue back in your mouth and go find some other creature to torment." He snapped, but Loki slumped beside him.
"You know what your problem is brother?" Loki said, "You never listen to her. You watch her mouth move and respond to the words she says, but never listen."
"I do." He said powerfully, but the confidence was lost behind the skeptical look in Loki's face, "Her request to return could be dangerous to the baby."
"She wants to see her family." Loki said smugly, "You've isolated her here to be nothing more than a breeder sow primed for popping out children."
"I-.." His eyes trailed to the doorway where she had disappeared. "Have I?"
"This becoming King business isn't all it's cracked up to be." Loki said bemused, "Better you than me.. Brother." Thor looked at Loki and gave the younger man a small smile. "You're the one who will take the fall when the masses see their beloved Queen upset."
"She was worse with Hal." Thor said wryly, "The cravings, the irritation.. the cravings." They snickered together and he grew pensive. "Loki, if there is any love left between us, can you promise me one thing?" He asked, his face full of regret and fatigue. He looked at Loki who had raised a brow in contempt. "Always protect her, if I fail to do so, help her. Keep her safe."
"You truly do love her, don't you."
"With all my heart." Thor said fervently, "She and Hal are my world. As is this new child she carries. If something were to happen.. to any of them." He shuddered, "I wouldn't know what to do. So long as their safe, I will tear mountains apart in their name."
Thor buried his head in his hands and sighed. "I will Brother." His eyes shot up and the happiness was quelled by his tentative wary.
"On my honor and my magic." Loki said, "I will protect her. You may not like my methods,-"
"I care not your methods, so long as they are always safe." Loki nodded and Thor sighed. "Without her, I am a ship without it's rudder."
"Poetic brother." Loki said, and Thor looked back at him. It hadn't crossed either that this was the first truly civil conversation they had without Jane as buffer between the two. Thor slumped into the large sofa and motioned Loki to sit opposite him. "So how fairs the omniscient King?"
"Wishing I could throttle something." He grumbled as he buried his face in his hands. "She's so.."
"Yes." Thor said and glanced at the wicked smiled, "What causes you such cheer?"
"Oh, I was just thinking of a Prince who once refused to give up on a stallion." Loki said, causing Thor to wince, "He was so adamant that the horse could be broken that he spent four days and four nights trying to calm the beast."
"And all it got me was a sore rear and a magnificent stallion." Thor said, "What of it?"
"If you hadn't been so stubborn, Thrym wouldn't be in the Stable, waiting for your next great adventure."
"Are you telling me her stubbornness is good?"
"Judge not less ye be judge."
Thor stared at Loki, his eyes narrowed, "By the All father, you sound like her." He sighed and chuckled. He glanced at the door to their chambers, "I suppose it's time to face the beast."
"Take heart dear brother, at least she's not armed." Loki chuckled and Thor paled. "Go to your little wife. Apologise." Thor rolled his eyes and ambled off.
She had sat with Hal for a long time, the tears falling down her face. She knew she was being irrational, she knew she should have handled herself better, but pregnancy seemed to always bring out the worst in her. "He's being mean, isn't he Hal." She said staring at the sleeping child in her arms.
She had spent the day in court watching from her gilded seat of power, tired and cranky. The nausea of her early pregnancy prevented her from straying too far from her room and consequently, the bathroom. She knew all the whispering ladies deemed a harder pregnancy made for an easier labour.
She wanted to laugh in all their faces. They knew nothing of childbirth, nor did they understand the powerful, and all consuming love she held for her son. His white blonde hair that fell flat on his forehead, his rosy cheeks that were puffy and round and glowed with the innocence of youth. He slept soundly in her arms, the padded rocking chair cradling them both. She had commissioned the chair shortly after she had arrived, and it was a thing of beauty. She smiled as she recalled her nerves or ordering something, a royal decree. The chair had been her first. The walls were still the brilliant gold, but the entire room was muted by the little things she brought in. The cream blanket hung from the ebony crib, and the touches of reds and greens around the room made it an eclectic and homey room.
She stood and gently set the boy in the crib, tucking the thick blanket with the Tree of Life around his shoulders, "Hal," she said softly and stroked the hair that was as wild as his fathers. "You will be the very best of us. I hope." She said softly and sighed, padding down the hall she undid the clasp at her shoulder and let the gown pool at her feet, sliding into the large bed naked.
He had managed to reclaim her reason when she heard his heavy boots clomp to the side of the bed. The whisper of the cape and the ringing sound of armour hitting the floor focused her as he slid behind her. His warm chest was flush against her back, his arms encircled her waist as he cuddled up behind her. "I'm still angry." She said. He nuzzled the back of her head and sighed.
"I'm sorry." He said, "But I watched you nearly die once. This time I want you safe." He pulled her tight against his chest and she wriggled till she was free enough to roll over and look at him.
"I won't die. The machine is safe." She gave him a pointed look, "You think I would willingly endanger our child for a joy ride?"
"No, Jane it's just-"
"Than your worried I'll die en route." She said pointedly.
"No, of course not." He started, "Slightly."
"Then what is your fear?" she asked exasperatedly. "Why are you so concerned about this?"
"I fear the unknown."
"Fear of the unknown is a terrible fear." She quipped.
"Another one of your deep words of wisdom?"
"It doesn't matter. What matters is that if you feared everything you didn't know, you wouldn't be where you are today." She said emphatically.
His arm pulled her close and she could hear his breathing in her ear, "But I've never had to risk you. The one time I almost lost you was enough to see that I can never be without you." He said, and she froze at the fear that echoed in his voice.
Tears sprung to her eyes and she pressed herself against him, "Husband." She said softly and he sighed in her ear.
"Wife." He sighed, and her arms lace around his back as her fingers began kneading the tense muscle beneath them, causing him to groan. He buried his head in her neck as she started at the top of his back and by the time she reached the small of his back she could feel every effect. Her fingers traced their way from his lower back to the hard muscles of his stomach until they were flat against his chest. "Are you sure Jane?"
"Shut up and kiss me." He chuckled as she lifted her chin and he kissed her ardently. After three years they knew everything about the other and they took no time to find their pace and quickly he brought her to the edge of the abyss. She clenched down on him, and pulled his face down to hers to give him a punishing kiss. Their lips fought as ferociously as their lower bodies. She knew he didn't like hard and fast, but she also knew, in that moment, it didn't matter. He nipped at her lower lip and she pulled his blond hair as his hand pinched her nipple, and he palmed the mound of flesh, his hand sliding down her ribs pulling her leg up and hitching it higher around his waist and he sunk further into her scorching wet heat.
She clawed at his neck and back as he supported himself with one arm and teased the hard bud with the thumb of his other hand. Her back arched high and he nuzzled the sweaty lock of hair that had plastered itself to her neck. "Now," he growled, "Now Jane." As he spoke she felt him shift and graze the spot inside that only he knew. The spot that cause the light to flash before her eyes as Thor's roar was muffled as his mouth clamped on her shoulder, she bit her lip to quiet her own scream.
He rolled away and landed on his side, his arm wrapped around her waist as they fought to catch their breath. "Forgive me?" He panted and smiled as she rolled her eyes.
"You're lucky I love you." She leaned up and pecked his whiskery cheek as he nuzzled her jaw line.
"I love you too Jane, I love you far too much to be rational." He felt his eyes grow heavy and he pulled her in close and dropped a kiss in her hair. "Far too much." He mumbled as they were both carried off by their dreams.
The blast came while they were sleeping. The palace shuddered, waking both monarchs. "What the hell?" Jane said tiredly as she saw two maids running to the nursery, not stopping in their flight. Another explosion woke Thor who reached for Mjölnir, his armour appearing around him. Without saying a word he dashed toward the sound of the blast before she could ask what was happening.
She shot out of the bed and pulled her dress back on when the palace quaked again, and dashed to her son. She was almost stabbed by several maids as she tried to enter, "Let me see my Son!" she screeched, and they let her in. "Mumma!" he wailed and she scooped him up and held him close as she and the retinue of dagger wielding maids moved from room to room. She spied Thor momentarily, his gleaming armour and cape fluttered around him as Mjölnir was clenched in his fist. He was in the midst of the royal guards, and what appeared to be various military men who were piling in to face the raid of the castle.
"Thor!" she said, attempting to run to his side, but she was held back by guards and warriors. "Hands off me." She snapped. Thor didn't hear her as he was speaking furiously at a general who was standing by the armour clad Sif, her wickedly evil spear held in her hand.
"Dadda!" Hal cried. The piercing wail of the babe caught the attention of many of the men and warriors who all looked to the Queen and the babe held in her arms. Thor looked up and frowned. He brushed off many of the men and strode over to his family, his face pinched tight in worry and concern for his people. She kept reminding herself he was King, that this was where he belonged. He was a Warrior, but the fear made her feel more ill than the pregnancy ever could.
"You two should not be here." He said, but she could see beneath the concern there was tentative gladness to see them. She knew he would want to protect her, and in this instance, she was more than willing to let her personal hero save the day once more.
"Who's attacking?" she asked, trying to recall all that she had learned
"Tis unknown my love. Go barricade yourself in my parent's quarters, my Father will protect you." She wanted to say no, to stand tall beside him, but she was no warrior. "You three," he said, pointing at a cluster of men, "Guard the Queen with your life. Escort her to the chambers of the Allfather and remain there till I come for you."
"Yes your majesty."
She pulled the collar of his armour until she was level with him and she kissed him passionately, "You stay safe. Nothing stupid." He gave her a charming 'Who Me?' look and she rolled her eyes. "I love you."
"I love you," he said fervently, and he pressed a kiss to Hal's brow, "keep him safe."
"With my life." She said, and he winced.
"Let's hope it doesn't come to that." They both looked as the barred doors began to give, "GO." He said, and shoved her none too gently towards her protectors. The door flew open and the outpouring of enemy flooded the room and she ran with Hal clinging to her, the guards making a valiant attempt to protect their queen and prince. "FOR THE QUEEN!" one yelled, "QUEEN JANE!" the rest joined in and they dove into the chaos, the warrior's of Asgard fighting with no regard for their own safety, only that of their Queen. The creatures swarmed around them and she backed up against the wall, trying to edge her way out.
"THOR!" She screamed and hollered when a cold hand grabbed hers. She whirled around; shielding Hal with her body, only to find herself eye to eye with a pair of familiar black eyes, "Loki! Where's Thor."
"I don't know, but you must leave." Loki tugged her to the wall and killed three of the creatures, his cold hand holding fast to hers, "You must return to Earth. The city is lost. They come from below."
"Not without him. He'll be stranded." Loki nodded, but pulled her towards the door along the wall. He replicated himself to distract any who glanced their way and they disappeared into the bowels of the palace and through a hidden side door, his wicked knife gutting numerous foe that got in his way."
"You must go," Loki said softly, kissing her forehead and her son's. "I swore to Thor that I had your best interest at heart. Don't make a liar out of me."
"I can't-" she wept, holding Hal tight to her, "I-.. Without him I-"
"Go Jane." He stabbed another creature that raised its weapon and he looked back at her, "If you ever cared, you must go. He would rather you safe than here."
Her eyes no longer held in the tears as she wept openly, "Tell him.. Tell him I love him."
"I will. Now go you stupid woman." He said and she squeeze his hand. She peeled the armband that she always had wrapped around her bicep as she jogged around the shadows of the deserted city, where she met Heimdall met her at the gate. The gatekeeper nodded and guided her to the end of the bridge where she whimpered and kissed Hal's head.
"Tell him I didn't desert him, tell him I didn't have a choice." The enemy had started pouring onto the bridge and were racing for her as tears tracked down her face. Heimdall raised the monstrous sword to protect his sovereign.
"Go, My Queen." Heimdall said. "I will watch you, you will be safe." She smiled and pulled the transponder from the armband and pressed it, the energy from the bridge surged and she took one last glance at the golden city as the tears fell on her cheeks. The creatures looked confused but didn't have time to react as the machine pulled her back home.
"I'm so sorry Thor." She whispered as Hal clung to her and the light encompassed her, whisking her away across the Stars.
They were all seated in the great room when a roar was heard from across the city. The boat was docked blocks away, but Tony could see that the noise came from the top of Stark Tower. "That's either really good news, or really bad news."
There was no lightening, no booming thunder, but the snap of the air as they heard the great machine welcome the incoming guests. Banner threw Tony the briefcase and within minutes Iron Man was flying across the sky to welcome the guests.
He landed and was shocked to see Jane holding her son, her dress tattered and burnt, a ripped at the seams, "Tony." She gasped, tears falling down her face.
He threw the mask back as he glanced to the ship in the harbour, shooting three blasts into the sky, the signal for the all clear. "Hey Princess? Where's Thunder?" He instantly felt guilty as her face went from anguish to tortured as more tears fell, creating pale lines in her sooty face.
"I-.. I don't know." She sobbed, "I had to go.." she looked up at the sky and held Hal tightly, "I hope we didn't cause a scene.." she mumbled as she saw the chopper land on the pad below.
"Jane?" her head flipped and she smiled as she saw the small figure of Darcy racing towards her. Jane stretched out her free arm and wrapped it around the younger woman, "What's wrong? What happened? Why didn't you come back sooner..?"
Jane let go and choked on the words. The irony was that she got her wish, by the cruelest means possible. "Asgard was attacked." She said, "I don't know who, but Loki-"
"What were you doing with Loki?" Fury snapped, and she narrowed her eyes on the man.
It was all too much for her and her emotions broke. The rise of anger ran rampant inside her caused her face twisted into a sneer. "You know nothing of Asgard," she spat, "You rule Earth, you protect Earth. Leave Asgardian business to those who know what they're talking about." The three stared at the Queen of Asgard, unsure of what had happened to the sweet Jane Foster they remembered.
"Sweetheart?" The calm voice of Steve rumbled and she smiled.
"Steve!" He ran and scooped her and Hal up in his strong arms, "I've missed you."
"Thank goodness, you're ok." He said, "come sit down, you look exhausted." The guilt that spread around was palpable as they all now saw the fatigue that had her swaying where she stood, leaning against the noble Captain. "Come on, let me take him."
"No!" she shouted, "No." She held tight to Hal who whimpered and clung to his mother, "don't take him from me."
"Ok," Steve rubbed her back and sighed, "It's ok, let's-.. Let's go sit." He looked to Darcy, "Is the house-.." She nodded and he looked back to Jane, "Would you prefer to go home?"
"More than anything. But I can't."
"Why can't you." She glanced back at the sky and Steve felt a blush stain his cheeks. Because New York was no longer home. He looked away, pretending not to have noticed. "Let's get you inside." He said as the motley group shuffled her inside. Each one of them had an echoing look of despair for the woman who looked so broken, the very word tragedy couldn't match her expression.
She sat on the couch, Hal still clinging to his mother. He didn't remember these people having been six months old when he left. Now a year later, he had grown from the swaddled babe that they knew to the chubby toddler with his father's cerulean eyes full of mistrust and his body shielded by his mother. She glanced out the window of Stark and her mind automatically picked out the few stars that were peaking out of the falling darkness. Asgard was not among them yet, but come nightfall, all she would be able to stare at would be the very star that she longed for.
She had wanted to come back, but not like this, never like this.
The battle had been a hard one, but the warrior's of Asgard had proven themselves. Thor glanced at the large gash on his arm and the dents in his armour told the story of a worthy fight. He glanced around the room and eyed the warriors, proud of every single one of them.
"Go Thor." Sif said appearing at his side, "Go to her." He nodded gratefully and his feet took flight his parent's chambers, longing to see his son, his wife.
All he was met with was his mother's worried look, "How fairs the battle?"
"Victorious, for now." Thor said, "Where's Jane?"
His mother shook her head as his father came into the room, "She's not here?"
"She's returned to Midgard." Loki said from behind him. It was the first time the four had been in the same room in years and while Frigga would normally be ecstatic, there was a darker shadow that hung overhead. "She could not safely get to the inner palace safely, so I led her to the gate and helped her leave."
Thor spun and grabbed Loki by the collar, hoisting him high above his head. "YOU did this?"
"I swore to protect her," Loki said, calmly, even though he was being held by his older brother. "I said I would protect her and Hal by whatever means necessary. I apologise if you disagree with my methods, but she is safe. Heimdall watches her now."
Thor dropped Loki and spun to stare at his father, "You saw this." He said coldly. "Yet you said nothing."
"Do not blame-" Frigga said, but stepped back when Thor's rage exploded.
"NO!" he bellowed, "My son and wife have abscond from the city, without me and without knowing to come back."
"She will eventually come back." Frigga said gently. "She loves you too much."
"If she loves me so much why did she leave?" He snarled, "Why would she go."
Frigga and Loki exchanged a glance, "Because she felt she had no other choice," Odin said, "You gave her no other option."
"I told her to come HERE. I detailed guards to protect her, I –"
"You abandoned her, as she has abandoned you." Odin said, "You allowed your need to fight overshadow her." His father looked at him with his one eye. "I told you to be a better Father than I, I taught you to never seek the fight. You forgot both of those when Fate tested you."
"I-" Thor bit his cheek, determined not to let the emotion wash him away. He was the master of his own emotions. He once again tried to let the mask of blankness fall, but the pain was too great, "They're gone." He whispered. "They left."
"I told you Brother," Loki said softly, "You would not like my methods. She did not want to leave." He sighed and glanced to his mother, "Her final words to me were that she loved you." Thor couldn't speak, couldn't feel anything. He felt dizzy and faint. All that he loved was gone, all that he cherished – should have cherished better – had left because he had forgotten her, forgotten them. The desolation in his face was painful to the three in the room, and Frigga tried to embrace her son but he pulled away and staggered off to their room.
The irony not lost on him that she had disappeared with her machine, as he had so many years ago. The various attendants knew better than to get in his way as he made his way to the nursery. Not only did the love of his life leave, but she took their child as well. The cream blanket hung over the cot; forgotten and yet all the more important. He gathered the soft blanket and held it to his face, as he wept. He had neglected his family, when the time had come for him to prove himself as a father and husband, he had failed.
The gold band on his left hand was cold and angry against his flesh, the promise that had been made while placing it on his finger had become a bitter pill that he had no choice but to swallow. She was gone, and without the Bifrost, he had no means of getting her back.
A wave of exhaustion swept over him as he walked back to their room. He took the blanket with him as he passed a downcast Gretel who appeared missing her mistress. The two had become fast friends, although he was sure there wasn't anyone who couldn't love his wife. As he reached the room he saw all her belongings were still there, the sheets still held the sweet scent of her, the smell of baking and the garden lingered as he crawled into the large bed, holding his son's blanket and her pillow to his face he cried. He hadn't wept since he had been a child, but his shattered heart knew nothing to do. He was still not the thinker that she was, he knew not of how to get back, and whole heartedly regretted not allowing her to rebuild the Bifrost.
As the hours passed, the word spread around the city and the outcry rang from every tavern, every square. The battle that had spawned from within the city had almost been forgotten in the wake of the most devastating news. The news that Queen Jane was gone, and Prince Hal with her was far more than many could manage, and their pain drove them to the square.
Asgard was shrouded in rain and thunder, the mourning of the king causing the entire golden city to become dull and lifeless without its Queen. And every heavy heart that found out began to pray for her return.
Ok, so, should I keep going? Or was Inbetween better and leave it with that. I do have a finale epilogue already written and an end goal, but I am terrible for keeping up with long story's and even worst with sequels. So I need you guys to bother me regularly for updates, keeps me honest. The lyrics are from Hugh Laurie's version of "Get Happy" from House M.D (FYI- if you hadn't realised it yet, all the lyrics at the beginning of my Ch's are foreshadowing)
I love you guys and hope you like this little big story.
Keep Reading! ~ SWL