This is a multi-chapter sci-fi story that will focus on the interactions between Loki and members of SHIELD and the Avengers mixed with action/adventure. This should be fun.
General Nicholas Joseph "Nick" Fury walked briskly through his office, around his desk to the hidden mini-fridge, and pulled out his usual drink: a Guinness. As he sat down, he thought back to that morning's meeting with the secretive twelve-member oversight committee and felt his anger swell. Even four months after the Loki-Chitauri incident, they still expressed doubt in his ability to properly command SHIELD because he had refused a direct order to send a nuclear missile. In addition to the harassment from his superiors, he also had to deal with the now public knowledge of the Avengers, alien life outside of Earth, and possibly the exposure of SHIELD. He cursed.
Looking down at the now empty bottle, he quickly thought back to how Tony Stark had taken control of his conference room that afternoon to talk about which actors would suit each Avenger if a movie was ever made. Unfortunately, Stark had the money and clout to make such a movie a reality. Fury grimaced.
Fuck that, where's my scotch? He leaned over to his side cabinet and pulled out an old bottle and a glass. It was aged scotch whisky and nearly as old as he was. It had been a gift from Howard Stark to help with the stress of organizing SHIELD in the beginning. He poured himself a glass and decided that the monumental effort he spent today on keeping Howard's son under control was "special" enough. The irony was not lost to Fury.
Paused right before his first sip, the man noticed a paper scroll in his metal inbox. Suspicion sprung in his mind as well as sharp disappointment in the lapse in vigilance. As much as he was tempted to drink the scotch in his glass, now he could not be sure no one had tampered with it. His next thought was the fact that he had drunk something already. Vomiting would do no good now; too much time had passed. Fury pressed a button on his earpiece.
"Hill, get over to my office. Bring a team to search and clean the room. Someone got into my office." Nothing else was said. The room would be searched for bugs and poisons that night.
A tense moment from Agent Hill, as she processed this new security breach, and then she replied with a smooth, "Yes, sir."
He was in for a long night at the infirmary to make sure he did not ingest something dangerous. And there was of course the hours of security footage the cameras in his office had recorded and this damn scroll that had annoyingly intruded into his life.
Jane Foster, newly minted Doctor of Philosophy for her contribution to Theoretical Astrophysics, wiped a bead of sweat from her brow. It had been an unusually hot day even for Puente Antiguo. She had gotten a quick lunch at the rebuilt diner and was just opening the glass doors to the lab she shared with her mentor and advisor Eric Selvig when she realized that the locks were open. She carefully stepped inside to find a patiently waiting Agent Phil Coulson standing beside her desktop computer.
"Agent Coulson, what a surprise to see you." Jane looked at the man nervously, and dearly hoped that nothing in her lab would be taken again.
"Miss-ah excuse me-Dr. Foster, do you have a moment?" Coulson asked simply, he then quickly added with a small smile, "By the way, congratulations on your successful thesis defense."
Jane couldn't help but grin in response while at the same time recall with dread that all her lab notebooks were scattered over the center table. She mentally cursed and wondered if there was a chance she could hide them before Coulson saw them. A ridiculously low chance, her mind supplied.
Trying not to look too nervous, she replied, "Congratulations on your recovery. I heard that you were injured and you seem alright now."
Coulson nodded in thanks but his thoughts turned darkly towards Fury. Jane would never know that he was more horrified and angered with the Director's use of his vintage Captain America cards than he was with his own wound. While Coulson didn't fault the man for using his "death" to motivate the Avengers, he completely blamed Fury for painting his precious cards with red food coloring. He hadn't forgiven his boss until replacements were found and paid for by SHIELD.
"We have a project that we'd like you to work on. The members of the team are still being finalized, but you are our top candidate for this group. How would you like to make the Bifrost on Earth?"
Then another blink. Her mind flashed with the memories of when Thor was last here.
She breathed in slowly and faced Coulson fully.
"Every time you show up, it's always to bring some bad news. Are you breaking the pattern to tell me good news now?"
"Applying your Einstein-Rosen Bridge ideas is not good news?"
"Don't tease. If this is real, then yes. A hundred percent yes!" Jane exclaimed happily. "But wait, what about Eric? And what about my postdoc research?"
"You are the expert on these bridges, not Dr. Selvig. It was your thesis topic, after all. As for your current research it will be put on hold. You also don't have to worry about the fellowship money awarded to you, since the fellowship was funded by us."
Jane gaped, her momentary happiness halted. "What? Was that your way of monitoring me? Did I even earn it or did you just give the award to me?"
"While yes we can track your progress this way, we prefer other ways to monitor you and yes you did earn it," Coulson tried to mollify her. SHIELD funding projects and research was not a new concept, but Jane wasn't sure if she was comforted with the open declaration that she was still being monitored and in ways not obvious to her.
"What restrictions will there be?" Jane asked as an afterthought.
"Nothing out of normal procedure. We'll need you to sign a non-disclosure agreement and your calls and contacts will be checked. Normal."
Jane still had her doubts but she nodded anyway.
While she was gathering her clothes, notebooks, and equipment, Coulson stepped outside to call in to headquarters. As he straightened his back, he winced at the remaining pain from his mostly healed injury. He was glad that he was always diligent in wearing the protective vest that came with his SHIELD uniform suit, especially on the day that he was stabbed from behind. It was a light and flexible plastic fabric resistant to punctures from sharp objects as well as being bulletproof. It was similar to what corrections officers in prisons would wear, but with substantial upgrades courtesy of SHIELD R&D. While the vest didn't give complete protection, it still prevented the blade from going further than without it. Coulson had it on today and regretted that it did nothing to cool him from the sun.
"She accepted the invitation, sir." With that done, he stepped back inside to watch Jane pack haphazardly.
Agent Maria Hill understood immediately what the nod from Fury meant. It meant that Jane Foster was joining the team, not that there was any doubt to her eager acceptance. Even if she wasn't invited, Hill was sure that somehow Foster would get herself involved. Hill quickly added the doctor's name onto the research team and left Fury's recently cleaned office. As Deputy Director, Hill was Fury's right hand as well as his successor. This made her the second most valuable person in the organization as well as the second most important person to assassinate or capture. Unless she was directly helping Director Fury, she tended to stay away from him. She didn't want to become the victim of the Kill two birds with one stone method.
She easily navigated her way through the narrow halls of the Helicarrier to her own office. After sitting down and pulling up her chair, she entered her password and went straight for her email inbox. She glanced at the mouse she was using and smiled at it. The mouse looked ordinary but it had a fingerprint scanner as well as a thermometer to measure body heat. It was constantly scanning so that no one else could use her computer. If in the case that an intruder did use it, the mouse couldn't be fooled with a fake layer of skin with her copied prints since that extra layer would register as having a lower temperature than her normal fingers. It was security ideas like these that set Maria Hill apart from her peers and why Nick Fury had eventually chosen her as his second in command.
She had been put in charge of the research team as well as the preparations for the arrival of the delegation from Asgard. She chuckled as she remembered Fury's response to the security breach a month ago. He had certainly lived up to his name. While the infiltration was no joking matter, the event had gained a lighter air when it was revealed to be a message from the realm of Asgard seeking to reinforce and formalize the verbal promise of alliance given by Thor. The proposed meeting that will take place in two weeks would welcome Queen and Ambassador Frigga and her entourage of advisors.
Her entourage would also bring one of her sons as well.
Hill would have outright objected to the meeting if not for the scroll's guarantee that the meeting would also discuss the exchange of knowledge and technology as well as reparations for the damage inflicted on SHIELD and Earth's cities. One of the guarantees was the technology behind the Bifrost. Unfortunately that knowledge was lost but the Asgards had promised a research collaboration between the two races to rebuild the bridge, thus SHIELD's gathering of the greatest minds in physics, at least the ones they trusted.
Still, for an official diplomatic message from Asgard (or any foreign state), Hill thought that the delivery of the scroll was more than just a little intrusive and hinting at horseplay. When Hill had asked Fury how he knew that the scroll was a genuine missive from Asgard, Fury had pointed to the choppily written post script underneath the official neatly written body of the text.
Many thanks to the Man of Iron for the shawarma.
Two figures stood on the fractured rainbow edge of the Bifrost. One had just arrived while the other had stood watch even after the destruction of the bridge. It was a curious thing for these two to meet, especially with the recent past and the foretold future if Ragnarok was to be believed.
"Heimdallr, how are the Midgardians handling our request for diplomacy and alliance?"
Heimdall was surpised this name was used, but did not show it. "Organizing and preparing for your arrival."
"The Avengers as the welcoming committee I assume?" A sneer accompanied that question.
"Perhaps if you had not used such subterfuge when delivering the message, it would not be so."
A scoff, then a light smirk. "It has been said that idleness is the parent of mischief. And they had been idle enough."
Frigga breathed in the cool night air and looked across the Bifrost. Standing next to her on the balcony was Thor, her eldest son. Neither could see to the far edge of the rainbow bridge but both knew Loki and Heimdall were there.
"I wish I could go with you and Loki, Mother." Thor was commanded to stay by Odin. As the crown prince, it was time for him to learn the duties and responsibilities of a sovereign.
Frigga smiled and winked at Thor. "I will make sure to visit this Jane Foster in your stead. Of course, I will also return with-what was it called again?" She couldn't help making Thor say it again. It was too funny a word coming from his lips.
"Shawarma," he said flatly. "And please Mother, don't scare away Jane."
She good-naturedly slapped him on the arm and replied, "I'm not your father."
Thor gave her a worried smile and hoped Jane would be okay with his mother. He regretted not spending much time with Jane on his last trip to Midgard, but he had been more worried about his brother. Thoughts about his brother were mixed. He still felt confusion and betrayal from Loki's actions, but warring inside were feelings of relief that his brother had not been lost to the void forever and the lingering familial love. Ever since Loki's return to Asgard, Thor had been unsure what to feel.
The residents of Asgard saw Loki with new respect and fear. Before he was seen as the weaker of the two brothers, but now, even though Loki was still physically weaker than Thor, he was finally seen as a very capable warrior and strategist. Unfortunately that revelation was the result of Loki's machinations to usurp the throne from Thor. That act was barely forgiven in the eyes of the people due to the fact that Thor was at that time in temporary exile. It helped that Loki's involvement with the Jotnar infiltration was kept secret. While Odin had shared the secret of Loki's true heritage to his family, he did not want it shared with the rest of his kingdom.
Thor thought back to when he and Loki returned. Odin had struggled to find a suitable punishment for Loki. How do you teach a prince that there were consequences to his actions, despite his intentions? Frigga had offered the perfect solution of having Loki ask for forgiveness and repair any of the damages he was capable of fixing. It was more a task than a punishment. It may not seem harsh enough but what was needed was not forced exile, imprisonment, or torture. You don't change a man with punishment; it only works if he feels guilty in the first place. Loki needed to learn and that can not be done inside a prison cell where hatred can grow.
At that time, Loki would have refused to apologize. He actually did refuse and bared his teeth at them, until something unexpected happened. Loki had been greatly surprised when all three members of his family had told him how proud they were of him, how they were sorry that they had not realized he had been harboring such pain and dark thoughts, and they told him repeatedly that they loved him despite his blood. Odin had even added that Loki's birth was kept secret because he wanted his second son to never feel unwanted. The Allfather had apologized for failing to prevent this; Loki had felt unappreciated growing up and the sudden disclosure of his parentage only worsened it.
Loki had thought all this too good to be true and still doubted their words. It wasn't words Loki was looking for. There was still something missing; though the words were lovely, they felt like a temporary bandage - something necessary at first, but would need to be replaced by something more permanent later. In retrospect, Thor thought this drama had been in the making for centuries, but at least now they were all making amends. Now it was Midgard's turn to decide what they want from Loki.
"Do you think Loki is alright now?" Thor asked.
"He seems better, I believe. We have already taken the first steps and shown him our regrets and hopes for him. I will remain hopeful that he has learned from our example and accept his task. He cannot atone if he is unwilling."
AN: The return of Loki and Thor to Asgard deserve a separate story. Hmm.
I want to bring together who I consider the nerds in the Marvel-movie-verse. Loki is definitely a nerd and this is one of the reasons I think he doesn't adapt well into Asgardian society, thus creating a rift between him and pretty much everyone else.
Please leave a review, thank you.