Elliot savored her last few moments on Earth. Her fingers, which were clasped tightly on the silver chain of her necklace, fell still.
The Captain was still barreling towards her with one outstretched hand, his calm demeanor all but gone. Underneath Elliot's clasped fingers, the blue glow of the Tesseract embedded in her necklace grew brighter. From across the pavilion, Thor could see the light, and he unleashed a guttural roar of rage, knowing what Loki had done.
Beneath the silver muzzle attached to his face, a smile grew on Loki's thin lips as he turned the handle of the Tesseract, sending them away, back to Asgard.
There was the sensation of being rocked violently, and it alarmed her; in the several seconds it lasted, Elliot tucked her arms in, to keep herself from flying away entirely. Thousands of thoughts raced through her mind, all centered on the location of her destination. When it was over (and it did so without warning), she pried her eyes open and observed her new surroundings. She came to discover that she was in a wide room, with a rather high ceiling, and towering columns that allowed for a gentle breeze to slip between them and brushed the slope of Elliot's cheek.
Central Park had disappeared. She raised her eyes, expecting to see the azure sky that belonged to Manhattan, but instead she got enormous clouds, with swirls of pinks and purples dancing within them, and stars she had never seen before. She listened for the familiar sounds of cars honking, and tires screeching, but instead she received the sounds of children laughing, and animated conversation that came from nearby.
And then there was Asgard, laid before her eyes strictly for her pleasure. The golden city stretched beyond her vision, filled with statuesque buildings, some made of metal, and they twisted to the sky; other buildings looked like simple dwellings, out of which families entered and exited. To the north was a large body of water, colored the deepest kind of blue, and above it was a rainbow bridge, extending halfway to the sea. To the right, dark mountains that were covered in dusty clouds.
Thor and Loki stood behind Elliot, not a word escaping their lips. When Elliot's legs buckled, the elder stepped forward, prepared to save her if she should hit her head on the cold floor, but instead she sank to her knees, kneeling before the edge of the walkway they had come to. She still said nothing, playing with her shaking fingers.
Behind her, Loki grew tired of waiting for his mortal charge to absorb her surroundings. He let the magic grow inside of him, radiating from his core, and then he heard the simple click of the muzzle releasing behind him. Pleased with his work, he shook the muzzle off, like a dog would water, and when it bounced onto the metal walkway, the sound startled Elliot and Thor. Even though Loki's hands were cuffed, he raised them and massaged his jaw, the muscles bulging beneath his pale skin. He kicked the silver muzzle to the side, and it tumbled gently over the edge and down towards the city.
Looking down at the handcuffs on his hands, he spoke. "Would you be so kind as to remove these enchantments?" he inquired, motioning to the handcuffs with his fingers. At the sound of his brother's voice, Thor turned on him.
"You know you can do it yourself!" roared the Thunder God, wrenching the Tesseract from his brother. "What have you done?"
Playing the fool, Loki let out a gasp of mock astonishment. "Well, I suppose you're right." With a flick of his fingers, the handcuffs disappeared from sight. "I would have done that earlier, but it would have ruined the surprise." He rubbed his wrists tenderly, looking at Elliot, who had turned her head at the sound of Loki's muzzle falling to the floor.
Thor's voice cracked as he spoke. "Brother, why have you done this? You know no mortal has ever been to Asgard nor are they allowed, not since the last!" Loki did not respond, choosing instead to look past the metal shoulder pads of Thor's armor, at the rainbow bridge that was now partially destroyed.
Elliot listened to Thor's distress, and sympathized with him. Whatever Loki had done, it clearly wasn't supposed to happen. She know, however, that Loki would more than likely be punished for what he'd done, and it pleased her. Lowering her eyes to the necklace, she fingered it. How did he do it?
Loki hummed quietly, lowering his eyes from the remains of the rainbow bridge, to focus on her. "Something tells me our dearest Elliot will be more than capable of handling the situation."
"Loki, why have you brought me here?" she muttered, tired of hearing that silky voice. He took his time responding to her, choosing instead to brush an imaginary piece of lint from his pants.
"Because I need you." His answer was so incredibly simple, and it irked her. Unsteadily, she pushed herself up from her kneeling position, to face him. His eyes remained on her, watching to see what she would do. Whatever she was going to do, it wouldn't involve physical force. In the darkness cast by the shadows of the columns, her face was deathly pale.
"Why?" she managed, searching his face for any sort of explanation, for any reason why he would drag her from her home. "For what? You've stolen me from Earth because you need me? What'd I do?"
Loki shrugged, his green cape moving gently behind him. "You've done nothing. Yet. But in time, Elliot, you will see," he promised. During this, Thor's distress grew, and he stepped forward, clapping one large hand to Loki's shoulder, and gripped tightly.
"Father will see you put to death for this, brother. You do not understand what you have done." He dropped his voice to just above a whisper, and Elliot noticed, taking small steps forward to hear. "She will go mad. They always go mad. The existence and wonder of Asgard has always proved too much."
Loki did not say anything, then, and Elliot glanced between the two brothers, trying to decipher who Thor was talking about. Without a sharp retort from the younger prince, the three of them were left to listen to the sounds of whistling wind around them. On a strong gust, strands of Elliot's hair whipped her face, and she caught one, realizing that her hair was now twice its length since the day she entered Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S.
Information would be helpful, she thought, clamping her teeth together to suppress a shiver that wracked her frame.
"You tremble, for it is cold tonight," spoke Thor, taking careful steps towards her. "Let me bring you inside and warm you," he offered.
"Wait..." she shook her head, trying to settle her jumbled thoughts. "I thought I was going home. You just said-"
Thor cut her off, his voice despondent. "You cannot go home. I made an agreement with your people that I wasn't to return again, unless help was needed. I spoke to your leader...the dark-skinned man, with the eyepatch."
"While you were recuperating from your injuries."
"You just said no human has ever been here because they all go insane!" protested Elliot. "I can't stay here if you know I'm going to go insane!"
"Guards!" called Thor, turning to face his delinquent brother. She glared at his back while two guards carrying spears entered the walkway. "Take him into custody. I would have words with him later." She leaned around his massive frame to watch as the guards quickly secured their hands on Loki's armor-clad wrists.
"Wasn't the whole point of this to bring me safely home?" Loki demanded, straining against the holds on him. "You bring me home, and throw me into custody as if I were a criminal!"
"But you are a criminal." Thor's voice lost its authoritative edge, and became soft and dangerous. He took two giant steps towards Loki, stopping only inches from his face, and Elliot could feel her heart beat a little faster - what was he going to do?
Thor looked his brother straight in the eye, not a trace of humor in his voice. "Do you still not see what you've done? You've committed war crimes, Loki. And then you break another rule by bringing a mortal into Midgard!"
It was silent again, with Loki unable to summon a retort. Hastily, the guards clamped another set of handcuffs around his wrists. Elliot met his eyes, the hint of a smirk tugging at the corners of her lips. At least you get to suffer a little.
"Make sure she does not leave," muttered Loki, a tone of warning in his voice. Elliot watched as he was led out of the walkway, into a larger, grand room. I'm not making any promises. She then focused her attention on Thor, who remained standing with a bent head, dangling the Tesseract from the tips of his fingers.
The silence was too much, and she cleared her throat to get his attention. It succeeded, and he twisted his neck to glance at her. On a sigh, he said, "Elliot, we must bring you to a fire before you fall ill."
In response to his words, she opened her mouth to make another suggestion. But he knew was it was. "It cannot be done," he reiterated, approaching her. "I am very sorry, Elliot." Thor reached for her, asking permission with his eyes to touch her. When she didn't step backwards, he slid his arm around her tiny waist and tugged, bringing her towards his metal breastplate.
I was supposed to be back in an hour.
Interrupting their brief moment was a woman, who had entered the walkway. "Loki is in chains, what has occurred?" she called, her voice strained. Curious, Elliot peered underneath Thor's shoulder, at the woman, who had to have been the same age as her mother. At the sight of her, the woman's eyes expanded.
He dropped his arm, and faced her. "Mother," he murmured, stepping towards her. She opened her arms, smiling at her son, but still fixed Elliot with a curious gaze. After they finished their embrace, Thor leaned to her ear, whispering an explanation.
When he released her, she picked up the edges of her cream gown and rushed forward, her golden ringlets bouncing around her shoulders. "Elliot...welcome," she breathed, an uneasy smile spreading to her lips. After a thorough examination of Elliot's body, she clutched her hand to her mouth. "You are injured. And sick!"
Nonchalantly, Elliot lowered her eyes and noticed that she was bleeding through her uniform. Kneeling must have re-opened the wound. Didn't even feel it. How much morphine was I given?
"Loki put to use his skills in knife-throwing," explained Thor, his tone clipped. "She must been taken to the healing room and placed before a fire. Night falls, and it is cold."
At the mention of Loki's name, she became rigid. But the moment passed, and her body relaxed. "Yes, of course," she agreed. Her eyes, which were the color of chestnut, filled with a mother's concern that Elliot had seen once, when she was a child and her sister slipped during an outing to the ice skating rick.
"Will you accompany me to the healing room? We must tend to your wound before you lose too much blood." She took her silver wrap and placed it around Elliot's shoulders. "I am Frigga," she greeted her. "We will enter the palace and bring you to the healing rooms so that your wound is healed. Is that agreeable?"
Do I have a choice? the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent thought, wincing as the pain from re-opening the wound began.
Frigga chuckled nervously. "I will take that as a yes." She urged Elliot forward, to the large room. "Thor..."
"I know," he said on an exhale. "I know. I must return the Tesseract to its rightful place."
Frigga whispered in her ear, "Come, Elliot. Let our people help you."
thank you all for the lovely reviews from the previous story, they are much appreciated. i'm glad you all enjoyed it, and i hope you enjoy this one. if you don't know what's going on, that's okay - you'll pick it up (or you can read the first, whichever tickles your fancy).
as always, please review, as it encourages me to write! constructive criticism is also appreciated.
~ lightofthenine (changed from kbells6873 - thought I'd do a reference to the Nine Realms)