DISCLAIMER: I do not own the movie Thor or any of its characters, nor any of the characters or events from Marvel's The Avengers – I am just borrowing them for play.
Inspired by Oceanbreeze7's fantastic story 'Understanding', where the Avengers (minus Tony) watch Iron Man. Go read it.
Chapter One: Opening
Tony stretched his arms over his head with a groan, rolling his shoulders from his position propped up against the pillows of one of the beds in the Helicarrier's medical wing. They may have been uncomfortable compared to the thousand-dollar custom-kings in any of his bedrooms, but after such an exhausting battle saving humanity from enslavement he wasn't going to complain. Much.
He had one of his touch-screens set up on his lap, legs stretched out in front of him and crossed at the ankles. There weren't any doctors bustling around him anymore, most likely working to patch up all of the SHIELD agents who were injured when Loki attacked the Helicarrier the day before. Crazed Asgardian was once again locked in the Hulk's 'cage', wrists cuffed and chained and mouth gagged. Bondage looked good on him; of course, that may only be because Tony appreciated the god's silence.
All of the Avengers were injured and exhausted, but only the two assassins and Tony were forced into medical. Steve and Thor were healing already and were aiding the SHIELD agents in the city with organizing the civilians, answering the press, and planning how they were going to go about damage control. Bruce was helping out with the damage on the Helicarrier as well as in medical, and as soon as Clint and Natasha had been bandaged up they were off and helping out as well. Tony was the only one taking the advice of the medical professionals and resting - though not out of deference to their expertise.
After their little group had gone out for shwarma, he'd had to fly back to his tower so to exchange his arc reactor for a fresh one (and didn't that just sound like having to pop in new batteries intermittently). He felt more comfortable with another in his chest though, one that hadn't experienced the suppression of outer space, even though it had flickered back on in the end. He was planning on analyzing it once he got back to his lab to see what ultimately caused it to crash; that information would be vital in creating a gold-titanium alloy space-suit.
He also had to escape the doctors, as he was perfectly fine – only tired, and talk down Pepper once she'd managed to get a hold of him.
"Just some bumps and bruises, really," he tried to assure the doctors and nurses forcing him down onto the hospital bed. "I hate doctors," he stated pointedly towards the doctor who appeared to be in charge, issuing instructions, wearing a white lab coat, and holding a clipboard. He barely acknowledged Tony's comment with a glance before restraining his torso while a brunette nurse inspected the pattern of bruising on his back before liberally applying a salve.
There were nameless agents being treated in beds alongside him, though apparently Clint and Natasha had been able to escape almost instantly. "Could I get a private room, at least? What if I have agoraphobia? Or demophobia? That sort of stressful environment wouldn't help with my recovery, you know."
"I seriously doubt your claims of having a fear of crowded places or crowds," the doctor absentmindedly retorted with a sigh, jotting Tony's injuries down on the papers in front of him.
"Maybe not fear, but I have a definite dislike of people poking and prodding me in a noisy room filled with secret agents and assassins with unknown motivations that may very well result in panic attacks," Tony drawled with exaggerated paranoid glances around him.
Bruce had entered the room and caught his last statement, causing him to roll his eyes and sigh in annoyance as he approached him. "How long have you been here – five minutes? – and you're already terrorizing the staff."
"It's SHIELD, what do you want me to do?" Tony asked with a smirk, darting teasing glances around at the doctor and nurses surrounding him with frustrated expressions before returning his attention to Bruce. "You're a doctor – tell them I need a private room so to heal properly."
He gave a sigh, as he muttered, "I'm not actually a doctor," before turning to address the man in charge of Tony and asking, "He won't need to be monitored, will he?"
"No, he only has extensive bruising, a few cracked ribs, and a sprained ankle. Once we've bandaged and braced him, he only needs to be mindful of his injuries," he answered.
"Then once you're done I'll help him into the next room so he'll be out of your way."
Tony scrunched his nose and glared at Bruce at the slight, crossing his arms across his chest and scoffing, "I'm not taking up much space, unlike a certain Jolly Green Giant I know..." Bruce sighed again.
It took another twenty minutes for the nurses to finish covering all of the bruising, to wrap his torso so to restrict movement and stress on his ribs, and to brace his left ankle, then he was hobbling out of the room to the relieved looks of the medical staff. Bruce was on his left side and had an arm around his back and had pulled Tony's left arm across his shoulders to help support his weight. They navigated out of the room and into the corridor, ducking into the next doorway and entering a long room filled with a row of hospital beds. "This is dreary," Tony stated, but was thankful for the calm and stillness.
"I'm sure you won't be bothered; the agents already know how you are," Bruce said with a small smirk, lowering Tony onto one of the beds. Tony opened his mouth to reply but snapped it shut upon hearing a hysterical female voice from the hall. Bruce turned to the door just as it was thrown open by a teary redhead.
"Er, Pep-" Tony started only to be cut off as she threw herself at him and sobbed into his shoulder, cursing him in between breaths. He cast a pleading look towards Bruce as he gingerly wrapped his arms around her, but he only looked uncomfortable and sidled out of the room.
"You aggravating, infuriating, impossible man, how could you sacrifice yourself like that?" she wailed, weakly hitting his shoulder as she pulled away to sit at his side.
"No word of thanks for saving the world?" he joked lightly. She glared at him through her tears and his grin softened. "Hey," he reassured, "I'm alright. I'm right here, okay?"
"Idiotic hero," she choked out, lying back down against his side and clutching onto him.
He really couldn't do much in way of assuring her that it was all okay. He had gotten involved in so many uncertain situations and had had to risk his life over and over again once becoming Iron Man, and he knew it was only going to get worse and be harder for her now that the Avengers were now more or less official. So he held her close.
He sighed and sifted through SHIELD's information on the Avengers that he still had access to. Fury knew that he had access to it, but fortunately there were larger problems for him to deal with. Once their firewalls were redone he'd have to have JARVIS hack into the database again, but for now he was able to amusedly note that they had several documents already in progress on how the Avengers would operate and some drafts of the contract they would have to sign. SHIELD was neurotic about paperwork.
He yawned and blinked blearily, moving to set the screen he'd been working on onto the seat of the chair by the head of his bed. He paused in confusion, screen still held aloft as his tired mind struggled to comprehend the plastic case sitting on the chair. He tried to recall Pepper leaving the item when she'd left to grab some food for them from the cafeteria, but couldn't find a purpose in that. He twisted with a pained grunt and reached to snatch the unassuming case, replacing its spot on the chair with his computer screen.
It was a DVD case.
Anti-climatic, considering he had no knowledge of it appearing. He leaned back and pried it open, furrowing his brow when there was no title or design on the movie's disc. Of course, there wasn't any indication of the DVD's content on the cover either, so he wasn't sure what he expected. He pulled out the folded sheet of paper on the inside and mouthed the words as he read in bewilderment.
It is required that you assemble for the duration of this disc. It will play only when the addressed group is present, pausing whenever one of you speaks aloud so to provide you time to absorb the information being presented to you. Any cameras attempting to record the images will only register blurred and skewed video unable to be cleared and enhanced.
A select few other individuals may watch as well, but if your decisions as to who to trust with this delicate information are unwise then the disc will not play.
This will enlighten you as to the events that took place on Asgard before and after the situation in New Mexico with Thor, Jane Foster, Darcy Lewis, and Erik Selvig. It should also show you Loki's motivation for the abandonment of his homeland, Asgard, and hopefully direct you to ask the correct questions regarding his affiliation and 'control' of the Chitauri when he moved to take over the planet.
"Cryptic," Tony said, brown eyes shining and a grin across his face. He threw his legs over the side of the bed and rushed (as fast as he was able with straining ribs and a limp) out of the room and down the corridor, boarding the elevator and rising to the bridge.
"So this just appeared at your bedside?" Agent Hill asked skeptically.
"Hey, I've already checked your security footage – it legitimately appeared out of thin air," Tony said with a shrug, idly spinning side to side in an office chair. Bruce, Clint, Natasha, and he were seated around a small conference table, Nick Fury standing imposingly in front of them and Agent Hill pacing in confused frustration with her arms crossed across her chest.
SHIELD agents were analyzing the disc. They ran it through x-ray, thermo-imaging, and then various chemical tests first, apparently under the impression that it could be a bomb or drenched in poison or some other threat. Now they were scouring through their security footage through different lenses to try and discern the origin of the disc, as well as analyzing the disc itself. True to the brief letter, it wouldn't allow itself to be played in front of the wrong audience (nameless SHIELD agents) – Fury had already sent out summons to Steve and Thor.
"I've had just about enough of this alien magic crap," Fury stated with a fierce frown. "It's probably Loki trying to pull something."
"He looks all trussed up to me," Tony rebuked. "Besides, he hasn't done the whole lengthy villain-rant explaining his lot in life to try and gain pity-followers. He wants a shit-load of attention, sure – but he's not sharing anything personal."
"We don't know if this is going to offer us answers. It might be a trap to sabotage the Helicarrier's systems," Clint offered.
"-they're down right now anyways-" Tony inserted.
"Can we afford to pass on this oppourtunity though? The end of the letter," Bruce began, "hinted at Loki not being the one calling the shots. If he had an accomplice then there's someone else who might attack later on."
Steve and Thor had arrived on the Helicarrier and had been debriefed on the situation, then directed to one of the conference rooms adjacent to the bridge. They had entered right before Bruce had spoken.
"I never believed that my brother was directing the army of Chitauri. He is skilled with his words, but not so talented as to commandeer a force of that magnitude if there was no prior thought to an attack against Midgard," Thor explained, adding, "He also spoke of being shown the power of the Tesseract."
"Why don't we just work on getting the answer out of him then?" Agent Hill suggested.
"He won't talk," Natasha stated.
"If this video is going to be following Loki on Asgard while Thor was in New Mexico, how is it going to tell us anything about his connection with the Chitauri?" Steve asked.
"It's doubtful it will. The letter only said that it would help us with the questions we should be asking," Fury answered.
"Could provide us with blackmail material," Natasha argued. "That might pry some answers out of him."
Fury cast his eye around to assess each of their thoughts, before adopting an expression of resignation and arranging for the DVD to be returned to them. The Avengers and Agent Hill all settled back into their chairs as they were shut off from the rest of the agents. "If we all die, I'm coming after you, Stark," Fury threatened as he entered the disc into the computer system.
He took a seat as a large screen was projected onto the white wall, showing a starry sky. They all leaned forward in anticipation as it became apparent that the disc was simply a DVD. Agent Hill stood to quickly reach over and turn off the lights before resuming her seat.
The camera panned down from a shot of the starry sky to show a truck in the distance, parked in the middle of the desert swathed in the dark of night, the beams of its headlights the only illumination. At the bottom of the screen it's noted that they're in Puente Antiguo, New Mexico.
The view on screen changes to show the inside of the vehicle where a brunette types something quickly into the laptop in front of her, surrounded by screens and scientific equipment.
"That is Lady Jane!" Thor exclaimed excitedly.
"Why are they showing what's happening on Earth? That's not going to give us any leverage," Natasha muttered.
"Shh," Bruce hushed so the screen could resume.
Amongst the various whirring machines sat Erik Selvig, watching the images on the computer. Jane continues to type in information and monitor the screen while the camera moves to show an exasperated Darcy seated in the driver's seat. The headlights on the truck switch off as Jane and Erik clamber to stand up through the sunroof in the back, hauling up a piece of sensory equipment.
Jane holds a panel which is cycling through data readings, and the two look up at the sky, waiting for something. Erik looks at Jane when nothing happens, and she says, "Wait for it..." She turns her hopeful gaze back to the sky as Darcy sighs and asks if she can turn on the radio, which Jane refuses.
A few more seconds pass without any activity in the sky, and Erik turns to her and says, "Jane, you can't keep doing this."
They both duck back into the truck as she frantically flips through a small notebook, stating in frustration, "The last seventeen occurrences have been predictable to the second."
"Jane, you're an astrophysicist, not a storm chaser," Erik protests, Jane checking the monitors again in aggravation.
"I'm telling you, there's a connection between these atmospheric disturbances and my research," she argues. The screen switches to show Darcy, who begins to straighten in disbelief at something in the sky as Jane continues, "Erik, I wouldn't have asked you to fly out here if I wasn't absolutely sure." It switches back to Jane to show her disappointment as she leans back, before showing Darcy again as she calls, "Jane, I think you want to see this."
Jane turns to look out the window and the clouds are shining in the sky, the darkness dispersing in streaks as green, blue, and pink gleam. "What is that?" she asks, her and Erik scrambling to stand through the sunroof in amazement. The clouds shift and swirl as gold and purple join the array of colours that begin to shine brighter.
"I thought you said it was a subtle aurora," Erik says in wonder.
"Go!" Jane urges and Darcy hurriedly starts the engine and drives toward the mass of radiant clouds which are circling faster in the sky. They speed carelessly over bumps as Jane throws herself into the front seat and holds a video camera out the window to document the event. "Get closer," she says.
"Right, good one," Darcy scoffs.
"Go!" Jane commands again.
They speed over the hard desert terrain and Jane laughs at the fantastical experience. The screen changes to show the event through Jane's camcorder, the swirling mass of clouds registering in yellows and reds though thermo-imaging as it gathers and spirals downwards, crashing into the ground. There's bright pink and purples as well as streaks of black at the impact, the screen switching to show the three in the truck as they gasp and exclaim in amazement at the shockwave that resulted.
The dark clouds plume outwards at ground level, obscuring the impression on the ground, Darcy slowing the truck as they enter the confusion. She jerks the steering wheel to the left to get some distance between the vehicle and perceived natural disaster, and Jane shrieks, "What are you doing?"
"Avoiding death, obviously," Clint remarks, getting a glare from Natasha for interrupting the scene.
"You guys have all this data, right? 'Cause I think I'd like to look at it," Tony said. Bruce nodded.
Fury glared. "Shut up."
"I am not dying for six college credits!" Darcy yells through the gusts of the storm. Jane leans over and grabs the wheel, jerking it back to the right and towards the churning mass. They alternate emitting short screams as they wrestle for control of the vehicle.
Above, thunder crashes and lightning strikes, the vortex gaining momentum as an immeasurable spectrum of colour swirls and beams down within the thick clouds, impacting the earth with a resounding smash and an azure explosion. Jane strengthens her fight for control of the wheel and wrenches it towards her, before they see a dark shape in front of them. They scream, Darcy slams on the brakes, and the truck swerves, but they still clip the shadowed figure.
They spin and skid to a stop in a cloud of sand, all three staring slack-jawed at each other in shock before ripping off their seat belts and jumping out of the truck. They have flashlights in hand as they run to the figure lying on the ground, Darcy stating in defense, "I think that was legally your fault."
"Get the first-aid kit," Jane orders as she kneels down, addressing the man's prone form, "Do me a favour and don't be dead."
Erik stands and looks on, then a close-up of Jane occupies the screen as she pleads, the lingering wind brushing her hair. The man stirs as the camera zooms out, Erik and Darcy watching him as he lies on the edge of an intricately designed circle.
Jane looks around at the now cloudless atmosphere and wonders, "Where did he come from?"
The screen turns black.
"This is wasting my time," Fury stated.
Steve nodded. "I thought it was supposed to be showing us what was happening on Asgard."
"Maybe it's setting it up. There are specific camera angles chosen – it's not formatted like it was one person documenting events, it's more like an actual film," Bruce proposed.
"It'll be building to the important plot points then," Tony added.
"It is very odd to be watching these events from outside my own perspective," Thor mused.
"Well yeah, Big Guy – you're going to actually be able to watch what others were doing at the same time you were doing whatever you were doing," Tony cried in excitement.
Thor nodded. "It is interesting to see what Lady Jane was doing out on the plains of sand before I was exiled to the surface of Midgard and looked up into her dazzling face." Tony raised an eyebrow.
"Does anyone else find it funny that they hit Thor with a truck?" Clint interjected to laughter and smirking.
The screen faded in from black, zooming in on a village at night with small thatched houses clustered together under the shadows of the towering mountains on either side. At the bottom of the screen it was stated that this was Tonsberg, Norway; 965 A.D.
"...did we just travel back in time?" Tony wondered aloud.
"This timeline is confusing," Bruce stated with furrowed brows.
"I'm sure it'll piece together?" Steve assured, though it ended up sounding like a question.
"Once, mankind accepted a simple truth: that they were not alone in this universe," a deep voice intoned.
Tony recoiled. "What's this now, narration?"
"That is the formidable voice of Odin Allfather," Thor boomed with pride.
Recalling how his full title was 'Thor Odinson', Tony quickly made the connection. "I can see where you get your vocals from," he drawled as he lifted a hand to massage the ear assaulted by the god's voice. Considering they would most likely be spending a lot of time with Thor, he thought he should do some research on Norse Mythology.
"Some worlds, man believed to be home to their gods," he continued. The screen showed the dirt streets filled with people milling about: men with thick beards moving crates of goods, a young mother and her daughter strolling with smiles as they gazed up at the stars. They all slowed to a stop.
"Others, they knew to fear."
A pale blue swirl of mist howled as it plunged from the clouds above to the ground, the barren land sloping upward to show an army of bare-chested, sapphire skinned giants. "From a realm of cold and darkness came the Frost Giants," he explained, the giant at the front of the legion using the power of a pale, frosty, blue prism to freeze the waters, solidify and crumble the wood of men's boats, and cover the land in cracked, sharp glaciers, "threatening to plunge the mortal world into a new ice age." Men, women, and children screamed in panic as they ran, the claws of the ice chasing them until their bodies were overtaken mid-stride to become nothing more than stalagmites of frost. The giants charged and roared, their arms turning into icicles three feet long as they leapt and gored the remaining bodies in their path.
"My God," Steve breathed, his pulse quick and pounding in his ears as he tried to suppress the shudders coursing through his limbs. He wrapped his arms around himself discreetly, consciously working to calm his breathing.
The clouds in the sky shifted again, spinning and descending in a thick mass of grey surrounding infinite beams of bright, overwhelming colour. "But humanity would not face this threat alone," he promised, a tall, sturdy, bearded man standing against the onslaught. He was covered from head to toe in glistening metal armour, a dark, thick cape attached to his shoulders, an aggressive horned helmet with wings bracing the sides sitting atop his head, and a spear in hand. He stood in front of rows upon rows of tall, golden gilded warriors with various weapons in hand, ready to fight.
The two forces faced off against each other, the man's sharp blue eyes piercing the lead giant's crimson, before they all at once charged with impassioned war cries. There was the clang of metal and the crackle of ice as they collided, each warrior stabbing, lunging, swinging, swerving, moving to strike any hit that he could for his king. Giants were clubbed, speared, thrown, and men were stabbed, clawed, torn apart.
The Jötunn King, Laufey, snarled and swept a wave of ice over those in front of him, shattering them with a triumphant scream. He formed spiked projectiles in his hands out of ice, hurling them so they pierced the skulls of his enemies. Odin, Allfather of the Æsir, held out his spear and a stream of molten fire shot out of the tip, tearing and burning the bodies of the giants.
"Our armies drove the Frost Giants back into the heart of their own world," Odin concluded, the desolate, bleak, and frozen realm of Jötunheim spinning to show the surface, stone pillars and buildings corroded and fallen. "The cost was great; in the end, their king fell." Atop a bare, tapered, stone castle a spear was held against the fallen Laufey's throat by Odin, whose right eye was gored and bloody.
"And the source of their power was taken from them." A warrior of Odin's guard, armoured and wearing a horned helmet, stepped up to take the carved, pale blue prism from its alter.
"That's going to come back and bite them in the ass," Tony muttered.
"When the last great war ended, we withdrew from the other worlds and returned home," he said, the Bifrost a swirl of magnificent colour as it swept from the planet of Jötunheim, through the clouds, "to the realm eternal: Asgard." The clouds hovered and swept around the caps of mountains and the open seas surrounding, the mountains approaching until it was clear that the tips of the crags were formed of raw crystals. Then they were upturned, forming the base of the realm.
Clear, deep waters ebbed between large rocky gorges; tall, cylindrical buildings of rich metals and gold were crafted into the rock faces; lush trees and broad statues dotted the courtyards and gardens; pure, sparkling, rivulets of water poured out of glistening fountains; intricate and decorative machinery floated, spun, and flashed in the light of the sun. A sprawling, golden city of elaborate, overlaid spherical shapes led up to a colossal palace – dozens of cylindrical segments arranged into a pyramid whose tip stretched into the clouds.
"Holy shit," Clint expressed at the vision of Asgard, Steve only managing a sputtered choke at the sight. "You live there?"
Thor grinned in delight, nodding and answering, "Yes, that is my home."
"I could get used to a place like that," Tony offered.
"You're unbearable with the wealth you have now – I would undoubtedly kill you if you were allowed such excess," Natasha stated.
The massive, golden statues of armed, horned warriors lined a concaved walkway where the Æsir meandered into and out of the palace district.
"And here we remain as a beacon of hope, shining out across the stars," he declared, the view sailing over the peaks of the buildings and the bridges between them.
"And though we've fallen into man's myths and legends, it was Asgard and its warriors that brought peace to the universe," he finished. Odin walked through the dim halls lit by candlelight, his right hand gripped by a young blond wearing a scarlet vest and his left by a raven haired boy wearing green, both with attentive blue eyes.
"Is that you and Loki?" Steve asked. Thor nodded.
"You were cute kids," Tony said.
The Allfather and the two princes stood in front of the pedestal holding the Casket of Ancient Winters, the artifact that Laufey had used as a weapon to wage war against Midgard. The carved prism still shone a biting blue, but there were wisps of darkness developing – evidence that it was far from its sphere of influence.
"But the day will come when one of you will have to defend that peace," Odin informed his two children, turning to face them. He was dressed in a sleeveless, stiff, embroidered golden robe over top a black long sleeved shirt and breeches, tucked into boots that came up to his knees. The right eye that he had lost in the war was covered with a patch, the other blue and firm.
"Do the Frost Giants still live?" the young Loki asked, his voice wavering.
"When I'm king, I'll hunt the monsters down and slay them all!" the young Thor swore, slashing at imagined enemies, prompting a smirk from his younger brother. "Just as you did, father."
Thor winced at his behaviour.
Tony sniggered. "Ambitious little tyke, weren't you?"
Steve was frowning subtly at Thor. "Do you still want to kill that entire race?"
"They're monsters, Steve – if he wants to off them then that's his right," Tony remarked flippantly.
"No!" Thor roared in anger. "Those were the immature ramblings of a child! The Jötunns are people just like any other species found in the Nine Realms!"
"Alright," Steve said with a smile. "That's a very mature outlook towards your enemies – your father taught you well for your position as king."
"I have only- It was only during my exile to Midgard that I thought to absorb my father's teachings," Thor admitted in shame. "Please do not judge me too harshly for my actions beforehand, my friends."
Odin gave a small sigh and advised, "A wise king never seeks out war, but," and here he looked to both of his sons, "he must always be ready for it."
"Wise man," Fury muttered.
He passed between Thor and Loki, moving back up to the exit of the Weapons' Vault they had descended into. The young boys shared a glance at the words of wisdom and then beamed, racing after their father, passing the stone stand that Mjolnir was resting on.
"I'm ready, father," Thor claimed while grabbing his right hand.
"So am I," Loki insisted, taking his left.
Odin looked down at both of his sons and, squeezing each of their hands in reassurance, said, "Only one of you can ascend to the throne, but both of you were born to be kings."
"Were you two always fighting over the throne?" Natasha asked.
Thor shrugged. "Yes, but my brother's view changed from what you saw here. He never wanted to rule."
"Didn't he become king of Asgard and then try to kill you? Then, like yesterday, he tried to take over the world?" Tony asked sarcastically.
"He admitted to me when I returned that he never wanted the throne, and have we not already concluded that there was another who was orchestrating the strike against Midgard?" Thor defended.
"Alright you two, let's just keep watching," Steve intervened.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Once again, this was inspired by Oceanbreeze7's fantastic story 'Understanding', where the Avengers (minus Tony) watch Iron Man. It's great, go read it.
For all those who are going to complain about my writing out the whole movie, I'm really trying to capture the entirety of it, the essence of each shot, that way you can literally see the movie in your mind and are just inserting the Avengers comments into the experience.
Drop a review to let me know what you thought of it!