This is my first fanfiction ever posted... be gentle with me :3
It has not been officially beta'd (though I reread it like five hundred times) so if you see any errors I have missed, please let me know!
Also note that this thing doesn't break into chapters very well. It's mostly small breaks that often switch the points of view and while it fits in the context of the story, it doesn't fare well when chopped into chapters. Prepare for inconsistent chapter lengths and a need to reread the end of the previous chapter. Apologies in advance!
P.S. The mature warning is for later chapters... you are safe for now )
It still surprised him how stirringly silent it could be down here. With all that went on above, not a single sound reached him until the doors to the dungeons unlocked. At which point, the entire room echoed with the sounds of armor clanking in time to the step that hurried down the stairs. It would be a young servant escorted by two guards. They would leave him with a meal three times a day and without so much as a word, they would leave again. The same cacophony of clattering metal and a quick step would fade up the stairwell again until he was once again left sitting in silence with nothing more than his thoughts for entertainment.
That had been his schedule for well over a year now. And the only deviation from this mundane existence was the occasional visits from his mother and the infrequent ones from his brother. The conversations were hardly worth the time – although he had much to spare. Frigga came always with the intent of consolation. She never lost faith in him, even though he'd given up on reconciliation long ago. She ensured that, despite being imprisoned, he wasn't exactly suffering. She came with books and stories of all that went on above while he remained in captivity. On the other hand, his brother came with mundane conversation to which he didn't respond. He was a fool to think their relationship was in any way salvageable.
Loki glanced toward the stairs, shifting only slightly where he sat against the stone column in the farthest corner. Despite not knowing the exact time, he knew his dinner was due any minute. Any moment, he would hear the door unlatch at the top of the stairs and the routine would continue. But still, not a sound. He craned his neck to ensure he hadn't simply misheard. Nothing. Though he couldn't see the door from anywhere in his cell, the shadows remained undisturbed – it was only one solid mass that still remained unbroken. He wasn't really hungry, but the sudden lack of order intrigued him. What in the realm could have possibly delayed them from so simple a task? A few thoughts swirled momentarily. Ultimately he didn't care enough to pursue the ideas any further.
Anyway, his thoughts were soon interrupted by the door finally unlatching. The sounds, however, that traveled down the stairs to his waiting ears, were nothing near to what he expected. It was the quick step of the guards along with someone else. Someone being dragged down here against her will. Most assuredly not the average servant girl. He could hear her fussing and fighting, though the guards remained silent. He watched in his periphery as they came into view. The same two guards and a young woman he didn't recognize. She wore clothes unbecoming of this realm and it seemed she wasn't here by choice. He also noted she wasn't wearing any shoes. Odd. She tugged insistently against the firm hold on both of her wrists and shoulders, though her efforts were futile.
The guards ignored her empty threats and obscenities as they forcefully tossed her into the cell adjoining his. She fell to the floor in an unceremonious fashion, but was quickly back on her feet, slamming her fists against the glass. She pounded at it until the glass cracked and sliced her hands. But she could only stare as it reformed before her very eyes, until the sheet of glass was solid again. With that, the guards turned and went back the way they came, paying him no mind. He listened until they latched the door shut and then his attention returned to her.
She nursed the bleeding wounds in her hands, pressing them against her shirt. The white fabric was instantly stained with scarlet. Her panicked eyes desperately searched the room, flying back and forth, her head hardly keeping up. He could almost hear her thoughts rattling around in her tiny, fragile skull. Find a way out – any means of escape. Loki knew full well she wouldn't find one. If this glass prison had managed to contain him for this long, a pathetic mortal had no chance of escape. Regardless, she returned to her feet and quickly searched the room. After a few long moments, she eventually came to the same conclusion. Her chest heaved as the panic pressed on, her bleeding hands still fussing with her shirt. But she stilled completely when she saw him. Her dark brown eyes looked perplexed. It seemed for a moment that she might say something – perhaps inquire as to what he was doing here. She took some peace of mind knowing that she wasn't alone. Of course, when Loki looked away with disinterest, she went back to her fussing.
Out of the corner of his eye, he watched as she went to the tiny bench against the wall, quickly taking a seat. She was on her feet again mere seconds later, her hands fervently digging in her pockets. She piled a few things on the bench before sitting down again, this time with a tiny bottle in one hand. Yanking the cap off with her teeth, she squeezed some clear liquid onto the cuts of her hands. He couldn't really read the label at this distance, but it looked like it said crazy glue. Though that didn't really sound correct. It certainly didn't sound like something used for dressing wounds.
When she had finished, she carefully placed the bottle among her other, now treasured, items: her ring of keys, a small electronic device, a black leather wallet, and some kind of pen. The majority of it was useless now. She said something under her breath but he couldn't tell what. Looking around again, he felt her gaze settle on him. He didn't look up. But they both trained their eyes on the stairs when the door opened again. This time it was the noises he remembered: two guards and the servant with his dinner. They puttered quietly down the steps as they had three times a day for hundreds of days.
His new cellmate was on her feet again, pacing like a caged animal as they approached. She had her pen tight within her grasp as if it somehow made her look threatening locked inside of a glass box. She needn't worry. On this trip, they wanted nothing to do with her. She watched intently as they crossed to his side of the cell.
He almost grinned at the way they all averted their gaze as he stared. He may have been a prisoner, but his authority and his predominantly horrific repertoire still made people nervous. Even with a thick layer of glass between them and his magic thoughtfully contained. With a short bow, she stepped into his cell through a temporary opening in the glass. She set out his meal, collecting the dishes from the one prior. Her gaze was still centered on the floor as she hurried back out again. The glass resealed and the magic barrier remained unbroken. And then they moved back up the stairs again.
Loki glanced, only briefly at the tray of food that had been set out for him. Same old gruel. He didn't care for it since he'd been banished. Like everything else of this realm, it left a bad taste in his mouth. He'd pick at it later.
He caught her watching him again. Most likely still trying to get a grasp on her situation. Or possibly eyeing his food. When he quirked a tiny grin, she turned away in a huff and went back to her pacing. Humans were such curious creatures. The obvious always seemed to elude them, even at the best of times. She did a good fifteen laps around her cell before coming to the conclusion that she had nowhere to go. There wasn't some secret to this place that she was missing. She was trapped. Same as he was. Whether she knew it or not.
This couldn't be real, Naomi thought. The prospect of kidnap was real. The idea of captivity was real. But everything in between, along with some unimaginable details, simply couldn't be real. It's not real. It's only a dream – or a nightmare. Even after learning that they assuredly weren't alone in this universe, it was still unbelievable on so many levels. And yet, she knew she wasn't on Earth anymore. Far from it. It's not real. It can't be real. Pausing in her twentieth lap around the tiny glass prison, she tried to gather her thoughts. This can't be real. They were still careening far from the straight and narrow. She pressed her palms against her eyes, taking deep breaths through her nose and exhaling them shakily past her lips. This can't be real.
Once her breath was somewhat settled and she wasn't actively suppressing the need to vomit, her thoughts regrouped into something partially legible. How did this happen? How could a simple walk home have gone so totally wrong? How did this happen? It hadn't been a long walk, in fact it was rather short, but it still made her nervous every time she took it.
Returning from her friend's house around the corner, she was on edge but she'd never thought anything could actually happen. And certainly nothing like this. In a secluded neighborhood like hers, the threat of being attacked was virtually non-existent. But it was so dark with the recent loss of the only light pole. Now a street once well lit was pitch dark and that made every shadow a monster and every noise a threat. She adjusted her bag on her shoulder and tightened her grip on the pen until her knuckles turned white. It was one of the best gifts she had ever received – a tactical pen. An inconspicuous weapon that was actually legal. Without it, her confidence on such walks would have bottomed out long ago.
She was almost home. Only half a block to go. So close but not yet close enough. Her bare feet brushed silently against the asphalt as she walked, the rubber of her shoes squeaking against each other where they hung from her slightly curled fingers. Her long auburn hair was loose and she tensed whenever a stray curl dusted her shoulder. Tonight was so much worse. Her knuckles continued to clench around the carbide-tipped device. It had never seen action, fortunately. She hoped she'd never have to use it – to find out if she was capable of protecting herself. Though at this point she was sure a scream would alert her neighbors and she was only a short sprint from her doorstep. Surely this paranoia was unnecessary? Surely.
How did this happen?
In hindsight, she should have paid more attention to that insistent tug on her gut. The one that told her to run. The one that told her she really was in danger. But how was she to ever think that something otherworldly was stalking her? The events of New York were only a short year passed, but alien abduction still wasn't the first thing on her mind. Perhaps it should have been.
Naomi glanced over her shoulder, but saw only shadows cast by the parked cars and the trees overhead. It was only the lightest rustling. It could have been anything – the wind, a small animal. But in fact it was something much larger. She half turned and found herself pressed against another person that hadn't been there a moment ago. A large hand clamped down over her mouth, smothering her only chance for help. She saw nothing after that. Being overwhelmed with panic, she stabbed with all the force she could muster – though it had very little affect on her attacker. She felt her pen break the skin more than once, but he didn't slow. Despite her state of incoherency, she knew he was a man much larger than she. In the end, she managed one good hit, before her world was turned literally on its head.
How did this happen? It can't be real.
It was a sudden rush, like being dropped off of a building. No parachute. No beanbag awaiting you at the bottom. A long drop and then – most likely – a neck breaking stop. Braving every rollercoaster in the tri-state area suddenly felt like a mere merry go round ride. Moving at what felt like a million miles an hour, her head spun and she couldn't bring herself to open her eyes. Or breathe. In fact, she could barely move at all. And then it was over. In that moment, she felt herself clutching her attacker – him being the only solid object within her reach. Her head was still spinning. There was a sound like an engine powering down and after that there was silence. No, not quite silence, just the persistent ringing in her ears that silenced everything else.
After a moment, when she finally felt it safe to open her eyes, she briefly observed the ornate dome under which she stood before being rushed out into the open. Her eyes, wide with a portentous mix of horror and awe, were overcome with an enormous shining city with sky scraping spires of gold. She admired the unending plane of precious metal for only a moment before being tossed onto the back of a horse suddenly bound at the wrists. She barely had a moment to regain her bearings before the horse took off. It wouldn't have been nearly as jarring if she hadn't been slung across the back end like a saddlebag.
She was left staring at a crystalline rainbow road that glowed under the horse's thunderous hoof beats. It was a bridge running over the ocean. She could hear the waves lapping at a shore she couldn't see. A short glance back the way they'd come and all she saw was stars. Perhaps that would have struck her as odd, if she weren't still completely lost in her own panicked mind. It wasn't until they were engulfed by the enormous city that she realized – she was either tripping really hard or home wasn't where she left it. She nearly choked on the wave of nausea that threatened to overcome her. What the hell had just happened? Her befuddled brain could hardly fathom it.
Her entire body was numb when she was finally removed from the horse. Her midsection was a single unified spasm from being bounced up and down for so long. It was dizzying to be upright again. And so suddenly. Her gut gave another unholy turn. She tried to center her gaze on something stationary, with the hopes of letting the feeling pass. It only got worse. She was standing at the foot of a palace and she was completely surrounded by guards. They were all armed in a manor unbecoming of anything of this century. Anything of this world. She vomited. Her captors only briefly withdrew. As soon as she'd lost her entire dinner to the stone underfoot, she was braced by both of her arms and swiftly dragged away.
In the long precession into the bowels of this building, the shock slowly wore off. Regardless of where she was or who – or what – had taken her, escape needed to be the priority. She could already imagine herself being locked in some basement for the rest of her life. Dying alone and forgotten.
She paused in her wandering, chancing another look at her new companion. Well, not alone, she supposed. He was eyeing the food that had been laid out for him. But only for a moment until his rather blank stare settled on nothing again. He quirked an eyebrow, only just catching her stare. His green eyes were almost startling. They were bright emerald pools submerged in an otherwise dank exterior. His long black hair had a look she could only describe as grunge. His skin was deathly pale, his cheekbones very well pronounced. His shirt was rough and tattered and it hung loosely on his frail form. He had the look that any prisoner might. But his eyes – that stare – she hadn't expected. The longer she held it, the more she felt he was reading her thoughts.
She avoided it after that sickening notion, her eyes refocusing on the magical glass. Reaching for it again, her pen still tight in her grasp, she scored it with an X and then watched as the scratches healed over into a once again flawless pane of glass. This can't be possible. This can't be real. She scratched at it again and again to the same end as a wave of anguish welled up inside her. It wasn't supposed to happen like this. She'd done nothing to deserve this fate! With an aggravated yell, she turned and threw the pen across the room. The glass splintered on impact, the steel instrument falling to the floor and rolling away as the glass healed over again.
This can't be real. But it was.
"You can't keep me here forever!" Naomi screamed. "You hear me!"
And what exactly was she going to do about it? As far as she knew, she'd found herself on the other end of the wormhole that had swallowed the New York skyline. Her friends and family would already know that she was missing. But they would never find her. Never. No one would. She was completely on her own. She was kicking herself for not taking those survival courses in college. They would come in handy right about now. Of course, that kind of survival had more to do with spending months in the wilderness, not being locked in a dungeon by aliens. Her face contorted into an angry scowl. She was doomed to spend the rest of her life in a glass cell. No. They will not keep me here forever. I will find a way out – even if it kills me!
Swiftly crossing the room, she picked up her phone. It worked, but there was absolutely no service. That only furthered the idea that Kansas was long gone and she was really stuck at the other end of the rainbow-brick road. She glanced at the time. She could only assume that time still existed. Though it had to have been a tad askew, because according to her clock, she'd already been gone for almost twelve hours. That couldn't be right? She shut almost everything off, in the hope of conserving the 85% battery life she had. It had to last – at least for a little while.
Turning it off, temporarily, she went to retrieve her pen where it had landed. She inventoried the rest of her belongings. Nominal usefulness. There was little she could do down here, aside from survive and hope the right people would be looking for her. She had to have hope that with the events of New York only shortly behind them, someone would be able to help. Someone would have the knowledge enough to find her. All she could do was wait. With a deep breath, she calmed herself, Only a cool head could prevail down here. And she would have to dig deep into her pocket and find new ways to smother that sense of hopelessness if she was to survive. She weighed her pen in her hand as she found an untouched column supporting their glass prison. The man in the other cell watched her as she fervently scratched a tally into the stone. The stone didn't heal. Day one was accounted for. The first of so many more to come.
Well there it is... chapter one... mostly vague character descriptions and a setup but whatever... gotta start somewhere :D Many many many thanks to anyone who read. I would also like to thank the people who read the first few sentences and then skimmed and then read the last few lines and my notes. You're important too! Though I question your methods... ) Teeanks so much!