So, Coriolanus was absolutely, unbelievably, beautiful. It was a thousand times better than what I have ever expected. Kudos to Tom, Mark, their fellow cast members, director Josie Rourke, everyone. It was the best live show I have ever watched.
Thank you all so much for following me through this journey. I'm so happy you guys took the time to read this, and stay with me even when I am unable to reply to your reviews like I would wish. You guys encourage me so much. I can never thank you enough. I don't deserve any of you readers.
Chances are you guys may know this already but...this story has an alternate ending. While you guys were reading this story on FFnet, others are reading a story with a very different ending on AO3. You can find it here! archiveofourowndotorg(slash)works/1050350.
As you guys have noticed, I have not been in the Avengers/Thor fandom recently. I have been off Tumblr and also very focused on original fiction lately so I think it's safe to say I will not be writing any Loki fanfiction/drabbles any time soon. Ironically, I said that after Syrgja and look at me now, but busyness has suddenly stepped up. You guys have been extremely wonderful to me for the past two years. Thank you all so much.
Without further ado, enjoy!
When Jane reaches Thor's flat, she's gasping for air and her lungs burn. What makes it worse is that Thor's flat in all honesty is only a street away, if even, but she is out of shape and desperate and sprinting and she has no time.
She bangs her fist against his door. For all she knows, he could be at SHIELD, or showering, or taking a walk, or anywhere but where she needs him to be, and by the time she finds him to bring him back, Loki could be gone. But she rams her hand against the door, adrenaline pulsing in her veins. She doesn't know what else to do but this, and that she has no time.
Loki has no time.
"Thor?" she says loudly. She knocks frantically. "Thor, are you there? Thor, please open the door, Thor—"
There is no answer. Jane feels her skin grow hot with feverish worry. She paces in the hallway to try to calm her nerves before banging on the door again. She should have just called Thor, just call his home phone or SHIELD or someone while she was still at her place in case Thor couldn't make it in time, she at least would not have to leave Loki to die alone.
"Thor?" Jane cries out. "Thor, if you're there, please come out. It's Jane, it's an emergency, it's—"
Jane spun around. Thor had just come out from the stairwell doorway, carrying several bags of groceries. He hurries to her, dropping the bags against the wall and taking her shoulders, eyes searching her panicked face for injury.
"Jane, what's the matter?" he says. "What's amiss?"
Jane chokes on her failing words. Thor looks at her so earnestly, so genuinely, and she is about to break his heart.
Maybe she shouldn't do it—but she remembers all those piling letters, remembers Loki dying on the bed. Thinks about her own father—and how, even if it would hurt in the end, she wouldn't mind seeing him again, just for a little longer.
Just for a little longer—
"Thor," she says. She can't stop her voice from shaking. "Thor, you need to come with me now."
"Where?" says Thor. "What's going on?"
She is choking on her own words. She pulls at Thor's hand, trying to bring him to the stairwell.
"I'm sorry," she chokes out. "I'm so sorry. I've lied to you."
Thor's eyes sharpened. She knows he will hate her. Knows he will be angry and hurt by her. He has been lied to so much, and she only adds to it. But she can't stop now.
"What do you mean?" he says.
"It's Loki," Jane says. "He's alive."
Thor's jaw tenses. Before she could pull him away, he puts a strong hand on her shoulder, forcing her to stay in place. She wonders if he would hurt her—maybe she deserves it.
"Don't do this to me, Jane," Thor says. His voice is strangely calm. "Don't—you're unwell, or tricked, or maybe you're just pulling a jest on me—"
"I'm not," she cries out, eyes searing with tears that he would think such a thing.
"Don't tell me something like this if it isn't actually true," Thor says. His voice is thick, stony. "By the Norns, don't—"
"He is alive," Jane says. "He's alive but he's dying now, Thor. He didn't die on Svartalfheim because his wound was cursed, but now he is and—" She feels sobs rising up her throat. Every time she tries to fight them down, her words tremble more violently. "—I lied to you—I knew he was alive for so long but we both knew he was dying and that if you knew—if you got hope that he was alive only for him to actually die, really die—it would hurt you too much, so—so we thought it was better if you never found out, to just let you be free from that but—" She lets go of a sob. "—but Thor, he's at my place, he's dying now and he misses you so much, and I can't—I couldn't just—"
Before she could finish the sentence, Thor is already gone, bounding down the steps so quickly he could have broken through all the flights. Jane sucks in a deep breath before following him, nearly falling down those several flights just to catch up.
Thor is already down the street when she stumbles out the front door of the building. He's barely dodging traffic, getting honked at by irate cabbies that nearly run him over, but he pays them no heed. He's running, and Jane can hardly keep up.
She sprints the last leg, just enough to catch him up the stairs of her own apartment building, fishing out her door keys. Thor's face is drawn and unreadable. She remembers how once he would wear his heart on his sleeve and nothing would be missed. Instead, he has become as good of a liar as she has.
When they reach her flat and she unlocks the door, it is so silent. She sucks in her breath, fearing that they are too late.
"Stay here," she says. "Please."
Thor obeys, but he is trembling, as if it is a physical strain to not go find his brother. Jane goes to her bedroom, shivering. She doesn't know what she would do if she found a body. How she would explain it to Thor.
Instead, it is empty.
The bed is made, the sheets perfectly flat and unused. The room still.
At first, she thinks she is tricked. That Loki had pulled this elaborate, painful, cruel trick on her to turn Thor against her, to ruin the both of them.
Instead of getting angry, though, she holds her breath, and listens.
She can barely hear it. The rasping, shallow breaths of strained lungs. Dying breaths. He's still here, in this room, and he never lied to her. Catching scent of what she was going to do, he had thrown the last of his magic into building a weak wall to protect the truth—to hide.
"Loki," Jane says. "I know you're here."
She thinks for a moment that she sees the room quiver. Thor comes to her and stands behind her, breath bated. She swallows hard.
"I know I broke my promise," Jane says. "But I didn't do it for him."
She digs her nails into her palm. When she speaks, she trembles.
"I did it for you," she says.
It is as if Loki has been holding his breath and cannot take it anymore. Sickly, shimmering green of his magic melts off of the walls, the bed, the windows, revealing the signs of his existence here, until Loki is here again, lying on her small bed. His face is so grey and he shudders for each breath. His glazed eyes see Thor and Thor only, and he chokes on a cry.
"Oh, Thor," he whispers.
Thor wordlessly moves to Loki's side. He sits on the side of the bed and gently pulls Loki into his arms. Loki hasn't even the energy to move or lift his head; Thor clasps Loki's head against his shoulder, pressing his cheek against Loki's crown. The last of Loki's strength is used to lift a trembling hand and hold onto Thor.
"I'm a fool," Loki whispers. His limbs are shaking. His eyes are so glossy that they look like they're flooding. "I'm sorry. I don't want you to see me die. I'm sorry."
Thor holds Loki tighter. He cradles Loki's head tenderly as Loki shakes with wracking sobs. He rests his cheek against Loki's forehead, rocking him softly as if he is merely easing Loki to sleep, and the next morning he will wake up again and everything will be all right.
"Please pretend," Loki says. He breaths raggedly. Jane cannot tell if he is crying, or if he is only dying. Either way, it hurts so much to hear. "Please pretend you are not angry at me. I didn't want you to see me die again. I tried to be strong. Please pretend you don't hate me."
"Oh, Loki," Thor says. He presses a kiss on Loki's forehead. Tears fall from his eyes, but he does not waver.
"I'm so sorry," Loki says. His voice is strangled—he struggles to make a sound, and he's shaking as if extremely cold. "Brother…brother—"
"Be at peace, Loki," Thor says. "It's okay. I love you. Don't be sad." His voice breaks. He swallows hard and hugs Loki tighter to himself. If it hurts Loki, if it agitates his wound any further, Loki does not say. He only holds onto Thor's shoulder tighter. "I'd rather go through the pain of losing you a hundred, a thousand times, than to have never been your brother at all."
Loki lets out a shuddering gasp, strangled with tears. Thor tenses in worry, his hand hovering over Loki's chest.
"It's so cold," Loki says.
He rests his head against Thor's chest, trembling uncontrollably. Thor kisses Loki's hair. His tears slip into it.
"It's all right, Loki," Thor says. "It's okay. I love you, brother. I love you so much. It's all okay. I'm here—your big brother is here. I've got you." His face screws in grief and he buries his face in Loki's hair. "I've got you this time."
Loki's eyes are slipping close. His grip on Thor is slackening but he still holds. His shivering has died down, and he is so calm in Thor's arms.
"I'll take you home, okay?" Thor says. "It'll all be all right. I'll take you home."
Loki's face is strewn with tears. Thor cups his cheek, as if to protect it from being seen.
"I already am," Loki says.
Jane cannot watch anymore. She closes the bedroom door as silently as she can to not bother the brothers before she slides to the floor and cries. She tries to muffle herself, tries to keep the tears from falling, but she weeps and weeps until she is parched inside. Any moment she tries to catch her breath, another wave of sobs choke her and she is burying her face in her hands, her heart shattering.
It hurts so much because she has failed. Because in the end, she should have never listened to Loki, should have listened to her gut telling her to tell Thor. Because in the end, both she and Loki are wrong—Thor would rather face Loki dying time and time again if it means spending more time with his little brother. And he could have had that—he could have had more time, Loki could have been with his brother longer, even if it ultimately means Loki's death , but instead they only have maybe an hour together before they lose it all for good because Jane had waited until it is almost too late.
When she finally can swallow her tears quietly, she remains sitting in the hallway. Through the walls, she could sometimes hear Loki's shuddering gasp of breath as Thor holds him, comforting him. Sometimes she hears Thor speak. She doesn't know what he says. It is not meant for her.
Jane doesn't know how much time has passed. Maybe an hour had passed, maybe two, maybe much less than that. But eventually, the doorknob turns and the door quietly opens.
She looks up. Her face is still raw from her tears. She can hardly breathe.
Thor is carrying Loki in his arms. He holds him so tenderly. Loki is draped in the sheet he had laid in, splotches of his blood on the front. He is very still.
No one moves or makes a sound. Jane tries to speak—she opens her mouth—but she cannot bring herself to speak.
I'm sorry, she mouths, because her voice has failed her.
I'm so sorry.
In the end, they say nothing to each other. Thor turns away. His eyes are only for his brother. His arms do not tremble when they carry Loki. Loki must have been so light and small to him, and so very young.
Jane watches as Thor wordlessly walks out onto the balcony, where the sun is setting. She is not surprised when Thor lifts his face to the sky, and rain begins to fall. Thunder rumbles, but it does not crash and clatter like a battle. It groans, it whispers—it sighs.
When light falls upon Thor and the Bifrost that he has called for draws him and Loki away and leaving her balcony empty, the rain falls even harder. It freezes the roads, makes the roofs slick with ice, it pours and pours. Thor had left the glass door open—freezing rain falls onto her living room floor.
Finally, Jane stands. A cold gust makes her shudder. She slowly makes her way to the living room. Rainwater pools onto the wooden floor, eating at the edge of her rug. She puts a hand on the door handle, but pauses.
She cranes her neck to watch the sky. The rain falls endlessly.
Maybe Thor will come back, within an hour, or within the decade, and he will need someone to talk to. Someone to be with.
Maybe Thor will never want to see Jane again.
She doesn't know. But she leaves the door half open, even though it is cold. If Thor would need her, if he never speaks to her again, if he rips open the skies and lets every tear fall until there is none left, she will be here.
She will be here.