Author's Note: I adored Thor 2 and I've missed writing about this fandom. And frankly, I love Thor and Jane way too much for my own good. Don't worry though, this is not a tragedy, I promise. Now, please enjoy!
"All of the things that I want to say
Just aren't coming out right
I'm tripping on words, you got my head spinning
I don't know where to go from here."
—Lifehouse, "You and Me"
The doctor's office is supposed to be homey with its whitewashed walls and comforting pictures. It's got nice carpeted floors that are pristinely clean and the desk that she sits at glistens as the sunlight streams in through the huge window behind it. It doesn't smell like a hospital here—there's no trace of that ultra-sterilized air that foreshadowed pain and eventually death—but none of this puts her at ease. Selfishly, she wishes Thor were here with her, by her side, holding her hand instead of visiting Asgard, but she immediately dismisses the thought.
Thor didn't know and if she had any say in the matter, he would never find out.
"Miss Foster," The kindly doctor begins and Jane suppresses a sigh. She doesn't remember the guy's name—she stopped remembering names after the fifth new doctor she visited—but she had a tiny bit of hope that this specialist could come up with something to explain what the hell was happening to her. Ever since her return from Asgard, the astrophysicist had experienced numerous irregularities with her heartbeat, shortness of breath and severe nosebleeds. With Darcy and Erik, she'd been able to keep her symptoms hidden—she smiled and dismissed their fears with a wave of her hand on the rare occasion whenever they would flare up—but secretly, she's worried. "I'm truly sorry, Miss Foster." Her gaze lingers on the doctor's green eyes and she waits. He hands her a chart and she frowns as she sees "inconclusive" scribbled all over it. "I can't seem to find anything to explain your symptoms. All your tests have come back negative and the CT scan and the MRI's are all fine."
"So, there's nothing wrong with me?" Her voice breaks a little bit because she knows she's not crazy, she can sense there is something severely wrong with her.
"Your symptoms are very real," The doctor insists vehemently. "But I can't seem to link them to any one condition." He shakes his head and Jane feels her heart sink. "I can recommend some other specialists—"
"No," She interjects softly and startled, the doctor glances at her, clearly perplexed. "I've been to see other specialists and they all came up with the same results."
"Ah, I see," They sit there in an awkward silence until the doctor coughs slightly, clearing his throat. "I can prescribe some medication in the hopes it will keep your symptoms in check."
"I've done that," Yep, three doctors ago she had tried the medication route. "It only made things worse." Her body seems intent on preventing any method of her getting help from working.
"I really am sorry," The doctor continues and Jane nods her head. It's not his fault, she knows, but the anger is still there, bubbling under the surface. "If you change your mind, please give me a call."
"Of course." They both rise from the table and shake hands.
She'll never call him again.
"How was the doctor?" Jane flinches as Darcy's calm voice filters through. Her hand trembles ever so slightly as she pulls a coffee mug from the cabinet. She won't face her intern—not yet, not when it's still too obvious—and maybe that's cowardly, but she's not ready to talk about this yet.
"Doctor Banner is doing fine." Redirection, a classic tool. Maybe Darcy will rise to the bait—she's always easily distracted when the Avengers are involved—but there is no response from her. Silence reigns in the cramped kitchen and Jane continues to pour her coffee, acting like nothing is wrong.
"You're a really sucky liar, you know that?" Darcy huffs, finally entering the room and plopping at the kitchen table. She tosses Jane's planner on the wooden table with a thud and Jane cringes. "2:15, D.R." The scientist takes a sip of her coffee and nearly splutters with how hot it is. "Took me a bit of time to figure out what D.R. meant, but hey, that's what I have an intern for." Her intern's gaze burns Jane's own. "Why have you been visiting doctors left and right for the past three weeks?"
"No reason really—"
"Cut the crap, would you?" Darcy practically growls and Jane knows when to give up. Relenting, she places her mug on the coaster and then slowly lowers herself down onto the chair.
"It's nothing major," Darcy opens her mouth to protest and Jane quickly plows on. "I just haven't been feeling too well since I got back from Asgard." Her intern raises an eyebrow suspiciously.
"What do you mean?"
"I've been having nosebleeds," She leaves out the part that they can sometimes get so bad, she thinks she's going to die. "And sometimes, my heart beats a bit too fast and I have trouble breathing." Darcy's face is impassive. "But really, it's okay." She adds quickly.
"You're sick?" Darcy questions quietly.
"Yeah," Jane admits. "I think so."
"Okay," The younger woman runs a hand through her dark hair. "What do the doctors think it is?" With a rueful smile, Jane informs her,
"They have no idea."
"You're sick." Erik mumbles and Jane sighs, aggravated, only silenced when Darcy hits her with her elbow in the ribs. It wasn't her idea to come clean to Erik about all this, especially since her mentor was doing so well after helping save the nine realms from the Aether and the dark elves. In fact, if Jane had her way, she would never even be having this conversation with any of them. She'd be in her lab, doing research, trying to figure out her own cure. But, truth be told, it feels nice not to have to put up a strong front anymore.
"It's not that bad—" She protests half-heartedly.
"Bull," Darcy interjects and then meets Erik's gaze. "Her heart is beating weird and the doctors have no idea what's wrong."
"Your heart?" Erik echoes. He mumbles something and then paces the floor for a bit before stopping suddenly to look her in the eyes. He comes up to her, places two strong hands on her shoulders and keeps staring, as if he's searching for something. "Jane, you told me you were the host for the Aether."
"And the Aether feeds off its host's life force." Erik continues and Jane sees the color drain from Darcy's face, can feel her own heart pounding in return as the panic begins to set in. She's about to ask why that matters when the pieces start to click into place and she wonders why the hell she didn't figure out earlier. There's relief because she finally knows that she's not crazy and something is wrong, but dread quickly settles in as she realizes this isn't a problem that people on Earth alone could solve.
"Thor." She breathes.
She needs him now.
Author's Note: Next chapter, Jane pays Bruce Banner a visit and Thor returns! Please review if you have a second.