Author's Note: Sorry for the delay in getting this chapter posted. I hope you enjoy!
"When all you got to keep is strong
Move along, move along like I know you do
And even when your hope is gone
Move along, move along just to make it through."
—All American Rejects, "Move Along"
"And this machine—" Thor begins, arms folded across his chest. He's adorable in street clothes, Jane decides, and frankly, she thinks that he needs to dress like this more often. Sure, the cape and the armor were appealing, but a blue t-shirt and jeans really showcased his toned form. She supposes that isn't really the team to be drooling over her godly boyfriend, but it is a much better alternative to letting her mind wander back to the worries of her condition.
"Magnetic resonance imagining," Jane supplies, only to earn a sharp glare from Bruce for sitting up as he's trying to get her ready to go into the white machine. The poor doctor has been infinitely patient in answering all of his team member's questions, but Jane can see that patience thinning. He's tired, as is she, and he no doubt wants to return back to the lab to process everything. "An MRI for short."
"Right," Thor nods, processing that bit of information. "This MRI will reveal what ails Jane?"
"Maybe." Bruce replies, adjusting the settings on the machine as Jane settles back onto the small pillow. She doesn't like the small confines of this machine, but if it leads to a cure, then she's willing to undergo 100 MRIs.
"Maybe?" The God of Thunder echoes, frowning a bit. "Why isn't it conclusive?"
"For one thing," Bruce starts, smiling softly at Jane and squeezing her shoulder before heading with Thor towards the small observation room next to the machine from which he could see the images as they were taken. "Jane's illness has a magical origin. That being said, the MRI may not give me enough definite proof to take an action to correct it." He types a few commands onto the machine and immediately, whirring begins as Jane is slowly pulled into it. "Or, maybe it will produce enough imaging that I can put together a conclusive diagnosis." A few images of Jane's brain began to filter through on his computer screen.
"Is she safe in there?" Bruce glances up from his monitor and follows the concerned God's gaze through the glass window and to where Jane currently is.
"She's fine." The scientist tries to assure his friend. "Jane's strong."
"She's is." Thor agrees with a bright grin. "She'd give the ladies of Asgard a challenge." Bruce chuckles at that and then lets his eyes be pulled back to the screens. So far, everything seems normal. He can't see any deformities or injuries to her brain, which is a relief, but also it's not an answer to Jane's condition. He would need to run more tests—"
"What?" The scans start to come back with flares on every part of the brain. "This is impossible." He clicks on a few regions of the brain to double check, but the computer is in working order.
"What is it?" Thor asks quickly, brows furrowing as he tries to decipher the screen.
"It's . . ." The images light up with bright red all over the brain. That couldn't be right. "It's like a surge of activity is rushing through her brain. More activity than a brain should be able to process—" Urgently, he hit the intercom button and pulled the microphone towards him. "Jane?" No reply.
"Dr. Banner, what—?" Thor begins to ask, but Bruce hits the emergency override switch to stop the machine. He jumps up from his chair and sprints to the other room. Jane lies on the gurney, unconscious with blood dripping from her nose. "Jane!" Thor is there, taking her into his arms and gently maneuvering her head to rest on his chest.
"Jane, can you hear me?" Bruce puts on some gloves and then pulls her eyelids open. With a flashlight from his pocket, he checks her pupils for a reaction and is pleased by the retraction of them. She's just unconscious—no major brain damage from whatever that surge of activity was.
"Bruce, is she—?" Thor is scared, that much is evident in his voice, but the sheer expression of terror crossing his face gives the doctor some much needed perspective on this situation. He usually thought of Thor as invincible—he is a God, after all—but now, in this situation, he is no more than a helpless man trying to find some way to be useful.
"She'll be okay." He puts the flashlight away and tosses the gloves into a trashcan. "Can you move her into a bed?" Thor nods, shifting Jane so that he can carry her easily. There's a gentleness to his touch that Bruce has never seen before. In battle, Thor never could be counted on to have finesse. He, like the Hulk, cared more about getting the bad guys than worrying about the impact of collateral damage to the surrounding buildings. To see him hold Jane with the lightest of touches, like he is holding the most precious of jewels, makes him reconsider his initial take on Thor.
"Here?" Bruce snaps out of his reverie and quickly nods his assent. Thor places her down on the sheets and quickly, Bruce pulls an IV with a saline drip next to the bedside. Securely hooking it, he also sets up a heart monitor and places an oxygen cannula under her nostrils. At Thor's downcast, and quite honestly distressed, expression, Bruce tries to muster up a comforting grin. "She'll be okay, really. I'm just being overly cautious."
"Would it be alright if I sit here with her?" A few nurses shoot Thor an odd glance, but it's clear that no one recognizes him enough to cause a scene. Bruce does need to give those images a more in-depth look over anyways and make a few phone calls.
"Of course." He smiles a bit, trying to offer his comrade a bit of comfort. "Let me know if she wakes up." The God of Thunder holds Jane's slender hand within his own, pressing a soft kiss to it.
"I will." He vows.
With that, Bruce returns back to the lab.
She comes to and meets a pair of the bluest eyes she's ever seen. In fact, only one man has this distinct pair and she smiles, happy to wake up and see him. She attempts to sit up, but a dull ache in her head causes her to wince. A pair of strong arms holds her down.
"What—?" Her words come out slur, thick with exhaustion though she's not sure why.
"Rest, Jane." Thor orders softly, voice barely above a whisper. "You are safe here. I shall not forsake you." She knows she should get up and begin asking questions, but she's is so deliciously warm under these sheets and Thor's voice is lulling her back into that dark void that promises no worry or pain. There's an edge to it though, an undercurrent of something. Worry?
"What is it?" She questions, forcing her voice to be absolutely clear. It's so hard to focus right now, but until she knows he's okay, she can't allow herself to rest.
"Nothing." He assures her.
"Thor—" She begins to protest. He leans forward and presses a kiss to her forehead.
"Rest, Jane." He repeats.
And against her better judgment, she finds her eyelids sliding shut.
"A surge of what now?"
"Brainwave activity well beyond the capacity that any human brain should be able to handle, Tony." Bruce explains yet again, two fingers pinching the bridge of his nose as he tries to find someway to make sense of this. He's taken over a vacant office—his credentials with S.H.I.E.L.D. finally came in handy—and on the desk, he had the pictures from the MRI spread out.
"So, what then? Jane's got some sort of thing inside her that's overloading her brain?" Bruce sighs, trying to figure out how to explain this when he doesn't really know himself.
"Maybe?" He mumbles. "I have to run more tests, but Tony, I need you to hack into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s database and pull up everything that have on the Aether." He could hear typing on the other end of the line.
"Okay," The billionaire answers. "I'll email everything that's of interest."
"Thanks." Finally, a bit of progress.
"You think she'll be okay? That there's a cure?"
"I hope so," He confesses, running a hand through his hair. "But until I can do more research . . ." He lets his voice trail off, sighing. He wishes he had something more concrete to go on. Jane is his friend after all. She had helped him out on one of his projects by providing him with much needed research and after meeting, he found that he greatly enjoyed the other scientist's presence. She was kind, resourceful but passionate about her work.
He wanted to save her.
He had to save her.
"Keep me posted."
"Will do." The line goes dead and he hangs up the phone. He needs to do a few more blood tests—
"Code blue!" A nurse shouts and immediately, he hops out of his chair. Dread settles in the pit of his stomach as he notices the direction that the crash cart is heading into. Numbly, he forces himself into a sprint and comes to Jane's room. He sees Thor in the hallway, fists by his side, distress flashing in his eyes.
"Charging on a higher voltage."
He should do something, Bruce realizes, but the other doctor in the room takes charge and Bruce can only watch with Thor and wait.
Wait to see if Jane would pull through.
Author's Note: Next chapter will be up soon! Please review if you have a second. Thanks!