Continuing Tales

Fallen Star

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by Alydia Rackham

Part 14 of 27

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"If only

If only I could have been yours
Been your rapport and yours to adore
If only

If only I would have said yes
Forgotten the rest

Oh, I could have said yes
If only…"

-Into the Blue

Jane jerked awake. The piercing jangle of a telephone ring jolted through her. She gasped, blinking and squinting, and pressing a hand to her face.

"What? What is it?" came a groggy voice right next to her. She glanced to her right to see Fenris, sitting up from the back of the couch and frowning hard—he'd just woken up too. Jane looked out the windows. The gray dawn was just lighting the sky.

"It can't even be five in the morning," Jane croaked, getting up and stumbling to the telephone on the desk. She hit the speakerphone button and bent over the phone, brushing her hair out of her face. "Hello?"

"Miss Foster? Is that you?"

She straightened.


"Yes," he answered. "We have a situation."

Jane suddenly woke up.

"What is it? What happened?"

"We're sending a car for you. It should be there in about an hour, and it'll take you to the hospital in Santa Fe."

"The hospital?" Jane repeated, gripping the table with both hands. She sensed Fenris get up off the couch and step close to her.

"Erik has been injured," Fury said. "It's not serious, but he—"

"Erik?" Jane cried, standing up straight. "Why is Erik with you?"

"We'd like to debrief you in the car—"

"No," Jane shot back. "No, you tell me what's going on right now."

Fury sighed.

"Last night, while we were moving the Cube, we came across a large patterned circle in the ground—one that looked very much like the ones that appeared when we were receiving visitors from Asgard," he explained. "We stopped the convoy to search for whoever might have landed. We called Erik to come take a look."

"Why didn't you call me?" Jane demanded.

"We came and got him," Fury answered. "We didn't have a lot of time."

Jane let it go, worry quickening her pulse.

"How did Erik get hurt?"

"While we were investigating," Fury went on. "A purple cloud descended on us—completely swallowed the convoy. It was full of lightning and wind, and sounds like screaming and tearing. We all lost track of each other. The wind tipped one of our trucks over. Erik's leg got caught beneath it."

Jane clamped her teeth, her eyes screwing shut. Fenris pressed softly up to her from behind. She took a gasping breath.

"What happened then?"

"It cleared off," Nick said. "And when we could see again, one of our armored trucks—the one with the Cube in it—had had a hole punched in it the size of a car. The Cube was gone."

Jane's eyes flew open. She stared down at the phone.

"Gone?" she cried. "How?"

"We don't know," Fury admitted. "We have theories—"

"What are your theories?" Jane cut him off.

"There are several. But the most popular one, amongst my agents anyway, is that the theft was conducted with magic—and the culprit is Loki."

Fenris took a stiff breath behind her. Jane suddenly went cold.

"What are you going to do?" she asked.

"Oh, believe me, we've got every source on the job," Fury said. "This is top priority. But if Loki has taken it back to Asgard…"

Jane swallowed hard as Fury trailed off, her stomach turning over and over at the implications of that statement.

"Are you sure Erik's okay?" she whispered.

"He's broken his ankle and the two bones in his lower leg, but his life isn't in danger," Fury assured her. "He's been in and out of surgery, and now he wants to see you. You and Fenris."

"Okay," Jane murmured. "We'll…We'll wait for the car."

"See you soon," Fury said, and the phone clicked as he hung up.

Jane stood there for a long moment, her muscles locked. Then, slowly her brow twisted and tears welled up in her eyes. She took a watery gasp and pressed her hand to her mouth.

"Jane…" Fenris said, his voice soft and distressed. She shook her head and turned away from the phone, pacing back to the couch. She sat down hard, swiping at her eyes, but her breathing shook—and her tears tumbled. Fenris came and stood in front of her, but she knew that if she looked up into his eyes she would sob.

"It's gone," she choked, gesturing helplessly. "I knew it. I knew something like this would happen as soon as Fury and Coulson told us they were going to move it." More hot tears fell, even though she battled to hide them and stop them.

"Come now," Fenris said very quietly, and sat down next to her. "It's not as bad as all that, is it?" He reached out and gently brushed a lock of hair back off her shoulder, then tucked a strand behind her ear. Finally, she turned and looked at him. His emerald eyes watched her solemnly, his bearing soft. He set his hand down behind her back, so that her shoulder touched his chest. Her vision clouded and she ducked her head.

"I don't think any of us has any idea how bad it is," she said. "The Cube could be anywhere, and whoever stole it…Well, who knows what they're planning to do."

Fenris said nothing. His head lowered. She lifted her eyes and studied his profile. A burst of realization shot through her mind.

"You don't know, do you?" she breathed.

His eyes flashed to hers. His eyebrows came together.


"You didn't have anything to do with this," she said quickly, shifting toward him. "Tell me you didn't."

He blinked, startled.

"You think I—"

"You know how to use magic," she reminded him quickly, trying to breathe. "And Fury seems to think that the storm was caused by—"

"Jane," he said firmly, looking at her directly. "I was here. With you."

She let out a shaky breath and glanced down. She felt him tilt his head to see her face.

"You do believe me?"

She nodded, more tears filling her eyes.

"Yeah. Sorry. It's just that I…I keep doing this," she said angrily, squeezing her hands together in her lap. "I'm so stupid—I never learn."

"What are you talking about?" Fenris scoffed. She shook her head, her brow tightening more.

"I get my hopes up. Every time," she closed her eyes and tears scalded her cheeks. "And I shouldn't. Not until whatever-it-is is right in front of me." She took a deep, thin breath—it hurt. And her tear-filled eyes met his, and she gave a weak smile. "But I could almost see it, you know?"

"See what?" he wondered, watching her.

"Asgard. The way you described it," she said. "The shining towers, the rainbow bridge—the light on the water."

His gaze flickered, and he softened even more.

"You may see Asgard yet," he murmured. She wiped her tears away.

"I know. I just…I just know that Thor is trying, too. He's trying to get here, probably as hard as I'm trying to get there. And I had a chance, but…" she shrugged and spread her hands. "There it went. Gone." She swallowed hard, her gaze unfocusing. "But if Loki is the one who did this, then that means that when Thor went back, he didn't…He didn't…" She couldn't finish. She bowed her head and fiddled with her cuff. She felt Fenris' eyes on her, but he withdrew his arm and sat back. His breathing sounded uneven. Jane's head buzzed, and she couldn't see clearly.

"Is that what you want?" he whispered. "To get it back so you can go to him?"

Jane didn't say anything—it suddenly sounded selfish, the way he put it. Silence fell, and it stayed for a long time. Then, he took a breath.

"Very well," he said—his voice sounded ragged. "We will find it."

Her head came up. She blinked. Two tears fell—but it cleared her eyes. Fenris stared straight ahead. His expression looked cold, distant. But when he turned his eyes to her, they penetrated deep.

"If that's what you want," he said. Jane's lips parted. But before she could say anything, he got up and turned his back on her. His left hand flexed, then he made his way to the stairs that led to the roof. Jane watched him as he ascended, and listened to the quiet after the door had slammed.


Once, very long ago when Loki was a boy, his brother had tossed him a beautiful, multi-colored glass horse, shouting to him that he could keep it if he could catch it. Loki had been startled, unprepared—but he threw up his hands. For just an instant, he felt the cool, delicate glass between his fingers…

Before it shattered to a million pieces on the marble floor.

It was only afterward that Loki learned from his mother that the horse had been one of a kind, and the maker had passed to Valhalla.

Thor had begged forgiveness and pleaded ignorance of the horse's value, and Loki had wept bitterly. But that did not change the fact that he had held it in his hands for a breathless moment, and then had lost it forever—before he even knew what he had.

And now, Loki stood on the roof of the lab, fists clenched, seeing nothing, struggling to breathe, struggling to see through clouded eyes, feeling the same as he had when the crash still rang in his ears, and the glass lay splintered at his feet.


Jane sat in the back seat of the sedan next to Fenris, looking out the window as the sunrise lit up the desert hills. The car bumped and rocked as they sped down the road. Agent Coulson drove. Nick Fury sat in the passenger seat. No one spoke.

Earlier, when the car had first come and they'd piled in, Jane had demanded more answers—but there wasn't much more for Fury or Coulson to tell her, except that Tony Stark had gone back home to pursue a lead while using better technology. The fact that Tony had a lead lifted her spirits for a while, but the heavy silence soon made them sink again. She glanced over at Fenris.

He sat with his elbow braced on the armrest of the door, his forefinger draped over his lips. He stared out the window.

Ever since she'd crept up to the roof to tell him that the car was here, he'd hardly said a word to her, and he moved stiffly. Jane's brow tightened and a pang traveled down her throat. It was like she had the old Fenris back—the one encased in ice, with a gaze like frostbite. At the moment, though, she almost wished for a little of that frostbite. He hadn't looked at her once.

Sometime in the middle of the morning, they arrived in the city, and drove through the crowded streets of the bustling metropolis. She watched Fenris, certain that he would perk up and start asking questions about the buildings, the vehicles, the people. But his eyes had unfocused, and he didn't seem to notice anything. Jane put her hand to her upper chest, where the Lokistone hid underneath her shirt.

Finally, they pulled up to the hospital and Agent Coulson let Fenris, Fury and Jane out. The wind blew Jane's hair, and she realized how disheveled she must look after the mostly-sleepless night she had spent. She started walking toward the main door, then paused, realizing that Fenris' shadow had not fallen across her. She glanced over—to see he was walking on the other side of Fury instead. She took a half breath, composed herself, and followed them into the shade of the cement overhang to the sliding glass door of the hospital.


"I've never seen anything like it," Erik shook his head, gazing up at the white ceiling. Jane sat next to his bed in an uncomfortable chair, her hands closed tightly around each other. Erik's left foot was up in traction, and he had an IV in his left arm. He looked pale, his face tight and troubled.

"It was like a black, flashing hurricane," he went on quietly. "And it just came down like a monster swallowing us. It kicked those trucks around like they weighed nothing. And then there was this colossal metal tearing sound, and the wind became overpowering." He frowned hard. "And then it knocked a truck over. I tried to get out of the way, but I tripped and the very top of the thing landed on my foot. Then, just a few seconds later, the storm cleared up like it had never been there."

"So it didn't look like the other anomalies?" Jane asked. Erik shook his head.

"No. I mean, it resembled them," he said. "But this had a stranger, purplish color. And it was wider—not like a tornado. And much more violent."

"What did SHIELD tell you they're going to do?" Jane wondered.

"Not much more than they've told you, I'm sure," Erik said. "That they're looking, and that Tony Stark is looking, too." Erik glanced at her. "Where's Darcy?"

"She's coming to see you later this afternoon," Jane said, distracted.

"What about Fenris?"

Jane swallowed, and glanced at the door.

"I think he's in the waiting room."

Erik paused.

"What is it?" he said in a low voice. "Is something wrong?"

Jane hesitated, then shrugged.

"I don't know. We got the call this morning from Nick telling us what happened. Fenris and I discussed it, and all of a sudden he just…quit talking." Jane held out her hands, then fiddled with her cuff again. "I don't know what's the matter."

"He's probably discouraged," Erik suggested. "The Cube is his only way home."

Jane bit her lip, thinking.

"I don't know. He seemed optimistic at first. He even said we'd get it back." She sighed. "But he's given me the silent treatment ever since."

"Everybody's worried about this, Jane," Erik said. "In different ways, and for very good reasons—you know that."

Jane just nodded, not looking up. Erik's tone gentled.

"Did you get any sleep last night?"

Jane laughed.

"Just a little. On the couch."

"You look tired," Erik said.

"I am," Jane nodded closing her eyes and rubbing her forehead. "I don't think I'm thinking straight. This whole thing had me crying like a baby."

"You should go get some rest," Erik advised.

"I can't leave you here," Jane said, reaching out and taking his hand. He gave her a smile and squeezed her fingers.

"I'm fine. It isn't the first time I've had a broken bone, you know. I've had a lot worse."

"Really," Jane raised her eyebrows. "I want to hear that story."

"Ha, maybe later," Erik said. He adjusted his head on his pillow. "I would like to talk to Fenris, though. Could you send him in?"

Jane's chest tightened again, but she nodded.

"Yeah. Sure. I'll go get him."


Loki sank down into the chair next to Erik's bed and swallowed, glancing at the beeping, blinking machine next to Erik, the tubes stuck into his arm, and his left foot, swathed in bandages and suspended by slings and wires. It all had a strange, medieval look to it that made Loki's skin cold. But when he finally glanced over and met Erik's gaze, his blood turned cold as well. He went still.

"What is it?" he asked.

Erik, his blue gaze keen and sharp, just gazed back at him a long time.

"It's interesting, this Cube business," he said slowly. "I think it's intriguing what people will do to get their hands on unlimited power. Even if they're not quite sure what they want to do with it once they have it."

Loki said nothing. Erik held his gaze.

"They're saying that the person who stole the Cube used magic," Erik said. "Untraceable, unfightable magic. Power that no one else in the SHIELD operation has seen. Not since Thor took out the Destroyer." Erik paused, and raised his eyebrows. Loki hardened.

"I did not steal it, sir," he stated. "I was with Jane. You may ask her. She knows."

"You were with her all night?" Erik asked.


"What were you doing?" Erik demanded.

Loki's eyes blazed.

"I'm offended at your tone—"

"Then tell me."

"We sat on the couch and read," Loki answered, his face hot. "And both of us drifted off to sleep. When Fury's call awoke us, it was barely dawn. I doubt we slept for more than three hours."

Erik's gaze penetrated right through Loki, making him want to squirm. But he sat very still, unflinching, his jaw tight. At last, Erik turned his gaze to the ceiling and shifted in his bed. Loki suppressed a sigh of relief.

"Glad to hear it," Erik muttered.

Loki was quiet a moment, folding his hands. Then, he risked a question.

"So what do you make of all of this?"

Erik paused, studying the ceiling.

"I am sometimes amazed at what I learn if I just sit back and listen—and do a little research," Erik commented. "Nothing ridiculous—just common sense stuff."

Loki frowned.

"I don't follow," he admitted. Erik glanced down at the needle in his arm and winced, pressing his fingers to the skin just above it.

"I read a poem recently," Erik went on, as if Loki hadn't spoken. "It's a lovely bit of work. It all made me think a great deal." He took a breath, and began to recite.

"'Who was it who had Mjolnir made?
Who was it who had Draupnir made?
Who was it who had Frey's boar made?
You, Loki, and for what?

Loki's head came up. The sound of his name, spoken so directly, jerked through his chest. He stared at Erik, tension rising through his muscles, as he kept going.

"You bet your head, but not your neck—
You paid without paying the penalty
The dark elves thought they earned:
Your subtle wits circumvented them!

Who was it who travelled with Thor?
Who was it who warded from behind?
Who was it who raced Fire for food?'"

Erik stopped, and met Loki's eyes. His voice deepened. "You, Loki," he said. "And for what?"

Loki began to breathe shakily, his heartbeat speeding up, but there was no escape from Erik's look. Loki swallowed—pain filled his throat. He ducked his head.

"I don't know what you mean."

"Yes you do," Erik stated. "It's you, isn't it?"

Loki looked up, trapped. Erik's countenance hardened.

"I saw it in your eyes the second I said your name," Erik said. "You are Prince Loki."

Loki couldn't turn away from him now—all his muscles had turned to water. He sat there, chills racing through him, his hands clenched together, as he battled to let nothing show on his face. But this time, it was a battle he lost.

"How long have you known?" he asked roughly.

"I think I knew it from the beginning," Erik told him. "You didn't walk or talk like a servant, even when you were half dead. You acted like a prince who's never had to get his hands dirty. Besides which, you're formal, refined, and you know more about magic and science than anyone could without being a master yourself. I listened to you talk with Stark—there is no way a guard—even one from Asgard—could keep up with him the way you did. And the way you talked about Thor—it wasn't like a servant would talk about his master. More like a friend. Or a brother."

Something inside Loki broke. He shivered, and looked away to the wall to his left.

"Are you…" Loki barely managed. "Are you going to tell Jane?"

Erik took a breath.

"Did you kill Thor?"

Loki's stomach twisted, and he swallowed hard, feeling the heat drain from his face.

"No," he said hoarsely. "He's alive."

Silence fell.

"Then no," Erik finally muttered. "I'm not going to tell Jane."

Loki's head whipped around, like a light had just come on.


Erik shook his head.

"No. I'd rather you toldher. Unless of course I have reason to believe that you're going to hurt her."

Loki's stomach lurched now.

"Hurt her?" he repeated. "You think that I…" He gestured weakly, then swallowed and dropped his mask. He took a deep breath and spoke evenly. "How could I?"

"Good," Erik stated. "Then I want you to take her with you."

Loki blinked.

"When you go searching for the Cube," Erik finished.

Loki's lips parted, but he fell silent, studying Erik's face.

"What makes you think I'm going after the Cube?" he finally asked, narrowing his eyes.

Erik gave him a half smile that made Loki uneasy.

"Lots of reasons," Erik told him. "But one of them might be that she wants it back."

Loki didn't answer.

"Another reason," Erik added. "Is that she isn't safe."

Loki stiffened.

"What do you mean?"

"The person who stole the Cube may not know everything about it," Erik told him. "And Jane would be the easiest source of information to tap." Erik sighed, and suddenly he looked haggard. "Even if I was completely healthy, I don't think I could protect her from whoever is behind all this." He finally looked at Loki. "But you, Prince of Mischief…You might be able to."

For a long while, Loki studied Erik, puzzling over the lines of his face and the dark look in his eyes. At last, he lowered his head, and locked gazes with him.

"You have just caught me in a lie," Loki said. "Told me that you know I've been pretending to be someone I'm not for nearly two months now. And you believe me to be Prince Loki—someone who gets blamed for every misfortune that befalls anyone in Asgard…" he paused, and lowered his voice. "And yet you trust me with this Cube…and with Jane."

"No," Erik said frankly. Loki opened his mouth, but Erik went on.

"But I've seen you, and talked with you. I know you've made mistakes—awful ones—and you're likely to make more." Erik's face softened. "But you are not evil. And I'm not sure I can say that about whoever this is that took the Cube." Erik leaned his head back and closed his eyes. "And as for Jane…"

Loki looked away, his chest twinging.

"I know how you feel about her," Erik murmured. Loki lifted his head, searching Erik's face. But Erik's expression had cleared, he was breathing evenly, and he said no more. Loki swallowed, smoothed the knees of his trousers with his palms, then got up and headed to the door.

"Oh, and Loki…"

Loki stopped and turned back, going cold again at the sound of his name. Erik did not open his eyes.

"It's probably a good idea to keep your travel plans to yourselves," he advised. "Unless you want Fury and Coulson and Stark and quite a few others to follow you wherever you go."

Loki nodded, even though he knew Erik couldn't see, hesitated, then quietly left the hospital room.

Fallen Star

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by Alydia Rackham

Part 14 of 27

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