Continuing Tales

Fallen Star

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by Alydia Rackham

Part 21 of 27

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Thor sat on the bench with his arms braced on the long table, staring unseeing at the plate of bread, cheese and fruit in front of him. The great, golden dining hall, lit by indirect, restful, late afternoon sun, sat empty and silent. Once in a while, Thor would hear the distant steps of courtiers passing through the adjoining marble halls. But few of them spoke, and nothing interrupted his thoughts.

Until a quiet presence entered from the left and sat down in the broad chair the end of the table, and began filling a plate with the foods that waited in the bowls. Thor lifted his head and took a breath, and glanced to his left at his father. Odin was dressed now, in white, gold and black, and he carefully chose which slices of bread and pieces of fruit he wanted for his meal. The gold plate rang softly each time his father set something on it. Thor cleared his throat. Odin glanced up and gave him a smile.

"She's doing very well," Odin said, as if Thor had spoken. "Sleeping peacefully. She will need to rest for several days, though."

"Why?" Thor wondered. "Were you not able to cure her completely?"

"Of course I was," Odin replied, putting butter on his bread. "But she is mortal, and she lost a great deal of blood."

Thor swallowed, watching him, unable to find the appetite to eat as well.

"Strange wounds," Odin went on. "I'd never seen the like before. Two pieces of metal had been driven right into her—almost through her—making small but devastating holes in all her vitals." He shook his head. "I am astonished she was alive when she came. But Eir tells me that Loki's talisman had something to do with that."

"His talisman?" Thor frowned. Odin glanced up at him.

"You remember those magic stones he gave each of us one feast day—the ones he had made himself?"

Thor thought a moment, then nodded.

"Yes. I keep mine in a chest in my room. It seemed very fragile—I did not want to break it."

"Mm," Odin said, taking a bite of bread. "Apparently, he gave one to Jane, and she hung it around her neck. Its magic sustained her, even while her body was failing."

Thor said nothing for a long while. Then, he stared down at his plate, his jaw tight.

"Where is Loki?"

"He is here. Somewhere," Odin replied. "Though he hasn't touched his quarters. My guess is that he is out on the grounds, perhaps near the fountains. Your mother is looking for him." Odin began to cut up a peach. "She is determined to find him and get him to eat something—and also let her tend him. He is hurt, as you know."

Thor nodded, still studying his plate, ignoring the slight twinge in his chest.

"So…that is it, then?" Thor said.

"What do you mean?"

"With Loki," Thor clarified. "He comes home, gives you some lost relic and brings a mortal woman for you to heal that he put in harm's way, and everyone is going to simply act as if nothing happened?"

Odin stopped what he was doing. Thor lifted his face and looked back at his father. Odin gazed at him seriously. Thor gritted his teeth.

"You may be angry with me if you wish," Thor said. "But I am speaking my mind."

"I am not angry with you," Odin said frankly. "You simply don't understand."

Thor shoved his plate away and turned his shoulder to the food.

"You are free to feel as you do—I do not fault you," Odin said. "But let me tell you what I know, so that your anger does not lead to quick judgment and reckless condemnation."

Thor stopped. The memory of chains slithering over wet stone caught him in the breastbone. He looked up at his father and waited. Odin held there for a moment, then began.

"First, let me tell you about this lost relic. It is a tesseract of immeasurable power—if one has the control and the willpower, one can change the very fabric of the universe. One could wish someone out of existence, or reorder the planets, or change the pathways of the galaxy. It had fallen into the hands of a Midgardian who manipulated magic for wicked and selfish gain. Loki and Jane went to retrieve it—for Jane doubtlessly feared what would happen to her realm should such a man possess such a weapon."

Thor nodded.

"Yes, that sounds like her," he admitted.

"From what I saw with Heimdall's help," Odin went on, folding his hands on the table. "This Midgardian sorcerer had lured Loki and Jane into a network of caverns, hoping to strike a bargain with Loki: he would give Loki vengeance upon Asgard, in exchange for control over all the other realms."

Thor stared at his father, hardly breathing. Odin shook his head.

"Loki refused. And so this sorcerer wounded Jane."

Thor blinked.

"Why would he do that?" Thor wondered. "Why would he not try to kill Loki?"

"Because the sorcerer needed a pathway to Asgard," Odin explained. "And because Loki can travel without a gate, he could show the way."

Thor said nothing, searching his father's face, trying to understand.

"He…This sorcerer…was trying to bend Loki to his will by hurting Jane?"

Odin nodded.

"He said he would let her live if Loki showed him the way to Asgard and let him conquer it. But again…" Odin's voice lowered. "Loki refused."

Thor took a shivering breath, then glanced away, filling with tangled rage.

"Of course he would. No matter what has happened here, Asgard is still his home—and one he wanted to rule. Jane is nothing more to him than a mortal he used to try to get to the tesseract."

"Oh, my son," Odin murmured, shaking his head. "You did not see him."

Thor turned back to him, his anger snagging as confusion took its place.

"I don't understand."

"I don't either—not entirely," Odin confessed. "That is something you will have to ask him about."

Thor wanted to growl in his throat. He turned around and leaned back against the edge of the table, folding his arms.

"So…He destroyed this sorcerer?" he muttered.

"I do not know," Odin said. "I know that Loki paralyzed him with the frost giants' ice-casket, and penetrated the tesseract's shield with his hand—which caused the mountain to collapse. Loki was able to take the tesseract and vanish it without touching it, and then transport himself and Jane out of there and to the edge of the Asbru bridge."

Thor frowned harder.

"You said that the tesseract could reorder planets," he reminded his father. "Why could he not heal her with it?"

"Your brother was very wise in that regard," Odin turned back to his fruit.

"Wise?" Thor snorted.

"Indeed," Odin said. "The tesseract is not to be trifled with. Something that powerful should never be used in haste, no matter the cause. It could easily have torn him limb from limb, or broken the mountain in two, or sent him forward in time. Or killed Jane. He did not trust his control, his abilities, enough to risk any of that. Instead, he chose to bring her here, to a place where he had been disgraced, trusting us to save her." Odin grew quiet. "Which was very humble of him."

Thor did not reply. His heart churned as he stared out in front of him, processing his father's words.

"Think on all of that for a while, if you would," Odin advised. "As for me, I am content. My son was dead—and he is alive again."

Thor glanced at his father—and paused, truly studying him. And he saw something glimmering in his eye that he had not seen in a very long time. And it broke the rage in Thor's chest, leaving heavy bewilderment behind—bewilderment that would take a long while to sort out.

Thor nodded, saying nothing, and got up without eating, deciding to go back to the healing rooms to see how Jane fared.


Loki blinked slowly as the firelight flickered against his eyes. He gazed at the flames that danced and crackled in the broad stone fireplace before him. They lit half the room, but it was a great sleeping chamber bedecked in red and gold, and so most of it remained dark. He sat on a plush couch, leaning back on the arm rest, his legs stretched out before him, closer to the fire. He wore trousers and a loose white shirt, for he had doffed his blood-stained formal garb hours ago. He felt tired, and his bones ached. But he had bathed in hot water, he was clean, he had eaten, the couch was soft, and the fire was warm. And Jane was alive.

His mother, in her long, soft white gown and glittering necklace, her golden hair halfway bound up, moved quietly out of the back shadows and moved toward the fire. Loki's eyes followed her, drowsily studying her form as she hummed to herself and took three vials down from the mantle. She sat in a wide chair opposite him, put a wooden bowl in her lap, and poured the oils from the vials into the bowls. Loki drew in a breath—they smelled of earthy spices. Frigg glanced up at him.

"All right, can you take your shirt off?"

Loki sighed, leaned forward with a wince, and pulled at the back of his shirt. He mostly succeeded in removing it, though the screaming pain in his side made him want to curse—but then Frigg was there helping him off with it, and folding it and draping it over the back of the couch. Then, she turned to look at him—and firelight glittered across her dress, reflected by his Mjollnir necklace. She frowned.

"What is that?"

Loki reached up and halfheartedly tugged at the metal.

"It is the necklace Thor gave me," he muttered. "After he nearly ripped my arm off. Remember?"

Frigg watched him.

"And you've kept it on?"

Loki bit the inside of his cheek, knowing what she meant.

"I can't take it off," he said, pulling on it again. "I've tried, till I've drawn blood. But it will not come off."

"Magic?" Frigg guessed, going back to the chair and picking up the bowl of salve. Loki sighed, still fingering the pendant, his gaze unfocusing.

"It must be," he said. "But it is a most irritating, stubborn, persistent magic, hanging onto me even when I don't need it or want it. It must be something simple, something elemental…" his voice quieted as he thought. "Yet it's too complicated to find an easy way out of."

Frigg nudged him, urging him to scoot forward, and she sat behind him on the couch.

"You said it was your brother who gave it to you?" she asked.

"Yes," Loki answered, lifting an eyebrow.

"Well, then it must be love," Frigg concluded.

Loki stopped breathing.

Frigg was silent a while as she swished the oils together in the bowl.

"I've heard that such things can also act as beacons between the giver and the bearer, if either of them wishes it," she went on lightly. "It's very old magic, and doesn't require any specific spells. It happens almost by accident. I've never actually heard of it happening—just in legends. But it would explain why Thor was in a great deal of pain while you were fighting last night."

"He was?" Loki whispered, turning his head so he could halfway see his mother behind him.

"Mm," Frigg answered, dipping her fingers in the bowl. "It would also explain your remarkable stone—why you said you could feel little Jane's injuries, and why you could find her in the dark by its light, as you said—and how she was able to stay alive." Frigg lightly flicked the latch on his Mjollnir necklace. It jingled. "This one may have even protected you when you fell to Midgard. Your neck might have broken otherwise."

Loki could not speak. His mind spun.

Then, it snapped away from thinking about that as he sucked in his breath—Frigg had begun to massage the deep bruise in his right side.

"You said you hurt this place before?" Frigg asked, rubbing the oils into his skin.

"Yes," he said tightly. "When I hit the ground on Midgard. I thought I'd healed it, but…I suppose I wasn't quite battle-worthy yet."

"You never have healed easily," Frigg remembered. Her soft, warm hand rubbed back and forth, back and forth, strong but gentle—and as she kneaded the oils into him, his pain began to ease, his muscles relaxed—and the scent made him sleepy. His eyes drifted shut.

As she worked, Frigg started to hum. Loki took deep, slow breaths, leaning his shoulder against the back of the couch as she rubbed, rubbed, paused to wet her fingers, and came back again. Then, she took a breath, and softly sang.

"The sky is dark and the hills are white
As the storm-king speeds from the north to-night;
And this is the song the storm-king sings,
As over the world his cloak he flings:
'Sleep, sleep, little one, sleep;'
He rustles his wings and gruffly sings:
'Sleep, little one, sleep."'

Loki's entire right side loosened, releasing the tension that had been there for he did not know how long. Perhaps years. Frigg dipped her fingers again, then rubbed deeper.

"On yonder mountain-side a vine
Clings at the foot of a mother pine;
The tree bends over the trembling thing,
And only the vine can hear her sing:
'Sleep, sleep, little one, sleep;
What shall you fear when I am here?
Sleep, little one, sleep.'

The king may sing in his bitter flight,
The pine may croon to the vine to-night,
But the little snowflake at my breast
Liketh the song 
I sing the best, -
'Sleep, sleep, little one, sleep;
Weary thou art, anext my heart;
Sleep, little one, sleep.'"

Loki, eyes still closed, smirked bitterly.

"Little snowflake," he muttered, the irony of that galling his throat.

"Yes," Frigg said firmly, and kissed the back of his head. "My little snowflake."

The bitterness in Loki's smile faded, and he sighed, letting her massage dull the pain, listening to her soothing hum as the fire crackled and danced beneath the arching stone.


Dull light flickered against Jane's eyelids. But they stayed closed, for her entire body felt heavy, tired—distant. She drew in a deep breath and almost swallowed. The light grew brighter, the flickering more distinct. As if a curtain rustling in the wind interrupted the sunlight coming through a window.

Very slowly, she became aware of her face, and then her head—it rested on something soft and plush. Then her shoulders, arms, midsection and legs—they were nestled in a deep, warm surface, and wrapped snugly in comfort.

She opened her eyes. Just a very little bit. Enough to see white—white lit up by sunlight. And she could see her own shoulder, and a sleeve. A light blue, short sleeve.

Then, she realized that her right hand was enclosed in a set of fingers. Strong fingers, in a gentle hold.

"Dad?" she tried, but her lips barely moved. Her brow furrowed and she swallowed again. No, that wasn't right. And this hand had calluses. Which meant it wasn't Erik either…

"Fen…" she attempted, still confused, but she couldn't finish. She moved her hand, trying to feel the other surfaces of his palm.

The hand moved. It gripped her fingers. Her eyes came open, and she drew in a deep, sudden breath.

For a moment, everything was blurry. And then—all at once—she focused.

On a helmet. A helmet sitting on the night table just to her left. Its angular metal surface glittered in the morning light that streamed in from a wide balcony behind it, and its majestic horns arched up over the top of it—gleaming horns marred by bloody handprints. The fingers of her left hand closed around her white covers and her heart began to hammer.

"Where is he?" she croaked. "Where…Where is…" She trailed off as she turned her head to her right. And then her lips parted, she stared, and she couldn't speak for a long time. Finally, when she did speak, she could only say one name.


She shakily pulled her hand free of his and reached up to touch him—and yes, her hand met the soft skin of his strong, brilliantly-smiling face. His golden head was lit up in the sun, and his bright blue eyes sparkled at her. Her fingertips trailed through his beard, and he reached up and pressed her hand to his cheek. He wore a deep red tunic and black trousers, and his blonde hair fell around his shoulders.

"Good morning, Jane," he said—and his voice was immediate and clear and deep and tender. Nothing at all like a dream.

He was here. Right here.

Tears brimmed up in her eyes, and she blinked. He scooted closer to her, lowered her hand and held it in both of his on the mattress, rubbing his thumb over the back of her hand. Jane glanced upward, to see a grand, arching stone ceiling above her.

"Where am I?" she murmured, then looked back to Thor.

"You're…" He shook his head and chuckled. "You're in Asgard."

Jane didn't speak for a long time. Her left hand uneasily worked the bit of quilt between her fingers.

"How?" she finally whispered, glancing all around at the other empty beds, the fountain, then back to Thor. His smile faded somewhat.

"You were hurt. Badly."

"I was?" Jane murmured, her brow tensing as she tried to clear the haze in her mind and make sense of the flashes of memory that were starting to dart across her consciousness.

"Yes," Thor nodded. "Father says you were underneath a mountain, with a sorcerer. You were looking for the tesseract." He paused. "You were with Loki—"

Jane sucked in a sudden, wrenching breath. Tears spilled down her face.

"I got shot!" she cried, clamping down on Thor's hand with all her force, her whole body going stiff. Thor quickly leaned closer, and she clawed at his hands and his wrists, but her eyes saw nothing.

"I got shot!" she choked. "The man in the mask pointed a gun and shot at me, and I…I fell down on the floor, and he…and he…" Her eyes rested on the helmet, and she suddenly couldn't look away from it. Tears poured down her face, and her speech shook with sobs. "He came down next to me and told me to breathe…He told me he needed me to breathe but I couldn't…And he promised he could fix it…" Jane screwed her eyes shut, her chest strangling. She couldn't inhale. She felt Thor move even closer, and she grabbed the front of his shirt. He took her head in his hands.

"Jane," he said steadily. "Jane, look at me. Jane, look."

Jane forced herself to take deeper breaths, even though she was trembling and weak all over, and at last she opened her eyes. Tears fell from her eyelashes, but she looked up into Thor's calm eyes. His face was very close to hers. He raised his eyebrows.

"You are safe now," he said slowly. "My father was able to heal you, and you are going to be fine. Understand?"

She gasped a few times, and swallowed, but managed to nod. Thor rubbed her tears away with his thumbs. She glanced over at the helmet again.

"How…How did I get here?" Her lips quivered.

Thor sighed.

"Loki brought you."

"Loki…" Jane mouthed. Thor nodded.

"Yes. Gave up the tesseract in exchange for Father healing you. Though I'm sure Father would have done it, regardless."

Jane turned back to look at Thor, her mind in a hurricane. More tears poured down her face, and she feebly reached up and slid her arms around his neck.

He leaned in and slipped his arms around her, enveloping her in warmth and strength. She pulled him to her as tight as she could…

But even through the cloud of her tears, all she could see was that abandoned helmet, and the prints those familiar hands had made with her blood.

Fallen Star

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by Alydia Rackham

Part 21 of 27

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