Continuing Tales

Fallen Star

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by Alydia Rackham

Part 26 of 27

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"When did respect first become affection?
When did affection suddenly soar?
What a strange and beautiful touch

That I love him so much
When I didn't before...

When did I fall in love?
What night? Which day?
When did I first begin to feel this way?
How could the moment pass?
Unfelt? Ignored?
Where was the blinding flash?
Where was the crashing chord?
When did I fall in love?
I can't recall,
Not that it matters at all.
It doesn't matter when or why or how
As long as I love him now."

-Barbara Cook

The helmet gleamed in the light of the sunset. Jane sat cross-legged in front of it on the white tile of the balcony, her cleaning tools all around her. To her right, a bowl of clear water and a rag. To her left, a towel, and then a jar of armor polish—courtesy of Sif—and another rag to buff it off.

She felt calm now. Her heart had relaxed and stopped racing, her hands didn't shake, and she felt rested and clean.

She had a plan. True, it was the most terrifying plan she'd ever set in front of herself. But it was a plan. And that made all the difference in the world.

Taking a breath, Jane dipped the first rag in the water, wrung it out, put her hand on the head of the helmet and began to scrub.

The week-old bloodstains did not want to come off. She rubbed and rubbed, rinsing the rag out and coming back again, until the stains finally gave way to reveal shining metal. She turned the helmet every which way—it was very light to move—searching for every last brown fingerprint, until she had washed them all away. Then, she bathed the whole helmet for good measure—and as she did, she realized that the whole thing was covered with layers of dirt. Some of the dirt had a reddish tint—and she knew it had to be desert soil from New Mexico. Others seemed to be dark handprints, doubtlessly from where Dr. Doom's men had handled it. Jane gritted her teeth as she worked—some of the grime was so stubborn!—while the sun slowly descended, and the sky turned to gold.

Whilst cleaning the back crown of the helmet, her hands paused a moment, and she frowned. Her thumb had run across a linear dent—rather shallow—but it interrupted the flawless surface. For a moment, she rested her fingertips on it. How hard must he have gotten hit, for this Asgardian armor to dent even that much? And why had he not had it repaired?

Then, she slowly smiled. Imperfection was good. It proved he had used this helmet, been struck, and survived. She continued working.

Finally satisfied, Jane dried the helmet off, then began rubbing it with the armor polish. The polish dried to a hazy film, and then she buffed it off—

To reveal the most splendid, multi-layered-looking metal sheen. The metal hummed and sang beneath her swift rag. She worked and worked, polishing every surface, until she was finished…

And as she turned it back and forth in the fading light, she could swear that from one angle it looked gold, from another it looked silver, and from another it almost looked green.

She glanced up. The stars were coming out—and a full moon peeked over the horizon, filling the gardens with silver light.

Knock, knock, knock.

Jane turned to the door. Taking a breath, she got to her feet, strode across her carpet and opened the door.

A bright-eyed pageboy with a small, mischievous smile on his face stood there, holding out a folded, sealed piece of paper.

"This comes from Lady Sif, madam," the boy said. "She said it was most urgent."

"Thank you, sweetheart," Jane said, taking it from him. The boy suddenly blushed, and ducked away down the hall. Jane shut the door, turned the letter over and broke the seal, then quickly unfolded and read.

Your alskling is in his garden, seated on the black rock in the center.

Move quickly. It is doubtful that he knows that you are not engaged,

for none of the courtiers are aware of recent events, and your prince

has not been seen or heard all of today.

Best of luck


Jane's heart did hammer once at reading those words. But she set her jaw, put the letter on her vanity, went back out to the balcony and took up the helmet. Then, on bare, silent feet, she slipped out into the hallway, and headed for the gardens.


The night wind whispered through the roses in a way that almost sounded like words. Jane kept her strides even as she held the helmet out in front of her, its face toward her. Her hair and skirts ruffled in the breeze, and she kept her eyes focused on the winding path in front of her. Moonlight spilled down through the gardens, lighting everything with a silvery-blue glow, and creating deep, soft shadows in the corners and beneath the ferns and trees.

At last, she came to the place in the rose garden where she had left the main path—she caught sight of the low wooden door, nearly hidden by the ivy. She hesitated, braced herself, and stepped toward it.

It hung open a few inches. She reached out with one hand and pulled on the cold metal handle. It came toward her easily. She hesitated again, then stepped through.

She saw him.

In the center of the garden, seated on the rock, was the figure she'd imagined more than a million times during this past week, but had never seen. He wore black, so that he almost blended in with the darkness, but the moonlight caught his pale face and hands, and the highlights of his ebony hair. He sat toward her, but he was not looking. He was gazing upward, his brow tight, back at the palace.

At the soft glow of her window, where she had left a lamp burning.

She took three more steps.

He turned.

He saw her.

She stopped.

Neither of them moved.

Then, his hands closed to fists, and he turned his head down and away.

Jane, her heart pounding, stayed where she was for a long time. Then, clamping her jaw, she closed the distance. Her feet met the cool, smooth paving stones of the little plaza, until she stood right in front of him. She could barely see the glint of his eyes beneath his long, dark lashes. His brow was knotted, his shoulders tense as if wounded.

Jane glanced down at the helmet in her hands. Then, slowly, she held it out to him.

His gaze flicked up to it. He cleared his throat.

And he reached up and took it from her, and pulled it into his lap. He ran his hand across the crown of it. It rang softly beneath his touch.

Then, he looked up at her.

Her breath caught.

Every feature sharpened yet softened in the moonlight—as if she was seeing him clearly for the first time in her life. His green eyes—emerald and jade and hazel and black—limitless and penetrating and utterly open. His raven eyebrows, drawn together, the right slightly lifted in an eloquent expression of earnest pain. His noble cheekbones and nose and chin, angular and so different from anyone else in Asgard. His quiet mouth, set and silent. And black locks of hair that had strayed, and fallen across his white brow.


The name quietly resounded through her—and she absently wondered when she had stopped thinking of him as Fenris. Because he was not Fenris, anymore. And yet—he was.

Loki. Loki Odinson.

Her heart quieted.

But then a pang traveled through her injury. She almost winced, but managed to only reach up with her left hand and press it to her stomach.

His eyes flew to her midsection, and remained. Her pain faded.

Loki lifted his right hand. Jane held her breath.

Carefully, he stretched it out, and touched the backs of his fingers to her hand. He swallowed hard. Then, he pulled back.

She let go of her old wound and caught his hand.

He jerked, and his eyes locked with hers again. She squeezed his fingers. They felt cold.

She took a step closer to him, so their knees were almost touching. Keeping hold of his right hand, she held out her own, and, hesitatingly, ran her thumb across the bridge of his nose, smoothed the tension lines on his warm forehead, and traced his eyebrow. She felt him draw in a deep breath, but he watched her face.

Then, she leaned down toward him, never looking away from his eyes, until their faces were inches apart.

And she took a deep breath, closed the distance, and pressed her lips to his.

He stopped breathing.

She held him there, motionless, for a long moment. Then, she withdrew, just slightly. Their lips came apart. She tilted her head the other way—their noses brushed—and she again closed her lips over his.

This time, he moved in answer, just minutely. His mouth felt soft, inexperienced. She released him, pulled back a handbreadth, and opened her eyes.

His eyes were already open—they had been. They locked with hers.

She straightened.

And slowly, he put the helmet down and got to his feet.

He towered over her. She never realized until that moment how majestic he was—how imposing and breathtaking—her heart nearly stopped, then began thundering against her ribs. She opened her mouth and took a breath to say something—anything—

He took her face in his hands, swooped down, and his mouth collided with hers.

Fire erupted in her chest.

Their mouths broke apart, but before she could take a breath, he had turned his head and kissed her again—harder, fiercer. Over and over, at a dizzying pace, Loki kissed her, breaking away to press in again and again, sliding his hands down her neck, her shoulders, and then winding his arms around her waist with lion-like strength.

Each time he pulled back, he returned to catch her mouth in a new, frantic, desperate and electrifying way that obliterated Jane's thoughts—she clung to his shoulders as her sense of balance spun.

Then, his breath turned to ice—and chilled air from his mouth raced down her throat. His hands went cold against her, and he crushed her to him as his kisses became even more rapid, desperate—panicked. As if, at any moment, she was about to be torn out of his arms.

He pulled her in even tighter, so she could not breathe—she could taste his fear.

And so, she moved her shaking hands to his face—his cold face—and began stroking his cheeks, even as his hurried, gasping kisses threatened to drown her. She caressed his skin, gentle and firm and steady.

And as she did, she felt his arms relax around her, and his mouth lost some of its urgency.

Then, as his shoulders eased and gave way to her, Jane wrapped her arms tight around his neck, and at the same time, he lifted her off the ground. She shifted her right arm around even further, and took a soft handful of the thick, silken hair atop his head. And when he tried to pull back again, she did not let him. She leaned her lips into his, and felt him take a deep, sharp breath.

For a long moment, there they hung, locked in each other's embrace.

And then, as one, their lips came apart, then gently met again. And again. Softly, he set her down, and she held his head in her hands as their mouths moved in concert—

And tears mingled on their tongues.

Now, she could kiss him. And he let himself be kissed, and answered her sweetly, perfectly, lingering on her lips, yearning toward her without distress. His arms held her without binding her—gentle and strong. And his left hand came up, tracing her arm and shoulder, and cradled her neck.

And his fingers were warm. And his lips and face were warm, and soft, and he smelled like earth and night wind, and frost, and smoldering oak.

At last, they straightened, their mouths reluctantly parted, and they drew in deep, fresh breaths. And Loki rested his hands on either side of her face, very softly, and leaned his forehead down against hers. She reached up and curled her fingers through his collar.

And with a great sigh, the tension melted from his frame. He swallowed, and absently stroked his thumb against her cheekbone.

His tears fell. She felt them drip onto her bare arm. So she brought her hands up and wiped them from his face, collecting them on her fingertips.

He backed up, just a few inches, and looked down at her, his eyes brilliant with moonlit tears.

And then, a slow, beaming smile spread across his face, lighting up his entire bearing and sparkling through his gaze. More tears tumbled, and Jane quickly dashed them away—and she lightly laughed. He echoed it, grasping her hands in both of his and pressing them against his heart.

A silvery bell rang—up in a pavilion in the palace. It rang three times.

The pair turned, glancing toward the sound. Jane knew what it was—it was the signal for dinner. Asgardians always ate right before going straight to sleep—and she had told Sif that, regardless of what happened, she would be there.

She glanced up at Loki, smiled at him, then took hold of his hand and pulled him toward the soft glow of the palace.

"Jane?" he called.

Her soul sang like the string of a harp. She stopped, and faced him.

His fingers curled around hers. His eyes watched her.

"Yes?" she whispered.

"Will you stay here?" he asked quietly. "With me?"

"Yes, Loki," she nodded, knowing exactly what he meant. As if she had already had ages to think about it. As if he had already asked her a thousand times.

For a long moment, he said nothing, and did not move. Then, he drew her hand toward his face, turned it over, and pressed a fervent kiss to her palm. And when his twinkling eyes met hers, she had to swipe away her own tears.

He stepped toward her, and, still holding her gaze, tucked her arm securely around his. Jane leaned her head against his soft shoulder, the two of them ducked through the door of the whispering garden, and started back up the path toward the great hall.

"Perhaps I had a wicked childhood

Perhaps I had a miserable youth

But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past

There must have been a moment of truth.

For here you are, standing there, loving me

Whether or not you should.

So somewhere in my youth, or childhood

I must have done something good."

-Oscar Hammerstein

Fallen Star

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by Alydia Rackham

Part 26 of 27

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