Continuing Tales

Fallen Star

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by Alydia Rackham

Part 3 of 27

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Loki sat back in a plush, L-shaped white couch that fit into the corner of the lab. He winced as he lifted first his left foot, then his right, and propped them up on the short table in front of him. He already felt the pain killer—odd little colored beans he had swallowed with water—begin to numb his headache, but the throbbing tension in his side did not ease. He was not about to make mention of it, however. These women clearly were not medically-minded, nor very well equipped. Besides, he hated being touched.

Jane sat across from him on her armless desk chair, one leg tucked up underneath her, her delicate hands folded in her lap. She stared down at the small table where Loki's feet rested, her eyes distant. Darcy stood even further away, near a large computer screen, arms crossed, biting her lip and watching him. Loki's mouth tightened.

"You seem disappointed."

Jane started, and her dark eyes flicked up to his. Loki's jaw clenched involuntarily, for the effort of speech had sent raw pain down his side, but he betrayed nothing on his face. Jane's mouth worked for a moment, then she gave a nervous smile, glanced down and tucked her hair behind her ear.

"No, I, um…I was just expecting someone else. When I saw that phenomenon in the desert again."

"The Midgard bridge," Loki corrected. She glanced at him and nodded, then resumed her distant stare. Loki did not relent.

"You were looking for Prince Thor."

Now he had both women's attention. Loki cocked his head at Jane.

"You expected him to return here so soon?" He shot a quick glance at Darcy before turning back to Jane. "Well, that seems unrealistic, don't you think? Even if the bridge hadn't broken—his banishment had just ended. He would want to see his family."

"He was banished?" Jane's gaze sharpened. "Why?"

Loki did not answer right away, gauging whether or not he should reply—but then the glass door at the far end opened and an older man strode in, his head down, his brow furrowed. He unzipped his gray jacket and scratched his head.

"Well, Jane, I'm supposed to meet Nick Fury tomorrow in the middle of the night. He wants to debrief me so I can debrief you, and then he says he found something…" The man trailed off and his footsteps slowed as his head came up, and his solemn gray eyes found Loki. Loki looked right back at him, but said nothing.

"Jane," the man said, and Loki detected a faint accent in his deep tones. "Who is this?"

Jane got up and faced him, her frame going stiff.

"Erik, we—We detected another anomaly—another tornado bridge like Thor used to go back and forth from Asgard. So I—we," she gestured to Darcy. "Went out to look for him. For Thor. Only it wasn't Thor, it was Fenris." Jane glanced back at him. "He was a guard on the…the Something Bridge when Thor fought Loki—"

"Loki?" Erik cut her off. "The Norse god of mischief?"

Loki's mouth quirked a little and he glanced down to hide his amusement. Based on the few occasions the Midgardians had encountered him, he knew why they would come to this conclusion about his character. He was rarely in an equable mood when he visited.

"I suppose so," Jane shrugged. "And Thor broke the bridge, to save the Frost Giants, which caused a huge explosion and knocked Fenris off the bridge. He fell here, and hit his head, so we—"

"Almost ran over him with the van," Darcy concluded. Jane sent her a burying look.

"What?" Darcy protested. "It's true."

Erik turned on Jane.

"You went after another one of these anomalies without me? Didn't I tell you not to go out into that desert without at least telling me what was going on?"

"I'm sorry, Erik, but this was too important—I knew you were in an important meeting and I couldn't wait," Jane insisted. "I had to see if it—"

"If it was Thor," Erik finished, heaving a sigh and shaking his head and frowning. But he stepped toward Loki and put his hands in his pockets, piercing eyes on him. Loki still did not break eye contact—but it was getting harder to conceal the thud of pain in his side.

"So, you're Fenris," Erik said slowly. "You're from Asgard, too?"

"I am," Loki replied.

"It's fairly raining Asgardians of late," Erik glanced up before returning his scrutiny to Loki. "You fell off the bridge?"

Loki suddenly didn't like Erik's tone. He lowered his head and darkened his gaze.

"I did," he answered.

"Hm." Erik's mouth tightened, and he nodded once. He glanced at Jane. "Have you taken him to a hospital? It looks like his head is still bleeding."

Loki swallowed, restraining himself from reaching up to feel his hair again. Moving either arm would make him double over.

"We can't take him to a hospital," Darcy reminded Erik. "He might have two hearts or something."

Loki rolled his eyes but held his tongue.

"Good point," Erik agreed, his head lowered again in thought. He pulled his hand out of his pocket and glanced at his watch. "It is now three in the morning. Jane," he turned to her. "What are you planning on doing with him?"

Loki frowned. Jane's eyebrows shot up.

"Doing with him? I…Well, I'm not going to throw him out, if that's what you mean."

"It's not what I meant," Erik said, watching Loki out of the corner of his eye. "I meant, where are you going to put him for the night? And especially if he's injured his head, it's best not to leave him alone. Someone should sit with him."

"That's not necessary," Loki protested—the undercurrents of Erik's voice were starting to unsettle him.

"He can sleep here, right on the couch," Jane suggested. "I have extra pillows in here—and I'll sit with him. I couldn't sleep right now, anyway."

"All right," Erik said slowly. Again, his eyes fell on Loki. "Call me if you need anything, Jane."

Erik turned and walked out the door. Loki's jaw tightened.

Somehow, Erik could sense Loki's weakness—somehow knew he was more badly injured than he let on. Otherwise, there was no way he would leave Jane alone.

"I'm going to bed," Darcy sighed, then fished through her bag. "Here, Jane."

"What's that?" Jane asked as she held out her hand to take what Darcy handed her.

"My taser. Night-night."

Loki had no idea what a taser was, but by the cautious way Jane handled it, he guessed it was a weapon. He eyed it and tilted his head away from Jane.

"What exactly is that?" he asked as Darcy shuffled out of the laboratory.

"A little zappy thing," Jane said, turning and setting it down on the desk. "Hurts like crazy."

Loki kept staring at it uneasily as Jane crossed into another part of the room and started going through cupboards. A moment later, though, his gaze flicked Jane's direction. Interesting. She had left the weapon behind. Clearly, she was braver than she looked. Or more foolish.

Or Loki's weakness was apparent to more than just Erik. Loki ground his teeth.

"Here," Jane said, somewhat out of breath, as she came back around the corner carrying an armful of white pillows and blue blankets. "I'll put the pillows here at this end, and you can stretch out that way if you want." She laid the pillows down and arranged them, then stood back, the blankets under her arm. She looked at him.

"What?" Loki eyed her sideways.

"Go ahead," she gestured, indicating the pillows.

"You know I will get blood all over the linen," he said.

"I would have bandaged your head if you'd have let me," she shot back. Loki blinked, then narrowed his eyes at her.

"I don't want to be touched."
"Then I suppose you're going to get blood on my linen," Jane's eyes burned now—and

Loki sensed she was upset at more than just him. So he bit the inside of his cheek so he would not scream, shifted his weight so he could turn, and then eased down onto his back.

His vision flickered and went black for a moment, and he nearly let out a wrenching yell. Instead, he just squeezed his eyes shut and let his breath out in a hiss as his head sank down onto the pillow.

"Are you sure you don't want to take off that armor and cape?" Jane asked, her voice a little quieter this time. Realization hit Loki—a realization that made him sick: the little mortal saw his suffering, and pitied him.

"I am not moving," he growled.

"Okay," she murmured. She did not approach him with the blankets, but set them by his feet. Then, she settled down at the opposite end of the L-shaped couch and fell into silence, her brow tight, her eyes fixed on him. Loki forced a swallow down his tense throat.

"What is it you want to ask me?"

Jane's gaze flickered, and she quickly shook her head.


"Either tell me what it is or stop staring at me," Loki retorted, his arm taut around his middle.

Jane's gaze remained steady. Her delicate eyebrows drew together as she leaned hesitantly toward him.

"Is Thor all right?"

Loki swallowed hard again—a sudden, unexpected dart of different agony shot down from the back of his throat to the pit of his stomach.

"Why do you ask?" he said through his teeth, unable to summon much volume.

"You said he fought with Loki," she reminded him, her voice unstable. "And the bridge broke. Did Thor…Did he survive?"

Loki studied her for a long moment—the way her soft hair framed her pretty face and fell effortlessly across her shoulders, the way every angle of her small frame was still and attentive, the way her bright eyes searched his expression, and her lips parted as she held her breath, waiting for him to answer. Loki casually raised his right eyebrow.

"I don't know if he survived," he lied. "I fell off the bridge, remember?"

Jane's expression broke, and she turned her head away. Her brow twisted and tears filled her eyes. Loki stopped looking at her, and glared at the ceiling. Neither of them spoke again.

As the night deepened, Jane eased further back into the couch cushions, the sharp expression of worry on her face dulling, until her long-lashed eyes finally fluttered closed, and she fell asleep.

Loki lay perfectly still, the soft hum of the computers softening the silence, as he completed his education in the forty different types of pain that assaulted and slashed and gripped his insides. Thirty nine of them attacked his ribcage and head, threatening to tear him open if he so much as breathed wrongly.

And one kind ached like thick black poison through his blood, his only relief being that he could no longer see the stars.


Sunlight pressed softly against Jane's eyelids, and she opened her eyes. She drew in a deep breath and sighed. She stayed as she was, leaning against the soft back of the couch, warm and drowsy and quiet. Sunlight streamed in through the eastern windows, casting gold through the whole lab, and glinting against the tile floor. Jane's gaze drifted across to where the stranger lay. She paused, her brow slowly furrowing, though she didn't stir.

He had not shifted since the last time she looked at him. He lay on his back, his left arm wrapped across him, his face toward the ceiling, his eyes closed. His dark green cape draped down onto the floor and cascaded there like a frozen waterfall. His face appeared white as snow, his hair so black it was almost blue. A shaft of golden light cut across him, gleaming against his light armor, and suddenly he did not look the same as he had the night before. His face was so quiet and solemn, his features so still, he reminded Jane of a marble image of a young lord atop his coffin, or a warrior laid out in state.

Complete with a blood-stained pillow.

Jane blinked, her heart speeding up. But then she caught a glimpse of the shallow rise and fall of his chest, and relaxed back onto the couch. She bit the inside of her cheek.

How obvious had she been last night, if a wounded stranger from another planet could tell that she was devastated with disappointment? She had tried so hard to conceal it, and she'd thought she'd done a fairly good job. Yes, she had snapped at people more than once—Darcy and Fenris particularly—and neither of them deserved it. Darcy was just Darcy.

And Fenris couldn't help it if he wasn't Thor.

Jane rolled her eyes and twisted so her back leaned against the couch, and she stared out the window across the desert.

Fenris also couldn't help it if he didn't know whether or not Thor was alive. Neither could he help it if he was in extreme pain. Jane knew he was—knew he had injured something else around his midsection, but since he wouldn't even let her touch his hair, there was no way he was going to let her doctor any other part of him.

She found herself studying his profile again, and his streamlined armor, her heart heavy. Thor's presence would have matched the sunshine coming into the room. But Fenris was a sepulcher on a frosty morning.

The side door opened, and quiet footsteps entered. Jane glanced over to see Erik stride in, wearing his jeans, boots, and the same jacket as last night.

"'Morning," Jane whispered, giving him a smile, but then it faded and she frowned. "Didn't you get any sleep?"

Erik ran a hand through his disheveled hair and sighed, then came to sit down at the desk chair across from her.

"No," he confessed, keeping his voice down. "Too busy thinking about what Nick Fury said. And I was worried about you staying in here with him." He nodded over toward Fenris.

"Hey, I had Darcy's taser," Jane said, giving him a crooked grin. "Besides, he hasn't moved."

Erik folded his hands and rested his elbows on his knees, turning his head to study the stranger. Jane watched Erik.

"So…what did Fury say?"

Erik regarded her for a moment before speaking.

"He says he's found something—something top secret and potentially fatal for the planet if it falls into the wrong hands."

Jane sat up straight, her pulse accelerating.

"What is it? Where did it come from?"

"I don't know the answers to either of those questions," Erik said. "I hope to find out tonight, when I go see him. I'm going to be escorted there by SHIELD agents at midnight. Then, if I decide we should be involved, I'll come back and let you know, and you and I can begin studying it."

"Why wouldn't we want to be involved?" Jane asked.

"As I said, it's extremely dangerous," Erik answered, a steel-like glint entering his eyes. "And it's my job to protect you from as much of that as possible."

Jane wanted to argue, but she knew there would never be any changing Erik's mind on that subject. Instead, she dropped that subject, shifted her weight and leaned toward him, lowering her voice even more.

"So why would SHIELD request us, specifically?"

"I don't know that they have," Erik said. "I assume it has something to do with all the encounters we've had of late with people from Asgard. But I doubt we're alone. In fact, I suspect Tony Stark might also be called in to consult."

"Tony Stark?" Jane yelped, then both she and Erik jerked their gazes toward Fenris. He remained motionless, except for his steady breathing. Jane's head whipped back around.

"The Tony Stark?" she hissed. "I'm going to get to meet Tony Stark?"

"Only if I decide we want to get involved," Erik held up a hand.

"Oh, we're getting involved," Jane pointed at him. "There is no way I'm missing a chance like that."

"We'll talk about it later," Erik patted the hand she had pointed at him, then stood up. "I'm going to get some breakfast ready. Want me to make you some coffee?"

"Sure," Jane said, still shell-shocked.

"Oh, and—" Erik turned back. "Have you seen his eyes move at all under his eyelids?"

Jane frowned at Erik.


"Him," Erik pointed at Fenris. "You might want to think about trying to wake him up," he advised. "Just to make sure he's not in a coma."

"That would be bad," Jane said, instantly sobering. No matter how snarky or cold he was when he was conscious, if Fenris was comatose, not only would she lose another valuable link to all her research—she would lose the last thread in the universe that kept her holding on to Thor.


Loki was a master of hiding—in fact, he was so skilled that he could hide in plain sight and the others in the room would forget all about him. This is what he did starting from the moment he heard the change in Jane's breathing, telling him she was awake. He regulated his own breathing, and relaxed his eyes so they would remain still, and he listened. It took tremendous effort, for his chest and throat wanted to seize up. But the effort was worth it.

He heard everything Erik said. Everything about the discovery the mortal scientists had made—the "something" that was so powerful it could prove fatal to an entire planet.

For once in his life, Loki was now in the right place at the right time. And even if it tore him in half, he would follow Erik to visit this Nick Fury tonight, and find out exactly why they seemed to believe it was connected to the people of Asgard.

Fallen Star

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by Alydia Rackham

Part 3 of 27

<< Previous     Home     Next >>