Continuing Tales

Fallen Star

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by Alydia Rackham

Part 8 of 27

<< Previous     Home     Next >>

"A shapeless piece of steel—

That's all I claim to be.

This hammer pounds

To give me form

This flame, it melts my dreams.

I glow with fire and fury

As I'm twisted like a vine.

My final shape, my final form

I'm sure I'm bound to find.

So dream a little,

Dream for me

In hopes that I'll remain.

And cry a little,

Cry for me

So I can bear the flames.

And hurt a little,

Hurt for me

My future is untold

But my dreams are not the issue here

For they

The hammer holds."

-The Hammer Holds


"Loki? Loki!"

Loki shot into a sitting position, then thrashed against the heavy covers that entangled him.

"Wh-What?" he gasped. He peered over the pile of covers, through the dark room, to the crack in the giant door. He blinked a few times, then finally focused on the little blonde boy who stood in the gap, his nightgown trailing on the floor.

"What are you doing in Mother and Father's bed?" Thor demanded in a whisper. Loki rubbed his eyes with both hands, then frowned at his brother.

"It's thundering."

Thor snorted.

"You're afraid of thunder?"

"Are you?" Loki shot back.


"Then why are you here?"

"I came to see how Mother is," Thor said defensively, then glanced around. "But…maybe she's still upstairs with the healers. You think Father's with her?"

"Probably," Loki said. Thor nodded, then lowered his head. Loki hesitated.

"Want to wait with me till he comes back?"

"Yes!" Thor said, and darted in, his little feet padding on the carpet, and then he clambered up on the bed next to Loki. Though Thor was bigger than his brother, the bed still dwarfed both boys. Thor flopped back onto the massive pillows and let out a huge sigh, staring up at the ceiling. Loki leaned back onto a similar fluffy pillow and glanced over at him—he could still see him by the light from the hallway.

"I don't remember you being born," Loki remarked. Thor rolled his eyes.

"That's because I was born before you."

Loki frowned.

"So you remember me being born?" he said.

Thor stopped, then pursed his lips.

"No. I don't ever remember you not being born."

"Maybe we're twins," Loki mused.

"We're not twins," Thor said. "We don't look anything alike."

"Oh," Loki said softly. Thor rolled over onto his side and thumped the pillow with his fist.

"Boy or a girl?"

"Huh?" Loki shot him a look. He could only see half of Thor's face now—his blue eyes looked very awake.

"Will Mother have a boy or a girl?" Thor clarified.

Loki thought for a moment.



"Because we're boys—she likes boys," Loki reasoned.

"I hope so," Thor sighed. "I don't want a stupid girl following us around."

They were quiet for a troubled moment.

"I heard them talking about a name," Loki said.

"What name?"


"What does that mean?"

"Something pretty. Like flowers or summer or something," Loki told him.

"Ugh," Thor grunted. "It must be a girl, then."

They both groaned in despair. Their troubled silence got worse.

"I wonder if they'll change our places," Loki murmured.


"Around the table," Loki said, watching Thor. "I wonder if they'll move me down, or across the table, or—"

Thor was already shaking his head hard.

"No, no, no," he insisted. "No. You sit next to me. Forever. Promise," Thor reached over and patted Loki's head. Loki sighed, relieved.

"Good," Loki murmured.

"Father will be back soon," Thor said.


"I'm going to close my eyes for a little bit."

"Me too," Loki whispered.

And though they both fought it valiantly, it was only a matter of moments before they both drifted off to sleep in their parents' soft, wide bed.


Loki's eyes opened. He stared at the black ceiling above him. All was quiet. That same little light was on near the counter. And he was not alone.

He sucked in a breath and quickly looked to his right.

Erik sat there on a chair about ten feet away, half in shadow, his hands folded in his lap. He was watching him.

Gritting his teeth, Loki made himself sit up and put his feet on the floor, despite the pangs in his midsection. Once he had settled, he looked at Erik sideways.

"Can I be of service?"

Erik did not answer for a long time. His blue eyes glimmered in the dim light.

"I'm not exactly sure who you are, or what you are," he said, his voice low. "But I admit I had the same feeling about you as I had about Thor when he arrived."

Loki raised his eyebrows.

"And what was that?"

"I told him to leave town," Erik answered. Loki felt a flicker of amusement—he tried to keep it from his face.

"That was before I knew he was the 'god of thunder,'" Erik said, shifting in his chair. "And that he was the key to everything Jane has been researching for the past ten years. But I even after that, I wasn't sure he was the best thing for her. I'm still not sure."

Loki tilted his head, narrowing his eyes as he listened. Erik did not break the gaze.

"I know you're injured," Erik said, his voice low. "But I also know you're from Asgard, and that you probably have abilities we little mortals can't even imagine. And I heard about what you did to those guys in the bar."

Loki darkened as he realized where this was going. A half remembered threat rang through his head—one he recalled through a haze of pain and tears as he stood inside the bifrost room, clenching the All Father's staff in his hands—as Thor looked back at him with stricken eyes.

Loki swallowed, now feeling a ghost of Jane's hand against his bruise.

"I am not going to hurt her."

As the words left his mouth, he discovered he did not know when exactly he had decided that. But it was true, nevertheless.

"That is exactly what I wanted to hear," Erik said, lifting his chin. His eyes narrowed. "Now let mebe clear: if it were up to me, you'd be in that bunker with the Cube. Instead, you are here, enjoying our protection and hospitality, because of Jane. And she is dedicating a great deal of her thoughts and efforts to figuring out a way to reopen the gate to Asgard—which can be nothing but a benefit to you." He paused, and lifted his eyebrows. "Which is why I assume you have stayed here this long."

Loki said nothing, and glanced down at his folded hands.

"In return for all that, I want you to be helpful to her," Erik said.

Loki's eyes flashed up to him.

"I don't know anything about rebuilding the bridge," he said, frowning.

"Yes, but you know about Asgard, and interstellar travel, and the space-time continuum," Erik countered, leaning forward. "Things Jane has been dying to understand since she was a little girl. So if she asks you anything about those subjects, I want you to answer as best you can."

Loki paused, studying him.

"I assume you are going to present me with some sort of consequence if I don't feel so inclined," he said, lowering his head but keeping eye-contact.

"Well, there's such a thing as a worn-out welcome," Erik gave him a cold half-smile. "But I trust it won't come to that."

Loki smiled crookedly.

"One can only hope."

"We have an understanding, then?" Erik asked. Loki paused, but he knew he had no choice.

"We do indeed."

"Glad to hear it," Erik nodded, and got up. "Goodnight."

Loki watched him as he walked to the door, opened it and left, then tugged on it to make certain it was locked. Loki's gaze unfocused.

"What is it, brother, that has made you so…soft? Don't tell me it was that woman!"

Loki swallowed hard again, beating back those images, and made himself lie down again.


"What have you been doing, Erik?" Jane asked as she strolled over to the long table with an armful of rolled-up star charts. It was the next evening, and Jane and Erik had spent the morning at the bunker, analyzing the Cube's "hum." When they'd come back, Erik had retired to his trailer again, leaving Jane alone with Fenris in the lab—Fenris had spent most of his time being silent and reading The Fellowship.

Erik now came inside with a cup of coffee, and smiled at her.

"Doing a little research. Came in to warm up my coffee," Erik answered, waving a thick book. "I'm refreshing my memory concerning the Norse myths—mostly because they don't appear to be myths, anymore." He sighed and sat at the long table as Jane set the star charts down and started to spread them out.

"What are you doing?" Erik asked.

"There's going to be a spectacular meteor shower soon—next week, probably on Thursday morning, at about two or three," she answered.

"Will we be able to see it?" Erik asked, leaning forward.

"Yes!" Jane smiled. "It'll be right over us. I can't believe our luck. I'm going to call Darcy and see if she can come back—just for that night if nothing else."

"Speaking of that," Erik said. "Where is Fenris?"

"I think he went to the roof," Jane muttered, ignoring the sinking in her stomach. Fenris hadn't said a word to her all day, and her worry for him had recommenced. She started putting paperweights on the corners of her charts.

"I could do with a good meteor shower—something nice and normal and terrestrial," Erik commented. Jane gave a crooked smile.

"Me, too. I need a little distraction."

Erik took a sip of coffee, then considered her.

"Why—is something bothering you?" Erik asked.

"Not really bothering," Jane said, sitting down and taking out her silver pen. "Teasing me."

Erik cocked his head and looked at her.

"What do you mean?"

"I've just been wondering…" Jane said, meeting his eyes and holding the pen between both hands. "With the data we've been gathering, and what we've been learning about this Cube…It seems like it might have something to do with manipulating space and time."

Erik waited. Jane took a breath, and her heart fluttered.

"Erik," she whispered. "What if it could re-open the gate to Asgard?"

Erik blinked, and his eyebrows raised.

"That's quite a leap, Jane—"

"Yes, but it's a possibility!" Jane said. "And if so, can you imagine what that would mean? It could mean the exchange of information about the galaxy, the universe, with people who have been traveling through the stars for thousands of years! We could learn about their history, their technology—how they've managed to live so long! It would open up millions of doors for us, not to mention—"

"You'd get to see Thor again," Erik smiled. Jane's heart staggered. Suddenly, her reasons didn't seem as clean-cut as that.

"Yeah, well, that would be a nice side-effect," she conceded, looking back at the charts. Erik chuckled.

"Well, it's a fine goal—learning from the people of Asgard, I mean. Probably a lot finer than the others people will come up with."

"I don't even want to think about what other plans people will come up with," Jane muttered, sitting down and pulling the cap off her pen.

"Me either," Erik admitted, getting up and heading to the coffee pot.

Jane studied trajectories and marked up her star charts for several minutes, while the coffee brewed and the earthy scent of it filled the lab.

"I miss Darcy," Jane finally sighed, circling three stars. "I never thought I'd say that, but it's true."

"I do, too," Erik poured himself more coffee. "She has a way of putting things that makes you look at facts from an entirely different perspective."

Jane laughed. Erik came up holding two cups of coffee. He set one down next to her.

"It's kind of chilly outside," he said, pushing the cup to her. She looked at it, then narrowed her eyes up at him.

"You mean you want me to…" She lifted a finger upward. He shrugged, then came back around the table and sat down. Jane eyed him, unsure and hopeful at the same time.

"You were scared to let me ride in a car with Thor, and you were afraid Fenris might punch me in his sleep because of his 'defense reflexes,' but now you want me to go take coffee to—"

"Nobody who protects you from thugs in a bar is going to hurt you," Erik said flatly.

"Erik," Jane said pointedly. "His gave those men frostbite."

"So what?" Erik countered. "Thor can fly and throw lightning around."


"And who knows what other powers these individual Asgardians have," he said. "I would imagine both Thor and Fenris have more abilities than you've seen. And Fenris might just tell you about them."

Jane sat there for a moment, trying to decipher if he was really serious. But then she saw his eyes twinkle, and something in her heart lifted.

"Now go take him some coffee before he freezes," Erik said. Jane rolled her eyes.

"Fine," she muttered, hiding a smile as she picked up the coffee and left.

She headed to the back of the lab, out of the bright light and into the corner, where the narrow metal staircase lead up to the shaft and landing where the door to the roof was. Her feet clanged on the steps. Careful not to spill the coffee, she reached the top and worked the creaky handle , then pushed open the groaning door. The cool night wind hit her—she winced. It really was chilly.

The blue neon lights from the center pole in the roof lit up the "ground" enough so she could see, and then she caught sight of a fire flickering in the pit, and Fenris sitting on one of the lawn chairs, his back to her. She hesitated.

"Okay, Erik," she whispered. "You trust him, I'll trust him." And she started toward him again.


Loki straightened, just a little, as he heard footsteps behind him. His mouth hardened. It was Jane. She was carrying something—and she was a little uncertain.

Loki had become an expert at identifying Erik, Darcy and Jane's different walks during his days and weeks of captivity. He could even tell what mood they were in by the rhythm of their gaits. However, Darcy had departed a few days past, which in turn had made Jane's steps more subdued.

Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of Jane coming up to his right side. She wore knee-high boots, dark blue trousers and a loose beige sweater. She sat down on the other cushioned chair, a ceramic cup held in both graceful hands. Loki tried not to shift away from her as his stomach tensed. He could still feel the way her eyes had fixed on his Frost Giant hands…and drifted over the scars on his back…

"It's cold out here," Jane said. "Would you like some coffee?" She held out the cup to him. He hesitated a moment, then slowly reached out and took it, careful not to touch her. He held it in both hands.

"Thor liked it," Jane added. Loki's fingers twitched. That by itself made him want to throw it over the edge. But he remembered Erik's warning—and it did warm his hands—so he kept hold of it, with no plans to put it to his lips.

"Thank you," he said, hopefully quick enough so that it did not sound like an afterthought. He glanced down at the steaming black liquid, and braced himself for her barrage of questions about his hands, his scars, his necklace—

"There's going to be a meteor shower next week, early Thursday morning," Jane said, rubbing her hands together on her lap. Loki, startled, brought his head up and frowned at her.

"You do know what a meteor shower is," Jane asked, her bright brown eyes watching his. He shrugged, switching trains of thought.

"I don't know," he managed. "It's possible we call it something else."

"A meteor is a piece of falling rock," she explained. "And when there's a shower of them, it's because several rocks whose orbits have decayed hit the atmosphere and catch on fire. They look like falling stars."

"Hm," Loki glanced up at the dark sky. "I don't believe I've seen anything like that."

"Really?" Jane sounded surprised. "There aren't meteor showers on Asgard?"

Ah. There it was. She wanted to know about Asgard.

"If something like that happened in Asgard," Loki muttered, running his thumb across the cup handle. "It would be far worse than falling rocks."

Loki waited for her to follow that subject. Instead, she fell silent.

And then a strand of hair fell across her face, and she smiled to herself as she tucked it behind her ear. He canted his head at her. He had not expected that expression.

"What?" he wondered.

"Nothing. I just thought of something," she chuckled, then looked at him again. "Since you've been here, you and I have been acting and talking like we already know each other—probably because you were hurt, and then the Cube thing happened…But we don't." She shrugged, then gave him a puzzled look. "I'm not even sure how you knew my name."

"I may have heard Darcy say it," Loki lied, thrown. Jane watched him another moment, her smile softening. Then, she held out her hand.

"I'm Jane Foster, daughter of John and Emily."

Loki stared at her delicate hand, his throat going tight. After what she had just seen in the tavern, she still wanted to make contact with the skin of his hands?

She waited, her aspect mild and quiet. Loki swallowed, put his coffee cup down, then hesitantly took up her hand. She didn't withdraw. So he pressed his lips to the backs of her warm fingers. As he did, he kept his eyes on hers. They didn't waver. A moment later, he pulled back.

"It is an honor," he said quietly, scrutinizing her face for a reaction. But she merely smiled, her long-lashed eyes glancing down. Her soft fingers slid out of his and she tucked her hair back again. Loki's first reflex was a frown—and then his scrutiny sharpened. Had she expected that?

"I…suppose you wish me to tell you about Asgard," he ventured, sitting back up, though he suddenly felt as if he was in strange waters.

"Oh, not really," Jane sighed, leaning sideways into the back of her chair and looking up at the stars. "I feel like I haven't let myself take break from work for a while. I come up here to escape."

Loki lifted an eyebrow.

"You get tired of thinking about stars, so you come up here and look at stars?"

The edge of her mouth quirked, and she rested her head back on the cushion.

"It's different up here," she said. "Quieter. I can look at the stars and think about how pretty they are, instead of analyzing the Pleiades or watching for something to show up right next to Taurus, or plotting the path Orion is taking. It's just the sky. Not a problem I have to solve."

Loki thought for a long moment as he observed her, the glow of the fire softening all her features, how her dark eyebrows delicately graced her brilliant eyes, and the way one thumb always ran up and down the other.

"You like solving problems, though," Loki realized. Her eyes flicked to him, and she gave a reflexive smile.

"I don't know if like is the word. But I do have a penchant for finding problems and not giving up until I work them out."

"I don't suppose you're any good at riddles, then," Loki rubbed his fingertips together, watching their motion.

"I can work anything out if it makes sense," Jane stated.

The corner of Loki's mouth lifted. He could not help it.

"Interesting," Loki shifted so he faced her more fully, and folded his hands. "I take that as a challenge."

Her eyes narrowed.

"What do you mean?"

"I'm by nature solitary, scarred by iron," Loki began slowly, purposefully.
"And wounded by sword, weary of battle.
I often see the face of war, and fight
hateful enemies; yet I hold no hope
of help being brought to me in battle
before I'm cut to pieces and perish.
At the city wall sharp-edged sword,
skillfully forged in the flames by smiths,
bite deeply into me. I must await
a more fearsome encounter; it is not for me
to find a physician on the battlefield,
one of those men who heals wounds with herbs.
My sword wounds gape wide and wider;
death blows are dealt me by day and by night.'"

Jane watched him as he spoke, her gaze flicking from his eyes to his mouth. She was

listening hard. Then, when he stopped, she thought for a long moment, her attention drifting down. Her thumb rubbed the inside of her other forefinger, now.

"I often see the face of war…" she murmured. "I hold no hope of help…my sword wounds gape…" Her eyes flashed to his. "It's a shield."

Loki sat up, surprised.

"That was quick of you."

Jane shrugged, and smirked good-naturedly.

"I must think of a better one," Loki said.

"That isn't fair," Jane protested. "It's my turn."

"Oh—I defy you to give me a riddle I don't already know."

"Fine," Jane said, sitting up again and facing him completely. She snapped her fingers as she thought. "Um…Okay, I have one. 'Here is a miracle: water turns to bone.'"

"Ice. Anything else?" Loki shot back. Her mouth fell open.

"Don't tell me that was your best," Loki teased. She laughed.

"Off the top of my head, yes!"

"Very well, here's another, off the top of my head," Loki said. "'Wob is my name, if you work it out;
I'm a fair creature fashioned for battle.
When I bend, and shoot a deadly shaft
from my stomach, I'm very eager
to send that evil as far away as I can.
When my lord (he thought up this torment)
releases my limbs, I become longer
and, bent upon slaughter, spit out
that deadly poison I swallowed before.
No man's parted easily from the object
I describe; if what flies from my stomach
strikes him, he pays for its poison
with his strength - speedy atonement for his life.
I'll serve no master when unstrung, only when
I'm cunningly notched.'" Loki lifted a finger and pointed at her. "'Now guess my name.'"

"Did you say something about bending, and shooting a shaft?" Jane asked brow


"I'll not give you any hints," Loki shook his head once.

"You did say bending and shooting," Jane said. "And Wob…It's 'bow' backward. So it's

a bow."

Loki had to stifle a smile this time.

"Your intellect dizzies me, little mortal."

She shook a finger at him.

"Don't underestimate me. I'm smarter than I look."

Something like a laugh nearly made it to his breastbone, but not quite. Instead, he gave

her a solemn stare.

"Very well. I am ready for whatever puzzle you throw at me. I can only pray my mind can fathom it."

Jane gave him a narrow look, but couldn't hide the smile from her eyes. Loki's alertness flared—she was suddenly very confident.

"'A box without hinges, key or lid,'" she said slowly.
Yet golden treasure inside is hid.'"

Loki paused. His eyes narrowed for an instant, and he looked at her sideways.

"Is it not…some sort of nut?"

Jane grinned, then glanced up and away.

"No hints."

Loki sat forward and put a finger over his lips.

"Golden treasure. So it's not a chestnut or walnut," he murmured. "Or perhaps a

geode…though that is not golden, either." He thought in silence for a moment. He huffed and sat back. "Erm…" His eyebrows went up. "I'm not…"

Jane watched him in amusement.

It clicked. He leveled a gaze at her.

"It is an egg," he declared. She inclined her head to him.

"Very good, sir," she said.

"You didn't invent that one," he accused.

"No, I didn't, actually," Jane confessed. "It's from The Hobbit."

"Which Hobbit?" Loki asked.

"No, The Hobbit—it's a book. It comes before The Fellowship."

"There is a book before The Fellowship," Loki said flatly. "That would have been helpful to know."

Jane giggled again, spreading her hands out.

"I'm sorry—I think I actually have it somewhere. You can read it if you want."

"Out of order. Brilliant," he muttered, but he couldn't force any malice. He then turned and leaned back in his own cushion, turning his glance upward. "Now, do forgive me, but my curiosity is going to kill me soon if I don't ask you what in the universe is a Pleiades."

"Oh!" Jane turned too, and pointed upward. "I don't know if you can…Well, maybe you can see where I'm pointing, but…Pleiades means 'seven sisters,' and it's an open star cluster of B-type stars. B-type means that they're blue. The Pleiades is right in the middle of the Taurus constellation, and it's one of the nearest star clusters to Earth…"


Erik crept up the stairs, then pushed gently on the door to the roof, careful not to let it grind on its hinges. He stopped before it was all the way open, then leaned his head out.

Jane sat out there on a lawn chair, Fenris beside her on his own. A fire flickered before them, the smoke rising into the cool night air. Erik expected to hear Fenris speaking, telling her about the realm of Asgard. Instead, what he overheard caught him off guard.

"Orion is a hunter, see," Jane was explaining, pointing to the sky. "See, there's his belt, and his sword hanging from it."

"I can see that. And is he holding up his right arm?" Fenris asked.

"Yes, with a club in his hand," Jane nodded. "And over here is the Eridanus river, and he has his two dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor, and together they're fighting Tarus."

"The bull."

"Yes. And see the star in the middle of the sword?"


"It's actually the Orion Nebula."


"Yes, though it's hard to see that without a telescope…"

Erik watched them for a long moment—watched as Jane talked about the stars as he had never heard her speak of them before: as if they were people in stories, rather than burning orbs of gas. And he watched Fenris watch her. Yes, the Asgardian looked where she directed, and commented accurately. But in between her direction, Fenris watched Jane—watched her every expression, studied her face, and listened to her voice.

Erik felt a small smile begin on his lips, and he retreated silently back down the stairs, so that they never knew he had been there.

Fallen Star

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by Alydia Rackham

Part 8 of 27

<< Previous     Home     Next >>