Continuing Tales

Overlapping Spaces

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by Khilari

Part 10 of 37

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Overlapping Spacesl

Jane kept halfway wishing she'd said something else out at the Bifrost, but she wasn't sure what. Or when. So it wasn't much good as a wish. She did go to the library at the next chance, though. Loki was brooding, but still offered a faint smile of greeting. She tried to avoid the topic of the Bifrost...

...Which turned out to be really difficult. It wasn't quite an elephant in the living room (Jane was not, on reflection, entirely sure that would shock anyone very much in Asgard), but they'd been talking about it rather a lot. A surprising amount, really - it was natural for Jane, who had after all been chasing it and related phenomena for years, but she occasionally wondered why Loki was willing to keep going back to the theory. There were perhaps four or five obvious conversational threads she couldn't pick back up.

Perhaps she shouldn't have been quite so surprised when Loki finally brought it up instead.

'Crystalised light is meant to be indestructible except by certain counterspells,' he told her, which sort of followed on from a thread Jane had dropped. 'I never quite believed it, and there is now very definite proof it isn't true.'

She blinked and looked up at him. 'I gather Mjolnir wasn't supposed to include them.'

'Mjolnir does not count as a counterspell, no. Admittedly we don't know much about the composition of uru, and the people with weapons made of it aren't inclined to turn them over for study.' Loki paused for a moment and then added, 'He apologised to you before smashing the Bifrost.'

Jane had been going to say that as it was an enchanted hammer, she was thinking more of what spells might be on it, but then she got distracted by its apparently mysterious composition - and then both points went completely out of her head. Along with almost anything else useful to say. She swallowed. 'Oh.' It was, sort of, nice of him. But that sounded inane even inside her head, and unutterably awkward considering why he'd smashed it. And what Loki remembered happening afterward. 'You know, I... really wouldn't have expected to be on his mind at that point.'

'He was destroying his only way back to you to save a planet of people he hated.'

Okay, that was a point, and Thor had essentially promised he'd be right back - after he had words with his brother. His eventual description of just how involved that had become, though... well, there was really no tactful way to say that she'd sort of assumed finding out just how violently crazy Loki had gone at the time would have been uppermost in his mind. 'He... only went into so much detail.'

'The reason he destroyed the Bifrost is not exactly a detail.'

Jane pinched the bridge of her nose, trying not to feel sheepish. 'Okay, no, and he did explain that part. Which makes sense, one of the reasons nobody would believe there was an Einstein-Rosen bridge near Earth was the destructive... you know, I'm just going to drop it there.'

'It wasn't the Bifrost by itself. I overloaded it.' Loki drew in on himself, hunching slightly. 'I was surprised they'd let me near the control chamber again, even with it half finished and me being watched. Maybe they just knew I wouldn't reach it.'

'Right. You used the casket.' Jane studied him for a moment. 'Holda was hoping you'd make it, though.' She'd been able to see that.

'You know about the casket?' Loki looked shocked, suddenly pale.

Jane straightened, blinking at him. 'I said Thor didn't go into a lot of detail, not that there wasn't any...' She hesitated. She didn't normally press about how he was feeling, and it hadn't gone that well last time, but the blood didn't usually drain from his face quite that abruptly either. 'Um, Loki, are you okay?'

'The...' He shook his head sharply. 'Do you know what the casket was? Why I had it?'

'Ah... the Bifrost is actually easier to wrap my head around, but I know it was a means of transport and a weapon Jotunheim used against Earth centuries ago, and Asgard captured it.' None of that seemed likely to explain his reaction. Unless he thought Thor hadn't told her - or, given how long it had gone unsaid in the first place, maybe that Thor didn't yet know - 'I know that's where Odin found you, too,' she said carefully.

'Don't you care? You haven't - I couldn't tell you knew. The Jotuns tried to exterminate your race!' His voice was rising but he sounded more confused than angry.

Jane rubbed her forehead. 'So? You were an infant when that ended, you didn't have anything to do with it. You've known all along I wasn't happy with what you did to Earth personally.'

'I wasn't going to destroy it!' Loki protested.

'Okay, no, but the point is, I like you in spite of things you actually did or tried to do yourself.' And sometimes she really wondered about that. Trying to destroy Jotunheim was huge and horrifying and difficult to comprehend. Controlling Erik, killing Coulson (not that she had exactly liked Coulson, but still, it was someone she knew) - those were personal and rather chilling. And yet she still met Loki in the library and worried when he was upset. 'What your biological relatives were up to a thousand years ago? Not really on the radar.'

'You don't understand. Frost giants are monsters, debased!' He looked unhinged, but not in quite the way he had been before. Less about to attack and more, possibly, about to cry. Jane rather hoped he didn't. 'And no matter how hard I try there is still nothing I can do.'

'Loki...' Patting his hand probably wouldn't help. 'You're right, I really don't get it, and frankly the only analogies I've got make you sound kind of creepy for thinking that way, not for being one. But Thor told me about that part before I got here.'

'I can't do anything,' he repeated, left hand fiddling with the bracelet around his right wrist. 'Even less now than I ever could. I can't even walk across the Bifrost. And you - a mortal -'

That again. Although this time it felt less like an insult and more like mortification that someone so much more fragile, and without the abilities he was missing, could do something that scared him. 'I don't suppose it'll make you feel much better, but I was terrified when we first landed there and that was without nearly as much reason for it.' She paused. 'Then I threw a screaming fit at Thor for expecting me to ride a horse, and Heimdall had to grab me because I stepped back without looking.'

He looked at her, eyes wide and alarmed. 'You came that close to falling?'

She might have blushed. 'I'm not completely sure, but it looked awfully close when I looked down.'

He shivered and took a moment before saying with some confusion, 'I don't understand the problem with the horse?'

Jane buried her face in her hands with a muffled laugh. 'Neither did he. And it wasn't actually... I was overreacting. I mean, okay, the last time I'd been on a horse at that point, I was eight and it was a very calm, very bored pony that went in circles on a lead. I probably wasn't up for riding a horse all the way into the city regardless, but the idea of riding one on that bridge... I was already kind of on edge and Thor told me afterward that the way we'd traveled had psychological side effects, but anyway, yelling about it was probably a bit much. But at the time it seemed like the most inconsiderate thing ever.'

'Most ways of travel have side effects. It doesn't seem to bother the elves. I don't know about - about other beings that have been in the void for a long time. I have no idea what their minds were like to start with.' Loki blinked and shook his head slightly. 'Is that why you left your horse on the near end even though you'd gone to the control chamber?'

Jane was less interested in Chitauri psychology than in what it might have done to Loki's mind, but she wasn't the one to ask those questions. She smiled a bit instead. 'I've gotten a little more used to it, but... yeah. Being on the bridge or on a horse is unnerving enough one at a time.'

'At least horses are reliably solid.'

'That is true, yes. And rationally I know these horses are probably less likely than I am to get distracted and do something stupid out there.' Jane paused. Well, as long as they were on the subject. 'Would you have felt better with one?'

Loki looked at first surprised and then hopeful. 'Maybe. Horses are solid, and definitely only walk on things that exist. I'm not sure I could control one, though,' he admitted, cheeks flushing slightly. 'They tend not to go forward when their rider is thinking "stop".'

'They don't?' Jane asked in reflexive surprise, then immediately tried to wave it off. 'Ah, sorry.' She had not really considered being too responsive as a potential problem with horses, but perhaps this happened when you were a good enough rider that communicating became automatic. 'What if somebody led one? Or would that miss the point?'

Loki looked down and sighed. 'I think maybe just getting there will have to be good enough. It will certainly be hard enough.'

Jane did reach out then, not quite to take his hand but to brush the back of it lightly before drawing back. 'You'll make it.' Even if it wasn't this time, she was pretty sure he'd get there eventually.

He looked up at her, eyes suddenly determined. 'Will you come?'

She actually jumped a little at the shift in body language. 'Of course.'

Loki's mouth quirked into a smile, whether because she would come or amusement at her surprise or both was hard to tell. 'Thank you.'

Overlapping Spaces

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by Khilari

Part 10 of 37

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