When Jóhanna's eyes finally opened, she felt a pressure upon her body, numbing it and holding her in place. She winced slightly with the unfamiliar, almost agonizing feeling that overcame her as she lay on the yellowish, stony, hard ground.
This was not Asgard.
Suddenly, she was painfully aware of her surroundings; the unusual, hot, dirty earth beneath her body; the burning sun that mocked her from its safe place in the sky above her; the road that hummed with Midgardian vehicles as they passed her. Her face was pressed into the sharp pebbles under her; her hair was dishevelled and dusty; her Asgardian servant dress was startlingly out of place, even in the middle of nowhere.
Loki had sent her to Midgard.
How dare he? How dare he throw her from her home? What was he thinking, sending her to this realm? She forced herself up, her arms trembling as she pressed her palms into the earth and pushed. A small sound, one of pain and despair, escaped her barely parted lips. Who would have thought that falling from a different realm could hurt so much?
Looking about the Midgardian landscape, she sighed. The brightness of the midday sun made her narrow her eyes to see clearly, and what she saw, she was disappointed in. Such a bland reality these humans lived in... A tall, grey mass towered in the distance – a city. She assumed that she would be better off in said city, so made a start for the road, waving her arms in order to gain attention as she did.
Minutes – seemingly hours – passed before someone eventually pulled to a stop, their brakes screeching in protest. A stout sort of man rolled down the window of his Chevrolet pick-up truck and smiled, "Hey there, darlin', where you headed?"
"I... I wish to go to that city," she pointed toward the grey mass of buildings, "if you would be so kind as to take me there, it would be most appreciated."
The man frowned; her tone and method of speech obviously misplaced in Midgardian modern culture, but nodded her to get in anyway. He watched her curiously as she stepped around the truck, her feet landing nimbly on the earth, careful not to fall or stumble as she reached the passenger-side door.
Smiling, she pulled the door to a close behind her and looked at the man, "Thank you, kind sir... I also feel as though I should apologise for my state. I look quite the picture!"
"Nah, don't worry 'bout it! What you been doin' though? Rollin' in the dirt?" He laughed, "You been to a fancy dress party or summit?"
Jóka cleared her throat, focusing on the pine air freshener that dangled from the rear view mirror between them; the green was bright and reminiscent of Loki's eyes. The sudden reminder of him sent her mind into turmoil for a few long moments before she could bring herself to respond to the rather intrusive questions that had been thrown at her, "I'm afraid I cannot remember how I came to be there, but I was indeed at a... Fancy dress, party last night."
Her lie was transparent to those intelligent enough to notice her rigid position as she spoke, but fortunately, the man beside her was barely smart enough to wear matching socks.
She did not know which city she was in, but it was loud, and unbearably dull in looks. The grey concrete and stones only varied in the occasional splash of colour as she looked at the vulgar posters of scantily clad men and women advertising deodorants and hair products.
Days she had been wandering, begging for places to sleep, though it disgusted her, she had little choice but to do so. She was currently sleeping on the floor of a kind art student's apartment, the girl had met her on her third night in the realm and offered her a bed for 'a few' days... She wondered how many nights 'a few' could be here, and whether she could find somewhere else to stay that was as welcoming as there.
"Hey there sexy," a gruff voice growled as she felt a hand graze her exposed arm, "want some fun?" The hand trailed across the fabrics of her dress and down her back, forcing her to suppress a shudder of disgust. She felt his fingers toy with her clothes and grope her inappropriately...
Jóhanna turned on her heel to face the disgusting man, who was treating her with so little respect, as though nothing more than a common whore stood before him. She grabbed his hand and squeezed, hearing a crunch as his bones cracked beneath her strong grasp, "Do not lay your hands upon me, you filthy Midgardian. I am not one of your common women, and you would do well to treat them with respect as well as I... Now, do we have an understanding, or must I break your other hand?"
The terrified, scruffy man nodded and screamed quietly, pitifully even. Once Jóhanna had released him from her hold, he raced away, clutching the wrist of the damaged hand and cursing under his breath. She may not be especially strong on Asgard, but she was enough to outmatch any Midgardian, and her looks once common in her realm were stunning in this one.
Perhaps it was not quite so bad here as she had once thought.
And so she continued down the streets, watching the humans go about their business, looking bored and fed-up. Would she become like them over time? It made her wonder, if she could not return to Asgard, would she settle for a Midgardian man, and live in misery for decades, unchanging and beautiful as he grew old and died.
It was something she would not allow – could not allow. Her home was in danger, and so was Loki. Would he succeed in whatever he was doing? Would he survive? What would become of her home? Would she ever be able to return?