The air was thin and cool and sweet – a welcome alternative to his dreams. Already, he could feel them swirling away in feverish eddies, replaced by the light and the chatter of Asgard's populace as they stepped out to begin on the business of their day. Children scattered, running across the road and under his feet. Stepping aside, watching them, Thor smiled.
It had been too long since he had been out like this.
It had been too long since he'd been home.
Walking among his people, Thor moved aimlessly. He smiled when hailed, but he sought none out. As much a relief as the good-natured commotion was, there still loomed over him his shadows. There had to be a way to unravel the machinations of the darkness that overwhelmed him. Jane's illness, at least, must have some kind of cure.
As if she had been summoned by his thought, Thor heard her speaking. He could pick her voice out from the crowd. Easily. He wondered if that was how it always was. He knew he would not ask his father. The time had passed for those conversations long ago.
Thor drew nearer the sound.
Jane was standing in the middle of the road, marveling at a plaything that hovered in the air above her. Its parts were splayed, silver and churning and beautiful as it danced to its own tinkling song. Jane was wringing her hands, oblivious to the children who sat on the side of the road, watching her curiously, perplexed by the adult who was distracted by their toy. She was completely enthralled by it. They likely thought her mad.
And in her own way, Thor supposed, she was.
Fondly, he laughed.
Jane noticed him. "This thing is amazing," she said, in lieu of a greeting. She pointed at it, her eyes glowing with excitement, "The magnetic propulsion alone would advance Earth Science by decades!"
It folded up with a little sound of bells, and dropped into her waiting hands.
"Uh," Thor closed what space remained between them. "Jane?"
She was worrying the silver sphere between her hands, "I am so taking this apart."
Glancing at the children, bidding them wait but a moment, Thor smiled. "Jane?"
She didn't look up at him. "What?"
He pointed aside at the three. "You have their ball."
Lifting her chin, Jane looked at them. Her head jerked in that little surprised movement he so loved. "Oh," she said. Awkwardly, she offered the plaything back to the children, and when none of them rose, she tossed it to them.
Smiling, they took their ball and they scattered.
She laughed, still embarrassed. Wordlessly, Thor offered her his arm. She smiled, briefly confused, then she put out her hand and she took it. He moved to walk with her along the waterfront.
"You changed your clothes," he commented. She was dressed in a gown unlike any he had seen her in before. She was garbed as one of his people. For a moment, Thor allowed himself to imagine that it might be true. That she might be accepted by his father and be as one of them.
"These were laid out for me," she said, distracted. She gathered the fabric in her hands, "I feel… somewhat ridiculous," she smiled, part-rueful, part-laughing.
"You look stunning," Thor told her.
She blushed and awkwardly, she turned away.
Realizing he'd miss-stepped, Thor scrambled for something else to say, but, mercifully, Jane beat him to it. "I'm completely out of place here," she said.
Thor looked at her sharply, "Has someone –"
"No," she said hastily, talking with her hands, waving them in front of her. "No. No one's said anything. You all – all of you – have been amazing. It's just…your toys are better advanced than anything our best minds can even come up with!"
"You do have those doors that…" Thor moved his hand forward and back.
"Automatic sliding doors?" Jane deadpanned. Seeing his smile, her incredulity gave way and she laughed. Shifting the shawl draped over her arms, she glanced at him. "It's a lot to process."
Looking past her, over the water, Thor nodded. His mind wandered to New Mexico. "I'm sure it is."
When she didn't say anything more, Thor glanced at her. Her brow was furrowed in consideration. "What is it?" he asked. The water lapped against the sides of the embankment some distance below. The sound was soothing.
"When you came for me," she said, feeling it out as she spoke, "You knew I was in trouble."
"Heimdal lost sight of you," Thor answered. "You were no longer on Earth."
She blinked, once, her nimble mind working past her disbelief. "Well how is that possible?"
"I believe you were, and you weren't," he said. They stopped beside the wall, and Thor came around to face her. Her brow creased questioningly, but she said nothing, trusting him to answer every question she did not know how to ask.
Thor took her hand, pressing her palm to his, lining up their fingers as best he could. Her hands were so small against his. "The Nine Realms travel within Yggdrasil," he said, "orbiting Midgard much as your planets orbit the sun. Every five thousand years the worlds align perfectly," his old misgiving nagged him and Hogan's words, "allowing ancient evils to strike." He met her eyes. "We call this the Convergence. During this time, the borders between worlds become blurred, and entities travel more freely through the places where the Realms align."
"You think –"
"I think it is possible you found one of these points." Thor answered her.
"I…" her eyes flicked away, a frown lining her brow, "…don't know that I did find it, Thor." She folded her fingers through his, though she still looked down towards the water. "That…weapon," she flicked her eyes at him, then looked back, down and away.
Thor folded his hand around hers.
She glanced at it gratefully, "…it almost seems like it found me. Is that," when she looked at him, her eyes were fearful. "Is that possible, Thor? Could I –" she fumbled, "could it be working through me?"
"Shh," Thor brushed a lose hair from her eyes with one hand. "You heard my father. The Dark Elves have been extinct for centuries."
"You don't believe that," she countered. She was so small, and so afraid. So alive and fierce in her fear.
He bent down, and he kissed her.
Drawing away, he did not look at her. Though she had not objected, he was afraid to see the rejection in her eyes. He opened his hand, drawing her attention back, aligning their palms, then shifting them, slightly – as if the movement could cover his flare of embarrassment, "We're lucky that it remained open," he said, "Once the worlds pass out of alignment, the connection is lost."
When he looked at her, she was watching him. Her eyes glowed. "I…like the way you explain things," she admitted, a slight flush lingering in her cheeks, and Thor couldn't help but feel pleased.
Jane looked away, at their joined hands. "What if it's true?" she asked, abruptly. Her expression had tightened.
"Jane," Thor said.
"No," she snapped. "Don't placate me. What if it is true? There are so many worlds out there and maybe," she blew out a long breath, "maybe it's not right that they should interact. Maybe if I hadn't been looking for you –"
"Jane," Thor gripped her hand more tightly, and she looked at him. He looked deep into her eyes, past the tears that gathered there. "I'll find a way to save us all," he promised.
Her look softened helplessly. "Maybe they were separate for a reason," she said.
The words were an echo. They brought the whole swirling mess of a dream back to his mind with a jolt.
Jane was watching his face, spent with worry, looking to him for strength. "What's going to happen to me?" she asked.
"I'm going to save you," he promised.
Her expression flickered almost listlessly, "Your father said –"
Thor didn't like to see her devoid of her passion. Once, his father had taught him that the greatest way to bolster a man's belief was with one's own. He had been speaking of leading warriors, but Thor had not found the advice to lead him falsely. He bent to meet Jane's eyes more directly, setting aside his own misgivings, "My father," he gripped her hand firmly in both of his, "doesn't know everything."
"Don't let him hear you say that."
Thor knew that his mother smiled long before he saw her face. He wondered what had brought her outside of the palace. It was not like Frigga to venture so far from her gardens of a morning.
Something in the back of his mind whispered Loki. And whether it was intuition or merely the lingering touch of his dream, he shoved it aside. "Jane Foster," he said instead, "meet Frigga, Queen of Asgard. My mother."
Jane stepped back from him, freeing his hand. She flicked her eyes from him to his mother and back, flustered and obviously embarrassed. She shifted on her feet. "Hi," she managed, softly.
Frigga's smile was warm as ever, and Thor was glad at least one member of his family could be accommodating.
The alarm startled all of them.
His mother met his eyes, "The prison," she said, vocalizing the threat as he readied himself for it.
As his muscles coiled, Thor's dreams made sense to him. They were a warning of what was to come. The Convergence allowed for all sorts of abnormalities that could serve those who understood them. And if anyone knew how to manipulate something that could only possibly happen once in their entire life, Thor knew which person it would be.
"Loki," he said.
Mjolnir, he had left beside his bed. He sensed the thrum of its energies and called it to his hand.
Jane had stepped instinctively nearer his mother, and Frigga closed the space between them, taking the girl firmly by both shoulders in a gesture protective as it was strong.
He was glad of it.
"Go," Frigga said. "I'll look after her."
Thor said nothing. He gave a grim nod, then turned and, running, let go his cloak and flung himself from the balcony. Mjolnir met him exactly as promised and by its power he hurtled towards the palace.
dun dun DUN - lol.
Okay. Explanation time, for anybody who's interested ;)
That opening scene with Jane playing with the kids' ball is NOT mine. I found it here: Manually type in youtube dot com, then paste this: /watch?v=TCTultv_8zI. -It's a cute little tidbit that I think I replicated pretty much exactly. The (minimal) dialogue between that scene and the beginning of Thor and Jane's talk from the movie WAS mine. The talk itself I edited heavily, because so far, I've been trying to give a sense of what's coming - I like Thor having suspicions of what's about to happen, and I like the idea that the Convergence is a dangerous time. Sure, Thor's emotions for Jane might go a far way to eclipse any jitters he's having about prophecies of cataclysmic import, but I don't think it would go so far as TDW would have us believe. In the film, Thor's moping, then Jane comes and he's only got eyes for her, then the Dark Elves come and suddenly there's a problem. Heimdal kinda-sorts warns him about it, but that's about as far as any kind of suspense-building goes, apart from the clips the audience sees of Malekith's antics. The Asgardians' response to seeing a species hitherto believed extinct - not only alive but BLOWING UP THE CAPITAL - is a little too cavalier for my belief. Some little fore-warning rectifies that most excellently ;) MOST of the lines that I added/edited are not mine, but were stolen - by me - from various trailers, teasers, clips and tv spots. For anybody who's interested, here are the ones I remembered to note (which may be all of them. I'm too lazy to check): Manually type in youtube dot come for all three of these, for the first, paste in: /watch?v=cOF34wE5_40 -For the second, paste in: /watch?v=4jMN-pOVOPY -and for the third: /watch?v=7p7rocHEecE
So, for those of you still with me (bless you), what do you think of my edits so far? Let me know, and thanks for reading!