AN: Thank you so much to all my lovely reviewers! You guys never fail to make my day.
Please excuse any spelling/grammar mistakes, I typed this on three hours of sleep.
And now, the final chapter. Enjoy!
Jane was fighting a losing battle against sleep. Every minute or so she would start to feel her eyelids drooping shut, her thoughts drifting off...
She snapped her head up. Maybe it's time for another cup of coffee... She glanced over at the recycling bin, filled to overflowing with discarded coffee cups- probably all hers. Darcy refused to drink anything that didn't have the word "organic" on the can, and Erik preferred to use his "I Astrophysics" mug. Now that she thought about it, maybe more caffeine wasn't such a great idea- after all, she had been rather on edge lately. Though I can't exactly blame that on the coffee...
Still, all that caffeine couldn't be helping. So how am I supposed to stay awake then? Out of habit, she checked the time on her ever-present Blackberry:
Eleven? I have to practically overdose on caffeine to keep myself from falling asleep at eleven? What am I , five? Then again, she had been up late last night. And the night before that, and the night before tha- okay, so maybe she could cut herself a little slack on that count. Still, she couldn't afford to sleep, she had to work! Reluctantly, she reached for the essay on Einstein-Rosen bridges she'd been trying to annotate before she dozed off- only to find that it had vanished, lost somewhere beneath the mounds of books, sketches, and documents that had managed to accumulate on the table she had commandeered as her workspace.
Great. Just great.
This was by no means the first time something like this had happened, Jane seemed to have been losing a lot of things lately: papers, her favorite old
t-shirt, the god of thunder... Though if she had to choose, she'd obviously go with locating that last one, since bringing back Thor meant she wouldn't be sitting here in the S.H.I.E.L.D outpost, surrounded by clutter, working her butt off long after everyone else had gone home. The rest of the lab techs and S.H.I.E.L.D operatives had left even earlier than usual today, trying to beat the oncoming rain that the weatherman had been droning on about.
Speaking of which... Jane momentarily paused in her musings to listen. Sure enough, she could hear the steady pattering of raindrops on the roof. And judging by the frequency of the drops, it had been raining for a while. And I didn't even notice. Go figure. For the first couple months after Thor had left, Jane had bordered on obsessive in her observation of the weather. There couldn't be a cloud in the sky without her knowing about it, much less a storm. Ah, the irony. Obviously I've moved on from that phase.
The rain beat steadily down as she sifted through the stacks of paper, searching for the essay. I don't even remember what half of these things are. If I didn't know better, I'd swear they were breeding... She stifled a yawn. Maybe it was time for a break. Just for a minute, she told herself, only half believing it. The sound of the rain was incredibly calming, soothing even. Her head sank down onto the scattered papers. Soon, her breathing deepened and the tension in her shoulders eased. Jane Foster was sound asleep.
Had she been awake, she would never have missed the flash of brilliant blue light that shone in through the windows...
When she hadn't been in her trailer, he knew where to find her. The doors of the S.H.I.E.L.D outpost were locked, so he had to check each window until he found one that had been left propped open with a book. Normally he wouldn't have hesitated to simply smash the door in, but he didn't want to risk setting off any alarms they may have put on it.
Mercifully, no one was around to see him awkwardly squeeze his large frame through the window. After a great deal of effort and a string of muttered curses, he finally found himself inside the lab. At least, he thought it was the lab. It was hard to see anything. The opening of the Bifrost must have caused a power outage. He paused to let his eyes adjust to the darkness as much as they could, then tentatively began to feel his way across the room. Judging from the silence and the time of night, he figured that if Jane was, in fact, here, then she had to be asleep. He somehow managed to locate a couch- which was decidedly Jane-free.
He had just begun to consider the possibility that she might now be here- when her saw her. Sitting slumped over a small table littered with papers, her shoulders rising and falling ever so slightly. Thor couldn't recall ever seeing anything so beautiful. He silently made his way over to her. Part of him wanted, needed, to wake her up, to talk to her, to tell her he was sorry for leaving her and that he would never do so again- but...she looked so peaceful. And she must've been tired if she fell asleep here.
She must have been working...
He leaned down to examine some of the papers closest to her. Though he could only make out a few words, it was clear what had kept her here so late- trying to bring him back. The small burst of joy he felt at her thinking of him was quickly replaced by a wave of guilt at having deprived her of sleep. And that table can't be comfortable.
Well, that at least he could fix. Carefully, he bent down and slowly picked her up, cradling her in his arms. Halfway to the couch he felt her tense; he instantly froze. She mumbled something in her sleep that sounded faintly like his name, and it was all he could do not to shake her awake then and there. By some miracle he repressed that urge, and made it over to the sofa. With the utmost care Thor lowered her gradually onto the couch, where she immediately relaxed.
He brushed aside the hair that had fallen to cover her eyes, and lightly kissed her forehead. Kissing of any other variety, he thought reluctantly, would have to wait until she woke up.
In her dream, he held her. His fingers touched her back, her cheek, her hair... She couldn't see him, but she knew he was there. And everywhere there was light; warm, brilliant blue light...
Jane woke to find herself alone and in darkness.
The power must've gone out. She started to reach for the flashlight in the drawer beside her bed- but realized she wasn't in her bed, or even in her trailer for that matter. Her confusion at this quickly subsided as the events of the previous night came rushing back to her. The storm must have knocked down some power lines...and I guess I fell asleep working- her eyes widened. Why am I on the couch?
But before she could consider this, a faint rustling sound caught her attention. She froze, instantly alert. There it was again, but slightly louder this time. What the- I'm the only one who comes here this late...and I locked the door. The rustling subsided, only to be replaced by slow footsteps. Oh god, what if it's a burglar? Or...or Loki?
She slowly rose from the couch, just in time to see a shadowy figure come into view. She contemplated making a run for it- but decided against it. The man (it had to be a man) was tall, and his frame appeared pretty muscular. She blinked. Wait a minute...was that a cape?
"Jane! You are awake!"
Oh. My God.
"Wha- what are you doing here?"she tried to ask, but all that came out was "What are you doing?"
"I thought," he said, a hint of confusion in his voice, "that you might want some coffee when you awoke, so I ma-"
But by that point Jane had already crossed the room and was kissing him, kissing him because this couldn't be real, because it had to be a dream- but then she heard the sound of a coffee mug hitting the floor and shattering, and he was kissing her back.
Eventually she had to break the kiss in order to breathe. Nope, definitely not a dream.
"It's good to see you too." he chuckled. "If I had known your greeting would be this pleasant, I might've woken you up sooner." She had so many things she wanted to ask him: How did you get back? Does this mean the Bifrost is repaired? And perhaps most importantly: Are you going to stay? But when her lips parted to speak no sound came out, so naturally Jane did the only logical thing: she kissed him again.
She didn't say "I love you." She knew she didn't have to.
Thank you all for taking the time to read this! It's been fun.
Addendum: I've noticed that lots of people are adding this to their favorites or Story Alert, but not reviewing! I still appreciate it, but if you read the story and liked it, drop me a review and let me know! :)