He did not often frequent the realm of Midgard. It had never been in his nature. The realm was quiet, boring. Mortals darted about declaring war at the drop of a coin. They had a habit of enslaving parts of their population for reasons that were trivial to him. They fell in love and died. It was a cyclical life these humans led, and it never got any more interesting. Especially as of late.
The only times he was even vaguely intrigued by these creatures was when they were moved by some force within themselves, whether it be selfish or otherwise, to pay their respects to him. He would hear their small, pitiful voices thread through the air and float up to him, no matter where he was or what he was doing. It did not happen often. But when it did, he felt inclined to visit them. At least to see what had caused them to pray to him of all the Gods.
Usually it would be for some such selfish thing. Like hoping he would grant them some luck in outwitting an enemy. Maybe to be cunning enough to successfully steal money from some unsuspecting mortal passing by them. They treated it like they would die if they were caught, which was hardly ever the case. He ignored them on a number of occasions just to sit back and enjoy the sight of them being reprimanded by a higher authority.
Sometimes though, one lucky fool would word their prayer right and he’d feel pleasure in aiding them. If only to gain their loyalty in the future, and manage to snag them away from his brother, Thor. The oaf had countless mortals babbling his ear off all day and more than once Thor had felt joy in visiting the realm to carry out all they wished. It hadn’t changed when he’d been banished either, he had watched his foolish brother be waited on like he’d never set foot out of Asgard. But he was forgetting the point…
Though lately, he’d not received any cries for help. No wishful voices desiring his aid. It wasn’t a regular occurrence, for being known as the God of Mischief was not exactly a welcoming title to most. But he did notice the lack of voices softly murmuring about him recently. It wasn’t something he missed exactly. Was just a curious thing.
But when he’d fallen to Midgard and awoken upon the same desert sand as his brother before him, hearing mortals’ prayers was the farthest thing from his mind.
So it was natural that he had forgotten the lapse when all he could think about was Odin’s disappointment. Thor’s sudden regretful bellow as he fell into the blackness…
Natural that as he’d risen and realized where he was, that he had vanished himself to this world so as to walk unhindered amongst the mortals. Natural that his thoughts had suddenly shifted to focus on the now instead of menial things like prayers. For now two bright orbs of light were making their way towards where he’d fallen, lighting the Asgardian script that lined the ground in an ornate circle of dust and rock.
And it was natural that he recognized the woman flying out of the metallic rectangle, not bothering to shut the entrance behind her. The woman was Jane Foster. Thor’s little mortal delicacy. She was short and her voluptuous brown hair hung loose around her shoulders in the windless night. She was alone.
She stared blankly, a confused gathering of her eyebrows and tiny gasps of breath leaving her lips. He watched as she stared at the ground, not moving an inch. He moved closer to inspect if she was still there in the head when she abruptly whipped said head to the right.
For a ridiculous moment he thought she could see him.
But then it whipped to the left, and she slapped a palm to her forehead in desperation. She began to search around the nearby rocks, muttering to herself things he couldn’t make out. Finally, she gave up.
He saw her eyes glisten and knew she was trying not to cry. Mortals cried so easily.
Brother, I will not fight you!
He bit his lip and made the decision to simply not think of Asgard for a while. Perhaps this human, who had such a close relationship with his brother, knew of things here on earth that would be able to help him.
He quickly made to sit in the seat opposite hers in the rectangle before she decided to enclose herself in it once more. Opening the entrance would hardly be stealthy.
It was a rickety thing, and she began to cry openly in the metal box, but he trusted she would arrive to her home in safety, lest she was willing to sacrifice herself as well.
It had been well over a month here on Midgard before anything happened of note. There were two others with Jane Foster, Erik Selvig and Darcy Lewis. The names were strange to him, as were their behaviors, but it wasn’t exactly tiring seeing them interact with one another.
Something he had never taken the time to notice before with any other human was the fact they seemed very interested in the mythology of the Gods. He read over their shoulders, knew all the stories because he’d lived it. He’d been there. The mortal renditions were pathetic excuses for the real thing, dimmed, rushed, and decidedly wrong in most parts. But it was amusing to see the woman pour over them so thoroughly. So concurrently. As if it was some new star tome she would conquer, for she also spent a good few hours looking through books on the stars and the universe. Many of those, he noted with a snort, were also incorrect.
It was also predictable. Predictable that she should read so much about his brother, trying to relive the words the humans had written. The memories he shared. He knew that she did this all for his brother, hoping that he would one day return here to the place they called Earth.
No matter how many times this disgusting thought pushed him to observe one of the others in the room, it never escaped his notice that Jane Foster read a good deal about him as well.
It was on the night exactly four weeks past the date he had so ironically landed in this place that he had followed Erik Selvig into another metal container, black this time, with black panes of glass even he had a hard time seeing into.
It had driven for an extensive amount of time into the early hours of this realms’ morning. He observed that it drove much smoother than the first vehicle he’d been met with. They then entered a building not open to the public.
Shadowing the middle aged man, he had first laid eyes upon it.
Small. Glowing a light but powerful blue, the cube sat in a plush encasement of soft velvet in a metallic suitcase.
It called to him, this immeasurable power.
And he would have it.
The next day the three inhabitants of the airy makeshift lab with all their primitive technology commenced their excited research of the cube. Now he could not leave. He couldn’t allow them to discover its possibilities before him.
He would defeat them in this race.
It was many weeks after this that he remembered.
It was startling how clear it came to him. How loud and suddenly overwhelming it was in the silence. It rang in his ears and he actually jerked, his head turning to the side to see who had said his name.
But no one was there. It was empty. He had chosen their lab as a place to sleep at night for a reason.
That voice…he knew it. But who had said it? It was there and gone as quick as a whisper of wind. He could barely recall the sound just moments after its passing.
Quiet and unsure, but there. He stood and narrowed his eyes at the air around him. He knew that voice now. Could place it anywhere, he knew it so well. From months of listening to it muttering after his brother’s whereabouts, of speaking animatedly with her two little lackeys.
Jane Foster was praying.
He entered her trailer as silently as death. He’d visited here before, and after determining nothing was of value to him in his search of something useful, he had left. But he plainly remembered where she slept, for it was an embarrassingly small enclosure.
But it was not in her bed that she uttered these quiet, secret words. There she was, sitting at her little table where she often ate at night, where she read most of her Norse literature. It occurred to him now that it might be troublesome should her friends learn she was studying the God of Mischief a tiny bit more than the God of Thunder.
He moved to where he could see her face, sliding into the narrow seat across from her. She had her hands clasped together loosely in front of her. Her eyes were off to the side, as if she wasn’t sure why she was even saying these things in the first place.
But then something hardened in her gaze as her small, shy smile fell from her face. She looked at her hands and said, “This is probably stupid, me just talking to myself.”
She could not hear his small chuckle at her expense. It certainly hadn’t been the first time.
“But…I know you and Thor fought. I just want to know if he’s ok?” She asked weakly, her voice shrinking towards the end.
He let the silence drag. Of course she wanted to know. But for a reason beyond him, he responded. Only to usher her words along, and not altogether become a real presence, just something that would encourage her to keep talking to him. For as much as he hated to be speaking of his brother, he wanted to know why she was asking him and not Thor himself.
Like a ghost of cloth against the arm, or a ripple of water from a stream, he said quietly, “If you have faith in his abilities, then why question them?”
He saw the defeat in her eyes. His response would seem as if she had answered her own question, in her own mind. He didn’t want to outright speak with her and scare her off.
She shrugged feebly, “I’m just asking because I think there’s more to you than just causing trouble…and I know Thor loves you and you love Thor…all you’ve been through and—”
She cast a look at a shelf of books, shook her head at herself and rose, her hands unclasping.
He watched her fall to her bed, not bothering even to undress for the night. She slept hugging a pillow, the blankets only half over her form. She did not cry. And she did not elaborate.
Quirking one eyebrow, Loki could only continue to watch her sleep, speechless at this mortal woman’s sudden claim of…understanding.
As memories of his brother, of his trials through life, through the thousands of years that separated him from the small woman on her bed…he felt his chest constrict and his eyes moisten.
“Jane Foster…” He began, not really knowing why he was answering her, “You know the answer to what you question.” He debated whether or not he wanted to steal her prayers away from the other Gods by speaking some further reassurance to her. He had chosen to be vague in his answer. But…this time was different.
He knew she would call upon him again.