This was stupid, so very foolish. Thor should not have allowed his woman to accompany them in the first place. Thor, who was missing along with Valkyrie and Banner. They were all so foolish to think they could stop Hela.
Loki looked down at the woman he carried in his arms. Her breathing was irregular and her energy all but gone. The tourniquet Loki had fastened on her leg stained a dark red. Jane needed help, and she needed it now.
Her eyelids drooped and her parched throat swallowed. A spike in panic rose in Loki’s chest. He shook her.
“Hey! Don’t fall asleep.”
She started and tried to eye their surroundings as Loki walked.
“It’s so hot,” she said, “where… where are we?”
“You’ve asked me that twice already. I don’t know. Somewhere on Earth, if that faded moon in the sky is any indication.”
“New Mexico?” she asked, her voice sounding far away. Her head lolled forward. “Tell Darcy to turn her phone on silent, Erik. That chirping is getting on my nerves.”
“Erik Selvig isn’t here; neither is this Darcy you speak of.”
Loki spared another glance down at her. Her skin was death pale and her lips were already starting to chap. She blinked a few times.
“No you don’t!” Loki shook her again, but this time it didn’t stop Jane from shutting her eyes. “Do not fall asleep! You’ve lost a lot of blood!”
“Just resting them. Not sleeping,” she said. “It’s so bright out.”
She tightened her grip on Loki’s shoulder to show she still had strength in her. In any other situation, Loki would have found it amusing – to watch a dying mortal trying to show him up. Her fingers caught a lock of Loki’s hair. She gently tugged and twisted it around her index finger.
Loki paused and looked down at her. Desperate, willful brown eyes met his.
“Are you going to let me die?” Her voice strained on the final syllable and Loki was once again reminded how easy it was for humans to perish. A single wound, a loss of will, or of a significant amount of blood.
When Loki decided to carry an injured Jane Foster across the vast desert, he had told himself it was because Thor would likely kill him if he didn’t at least bring Jane’s body back for a proper burial.
Jane’s jaw set as she waited for an answer. Loki had grown quite fond of her since her fist met his face back in Asgard. Fond of her, like a man would be fond of a pet. But now. They’ve been through so much now. Traveled and fought side-by-side. Loki had been surprised when Jane showed just how good she was with a dagger. Beginner’s luck, with a touch of a talent to juggle. The grin on her face when she had shown him what she could do…
A different fondness settled in his chest. One that ached at the thought of Jane dying out here. One that refused the very idea of it being by Loki’s hand. Perhaps a few years ago, he’d do it without hesitation. Just to relieve himself of the burden.
“No, I will not. You’re going to make it. We will find you a doctor and you will get better.” It sounded so fake on his tongue, but he meant it. How was it that whenever Loki attempted at being sincere, it sounded far more false than any lie he ever spun? He walked on. “Just stay awake, Dr. Foster. We’ll make it.”
And then, he could see it. A building off in the distance. Ten more minutes, maybe fifteen and they would be there. Loki grinned.
“Jane, look. You’re salvation is at hand…” Loki trailed off and looked down at her. Jane wasn’t moving. “Jane?” He shook her gently. “Jane!?” He shook her hard. “Wake up! Jane!”
He could almost hear the mockery from another vision of himself from only a few days ago, laughing as Loki gently sank to his knees, muttering “no” over and over.
“Jane, do not leave me out here alone on your lowly world. That was joke. I told you I would not let you die here, and I won’t.” Loki held her wrist. Her pulse was weak, but it was there. “Jane, wake up! Ask me where we are for a fourth time. Ask me again! Ask me anything! I’ll tell you how a disappearing spell works. I’ll describe what it’s like to stand inside of a nebula. I’ll tell you what the birth of a sun looks like in-person. I’ll even take you to another world, if you like. Any one you want. All of them…”
Her eyes remained closed. Loki felt his chest tightening. So foolish.
In one movement, he scooped her up once again and took off running towards the building.
It would be a few hours before Loki would once again hear Jane ask, “Where are we?” By then, he’d have a different answer.