“Dr. Banner,” Járnsaxa called as the man passed. The man didn’t startle but offered a bland smile. She wasn’t particularly welcomed with it but Járnsaxa wasn’t here for pleasantries either.
“I am looking for Dr. Stark or perhaps you would be able to direct me to someone might assist me?”
“I’ll try. Tony’s out of the office dealing with some business.”
“Yes, I take it he most likely has staff for this but I wasn’t sure.” She sighed.
“What can I help you with?” She hesitated before speaking freely.
“I require new quarters. I do not expect an entire suite, but perhaps a room?”
“Is everything alright?”
“My husband and I are quarrelling, which has led to Sif and he quarrelling. My removal will be the easiest thing for the moment.”
“I’m sure JARVIS would assist you with that then and the details.”
“Thank you, Dr. Banner. I wasn’t sure of the programs’ potential.” She hesitated again before adding. “Would he be able to comply with wishes of privacy?”
“I guess, depends on what it is?”
“Just so my husband cannot bother me for the time being.”
“Yeah. Everything okay?”
“Nothing that was not my own doing.” she said with a sigh. “Were I to advise myself of this,” she gestured her stomach “I would’ve told her against it.”
“I thought Thor was happy about that.” He remarked.
“Aye, he is. I am no longer.” She sighed. “I just wish to rest. I doubt he will permit me back to Asgard at the moment so I will just sequester myself somewhere until his anger fades.”
“I’m sorry about that. I’m sure he’ll get over it soon.”
“I do not think he will feel better until he kills Félagi.” She mused sourly. “I am certain of that.” She shook her head. “As I have said, nothing beside my own doing.”
“I feel I am missing something.”
“Centuries of my husband keeping suitors away. I can tolerate that but he feels my old lover is a threat to our marriage.” She sighed. “It does not help that we have communicated in private without his knowledge in spite of his forbiddence.”
Dr. Banner looked worried. “Is there anything -”
“Nay, he is...Thor has not harmed me and had he wished it Félagi would long have been dead. We do not have the easiest marriage but it is not physically taxing.” She smiled bitterly.
“Loneliness is my friend. Few Jotnar will make friends of the Giant-Slayer’s wife and my rank bears no advantage to those Asgardians who would attempt a friendship. The bonds of royal marriage can be restrictive even if I am permitted to do as I wish there is decorum I am to maintain.” She said.
“That sounds bad.”
“Aye, it can be.” She sighed. “Yet, I need the distance when such times are in place. I am sure you’re acquainted with my husband’s temper and stubbornness. I can usually wait it out until something else catches its wrath or ire.”
“That still doesn’t sound healthy. I don’t mean to bother but you shouldn’t feel like you’re escaping your spouse.”
She smiled. “Thank you for your concern but I have made my bed. If I had wanted to leave I should have long ago. Maybe then I could’ve passed on with my kin. But that has passed and I am kin to my husband alone, save for a few distant cousins who will no longer welcome me home with the child’s birth.” At the new look of concern she waved it off. “It’s politically unwise and as nobility we must indulge in such pettiness.”
“Look I’m not going to say I understand it but if you need someone to talk to while here, I’m open.”
She smiled truthfully. “Thank you, Dr. Banner. I appreciate the sentiment. I may pursue it.” She shrugged.
“Please do not think I am trapped as a prisoner. I would leave but foolishness has kept me with Thor for I did not temper my own passions. It would not be simple but I could move to a Realm or within Asgard alone, my sister’s kin has offered me refuge as well in Alfheim. If only were I a merchant's daughter to have such luxury.” She sighed.
“You love him.”
“Aye, my husband plays the loving suitor enough for my foolishness to fall for him.”
“So he manipulated you.” Banner sounded angry.
“Perhaps but I think not knowingly.”
“I’m sorry if I sound nosy but my parents...my dad hurt my mom. It’s something I’m very serious about”
“I appreciate your concern. It is not on such a level where I fear my husband. Our marriage is simply fact and an unhappy one at times.”
“I will ask Tony to make sure Thor can’t bother you, even if you’re pregnant.”
“Thank you.” She smiled. “Your assistance is appreciated, truthfully. Please do not think worse of my husband. I think after this trip you may not meet me again but his friendship with you is true camaraderie.”
Banner did not look happy at that statement but nodded. A small reprisal from her normal state did not engender a new norm after all.
With his assistance her new room was available in an empty floor by nightfall. Járnsaxa communicated with JARVIS for dinner and drink. She would pass the day in melancholy. There would be little lost.
She awoke. She pushed herself up and groaned. She hadn’t slept well at all. She glanced at the bottles in front of her and sighed. Mortal alcohol lacked the potency she sought.
Járnsaxa stared at the bed and wished it could withstand her weight. Still the floor was hardly unpleasant with blankets. She lied back and stared at the window in the room. The light streamed in the room, pouring in through the curtains.
She didn’t know the hour but the light hinted at late morning. She hungered but did not wish to leave the room and run into Thor or Sif. She grabbed a bottle and drank. She could go a lot longer without food safely, even with her son.
The liquid was bitter and unpleasant but it worked for her goal. She soon felt its effects and returned to slumber. Her sleep was dreamless.
A clank woke her up with a start, she gasp and around the room. No one was there, she’d kicked a bottle in her sleep. The light was brighter now, maybe noon.
Járnsaxa sat up and got ready for the day. The bath was cold and made her feel refreshed. She missed Jotunheim and its bitter cold.
Maybe she could order food. She didn’t know. She looked out the window. The mortals moved hurriedly far below. Perhaps Jane was there.
Járnsaxa gazed back at the small bedroom and sighed. She cleaned up the bottles and placed them on the desk for collection.
Despite gaining a new familiarity with mortal technology she had no desire to amuse herself with pointless dramas. She glanced down the window again. Járnsaxa had planned to pass the day lost in drink and its haze. Now the plan seemed more fruitless and unappealing.
When the dark of night came she pulled away from the window and pondered her life. What would history say of Járnsaxa and her son? Would she be nothing more than the mother while her husband and Sif ruled? Would he be passed upon for a child of Sif’s as king? Would the All Father appoint the son of Loki as his heir, holding off for another millenia?
The annals of history would not note her beyond the second wife of Thor. Wherein she was certain Sif, Dr Foster and the ‘Avengers’ would claim some mark in it. She would pass, forgotten as her family.
It should not bother her, it was the fate of most people yet a lack of recognition in her own home made her ache for the need. She enjoyed being a healer but practiced little, her last patient being her sister in a hundred years. Her home was empty.
A hand dropped to her stomach. Aye, she knew why she had conceived the child. A purpose, it gave her a purpose beyond playing phantom in the palace. She had not found success in her endeavors despite her efforts. She stared at herself in the mirror.
She grabbed her husband’s necklace and watched it shatter to her touch. Loneliness was her friend but she knew her purpose in the marriage. Aye, she had taken the mantle willing and so be it. Járnsaxa would be known as mother to Magni Thorson, future king of Asgard or attempt it.
She would raise her sons free of her weakness. Sons. She placed her hand at her stomach. Aye, she would give her son a brother or should it be, as unlikely as it were with the House’s lineage, a sister. Loneliness would not be her legacy.
No. She sighed. She also would not have them in an unhappy home.
Her Husband. He was unhappy with her. She had doomed herself to him with this. It was...she had to find her happiness with him again. Even if it meant renouncing her love and settling for companionship, maybe friendship.
Their children would need it.
There was time yet for that. She slept alone again drifting to the sound of thunder.
She awoke to a knock on her door. She frowned. The knocking increased and the strength of them let her know who they came from. She rose.
“JARVIS?” She spoke softly. The machine responded.
“Is that my husband?”
“Yes, it is Thor Odinson. Would you like for me to tell you he’s unavailable?”
She hesitated. She did not wish to see him but she did not wish to wallow again in her self pity. What good would it serve?
“Nay, let him in.” She was not dressed but she lacked much clothing to be picky or dare soil them in sleep.
The door swung open. Thor stood, looking surprised. Perhaps he expected to be sent away.
“Husband.” She greeted. He looked at nakedness in bemusement. He entered and shut the door behind him quickly.
“Járnsaxa.” He said began but stopped at the sight of her drink. “I have caused that.”
“What do you want?” She asked in lieu of a response.
“I worried. I had not seen you in days nor had our sisters.”
“Your heir is safe.” She responded.
“‘Twas not what I stated. I looked for you.”
“For your heir.”
“Do not twist my words.” He snapped.
“I do not trust them. You spend years without my company. Your worry is unfounded and unwarranted. I can only assume you inquire about your heir.” She replied equally as irritable. She took a breath.
“I sought seclusion to avoid this. We are quarrelling. We need not be.” She motioned above and below them. “You should be focused on aiding our sisters not our pettiness.”
“This is not pettiness.”
“It is.” She sighed. “I had no reason to come to Midgard with them. What purpose had I other than to-” She sighed. “It is pettiness that drove me here. It is pettiness that had me reveal this.” she placed her hands over herself. “Rather than await for news of Loki from our sisters.”
“Járnsaxa - Why came you then if not in support?”
“Do not play fool.” She snapped irritated. “I longed to see what mortal entrapped your heart. I wished to see who else you would call partner than wife.”
“I do not-”
“Quiet.” She held her head high. “I am tired. I told you this before. I am tired of it - the games, the tokens, the bitterness.” She glared at him. “I will not leave our marriage. I assure you.” She felt her anger unfold and let it show in her face. “I just wish for peace now.”
Thor looked surprised at her outburst. “Járnsaxa,” he began again. “I am sorry for this.”
“Now you call me my name, my Lord.” She said.
“Permit me to speak.” he entreated and she felt the fight go from here. She was tired again. “I am not a good husband to you. I am not a good match but we are wed. You gave me a child, a son. I know I caused you grief but I do worry.”
“So you said and you say again.” She sighed. “I am no longer deceived, by my own hope or your words.” She pulled herself tall again. Tired as she may be she would not back down from this.
“My Lord, I will stay by your side. As spoken before I demand the respect of my station. I may naught be loved by you but I am your WIFE. Therefore I will no longer stay in the shadows. I will not permit you to poison my children against me.” He looked surprised at that. “Yes, I will grant you another. You will beget children from me twice and no more. Are we understood?”
“My Lord, I tire of this. Do we have an understanding?”
“Aye, my lady. We are in agreement.”
“Good. Then I will say it now and only now this-.” She trembled in a course of passion she had not felt in ages. “I have permitted you to scare off suitors of yore, to badger me of my right to seek others. I will not anymore. I do not care if you lay with Jane or Sif or any other woman. So lest you wish for me to complain of wrongdoings you will leave me seek company. Do you understand?”
He looked angered but nodded. “Good.” She took a breath. “For our son and marriage I will do you one more acquiescence. I will no longer speak with my lover, Felagi. I will no longer seek to communicate with him. It is for our son’s sake that I will follow this.”
He looked surprised, so surprised, and the gall of it had her sneering. “Congratulations, Giant-Slayer. You have slain one more giant, if only in heart.”
“Járnsaxa- We do not have to be so formal. Come we have been married for centuries.”
“My Lord, I require the formality or else I do not know if I can bear to stay.” The threat was clear. Thor look as if he had been struck by her but he nodded, a long dark look crossed his face but he nodded.
He bowed. “My lady. Will I see you at dinner?”
“Nay, my prince. I will remain here until I am permitted to return to Asgard. There is no longer need or place for me here. Dr. Foster has been informed I support her marriage to you. I need not be interfering more.” The words scalded her tongue but she spoke them nonetheless. Thor sighed.
“Thank you. May I still see you freely?”
“As we have before.”
“Nay. I do not think that will be good at this time.” She grabbed her garb the shining metal of the gift pulled to her. She gathered the remains and presented them to Thor.
“Husband,” Thor looked surprised again and hurt. “I no longer require this. Thank you.” She turned and walked into the bathroom.
She heard her husband leave.
She did not cry but the loss of what never was ached.
She would rebuild and live with it.
There was no other option.