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Hope to be Struck

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The first time Tony Stark introduces Thor to the mutant named Storm, he watches her brew a gale with her hands and throw a bolt of lightning that splits the sky in a flash of light so brilliantly white it turns blue at the edges.

He says to her, “You are no human. You are a goddess displaced from your realm,” and she, eyes bled white from the force of her power, laughs in time to a rolling peal of thunder that shakes the very bones of Midgard.

And Thor falls a little in love with her, Ororo Munroe, whom the humans have named mutant when they mean deity.

“You’re sweet,” she says, banishing the storm with a wave of her hands. Her eyes turn from the flat sheen of white to a rich, warm brown that echoes her skin. She pushes her silvery hair off her face and smiles, head cocked. “Show me what you’ve got.”

“Next to you, Mjolnir is but a toy,” Thor tells her, with all sincerity. He is the God of Thunder, but storms answer to Mjolnir’s call whoever wields it. He is but a conduit through which the power flows, not the source itself. He could not raise his hands and summon a tempest as Ororo does with such ease.

Ororo smiles and it is like lightning flashes between them. “Humor me.”

And so Thor raises Mjolnir and swings the mighty hammer around and around until he can feel the low, growling rumble of Midgard waking to the call. Slower, much slower than Ororo, the sky darkens with ominously roiling clouds and a wind picks up. Thor waits, letting the storm build upon itself until he can feel it yawing at the bounds he has set. Then, and only then, does he thrust Mjolnir toward the heavens and bring down a thousand-forked bolt of lightning so bright as to wash the entirety of the human Xavier’s school in blinding light.

“Oh,” he hears Ororo Munroe called Storm sigh with deep pleasure. “Oh, Thor. That’s beautiful.”

Thor swings Mjolnir down with a deep basso rumble. He looks at Ororo, her face alight with pleasure, and feels his chest swell with pride. When he came to Midgard, he thought at first that there would be no humans who provided any interest. He thought, for a time, that in Jane and Darcy and Selvig he found the only mortals of extraordinary courage and worth.

To find there were humans who insulting bore such a paltry title was a welcome surprise. To find a human whose nature so embodied his own that she bore the name Storm was an unlooked for moment of grace.

“It is a trick,” Thor says modestly. “Your lightning comes from your hands, Ororo Munroe. What is that like?”

For a moment, she ducks her head as though the simple truth were a bit of paltry flattery. But when she raises her chin, she raises her hands with her palms held toward the sky. Thor watches her eyes burn to the flat sheen of white that heralds her extraordinary power and hears another growling rumble of thunder roll down from the darkening heavens.

“It’s like being a hundred times more alive than usual,” she says, her voice too gone far away with a power that awes Thor who has ridden the bifrost and fought frost giants and lived with magic for all of his life. “It’s like holding all the potential in the world in your hand.”

The smallest bolts of lightning appear between her splayed fingers, running up the length of them in jagged lines. They light her face with a white glow that brings out the glorious silver of her hair and casts her truly as a goddess. Thor is enthralled.

“I can feel it everywhere,” Ororo Munroe says, mouth curving into a smile of utter delight. “In my skin and my muscles and my bones and all my nerves. When I was small I used to think that I was made of lightning, that if you cut me open bolts of it would come out.”

Between her hands erupts a cackling ball of lightning; tendrils lash outward and reign back in. There are a thousand colors contained within; the pure white and blue tinged, the deep sizzling yellow and even some streaked with a vicious red. They make Thor’s blood sing in recognition, calling to the very base of his nature. Lightning and thunder are as inextricable as light and darkness.

“It makes feel like I’m the most powerful person in the world,” Ororo breathes.

“You are,” Thor agrees, unable to move his eyes from the power held between her palms.

Ororo laughs again and it is a sound like peals of thunder wrapping around the world, like the soul of a storm made tangible, and Thor pities any mortal that might look upon the scene with the knowledge that they could never know such glory.

“Hold out your hands,” Ororo says and Thor obeys no man, but this is not a command. It is a moment of exquisite understanding. He extends his hands in the same fashion as hers, palms spread to the roiling mass of dark clouds obscuring the sky.

The lightning in her hands expands to fill Thor’s and then they are holding it between them. Thor can feel the strange sense of her power reach out and touch his and finds the feeling most wonderfully agreeable. It is like meeting an old friend in an unexpected place; she calls from him a deep core of light that Mjolnir finds when he wields it.

“Storm,” Thor exhales, looking through the striking mass of lightning to her beautiful face. “Storm.”

“Now,” she says, laughing. “Together.”

And, in tandem, they release the lightning with a burst of brilliance that would consume them both if they were not who they are. It envelopes them together in a column of light so bright it obscures all else. Very faintly, there is the accompanying roar of thunder, but they both know that the lightning itself is eternally silent and together they scream without sound, in glory and beauty and revelry.

It seems an eon before the light fades away and Thor can blink to see once again a small piece of Midgard. Ororo Munroe’s breath comes short and when she meets his eyes, she laughs again, covering her smile with her hand.

“I haven’t let loose like that in a long time,” she says. “Gosh.”

“I understand,” Thor assures her. “Such brilliance might spawn a new religion.”

She laughs at that, long and hard until she has to bend over with a hand pressed to her stomach. “That’s not really what we worry about her.” Ororo smiles. “But that felt good. I’m going to be in so much trouble, but that was wonderful.”

Thor snorts. “Let any man who would tell you to contain yourself answer to me.”

“Oh, I will absolutely tell him that,” Ororo says. “Come on, let’s go inside and you can tell me what else you can do.”