“You summoned me, Heimdall?” Thor strode into the Bifrost chamber. The golden-eyed Guardian turned to face him, nodding.
“Yes, my Prince. You are sworn to protect Midgard and an issue has arisen there that requires our attention.”
“Not Lady Jane again?” Thor said with a small sigh. He and Jane had soon realised they were not compatible beyond the first flush of attraction, but the woman still seemed a magnet for trouble.
“No; this is on the other side of the ocean. One of the Kree devices has been activated.”
“Ugh! How many are dead?”
“Only one. Two have evolved. One’s power is contained within herself; she is of no concern to us. The other is who you must retrieve; a young maiden who has gained power over the element of earth. She has not yet learned control and must be removed from her element, lest she cause great tragedy all unwitting. Go to her, Prince Thor, and I will send the Bifrost to take you both to a place where she will not endanger anyone while she learns to control her powers.”
The earth was shaking as they scrambled out of the tunnels and fled. Skye sobbed uncontrollably against Coulson’s shoulder; May kept glancing anxiously back at them as she drove the car as fast as she dared, heading back to the Bus.
“Coulson,” May said suddenly, “Look.”
Phil leaned forward from the back seat, looking at where she was pointing. A feeling of dread coiled in his stomach as he saw the pattern of lightning flaring in the sky.
“Is that what I think it is?” May asked.
“It looks as though we may have drawn some attention,” he said, shrugging. “Nothing we can do. Keep going. Looks like whoever it is will meet us at the Bus.”
Thor was standing at the Bus’s open ramp, being stared at in awe by the wide-eyed Koenig brothers, as the car pulled up. Coulson had murmured to Skye that they might be having Asgardian visitors, and she managed to suppress her tears, peering out of the window.
“It’s Thor himself,” Coulson muttered, spotting the red cape.
“The big guns, huh?” May said.
May caught Skye’s eye in the rearview mirror and smirked slightly. Skye managed a watery grin in return. Of course Coulson wouldn’t get the joke about Thor’s arms.
Mack – who hadn’t said a word since she told him what had happened to Trip – got out of the car first and stood facing Thor. As though that would do any good if the Asgardian had come to kill her. Thor was bigger even than Mack, and with that hammer… Skye’s thoughts broke off as her foot touched the ground and the earth started to shake again.
“Let not thy foot touch Midgard’s surface, my lady!” Thor boomed, striding forward. He took her hand in his to urge her back into the car, but as soon as their skin touched, both of them cried out.
“Ow, ow, that burns!” Skye squealed, trying to snatch her hand away, but even though Thor wasn’t holding on, she seemed to be stuck to him. And then her hand came away and she held it up, staring in astonishment as the odd circular birthmark on the palm of her hand began to fill in with swirling patterns of red and gold. Thor held out his hand, palm up, and she saw a similar pattern there, only his colours were flowing pale blue, white and yellow.
“What is it?” Skye said, horrified.
“It is a soul-bond, my lady, the way it appears among my people,” Thor gazed at her in wonder. “Over a thousand years I have searched for you,” he said, his deep voice low and soft, and then he dropped to one knee, gazing at her where she sat sideways on the back seat of the car, clapping his marked palm over his heart. “I vow myself to you, body and soul, my lady, as your champion and protector, for all time.”
Skye stared at the god kneeling before her. At his perfectly windswept blond hair, his blue eyes, the slight scruff of stubble across his hard jaw. He looked far too beautiful to be real. Born without soulmate words on her body, she’d spent her whole life waiting for them to appear, and in the end resigned herself to being one of the Unmarked. To discover that she did have a soulmate after all, Thor himself, on this day of all days – it was just too much. She burst into tears again.
Thor clenched his jaw, watching his soulmate weep. She seemed so young, so fragile to bear such a burden. He rose and turned to Coulson, who’d been watching with his eyes almost falling from his head. “I must take her away, Son of Coul. She endangers all of you until she has learned to control her power.”
“The quakes?” Coulson asked.
“Aye, Heimdall saw what has occurred and sent me to collect her. I will keep her safe, never fear.”
“I know you will.” Coulson offered his hand to shake. “We lost a friend today,” he said, too quietly for Skye to hear. “Let her grieve.”
“She will have all the time she needs, I promise you. I will send Lady Sif to you now and again, with news, until I am able to return her to you. Only one thing,” Thor hesitated. “What is her name?”
“Skye,” Coulson said quietly. Her father had called her Daisy, but he knew Skye well enough to know she would never use that name. “Her name is Skye.”
Thor inclined his head, turned back to the car, and lifted Skye out easily, cradling her close to his chest, before striding away from the plane to a clear patch of ground.
“Where are you taking me?” Skye sobbed out.
“To a place where you need not fear,” Thor told her gently. “Heimdall! Open the Bifrost!”