Ozymandias: King of Kings

Antique Land

Jane had arrived at the end of monsoon season in Asgard, something she did not expect to find in another realm. The land was already less perfect than she imagined. Regardless, she was thankful when the rains took a hiatus the morning of the feast. The humidity had been stifling, and Asgardian fashion in the rainy season trended toward long sleeves and heavy clothing. Her own dress this evening swept along the floor in steel grey waves, winding up her frame in waves and gathering slightly at the hip, continuing upward to a v-frame neckline and long sleeves that wrapped tightly around her arms. Atop loose curls sat a thinly woven silver crown, dotted with tiny flowers and thorns. As elegant as she felt, all Jane wanted was a pair of jeans.

However, the clearing of the rainclouds, even briefly, led to a brilliant sunset that evening. As Jane and Loki passed through the double doors leading to the balcony, they were greeted by a deep purple sky, tinged with flecks of blood red and the golden remnants of the setting sun. Jane gasped, both in awe of the bleeding sky and in pain. Her wrist had begun to ache in Loki's tightening grasp.

"Something amiss, my lady?" her escort asked innocently, but in a voice tinged with thinly veiled violence. His grip did not loosen.

Jane blinked, and turned to face him.

"My prince," she began, "While I appreciate your company, I understand if you do not wish to stay. Please return to the feast. You'll be happier, I imagine."

She stopped, and stared at Loki's face. To her surprise, he was smiling, almost laughing. His countenance softened, he seemed almost handsome, Jane thought. She shook the idea from her head. He was a murderer, a madman, and she was engaged to the God of Thunder.

"Oh, Jane," Loki laughed, using her name for the first time, "You must be nearly as thick as my dear brother to believe that I would rather return to that audacious feast than be anywhere else – even if it means supervising you." He smiled, his gaze returning the clouds above.

Jane's stare hardened. She was growing tired of Loki's provocations, and this time she took the bait.

"Then, Prince Loki," she responded as her voice toughened and muscles tensed, "I will be returning to the feast. I would rather join those loud, ill-mannered, rambunctious sycophants," she said, her voice escalating with every word as she jabbed Loki in the chest with a finger, "Than remain here a single second longer with you! You are nothing but an angry, frightened child who just couldn't deal with Thor as king."

She finished her tirade, staring at Loki, waiting for his next move. Lately, she was upset with everyone – with Thor, with Odin, with herself – and she was hoping for a fight, something to challenge her. She got it.

Loki hesitated. Then, without turning to look at her, grabbed Jane's other wrist, still positioned above his chest, and whipped her around, so she was standing immediately in front of him. Stepping forward, Loki forced Jane backward, effectively pinning her in between his solid form and the marble wall.

Jane cried out as Loki wrenched her hands above her head, holding them to the wall. He leaned in, face inches from her own, his eyes blazing and mouth twitching with rage.

"You…you…" Loki stammered, struggling to contain his fury, "Never presume to understand anything about my life. Never compare me to Thor. We are nothing alike, and I am not jealous of that oaf," he hissed, his grip tightening as his outburst continued.

Jane realized she had gotten herself into a very bad situation, and closed her eyes against Loki, picturing the blood-red sky through her tightly shut lids.

"Look. At. Me." Loki whispered, his voice dangerously soft.

Jane's eyes remained screwed shut, then fluttered open. Defiant as ever, Jane stared through him, looking across the balcony over the city sprawling below, tinged gold with the setting sun. She wished, more than anything, that she were out there now, roaming the streets and speaking with strangers, travelling from market to goldsmith to brewer, experiencing the life of an ordinary person. Instead, she was here. On this marble balcony. Escaping a party of people she hated, thrown in honor of the man she wasn't sure she loved, held tightly in the grasp of a man who had attempted to destroy two realms.

Firm fingers along her jawline snapped Jane out of her daydream. They lifted her face to look into Loki's eyes. Eyes, she noted, that were filled with anger, hatred, and something else. Pain, she discerned. A deep and bottomless pain. She recognized the feeling…she had felt it all her life since the death of her parents.

She tried to respond, tried to think of something clever to say or something to heal his pain. All she mustered was a faint "I'm so sorry" through tight lips as she attempted to wrench her face away from Loki's grasp. His grip was incredibly strong, however, and she knew there would be bruises come the morning on her face and wrists. He leaned in closely, the bloody sky gleaming off the golden-tinged silk framing his tall body.

"No," he whispered, "You're not sorry for me. You're sorry for you. And for the life you're being forced to live. And I am also sorry for you, Jane Foster."

With that, Loki released her from his iron grip and retreated down the balcony steps to the gardens, leaving Jane rubbing her wrists and staring into the darkening sky with blurred eyes.

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