Shadows of the Past

Summons

Angborn was on one knee in front of Odin's throne, head bowed respectfully. He awaited Odin's response to his – Loki's – request to see Thor. For the two weeks Loki had been locked in his room he had decreed that he have no visitors – especially Thor or Frigga. That decree had not changed when Loki had been moved to the dungeon. None of the Ravens were permitted contact with him either, that was why Angborn had ordered Jeren to get himself thrown in the dungeon. That way he had an excuse to walk by Loki's cell and check in on his prince's condition. Already, he knew Odin would say no.

"No," Odin replied.

What a surprise. Angborn wanted to stand but knew Odin would take it as an insult. Loki never made me kneel like some slave in the Dark Elves' Court. The one time I tried that he started blushing and waving his hands – his old stutter had even come back. He had said 'n-no, don't, you-you're my friend, you don't have to. I'm not worth it…' No other Royal or even noble he'd ever met had reacted like that, but Loki had never need anyone to kneel before and remind him that his rank was higher. Rank just wasn't a boundary for him, that's why he was friends with street orphans and commoners.

"Allfather," Angborn pleaded. "Loki is to be executed…"

"I said no Captain," Odin repeated. "I granted your request that the Raven Blades escort him to his execution as a final act before I disband you. That is enough. Dismissed."

Angborn stood. "Saying Loki's name will not end you Allfather." He instantly regretted his comment but it had already been said.

Odin's remaining eye hardened. "I said dismissed Captain, before I write you up for insubordination."

Angborn gave his curtest bow and left.

Loki's right, Angborn thought as he stalked out of the palace. Odin was infuriating. It was no wonder Loki spent so much time on Midgard away from Odin when he had been younger.

Wait, was? That was past tense. Loki was not dead yet, and Angborn didn't intend to let him die. Thor might just be able to talk some sense back into Loki, but he was on Midgard. How was he supposed to get to him?

The glimmer of the Rainbow Bridge that cut across Asgard caught his eye. Angborn looked down to the Bifrost. That would do.


Asgard had no equivalent of coffee but Thor had to admit, it was nice once you got used to it. As long as he kept his temper under control he didn't risk breaking the mug either. That was the most irritating thing about Midgard to Thor – how fragile it was to someone as strong as himself. He had to be careful.

Well, one of the irritating things, Odin, Loki… His grip tightened and the ceramic mug cracked. Thor quickly set the mug down before he broke it. Trying to slow his heartbeat, Thor looked out one of the glass windows of Jane's lab out into the desert.

The little town of Puente Antiguo had been rebuilt from Thor's fight with the Destroyer. Despite learning that their visitor Thor was really the prince of an alien race of godlike immortals, they didn't think much of it. It might have been because Thor had spent time here when he was mortal, or that so many of them humans had seen him fight to defend their home. For whatever reason, Thor didn't have to deal with so many flustered humans, or something called a paparazzi here.

Because of all that, Jane had moved back to her old lab here while Thor was with her. SHIELD had wanted to send one of their agents with Jane again, especially since the town she was at now was out of the way. Jane had said that she couldn't be safer with a human then with Thor. They had relented, for now.

Thor agreed with SHIELD about Jane needing protection, but Jane was being stubborn again. He watched her now as she walked out of the kitchen with a plate of pancakes – something else Asgard didn't have.

"Don't start," Jane warned as she sat at the table next to Thor.

"I said naught," Thor innocently replied.

"I am not having an agent assigned to me that spends all their time spying on me."

Thor sighed. "That is not what they will do."

"Officially," Jane agreed, pouring syrup onto her pancakes. "What do Asgardians have on espionage?"

Thor frowned, not recognizing the word.

Jane set the syrup down and started spreading it with her knife. "You know, spy stuff, cloak and dagger?"

"Oh, that," Thor shook his head. "I never did anything with it. Loki has ah, he calls them 'his birds,' scattered across Asgard and the Realms. They report to him. He usually has a better idea what's going on everywhere then Heimdall or Odin."

He looked down at the coffee in the mug, hands clenched, realizing he was talking in the present tense. Soon it wouldn't be…

Jane bit her lip. That was a sensitive subject that was best kept off of. Thor would tell her about growing up with Loki at his own pace. "Think about it this way Thor. The other eight race of the Realms are as immortal as the Asgardians. No matter how well trained a human is, they're no match for an Asgardian. They'd just get themselves killed and it still wouldn't do much."

"You are on Midgard," Thor disagreed, glad Jane had changed the subject. "It is the middle realm but the only true threats you'll come across are from other humans. The chance that one of the other Realmers would come after you…" He shrugged, "isn't here. Most Realmers would consider a human mate little more than a concubine and not worth being targeted. You're not," he added quickly at Jane's look, "but no one else would believe that is so. The only threats would be human in nature and SHIELD is effective against that."

Jane was irritated that he had a point as she cut some of her pancakes. She already knew what Odin thought about Thor's relationship with her.

"I've managed well so far." An idea suddenly came. "What if SHIELD were to assign me a male agent and I found him cute," she took a bite.

"I would kill him," Thor said, perfectly level.

Jane smiled, taking a sip of her milk. She didn't think Thor was being serious. He was adorable sometimes.

"Hey Jane!" Jane's intern, Darcy, looked up from the various computer consoles on one side of the room. "Come look at your instruments, I think we may have company."

Jane set her silverware down with a frown, and gave Thor a curious look as she stood. He could merely shrug. He expected no company, but Jane's sensors could detect a buildup of energy that portals made. Just to be safe, Thor telepathically reached out and made sure Mjolnir could hear him.

The light outside the glass walls suddenly increased tenfold, and Thor was forced to cover his eyes and duck his head. He knew the Bifrost's light though he might still need Mjolnir. He pushed his chair back and walked outside onto the patio.

The dust from the Bifrost faded and Thor straightened in surprise, "Angborn?"

Angborn opened his eyes slowly and made sure that he hadn't lost a hand in transport. When he realized he was fine, he took a breath in relief and looked towards Thor.

"I hate traveling by the Bifrost," he told his Prince as he walked over, steps slightly unsteady.

Darcy saw Angborn, and shook Jane's shoulder. "Jane look up."

"In a minute," Jane dismissed, "look at these wavelengths..."

"Now," Darcy repeated, "that company I mentioned is here."

Jane glanced up at Darcy and looked over. Someone was walking over to Thor. If his dark gold armor and sword were any indication, it was another Asgardian.

Angborn saluted Thor and collapsed onto the edge of the patio, lowering his head and taking shallow breathes like Loki had shown him until his illness passed. He took off his helmet, letting the warm New Mexico wind rustle through his dark red hair, eyes closed. The breeze helped clear his head.

Thor smiled. Some people managed being transported by the Bifrost better than others, like how some got seasick. Angborn was defiantly part of the others but at least he had enough experience with it now that he didn't lose his lunch or pass out like he used to do.

"The Bifrost still doesn't agree with you?" He teased.

Angborn glared at him, feeling slightly better he stood. "I'll take a teleport spell or a portal any day though I'm pleased you're so amused my prince."

Thor managed to stop smiling.

Cautiously, Jane approached Thor, Darcy behind her. Angborn noticed them and apprised the two mortals. His eyes rested on Jane. "May I presume you are Milady Jane, whom Thor has spoken so highly of?"

Jane only nodded, she wasn't used to dealing with immortals other than Thor. Darcy was wondering if it was a genetic trait that all Asgardian men were so handsome. Angborn was as much a knockout as Thor.

"You don't seem to be speaking down to me," Jane asked. "I am just a mortal."

Angborn shook his head. "Ranks are a boundary on Asgard but growing up with Loki," he shrugged, "makes it hard to keep thinking that a lower rank makes someone inferior."

"Loki's a prince though?" Jane frowned. "His rank is high."

"True," Angborn acknowledged, "but I'm one of his only friends with a high rank. The rest are orphans and second sons. He doesn't look at rank when he meets a person. He judges them based on their actions not on how much they have or how pure their blood is."

That sounded like a very different Loki then the one that attacked New York, Jane thought to herself. Then again, what Thor has told me about Loki makes it seem like it was his evil twin who led those Chitauri.

"Who is this?" Angborn asked, looking at Darcy.

Darcy was too star struck to answer.

"This is my intern, Darcy," Jane introduced.

Angborn frowned at the alien word.

"Her apprentice." Thor translated. "She learns Jane's trade without payment."

"Ah," that made sense to him. "What is she holding?"

Jane looked at Darcy. Darcy was holding her Taser. "Darcy!"

"What? It worked on Thor!"

Jane started pushing Darcy back inside, face red, glad that Angborn didn't know what a Taser was. "When he was mortal, those two aren't, and I don't think Angborn's a bad guy."

"H-hey! Stop pushing!" Darcy complained. "Better safe than sorry…"

The Asgardians waited until they were back inside to resume their conversation. "Why are you here Angborn?" He would have thought Odin would send Sif or one of the Warriors Three to fetch him.

"I'm relaying a summons."

Thor frowned, "I'll come back tomorrow. I told Odin that when I left. Two days before Loki..." His voice trailed off again.

"The summons aren't from Odin," Angborn promised. Odin hopefully doesn't know I talked Heimdall into letting me come here yet. It was lucky for him Heimdall approved of Thor falling in love with a mortal as much as Odin did. "They're from Loki."

"Loki!"

"Huh, what? He's here!" Darcy shouted grabbing her Taser again, having only heard part of their conversation.

"No!" Angborn called over.

"Give me that!" Jane ordered, taking the Taser and shoving it in a drawer.

Thor took a breath. Loki wants to see me. Did I… did I get through to him on the Helicarrier? "His muzzle has been removed?"

Angborn signed out Loki's message with one hand. "Jeren was thrown in the dungeon again and saw Loki sign out the message when he walked by the cell. It says 'get Thor.'"

"Hey, was that ASL?" Darcy called again, behind the counter with Jane.

"Shush!" Jane ordered.

"Yes!" Angborn answered, "It's one of the things Loki learned during the times he came here. He taught the rest of the Ravens it but we're the only Æsir that know."

"Loki's been here before New York?" Darcy walked over slightly surprised.

Angborn's look turned irritated. "Many times, New York was the first time he ever hurt Midgard." He glanced at Thor. "Another thing Loki learned was English. He made Thor learn it, and Thor said that it was a useless skill."

Thor glared, color rising slightly.

"So you don't speak English normally?" Jane gave up giving the two some privacy and closed the distance. "What language do you speak?"

"The language you humans call Ancient Norse is close. It's partially based off of our own. If you understand that you'll understand ours," Angborn paused, "to a degree."

Darcy made a mental note to start teaching herself Ancient Norse so she could speak Angborn's language. Jane knew SHIELD would find that bit of information very intriguing, and thought she could trade it for a promise not to be assigned an agent.

"So will you come with me, my Prince?" Angborn asked Thor.

Thor nodded. "Give me a moment."

Angborn saluted again and walked over to the scorch marks in the ground, thinking about how wonderful it was to get thrown across the star cluster by Heimdall.

"You're going back to Asgard," Jane whispered.

"Yes," Thor sighed, stroking her cheek. "I don't know when I'll be back. I must hear what Loki has to say. I must know whether it is my younger brother about to be executed or an enemy."

Jane nodded somberly. She didn't have any siblings but if she did, she'd be trying to help them to.

Thor leaned in and gave her a kiss. Then he walked out to where Angborn was. Angborn eyed him. It took Thor a moment to understand why. He was still dressed in a t-shirt and jeans. "All right Heimdall, I guess I'll be looking like this for a while."

After a moment, the Bifrost opened. The last thing Thor saw was Jane standing on her patio, waving.

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