By the hands of the Gods, you have been plucked from your time and from your world, dropped into the box.
Only the box is a world of its own.
We are a mass crossover based on the concept of Pandora's Box. Characters from nearly any fandom can be played here. Because of the endless character possibilities, we are canon only here at Pandora. Take a peek at our rules and plot information before starting your new life in Pandora.
Thor was in a bar once again, half-sprawled over the counter and prodding listlessly at the remains of his mead. He’d had something like six or seven tankards already, and would have had more if it hadn’t tasted so weak and watery. While he’d had worse, he’d certainly had better. No matter how badly he wanted it to, no mead in this realm would ever taste like the mead served in the golden halls of his youth. Halls full of warmth, joy and life.
For Asgard, the Realm Eternal, was eternal no more.
One would think that, after nearly a year to get used to his home being no more, it would get easier to accept. But it didn’t, and his yearning had only grown worse over the last several weeks. Ever since Thor had caught wind of Asgardians in this world, and had pursued signs of them for days on end only to be led straight to Doom.
Not for the first time that night, he cursed the mortal sorcerer under his breath and reached for his tankard again, about to take another gulp before a young woman approached him. Dark-haired, blue-eyed. With wide smiles and even wider hips, and very clearly interested in him.
Thor smiled thinly and brushed her off with a polite shake of his head, returning to his mead and thinking that would be the end of that. But then she pressed closer and reached out to touch his arm, and Thor was already pulling his arm back and rising to his feet before he even knew what he was doing. Grabbing his tankard and retreating to the far end of the bar, swaying a little on his feet.
Because he didn’t want to meet new people, didn’t wantto be touched, and he most certainly didn’t want to have a good time. All he wanted was to be left in peace, but clearly people couldn’t get the hint.
He settled back on a barstool, hunching his shoulders up and glaring sullenly at his empty tankard.
Brunnhilde would have thought she was hitting the bars a little harder than normal, but that would have been a lie. There seemed to be little difference between this moment and the majority of her life. Bars were just a part of who she was at this point. A place where she felt comfortable, even if it was a different bar every night. They all had similar elements and similar faces. The details didn't really matter, or so Brunnhilde had told herself.
She had scoured herself away into the corner of a place without really looking at the name of it or paying attention to much more than the fact that they had decent drinks. Things that could actually put a dent in her normally formidable drinking ability. Which was what she wanted for that night and had wanted for most nights since Doom.
Doom had rattled her cage, though there was little that could be said about it. It wasn't as devastating as Hela had been, but Brunn still didn't want to deal with it. Avoiding things was best for her, doubly when it came to the fact that Thor had shown up. Shown up when she had least expected help and that had affected her more in the long run than anything else.
Of course, it was then that she realized that Thor was in this bar. When he had arrived, Brunn wasn't certain. She had had a pretty woman on her lap and had been half tipsy anyways, but the woman had gotten up to go somewhere and sudden Brunn had a clear view of the bar.
There was something about the set of his shoulders that set off alarm bells for Brunnhilde. She watched him for awhile, saw how he avoided contact in every form, and could only guess that something else had happened to him. With a bit of a sigh, she ordered the strongest drink the place had and then had it sent over to him, carefully waiting to see if he would look in her direction or not when it was given to him. Brunn didn't know why she was doing this... and then again, she knew.
She hadn't felt kinship in thousands of years. And yet, when she had nightmares, there was a new figure to them. Just a presence, something in the back of her thoughts, wondering what might have been different if Thor had been there instead of Odin. Hel damned bastard.
Thor was still glaring at his empty tankard, mind muddled with far too many thoughts and far too much mead. Not enough mead, in his opinion. But just enough that his face was flushed, sweat was trickling down his neck, and his t-shirt was already sticking to him like a second skin. Such was the drawback when drinking at bars, with far too many people pressing in on all sides. Or maybe it was all in his head and he really did have enough space. Maybe, though he wasn’t all that certain.
At least the woman hadn’t followed him. She’d probably gotten the hint, deciding to move on and seduce someone else. Which was just fine by Thor, because he wasn’t in the mood for that sort of companionship, even though he was... well, lonely. Stark’s party a few nights ago had reminded Thor just how much he missed his friends, how much he wished that things could go back to the way they were. How much he missed his Asgardian friends, too. Fandral, Volstagg, Hogunn, Sif, Heimdall. Countless more, all lost. All gone, feasting in the halls of Valhalla without him, along with his mother and... well, he supposed if his father was here, then his mother supped alone.
Thor was still mad at Odin, but he supposed he wasn’t mad enough to not want his parents to reunite someday. They’d been good for each other, and sometimes... sometimes, Thor couldn’t help but wonder who Hela’s mother had been, because he couldn’t picture Frigga ever approving of even half the things Hela had done.
Had Frigga known? Had she known the truth lurking behind Asgard’s glittering spires and golden halls? Or had she and Odin wed after that, after he’d decided to be a benevolent king?
Thor didn’t know, and he clearly wasn’t drunk enough if he was still thinking so hard about such things.
Which was why, when the bartender replaced his empty tankard with a frothy purple drink and said it was on the house from someone else, Thor decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Sure, he glanced around to see if he caught anyone’s eye, but a quick scan didn’t yield — wait, was that Valkyrie?
He blinked in surprise, but she was staring straight at him. How long had she even been here for? Gods, was she the one who’d bought him the drink? Was this some sort of olive branch, or peace offering?
It would be her style, what with alcohol pretty much flowing through her veins.
Thor managed a tight smile, raising the glass in thanks before taking a generous sip. It burned on the way down, almost bringing tears to his eye. But it was a pleasant burn, a burn that was already making his head swim in a comforting haze.
There was something off about Thor. Something more than what she had seen when he had been fighting with that idiot Doom. Valkyrie couldn't help but to watch him, taking in how he had certainly moved away from everyone else anytime they got close. He looked up when his free drink arrived and they made eye contact. Brunnhilde didn't shy from his gaze but there was something measured in the way she took in his smile.
But then he was gone in the drink and Brunnhilde watched him order several more after he consumed the first. Thor was aiming to get drunk. Not even a little drunk, he was aiming to get really drunk, and Brunnhilde could pick up tells from simply watching him. The lady who had been in her lap arrived again and while Brunn was certainly welcoming to the distraction, it was difficult for the valkyrie to give her full attention to anyone else as she watched Thor start to slide down a path she knew all too well.
And so she told the woman to go find other company for the night. Thor was far into his drinks by the time Brunn stood up to go collect him. She stopped just a foot away from him with her eyebrows lifted slightly. She had also been drinking, but it had been subdued compared to her normal rate.
"Come. You will need to sleep this off." Her voice was not unkind but there was a tightness to it that Brunn ignored. These were words that were foreign to her. At this stage in her life it was difficult to realize that she was changing. The valkyrie had been stuck in her ways for so long that she hadn't spoken words of concern over another in... well, since before she had been the last valkyrie left alive.
Her hand was held out to him, in a gesture that seemed casual. He could take her grip or stand on his own. Either way she was going to make sure he wound up somewhere decently safe for the night. Not making a mess or embarrassment out of himself when he was obviously going through something. But she was not asking uncomfortable questions and her concern had to have a limit. Brunn was sure she couldn't have changed that much in such a short amount of time.
Thor drank, and drank, and drank some more. Whatever the hell the drink was, it was strong. Strong enough to numb everything, which was... well, it was admittedly what he was after. He didn’t want to think, he didn’t want to feel, and he most certainly didn’t want people to talk to him. Luckily, most of the bar’s patrons were giving him a wide berth. Maybe it was obvious by the set of his shoulders and all the drinks he was consuming that he wasn’t in the mood for idle chatter. Maybe, though he wasn’t really paying much attention anymore. He’d stopped glancing in Valkyrie’s direction after the first three glasses.
He wasn’t sure how long it had been, or how many drinks he’d managed to consume, but after a certain point his head was pounding and his vision was a blur. He was currently half-slumped over the bartop, head cushioned on his arms. Feeling a strange mix of energetic but numb, staring at nothing in particular. Although it sure was bright, and it sure was loud. Ymir’s armpits, didn’t they know he was trying to sleep? Incredibly rude of them to not keep it down.
Something wandered into the middle of his vision, a familiar voice speaking. Speaking, but there were no words. Strange, that. Where did the words go? He tried to ask, but all that came out was a mumbled gurgle. Not that he was aware of that, but he did grow aware of her... hand? Oh, it was a hand. He wheezed out a laugh, giving her a high five. Or was it a low five? The thought made him giggle some more.
She knew by how he was moving that he was very gone. Drunk, terribly so, and unable to process things around him correctly. She had been there. This was the state that Brunnhilde normally told herself she preferred but looking at Thor now she had to wonder how bad it really was. What did this achieve? There was a small thread of shame in her but Brunnhilde also knew that she was far more functional when she was drunk. Eons in that state had helped her not only build up her tolerance but helped her operate where others could not. Did that really make it all that different from this?
He slapped her hand and Brunnhilde couldn't contain her eye roll at the gesture. They were in far too public of a place for her to react any differently. But she caught his hand all the same, even as he started to giggle. "Come on, Thor. Time to go." She didn't think he had a home around these parts. She couldn't quite remember if that subject had come up or not during the few times they had met. Even if it had Brunn would have likely ignored it and purposefully forgotten it.
It didn't really matter. There were a few bunks on her ship and he could easily be squeezed into one even if it might have been a little tight for someone his size. Really, he was a big man. Tall and well built. "Sober up on my ship." That was spoken a little more carefully, her tone dropping a few spots because it was something she wouldn't have said in forever. Or rather, hadn't said in forever with this kind of meaning.
She might not have the details but she understood that something was wrong. Still Brunn was not someone who could pass judgement on this kind of moment. Not on someone who had stepped in when he didn't have to. Not for someone she felt a kinship with. That could only create understanding in the valkyrie and so she gently started to lift him from his seat with that one arm. He weighed more than one would think but she was Asgardian. She could have carried him to her ship with all the ease in the world.
More speaking, but this time Thor’s muddled thoughts managed to parse the words together. Something about leaving? He made a small noise of protest because he was so comfortable here, even though it was noisy. I don’t want to go, he tried saying, but it only came out as a whined mumble, even as he felt someone tug on his hand.
Wait, who was tugging on his hand? Someone familiar, someone his thoughts couldn’t quite place. Someone with a soft voice and dark skin, someone—
Panic surged through him as he started to rise, realizing that that someone was still holding his hand. He stiffened and tried to squirm away, but all he managed was to lose his balance and grab that someone’s other arm so he didn’t fall flat on his face, his feet stubbornly refusing to obey him.
Staring up at them through a bleary eye, he suddenly recognized who it was. Valkyrie. He heaved a sigh of relief and felt himself sag, felt all the tension seep free from his muscles. One hand still gripping her bicep — an admittedly firm bicep, he noticed — and his other hand still held in hers.
“M’not sober,” he slurred. Meaning to say that he wasn’t drunk, but his thoughts were going in all sorts of directions and his feet were having plenty of difficulty moving, so maybe he wasn’t as sober as he thought.
Still, Valkyrie got a firmer grip around him and he somehow managed to stand. He did wind up leaning against her, mostly. Was his arm around her shoulders now? It kind of felt like it. He wasn’t sure. All he knew was that he tried to walk, and managed. Somehow. But it didn’t feel like he was moving his feet all that much, either.
Maybe he was floating. That sounded likely. But he couldn’t fly without a hammer, without Mjolnir, and he felt another stab of loss. He’d always thought that the hammer made him worthy, but it’d never been the hammer at all, had it? Not if Hela had once wielded it. He’d seen how she held it in those murals, and she couldn’t have been worthy at all if she reveled in such wanton destruction. But somehow she had been, so... so how the hel did Mjolnir measure worth?
Or rather, how the hel did his father measure worth?
Gods, he wasn’t drunk enough if he was thinking such things again.
“M’need mo’ of that stuff,” he mumbled, squirming in Valkyrie’s grip. “That purp’ stuff. Too many thinks. Thoughts. Fuck.” Thoughts was the word, wasn’t it? He was pretty sure it was thoughts. “Fucking fuck.”
He giggled, thinking the word such a funny-sounding one. “Fuck,” he whispered, then grinned as if a wonderful idea had just occurred to him. He lowered his voice, almost conspiratorially. “Fuck Father,” he added, giggling again.
"No, you're not sober at all." The valkyrie answered easily enough and was frank about it. Brunnhilde didn't know what he was thinking but he wasn't shying away from her in the same manner that he had others. Which was a good sign because Brunnhilde wouldn't have to struggle with him. Whether that was because he decided to trust her or because he was just that drunk, she wouldn't have known.
His arm was around her shoulders and hers was wrapped around his torso. Keeping a grip on him as he leaned to make sure he wouldn't stumble or fall away from her. But Thor's words certainly struck home in Brunnhilde. It sounded like he was mulling over darker thoughts. Things that wanted to explode from his chest. There was an anger there but also a despair to it as well. His world had been shaken in some manner and Brunnhilde didn't know all the details. Perhaps she didn't want to know all the details.
Fuck Father. Something to do with Odin then. Brunnhilde didn't respond to Thor's drunk mutterings. Instead the valkyrie concentrated on getting them back to her ship. She had parked a little bit away, but getting him up the walkway had been interesting and then rolling him onto one of the bunks she had was almost hilarious because he barely fit into the thing.
"You need to lay on your side." Her tone was gentler than it had ever been with Odin's son but there was still a firmness to it. He was going to listen to her. Brunnhilde just assumed that he would not remember a lick of this in the morning. Blackout drunk was what Thor was. She didn't think he'd remember anything at all. So her hands reached down to him when he couldn't comply and she twisted him into the bunk to make sure he wouldn't be flat on his back. It'd be one of the stupidest ways for the man to hurt himself but he was a man, so Brunnhilde didn't put it past him.
Her own bunk was just above his, though it was the larger one. More space up, though it was the same length. Perhaps a kinder soul would have put Thor in this bunk but Brunnhilde felt like she had a certain reputation to uphold with the man. Couldn't be too nice or he'd perhaps figure out that he had found a gap in her armor. Slowly she drifted off to sleep, though it took her longer than normal because there was another person on her ship. When was the last time that had happened?
Thor’s return to consciousness was a struggle, a struggle he didn’t even realize he had to fight for. Not until his eye fluttered open and the blinding light that met it made him groan and squeeze it shut again. Gods, his head hurt. More than hurt, it pounded. As if someone had taken a hammer to his head, bringing it down upon his cranium again and again and a-bloody-gain.
So he lay there, trying to focus on breathing. It wasn’t the first time he’d woken up with a hangover and it wouldn’t be the last, either. He didn’t really remember the previous night, but he could still taste the remnants of some oddly fruity-tasting drink on his tongue. Now that he thought about it, his mouth felt incredibly dry. Worse, his bladder felt like it would burst if he didn’t empty it soon.
With a groan, he started to rise, rolling over — and hitting his head on the underside of the bed above him. He tumbled out of bed with a pained yelp, crashing to the floor in a mess of limbs.
“Who the hel put a bed there?” he demanded, then groaned again as he covered his eye with a hand to shield it from how bright it was, unwilling to struggle to his feet just yet. Not when it felt like the room was spinning and, if he moved even an inch in the wrong direction, he would immediately empty all the contents of his stomach.
Brunnhilde slept pretty well once she had gotten to sleep. Why wouldn't she? This was her ship and that was where she was the most comfortable. Even if there was another person in her ship that wasn't locked away below, she still could sleep like the dead when she had a decent amount of drink in her.
It wasn't until she felt something thump into the underside of her bunk that she actually started to wake up. Of course, she was up in a flash compared to normal because there was someone close by and making noise. Never a good thing, at least in her life, so she was awake almost instantly instead of her normal routine. Which was mostly laying about in bed for an hour or so until she felt well enough to get up. Some days she didn't even get out of bed but that was the bliss of living without caring about anyone else.
Or at least, that was her normal operating standard. She quickly remembered that she had dragged Thor on board the night before. She remembered how he had looked and there was that damn feeling of kinship that had roused her into action. Part of her regretted that. Another part of her knew that there had been no other course of action to take.
He grumbled about where he was but Brunn knew it was simply a side effect of whatever hang over he was having. It couldn't have been a good one. The light had turned on with enough movement and Brunnhilde quickly shifted to move out of her bunk and land on the floor just to the side of where Thor was laying. "Is it not to your liking, lordling?" There might have been a little bite of sarcasm around the title but Brunn very pointedly did not use the term Odinspawn and it was not spoken with the normal amount of hate she normally used for him.
Something had changed inside of her but she doubted Thor would be alive enough to process that. He was still very much dead to the world, even if it was in a different manner than what he had been the night before. "Get up. Don't get sick anywhere on my ship except for the bathroom." Only Brunnhilde had that privilege. She smacked the bed next to his head just to pretend to still be an asshole then she moved away, giving him whatever space he probably needed.
Focused as he was on keeping the contents of his stomach firmly where they were, Thor didn’t realize someone else was there until he heard the telltale thump of feet land next to him, and a voice that was as familiar as it was mocking slowly but surely pierce through his hazy thoughts, making him groan aloud.
“Oh gods, it’s you,” he hissed through gritted teeth, dragging his hands down his face. Where the hel had she come from? He struggled to remember, but his pounding headache kept him from stringing his thoughts together in any way that made sense, making every attempt at remembering the events leading up to the present horribly inadequate.
He pressed his lips together and stilled, trying to settle his stomach by sheer force of will, even as he heard her go off someone, talking about... about her ship? Gods above, was he on her ship? He pulled his hands away from his face and blinked up at the unfamiliar ceiling. How the hel had that happened?
Maybe he would have pondered it some more if his stomach didn’t lurch dangerously again. Rolling over, Thor crawled across the room on hands and knees as fast as he could until he located the bathroom and all but gripped the toilet seat to puke. Noisily and repeatedly, until nothing was left in his stomach but bile and all he was doing was just dry-heaving.
Hand shaking, he wiped the back of his mouth and rose unsteadily. Flushing the toilet, then taking care of other business, like his bladder. It was some time before he lurched out of the bathroom, noting that the sleeping quarters were small, cramped, and had more beds — or, rather, bunks — than he’d been expecting.
While a part of him desperately wanted to go back to bed, his head was still pounding. Past experience meant that he knew he ought to eat something dry and sip some water first, so he shuffled over to wherever else the ship led.
It’s you. There was a little spark of pleasure in Brunnhilde at his reaction. Mostly because it meant that he had not remembered any of her kindness from the night before but also because he said it in such a way that suggested she had left a bit of an impression. That Brunn was someone he had wound up disliking because she had worked so hard at it. Perhaps that would give her a little bit of a shield when it came to hiding whatever this kinship was.
The longer that Thor was around the more likely that her shield would fail, but for the moment everything was alright. He was too hung over to notice any sort of detail and that was something that Brunn was grateful for. A little bit more of a buffer.
She watched as he crawled to the ship’s bathroom. Looked away and ignored whatever noises were coming from there. Honestly, Brunnhilde had done that so many times herself that she did not judge him for it. She didn’t judge him for getting drunk, for being sick, or anything that could have been going on. Brunn could only guess what was going on with him from experience and that was something she would also keep to herself… for now.
But he would need something if Brunn wanted him off her ship sooner instead of later. So while he was being sick the valkyrie made her way to the small mess that her ship had and she quickly pulled out her hang over staples. Something that humans called “gatorade” and pop tarts. Brunn really did like poptarts, they came in a million flavors and it was almost impossible to burn them even when you were dead to the world.
So she heated the poptarts and threw them back into the foil when they were done (something she did for herself) and then she snagged the gatorade, before walking back towards Thor. He was halfway into the hallway at this stage and Brunn simply shoved the items in his hands. ”You ever tell anyone I did this and I will not only deny doing so, but I will circle around and murder you in your sleep.” There was a smile as she spoke. He wouldn’t die in battle and that was the threat. No Valhalla for Thor if he ever breathed a word about the valkyrie making him poptarts for his hang over.
Thor blinked owlishly at what Valkyrie shoved into his hands. Was that gatorade and — and poptarts? He made a noise, a mix between confusion and interest. Wondering if poptarts would do more damage than good in his current state, but finding that he didn’t quite care when he hadn’t had one of his favorite snacks in months. His mouth was already watering, earlier nausea all but forgotten.
But then Valkyrie’s words finally registered, and he pressed her offerings to his chest like she might suddenly change her mind and snatch them away. Knowing her, she probably would. As much as his head was still pounding, he was cognizant enough to know not to give her cause to follow through with her threat.
“Right, yeah — uh, thanks,” he tried, but his own smile probably looked more like a grimace. Everything still felt hel-damned awful and it was still hard to think clearly, so he gave a little wave — gatorade in hand — and shuffled back to his bunk.
...Or what he assumed was his bunk, flopping down on it with a sigh as he started nibbling on a poptart. Slowly, so he didn’t puke his guts out again. Taking small sips of gatorade, then settling back in bed when he started feeling queasy again. Trying to ignore his pounding headache, and wondering when, how and why Valkyrie had brought him to her ship. He barely remembered the previous night, everything still a nauseous blur.
Eventually, he drifted off to sleep again, but when he next woke up he felt much, much better. More alert, more refreshed. Still groggy true, but his headache had subsided significantly. He rose with a groan, stretching. Spotting his gatorade next to the bed, so he got up and finished it off. Then he went to the bathroom, seeing to some basic needs and washing his face. And eventually, he shuffled further into the ship in search of Valkyrie.
When he found her, Thor wasn’t sure what to say let alone do. She wasn’t looking at him, her attention elsewhere. Thor leaned an arm against the doorframe, then thought better of it. Folding his hands in front of him, then deciding that looked stupid too. He kept fidgeting, until she glanced in his direction and he froze, clearing his throat.
“Uh, hi.” He gave a little wave, wiggling his fingers. “I slept again and feel loads better after eating, so thank you for that. How’d you know poptarts were my favorite? Nevermind, I appreciate it. Truly, even though I barely remember anything about last night.” A helpless laugh escaped him, his gaze dropping briefly as his hands went to his hips. “Hopefully I didn’t make too much of a fool of myself.”
Considering how he didn’t remember more than flashes — a purplish drink, sitting in the corner alone, barely talking to anyone — he didn’t think he’d made a scene. Hoped not, at least.
He thanked her and Brunnhilde shrugged off his words. He was also confused, though the valkyrie suspected that the man was easy to confuse on most days, and she wanted to keep it that way for as long as possible. Thor shuffled off to go have his hang over in the bunk and she moved back to the mess to make herself her own set of poptarts (of her favorite flavor, smores, and not the silly blueberry one she had given the other Asgardian). She then plopped down in the pilot's seat and started out for her day. She might have had additional cargo on board but he could get home just fine on his own and she had a bounty to go after that day. Money was always god in her life.
Thor slept another few hours while she flew out to where she needed to be in Centria. Where she had tracked down her latest mark, hiding in some little suburb southwest of Ark City. It wasn't all that difficult to catch him but he had been a wily, little mark in covering his tracks. He was good at that and that was why Brunnhilde had been hired. To damn well find the man.
They only had a little bit more to go when Thor suddenly came out from the back of the ship. He instantly started talking and it was on a subject that almost looked-- no it was self depreciating. It was more along the lines of what she had seen the night before. Which meant it side stepped all those supposedly cranky emotions that Brunnhilde showed him all the time. Any and all feigned hostility left her face when he looked down. When Thor looked back up there was a far more serious woman looking at him. Understanding, in a manner she had not shown him before. That she had not shown anyone in a very long time.
"You did not make a fool out of yourself. You were quiet and you drank too much. That is all." Brunnhilde didn't put any judgement in her voice. Before it had laced every word with as much weight as possible, because she had hated the blood running through his veins even if she did not know him. There had been a large part of Brunnhilde that had assumed he would be like his father. There was so much of Odin in his likeness and in his manner. She had refused to see the differences and now she could not ignore them. Not after what had happened.
Brunnhilde turned and waved a hand over her shoulder, suggesting he could do whatever he liked and she didn't really care, before she returned her attention to what she had been doing before. "We're just southwest of Ark City." Telling him that they had moved was as much as she was going to say on what happened next. He could leave, he could stay, he could... even ask questions, though if he asked any hel damned stupid ones she was going to make him regret it. That much had not changed an iota in her soul. Even if she felt different about him, if Thor was stupid, Brunn would certainly let him know.
At the sound of Valkyrie’s voice, he raised his head. There was no judgement or derision in her words, nor was there any on her face. Somehow, it made him feel worse than if she’d scoffed at him, or told him off the way she normally did. His smile fell, his shoulders tensing as his arms rose to fold over his chest. Something twisting in his gut, something that made him want to be sick all over again. If even Valkyrie had noticed his behavior, then what hope was there of pretending everything was all right?
Gods, he was too sober for this.
Slowly, Thor made his way closer to her. Gripping the back of her seat, peering over her shoulder at the landscape spreading out below them. It was Ark City, all right. He recognized the buildings, the skyscrapers. He’d flown over them, with Thunderstrike. His fingers dug into the headrest briefly, remembering that blasted hammer.
He grunted, tearing his gaze away. Finally settling into the seat next to her, because at the speed they were flying he felt his earlier nausea return. Silence stretched out between them, Thor not really knowing what to say to fill it. Suddenly not wanting to fill it, because everything he could think of saying felt inadequate.
“What are — what are we doing here, exactly?” he finally settled on, his gaze flickering briefly towards her. He didn’t live in Ark City anymore, and hadn’t for some time. Not since his father had dropped by unannounced for a visit. Just thinking about him made Thor swallow, made his hands ball into fists briefly.
Brunnhilde was being respectful to Thor in a manner that she understood. If he didn't, then that was on him. The valkyrie didn't have a need to be understood. She did not have a need for this emotion to be returned in any knowing way. Again, Thor was making this easier for her by being so hung over he couldn't think correctly and that was not going to be corrected. For Brunn had caught the flicker of emotion on his face when his smile had fallen. She knew what kind of guilt rode his thoughts.
For the moment, it was something she couldn't think too hard about otherwise who knew how she would damn well feel? He asked a question and that was easy to answer at least. "I have a job to do today." The words were simply spoken. She had not asked his permission to move him from where they had been before on the other side of the city nor was she seeking forgiveness for it. Instead this was just a fact he would have to deal with, much like many other things in his life she was sure.
Those subtle changes in his posture and manner were open signs to the valkyrie. He was almost an open book to her, even if she didn't have all the puzzle pieces. Her experience in life helped her color things in a little more confidently than most. It also helped that she was entirely sober and had not gotten that drunk the night before. Brunnhilde had no hang over to try and ignore. Which meant she was catching plenty of details she might have otherwise ignored.
"Bounty on a man. Decently smart for a mortal." There might have been a tone of amusement at it but she was almost making her speech conversational. Casual. Not refusing conversation or hurling insults. Instead, she was just... speaking to him. Brunnhilde may have been trying to hide behind her shield but that shield had grown much smaller than she had thought.
Ah yes, a job. She was a bounty hunter, wasn’t she? Chased people down for money, sometimes abducting them but most times killing them. What the hell did she do with all that money anyway? He glanced around her ship, as if seeing it for the first time. He’d been here once before. But he’d been her captive back then, and he remembered admittedly very little about it except that she’d stowed him away somewhere below the cockpit. She probably spent all her money on alcohol or—
Suddenly, it clicked. He’d been too hungover all this time to put the pieces together earlier, but now he almost wanted to slap himself for not seeing it sooner. She drank, because it was the only way she could numb herself to all her pain and loss. Which was... which was exactly what he’d been doing all these weeks. She must be seeing herself in him, which was why... which was why she wasn’t being abrasive, or challenging, or any of the things she usually was with him, wasn’t it?
He almost wanted to laugh. But mostly, he wanted to curl up in a corner somewhere and cry. Or wander over to another bar and get wasted again, even if it was too early in the day for that sort of thing to be socially acceptable. At least among mortals. Mortals were strangely preoccupied with such things.
“Some of them can be quite clever when they put their minds to it,” he agreed, tipping his head back against the seat. “Insufferably so, sometimes.” It seemed safer to talk about this, to... to avoid other subjects. Other revelations, even as he gripped his knees tightly.
He cleared his throat a little, then glanced back at her. “I could help, if you’d have me. I don’t doubt you’re more than capable of handling it yourself, being a Valkyrie and all,” he added quickly, raising a hand and flashing a small grin that didn’t reach his eye. “But think of it as a token of thanks, for dragging my sorry ass out of that bar last night.”
Honestly, he’d have probably woken up in a ditch somewhere, if it hadn’t been for her. But it wouldn’t have been the first time that week...
Brunnhilde's eyes had actually been on the ground when Thor's mind had clicked into the correct spot. The valkyrie had been busy picking out the correct house along the little row of houses in the suburb below. It looked like any other house. Her ship was still a good distance up, far past the point where they would have been picked out easily, and she had instead zoomed in on a screen to see where she wanted to go. All with a few taps on her fingers to control where the camera was pointed and the like.
She had zoomed in on the house then into the backyard, before spotting a shed that was oddly placed on the property. It wasn't the same size as all the other similar sheds in the backyard and it was slightly off center where the rest in the row were identical. Mortals liked their uniformity as well. No, that little building stood out and Brunn started up a scan for various readings on the little thing. If this mortal was smart then he could very well be someone dangerous if Brunn underestimated him. The clever ones were always the ones that came up with traps that weren't always easy to smash out of and Brunn was far too good at what she did to get caught by some two dollar bit magic trap that someone might have laid for any intruder.
Her dark eyes glanced back up to Thor when he spoke about helping her. There was a small snort in response, but it was paired with a slight smile. "Offering to help me with a mortal?" Because he had some sort of sense to try and pay her back for something that was simple. It wasn't an insult to what she could do and Brunnhilde didn't purposefully fall into that as a reaction. Instead she took it as thanks, even if it was amusing that he was offering to do something so trivial.
"Fine. Have it your way." There was instead a lift of her eyebrows as the readings came back. There was an awful ton of power being generated there. More than the house or the surrounding ones combined. Perhaps not as simple as she had first thought. "How much time do you need to wake up fully?" She was asking in a matter of fact way. She did not suggest that she was going to wait for him though there might have been an implication that such a thing was open to happening. Maybe. There certainly wouldn't be any judgement in needing to have a firm hold on his head. Too much movement would just cause him to get ill if he wasn't prepared for it. She knew that from experience.
Offering to help me with a mortal? she asked, and he couldn’t help but hum at that. “Not the best gesture of thanks, is it?” he agreed, returning her smile with a brief tug of his lips. Like nothing was wrong, nothing at all. Just because he’d tried drinking himself into a stupor last night didn’t mean something was wrong with him.
He glanced at her screens, noting the energy output with a squint. Partly because of the readings, partly because the display seemed awfully bright and was already making his eye water. Wincing, he scrubbed the heel of his hand over his face, making a humming noise when she asked him how long he needed to wake up.
“I’m awake, I’m awake, I’m awake,” he said quickly, stretching his arms high above his head until he felt his spine pop. Stifling a yawn with a fist, he rose to his feet and stretched his arms out sideways until he felt more bones pop. He was sore, he probably still reeked of alcohol, but he was awake, damn it.
“So what’s the plan? One of us goes in there and distract him as bait?” With energy readings like those, Thor was... well, he wanted to say he could take it on account of the lightning flowing through his veins, but he wasn’t certain. Still, out of the two of them, he was probably better suited for being the bait. So he raised his hand, giving another twitch of his lips in a forced smile. “Can do.”
His offer was amusing more than anything else and Brun gave him a touch of a look as he continued to provide almost half hearted banter. Still it was better that what could have been managed earlier and Brunnhilde would agree that he was at least trying. Perhaps that part of herself that
Thor then offered to be a distraction and there was a little snort of laughter at his wiggled fingers. "I do suppose you can manage that much." Whether or not that was a joke about his current state of being or some sort of lighter version of her previous attitude towards him... well that was up to Thor. Brunnhilde didn't feel like correcting any of his assumptions. For better or worse, whatever he assumed would just be the way that things went.
"Fine. You'll be my distraction. I'm supposed to bring him in alive." There was no accusation on her tone. Between the two of them they both knew who was more likely to kill. Instead Brunnhilde was just stating a fact as well as letting Thor know that she wouldn't be killing this time around. At least not their target. If some other fool got in the way of that, well... that would be on them if she accidentally used a little too much force because she was annoyed.
Brunnhilde didn't bring that up though. Instead she hit a few more buttons and lowered the ship so it was hovering above the backyard. A direct way to go about it but Brunn wasn't looking to do this in a hidden manner. There was enough going on that she just wanted the job done. The valkyrie set her ship on auto-pilot and then unstrapped herself from the pilot's chair. Up and moving at a swift pace towards the back. Opening up the gangplank and glancing back to let Thor know he was up first.