Fandom: Journey into Mystery, Thor comics
Characters: Kid Loki, Jane Foster
Summary: Happens sometime before Journey into Mystery. Jane Foster keeps finding Loki in the streets of Broxton, and their conversations kindle a brand new interest for the little trickster god.
Jane Foster knew better than anyone in Broxton that you should be careful with the gods, especially ones with a reputation for trouble making. However, she had to stop by and say hi whenever she saw Loki, with his tiny slender body, dragging his feet in front of shop windows or sitting on the floor of a parking lot. A part of her was conscious it could be another cover of his to lower the distrust, sure. But that kid looked too lonely and sad to be an adult pretending to be a helpless child. So, she talked to him when she wasn’t in a hurry.
She asked him once how come he wandered ‘downstairs’ so often. Loki shrugged with a wistful smile.
"Thor is currently busy in New York, and nobody likes me in Asgard. I tire of hiding of malicious attempts against my person. Midgardians also look at me funny, but they keep their distance."
Jane never had to come up with topics of conversation. Loki always had questions about things he had seen in town. It was understandable, as Asgard was so different. She had heard that even toilets were an alien concept to them. And Loki was a curious little brat; he would notice stuff other Asgardians didn’t care much about, and he’d genuinely wanted to learn. It occurred to her that the only humans he knew were her and her new boyfriend, who was still resented for the time Loki borrowed his car. He had no one else to ask. Thor would only know a bit and Don was rarely out lately.
That afternoon, he was coming out of Bill’s diner and she was returning to the clinic after a home visit. He was in a good mood after the discovery of milkshakes. He was ranting about the bubbling sensation when Jane’s phone beeped. It was a silly text message from a friend. Loki immediately forgot about the drink and started an excited interrogation about the gadget.
"I know how they are called and that they are expensive machines," he said. "I have memories of stealing one in Paris to sell its parts. Everyone who wasn’t poor had those. But there’s one thing I still cannot comprehend and clashes with what I know of them."
"What is it?"
"Well, I thought telephones have this purpose, to let two individuals speak from a long distance. But often around town I see mortals mesmerized at the crystal screen. Sometimes they furiously tap it everywhere. You just tapped and stared at yours. No talking at the telephones at all. Just reading a sequence similar to words."
"Oh, that. Now phones aren’t just for calls, hon. The ones you mean are smartphones and do more than that."
"They’re smart…? If they are machines with intelligence, they must be those robots I’ve heard about."
Jane chuckled. “No, no, less smart than that. You’ve seen computers, right? Like those.”
"So, what do the phones of smart do?"
"Oh, many things. You can get texts, like I just did. But you can use them for a bunch of stuff. It just depends of the apps you install." She saw Loki’s question before he said it and added another explanation which Loki could understand. He was a wizard and a trickster in his past life, wasn’t he? "Apps are programs. It’s like… teaching the phone a task or a trick? Like learning a magic spell, I guess."
"I think I understand. Of what kinds? What can you do with these apps?"
"There’s an app for almost anything. Some are video games, some are useful tools, some are to take photos, some are just to waste time on the Internet. Um, Internet is…"
"I was informed about such subject! It is a network where others communicate and share information. I have gone to the cafe by the plaza where personal computing machines are rented in exchange of a fee. The clerk kindly explained it to me, although I’m not completely clear on the wireless parts and why spots of it can be provided by unrelated establishments."
Jane thanked heavens that Loki knew about the Internet. “Well, anyway. With smartphones, you can connect to the Internet anywhere. Even to these wi-fi spots, so long as they give you their password.”
"Can you really use the Internet whenever you go with one of those phones? What about Asgardian soil?"
"Uh, I have no idea. Depends of the reception. But then, I’ve heard Starkphones have even service in outer space. You’d have to try and I’m definitely not lending you mine. My patients might call me."
"Then it is decided," Loki grinned. "I shall save money and get me one of those."
Jane laughed at the mental image of this tiny god using a phone and posting selfies. Hopefully, that would be the worst thing Loki would do with one. Oh man, did she just give the god of mischief an idea of a weapon? Suddenly it wasn’t so funny. Thor would be so pissed if he did something nasty and Lokiesque with it.
"Why are you so interested?"
"There is so much to learn of Midgard, Lady Healer Foster. If I had this Internet, even if it only worked in Broxton lands, I could know your modern culture. I’d just have to inquire my doubts to this Google thing and the Encyclopedia of Wiki, instead of formulating every ignorant query with you. It is better. And also… maybe I could talk to boys and girls my age…" He sighed. "It sounds like a fun and versatile possession to have too, with all those apps and games."
He was just a lonely preteen, after all. Jane smiled and patted his hooded head.
"Okay, I hope you enjoy it, then. Just don’t steal somebody else’s phone or wallet. Be a good boy. Ask an allowance to Thor or something."
"I’ll see what I can do, milady."
They had already reached the clinic, so she opened the door and smiled at him as he waved goodbye.
"And don’t troll the Internet too hard, Loki."
"Why would I send trolls to them, Lady Foster? You mortals are so nonsensical sometimes."