|A Web of Words
Author: Albireo PM
Loki is taken prisoner by the Avengers, and Tony can't help it - he starts to kinda like the guy. Frostiron, eventually. I will go down with this ship.Rated: Fiction M - English - Iron Man/Tony S. & Loki - Chapters: 16 - Words: 31,060 - Reviews: 598 - Favs: 932 - Follows: 880 - Updated: 06-15-12 - Published: 05-17-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8125301
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
As ever, thank you all for the reviews and such like. Can't remember if I've said this before, but I'm currently in the middle of study leave/exams, and reading the things you write seriously cheers me up. And when you're...enjoying the myriad delights of Latin grammar, campaign finance and the US judiciary? Yeah, you need all the cheering up you can damn well get.
...anyway, enjoy ^^
For the rest of that day, Tony padded around his lab, pointedly not looking at the security footage of Loki's cell.
He didn't know what he was meant to be feeling. Other than goddamn confusion. His thoughts skittered about - how would Thor look at you if he knew and really back on Asgard was Loki the kind of guy who - refusing to settle, but they always came back to Loki.
Tony leant back, scrubbing his hands over his face.
This is fucking ridiculous. Get a grip.
And hey, he was Tony Stark, he'd survived torture and fuck-tons of survivor's guilt and all kinds of fucking butchery, emotional and physical, and if there was one thing he could do it was get a fucking handle on his feelings.
Okay. He forced himself to slow down, to think it through logically.
What exactly did he feel for him?
He closed his eyes, summoned an image of the god's face to mind. Smirking. Bright, bright green eyes, and a pale throat that led down to a paler chest, and-
For fuck's sake. Tony's eyes flickered open. Okay, lust. Fine. He lusted after him. Fine. He already knew that he was basically a teenager, perpetually stuck at the mental age of seventeen. So, yeah. Lust.
He thought. Sympathy. Yeah, there was definitely some sympathy in there somewhere. And not just because of the way Loki had looked swamped in bandages, cut to ribbons. Loki was a god, of sorts - Tony was fairly sure he could suffer a few flesh wounds and still come out smirking. No, it was the way he'd convinced himself that he was evil, that he could never be anything but a malicious, terrifying monster - the way he played up to people's expectations, because those kind of expectations just won't ever fully wash away, and what else could you do about it except play the part people had given you, play it to the hilt-
("How about 'the merchant of death'?" "That's not bad.")
And maybe Loki was evil, maybe, at heart, he was as malicious and sadistic as he seemed. But Tony had been a heartless bastard (in more than the literal sense) once too, still was, according to some, and…yeah, he could sympathise.
He thought of Loki staring up at the sky from the roof of Stark Tower, spinning him tales of myths and molecules, advanced science, old legends, a web of words glittering in the dark. So, interest. Because Tony was incurably curious, and Loki was clever, and he wanted to know - he wanted to know what went on in his head, how he put the universe together. He wanted to know how his goddamn magic worked, and how it could be compared to and combined with science.
Tony knew that Loki was as dangerous as hell. He was mercurial, deeply unstable, a mess of razor sharp wit and howling rage, and Tony couldn't help it, he was kinda fond of him.
"JARVIS," he murmured to the empty lab. "I think I might be completely fucked in the head."
"Records would indicate that you are correct, sir," JARVIS replied smoothly.
"Listen, I'm not saying we should let him off entirely, I just thought we could give the guy a break!"
The others goggled at him.
"Stark, he nearly ripped your fucking head off," Hawkeye said. "Why are you suddenly his best friend?"
Tony shrugged. "So did Thor, first time we met. Must be an Asgard thing."
Steve looked from Tony to Hawkeye and back again, as if he couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"Tony, I've got to agree with Clint on this one. Loki's dangerous. Why do you care so much?"
"Well, what can I say, Cap," Tony said, with a broad shrug. "I'm a kind and caring person."
Steve just raised his eyebrows at that. Tony pushed himself to his feet.
"Hey, do what you like," he said. "At least I'm suggesting something. We can't just keep him in a box in the basement forever, and the research we were doing - hey, Banner, back me up on this - the things we were discovering, they're the kinda things that could help us in the end. Give me another week with him, and I can guarantee I'll have found a way to block his magic. Or the effects of it, at least. Which means that we might be able to actually keep him in a cell for once. Or if not, hey, at least we won't have a repeat of the cat incident."
"Banner, what do you think?" Natasha spoke softly.
Bruce shrugged, glancing up at the others. "Tony's right, the research was…useful. And interesting. But it's, uh, it's up to you. Whether you think it's worth it or not."
"I'll think about it," Steve said. Tony counted it as a small victory.
That night, Loki appeared in Tony's bedroom. He was wearing what Tony thought of as his normal clothes - black pants, loose green shirt, bare feet - and he looked as haggard as ever. The bruises along his cheek and jaw were beginning to turn black.
Tony didn't bother questioning how he'd gotten out of his cell.
"Well, what a surprise," he said instead, pushing himself to his feet. Loki's eyes followed him as he padded across the room to the bar, a guarded expression on his face. "Drink?"
"Shouldn't you be sounding some kind of alarm?"
Tony shrugged. "Should be. Probably won't." He searched through the shelves, eventually selecting a small bottle and two shot glasses. He filled them both, and pushed one across the table. "Here, try this. Apparently it's really, really expensive."
Loki stared at him, and Tony could practically hear the cogs of his mind whirring. Clearly this wasn't the welcome he'd been expecting. Eventually, he must have come to some kind of decision, because he came over to the bar and slid onto a stool with a slight wince.
Tony nudged the glass further towards him. "Here."
Loki took it, eyed it suspiciously, and then - with a small shrug that kinda said fuck it - downed it in one. Tony followed suit.
"Sometimes I think you're trying to get me to drink myself to death," Loki said wryly, rolling the empty glass between his fingers. Tony snorted.
"Not my best plan, huh?"
Somehow, it felt comfortable, almost companionable, this strange, late-night visit. They drank on, exchanging smirks and snappy comments, and Tony found himself thinking you know, this is okay. When the bottle was empty and Loki followed him back to bed, Tony found that he didn't mind. They ended up sleeping back to back, and when Tony woke late the next morning, Loki was back in his cell. According to the security footage, he had never left.
The next morning, Fury arrived (and boy was he pleased at how well they'd managed to keep tabs on Loki in his absence). The apparent purpose of his visit was to shout at them all, and to question their mental stability. This was a task he engaged in with gusto.
It was just as Steve was explaining that, no, really, they'd improved their security and there was absolutely no way Loki would manage to escape again that the god himself appeared in the centre of the meeting room, a slight smirk on his face.
Well, Tony thought. At least he hasn't lost his sense of comic timing.
The others' reactions were fairly predictable. All of them sprang back with cries of alarm. Fury, Natasha and Clint all drew weapons from somewhere, and Tony didn't want to know why Clint and Natasha were carrying handguns this early in the morning. Thor had fallen into a fighting stance, Mjölnir raised.
Loki simply rolled his eyes.
"Oh, do put those away," he said.
"Why should we?" Clint shot back, his gun aimed squarely at Loki's head.
Fury didn't give Loki a chance to respond.
"What do you want?" he said. "And Stark, after this we are having a conversation about your goddamn security!"
"What do you want, Loki?" Natasha echoed Fury. Like Clint, she kept her gun at head-height, pointing directly at Loki's face.
"I want to talk," he said carefully. Clint snorted.
"So, talk," Natasha went on.
"What is this, brother?" Thor growled. Tony winced internally.
Loki spun round to face the other god.
"Do not call me brother," he said. "Ever." He turned back to Fury, and continued as if Thor had not spoken. "I am weary of this. I am pursued, and not only by you. The Chitauri. And others."
"That's your own damn fault," Fury retorted. "Why should I give a damn who's pursuing you?"
"Come, Fury," Loki returned drily. "Don't you think a truce might be better for the health of your team?"
"Letting you come and go as you please? I'm not seeing the benefits."
Loki smirked at that, his eyes flickering to the bruises on Steve's face, Clint's bandaged fingers. "Oh, I think you do," he said softly.
Bruce was the next one to speak.
"What is it that you want? Protection?"
"As I said, a cessation of hostilities. The research that Stark has been conducting has been most enlightening."
"And what, you want to be able to join in?" Bruce asked, just as Clint interjected - "Bullshit!"
Loki raised his eyebrows.
"Is it really so beyond belief that I might be interested in the way the universe works?"
"Usually you're trying to destroy it," Fury muttered. Loki gave him a withering look.
"I am power-crazed," he said. "Not omnicidal."
"What do you think of this?" Bruce murmured to Tony.
Suddenly, everyone in the room was looking at him. Tony felt his mouth go dry.
"Uh," he said.
"I would be willing to submit to any conditions you care to mention," Loki said suddenly. "Keep me in a cell, guard me night and day, I care not. Difficult as it may be for you to grasp, on this occasion my only interest is Stark's research."
Fury scowled, and Tony held his breath. Finally, he nodded.
"Only because we don't know what the hell to do with you," he said. "And I swear to god, if you try anything, I will have you killed." The bluntness of it startled Tony, and he obviously wasn't the only one; Bruce sucked in a hasty breath, and Steve straightened up abruptly, opening his mouth to speak. Fury cut him off. "Rogers, you might not carry out executions, but there are other organisations that do. If Loki proves himself too dangerous to be kept alive, we will not keep him alive. Do you understand?"
Steve opened and closed his mouth a few times, but in the end he simply nodded. Tony noticed that his hands were clenched into fists.
A lazy smile spread across Loki's face.
"Well, then," he said, in a voice as smooth as silver. "I suppose I had better behave."
I couldn't keep Loki depressed for long, I like his snarking too much.