|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: 931 - Follows: 880 - Updated: 06-15-12 - Published: 05-17-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8125301
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
So, that was how Tony found himself back in his makeshift lab by Loki's old cell. It was bizarre - minus the guards at the edges of the room and the property damage (and he didn't want to think about how Loki had managed to tear the door from its hinges, how angry he must have been to twist the metal so viciously) it was almost like Loki's disastrous break-out had never happened.
Of course, there were other, more subtle differences. Like the way they now stood close together, on the same side of the desk, poring over the same blueprint, the same sheet of equations. Like the way Loki didn't scowl at Tony's insults, his innuendos; like the way his threats seemed to be designed to entertain Tony and frighten their guards, rather than simply unsettle all of them.
Like the way heat prickled under Tony's skin when Loki's hand happened to brush against his arm.
Surprisingly, Loki took his imprisonment with pretty good grace. Which meant, of course, that he was an annoying, smirking little bastard, all the time. Several of the cats re-appeared, all of whom would puff up and turn green when startled. Oddly, Bruce seemed to like them, and began to keep one of them in his lab. Fury was less amused.
The problem was, the more time Tony spent around Loki, the more he liked him. They had much the same sense of humour (on his second day in captivity, Loki had cloned himself, and the looks on the guards' faces when they'd found themselves guarding not one but seventeen Lokis? Tony was going to savour that for a long time), the same propensity for sarcasm and general ridiculousness. He was also incredibly clever - and seriously, by Tony's standards, that was saying something - and had mastered the principles of advanced physics more quickly than he would have believed possible ("Really, Stark, it's not that complicated.").
It didn't help that Tony found him painfully attractive. Hell, he knew he was a complete whore, and quite possibly the worst flirt in the known universe, but he couldn't remember the last time he'd found it so damn hard to concentrate just because of - well. Tony found himself spending a disproportionate amount of time eying the pale skin of Loki's throat, the slight ridge of his spine, his wrists, his hands. The first time Loki caught him, he simply let his eyes slide over Tony with a suggestive smirk, and that - that was far more distracting than it should have been as well.
Of course, it could only last for so long. Three days into their (uneasy) alliance, Tony went down to the lab to find the computers going wild. Loki was hunched over a screen, a deep frown on his face.
"What's going on?"
"I don't know," Loki murmured, without turning. "There's an energy fluctuation, small scale. As if someone's opened a portal of some kind."
Tony tapped a few buttons, scowled at the energy readings.
"This can't be right," he said. "It's almost like-"
But he didn't get to finish. At that moment, there was a deafening crack, and the lab filled with a bizarre blue light. Several of the guards cried out, and Tony spun around, feeling a strange sense of déjà vu as he reached out for something - anything - to use as a weapon -
Then he felt a sharp, stabbing pain in the side of his neck, and the world faded to black.
He woke up in a cell.
It took him a moment to realise what had happened, and where he was. Whatever they'd drugged him with had left his thoughts fuzzy, his limbs uncoordinated, his head pounding. So when he found himself sprawled on a hard, cold floor, yeah, it took Tony a moment to figure out what was going on.
When he raised his head and saw the décor - bare concrete walls, plain iron door, neon lights, man, whoever designed this place should get an award - it became pretty obvious.
Definitely a cell.
"Ah, you're awake."
Loki was sitting with his back to the wall, his knees drawn up to his chest. The harsh neon lights made his bruises look even worse, a series of livid purple marks stretching across his cheek and down to the line of his jaw.
"Unghalj," Tony managed. His mouth didn't seem to want to co-operate. He pushed himself into a sitting position, pointedly ignored the dizzy, nauseous feeling that threatened to overwhelm him whenever he moved too sharply, and tried again. "What happened?" This time his voice was only slightly slurred.
"I suppose you would call it a kidnapping," he said, delicately. Tony noticed that his expression was slightly dazed, that his hands were trembling, just a little. "They teleported us here, which was…unpleasant. I know not what they intend for us."
"How'd they get you here? Couldn't you just…incinerate them, or, or teleport away or something?"
Loki shook his head. When he next spoke, he sounded almost irritated.
"They struck me with a weapon of some sort. It was…effective."
Tony felt a moment of panic then. He forced it away. Concentrate.
"So…you can't use your magic?"
Loki shook his head, his face grim.
"It is…present, but weakened. Although I think it will return, given time."
Suddenly, Tony became aware of a noise outside their cell door. He gestured for Loki to be silent, and surprisingly, the god obeyed, cocking his head to one side, listening. Tony heard footsteps, voices, a rattling of keys, and then -
The door of their cell grated open, and three men strode in. Tony just managed to catch a glimpse of the corridor outside - dim, with bare pipes spidering over the walls - before the door slammed shut behind them. Two of the men were obviously guards - radios, keys and ID cards, big guns, vacant expressions, Bronze Age bone structure. Yeah, definitely guards.
The other man could only be described as…well, menacing. Unlike the guards, who wore identical uniforms (emblazoned, Tony saw with a sudden jolt of horror, with the SHIELD logo) this man wore a plain suit. He held a small, taser-like device in one hand. He was grinning the kind of grin that made Tony think of madness and blood and there was something manic in his eyes.
As soon as they appeared, Loki had straightened up, twisting his hands, but before he could complete whatever spell he'd been trying to cast, the man in the suit lashed out. A bolt of energy leapt from the device in his hands and hit Loki squarely in the chest, sending him flying back into the wall with a crack.
"Now, now, now. We'll have none of that," the man said, and his voice was a silky whisper.
For a moment, no-one spoke. There was a rustle of fabric as Loki drew himself back into a sitting position, a murderous expression on his face. Tony simply clenched his jaw and fought off the urge to simply throw himself at the guards, maybe try and get one of those guns, maybe-
No. He glanced back at Loki who, despite the rage in his eyes, was slumped bonelessly against the wall, his breath coming in ragged gasps. I don't think brute force is gonna work here.
"What do you want?" he asked. The man tsked.
"So hasty, Mr. Stark," he said, and Tony felt himself bristle at his tone. He didn't like to be fucking patronised.
"I think I've got a right to be hasty," he spat.
The man went on, as if he hadn't spoken.
"I am Agent Heriot, formerly of SHIELD."
At that, Tony's ears pricked up. Formerly of SHIELD? Not good. Definitely not good.
"I have found your recent research most fascinating, Mr. Stark," Heriot went on, smoothly. "My associates and I are interested, very interested. Unfortunately, we are more interested in the…military possibilities that your research might offer, rather than simple theory."
"You want to make weapons," Tony said bluntly. His mind was running over the events of the past few weeks - the cameras, the missing blueprints, devices he thought he'd lost, tiny things, things he'd brushed over and forgotten about. Old conversations echoed in his head - "…perhaps I would escape those who pursue me…" - and he suddenly felt like kicking himself. Stupid, so stupid.
Heriot was smirking. "Quite."
"Well, make your damn weapons, then," Tony said flippantly. "You've been stealing my blueprints for fuckin' weeks, I don't see what you need us for."
At that, Heriot laughed, an oily, whispering sound that made Tony's skin crawl. "You're a funny man, Mr. Stark. Ah, you have been carrying your research in the wrong direction. You have been investigating the theory behind interdimensional rifts, travel, teleportation. Your progress is slow. We would have you concentrate on opening new rifts, rather than investigating those that already exist."
Tony felt a chill.
"Why?" he asked.
Heriot gave him a nasty smile. "Human beings are weak. A million human soldiers are worth nothing in the face of gods and demons. I believe far greater strength can be found on worlds beyond our own."
With that, he gestured to the guards, one of whom turned to tap on the cell door. The door opened, and the guards filed out. For a moment, Heriot stood framed in the doorway, his head tilted to one side, as if considering something. Then, without warning, he lashed out, and another bolt of energy flew from the device in his hand. When it struck Loki he stiffened and gave a cry of pain, before sinking back against the wall.
"You work for us now, Mr. Stark," Heriot said silkily. "I trust that you will not forget it."
The moment the cell door was closed, Tony went over to Loki. He was conscious, but shaking and pale. Beads of sweat dotted his forehead, and his teeth were gritted in rage.
"I am going to kill him," he snarled.
"Yeah, you're not the only one considering it," Tony muttered darkly. He took hold of Loki's shoulders, pushed him into a slightly more upright position, and then sat down next to him, leaning back against the wall.
"Formerly of SHIELD," Loki said, when his breathing had returned to normal. "Interesting."
"I'll say." Tony gave Loki a sidelong glance. He was staring into the middle distance, still panting slightly, his head tipped back. "You okay?"
Loki's eyes flickered to him. He moved one shoulder up and down in a half-hearted shrug.
"Why, Stark. How sweet."
Tony rolled his eyes.
"What the hell is he gonna make us do?" he said, gesturing to the door.
"Oh, it's simple," Loki said tiredly. "He intends to open a portal, and create an army from whatever monsters emerge. Humans. Your hubris will never cease to astonish me."
"You think he'll fail?"
"Oh, it will be easy enough for him to open a portal," Loki said flippantly. "Whether he'll be able to control what comes through it is another matter entirely."
There was a pause, and then he went on in a much lower voice.
"A single one of my children" he said haltingly. "Could tear this world apart. Easily. And they are not the vilest creatures that dwell in the darker realms."
His voice was barely above a whisper, yet there was something sharp in it, some pain that had never properly faded.
"Your…?" Tony got the feeling that he was treading on very thin ice.
But Loki just gave a sigh, and straightened up a little.
"It matters not," he said. "We must decide upon a course of action. I would not have this world destroyed."
"No?" Tony gave him a smarmy grin. "I thought you liked destroying worlds."
"Honestly, Stark," Loki said, in a long-suffering voice. "If I ever subjugate this miserable rock of yours, I would rather have something left to rule."
So, we have villains. I know Amora and Doom have become kind of the go-to villains for Avengers fanfic, but when I was writing this, I didn't know enough about them to write them with any accuracy, so I figured that I'd just come up with someone new. So...yeah.