|Of Foul Angels and Better Fiends
Author: ModernAnglophilia PM
After Loki's failed attempt to dominate Earth, Tony Stark has a difficult time adjusting to life after the Avengers. Back in Asgard, Loki receives an unlikely sentence as punishment and sees himself back on Midgard.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Iron Man/Tony S. & Loki - Chapters: 10 - Words: 30,333 - Reviews: 49 - Favs: 148 - Follows: 287 - Updated: 05-09-13 - Published: 06-01-12 - id: 8171192
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Notes: I remember after watching the Lord of the Rings, I was just 11 and discovered the world of fanfiction. For 4 years I wrote and wrote about all of these different characters who touched me but, unfortunately, the days went by and I began doing other things. The writing stopped for a long time.
It is, however, with great pleasure, that I take it up again. Hoping I haven't lost any of the capabilities I had when I was 11, hoping I've improved more than anything, and hoping somebody, somewhere, will enjoy it.
Don't forget this is a WIP, and as I write it, I also have to revise for finals. There may be a few blank days, so you'll have to forgive me in advance for them.
If you have any "pressing" matters, comments, constructive criticism, don't hesitate to find me on Tumblr:br /
Chapter 1: When Fiends Fall and Angels Fall Harder
A long sigh was expelled from his lungs, passing through his trachea and finally liberated by his lips. The whole mechanism of it made him realize how dry his throat was, and how ridiculously scratchy his tongue felt against the roof of his mouth. Keeping his eyes closed tightly, he tried to negate the pinkish hue his lids made him perceive with the sunlight trying to sneak its way into his corneas. The pounding in his head, though, was the waking call he needed. He wasn't going to be able to stay in bed for very long without getting some kind of aspirin and vitamin C in his body sometime soon.
Still not daring to open his eyes, he let one hand drop to the floor next to his bed, and felt for a piece of clothing, anything that would at least cover some part of him. He pulled on the same boxers he wore the day before, and threw on the bathrobe he did not expect to be there. His legs struggled to find the floor, and even more so to lift up and hold his weight. His stomach protested against every movement he made, heaving and gargling at each stumbling step he took. The bathroom seemed like a very good idea, and his mind rerouted towards it slowly, falteringly. Eyes still fearing the effect the sunlight would have on his migraine, he smacked into a wall. A wall he was sure was not supposed to be there.
"Jarvis?" he called out in panic, snapping his eyes open and immediately regretting that decision. "What in the world...? Where the hell am I?" No answer came from his AI, and a cursory glance around the luxurious suite he was in was more than enough to remind him he was a long way from his Malibu home.
The past days were a mess of information in his mind. It was no small wonder he had decided to refuge himself on the other side of the world, Rome, Italy, to try and sort out everything he had gone through. Instead of acting as a conscientious adult would (contacting a psychologist, talking it out, or at least having a moan to Pepper), he lashed out. He had taken his private jet, flown straight to Ciampino airport and rented the presidential suite in Hotel Splendide, with a terrace overlooking the Eternal City, for the week. Three days out of seven had gone by and he had yet to take a walk in the Villa Borghese park, just behind his hotel. He had spent them all in an inebriated haze, having drunk bottle upon bottle of the best scotch, bourbon and wine the hotel had to offer.
Eventually remembering where the bathroom was, he immediately popped three Tylenols in his mouth and swallowed them down with the aid of the last gulp of a Yamazaki 1984 whisky bottle he had knocked down the night before. "Hair of the dog," he thought to himself, knowing that if Pepper saw him at it, she would have an attack. And then he remembered the days before he arrived in Rome, and wished there was more of that Yamazaki.
It had been a roller coaster of a life and Tony Stark knew it. That being the case, why did he only begin an official break-down after the Avengers had first "assembled"? He grew up with a father who barely ever saw him, and thus tried to impress him by being a hard-working student. Having been accepted at MIT at the age of 15 still didn't suffice, and he began to realize that not much would work to make a dent on his relationship with Howard A. Stark, at least not while Steve Rogers was still considered MIA. Not even his mother, Maria, caring and warm as she was, managed to compensate for the fatherly love he longed for. She barely managed to stay married to the alcoholic bastard, but divorce is something that she just wouldn't consider, not with Tony still a child. When she finally could up and leave Stark senior, the accident took place, and Tony was left with no one but Obadiah Stane. Yet after years of looking up to his mentor and sole father-figure, the awful truth came out and left Stark with shards pushing their way towards his heart.
Looking at his biography through the persistent gloom alcohol consumption had put him in, all Anthony E. Stark could see was an absent father, a weak mother and a traitor standing in as best friend and mentor. No wonder he had ended up where he was, he should even be worse for the wear. And now he didn't even have Pepper anymore.
Oh, God. Pepper. Miss Potts was the only one who had stuck by him through all of it, and had barely batted an eye at anything. Not even coming back from Afghanistan with an Arc reactor implanted in the middle of his chest was enough to get her to faint. She simply asked him to go to the hospital, and when he refused, went for a cheeseburger and ordered a press conference for him. And now... Well, now they had to cope. Everything seemed to be going great after the attack. They were planning the reconstructions to be done to Stark Tower in New York, but the emptiness inside him had started to devour the good feelings, and let the dark ones take over. He began to realize that no matter how hard he, or they, fought, no matter how many villains they triumphed over, others would always take their place.
How many would still have to suffer? He had barely come to terms with Dr. Yinsen's sacrifice, and he had had to kill Obadiah. Though Ivan Vanko's death can hardly be cried over, it was still at his hands, and it could have been handled differently. And finally, Agent Coulson. Phil... And so many other deaths, be it at their hands, accidentally, or even villain deaths. None of them could be excused. Death is inexcusable, he'd finally arrived to that conclusion, and yet he was once its merchant.
This sudden clarity had driven him away from Pepper, not being able to face her anymore without being reminded of his whole history. As it was easy enough to turn away from her, he realized that he didn't really love her at least not in the way people are supposed to love. He cared a great deal for her, and trusted her not only with his company's future but with his life. He knew that though Natasha Romanoff was a trained agent, if anything happened to him, Pepper was the one he should call. She would not rest until she was sure Tony was well taken care of. Yet this was also the limit to her love, and he knew it just as well as she did. They had come together through consequence: she barely ever managed to go out on non-Stark business, and he, more often than not, was locked away with his research. It seemed natural that they would end up together, but not for the right reasons. Not for romantic love.
Tony stared at himself in the mirror after drinking down a liter of tap water. A few drops rolled down his chin and dropped silently on to the Arc reactor, discreetly humming a gentle tune. It was a sound you got used to, that you cancelled out just like we do with our heart beats. He tapped it gently, wondering what to do now. Having sobered up after three days of non-stop drinking, his organism craved sodium and vitamins, and real rest. The engineer decided to take a long bath, hoping his stomach would cope with the heat, to try and soak out the remnants of alcohol from his pores. Once in the warm water, he began cracking his joints slowly and languorously, trying to make the most of his situation. He did not want to think of what was going to happen once he got back and had to face the team, and he'd purposefully turned off every electronic device he had that Jarvis could use to contact him. It felt good to be unreachable for once in his life.
"I will not tolerate being spoken to in this manner," Odin rumbled dangerously low. If people found him intimidating when he screamed, when he used this resounding voice he became ten times as macabre. When he had banished Thor a while earlier, he had been heart-broken more than angry, but this time it was different. He did not know how to handle his emotions, there were so many of them. Frigga, his wife, hesitated and hovered behind the odd party before deciding it was high time she placed a comforting hand on his shoulder to calm him down.
There had been three days of Loki being secluded in his chambers, guarded by no less than ten of Asgard's finest soldiers and tongue of silver weighed down in his mouth. After his older and significantly larger brother had unraveled everything that had occurred on Midgard to their father, Odin had taken to his throne for the period his younger child was kept in chains, and tolerated no one in his presence, not even his trusted wife.
"And I am no longer a child, do not dare treat me as such!" Loki answered, his voice taking on the same quality as his adoptive father's, but more of a hiss than a rumble and carrying promises of threats. "I am put here before you, forced to kneel, taking responsibilities for my actions. By Valhalla, I stand by them, All-Father!"
"You would have slaughtered a planet and its population for power, my son? Who would you rule over? Rocks and ashes?"
"I had plans," he spat back. "And am in no way forced to reveal them to you. I am here to pay for my past actions, and will not try to squirm my way out of punishment. You know quite well squirming is not one of my specialties. So get on with your divine judgment, Odin, I await and welcome it."
Thor's eyes were filled with distant sadness at his brother's words. He exchanged a glance with his mother, both of them knowing how Odin's heart broke into infinitely tinier pieces each time Loki refused to call him father. The numerous centuries of family history seemed to have vanished for him the minute the truth was revealed. No longer did he think of him and Thor as children, wrecking havoc in the halls of Odin's palace, or of them as teenagers competing for young maidens' attentions. They had battled together, saved each other's lives countless times before and yet it had all been erased in a small moment of insignificant truth. His genealogy has nothing to do with who he was. Though son of Laufey by blood, everything he said and did echoed his father by heart, Odin.
"Loki Odinso-," Odin was interrupted by a sound of derision. "Laufeyson..." Odin's voice trembled. "For the heinous crimes you have committed against the realms of Midgard, Asgard and Jotunheim, it rests upon me the duty to sentence you to imprisonment, bound by vines of poison that shall cut into your body, and this until Ragnarok ends the worlds as we know them. What you have done is unforgivable, and you will not be known for the valor you used to show. Tales will only be told of your mischief and fierce disregard for love and all that is good."
Frigga cried out in earnest pain, and Thor's shout of protest trembled the skies, a fleeting lightning crossing the starry veil for a split second. Odin motioned for their silence with a commanding gesture, daring them to cross him in this moment of judgement.
"However," he continued menacingly, his voice barely there. "Considering your royal lineage not only by blood but by honor, I think it wise to give you an opportunity. If your brother was given a chance to redeem himself, why shouldn't you be given the same? Thus, I deprive you from your powers and banish you from this kingdom. You are fated to walk upon Midgard, amongst those who you tried to command. Until you have learned true humility and the value of life, you shall not be welcomed to Asgard or to any other of the Nine Realms." Mimicking the same gestures that had banished his older son a small time before, Odin proceeded to clawing Loki's helmet off his head and ripping his cape off his shoulders. "Count yourself as very fortunate, my son, for I am leaving you in the hands of your brother, Thor. He will be there to guide you in this quest for your inner sanity, and he has come out of the same quest a better man, warrior and prince. As will you."
Finishing his speech, Odin turned on his heel, cape and hair whipping out behind him, and sped out of the room. His wife followed him closely, stopping only to kiss each of her sons on the forehead. This proved a difficult act to accomplish on Loki, but Frigga was his only true weak spot, and after struggling for reputation's sake, he allowed her kiss to land on his skin.
"Come, brother," Thor landed a heavy hand on his smaller brother, only to have it brushed aside. The look in the raven-haired god's eyes reflected the madness within, a red and constant glow emanating from the deep emerald green. The effect was hypnotizing, amber and emerald not quite agreeing one with the other, yet somehow completing. The colossal blonde wasn't quite sure if he should look away or meet the stare head on, but decided that this was not the moment to be shy with his own kin. He grabbed him by the shoulders, and steered him purposefully towards the destroyed Bifrost. There they were to meet with Heimdall, with whom the Tesseract was now kept and who would be able to send them both back to Midgard.
Loki's body now empty of its magic, he seemed surprisingly small and pliant. This was all Thor could think silently to himself, worrying how he could possibly explain this new situation to the mortals.
He had been in his perfectly pulled bath for all of twenty minutes when the phone in his room began to ring. Sighing and wrapping his bathrobe around his dripping body, Stark walked as slowly as possible to the other side of the room, hoping whoever it was on the other side of the connection would decide he was out visiting the Pantheon or having a private tour of the Coliseum and would give up. In any case, it was most likely the concierge, asking if he needed any more bottles of Brunello di Montalcino for the day so he didn't need to hurry.
Yet the phone didn't give up its incessant buzzing, and the dark-haired man finally picked up the receiver whilst scratching gently at his beard. He answered deliberately, "Pronto?"
"You better get yourself back to New York as soon as you put the receiver down, Stark. Three days? You really thought you could disappear from the world? We're S.H.I.E.L.D., Stark, we can track you down. I always have my eye on you," came Nick Fury's baritone voice in a dangerously controlled tone. The engineer sighed again, a sound his lungs seemed to exhume in their normal state that day. "Your jet is ready at the airport, and there's a car waiting just outside the lobby. You know there'll be agents in your suite in thirty minutes, so I suggest you get a move on, golden boy. There are some serious developments on our end and we need the whole team together."
"What's going on, Fury?" Tony asked, mildly interested as his teammate's voice became slightly desperate once he mentioned new events occurring.
"He's back, Stark. Loki's back."