Chapter One: Frozen

The clinking of ice cubes being angrily tossed into a glass unnerved Loki more than he was willing to admit. It was the only sound that penetrated the room other than his frantic heartbeat. He was frozen in place by a spell he did not recognize.

Loki tried turning his head to look out the window, to look at the battle, but his body would not comply. The only glimpse he caught was from his peripheral. Outside everything was motionless, no that's not right. If he looked hard enough Loki could see the gliding Chitauri moving in slow motion. It was another spell that he didn't recognize.

"You come to my realm," Loki's attention snapped back to the mortal, no to the god in front of him, "you come to my city, to my tower." Anthony Stark, genius billionaire, or at least that's what one of Loki's thralls told him. The archer had neglected mentioning that Stark was actually not mortal, that he was an Aesir. Loki tried to speak, but the air in his lungs refused to do more than provide him with oxygen. "You steal my cube, you threaten my people." The other god poured himself a drink. "The arrogance of it." Stark shook his head and took a sip.

Despite being rendered motionless, despite not being able to speak, and being surrounded by unfamiliar spells Loki could not help but feel relieved, because there was an absence of another in his mind. He did not feel the presence that made it hard to breathe. He couldn't feel the pressure on the back of his neck as if a strong hand was gripping him, forcing him to look at the ground.

Loki's mind was his own, but now it was locked in an immobile body.

He wanted to speak, to plead his case to the other god, but Stark was glaring daggers at him and once more Loki knew he'd be punished, tortured, and perhaps this time killed.

"I can't decide if I should pull you apart or send you to Odin's dungeons and let the guards do it for me." Stark continued and Loki felt a shiver race up his back.

Yes, send me to the All-Father. Loki wanted to plead. At least there I'll be safe from Thanos and the Other.

"I will destroy you for perverting one of my creations." Stark stalked forward, each stride powerful and fueled by rage. Loki could feel the dread filled acceptance settle in his stomach. "I will capture you and I will break you down into little pieces, put you back together, then pull you apart again." Loki understood the words Stark was using, but they didn't make sense to him. He was already captured, already a prisoner.

To say he would be captured was- unless… Unless!

Loki tried not to feel hope bud inside of him. He tried not to let his sudden burst of giddy disbelief cloud his thoughts.

"I will reach through space, through the realms, through the Void," Stark raised his arm, his hand almost touching Loki's face, but a hair's breadth away. "To hook your mind to another's. Are you really so daft as to not see the drawbacks of such a spell?"

Stark's fingers brushed against Loki's cheek with a surprising amount of warmth. Stark's hand trailed down to Loki's neck and the heat started to grow, started to boil. He wanted to scream in pain, to pull away, but he couldn't.

Trapped all over again. First in a lifetime of lies, then in Thanos' clutches, and now… and now-

Loki fell to his hands and knees, gasping for air. The hectic breaths quickly changed to painful coughs. His throat was on fire and he was instantly reminded of how the Other forced him to drink some sort of acid before he was flung into this realm.

Loki forced himself to raise his head and was surprised to see his doppelganger walking causally to the balcony, scepter in hand. With a flash of green that he knew usually accompanied him whenever he teleported the doppelganger disappeared.

"What-" Loki's throat was raw and his words were rough. Before he could try again he saw Iron Man take off, entering the fray that now felt so distant to Loki.

He was startled when a hand grabbed him by his upper arm and hefted him up effortlessly. His eyes widened as he saw Stark's expression. The god looked perturbed and tired.

Before Loki could say anything he was dragged then dropped onto a plush couch and a glass was shoved into his hand, full of the same liquid Stark had been drinking earlier.

Loki followed Stark with his eyes as he sat down across from him, a different glass in hand. The Aesir made a hand motion that Loki did not recognize. Colors blurred in front of the other god, before solidifying into the image of a woman.

"Perfect timing." The red headed woman said. "I just found a Cradle in your workshop in London. Do you have the cube back yet?"

"It's in the works." Stark smiled cheekily at the woman and she made an exasperated sound.

"For once would you take something seriously? We wouldn't be in this mess if you bothered to keep track of your things." She scolded him thoroughly, but it only served to make him smile wider.

"Pep, it's not my fault you wanted to go to Jotunheim and my workshop got bombed in your absence."

"And you didn't think to check if any of your things were still intact?" Stark only shrugged in response. "By the Three Sisters! I can't even talk to you right now. Just take this would you." The woman held out an ink black sphere and Stark reached through the image, his hand blurring as he grasped the item then pulled it back. "Call me when you have everything in order so I can start damage control."

"What would I do without you, Pep?" Stark said while eyeing the black sphere.

"Probably accidentally kick off Ragnarök then begin another life where you burden me constantly."

"That is surprisingly accurate."

The woman huffed out a laugh before the image blurred and disintegrated.

Loki watched as Stark raised the sphere to eye level as dark red magic oozed from his fingers, engulfing it. The sphere lit up with golden marking, runes, many of which Loki didn't recognize. The symbols shifted slightly and the sphere turned white.

Stark let it go before performing a spell that Loki was familiar with, a simple displacement spell causing the item to completely disappear. He sunk further into his seat, closing his eyes and leaning his head back.

Loki opened his mouth, but was quickly cut off.

"Don't." Stark said without even opening his eyes. "I'm annoyed with you for leading that inelegant beast to one of my cubes."

Loki didn't know what to say, didn't know what to think. Thanos was out of his head, but his throat felt wrong, like the skin there was too tight.

He stared a moment longer at the Aesir before turning his attention to the battle outside. Whenever one of the Chitauri drew close to the tower they suddenly veered off slightly, a spark of red magic moving them like a spur to a horse. Without warning the various aliens fell from the sky motionless, dead.

What do you think?