Tony Stark's thoughts, as the Mark VII caught up with him, tangled somewhere along the lines of "Okay, I just have to get back up there and shoot him."

In one universe, things would have gone differently. Tony and Loki would have gone their separate ways in the battle, and it would have ended with Tony sending a nuke through the portal and Loki in a crater on Tony's parlor floor.

This was not that universe.

Tony Stark and Loki, instead, fought one another to a standstill on the shattered glass that covered the floor of the room that topped Stark Tower.

"You know, I wasn't kidding about that drink. Little late now, though." Tony's voice was nonchalant as he shot a small missile at Loki, though it was difficult to tell through the transformation over it due to the helmet.

"Your drinks would barely work on me." Loki was a hand's breadth from sneering as he dodged the projectile, and the staff in his hands flickered easily. "Tell me, do you really want to be fighting me while intoxicated?"

"Nah, it didn't hit me that hard. And if you were intoxicated, wouldn't that make this easier?"

"Not in the slightest." Loki swung the staff over his head, a circle of blue, cracked light expanding from it like ripples on a pond, but deadlier, with effects that seemed to reach some four or five feet from the 'rope' itself.

"Oh? Are you the kind of person that accidentally takes over the world while drunk? Because I know a few people like that." Tony tilted his head as he got up from the crouch that had protected him from the 'ripple.'

"Amongst other things." Loki walked closer to Tony, finger tapping out a strange rhythm on his staff.

Tony snorted, crossing his arms and not bother to move. "That thing doesn't really have a good chance of getting through the armor, you know, godly or not."

"It shan't need to," Loki once more tried pressing the staff to Tony's chest, "if it drains all the power from your systems instead."

Tony's eyes widened as the staff began to glow, visibly drawing power from the arc reactor. He tried to take a step back, but the distance did nothing.

Well, things tend to overload if you send too much power through. Might as well give it a shot. "JARVIS? Reroute power to the chest repulsor, as strong as it can safely handle. We're going to blast him."

This time, Loki's eyes were the ones to widen in sudden fear. "No, you fool, that will-!"

The repulsor blasted the staff, and that, really, was where everything went wrong.

o.o.o.o.o

Howard Stark was not a stupid man. However, whenever something went wrong, his first solution was to go for the most obvious answer to the most obvious problem. This had served him well for years, but failed in the face of two men landing in the middle of the room at the tail end of one of the most dangerous experiments of his career.

Steve Rogers had barely stumbled out of the machine, still half naked, but visibly changed physically, and the audience hadn't even managed to stand up to view the results, when the explosion had come. Of course, with an explosion that size, most of the guns in the room had been drawn and pointed at whatever the disturbance was.

At the moment, it simply seemed to be a cloud of dust.

"What the hell was that? J, updates, now!" A voice, strangely muffled, came from the cloud. "Where are we?"

If there was any answer, it wasn't audible to anyone else in the room. Hands were still on guns, and Howard was aware of the fact that Peggy Carter had now come down to stand next to him, gun aimed into the smoke that was only now clearing.

"Stark?" She muttered. "Does this have anything to do with you?"

"Not in the slightest." He answered, trying to collect the notes and spare vials of serum before anything happened.

Muttering, low and pained, came from the smoke along with the sound of shifting rubble.

A low whine came from the smoke. "Don't even think about it."

o.o.o.o.o

Tony was waiting for the smoke to clear, but he had a good enough view of Loki to see that the god was, at the very least, stunned. His own body seemed strangely light, though that may have just been head trauma.

"What the hell was that? J, updates, now!" His eyes scanned through the area, barely making out some rather vague shapes, the light nowhere near contrasted enough to filter through in any meaningful way, other than some square up in the corner of his eye. "Where are we?"

"All systems functioning. Arc Reactor power at 93%. No connection to any satellites, internet, the tower, or any of our other usual radio signals." JARVIS answered, and Tony winced, twitching in just the right way to turn the speakers on the outside off. He was lucky, then, that he'd decided to add JARVIS to the suit on his own, instead of just using him remotely.

"Just the usual?" Tony muttered, crouching down the ground. There was noise going on around him, but he was ignoring that in favor of keeping an eye on Loki.

"There are some very weak radio signals that I can detect through the suit. They appear to be akin to those used during World War II."

"That's... not good." Tony muttered. In front of him, Loki began to stir.

"By the Bifrost, that was a shock." Loki sat up with a grimace. His hand, still on the staff, pulled in closer to his chest. He looked up at Tony, eyes suddenly narrowing, his grip on the staff, spear, thing shifting.

Tony raised an arm, powering up the repulsor again, aimed directly at Loki. "Don't even think about it."

"You have made a terrible mistake." Loki said, irritation dripping from every word. "To nearly destroy a weapon so closely tied to the Tesseract... are you truly surprised at the resulting damage?"

"You were draining the reactor. I didn't want to die. Funny how that works, huh?" Tony hadn't shot off the repulsors that were still humming in his hands. "So, feel like explaining where we are? 'Cause it definitely isn't my tower."

Loki gave him a dirty look. "I see no more than you, Man of Iron."

"So we just wait for the dust to settle and the smoke to clear, and..." Tony glanced around, willing the dust to settle. He could just barely make out human figures now, though he still hadn't bothered to listen to what any of them had started saying.

"J, turn the speakers up a bit. I want them to hear me. Keep the other sensors trained on Loki." Tony turned around, putting his hands up. Sure, the armor meant that absolutely no one would take him to be surrendering, but it was the thought that counted. "Sorry 'bout this, folks. Gotta take care of a rogue Norse god before he reenacts Stay-Puft marshmallow scene."

"What?" Loki may have put more effort into understanding Midgardian society than his brother, but even he didn't quite understand the reference.

"Not now, Loki-cakes. Talking to the nice people whose place we've crashed." Tony shifted his weight to the other foot. "Now, I'm going to walk forward, and I'm asking that no one shoot me, because I really like the paint job on this suit and I don't want it scratched."

"You're worried about the paint on your suit?"

"Yes, Loki, it's a very pretty paintjob, and your thing with the Helicarrier ruined my last one." Tony sniffed exaggeratedly and then turned back to the smoke that still hadn't settled. "Are you keeping the smoke and dust in the air? I thought it would be gone by now."

"The damage caused to the scepter, by you, is causing the Tesseract's power to leak in strange ways." Loki fixed him with an unimpressed look, but didn't bother to do anything more. Tony wasn't quite sure why Loki was't attacking, but he wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth (he'd just make sure to watch the hind legs in case it tried to kick him in the face). "Gravity is... fluctuating."

"Huh. Alright, I'll take your word for it, God of Lies and Trickery." Tony gave him a small and mocking salute, then turned around, squared his shoulders, and strode forward.

He exited the still-floating dust cloud, took a glance around for half a second, and felt himself fill with dread.

"How the hell did we get to 1943?"

o.o.o.o.o

A/N: This is going to be, maybe, about five chapters? Short fic is short.

Ja ne,

Phoenix