Force of Nature

[A/N: This universe started out as a "what if" on norsekink. It has since eaten my brain like one of Loki's little zombies and turned into a monster. But I'm having too much fun to stop.

Warnings: There will be footnotes. I'm sorry if they're hard to read, if you need to you can email me and I'll send you the word document version (where they show up at the bottom of every page). But I don't see a way to do this fic in the same manner without them. If they annoy you, in most cases you can read the fic while ignoring them. I find them rather hilarious (even if they have taken the fic over), so I'm going to leave them in for those that want to read them.

Rated for Tony's mouth and both of their senses of humor. At this point, pairings appear to be heading towards Tony Stark (Ironman)/Loki and Steve Rogers (Captain America)/Pepper Potts, but these won't come into play for some time yet and will likely be more background than anything else].

It should be noted that Tony is perfectly aware that the normal person's reaction to someone falling out of the sky and making a valiant attempt at flattening you - someone who's meanwhile just apparated his way to the outer atmosphere and then dropped fuck only knows how many miles in between and survived - is not to ask the guy in for a beer. Or, once the guy has actually knocked himself unconscious in a way that makes the majority of Tony's own accidental-near-death experiences look like the work of someone actually sane1, deciding to drag the (guy?) home and deal with him there. The beer came later, as did a lot of things.

Shit, most people would at least call an ambulance2, right? But, given what it was that whoever it was had just survived, there wasn't really much Tonycould do to actually make things worse3. And hey: he was bored4, the guy looked to be hot under all the blood5, and last time he'd seen her Nurse Holston had been particularly cutting about idiots who experimented with fully-body dyes while drunk. His major hobby being what it was6, he had a perfectly well stocked first aid kit specifically for things like "oops, I got punched through another wall without my suit up," and "gee, maybe I shouldn't have tried jumping off that without the propulsion systems online." Anyways, this was his first alien, so it waskind of like a special occasion. No reason to share it with the rest of the class (aka Fury's spooks) when they'd just tell him to go and sit in a corner and twiddle his thumbs while they got to do all the cool stuff7.

But that's not how it started, is it? No, the story (or, this part of it, really) actually begins a few minutes prior, as Tony is on the last leg of the drive back to his house post a particularly boring monkey mash (the obligatory social gathering of idiot nincompoops trying to convince him they know what they're talking about when they're dead wrong). As he pulls onto the grounds, things go funny for a moment and then the proximity sensors start screaming out of nowhere; Tony honestly assumes that it's Dr. Doom (or whatever other baddie of the week's decided he's looking particularly tender and juicy and ripe for their new Destruct-O Ray) wanting to play a game8. It doesn't even take a second after that to arm and launch the first round of missiles (Tony always wanted a Batmobile. And he's a millionaire tech genius of the first order. Why not build his own?). These hit dead on target, so the new system's obviously still working despite the fish9. And that (damnit, he knew he was still missing something) causes the trajectory of whatever it is to change: now, instead of attacking him10, it's just going to land on top of him in a smoldering wreck11. So he's a little busy, and it hits the ground in the instant before Tony veers frantically and barely manages to keep himself from colliding head-on with a nearby tree. Which means he's understandably pissed when he jerks open the door and steps out into the heat, intent on giving the bastard a definite piece of his mind (followed with a piece of his fists, if he doesn't like what they're saying12).

This is quickly forgotten, however, because Tony is nothing if not able to multi-task13 and apparently he's hit the evil villain of the day straight out of the field. (Whoever it was must've fallen from higher than he thought: there's an actual crater in the ground, and whatever remains of the nearby vegetation is smoldering ominously14 in a crash pattern that indicates the damage isn't (entirely) from his own attempt at playing bat-the-baddie). Also, it looks like he's killed whoever it was, which just makes his day15. To top even that off (if we're having a contest), the guy is blue. Not brightly so, but nevertheless the skin in front of him is a tone that definitely promises to be a natural blue-gray when it's not translucent with shock and blood loss16. Tony would actually admit he thought the end effect was kind of cool17, but as it is he's got more pressing things on his mind18. He's still trying to decide how best to frame things when he pulls out his phone to make the call to Fury that a dead blue alien just up and tried to land on him, and then the corpse groans and it turns out the guy's not actually dead after all. Which is all kinds of shiny in his books. Or rather, would be if this wasn't also the point where the guy tries to stand up - and Tony's first impression will remain with him until the end of time19 because he's never actually seen someone dumb enough to try and walk on that many broken bones before20. Maybe it's that he's impressed at the sheer nerve of the other man (how far did he fall, again? And the missiles), but it's then and there that Tony Stark (Giant Robo-Dude Extraordinaire) decides to take Loki (Medium-Sized Blue Alien) home and see how he cleans up21. Or maybe he was just feeling particularly suicidal that day, who knows. But even if he doesn't know it yet, it's still one of the best decisions he'll ever make.

As he loads his singularly unhelpful coma patient into the car (luckily, he has tarps22), he's feeling rather proud of his foresight and admirable crisis resolution skills. By the time he's manhandled the bundle into the house23, he's grinning like a loon. It did admittedly get a little tricky when he realized that the guy's skin could actually give you frostbite24, but that really only served to confirm his opinion that he'd been right not to just call the hospital and deal with the headlines later25. Even better? When he informed his (by now semi-conscious) patient of how lucky he was, the guy responded by turning his old (and rather crotchety) coffeemaker into a frog26. Which was even more awesome than the tribal designs a good rinsing had revealed, and Tony immediately resolved to get him to do it again – a hope sadly destined for disappointment, as the energy expenditure had caused an immediate and forcible relapse into the by now familiar world of oblivion for his hapless charge. Still, Tony resolved to pester the guy again as soon as he stopped feeling quite so passed out. Because if he could just figure out the energy signature of that thing..

This was going to be fun27. Humming in a manner that would have worried Fury immensely had he been able to hear it28, Tony set to work trying to make the guy feel at home.

1 Loki would like to insert a comment here, but it appears the irony of this statement is having a crippling effect on his ability to form coherent sentences.

2 Actually, they would have histrionics. Tony is so far removed from normal that he doesn't always know when he is across the world from the 'normal' curve and still going strong.

3 Tony makes EMS officials cry. And he doesn't even mean to!

4 They've actually done experiments: Tony is slightly better than Loki at not pressing the big red "Do Not Touch" button, but it's not by very much. Forget "dead men breaking in Hell" and all that crap – the actual kick start to the apocalypse? Will be Tony Stark (and Loki), in the Lab, with the phrase "I was really bored, okay?".

Luckily, the two are surprisingly good at keeping each other entertained and are absolutely terrible at following orders from Above, especially when there's something more interesting they could be doing with a truckload of Liquid Nitrogen, a couple of crates of glow-in-the-dark phalli, and the Washington Monument.

5 He was currently between blondes. And maybe he should be more disturbed at the ease with which he's grown accustomed to ignoring gore when gauging layability, but whatever.

6 Dressing up like a giant robot and dropping down impressively on evil villains. (Mind you, mostly to inform them that their hair sucks and he's pretty sure they mispronounced the consonants on that last page of their malevolent ritual (hey, languages are fun, and he'd gone through an odd (odd-er) stage as a pre-teen that's probably better off not being mentioned here), so why don't they give up now because he needs a goddamn drink before he deals with this shit).

7 During those (too numerous to mention) times when he has found his carefully crafted image of Unreliable Asshole working against him, Tony Stark has found it's usually much more amusing to just go ahead and do what he wants and then give Fury apoplexy once he's good and done playing with it.

Loki agrees wholeheartedly with this sentiment, and adds that the man has started making the most delightful twitching noises whenever they're in the same vicinity.

8 Pin The (Magic) Missile on the Starkmobile.

9 Last week. Tip for burgeoning ritualists everywhere: the words for "Cthulu, destroyer of worlds" and "rain of flounder" are very similar and easy to mispronounce. Tony'd told the kid.

10 He assumed this. Given his history, it was an entirely reasonable assumption (if not entirely accurate, given Loki was unconscious at the time).

That is not to say if Loki had hadthe option to choose whether to land on someone's head or the ground he wouldn't have picked the former. It's Loki.

11 Which is not an improvement, Starkmobile.

12 It should be noted that what Tony is upset about has entirely to do with the possible damage to his car, and not one iota to do with actual injury to his person.

In fact, one entire train of thought at this juncture is devoted to something along the lines of: 'what is it with people trying to kill my cars? If they're not man enough to take me on, fine. But leave my cars out of it, damnit!'

13 Actually, this inability to be in the middle of less than five different trains of thought at any given time is what tends to get him into the kind of trouble that ends up with men in black asking him very pointed questions and not letting him out of their sight (before he sics Pepper on them in self-defense). Tony's just saying. It's not so much lack of an attention span as too many attention spans. (And at least the toaster doesn't burn his toast. So there).

14 Also, the road is melted where the body hit. Tony doesn't actually note this as unusual. Possibly because he's got the kind of long-standing association with paved surfaces that usually ends with multi-million dollar payoffs to local governance for blacktop repair.

15Not. Yes, at one time, Tony was all for the kinds of games that make collateral damage part of your scorecard. He thought they were hilarious – and a pretty good way to judge what kinds of things the guys in the field might actually need. But that was before a lot of shit happened and he got to see firsthand what the little toys he makes might actually do to the people they're sent after. Now he has a long list in his head of the people his sweethearts have killed (guessing, in a lot of cases, based on possible proximity and the fact they've never been seen alive since), and he runs through it every damn time before he even thinks of sending something off to R&D or the War Office.

16 You try freefalling from an interspatial nuclear wormhole into the breathable atmosphere of a planet. It's tricky even when you're actually trying to survive. Loki would like you to try, because he thinks it would be funny.

17 If the guy was still breathing, at least, 'cuz necrophilia is one of the few things even Tony just won't do (despite the repeated attempts by some *very* disappointed corpses).

And the leather? Tony would kill for some of that (and yes, it would look rather silly over the suit. It's still the principle of the thing).

18 Possibly including the phrase '…I just nuked E. T.'

19 Most people find at Loki *least* odd (and when he's not actually trying to be polite? Generally in the neighborhood of downright terrifying even on a good day when he's not feeling terribly homicidal). Nevertheless, the guy will always be that absolute idiot in Tony's books and there's not a whole heck of a lot either of them can do about it.

Loki finds it rather comforting, not that you could get him to admit it.

20 Shut up, Pepper.

21 This would be why Agent Coulson despairs of Tony. Alien falls from the sky? Cool, let's see what else they can do. Why not take it home and make it a latte?

22 See: Hobbies. Because he doesn't always know when he's going to be finding himself bleeding all over the upholstery instead of safely tucked away with a glass of cognac and a few back editions of the Ladies' Home Journal. And then the guy at the carwash gives him funny looks.

23 Okay, he had Jarvis do it once he'd gotten past the doorstep. It's the same thing, because Jarvis is sorta like the muscles of Tony's mind.

24 An interesting idea and one that Tony immediately made a note to come back to for use on his suit. It'd be like becoming a telephone pole in winter, except with more kickass and squealing villains instead of small, easily manipulated children (Tony knows this from experience – they had to unstuck him five times one winter.

He would like to point out that by the third time it was because he was trying to invent a way to lick the pole without freezing, and not that he hadn't yet figured out what was going to happen).

25 Businessman Finds Blue Alien: News at 10.

26 Loki was actually aiming for the fuzzy pinkish blobby patch. Luckily (for Tony), his aim was off by a coffeemaker.

Neville is quite happy with the change, and he occasionally still spews boiling liquids into the faces of unsuspecting passerby (usually Tony).

27 Actually, forget about what we said earlier about the apocalypse. This is how it will begin.

28 Despite repeated attempts, the simple fact of the matter is that all of SHIELD's bugs come directly from Tony's labs. So it's only surprising to them when the things fail to work within twenty feet of his lab. He's not an idiot, and Fury makes such funny faces when Tony accuses him (through official channels, just to make it that much more enjoyable) of just trying to bootleg free porn on the government's time.