Characters: Loki, Tony Stark, Thor. Warnings: Blood & injuries . Summary: Written for this prompt on Norsekink "Loki is badly injured (maybe saving Tony?) and he and Tony are trapped together. Would prefer if Loki was on a temporary truce with the Avengers against whatever they're fighting."
~0~ PROTECTION ~0~
The truce had been an odd thing. One day Loki had been throwing cars at his brother's head, the next he had turned up, tagging along behind Thor, looking sullen and withdrawn.
"My brother is going to stay with us now," Thor had announced with no explanation, and no one dared to question him. An extra bed had been placed in Thor's room and the brothers spent all their time hidden away, except for meal times.
"What the hell is going on with those two?" Clint asked, a few days later as he watched Thor and Loki sit quietly outside in the sun.
"I have no idea," Tony replied, "but if you want to tell a god that his slightly mad, and most definitely evil, little brother can't stay, please be my guest because I'm not doing it."
"I don't trust him. How do we know he's not running round at night sabotaging everything?"
"I have security cameras everywhere. He so much as raises an eyebrow the wrong way, I'll know about it."
"You have cameras everywhere?" Clint asked, nervously.
"Everywhere. Don't worry though, your secret's safe with me," Tony replied with a wink, clapping his hand on Clint's shoulder as he walked out of the room.
Thor insisted that his brother be allowed to accompany them on missions, despite Fury's protests, and on the first Loki had simply stood, observing silently, while a battle raged around him, with his hands neatly folded behind his back.
During the second mission Loki stood silently again, watching everyone fight, occasionally disintegrating any Hydra soldier who dared to raise a weapon to him.
"Why didn't you help us?" Natasha had angrily asked Loki, on the way back to base.
"It did not appear that anyone required my assistance. You defeated your enemy, did you not?" he replied, and Natasha stormed away.
On the third mission, when Tony Stark saw Loki come flying towards him, the first thing he thought was 'Oh no, he's turned evil again,' and then he heard it. A low rumbling sound started somewhere above his head and debris began to rain down around them.
Tony let out a long groan as he regained consciousness and said, "What the hell was I drinking last night?"
He was confused for a moment. He was pretty sure half a building had just collapsed on top of him and yet he seemed to be able to move his arms and legs, something that should not be happening if he was under a ton of rubble. There also shouldn't be a feint green glow illuminating the space above him.
"Jarvis?" he asked, but the inside of the suit remained dark, the system was down.
He moved his hands up and touched what appeared to be a domed ceiling made of compressed glass and broken concrete and watched as it fizzled with green energy where he touched it.
"Loki," he said as he flipped his visor up and turned his head.
"I was not fast enough," Loki said. He was on his back with the broken end of a concrete pillar, that penetrated the protective magic shield by 2ft, laid on his stomach and the bottom of his ribcage, crushing them.
"That looks… painful," Tony said, sitting up and looking at Loki's chest.
"It is," Loki said, "Although my magic is holding most of its weight off me. Are you injured?"
"A little banged up, nothing serious."
"Good," Loki said, and closed his eyes, letting out a stuttering breath.
"They'll get us out," Tony said. "They'll be looking for us already."
"I have no doubt they will come for us," Loki replied, keeping his eyes closed. "I just fear, in his haste, my brother may end up bringing the whole structure down on top of us."
"Can't you just teleport us out?"
"Because teleportation requires enormous amounts of concentration and forgive me for finding it hard to concentrate when half my innards are flattened!" Loki snapped back at him, and then he gasped.
The shield buzzed audibly and the green glow began to flicker. There was a groaning sound from above them and then the shield cracked, contracting by an inch. The concrete pillar dipped noticeably and Loki screamed in pain as his ribs snapped like over-wound guitar strings.
"Holy shit," Tony said. He reached over, putting his hands under the pillar and tried to push it upwards.
"Stop! Stop!" Loki shouted, and then coughed a spray of blood into the air. "You are fighting against ME, not the weight."
Tony let go as the shield crackled again, issued a snapping sound and contracted again by 2 inches. The pillar dipped again, crushing Loki even more.
"I'm sorry!" Tony said, and then he watched, horrified, when blood began to seep through Loki's armor, forming a puddle on the dusty floor, as he struggled to keep control of his magic, fighting against the pain and fatigue.
"What's that sound?" Tony asked, hearing a dull pop.
"What sound?" Loki replied, his breath hitching with pain.
"That one," he said, as he heard it again. "It sounds like popcorn."
"Oh that. A healing spell, cast long ago, " Loki replied. "It is my ribs attempting to straighten themselves, and sadly failing."
"Doesn't it hurt?" Tony asked, grimacing at the sound.
"Yes, quite a lot, actually."
Tony watched as Loki's face twitched in pain in time with each popping sound, his shaking hands resting on the concrete column, moved involuntarily, and a light sheen of sweat covered his increasingly pale skin.
"I hate to ask this, but can you die?" Tony asked, "I mean, you have magic that heals you, but if it can't heal you because there is say, a ton of concrete across your chest, could you bleed to death?"
"I'm not sure. I have survived great injury before."
"I picked my head up off the floor and put it back on as if it were nothing more than a helmet," Loki said, proudly.
"That's quite cool really. No wonder we could never kill you."
"Thank you for reminding me."
"Seriously, what's going on with you and Thor? One day you are trying to flatten him, the next you're our new house guest?"
"Sometimes anger has a limited lifespan."
"What, so you're not angry anymore and suddenly you're one of the good guys?"
"My brother speaks highly of you, Stark… But if you persist in talking to me… I might get angry again," Loki said, his speech punctuated by rasping, wet sounding breaths.
"Sorry," Tony said.
A strange grinding sound came from Loki's chest, followed by a loud popping sound and he cried out. His body was wracked with a coughing fit and bright red, frothy blood trickled from the corner of his mouth.
The shield fizzed again and Loki shook his head, desperately trying to concentrate, but the dome contracted again, lowing the concrete pillar another inch. Loki bit his lip, trying to prevent his cry, and failed.
"If I can't hold it, will your suit protect you?" Loki asked.
"I have air supply for 1.7 hours."
"I mean the weight... Will it take the weight?"
"I think so. I hope we don't have to find out."
Loki coughed again, fresh blood running from his mouth and nose and then he said quietly, "Stark, will you promise me something?"
"When they find us, no matter how bad it looks, you will pull this from my chest and give my magic the opportunity to try to heal me?"
Tony paused a moment. Thor had often told them happy stories of his childhood, growing up in Asgard, and every one of them had somehow revolved around Loki. At times they almost couldn't believe that Thor was talking about the same person who had repeatedly tried to kill all of them. Thor had tried to convince them after every battle that his brother wasn't really evil, but as generally they had just spent the afternoon fighting whatever magical creature Loki had thrown at them, they were never persuaded. Seeing Loki like this, lying in a pool of his own blood, vulnerable and open, made Tony think that maybe Thor had been telling the truth.
"It's not going to come to that. You are going to keep that shield up till they find us, OK? You are not going to let it down."
"To…y… Can… me," The suit intercom burst to life in a hail of static.
"Steve? Is that you?"
"Tony. Can you he… me?"
"You're breaking up."
"Is this better?"
"Oh, thank god," Steve said. "Is Loki with you?"
"He's here, yeah," Tony said. "He's pretty badly injured though."
"Listen, we know where you are and we're coming for you. It's just going to take another 10, maybe 15, minutes to get down to your position."
"Steve, you need to be quick OK," Tony said, and then turned his head away from Loki. "I don't think we have a whole lot of time."
There was a pause and then Steve said, "Understood."
There was a click as the transmission ended and Tony said, "They're coming."
"They won't be long, you have to hold on, OK?"
"I will do my best," Loki said with a shaking voice, and Tony looked down to Loki's feet. They were outside the shield, crushed by concrete shards and blood pooled against the outer surface of their magical shelter. He couldn't even begin imagine how much that had to hurt.
Against his better judgment Tony pulled one of his armored gloves off and took hold of Loki's hand. Loki seemed to shrink from at the contact at first, opening one eye and looking at Stark warily, and then he relented, weakly gripping back.
"Thank you," he whispered, almost inaudibly.
"You can do it," Tony said.
Loki squeezed Tony's hand in a crushing vice like grip as he fought to control the buzzing shield, its colour was fading in and out and it contracted again, lowering the pillar once more. Loki screamed in agony as his body was crushed.
"I do not know… how long I can keep… the spell alive," He gasped between panting breaths.
"Just keep concentrating," Tony said, wondering how the other man was even still alive at this point, but he could see Loki was fading rapidly. His eyes were opening and closing as if his eyelids were too heavy, and a pool of blood was oozing through the dirt.
"Stay with me, OK."
"I can't… I can't…" Loki wheezed, his eyes closing, his skin was white as a ghost and his lips were starting to turn blue. "I'm sorry."
Flipping his visor down, Tony threw himself over Loki, keeping his upper arms and thighs at 90-degree angles to the ground, knowing what was about to happen. He cradled Loki's head with his unprotected hand as Loki gasped for breath, struggling to draw the air in. The shield started to glow in intensity and then vanished.
The concrete column smashed to the ground, splashing Tony's knees with blood as the rubble poured down on top of them, and everything went black.
Tony let the strength of the suit take the weight of the debris and hoped it would hold. He could hear every joint and every panel groaning.
Static came over the comm again.
"Ton… What happened… Nearly there…"
He didn't know how long it had been when he saw light and felt an enormous weight lift from his back as Thor lifted a giant concrete slab and threw it like it was nothing.
"Stark!" Thor shouted, as he saw a glimmer of red metal through the dust and broken glass. "Where is Loki?"
Thor watched as Tony knelt up, pushing the last of the remaining wreckage away and revealed his brothers body.
"NO!" Thor cried, as he saw Loki's ashen, lifeless face, a stream of blood cutting its way from his mouth down his dirty cheek. He quickly scrambled down into the pit and started to clear the ruins of the building from Loki's body. He grabbed the concrete pillar by one end and flipped it out of the hole like it was nothing more than a toothpick.
Loki was a mess, his lower body was mangled and his legs were crushed beyond belief. Thor leant over to touch him and Tony, still kneeling, grabbed his hand.
Tony raised his visor and said, "Give him a minute."
"My brother is dead, Stark. I must take him back to Asgard. He saved your life. His death must be honored accordingly."
"No," he replied. "He told me he could fix it. He made me promise to let him try."
"Some injuries are too great to return from," Thor said sadly, and leant over again.
Tony put his hand on Thor's chest, pushed him back gently and shouted, "He made me PROMISE!"
They looked down for the source of the sound and watched in awe as Loki's shattered rib cage began to move, the bones snapping back into position. His flattened stomach began to re-inflate as the organs repaired themselves and his legs straightened with a sickening crunch.
Loki sat up and gasped for air as if it were his very first breath, and then panted as he clutched at his body. When he was satisfied everything was in the right place he looked at Thor quizzically and said, "What?"
"Brother!" Thor cried. "You are alive!"
"Well, of course," Loki snorted, like dying was an every day occurrence, and then he looked down. "I will require new armor. This set is rather grubby."
"I think grubby is an understatement," Tony said, looking at the bloodstains and holes that had been poked through the material by his broken bones.
Thor took Loki's hand, pulled him to his feet and then embraced him in a huge hug. Loki stiffened at first, thinking of escaping.
"I thought you were dead," Thor said. Loki softened and buried his nose into Thor's neck briefly, gratefully accepting his brother's affection.
"I was," he said, quietly, then after a moment pushed Thor away and said, "Stop creating a scene in public, it is most embarrassing."
"I am happy you are alive brother," Thor boomed.
"As am I, but that is no excuse to act like an overexcited puppy."
"We will hold a feast tonight!"
"Must everything be an excuse for gluttony?"
"When have we ever held a feast for no reason?"
"Thor, last week you declared we must hold a feast when Steve found the keys to his motorcycle."
"Oh… yes. They had been missing for a long time, so it was a great occasion!"
"They were missing for 2 hours," Loki said, rolling his eyes, "And they were in his pocket all along."
"Thanks for saving my life," Tony said, as they headed away from the pile of wreckage.
"I was trying to flee," Loki replied, snootily. "You were merely in the way."
Tony smiled, knowing Loki liked to maintain his air of aloof disdain like a protective shield. He put his hand on Loki's shoulder and said, "Thanks anyway."
Loki looked down and allowed a secret smile to form on his lips. Maybe his brother was right and the avengers weren't so bad after all.