"Do I look like an idiot?"

Tony's eyes darted from the ground and back to Coulson, "This is a test question, isn't it? I really don't like when you do this, it creeps me out."

"Do what?"

"Stare at me unblinking. There, you are doing it again."

Agent Coulson grinded his teeth and waited until Tony got his accusational finger out of his face.

"You are telling me that the men were suspended in mid-air by a magnetic field disturbance caused by a solar flare and you think I'm going to buy it?"

"No I don't, but you know what? I have no idea how they stayed like that, okay?"

I might know who did it, but I don't know how he did it, so I am at least semi-honest.

"But I am going to find out. I just need more time. Meanwhile, why don't we discuss a more urgent matter? Like, how many times did we get attacked by aliens this month and why I wasn't told?"

Coulson felt corner of his left eye twitch, "Those files were classified."

Tony just waved him off, "I declassified them."

"Of course you did." The Agent mentally sighed, watching Tony moving closer, leaning into him in the Iron Man suit.

"Listen, I know it is a secret, but don't you think I should be informed? If there is going to be a major boo-boo, who's going to clean it up? After all I did for you I think I have a right to know." Stark stopped for a second, waiting for any reaction from Coulson and when he got nothing, started to fidget.

"C'mon, just tell me as a friend, we are friends, aren't we? Besides, I will find out sooner or later."

Stark took a moment to consider and added, "One way or another."

That earned him a dirty look.

The staring match continued until the Agent shook his head, hooked smirking Iron man on the elbow and navigated him away from the eavesdroppers.

"I advise you keep this conversation confidential."

"Or you will taze me and watch a Super nanny while I drool on the floor?"

"No, I will shoot you, burn the body and say it was an accident."

Stark gave the agent a sly smile, "I am still wearing my suit, remember?"

Coulson didn't even blink, "I'll wait till you fall asleep."

"It's that bad, huh?"

"There have been … accidents, involving hostiles with weaponry of unknown origin and unmatched by our own technology. We might be facing a large scale invasion soon."

"And then Loki and his brother pop up, offer help, and you send the biggest bag of dicks to oversee the party?"

"Captain Rogers is almost twice your age, show him more respect."

"I wasn't talking about him, but since you've mentioned it, did you really think Rogers would be an equal match for them in a fist fight?"

"You've misunderstood. Captain Rogers has fought in the Second World War; he had seen things both you and I have only read about. He's quite an expert in judging the character."

Tony tolled his eyes, "And yet with all his terrifying experience he seems a bit naïve. Besides, Loki saved his life and now I call all Capsicle's opinions a bias. Oh, wait, that's why you invited that Iceman dude? So he could tickle the guys in all the wrong places and you and Cap could just stand close and assess?"

"We had to make sure they are not enemy insurgents."

"By pissing them off?"

"True enemy spies would not let their negative emotions sabotage the mission. And the brothers demonstrated theirs on multiple occasions."

Stark paused for a second, "Well, strange logic. Whatever. Now I am stuck with babysitting them."

"You are the best choice."

Tony's eyebrows shot up. "Flattery?" Then the corner of his mouth twitched.

"I guess you just can't afford them. What else do I need to know?"

Coulson threw a quick glance around, making sure the crowd and its constantly flashing phone cameras was far out of reach. Last thing they needed was a conspiracy scandal.

"We need a constant surveillance on both Loki and Thor and your mansion has the best means to do it …discretely. We desperately need you to get as much info out of them as possible. Weaponry, defense systems, transportation, communications, energy- anything."

Stark scratched his goatee, absorbing the info.

"What about that Thor guy, is he as bad as his brother, a full of himself diva?"

"Worse, he is like you. Just more…chivalrous."

"Hey, I am a gentleman."

"Less promiscuous then. I suggest you play nice."

"So you are selling me out for the good of mankind without remorse?"

"You volunteered."

"What if they try to seduce me and turn me to the dark side?"

"You'll manage."

A quiet beep ringed through Coulson's bracelet, transmitting the message from the base. Tony tried to pry into the message over the agent's shoulder but Coulson defiantly covered it with his palm. Then the Agent smoothed his costume and turned to leave.

"Thor and the rest of the group are three hours away."

"Fine, I'll see to it."

"Thor is royalty and expects a royal welcome."

"Who do you think you are talking to? I'm the best party-thrower in New York."

"I'll send the backup."

"What? Whom? No, wait- I don't need back up; I need detailed reports on those accidents!"

"It's above my pay grade."

"I don't care, I want my files!"

"Ask Fury. Oh, and Stark- please tell the solar flare when you see him not to disturb any other magnetic fields, it can influence his public image."

With that Coulson turned away and headed towards the dark grey sedan that stopped at the corner of the street.

Tony took a moment to look around, watched the last ambulance leave and police start to clear the street to give way to criminal investigators. Now that the crowd was booed from the spectacle, its attention shifted and the wall of people started to slowly surround the Iron Man. If not for the smiles and camera flashes, the movement would have looked like a scene from a zombie apocalypse movie.

It was time to leave.

"Jarvis, upload the hacking codes for S.H.I.E.L.D. interface, I want to see what they are hiding from law obedient citizens."

"Sir, I believe Agent Coulson said…"

"I know what he said, but it is easier to beg for forgiveness then ask for permission. Besides, if Coulson says "desperate", it is time to panic."

Iron man looked around the street, waved one last time to the people and soared away.

The captive craftsman was complacent enough to reveal the hand that was guiding the heist; Loki didn't even have to break his second leg for that, although he wanted to. The prince let him go after the human shade tears of remorse and swore to all gods and devils he didn't know it would've ended in the bloodshed. The fear was a good punishment for the weak of heart.

Loki took a second to lay out all of the evidence on the floor of the room before he left: pictures, plans, video recordings, all the police had to do was to collect. He stood there, towering over the mosaic of facts until the voices of the guards resonated up the staircase, and then took his leave. With some spare time on his hands, the prince had only one other business in mind- meeting face to face with the man behind the heist, the very owner of the bank.

The trip was swift, two blocks from the building now entrapped into a moving crowd of police and bystanders. However, Loki froze for a second when he saw Stark dragged away by Agent Coulson.

The prince's fingers twitched and heart picked up a bit as he watched the two men talk aside from the huddle. Coulson was gifted in interrogation and did not extend gentle affection he showed to Steve on to Stark.

But, it was doubtful the agent would resort to torture, the country they were in did not favor those kinds of methods

Not that he would need any method.

Loki's lips curved down into a pout.

Coulson was nothing but an idiot, and Loki was nothing but subtle. Most likely the agent had long figured out Loki didn't keep out of the action as he was asked to. The only hope was that Coulson would take into account that Loki's involvement, although indirectly, helped save the lives and capture the misdoers.

Stark on the other hand…

Loki felt light shiver running down his spine and straightened up, taking a deep slow breath.

The dark brown eyes stared at him again, going ablaze with the thought of Loki indebted to him. Stark would never miss a chance to get something at Loki's expense.

As many would.

Loki rushed in the heat of the moment and made a bad bargain and now had to face the consequences.

Then the grim foreboding gave place to curiosity. Loki had already concluded Stark completely lacks a sense of shame, but he would like to know how far this human's depravity can go.

Whatever Stark dares to ask of, I will be ready for the challenge.

The man rushed through the papers on his desk, crumpling and pushing them into the briefcase. The helicopter was warming up on the roof, only waiting for its primary passenger, when Loki stepped into the office and locked the door behind him.

"I am afraid you can't leave just yet."

"Who …who are you?" The man's head jerked up and he froze in mid-movement, ripples going through his second chin.

"My name will do you no good. But, you could address me as …my Lord." Loki's chuffed smile morphed into a frown as the man wobbled around the table, knocking stationary off with his belly, and started slamming his finger into the phone.


"Don't waste your lungs, they will not come. I made sure they remain occupied."

"What do you want?" The man cowered back, shielding himself with the briefcase from Loki's cold steely gaze.

"Merely to satiate my curiosity. Did you think you could kill so many people, get the money and yet escape punishment?"

"I don't know what you are talking about."

"Do not try my patience." Loki let his voice drop an octave and was rewarded with a visible shiver running through man's body.

"Look, I am a man of business. Tell me how much do you want for your silence, and we will roll from there."

"So easy to appease me, you think? I have no care or use for your money."

"Well, maybe you will care for this!" The man pulled a small gun out of his briefcase and fired, laughing as the bullets hit Loki in the chest.

The laugh died at instant when Loki arched the eyebrow and growled at the sizzling holes in his clothes.

"You've just ruined my suit, you stupid pest! What are you planning to do now?" Loki's face darkened as he shifted his gaze to the gun and made it candent hot, burning off skin on man's palm in an instant.

The man shrieked and tossed his weapon away, hissing in pain as the room filled with a light smell of burned flesh.

"You are thought to have planned the heist of your own bank but…you don't seem to have strength of character nor wit for such endeavor, you are a thief, but poltroon one of that. Who guided you into this? I would have a name."

"There is no name."

"Perhaps you require more incentive? "

The energy flowed from Loki's fingertips, fueled by his anger, ripping the air and swirling around, tightening around man's limbs. The magic threw the man into the air only to stop abruptly several inches away from the ceiling.

The man spit and cursed in hopeless rage, face red from strain and sweat pouring all over the collar.

"Screw you and your cheap magic tricks!"

"Hm, interesting, you don't seem surprised…You have seen magic before! Where? Did your master show it to you?"

Loki watched as the man struggled to break free, still refusing to give any answer, until his patience ran out.

"Very well then, I will resort to my brother's method of persuasion this only time."

That didn't work out well though, because instead of responding to Loki's questions, man was simply screaming his lungs out as he hung head down 80 stores above the streets, supported only by Loki's iron grip on his ankle.

Loki waited for the man to run out of air, absently watching creeks of cars gaining speed on the roads below as the emergency services navigated them away from the bank.

"You can choose to deny my offer and choke on your own blood, or cooperate and live a little longer. What would your answer be? Do tell me promptly, for my hand is growing weary."

The man finally stopped screaming and crooked his neck to face Loki.


"Mandarin …what? Is that all you can tell me?"

The man wheezed between the ragged breaths, "Mandarin. That's his name. That's all I know. Please!"


Loki swung the man around and threw him back into the room as a ragdoll. The man gulped for air while Loki meticulously brushed fragments of the broken glass off his shoulders.

"You know, your people will punish you but it will be gentle. And I crave something else, for my personal satisfaction. That money you spoke of, I will have it before I leave."

The man crawled up, leaning on the table and stared at the prince.

"How much?"

"All of it." Loki smiled.

"Are you mad? I can't, it's not mine, you can't! You must be joking!"

"Do I look like I am in a joking mood? And if this displeases your master, he will have to address me personally."

Loki produced a small bank card out of his pocket and handed it to the man.

The card was black and green with intricate gold ornaments entwined into the carcass. No name, no card number, just empty space.

The man stared back at him.

"I cannot transfer anything if I don't have a bank account number."

"Just open the flow up, it will find its way."

And it did. The man watched in horror mixed with total disbelief as all the funds from his personal and business accounts streamed away to somewhere unknown, leaving no trace.

When finished, Loki twirled it between his fingers. It was all the same, but seemed a bit heavier.

"I start to appreciate this system. I just got all of your riches and yet it all fits into a palm of my hand! Brilliant."

The man slid down to the floor, tired and resigned.

"We are both dead, you and I. He will destroy you for what you did."

Corner of Loki's mouth twitched up. "I highly doubt that."

The moment Loki left the office a group of armed men in civilian clothes burst in the hallway from the stairs. A sound of quarrel followed with shouts no and don't standing out; then three gun fire rounds thundered and everything went quiet.

Loki stopped for a second, and then entered the elevator without looking back. He had enough of getting his hands dirty with pawn blood for one day.

The puppet master, Mandarin, must've learned that the police got a hold on the evidence and ordered his dogs to dispose of the main witness.

Should've done it faster.

Loki grinned.

If Mandarin wants to know where his money went, he will find a way to contact the prince.

And then I will have a little bit of entertainment before I leave this planet.

As the elevator slowly descended, the prince made a mental note to himself to be more discrete in the days to come. He couldn't allow the earthlings to get advantage in negotiations because of his dealings.

Late afternoon colored the skies in peach and yellow, pouring the warm sunlight over the busy streets. Loki still had a couple of hours to kill before his brother would arrive.

Nordic culture exhibition banners loomed in the distance and Loki made his way to the library.

Not that he held any interest in remnants of human culture so undeveloped they worshiped Aesir as gods, but Stark's reaction alone made Loki reconsider. He would not have that human make jokes that Loki didn't understand.

"Jarvis, where are we on those files?"

Tony bit a mouthful of a donut and powered up the screens around the floor.

He just flew through Brooklyn to get a snack, scared the living hell out of two teenagers trying to steal a car and got a dozen of donuts for free because the shop owner was a huge fan of Iron Man.

Life was good.

"Sir, I now have full access to all Shield database, however there is no trace of any alien activity data of any king."

"Well they couldn't have just evaporated."

"Since they are considered a top secret priority they might have been moved to a secure external drive to which I have no access to."

"Fine, we'll use another tactics then. Give me all 911 calls for the past two months."

"Accessing emergency services database and creating the map now."

A holographic projection of the United States hovered over the center of the room, flickering as Jarvis was analyzing the data. Myriads of small yellow dots decorated every inch of it, turning the hologram into multi-colored puzzle.

"Good, now cross reference those with Shield's first response log and remove everything else."


The net of the yellow dots thinned, revealing wide spaces empty of activity.

Tony eyed the map and took another bite of a glazed donut, only to stop, look at it, put it back, and reach for the chocolate one instead.

"Now leave only big ones with allocation of 10 people or more and cross check it with injuries and death log."

"Unrelated response logs deleted, sir."

"Ok, what do we have here, hm…?" Tony walked through the lines of light, looking at each dot.

"Look for any inconsistencies, like a huge body count and log register of kitten attacks, don't forget to check local news feeds."


"Ok, show the final result."

The hologram blinked one more time and froze with one hundred and twenty three gleaming dots scattered throughout the country.

"This can't be right."

123 possible alien related events in two months in US alone?

Tony frowned in disbelief. He danced around the lights, magnifying some of them and skipping through the data. The reports, witness accounts, pictures- everything pointed to activity from the outer space.

The evidence was still inconclusive, but even if 90% of it was a bogus, it still left 12 episodes of extraterrestrial encounter.

He stopped at a blurry picture taken on one of remote military bases in Mojave dessert. Burning structures, blown vehicles and charred bodies spoke for themselves.

So far only Loki and his brother willingly came into contact with humans. The rest chose to sneak into the shadows, leaving a trail of bodies behind. Whoever they were, their intentions were far from friendly.

Stark forgot about his sugary treat and focused, running multiple scenarios in his head. He had to access the real data somehow to eliminate any chance of error.

"Sir, Shield helicopter ETA 5 minutes."

"Save and collapse."

If the Earth was preparing for war, he would know of it.

Loki had never understood the humanity's unquenchable thirst to dig out graves and put the departed and their belongings on display. What was dead should stay dead. The history and legacy should be preserved by the living, not by putting graveyard bounties for gapers to gawk at.

The prince took his time to read through all the texts, waving most of them off as a manifestation to the earthling priests favorite pastime- abuse of ale. And ritual herbs.

Peasants had no idea how Aesir magic worked. It was powerful, but even it had its limits. Giving birth to a horse? Transforming into a mare? No one could assume a form of such great difference.

Loki cringed. He has a strange suspicion that the voice of reason would have no effect on Stark's taste for sultry jokes.

The prince mused on a course of action while he lazily prowled between the glass stands, ignoring herds of humans around him. The exhibition was tawdry and yet somewhat entertaining.

Until he found himself facing a stand about mythical Loki's birth and demise.

The prince froze as he read the story before him, and then shook his head and read it again, again, and again still, bitter bile forming up in his throat with each passing minute.

Those little pests had made him a monster.

Out of all who came down to Midgard he, the prince of Asgard, the son of Odin, was made into a laughing stock.

Named not a prince, not even an Aesir- an ice giant, son of Laufey, that pitiful ogre who didn't deserve to be among the living!

The fact that king Laufey was portrayed as a female served no consolation.

Loki towered in front of the glass, his reflection staring back at him, dark with fury. He leaned closer, pushing his fingers into the cold surface and making it crack under pressure.

A freak. A frost giant. Son of Laufey. Mother of monsters. Bringer of the end of Asgard.

When did it all go so wrong, what did he do to deserve that? Was it his preference for magic? Was it his disdain for mindless brawls?

The rage rushed through Loki's body and his blood boiled. A reckless flicker of his finger, and the glass would crash into smithereens, spreading fear and chaos. He took a deep breath and stepped back. The floor was bent where he stood a second ago, a web of cracks running in all directions away from the dent.

That had never happened before.

"Incredible , isn't it?"

The prince suddenly found himself in a company of a man almost as tall as himself, which annoyed Loki greatly, because when exactly earthling midgets suddenly grew up to be as tall as Aesir? But even more disturbing was the mop of unruly dark blond curls crowning the man's head. Loki's fingers twitched with strain as he barely stopped himself from reaching out and smoothing that wobbling monstrosity down.

"Indeed. " The only word seeped through the clenched teeth. Loki was in no mood for company, and made no effort to hide it.

But his animosity was bluntly ignored.

"Such an interesting character, Loki. Too bad his end was so tragic."

"He was a monster, and he got what he deserved for his treachery." Loki almost spit the words filled with spite.

"Oh, I am afraid I have to disagree. He was simply too smart for a society that valued brutal strength above all. He was different, he was innately predisposed to mischief, and that made him difficult to control."

Loki mused on simply gagging the human and leaving, but he couldn't resist getting into an argument.

"You sound like it was Asgard itself that brought the destruction upon Loki and the Aesir."

"And I believe so."

"He was a monster and a liar, he poisoned everything around him with envy and knavery and hate – and paid for it with his life."

The human listened carefully, tilting his head to the side and eying Loki with huge blue eyes.

"But…if you read carefully, you will see that it was, in fact, the truth that ultimately got him killed. How many times did he caused trouble and yet the gods forgave him? He managed to get away with everything, until he spoke the truth. As I see, the Aesir had created a perfect world with no foul in their minds, and tried to protect it by setting up a set of rules. Even their deaths were dictated by rules. And Loki enjoyed tinkering with those rules to see what would happen. And he would not be shy of breaking them in need be. But Aesir could not extend compassion for his predicament and set their judgment upon him instead."

"He was a harbinger of chaos."

"But chaos is change. In a way. It is uncontrollable and perpetually shifting, but it is a driver of life. If something is not changing, it becomes static and after some time, decays and dies. That violent end of Asgard could have been averted if only its people were not so adamant about following the rules. "

"One born a monster will be a monster, not a hero. It is in his blood, and it makes his destiny, rules or not."

"Circumstances of our birth are irrelevant; it's our life choices that make us who we are."

"You cannot escape your destiny if it is written at the moment of your birth."

"Then you just have to flunk the written."

Loki gave a man a long evaluating look.

"You are very sentimental. And naïve. Do you truly believe that a devil thirsty for blood and destruction can be a hero? Someone weak and pitiful and full of hate and envy, save the world?"

"I do, actually, yes. All heroes are flawed. They are lonely, vain, arrogant, proud, envious. But what makes them heroes is that they overcome their frailties for the sake of greater good. And the unlikeliest of heroes make the greatest heroes of all."

"And how do you possess such deep knowledge of the subject, if I may inquire?"

The man fidgeted and blushed a little, rubbing his neck.

"Well, ehehe, I majored in literature, and Norse legends were among my favorites. A world birthed in blood and murder and ended in fire. Incredible."

The silence stretched for a good minute as Loki was dwelling in his own thoughts. Although unwillingly, but the conversation made the prince wonder if human was at least partially right.

And the said human watched Loki brooding, and grew more and more concerned, thinking he had just offended the prince with his expatiation. So he leaned in and whispered conspiratorially,

"Some believe Norse gods were actually extraterrestrial travelers, who used an interdimentional wormhole to travel between worlds. "

Loki rounded his eyes in a mock surprise, "Really? What a preposterous idea!"

The human remained completely oblivious to Loki's blatant mockery and beamed with a blinding smile.

"I think it would be very exciting to meet with a being from another world."

"What makes you think you haven't met him already? You can never be sure whom you are speaking with."

"Oh, dear! How inexcusably rude of me! I'm so sorry; I got so uncontrollably excited that I forgot to introduce myself! My name is…"

The tower clock in the middle of the hall filled the exhibition with nine bell strikes, making the glass vibrate a little as the sound reverberated from the surfaces.

"Oh dear lord, have mercy!"

Loki arched left brow, eyeing an extended hand that stopped in mid-movement as the human turned to face the clock.

"That is a very unfortunate name."

The man jerked as if waking up from a trance. "Oh, I am so sorry, friend, I have to go, I am late for a meeting…I am so sorry, I wish we could talk more, but…So sorry."

"Stop apologizing and go already, you are just wasting the time."

As Loki watched the tall blonde navigate through the crowd, unceasingly apologizing, a different feeling of dread rose in him.

Nine hits of the bell meant nine o'clock.

Which meant Thor was going to arrive at Stark Tower at any minute.

A show Loki certainly didn't want to miss.

"So, did you go?"

Stark gave Loki a brow wiggle as they walked out on the helicopter pad on the roof.

"To where are you referring, exactly?"

"Don't play a silly, princess, you know what I am talking about."

Loki gave Tony a hard look and sighed.

"Your lack of respect appalls me. And yes, I ventured there. Found nothing to my taste though."

"Really? What about some raunchy myths?"

Loki stopped and turned to Stark, hiding a smirk.

"If you mean the one where I gave birth to a horse, well, I found lack of accuracy …disappointing. You see, magic can't change the essence of things, only their physical manifestation. In simple terms, when I turn into something, I remain a male. I'm afraid your ancestors had botched the action."

The prince silently jubilated watching Tony's face go through a wide range of expressions until it settled on, as Jay would've called it, "Unyielding to bullshit."

"Wait a minute, are you saying that you really…"

"What, mated with the horse? I truly do not understand your amusement. In my short stay on Midgard I've already seen some things that make my …endeavor pale in comparison."

Stark stared at the prince for a moment, eyes wide open and unblinking, but recovered quickly.

"I call you a bluff. You won't let one hair on your head to stick out of place. There is no way you could have slept with the horse."

"Svadilfari was one fine mare. Besides, you see, Aesir live for thousands of human years. When you live that long, one day you might get bored. And when I get bored, I tend to ….experiment."

That rendered Tony speechless.

Loki's heart filled with glee, messing with this particular human might become his favorite pastime.

A sudden gust of wind and a sound of thunder on an almost cloudless sky made both men look up.


"That's my brother."


A mere second later Thor came bolting through the sky and landed on the platform, Mjolnir gripped tightly in his hand.

Stark looked at him for a moment, then at Loki, then back at Thor, leaned to the younger prince and whispered, "They are not feeding you well, or something?"


Thor's voice boomed over the landing pad as he stomped towards the welcoming party. Loki's heart swell with joy as Thor crushed him in a bear hug.

"It is good to see you, brother. You did well with that rock."

"You weren't bad yourself, as I've heard. "

Thor just waved that off, "There was nothing to tell."

The older prince's gaze shifted as he finally noticed Tony. The human held out a hand,

"Tony Stark."

Thor shook it, and smiled, "The man of Iron? Son of Coul said you aided Loki in saving the city. I would see the armor Agent spoke so fondly of."

"Yeah, later. By the way, aiding would've been much easier if your baby brother wasn't nagging me all the time."

Thor's large frame shook with laughter, "Loki is like that sometimes, isn't he?"

Loki fumed with irritation. For all the possibilities he surely didn't think those two belligerates would bond over mocking him!

"Why did you fly like that? I thought Fury sent a helicopter."

"It was too slow."

Tony's grin widened. Thor seemed like a decent fella, though he would use a wardrobe overhaul. Tony wasn't sure if brothers had some special dress code or regal garments, but the tall blonde in plaid shirt with a hammer looked more like a plumber than a god.

The air filled with a sound of propellers as two helicopters approached the Stark tower.

"Jarvis, light up the pad."

The rows of lights flamed up into a pattern, marking the landing way for the pilots above.

Stark stepped aside, preparing to snatch Fury away at the first sight.

"Tomorrow, brother, we will speak to the rulers of Midgard and be done with it."

Thor looked around, just now noticing the night city below.

"You think it's going to be so easy? You think that humans simply fall to their knees upon seeing us?"

"I do not require worship, Loki, but this realm has always been under Asgards protection and guidance. All the earthlings have to do is aknowledge that. They would be fools not to."

Loki pinched the bridge of his nose, "It is not that simple, Thor. They aren't worshipping us as gods anymore. That time had long passed, they evolved, they now have advance technology."

The wind played with princes' hair as helicopters landed on the rooftop.

"all their technology is no match for us. I will not hear about it again, I am tired and require sustinence. I hope the man of Iron prepared a feast for us."

"Yes, it's in the ballroom eight floors below. Who else is coming?"

Thor beamed, "Lady Jane."

"And there I thought we shouldn't mingle with humans as it would impair our judgement."

Thor glanced at Loki in surprise,

"Lady Jane is different."

"And how is she….Wait, is it because you fancy her?"

"No, I don't fancy her, I…"

"You fancy her!"

"Brother, speak quieter, we can be heard."

"Do you plan on courting her?"

"I don't…I don't know, I will be living soon. And all those Midgardian traditions, they are so weird and different. "

"So you will let someone else court her."

"No! Do you know of someone?"

"Well, Stark might be interested. She is beautiful and a woman of science. He is rich and spends his riches on science."

"I will not have that."

Oh, father would be very pleased with that. The crown prince of Asgard courting a mortal woman, what a scandal.

Loki mentally grinned. Thor without knowing was digging his own grave.

Though again, the golden prince got away with much worse.

A group of people, servants, most likely, emerged from the elevator and moved through pad to great the guests.

As Loki watched the roof swarm suddenly with so many people, Jane almost ran to Loki and awkwardly shook his hands, "I'm so happy everything is fine, we were worried sick. " And then she rose on her tip toes and placed a brief kiss on his cheek, "And that's for New York."

Loki was stunned. He stood motionless for a moment and watched as Thor and Jane were guided inside, wondering if someone had noticed what had happened.

" Duuude!" Something collided with Loki's side and he felt as if he was attached by an octopus, or a large snake with several heads. Something- or someone, has not only climbed him like a tree, but was successfully blocking all Loki's attempts to break free from the grip.

"Disattach yourself at once!"

With a tremendous effort Loki managed to tear Jay off himself and hold him down at a stretched hands distance. Luckily Loki's hands were longer than Jay's, and he succeded in preventing any further attacks. Scandalized and dishivored, Loki about to shout how dare you and why and we could've been seen, but settled for shorter "What is wrong with you?!"

Jay pouted and widened his puppy eyes,

"I missed you. And I hadn't been hugged enough in childhood so now I overcompensate. "

Loki smoothed his hair and fixed his clothes, minimizing the damage. He growled at Jay with barely concealed irritation,

"Remove yourself from my sight, at once!"

The pout deepened.


The man's shoulders sank as he dragged his feet away from the prince. Loki rolled his eyes.


Loki caught Jay's chin between his fingers and gave the human's face a look. The skin healed perfectly, the burns were all but gone, leaving the cheek smooth and pink.

Jay stood motionless as Loki examined the fruits of his spell, but the dark orbits darted frantically from side to side. When the Aesir released his grip, the man jumped and started swirling around.

"Oh my god, oh my god, it is Tony Stark's tower!"

"May I inquire, what is so special about this Antony Stark? You reacted calmly when learned that me and my brother were aliens of royal blood, and yet you scream and jump around at the very mention of this human's name?"

Jay tried to hang on Loki's neck but was promptly stopped by a firm hand.

"No, oh don't get jealous! You are totally awesome, and cool and badass and I love you. But this is Tony Stark!"

"He is a lost case of a fangirl. Good job, bro." Javier materialized out of nowhere and gave Loki a strong shove.

"You know, your struggles and protests will not keep him away, he likes you too much."

Loki turned to the human, "Do you have any other ideas, then?"

Javier shrugged and flashed Loki a smile, "I bet a tazer would work."

The crowd started to melt away, slowly clearing the helipad.

Loki turned to leave when he noticed another familiar face.

The doctor clapped Loki's shoulder briefly, and when Loki tried to return the gesture, caught prince's wrists and inspected the palms. "Hm , healed. Any symptoms, pain, burn, itching sensation?"

Loki wriggled out of the grip and clenched his hands behind his back. "I assure you I am totally healed."

"You should teach me that. Oh, and that trick you pulled off on Jay. "

"What, peeling him off?"

"No, that I know how to do. Healing him. He had some deep second degree burns and now has fully recovered and not even sporting a scar. That's some very cool stuff."

"I'll see what I can do."

Suddenly Loki's nerves tingled, he turned around and, well, of course, there he was, towering over the platform.

"What are you doing here?"

Captain Iceman cut the distance between him and the prince in five long strides.

"We came to testify in Security Counsil about your stellar performance. Well, I, Javi and Doctor came to testify, Jay just dragged along. But I'll just use him as my demon monkey to annoy the shit out of politicians. He is skilled in doing that."

The silence stretched, becoming uncomfortable, until Loki inquired, smirking,

"Why are you looking at me like that? Are you going to manhandle me too?"

Iceman's monolith face suddenly split into a smug smile. "Well, if you insist."