Several hours later, Tony's hair was a mess from how many times he'd run a hand through it and the frown between Thor's eyes was not letting up. One of the palace servants entered the hall and approached the Crown Prince, "Your Highness?"
"Yes?" he asked, inclining his head as Tony started swearing rapidly at a piece of technology. Fandral looked impressed.
"The King and Queen request your presence and that of your guests."
That got Tony's attention. "Come again?"
"Would you like to meet my parents?" Thor asked.
"No," he replied, abruptly and blunt and for a moment all the Asgardians looked shocked.
Natasha drew a deep breath and glanced at her teammate, "Tony..."
The servant looked uncertainly at the prince, "What shall I tell them, your highness?"
"We'll be there momentarily," Thor answered. "All of us." Tony glared at him but shrugged after another moment. The servant bowed and hurried away to let the rulers of Asgard know.
For a moment Tony and Thor had a staring contest. "I'm not getting out of this, am I?" Tony sighed, starting to pack the instruments up and snapping the case shut.
"You have all the information you need, do you not?" Thor asked.
"Yes," Tony muttered.
"No, you do not get out of it."
"It's not as bad as all of that, Tony," Natasha murmured. "Just try to keep your mouth shut and everything should be fine."
Both men gave her a look. "Have I ever kept my mouth shut?" Tony asked.
Moments later they were ushered into the throne room of Asgard, Tony nearly cracking his neck when he craned it to look around.
Frigga offered them a gentle smile from her seat at Odin's right hand. The Allfather's single eye swept over the three of them, "Welcome back to Asgard, my son. Welcome, honored guests."
"Yo," Tony said with a lazy wave.
"Mother, father," Thor greeted with a smile and Tony choked on how much love was on everyone's faces and in Thor's tone.
Natasha bowed slightly, "Your majesties."
Odin rose from his throne and moved down the stairs, "What brings the three of you to Asgard?"
"My companion, A—Tony Stark had a request to run some tests," Thor said, gesturing back to the inventor.
The Allfather's brows drew together, "Tests?"
"Well, your son is a horrible liar," Tony shrugged. "I mean, this son, not your sortta kinda other son. He's a really good liar which was entirely the problem."
Thor bit his lip. "He was attempting to create something that required understanding Asgardians."
Frigga's gaze held understanding, but Odin still looked unconvinced, "And just what was that thing?"
Thor stumbled for a moment and Tony shrugged. "Lie detector that worked on non-humans."
"And you wish to use it for what purpose, exactly?"
Tony arched a brow and shrugged after a moment. "Honestly? Who do you think I would use an Asgard lie detector on except your resident, or not so resident, god of lies?"
Odin considered him for a long moment, "That presumes you would ever be able to focus it upon the trickster."
"It does," Tony agreed and Thor started to look more uncomfortable. "But considering how often I've managed to get him, well, around, I might be able to manage it in a vaguely timely fashion."
The Allfather looked at him skeptically, "Loki Liesmith is not one to do as is wished of him."
For a second the inventor just looked at him before he started laughing, unable to help it. "I noticed that."
Odin scowled at him for a moment, before Frigga's voice rang out clearly, "You have treated him well, Tony Stark. For that I thank you."
Tony blinked. "I've what?"
She rose, moving down the stairs, "You have done well by my son, even if he has not done well by you."
Tony paused, looking to Thor. "How does she know this when your father doesn't?"
"What do I not know?" Odin looked to his wife.
"The Norns gave my Loki's thread many years ago, the knots have recently become untangled," Frigga answered.
"... Right," Tony managed, having not come across that in a book before.
Natasha spoke quietly, "Frigga is an all-seer. She just does not speak what she sees."
The Queen of Asgard nodded very slightly, "You speak the truth."
Tony looked vaguely horrified for a moment and then nodded, inclining his head to the women. "Well, thank you then. I still think you're wrong, but thanks."
Frigga glanced at her husband who was still glowering. Odin spoke, directing the question at Tony, "So you have been close enough to him to expect that your device will work."
Even the glare from the Allfather didn't daunt Tony Stark. "Yup."
"I do not see the wisdom in trying to comprehend one such as he," Odin remarked. "Loki has ever been changeable and the cause of more harm than good."
"More harm than good?" Tony asked, spine bristling. "Like you haven't done your share of that."
"Excuse me?" The Allfather looked down at the mortal as though surprised someone would speak in such a way—with the exception of his sons.
"You're as much of a lying bastard as he could ever hope to be," Tony returned. "I mean, don't you know the whole thing about learning from the best? Because most people realize lying to a son for millennia is a bad plan but you seemed to miss the memo and look where that just about got everyone."
Odin's eye narrowed dangerously at that, "You have little place to say anything of that sort, Tony Stark."
"Yeah, but then who the hell does?" Tony replied and Thor started to look worried, putting a hand on Tony's shoulder. "Because you, sir, are quite the piece of work." Natasha took a half-step forward, glancing at Thor as she put a hand on Tony's other shoulder. This was one of those potential inter-realm incidents that they didn't need.
Odin drew himself up to his not unimpressive height, "You test our hospitality and patience with your words."
Tony rumbled something under his breath before looking back up. "Yeah but I'm not the one who considered my kid war booty or lied for several hundred odd years."
"He was never just that, and the lies told were for his own good," Odin replied coldly.
Something snapped behind Tony's eyes. "You don't tell kids lies for their own damn good! Did you miss how much that backfired on you? He calls himself a monster, you asshole and you certainly haven't done much to help lately! Your intentions may be fine but your execution sucks. He's the scared kid who was told not only is there a monster in the closet but it's him and alright, he may have overreacted, but it's every world in the realms that suffered for it, not yours."
Odin tensed, his jaw tightening, "He would have become what he is with or without the lies."
"Like hell," Tony snapped. "You know what? Screw you. I'm going to get this damn thing to work and then I am going to try and help him while you enjoy whatever it is you think you're doing." He turned to go, forgetting that Natasha and Thor were both standing right behind him and looked flustered for half a second. Natasha stepped out of his way, not saying a word. Fury was going to be pissed if this caused an incident with the King of Asgard. It was probably to their benefit that the Crown Prince was on their team.
Frigga shot her husband a long look to let him know exactly how much trouble she was holding him in before she spoke, softly, "I would speak with you, Tony Stark, before you leave."
For a moment he looked like he really just wanted to storm back to Earth but Thor's expression stopped him. "Okay."
The Queen of Asgard moved toward the door, "Walk with me?" He nodded, hitching the briefcase up as Thor and Natasha followed a much more discrete distance. Frigga made her way through the corridors, "You care deeply for my son, for that I thank you, though it costs you."
"He doesn't care about me," Tony returned and rolled a shoulder. "But thanks anyway."
The queen shook her head, "He cares more for you than he would dream to admit. Else you would not know enough to be so thorough in your denunciation of Odin."
"Some of it I got out of Thor," Tony muttered to the ground. "Besides, it didn't take much to scare and confuse him. I do recognize those scars."
Frigga paused at the archway which led to the gardens, "You hope this lie detector will enable you to find the truth in him?"
"Frankly, I'm trying to stop caring about him," Tony said, looking at one of the walls. "And that would be helped by making sure I know when he is and isn't lying."
"I wish you luck with your device then. It is many a long year since Loki has chosen to tell the truth more than lie, and far longer since anyone was able to make him do so," she sighed. "I wish you well, Tony Stark. May you find what you're looking for."
"Thanks," he managed, trying not to actually look at her.
Frigga considered him for another long moment and then finally seemed to come to a decision, "Take care. If you and your companions wish for steeds to take you to the observatory, Thor knows the way to the stables. Good fortune go with you, Tony Stark."
"Good fortune to you as well," he murmured, still not wanting to meet her eyes.
The queen sighed softly, glancing back to where she could see her eldest son and nodded slightly to let him know that she was finished.
Thor returned the nod, leading his two human friends to the stables. Once they reached the bifrost, Heimdall gave Tony a long look.
"You are a very interesting one," he said, expression blank.
"Oh fuck you too," Tony muttered and Thor shoved him toward the opening portal.
Natasha pinched the bridge of her nose, but the three of them quickly found themselves returned to earth. "Well, that was eventful..."
"I got what I needed," Tony said and Thor gave him a long look.
"I think it would be wise for you not to return to Asgard for a while," he said finally.
"If ever," Natasha muttered. "Alright, I'm going to go for a run or something before Fury comes to ask me where the hell we've been. If you hear from him, have him call back."
"Of course," Thor said when Tony made a sound of protest. Black Widow nodded once to her teammates and left to get changed and head out.
For a moment Thor and Tony stood staring at each other. "I need a drink," Tony muttered, heading inside, the blond god trailing after.
Almost the instant Tony reached the liquor cabinet, there was a flash of green light, a slight puff of smoke and the temperature dropped. Loki stood in the center of the room, his eyes wide, "What did you do?"
Tony nearly dropped the bottle he'd pulled out. "Jesus! A little warning!"
"What did you do?" He repeated. "The magics are flighty, startled. Something's happened in the realms and the source traces back here. What did you do?"
"I may have chewed the Allfather out in his own court," Tony said, trying to ignore the fact his hand was shaking slightly as he poured the scotch, Thor watching the pair.
"You did what?" Loki gaped at him before whirling on his older brother, "And you let him?"
"He was... making some points," Thor muttered to the ground. "I was too shocked."
The trickster's gaze darted between them, "How did you even get into Asgard?"
"The bifrost was repaired," Thor replied. "Finally. He wanted to do his tests."
Tony went through another tumbler of scotch.
"Tests?" Loki looked toward the mortal, "The lie detector you were working on. You went to Asgard to test it."
"Yeah," Tony replied. "Sif agreed to it and everything. Even got Hogun in on it, though he couldn't lie worth a damn. It's always the quiet ones, you know? Oh, and Fandral was useless too."
"I told you that Sif would be your most likely candidate," the liesmith murmured. "She is genuine, but more than capable of deception should she wish it."
"Yes, well, I have tests, things are going along splendidly, all is well, please go away," Tony said, knocking back another drink and Thor carefully took the bottle from him.
Loki flinched at that, "I...if that's what you wish."
Tony slammed the glass down and looked around for a moment, trying to find the bottle. "No, it's not, but what the fuck are you doing here?"
"I...have asked the question I came to ask. I shall infringe on your time no further," the slender god spoke quietly, subdued.
Tony crossed his arms over his chest. "Look, you can't keep doing this."
Loki finally glanced at him, "Doing what?"
"Dropping in like this. I will create a damn shield to keep teleporters out if I have to."
The god visibly flinched at that, "I...will stay away if that is what you would like. I am sorry."
"You're sorry?" Tony repeated. "I'm not actually entirely sure I believe you."
Loki looked completely lost at that. His gaze darted around the room, focusing on his brother for a long moment, "There's nothing I can do to convince you of sincerity, is there?"
"I don't know," Tony shook his head and crossed his arms as Thor slipped out of the room. "I don't think I understand you at all and I really hate that."
"I...do not know what to tell you. I do not consider myself that difficult to understand, but I am in my own head."
"You're not difficult to understand?" Tony asked, bracing himself against the table. "So why the hell did everyone look at me as if I was crazy when I said I was your lo—your former lover. No one believed I'd been with you so long. You could start there."
"I have never taken a lover for any true length of time, barring my wife. That dissolved along with the treaty it was supposed to protect and she died shortly after," Loki shook his head. "Two weeks was the longest, as I recall, though there was no great affection on either of our parts."
Tony gave him a long look. "So I must have been really fucking amusing."
Loki winced at that, "I shouldn't have said that. It wasn't true."
"Then why say it?" Tony asked. "Because you said a whole lot that day."
"Words are my weapons. They have been for centuries. When I feel cornered or on the defensive I use what comes easiest to me. In many cases it is the most cruel words I can find."
"Great," Tony drawled. "That's just great, isn't it? When did I corner you?"
"You didn't. I did. I cornered myself. Each and every time I saw you I gave another piece of myself that I didn't realize I was releasing," Loki murmured, shaking his head.
Tony gave him a long look, entirely unimpressed. "You know, it's not every day I go to another realm to yell at someone's father for them. My own daddy issues tends to stop that."
The wordsmith looked at Anthony for a moment, "I certainly didn't expect you to do that. I just..." He dropped his gaze again, "I'm sorry, Anthony. I didn't mean for any of this to happen. And I certainly did not mean for it to come to this."
Looking at him a moment, Tony started laughing, a bitter edge to it. "Right. You didn't mean to do this."
"That is not what I said," Loki kept the sharp tone from his words as best he could. "When I said those words I fully intended for them to hurt you. To drive you away. I, however, never intended for it to get to that point."
"Oh take your intentions and—" Tony cut himself off, finding where Thor had tried to hide the bottle.
"I just..." Loki sighed, "I am sorry, Anthony. I'll be on my way then."
"You're such an idiot," Tony said and shook his head, taking another quick drink before leaning toward the other, "You can tell all lies right?"
The god leaned back slightly, "Wh-when they're spoken or given, yes."
"Then you'll have to tell me if I'm lying when I say I love you," Tony said, almost declaring the words as a challenge rather than a confession.
"Y-you aren't," he managed, eyes wide.
Tony spent another moment staring at Loki's eyes before turning, slamming the door behind on him on his out of the room.
The Asgardian closed his eyes and buried his head in his hands for a long moment. He consciously knew he couldn't stay there, but it was a long while before he could convince himself to move and seek out his brother. He entered the room quietly, coming up behind where the thunder god was, "Thor?"
The larger god didn't look surprised to see him, looking up from the meal he was attempting to create for the other Avengers. "Loki."
The younger of the two brothers looked completely lost as his hands fluttered uselessly, trying to find something to do with them, "What do I do?"
Thor gave him a half pitying look and realized he shouldn't. "I do not know brother. What do you want to do?"
"What I want to do has effectively been negated by what I have already done," he nearly snapped.
Thor rolled his eyes. "Brother..."
"Thor, please. I have hurt him so deeply, I don't even know how to apologize. You know that for all my strength with words, sincerity and supplication have been a great pair of weaknesses for me."
"Then start by answering my question if you ever hope to speak to him again civilly," Thor said. "What do you want to do?"
"I want to heal the wrong I have done," Loki answered honestly, quietly.
"Why?" Thor asked. "If you want to apologize to him you're going to have to figure out exactly what you're apologizing for and how. Practice with me."
"Because..." The words stuck in the trickster's throat, his silver tongue turning to lead. Hopelessness tinged his green eyes, "Thor, I don't think I can say it."
"Then you'd better learn to say it."
"How does one learn to admit love?" Loki asked, begging for an answer without realizing he'd given it in part.
"Well, hopefully not by phrasing it as a question," Thor said, with a faint smile. "Practice in front of a mirror?"
"Oh that will go well, I'm sure." Loki sighed in frustration, "Thor, I love him. I fear that fact, but I am certain of it. It is nearly impossible for me to admit it though. What am I to do? He wouldn't believe me if I did tell him, I have seen to that."
Thor smiled again. "He has a lie detector. Given a few days I fully believe he'll have it functioning to his own satisfaction. Besides, I believe you underestimate the Man of Iron."
"And you perhaps overestimate him, brother. He has ever so many wounds and I have poured salt onto all of them."
"But he is the type to heal from his wounds. Or at the very least move on," Thor said. "He's still standing, isn't he?"
Loki finally nodded, drawing a deep breath, "You will alert me to when he has finished his lie detector?"
"I shall try," Thor said, with a nod. "You might consider some... mortal style soul searching."
"I shall consider it," the younger god murmured.
"Fare thee well then, brother," Thor said with a small smile.
Loki nodded once before stepping through one of his transportation spells.
"Have you finished?" Thor asked, poking his head down into the lab.
Tony nearly dropped the instrument he was holding. "Okay, now I'm pretty sure that there's an ulterior motive in there."
"I would like both you and my brother whole," Thor said and Tony gave him a long look.
"Right. Yes, it's as done as I could ever make it."
A handful of minutes after Thor left, Loki tapped on the glass of the lab door, "Anthony, may I come in?"
"I would say no but that won't stop you," he said, looking at something under a magnifying glass.
"It might," he replied.
"Come in then," Tony muttered. "I assume your brother and you are talking again?"
"Somewhat. But I came to speak with you."
"What do you have to say?" Tony asked, finally turning and leaning against the chair.
"Have you finished your device?"
"As much as I ever could," Tony said.
"Then use it. What I have to say I would have you know as truth," Loki spoke simply, but he was unwilling to risk the other doubting him. He was not certain he could repeat himself.
Crossing his arms, Tony gave him a long look. "Alright." Quietly, he moved to place the machine near where Loki was seated next to his worktable. There was only one thin wire connecting the god to the actual machine. Once done, he stepped back.
The youngest prince of Asgard drew a deep breath, "The words I spoke to you in this lab were not truth. They were the lies that I have seen you tell yourself over the course of several months. I gave them voice because I was frightened of what you do to me. Of what I had revealed to you. You are one of the bravest men I have ever had the honor of knowing. You are kind when you wish to be, and sincere in your loyalty and love. I struck at every weakness I could find because I feared to admit, even to myself, that I love a mortal." He fell silent, trying to find the remainder of his words.
For a long moment, Tony didn't reply, simply staring at him and then the machine and back up. "You're an idiot," he said, voice very low.
"I am aware of that," Loki answered quietly. "I felt you had a right to know. It is my own cowardice that caused me to say what I did. It should not have happened, but it did, and I wish to find some way to start making amends."
Still staring at him, Tony moved forward, carefully yanking the wire away from Loki. "That's the past already," he replied.
"The..." Loki blinked at him for a long moment, "What?"
Hands coming up, Tony pulled him into a passionate kiss, tangling his fingers in the other's hair. "What you said were words," he said, drawing back and holding Loki's eyes. "I'm not sure I can go through that again. But they were words. Give me time and I'll forgive you."
The god looked up at him in disbelief, "I...I am sorry for what I did to you." He reached up, tracing a hand along the side of Anthony's face.
"Good," he swallowed. "Don't do it again."
"I won't. You have my word, my oath." The second the last two words left his mouth, Loki felt his binding magic twist around and settle at the back of his mind—a constant reminder of the promise.
Tony's eyes widened. "God damn it, Loki," he said, voice breaking and pulling into another hard kiss. The god of chaos leaned up, pressing into the kiss, his hand moving to tangle in the smaller man's hair.
"I missed you," Tony managed, mouthing Loki's jaw. "I'm not supposed to miss people or cause inter-realm incidents."
Loki tilted his head back, drawing in a sharp breath, "I missed you too. By the Tree, Anthony. Did you truly yell at the Allfather for me?"
"Well, snarled more so," Tony said, grinning. "Your mom liked me."
"Of course she did," Loki murmured. "I love you, so of course Frigga liked you. What did you think of her is the question."
"Sure," Tony grinned, a shudder running up his spine. "You are never not allowed to say that again, by the way."
The god of mischief smirked, "What? That I love you?" The words came easily when the tone was filled with an intent to tease.
Tony grinned, grip tightening. "That," he agreed, pressing closer.
Loki's hands trailed down to the other's hips, "I shall keep that in mind."
Making a small whimpering sound, Tony dragged him even closer. "Loki, come on."
"In your lab, Anthony?" The god slipped a hand under the other's shirt. "That is rather a lovely wall of glass which separates it from the hallway..."
"Please, they've caught me at worse things," he said. "Besides, Pepper's the only one who'd come down." Tony bit Loki's ear.
Loki hummed at that, his other hand moving to unhook Anthony's belt, "Well, as that's the case..."
The shorter man groaned, suddenly pulling at Loki's shoulders, walking backward and almost stumbling. Finally he maneuvered them behind the main desk, hidden at least somewhat from the glass windows. Once there he pulled Loki down on top of him.
And with that we reach the end of this fic. We plan to continue the relationship between these two in a sequel, but as we're moving over to Archive of Our Own (.) org, the sequel and any other fics in this fandom will be posted over there and will not be cross-posted to this account. We've changed our username on Archive of Our Own, so if you're looking for us you can find our works under either Victoriousscarf or Meadowlark4491. The easiest way to find us will probably be to search for one of the titles of our already posted works (Two Sides of the Coin is posted over there already and will appear in a search).
We look forward to seeing you over there and really hope you enjoyed this story, feel free to leave us a review on your way out!