Sorry for the lateness; I warned you!

But here you go…

~~~~~FML GETTING IN THE WAY PAGEBREAK~~~~~

Bullshit was Tony leaving; he'd been separated from his god for he-didn't-want-to-count-how-long and he was not going to leave the deity to suffer alone.

Tony turned his head to Bruce, fully expecting him to wait outside the immediate danger zone, ready to encourage the action and assure him it was fine.

"I'm staying." Bruce said instead with a brutal sense of finality that he couldn't even think to argue with it – he clearly underestimated Bruce's involvement, although he should have expected it through watching his reactions.

"Alright," Tony says, as though it's his right to decide, "Me too." But he didn't have to say that, they would have known, "So," he directs the following question to Loki whom still has his head rested in his lap, "How's this going to work?"

"The power is whittling the drug," Loki starts, "Once that is done I can start."

"How long till then?" Bruce asks, perching himself on a rather large piece of rubble lying nearby.

"Moments." The trickster hardly elaborates and they content themselves to sit and wait. Tony continues to card fingers through distressed hair, the god beneath it frazzled and still allowing deepening shudders to wrack his frame. Bruce can only rest his hand on Loki's wrist in a silent show of comfort and Loki spares him one final glance before his eyes fall closed in concentration with a mumbled "Thankyou".

The hand on Loki's chest flares to life with a golden light and the god lifts it to his own chest and begins tracing symbols with the glow, the patterns fading into his skin moments after their formation. Tony's unsure whether he should cease contact, but figures that any variation in the environment might distract the work in front of him and so makes sure with startling certainty that his fingers card through the hair in a definite tempo, not deviating from its course.

It's simple at first, just the tracing and the feint hum that rocks the room like an unheard bass, but it soon gets complicated, with things swirling through the air, patterns and numbers and descriptions; like some sort of otherworldly equation written in incomprehensible circles and knots, branches growing between the golden glows, linking things together and he feels like he's inside the map of the universe.

It's beautiful.

But as everyone knows, beauty can only last so long, because when faced with something beautiful all others feel the need to destroy. He wondered idly if that's what happened to Loki, because it's sure as hell what happened in that moment.

In all honesty, they should have prepared for it, but somehow they didn't think people would be stupid enough to enter an area where a god whom tried to subjugate the globe was clearly practicing magic of some sort.

Which is why Tony could see Bruce frantically making 'retreat', 'run', 'get out' and the classic slicing of the throat motion in the corner of his eye to a stern faced Steve and a dumbfounded Clint and Natasha; no doubt the scene was odd – Tony cradling the gods head in his lap with Bruce sitting to the side in a giant ball of glowing light.

Steve made to take a tentative step forward and Bruce raised both arms in a stop motion, incidentally cutting off his contact with the god who registered the issue with a tightening of the grip still attached to Tony's leg, who then turned a wide eyed look on Bruce, who in turn looked at his hand and the gods arm in wonderment of whether he should try and put it back to undo the damage. Loki's hand eased on Tony's leg and so he shook his head slightly to Bruce who nodded and focused back on getting the others to leave in silence.

It was really a blessing that they had entered the area in silence.

A blessing short lived as Steve decided his input was needed.

"What's going on here?" the super soldier said without a hint of even trying to keep his volume low in the tense environment. It was undoubtedly the dumbest thing the soldier had ever done as the golden sphere rippled hectically, things flying from their previous position and altering the state of the image around them, and really, if this was a universe map something just fucked up. The hand's grip tightened almost to the point of hurting and both Tony and Bruce shot what combined must have been the mother of all glares.

The Captain was so shocked, or perhaps he just got the hint, that he closed his mouth slowly so as not to release an audible snap. The sphere continued to alter and the pieces continued to fly, finally coming to, what Tony hoped, what the original looked like before Rogers decided to see how much damage four words could do.

The magic twirled ever so slowly around them with slow pieces twining themselves further in the mix, no doubt the healing Loki was trying to do with the tear. Some of the pieces were unfortunately close to his face and he feared movement less he disrupted something more.

Loki continued to draw images on his chest and the world around them shifted in response, things rushing forward and back, in and out. Everything sped about, like when you click off in the distance on Google maps street view, but with a sense of such ease and grace it was almost disturbing. Here he remembered the being in his lap was a god. Not like a god, or an imitation, or even just someone with exuberant amounts of power; this was a god, one of the beings that ruled the universe playing with the very fabrics of the realms in a delicate state. This was something people never came into contact with, a genuine god; someone who could carry enough power to end the universe if his worries about altering the world in a suppressed state were an indicator – imagine if he had wanted to do damage: he need only not concentrate in this state, or concentrate on the wrong things.

Loki's hand rose from his chest and reached lightly for something above them, fingers grasping at nothing weakly, eyes still shut against the world around them. It wasn't in his reach, and as time passed it became glaringly obvious that it wasn't going to be in his reach, but for whatever reason he wanted it. The hand on his leg tightened in distress, but he really had no option. He looked to Bruce for help, who only gave a wide eyed shrug and perhaps and gesture to indicate that he should maybe assist.

But assist how? He didn't want to touch the floating golden stuff that was clearly not something he'd ever dealt with, and certainly not if it was so utterly delicate that even the master sorcerer was worried about it.

Again, no option really, as he tentatively reached the arm that wasn't non-stop threading through hair into the air to reach for the elusive orb.

It wasn't really solid per se, but his fingers didn't pass through it either, it just kind of tingled his palm and followed his grasp like one of his own holograms only slightly more tangible. He brought it down with two fingers after he adjusted his grip, slowly as so to not disturb too much and placed it into Loki's lax grip.

He watched with rapt attention as the stretching of the gods hand correlated to the expansion of the orb until its diameter was around the size of his torso, hovering barely above Loki's chest. Swipes of his hand allowed the sphere to roll on the spot, moving until separate sections were available to the trickster whom plunged his hand in and around it. He played with it a bit longer before returning it to its original size and whisking it off to a far corner of the magical display.

He altered a few other aspects in much the same manner, once even forcing Bruce to carefully navigate the rubble on the floor to retrieve a certain globe for him. The Avengers had clearly grasped the idea of silence and were watching with increasingly confused and wary expressions. Which turned into very appropriate Oh-my-god-please-no-what-the-hell-no-this-sucks-run-oh-my-god-too-late-oh-my-god-we're-screwed-oh-shit expressions when director Fury decided stomping his way in was totally acceptable even as Thor quietly treaded behind him urging him to leave and hush.

Oh-my-god because Fury was stomping his way in which shocked them, and then please-no as they realised that the noise would cause some problems.

What-the-hell-no as the structure wavered and pulsed and frazzled and generally did things that really didn't look healthy or reassuring, followed quickly by this-sucks as Fury continued to stomp forward and Loki shuddered violently inside the flickering spell while Tony glared murderously and Bruce tried to get him to fucking stop before the thing collapsed which it sure as hell looked like it was about to do, which is what lead to run.

And then came oh-my-god-too-late as Fury walked increasingly nearer with a side of oh-my-god-we're-screwed as the now familiar blue symbols flushed Loki's skin and his eyes snapped open with such ferocity and in a display of such blinding colour that it physically shocked Tony enough to fall back off the table.

And then oh-shit, because really, there was nothing left to say as a god driven by subconscious duty allowed a complicated spell to finish hastily and then collapse without much thought at all.

The worst bit? The giant influx of energy it sent rushing out like a nuclear blast hitting them all with just enough force to have everyone immediately black out upon contact.

Waking up, Tony thought it absolutely prudent that he complain to whoever the fuck decided Nicholas fucking Fury was a good option for the job of director. No seriously, even Steve not-compassionate-as-assumed Rogers and Thor not-really-a-good-brother Odinson could figure out that the situation needed to be approached with care, granted they needed some help, but still. They were no Nicholas i-will-impede-disrupt-corrupt-deny-or-otherwise-make-anything-you-try-to-do-incompletable-unless-it-specifically-benefits-me Fury who had thought causing the collapse of a spell that could turn the sky into a light source was appropriate. Which is what lead him to open his eyes, if only to see what damage had been done.

Of course, upon opening his eyes he receives nothing other than an expanded view of clothed crotch as the god he's come to care about so much still hasn't figured out the way in which to sit/stand/crouch and otherwise simply be without looking like a whore. A fancy whore, mind you, or perhaps Loki's the reason behind the mermaid myths; he did turn all the whales into sea serpents just to see how the sailors would fare, so it would be a completely fair assumption to say he sat on the side looking like he does while said sailors tried to fight said sea serpents and hence started the mermaid rumour. Or sirens. Or Lorelei.

Or maybe he hit his head a bit too hard when he fell if this is what his thought pattern has regressed to.

"Loki?" he finally coughed out, looking instead at the knee in front of him instead of the crotch and tried to semi-push-up his way into the world of standing, or at least sitting. The god's gentle hands help him up, and he lifts his sight to lock onto blue eyes.

Blue.

Shit. Shit, fuck. Shit, fuck, damn, crap, ass, shit, crap, fuck, damn.

He's probably wearing the most exasperated face known to man (mixed with a decent thread of wariness) because seriously, when did his life start jumping from problem to problem without giving him a break.

But he'd heard good things come to those who wait, and right now he really has no choice, so waiting it is.

"What are you doing?" he asked softly, Loki's arms were still bracing his shoulders and so he brings his to rest on the gods biceps, just above the elbow.

"Waiting." Oh would you look at that.

"What for?"

"You to wake." He said, standing and taking his arms with him, leaving Tony to scramble to a standing position with the table as a support.

"If you were waiting for me to wake before you killed Fury, you could have done it while I slept." He groused and finally rose to see Loki's slightly raised brows and straight face before he promptly turned and crouched to attend to an unconscious Bruce without replying. "So uh-" he began to speak but promptly cut himself off after seeing his surroundings, only being brought back to reality when he heard Bruce groan.

"What?" Bruce asked rhetorically as he raised himself on one arm, the other hand holding his head. Loki helped raise him as well and Tony is so happy right in that moment that he is not alone in this. And this, while being funny, is also the terrifying sight of seeing every person in the immediate vicinity with faces of abject horror frozen in stone.

Literally.

Everyone is stone, and it seemed that only those whom had interacted or been inside the spell when it had gone off had been saved from its effects. Which means only them three.

"What happened?" Bruce asked, now with more conviction and not rhetorical in the slightest.

"The spell was interrupted." Loki explained, blue eyes shining as he turned on his heel and marched a line straight for the door expecting them to follow, which they did.

They followed him through the corridors as his clothing materialised around him, an intricate ensemble that neither had seen before. Every room they passed contained the remnants of life, stone people everywhere.

"Loki?" Tony asked as he skipped a bit to keep up with the long stride, "Can you, ah, fix this?"

"I shall, but for now they will remain as such." He replied, not faltering in his stride and Tony and Bruce exchanged a glance.

They continued to follow him, wondering where they were being lead as they traversed stairs in both directions, twisting left and right and were currently in a part of the hellicarrier neither human had seen before.

Finally they made their way into what seemed to be Loki's destination, windows lining three out of the four walls and a part of the floor, giving a wide view of the land mass below them, familiar in a sense but not at the same time.

"One of you must remain here, the other will follow." Loki stated, looking them over.

"Follow you where?" Bruce asked, "And why not both of us?"

"One of you must stay here to maintain the ships functions. The other I have need for," he pointed one finger below to below the glass floor, "there."

"And where is 'there' exactly?" Tony asked, trying to follow the finger down to the ground.

"Washington." Loki states. But there's no way that's Washington, not looking like that. He was there only months ago and he knows Washington didn't look like that.

"That's not Washington." He argued, stepping forward to look down as well.

"It is."

Now that he's standing above it he can see the obelisk far down on the ground, and all the other landmarks scattered across the land. It is Washington, but at the same time it's not.

"What happened?" he asked mildly horrified.

"It is unmade." Loki said, stepping to the front most area of the room and linking his arms behind his back, watching the city. "Which of you shall accompany me?"

"We'll tell you if you tell us why it's unmade."

Loki is silent for enough time that a significant amount of suspense had built before he turns his body slightly to look at them over his shoulder, speaking his piece; "It's 2002."

~~~~~FML GETTING IN THE WAY PAGEBREAK~~~~~

Should Tony or Bruce go with him? Hmm?

It was going to be longer, but then it wasn't. My bad, so sorry.

People – real life people that can physically speak to my face – asked me why I have no story pic, and the answer is; because I hav no pic to use : ( I don't wanna use a generic pic but I can't be assed to draw one that relates to the story lol, so there is none. Question answered.

I hope you guys enjoyed : D

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