Hello everyone! This is my first story, so please give me any and all feedback that you have. Also, I haven't quite decided where the story will go after a certain point, so be sure to let me know if you have any ideas or preferences.
Disclaimer: not mine, for the time being. I have people working on it, though, so stay tuned... ;)
In retrospect, Tony decided that it was all Pepper's fault.
If she hadn't decided to have one of her rants about being "underappreciated" and "underpaid" and "working like a pack mule for you lazy jerks," then Tony wouldn't have offended her by not really listening (He couldn't help that he was in the middle of taking the toaster apart for scraps), and she wouldn't have stormed out with the sandwiches she had brought them from the deli down the street, and Tony wouldn't have pulled the short straw and had to go to the deli himself for the team's lunch (since all they had in the Mansion was mayonnaise and half a jar of pickles).
So, obviously, the whole ordeal was Pepper's fault.
Tony stared at the menu board behind the counter, wishing he had written down his team's orders. Pepper no doubt had them memorized, but she was certain to hang up on him if he attempted to call and ask her. Behind him, the growing line shifted and muttered to itself. The people ranged from a wraith-like woman in business attire to three burly construction workers from a work in progress down the street. They were all eyeing him with oddly similar expressions of impatience and irritation. Tony was sure that he had been at the front of the line a full minute, but the pimply cashier looked too star-struck to prompt him.
"Er... yes. I'd like two Pork Meatball Heroes, one Philly Cheese Steak... er... one Roast Pork, hold the tomatoes- or was it the onions? No, the tomatoes- one Blue Smoke Brisket-," with each added order, the line's grumbling grew louder. "-two Meatlover's Supremes, extra salami on one, extra ham and turkey on both, and three BLTs, extra bacon, extra tomatoes, light on the lettuce." Tony leaned against the counter as the sandwich assemblers sprang into action. The kid manning the register was punching keys faster than Tony could keep track.
"Alright, Iron- Mr. Stark. That'll be eighty-eight seventy-two. Please." He looked both awed and anxious, as though he feared Tony would just grab the sandwiches and leave laughing.
"You got it," Tony smiled. The kid offered a half-hearted grin in return, but neither of them moved for several moments.
"... Mr. Stark?"
"What? Oh! Right, paying, sorry." Tony fumbled with his wallet as he pulled it from his back pocket. He was sure that it had been some sort of fancy gift, but the leather creaked like new when he cracked it open, a testament to its infrequent use. He never paid for things himself- he had Pepper for that. He only ever picked things out, or demanded them, or (when he was especially drunk) pointed and grunted.
The kid swiped his card and handed it back, eyes wide. Tony could practically hear him thinking "I just touched Iron Man's American Express. Mike won't believe this."
Making the sandwiches took time, as was expected, and the construction workers behind him practically shouldered him out of the way as Tony hefted the bags and staggered to the door. If he'd been in his suit, Tony would have glared or snapped at them, but each of them seemed to be thrice his size. He decided against it.
Tony turned and headed towards the construction zone- it was the quickest and preferred way to the Mansion, despite the increased chances of being struck in the head by chunks of falling plaster.
The shouts, hammering, and power tools from the site added to the rich, obnoxious sounds of New York in a manner that could be best described as cacophonous. Tony's ears rang as he shuffled through the crowded, covered walkway that the crew had set aside for pedestrians. It was not terribly unlike a battle zone, complete with excessive plaster dust and the occasional loud crash or curse.
Because of his disorientation, Tony didn't even react when he first saw Loki. Maybe it was because the god seemed to belong there, amid the chaos, and maybe it was because, by that point, Tony's mind was too addled by noise to be of much use.
Once it did filter through, he stopped short and jerked his head around to be sure. Someone knocked into him and swore loudly, but Tony paid them no mind, his knuckles white on the sandwich bags. He wouldn't be here of all places, would he?
But there Loki stood, just behind three muscly men who weren't coated in nearly as much dirt or dust or grime as the rest of the men. Contractors, Tony guessed. Loki himself somehow looked spotless in his black and grey pinstripes and trademark green scarf, and it took Tony another few seconds to process that and come up with: magic.
The four men were all leaning over a large table set up near what would be the entrance of the new building. Loki had positioned himself slightly behind the tallest of the three workers, so that it looked almost like a child peeking around his father. But what on earth would Loki be interested-?
Tony's hands went cold, and not just from lack of circulation from the bags. The blueprints. Loki was staring at the blueprints for the building, learning the building's strengths and weaknesses before it even truly came into being, gaining a terrific advantage. What if he was going to use that knowledge to trap innocent people? Or the Avengers? Or maybe Loki would just plant a bomb and detonate it whenever he felt like it...
Tony dropped the sandwiches with a curse and clambered over the temporary barrier between the pedestrians and the construction site. He stumbled on the dismount and knocked into a stack of two-by-fours. One or two tumbled to the ground with loud clatters, the alien sound drawing a surprising number of eyes and shouts. He didn't stop, only hastened towards the central table, wishing desperately that he had his suit. Or handcuffs. Or anything, really.
"Hey! What the hell do you think you're doing, asshat? This is a construction zone, not an amusement park!"
It was one of the workers - contractors, he corrected - at the blueprints table. His fellows had turned towards him as well, looking outraged, and when Tony sought the Trickster God, his eyes met green. Loki didn't even have the decency to look surprised as he eyed Tony in return, a familiar smirk playing around his lips.
Tony swore and broke into a run, but instead of disappearing in a flourish of green mist as Tony expected, Loki only turned and walked swiftly though the milling, hurrying workers. Tony put on a burst of speed, dodging people left and right in his frenzy to reach Loki before Loki reached the civilians.
The god had almost made it to the barrier at the far side when Tony tackled him in a flying leap that would've made Fury proud. The two of them toppled the gate with an almighty crash, drawing stares and shouts and a scream or two. Tony's head clipped the pavement harder than he would've liked, giving Loki a chance to twist up and out of his grip. Teeth gritted, Tony pushed himself up and sprang once more, locking his arms firmly around Loki's frame-
Loki's suddenly shorter, thinner frame.
Somebody was screaming in his ear:
"Let go, let go of me! Help! Somebody, please, help me! He won't let me go, HELP!"
The voice was shrill and terrified and coming from the body that Tony was clutching. He had barely a moment to process the perfume in his nose and the softness of the body pressed against his before beefy hands grabbed his shoulders and arms and wrenched him off of Loki.
"Get off of her, you sack of shit!" One of the construction had him from behind, and another three were gripping his arms and hands. Tony struggled, staring at the stumbling young woman he had been forced to release. She was dressed in a rumpled, dusty business suit, and was covering her face with her hands as she staggered away, still shrieking. Tony could have sworn that the eyes he glimpsed between her fingers were green as envy. A young woman in purple corduroys moved forward as though trying to console her, but the dark-haired woman turned and fled.
"Hey! Someone stop him, he's-"
Tony's desperate shout was interrupted as one of the construction workers socked him soundly in the jaw, followed by another to his gut that made him bend in two.
Winded, Tony could only listen to the workers snarl at him. "You don't treat women like that, you asshole-" One of them kneed him in the face, and Tony wondered how bad his shiner would be.
"-swear to God, if it was up to me, I'd kill you myself-" There was a final punch to Tony's solar plexus that left him choking on a lack of air before the heavy hands on his shoulders vanished. He had no time to feel relieved before smaller, steadier hands clasped his forearms and wrenched them around his neck.
"Sir, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will-,"
An officer? Metal snapped closed around Tony's wrists. An officer. An actual police officer was arresting him for assaulting Loki. Didn't they usually hand out medals for that?
"There's- there's been- a mistake," Tony gasped out.
"-you have the right to an attorney- I saw the whole thing, you bastard, so shut it -you have the right to-"
"You don't understand- I'm Tony Stark, I'm Iron Man; that- that Loki, a criminal-"
The man shook him roughly. "I don't care if you're the Goddamn Hulk, you don't grab women like that. Now shut up and move your ass."
Tony blinked sweat out of his eyes as the officer forced him to straighten and marched him in the direction of a squad car. The people lining the block were all looking at him with faces of disgust or avid interest. There were countless camera phones out to capture the moment.
As the officer grabbed Tony's hair and stuffed him into the car, Tony glimpsed a dark-haired woman in a crisp, clean business suit standing on the opposite corner, watching him with a self-satisfied little smirk.
Tony's booking went by in a blur. His insistence that it was Loki that he had grabbed fell on the deaf ears of his arresting officer, and by the time they arrived at the station, Tony was too distressed to make much sense at all. Most of the officers that he passed on the way to the cell just looked at him with concern that faded to disgust as the officer guiding him explained why he had been brought in
His cheekbone throbbed and- if he wasn't mistaken - his aching jaw was bleeding where a ring or something on the worker's hand had gouged the skin. Tony didn't even want to think about the bruises and internal damage he would have in his stomach.
The officer finally un-cuffed him and tossed him into a single cell. Literally, tossed. Tony caught himself with numbed hands and grimaced as his palms came away filthy and stinging.
He heard the officer's muttering and footsteps leaving him behind, and Tony heaved himself to his feet. "H-hey!" He grasped the bars, pressing his face to the metal to try and catch the man's eye. "Hey, what about a phone call?"
"You'll get your call tomorrow. For now, think about what you did to that poor girl."
Tony's heart sank and settled somewhere below his feet. It wasn't like he hadn't ever spent the night in jail before (Lord knows, he had), but this time a) he hadn't done anything wrong, and b) he was sure that Loki was prowling the city, preparing to blow up the building or something.
He made his way gingerly to his cot, wishing that Thor had drawn the short straw to pick up the sandwiches. He would've had no trouble fighting off a hoard of construction workers while hanging on to his brother.
With any luck, Clint would be complaining by now about the slow sandwich delivery. Maybe Steve would try Tony's cell a few times (it would buzz happily in a police storage container somewhere above his head) and then send Pepper on the hunt for him in the city when he didn't answer.
This was all her fault. Hers and Loki's.
Oh, this was fun! *twirls*
Any requests? Flames? Advice? Gushing torrents of adoration and love?
I would love to get some reviews... any kind. Who wants to be first? *looks to and fro for volunteers* Okay, fair enough... I'll get back to writing, shall I? *slinks away*