Thanks again to everyone who reads/reviews! There will be an interesting development in the next few chapters. Dun dun duuuun! Enjoy!
Chapter 28. Good Cop Bad Cop
"Sooo," Stephanie began while she was standing in-between Tony and Bruce in the elevator. "How are we going to do this?"
Tony cocked an eyebrow. "Since we're in an elevator we'll have to do it standing up-"
Stephanie rolled her eyes. After living with Tony for a few months she knew enough about how his mind worked to see where this was going.
"I wasn't talking about having a threesome in the elevator, Tony." She interrupted.
"You should always be open to new experiences, Berlin."
"Who said that I haven't had sex in an elevator before?" Stephanie shot back.
Tony looked surprised at Stephanie's comeback. He opened his mouth as if he was going to reply, closed it, and then opened it again but no sound came out. Bruce, who was on Stephanie's right, stared at his feet feeling awkward due to the conversation that was going on between Stephanie and Tony.
"Tony Stark speechless that's a first." Stephanie commented before continuing. "Anyways, since I'm fairly certain that none of us has interrogated a demi-god before. I think that we should have a game plan."
The elevator doors slid open. Stephanie strode out of the elevator, leaving Bruce and Tony still a little shocked in the elevator.
She turned back towards the elevator when she noticed that neither had left the elevator. "Coming?"
The two of them nodded and followed her, bumping into each other when they tried to exit the elevator because they were both still surprised about Stephanie's comment.
"Should we all go in there?" Stephanie asked Tony and Bruce outside of Loki's room.
"I suppose so." Bruce answered. Stephanie could tell that Bruce was a little apprehensive about seeing Loki; he kept on rubbing his hands.
Stephanie hesitated as well. "We haven't come up with a plan yet."
"We ask questions. He answers." Tony stated matter-of-factly before reaching for the doorknob.
"I can hear you out there." Loki remarked loudly from his room.
"That's good. It means that you haven't suddenly gone deaf." Stephanie remarked, unfazed that Loki had been listening in on their brief conversation.
Tony snickered. "Shall we?"
"After you." Stephanie told Tony before putting out her arm to stop Bruce who was about to walk into Loki's room.
"You do realize that I was just messing with Tony about having had sex in an elevator, right?" She whispered to him.
"Oh, umm…" Bruce mumbled awkwardly in reply, a faint blush on his cheeks.
"Well, I was." She smiled at him before she went to stand beside Tony in Loki's room. Bruce followed her and shut the door behind him.
Loki was leaning against a desk at the opposite side of the room watching the three of them walk in. He was dressed in his usual outfit minus the helmet. The copy of Ulysses which Stephanie had brought him on a previous visit laid haphazardly on the bed suggesting that he had been reading before the three of them came in.
Although a casual observer wouldn't have noticed it, Loki's eyes widened slightly in surprise when he saw the bruise marks on Stephanie's neck. "What happened, lab rat? An experiment gone wrong?"
"Something like that." Stephanie calmly answered while returning Loki's stare. His green eyes were locked on her's until Tony spoke.
"We have some questions for you."
"What if I don't feel like answering them?" Loki said with a notion of superiority in his voice.
"We'll make you answer them." Tony answered raising his voice slightly.
"No mortal can make me do anything."
Loki and Tony engaged in a staring match as if they were two dogs vying to be the alpha dog.
"Do you know what a cell phone is?" Bruce spoke up before Tony or Loki tried to rip the other one into shreds.
Reluctantly, Loki turned his attention on Bruce. "The beast finally speaks."
Stephanie noticed Bruce tense up when Loki turned his attention on him. Discretely she crossed her pinky finger with his and felt him calm down a little. However, Stephanie's little action didn't escape Loki's observation.
"The beast would like you to answer the question." Bruce said coldly.
Loki took a step forward and instinctively Bruce stepped in front of Stephanie to protect her from Loki. "Oh how quaint; the beast is in love with the lab rat." Loki let out a dry, humourless laugh.
"At least he's getting some." Tony snipped.
Loki glowered at Tony's remark. "It's never a good idea to insult the person whose help you need."
"We don't need your help."
Loki ignored Tony and returned his attention to Stephanie and Bruce. "And what does the lab rat think of the beast's affection towards her?"
"I think that it's not of your business."
Stephanie's pinky remained interlaced with Bruce's.
"Why would you be with a beast when you could be with a god?"
"Are you trying to make me feel nauseous?"
"I'm willing to wager that when the beast comes out you'll turn your back on him…or should I say it?" Loki flashed a devious smile at her.
Bruce averted his eyes to the ground.
"I would never turn my back on him." She coldly replied to Loki, trying to hide how upset she was with him, before turning towards Bruce and Tony. "This was a mistake. We should go."
"Not until he answers our questions, Berlin."
"Then I suggest you make yourself comfortable since I don't plan on answering anything." Loki smirked.
"I'll just have to change your mind then." Tony replied.
"Oh, I'm so scared. Are you going to bore me to death?"
"I was thinking more of taking the pain route."
"Why don't you get that redhead of yours; I'll answer any question she has."
Without warning, Tony pushed Loki up against the wall. His knuckles were clenched around the collar of Loki's shirt. "Don't you dare talk about her."
"You mortals are creatures driven by impulse." Loki calmly stated while Tony continued to hold him up against the wall.
Tony slammed Loki against the wall, but Loki only continued to stare at Tony, taunting him in silence.
"Tony." Stephanie said softly while she put her hand on his forearm and Bruce placed his hands Tony's other arm.
"Calm down, Tony." Bruce whispered.
"Bit ironic coming from you, isn't it?" Loki tried to anger Bruce, but Bruce was too focused on Tony to care.
A few seconds elapsed before Tony released his grip on Loki. However, Tony continued to glare at Loki as if he thought that if he concentrated hard enough he could make Loki's eyeballs explode.
"Maybe you should take him out of here." Stephanie said in a low voice to Bruce.
Bruce nodded in agreement.
"I'm fine. He's the -"
"Tony, go." Stephanie cut-in. "Having you two kill each other won't help."
"We wouldn't kill each other. I'd kill him." Tony clarified.
Loki scoffed at Tony's comment, and Tony shot Loki a withering look.
"C'mon, Tony." Bruce put his arm on Tony's shoulder.
"Fine." Tony grumbled and headed towards the door with Bruce following behind.
When Tony was in the hallway, Bruce paused at the door and turned back to Stephanie.
"Be careful; he's the God of Mischief." He warned her.
"I will. Thanks, Bruce." She flashed him a half-smile, and he nodded. Bruce shot a warning glance at Loki before going out to the door to help Tony calm down.
"We're finally alone, lab rat."
Loki was mere inches from Stephanie's face. His green eyes were lit up, but Stephanie couldn't discern what emotion was behind him.
"Lucky me." She remarked sarcastically before Bruce's words registered in her mind. "Wait, you're the god of Mischief?"
"I'm wounded that my reputation doesn't precede me." Loki pretended to be hurt while placing his hands over his heart.
"You can't expect everyone to be an expect in Norse mythology." Stephanie leaned on the desk behind her, distancing herself a little from Loki while he remained standing in front of her. She smiled up at him as something clicked in her mind. "That means you lie."
Loki knitted his brows unsure of what Stephanie meant by the comment.
"You're the God of Mischief which means that you must lie. So when you said that I was different, it wasn't because you knew anything about me. You were just lying. I mean, maybe you could pick up some stuff from reading me, but the point is that you didn't know." Stephanie thought aloud.
"Didn't know what?"
"That's not important and it doesn't really matter any more since everyone else knows."
"You trust them enough to have told them your secret?"
"Hey, you're not suppose to be questioning me. I'm the one who has questions for you." She dug in her pocket and held out her cell phone for Loki to take. "Ever seen one of these before?"
Loki fumbled with her cell phone for a minute trying to discern how it worked. "It's that piece of technology that Midgardian girls always seem to have."
"Ever use one before?"
"Do I look like a twelve year-old girl?"
"If I squint you kind of do."
The corners of Loki's mouth turned down slightly and Stephanie smiled, holding up her hands to convey to Loki that she was only joking.
"Why did you want to show me this?"
"I've been receiving text messages, umm, they're like mini versions of letters that show up on the screen on the phone." She explained figuring that Loki probably wouldn't know what a text message was.
"I know what text messages are."
"You know what a text message is, but you don't know how to work a cellphone? How is that even possible?"
"My brother. When he came to see me, he told me about the 'wonderful' way that Midgardians send messages and photos on small technological devices with tiny screens." Loki sighed.
"Oh. Yeah, I showed him when I was teaching Steve. He didn't mention anything about something called sexting did he?"
Loki cocked an eyebrow. "No. Is that a special form of communication?"
"You could say that." Stephanie said quickly before moving on. "Anyways, I've been receiving some…odd text messages and-"
"You think that I'm behind them."
"No. I think you that didn't do it, but not everyone shares my opinion."
"By 'everyone', you mean the beast and that insufferable man."
"Don't call Bruce a beast." She pursed her lips.
"And what makes you so certain that I'm not responsible?"
"Besides the fact that you're as knowledgable about cell phones as an eighty year-old? It's not your style."
"These messages must have frightened you for the beas-" Stephanie glared at Loki for his use of the term 'beast'. "For Banner and Stark to have come to question me."
"The messages didn't frighten me. I just didn't like what they implied.
"May I see them?"
Stephanie studied him for a moment before instructing him how to bring up the text messages on her cell.
A smile grew across his face as he read over the anonymous text messages. "Someone wants you to stay away from the beast. Apparently they have the foresight that you lack."
"Don't be like that, lab rat. You know that it could never work out with the beast."
"He's not a beast."
"Oh, I apologize. I assumed that the big green thing that he transforms into him isn't human."
"You're more of a beast than Bruce is." She crossed her arms over her chest as if to create a barrier between her and Loki.
"Your words wound me, lab rat."
"As much as I have been enjoying talking to you, I'm going to go." She held out her hand for her cell phone.
Loki placed the cell phone in Stephanie's hand, but grabbed her wrist before she had a chance to move her arm away, and pulled her closer to him. The top of Stephanie's head reached just below Loki's chin. Stunned, she breathed in Loki's slightly sweet yet dark scent of what reminded her of blood oranges, musk, and leather.
He bent down and whispered in her ear.
"I wasn't lying when I said you were different from the rest of them." Loki paused before continuing. Stephanie could feel his breath on her ear. "You're special."
He then swiftly released her as if nothing had happened.