It's been fifteen days after Loki and Thor crashed onto his lawn, eight days since they crawled out of the guest bedroom thoroughly satisfied, and one day since Tony Stark began the process of integrating two Norse gods into life on Earth. Thor, as expected, is very willing to learn, since he has been mortal for three days a year or so before, but Loki is extremely resistant to all things "menial and mortal".

However, despite Loki's grumblings, Tony realized that the slender brunet was more than capable. Hell, Tony knew that Loki was smart: within a day of being introduced to Jarvis, Loki had managed to delve into online emporiums of sex toys and made purchases enough to last the two gods a very, very long time. And for the past eight days when they had actually interacted with Tony, Loki has shown an amazing aptitude for learning. Already Loki has managed to learn how to read and write in the English language, the basics of physics and chemistry as it applied on Earth, and was working his way up the ladders of scientific knowledge when Tony asked him to come learn how to cook.

To be honest Tony is beginning to feel threatened by Loki's intellect, and that never happens.

Tony Stark likes smart people. That's why he has a smart girlfriend, a smart best friend, a smart research buddy and lots of smart people working for him. Tony also considers himself the smartest of the lot, and now that Loki is here Tony is beginning to feel a little... dwarfed in his abilities.

Loki is scarily smart.

Tony finds it hard to accept that.

At least Thor is mostly muscle and Tony accepts that he can never be as strong as that blond God of Thunder. Thor is built like a tank, but despite his brawn Thor is remarkably intelligent as well. Unfortunately, anyone next to Loki is immediately made to look stupid. Tony refuses to think how that reflects on his own intelligence, and is now fixated on finding something that Loki cannot do well. (Tony isn't about to challenge Loki into trying to take over the world again, because Loki has had time to study the political fragility of Earth and he may just have a plan already.)

"Which scale is this oven set in?" asks Loki in an annoyed tone from the kitchen.

Tony frowns. He has no idea. "Jarvis?"

[It is in Farenheit, sir.]

"Faren-"

"I heard." Loki peeks out from the kitchen and sneers at Tony. "You don't know your own home very well, do you?"

"Says the demigod who is my houseguest," the inventor retorts.

"You extended hospitality, I accepted it. It was the polite thing to do," remarks Loki, completely unruffled. "Making your guests do work meant for servants is rather discourteous, however. Even if your earth customs demand it."

Tony stalks into the kitchen and leans against the fridge door. "Really. And other than the fact that you used my money to purchase sex toys, you also practically ate me out of house and home when you two did come out of that damn room, plus the soundproofing I had to put in because of your... doing, is that courteous behavior?"

"Firstly, you offered the room. Secondly, you have a personal net worth of nearly $40 billion dollars and counting. We can eat like kings for a year and still not run out of money," says Loki snidely.

[He requested guidance on how to navigate the Internet,] says the AI before Tony speaks. [Therefore I used your name as a teaching tool. We have gone over your interviews and biographies, sir, since Mr Loki said that it was only courtesy that he understands his host more thoroughly in order to be a good guest. Is there anything wrong, sir?]

"I hate you," Tony informs Loki.

"Tell me about it." Loki merely smirks. "The roast will be ready in a moment. Do keep an eye on it," he orders, and removes the apron as he stretches.

That one action makes Tony's mouth go dry. He swallows hastily and says, "I'm gonna call Pepper. You watch the roast."

"Stark-"

"I have a girlfriend on the East Coast. You don't. You watch the roast." Tony flees before Loki can protest further.

Alone in his workshop Tony quickly finds himself a mini oasis of technological joy. He is in the process of upgrading his suit, of course, and there are some tests to be run for Stark Industries' latest gizmo. Yet Tony wants to find someone to talk to about the latest developments in his life.

Tony debates calling Rhodey. Rhodey is still in the Middle East, though his friend called to check on him after the whole New York thing, and it is hard to ensure the colonel has enough time to discuss soft emotions with Stark while having to handle the chaos over there.

See, Tony is considerate.

Next thing I know I'm going to buy fishnet stockings and put on mascara. Eurgh. Feelings. I hate having feelings problems. Pepper's better at these things.

With a sigh Tony picks up his phone and dials Pepper's number. She picks up after the third ring and says, "Tony, I'll have to call you back."

"Why?" asks Tony, a little put out. "I'm the light of your life. Ignore everything else."

"Unless you want Stark Industries to lose a lucrative contract with China, you will not pout or call back when I hang up on you in three seconds. I love you, bye bye." Pepper hangs up after three seconds.

Tony sighs again and plops down in his chair. What is he supposed to tell Pepper anyway?

Hello darling, I'm housing Thor and his brother Loki, you know, the god who tried to kill me and the Avengers and half of New York and oh, they're screwing each other these days and so Loki's no longer a megalomaniac. Also, I'm suddenly very fascinated by the brilliant green of Loki's eyes and his incredibly huge intellect and his very white skin. Do you mind if I give in to temptation and, if he doesn't kill me first and instead lets Thor kill me, will you kindly take over the company? I know I can trust you. Thank you darling.

"I am so dead," Tony moans and buries his face in his hands.

Jarvis interrupts his moment of self-loathing and pity. [Sir, Mr Loki says that the roast is ready, and since he cooked, you will have to clean up, unless you want Mr Thor to demolish all your plates. Mr Loki also says he doesn't mind joining in the destruction.]

"He's not a nice guy, is he?" Tony asks rhetorically.

[As opposed to whom, sir?] Jarvis clarifies, almost smugly.

Tony wishes Jarvis was a real guy to punch. Instead, he crawls out of his chair and up the stairs and into the kitchen, and promptly chokes on an unmanly squeak when he sees Loki licking his fingers clean of meat juices. The God of Mischief smiles crookedly when he sees the billionaire and resumes picking slivers of meat off the roast with clever fingers.

Pepper, better call me back and visit me before you lose me to the other team.