A/N: This came from a random dream, and possibly from people watching at a crowded airport. It's really rather scary what happens in my head sometimes. This is Pre-Avengers, but Post-Iron Man 2 and Post-Thor. I will be going into the movie so there will be some spoilers if you haven't seen the movie yet.
I don't own The Avengers, Loki, Iron Man, Thor, or anything of the like. Just the thoughts inside my head.
Tony rolled his head a few times as he sighed. He glanced at the screen in front of him showing the latest readings from his gauntlet and boot tests. "JARVIS, re-calibrate the sensors and get ready for a reset," Tony called out as he set down the tools, flexing his fingers.
Tony was taking some time for himself, after the whole Vanko and Hammer incident, and working his little used workshop in little summer home off the coast of Italy. He'd be lying if Fury declining him access to his super special boyband didn't smart a little on his ego. How was he supposed to separate Tony Stark from Iron Man. There would be no Iron Man if there was no Tony Stark. Rhodey had given it a good shot, but in the end there was only Tony.
Tony double checked the wires leading from the gauntlets and boots to his arc reactor and took a step back, keeping his feet apart, and raising one hand. The repulsor whined as it charged and suddenly the workshop shook a little. He blinked and glanced at the target wall that JARVIS had assembled, but didn't see anything. The repulsor hadn't released it's shot and he powered down the gauntlet before heading out of the room.
Tony mentally applauded the new, lighter, remodel of the boots as he was easily able to traverse the stairs. As he neared the top and looked out the windows that looked over the balcony, he slowed. The recently sunny skies were now dark as night, the water churning violently, and the clouds seemed to be moving. There were no reports of any kind of tropical storms, hurricanes, even thunderstorms; JARVIS had checked.
"JARVIS, weather lock down," Tony muttered as he took a couple steps closer to the balcony. After a few minutes, and after rain started to pelt the balcony, Tony looked around. "JARVIS?" Nothing was happening and he now noticed that while the lights may have been on, nothing else was working.
Turning around he headed over to the control panel when a crash of glass sent him to his knees, covering his head, as he felt shards crashing against his back along with some rain. Tony quickly turned around and seemed to freeze. He hadn't been expecting to see several figures standing on the balcony, walking through broken windows.
Throwing his hands up he heard the whining charge of the repulsors, aiming at the figures walking towards him. "Not the best move breaking into this house," Tony said. The three figures stopped moving and he thought he heard voices. It was no language that he had ever heard before and he frowned.
Tony opened his mouth to speak again but was stopped when he felt a sharp pain in his neck, eyes widening slightly before they slumped close and he fell to the ground. Before his mind checked out he was aware of being picked up by large calloused hands that felt too cold.
Tony sucked in a breath and his eyes shot open. He moved his mouth, dry and sticky, and looked around. He wasn't in his mansion anymore. The ceiling and the walls he could see were a dark grey, there was a modicum of light coming into the room, but it felt like he was lying on something moderately soft.
"I had wondered when you awake," a soft voice sounded from across from and Tony sat up quickly, regretting seconds later. He shut his eyes, moaning, and a put hand to his head only to pull it back when he felt that his gauntlets were still on. At least whoever had grabbed him hadn't taken his tech. "I kind of wish you hadn't, the break was becoming quite nice."
Tony turned and saw that there was a cot sitting a few feet away from his. Perched on the edge of the cot was a man with slicked back longer black hair, almost glowing emerald eyes with a thin angular face, and dressed in simple black tunic shirt and black and green pants. Tony blinked a little, waiting for his brain to catch up as the man looked him up and down.
"I suppose we shall see how well you'll fair, perhaps you'll even be able to understand me this time," the man spoke with little interest in his voice, as if he just needed to talk for his own sake.
"Where the hell am I?" Tony's tongue finally caught up. "Who are you?"
"Ah, good, you do speak this language, that will make things easier," the man said, ignoring his questions. They heard some heavy footsteps and they both looked over, Tony noting that it was actually a large cell complete with bars and a view to other occupied cells around them. "Hmm, here they come."
Tony saw the familiar figures from his house coming towards them. He was able to see now that they weren't human, there were taller than him by at least two feet, all their limbs were thick and round, their faces seemed to be in permanent frowns, nose round and large, eyes set in, and mouths protruding outwards with sharp canines visible. He was reminded of pictures of enemies from a coupe of different video games, and he wondered if he wasn't under just dreaming the whole thing.
They opened the cell door and Tony backed up a little on the cot when they walked for him. He heard one of the creatures talk in the same language he heard before and watched as their gazes fell on his chest. One of them reached out for the arc reactor and Tony reacted without hesitation. He grabbed at the wrist and it felt like his face had been hit with a hammer when his head was slammed to the side and he was shoved against the wall. He gasped for breath when thick fingers wrapped around his throat and yelling assaulted his ears.
He tried to buck his body as he kicked at the creatures when they reached for the reactor again. "They want to know what that thing in your chest is," Tony's cellmate spoke above the yelling, still sounding bored.
"Don't take it out," Tony gasped out. "I'll die!" The man repeated his words in their language, at least that's what Tony guessed when they suddenly let him go and pulled away from his chest. His lungs sucked in air as quickly as they could and he blinked his eyes rapidly to get the dark spots out of his vision.
The creatures looked at Tony, but spoke to the other man in the room, realizing that their captive couldn't understand them. "They want you to remove your weapons," green eyes spoke again. "The things on your hands and feet, they need them removed."
"And why would I want to do a thing like that?" Tony rasped out. What he wanted to do was blast them, but his arms and legs were still feeling a bit heavy as the short spurt of adrenaline left his body.
"Either you'll remove it, and get to keep it, or they'll remove it for you," the man told him. "Which means that they shall remove your arms from your shoulders, then find a way to reattach them that will still allow easy access for them. I've seen it done." Tony tensed a little then straightened as he started to reach for the release levers. He put them on the bed and removed the cords that ran under shirt and connected to the arc reactor, then looked back at the creatures.
One of them seemed to be holding some sort of handheld device as he typed something into it. Tony thought it must have had big buttons to accommodate such large fingers. The thing grabbed a small rectangular piece, reminding Tony of an oversized lego piece, and handed it to the creature closest to Tony. It reached forward and grabbed Tony by the chin, jerking him forward.
"Whoa! Hey! What the hell is going on!" Tony exclaimed, trying to pull away. He felt something being pushed against the base of his neck, on top of his spine, and gasped when there was a burning sensation.
Tony was vaguely aware that they had left him go, and that he fell to his knees on the ground. All he could feel was the burning, something trying to burrow into his skin. Tony put his arms out as he started to fall forward, the pain slowly spreading out from the spot on his neck. He glanced up when he saw a pair of boots in front of him and saw that the creatures had left and the man was leaning down in front of him.
"This is going to be painful," he told Tony easily. "If you would like I can tell you what is happening." Tony's arms started to shake as he tried to focus on the raven haired man, his ears starting to ring. "Right now there are tendrils of metal making their way into your neck to connect to your central nervous system, you'll know when it happens. From there the device shall release a serum that will bond with your bones and the marrow within."
Tony looked at the man, his eyes widening slightly. This was all just some alcohol induced dream. He had probably had too much to drink after his work in the workshop, improving the Iron Man suit, wanting to celebrate a bit. He'd had weirder dreams. He thought he did.
"Depending on what realm you are from, although it looks like you appear to be a mortal, it shall change normal abilities to adapt to your situation." He continued and stood back up, walking over to his own cot to sit down and watch Tony. "I'd be interested to see what it does to you, there aren't many mortals that make it past this point."
"What?" Tony forced out. If you were to ask him about this moment, he would deny that his voice was able to still crack this many years after puberty.
Tony felt his joints lock up suddenly as he felt the thing in his neck suddenly break into several pieces, feeling like thin needles weaving through his body, around his spine, attaching to various nerves. He wanted to move, he wanted to pull the thing off of his neck, he wanted to go back to his summer house, hell, he even wanted to help Pepper run the business. Anything that wasn't the pain that kept him on the floor.
Tony's eyes widened as white hot pain shot throughout every nerve in his body and he cried out, falling to his side. His fingers and toes curled in pain as he wheezed air through his nose, sounds of pain dying his throat. His vision swam in front of him, but he wasn't lucky enough to pass out.
He was suddenly rolled onto his back and he saw the glowing green eyes above him. His lips were moving but Tony just stared at him, his ears ringing so much that he couldn't even hear the hum of his arc reactor anymore.
There was a painful tingle around Tony's neck that moved down his chest, down his back and his shoulders, all the way down his thighs. The man above him reached down slowly and brushed his fingers against Tony's neck. Tony flinched away at the raw pain that he felt suddenly, like his skin had been rubbed almost raw, leaving him uncomfortably exposed.
Tony became aware of a screaming coming from the cell block they were in as his hearing started to returning. When a low keening cry reached his ears he became aware that it was coming from him. Tony Stark did not whine. His head fell to this side, his cheek pressed against the cold floor, as no new pain entered his body and he was left with the ache through his limbs and muscles.
His cellmate reached down and grabbed the hem of Tony's t-shirt, lifting it. Tony groaned and tensed as the fabric brushed against his skin, the same raw feeling traveling up his stomach.
"You are a very interesting mortal," the man murmured, watching Tony's skin intently. He dropped the shirt and Tony caught a glimpse at what he saw. Instead of skin he saw what looked to be silver plating that one would find on armour, small squares of metal arranged together for protection. Then why did it hurt so much?
"It would appear that you will be able to summon armour from your very body," the man sounded intrigued. "Replacing your skin, as it were, when summoned. Yes, I do believe that this ability coupled with your weapons shall serve you well." Tony opened his mouth but the man placed a finger to Tony's lips. "We shall talk later, for I sense that you will lose consciousness soon, as you should. I'm rather surprised you are still alive, much less awake." He stood up, leaving Tony on the ground.
"By they way, you may call me Loki."
Tony tossed a little, throwing his head tot he side and became aware that he wasn't sleeping on his usual bed. This one was nearly as soft, or as big, and the pillow didn't support his head int he way he was used to. He also wasn't sure why his entire body ached.
"It's about time that you woke up," Tony blinked his eyes open and looked over to see the black haired man from before. The man that he had hoped would have been part of his dreams. "You made some of the most unbearable noises as you slept." Tony pushed himself up slowly, groaning slightly, and leaned against the wall his cot was against. "What do I call you?"
Tony coughed a little and looked over at the man, Loki, and blinked slightly. "Tony," he said simply, letting his voice catch up to his thought process. He ran a hand through his hair and down his neck, stopping when he felt a slight bulge. Nothing had been a dream. "Where the hell am I?"
"I am unsure of the name, no one has bothered to tell me," Loki replied unhelpfully. "I have heard stories of this place though, and they appear to be true." Loki had crossed his legs on his own bed and was watching Tony with an air of indifference. "This is a place with no time flow, with no care for the realms around it, or its inhabitants. This place," he motioned one hand around the cell, "is what you shall call home."
"Way to be super cryptic," Tony muttered. "This is all just some fever dream isn't it? I locked myself in the workshop, right? There was a storm and, and now-"
"What are you uttering on about now? Did you not listen to what I was saying?" Loki sighed and shook his head. "You are not leaving this place on your own two feet. You have been brought here to entertain, nothing more."
"What do you mean?" Tony rubbed the sides of his temple. "What the hell is happening? I just wanted to know where I was, and you start spouting off stuff about realms and time." He looked up at Loki. "Are you insane? Like, are you in your right mind? Because I'm going to get out of here, and as soon as I figure out where I am, I can call for someone to come pick me up."
"I may not be entirely stable, but at least I understand the situation that I am in," Loki responded calmly. "You are not on Midgard anymore, you are not safe inside your home." Loki slid from the bed and slowly stalked towards Tony. "The monsters under your bed are real and they've come for you, and they have made you a pawn in their twisted game. It does not matter how you feel anymore, it is going to happen," he stopped in front of Tony, leaning down so their faces were almost touching.
"You have been brought into a game of sport," Loki continued, not giving time to respond if he wanted to. "You are to fight for the entertainment of our captors. Fight until you are no longer able, whether that means death, or exhaustion, it matters not."
"Like an arena?" Tony frowned and asked quietly. Loki stood back and regarded the man before nodding.
"Yes, much like that." Loki sighed and seemed to look around the cell before his gaze settled on the bars. "Like this fact or not you will fight, because if you don't then you will die, and so will I." Tony's eyes widened slightly. "They enjoy team battles and you have been chosen to replace my last unlucky partner. I so hope that you are a little quicker than he was." Loki walked back to his cot, laying down on his back, his head resting on his arm. "You do not understand now, but you will tomorrow."
"What happens tomorrow?" Tony asked cautiously, not sure if the man was going to snap or fall asleep on him.
"You're first battle."
Tony secured the wires into his arc reactor, aware that Loki was watching him as he worked. He felt a little off without the rest of his suit, but he was thankful that he at least had his boots and gauntlets. If this was not in fact some kind of fever dream that he was stuck in. Tony had barely gotten his boots on before that creatures had come to 'escort' Tony and Loki from their cell into some kind of waiting room.
As they walked down the halls Tony was able to see for the first time just how many others were in the same situation as them. From what he could see there were hundreds of other cells, the same as his. True to Loki's words, he was starting to understand what Loki had been talking about the day before. There those that looked like humans, and there were others that he could only describe as aliens to him, some looked like monsters, they certainly snarled at him like monsters, and some almost resembled animals on two legs. He was officially in over his head.
"What is that implemented in your chest?" Loki asked as they waited. Tony was starting to wonder if Loki had any weapons on his own since he had been prompted to prepare his. "Is it merely a power source?"
"In a way," Tony glossed. He wasn't about to start spilling his secrets to someone he wasn't even sure was human, never mind sane. "Let's just say that I'd protect it from anything, and anyone, no matter what." Loki nodded once and turned to look back at the large door they had yet to walk through.
"You should probably summon your amour," Loki said quietly. Tony looked up to respond then stopped when some golden armour appeared around Loki's body, his eyes glowing slightly. It was then that Tony noticed a silver bracelet on Loki's left wrist that stood out from the rest of the metal, hugging the skin tightly, before being covered by more amour. A golden staff appeared in his hand and he glanced at Tony. "I am not entirely sure of our opponents."
A loud klaxon sounded three times from somewhere and the doors started to slide open. Tony squinted against the light that shone through then followed behind Loki. The dirt crunched under his boots and he felt his breath catch in his chest when the deafening roar of the crowd around them caught his ears. He was in an honest to gods arena, like the gladiators in movies he saw, only much, much, bigger.
It was a covered dome that easily towered fifty stories above them. The ground must have stretched at least half a mile from wall to wall in a circle. The arena itself was not empty; the ground was stained with different coloured spots, and piles of ruined pillars and walls were littered around which could be used for strategic cover. It was too bad Tony usually wasn't one for strategy and battle plans. Tony was vaguely aware of two others walking towards them, and as he focused he was able to see just what he was looking at.
He was reminded of trolls from the fairy tales that his nannies had read to him as a little boy. They twice his size, at least, had grey skin that bled into a pale blue from the waist down, squished features on their flat, snarling, faces, and held onto large weapons that could only be described as clubs. Tony's mouth went dry.
"They are only Narboks," Loki murmured and Tony whipped his head to look at him. Loki raised an eyebrow as they walked. "You have never seen a Narbok?"
"I've never heard of one, what the hell!" Tony exclaimed, suddenly fidgeting with his gauntlets, making sure that the wires were secure through his shirt.
"They are unintelligent creatures, only focused on swinging their crude weapons. Do not underestimate their swing though," Loki warned as they drew closer to the center. "They are brutish creatures, with very few weak spots. You'll really want your armour," Loki told him again. Tony frowned a little.
"I uh, don't actually know how to get it." He also didn't want to bring it back out, it freaked him out enough that he was stuck in a place that was testing the limits of his sanity, he didn't need to know that he could turn his skin into metal armour.
"You had better learn fast," Loki told him before a projected voice had started to speak. It was the same language that he head heard from the creatures that had taken him and he couldn't understand. Loki seemed to be able to, but wasn't listening, only studying their opponents as they had stopped. The crowd that Tony couldn't see very well had started to cheer and he figured that it was like any other kind of sporting event. Only this one would end in blood shed.
Tony swallowed thickly, hoping that it wouldn't be his blood.
Tony jumped slightly when the klaxon sounded again and the two Narboks started running for them. Loki disappeared and Tony's eyes widened before he jumped to the side and rolled behind a pillar. He charged up one of his repulsors as part of the pillar above his head was broken off and sent flying, one of the clubs moving his hair as it swept past. Tony pushed himself away and turned pointing his arm at the troll and letting off a shot. He had hoped it would hit the hand, but it moved at the last minute and Tony hit the creatures side. It didn't like that.
Tony scrambled up to his feet using the boosters in his boots to get to the top of a wall, charging up both gauntlets now. He started to run along the top of the wall and fire shot after shot at the Narbok following him, hitting his head a couple of times.
"It wouldn't been nice if he had told me what their weak spots were," Tony grumbled as he propelled himself up to avoid the crumbling wall. "If there was ever a time I could use JARVIS." Tony saw the second Narbok come round one of the walls as Tony jumped and he quickly put his arms to his side and shot up into the air. Tony could now see why the dome was covered; he wouldn't be able to fly out and escape.
Tony was suddenly jerked to a stop and he quickly caught himself in the air. Looking down he saw that one of the creatures apparently had a lasso in their arsenal and it was wrapped around his ankle. They started to pull him down quickly and spin him in the air like he some sort of balloon. He could hear an explosion of something below him, but it didn't stop his circular motion so he couldn't care less.
Tony felt himself flying through the air again, this time with out the help of his boosters and curled up instinctively. He felt a painful tingle across his skin and then he crashing through something. When he landed on the ground and came to a stop he looked up and saw that he had been flung through a wall and a pillar, leaving crumbling holes.
"What the hell?" Tony muttered and pushed himself up with only a little pain. Lifting the hem of his shirt he saw that the armour was back, but it didn't feel the same as the first time. It had actually worked this time as amour was supposed too, and had saved his life he was sure. "I can work with this."
Tony turned as he felt the vibrations of the ground and was just in time to receive a swift hit from the rounded club of one of the Narboks. He was sent flying through the air and stopped when his back met one of the boulders on the battleground. Tony groaned but pushed himself up quickly, boots powering up to send him up into the air, barely missing another direct hit of the crude weapon.
"I would do something about their legs," Loki's voice crooned b y his ear. Tony turned quickly and saw that Loki was standing on top of one of the fallen pillars. "They may be large lumbering creatures, but they contain a speed that can take you by surprise."
"Could have used that information earlier," Tony grumbled and Loki just smirked.
"If we are to be stuck together I needed to know how you could handle yourself in battle," Loki merely explained as Tony moved around to avoid get grabbed by the lasso again. It wrapped around Loki but it passed through him and he disappeared. Tony blinked but pushed himself further up before he could really think about what had happened.
Tony suddenly dropped down, firing the boosters inches from the ground and pushed off some rubble straight towards the creature. His hand repulsors charged and as he passed beneath the trolls legs he shot out and hit what he though were ankles. The Narbok howled in pain and fell forward onto it's knees. Using the flight stabilizers, Tony quickly turned around and let out a couple of shots at the back of the knees, making sure the brute was down.
He let out a quiet whoop and let his feet drop to the ground, turning to look for Loki. He miscalculated the reach of the Narbok when a large hand wrapped around his arm, and pulled him back suddenly. His stomach clenched as he raised his free hand and fired at shot at the hand holding onto him, but was jerked at the last second. Tony yelled when he felt his arm separate from his shoulder at the motion.
Tony tried to twist in the grip and saw that the troll had pulled out what was probably a small dagger to it, but looked like a small sword to Tony. Tony aimed his repulsor up at the giants head and fired as it brought the dagger across, making an attempt at removing Tony's arm from the rest of his body. The shot hit the creature between the eyes and it suddenly stilled, falling backwards and letting go of Tony's arm. Tony fell to his side breathing heavily as his arm hung limply at his side. He knew he should be feeling pain but there was too much adrenaline coursing through his body. He knew that wouldn't last long.
There was a cheer from the crowd around them and Tony's attention was brought back to reality. The foreign voice started to talk again as Tony saw Loki walking towards him. Loki suddenly frowned and knelt down next to the engineer. "So did we win?" Tony asked shakily.
"Quiet, I have a short amount of time to heal you," Loki spoke quickly as he grabbed Tony's arm, ignoring his cries of pain. Muscles had been severed and the arm seemed to be barely holding on near the shoulder. Loki pushed his arm closer to Tony's body and put a glowing hand to the wound. Tony screamed as his other hand grabbed onto a boulder, the gauntlet starting to crush it into a powder.
Loki suddenly growled and Tony looked back to see that he was dressed as plainly as he had been back in the cell. Tony swallowed and looked at his arm and was surprised that he could move some of his fingers. Most of the damage had been repaired but it was still bleeding in a few spots and was still dislocated. Something he could fix back in the cell.
Two of the guards came and picked Loki up by the collar and Tony up by his good arm, directing them back towards the exit of the arena. There was some chanting that Tony couldn't understand coming from the crowd.
"Congratulations," Loki spoke smoothly. "You have survived your first battle and have become something of a fan favourite."
"Must be my charm," Tony replied shakily, lacking any enthusiasm it would have held back on Earth.
Back int he cell Tony started to remove the gauntlet from his injured arm but one of the guards grabbed his arm and Tony shouted at the pain and tried to pull away. He gritted his teeth when something circular was pressed onto the underside of his forearm. It was pulled away and Tony saw that he had been branded. Never mind that he couldn't see what it said, and what it was supposed to look like, but they had branded him. Tony Stark.
The guards left the cell, the bars rising form the ground, and Loki walked over to Tony. "It is so they may identify your body should you be defaced, or separated from your body," Loki spoke simply when he saw Tony staring at the mark. "Now, do try and stay still, I shall attempt to reconnect your arm."
"What? Wait don't- Ah!" Loki had pushed Tony's arm back towards his shoulder and he shouted in pain. He swore he saw a smirk on Loki's face.