Loki pulled at his tie beneath the brand new sweater his mother had knitted for him. Tony's own sweater still lay wrapped beneath the tree, a great big bow on top. When he was handing out presents that morning, he found several others there and he shot his mother a strange look. She, of course, played innocent, but it warmed him just the same.

He knew that Frigga liked Tony even before the two began dating. He knew that his mom making Tony a sweater was a big deal, but to get him other things. Well, it was just her opening her arms and welcoming him to the fold.

He may have blushed slightly when his mom winked at him. Loki wished Tony could have been there opening presents with him and his family. But some things couldn't be. Besides, his family was just beginning to warm up to the idea of Loki dating him. Well some of them anyway. Best not let that fantasy come true.

Talk about awkward.

Thor clambered into living room, his own sweater tossed over his shoulder as he wrestled with his tie. He looked absolutely pathetic.

Loki rolled his eyes, but took pity on his brother, swatting aside Thor's hands and tying the tie for him. "You're hopeless," Loki muttered under his breath.

The two boys plopped down on the couch, their feet up on the coffee table, their shiny shoes knocking against the glass bowls filled with candy. Thor reached over Loki to grab a handful of Kisses, before leaning back into the couch, offering a Kiss to his brother.

Loki took it and unwrapped it slowly. "Thor?"

"Yeah?"

"Do you think they know?" Loki asked.

Thor sucked on his chocolate, crumbling his wrapper and rolling it between his fingers. "You mean Grandma Bestla and Uncle Ve?"

Loki nodded, swallowing anxiously.

"About you being adopted?"

Loki shot him a look. What else could he be talking about?

"I don't know," Thor answered. "They never mentioned it before."

"No one mentioned it before," Loki snapped. He rubbed a hand against his eye. "I'm sorry."

Thor wrapped his arm around Loki's shoulders in reassurance. "I guess we'll find out," was Thor's helpful reply.

A car horn blared out and the brothers shot each other a look. Showtime. Despite knowing that they were expected in the hall, they refused to budge, completely comfortable where they were. It wasn't until their father huffed into the room, casting a disapproving eye, that they slowly dragged themselves away from the couch.

Frigga lined up her boys, oldest to youngest, and ran her hand over their sweaters and straightened their ties and clicked her tongue at their sloppy hair. But once the doorbell rang, she was all smiles as she opened the door and the family piled in.

o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

Tony stared out plane window, his head resting on his palm. A stewardess walked up to him and bent down, placing his Coke on the table in front of him, ruffling his hair before walking back to wherever flight attendants hide.

He ran his finger over the rim of the can, picking up the condensation and spreading it round.

With a soft groan, Obadiah sat down across from him, hands twiddling impatiently on his lap. Tony didn't look up. The man cleared his throat, hoping to get Tony's attention, but the boy continued ignoring him.

After a while, Obie gave up, and quietly asked for a brandy.

"Where's Howard?" Tony asked.

"Your dad has some business that he – "

"Bullshit," Tony declared. He pulled the tab off his Coke and fiddled with it, twirling it between his fingers.

His dad was never busy. Strike that, he was always busy – busy ruining his life and pretending like he was a good father for the cameras. It was moments like these that Tony genuinely hated him. Sure, sometimes he didn't like his old man, or just didn't care. But now – now Tony was angry.

Howard pretended to not know about Loki, but he was spying on him the entire time. Did he really expect Tony to break up with Loki? He had just come back from an almost break up, and he wasn't going to go through that again.

Fuckin' hell, man. Why was his life so fucked up? Why was everything fucked up? Did he have a target on his chest that life enjoyed aiming at?

"You're upset," Stane said. "But things aren't that bad. He'll be back by the end of the month and then the two of you – "

"I hate him," Tony interrupted as Obie stared at him in disbelief. "I do," Tony continued, not sure who he was trying to convince. "He's a fucking asshole."

"Tony," Stane sighed.

"He fucking knew," Tony yelled. "The entire fucking time he knew about me and Loki. And now he's thrust me into the spotlight, hoping I'll just give him up." Tony kicked at the table in front of him, knocking over his Coke, the soda spilling onto the floor. "Well I won't."

The stewardess ran forward with a roll of towels in one hand and Obie's drink in the other. She angrily handed Obadiah his drink before dropping to her knees to mop up the mess. Normally Tony would mumble out an apology but he was too angry.

"Try to see it from his point of view," Stane argued. "He's got an entire company to run. A company you will inherit." He cleared his throat, hands clenching onto his armrests. "You've got to be more than perfect."

Tony glared at the flight attendant as she snatched his empty Coke can. Once she was gone, Tony sat forward, running his hands through his hair. "Maybe I don't want to take over Stark Industries," Tony confessed. "Maybe I don't want to design weapons for a living, or come out with new Stark Phones every year. Maybe I want to live a normal life."

"You can't, kid," Obie said. He put a hand on Tony's and squeezed reassuringly. "Maybe in a couple of years, but not now. For now we're both under your dad's thumb." He winked at Tony, and the teen relaxed slightly.

Yeah. Maybe in a couple of years.

o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

It was loud.

Not that Christmas wasn't usually loud, because it was. As was Thanksgiving and Fourth of July and every other holiday in which the Odinson family got together.

But just because it was normal, didn't mean that Loki didn't find it absolutely annoying. Luckily, once the kisses and the hugs and the "oh, you're so big, look at you" were all over, Loki oh so graciously volunteered to put all the presents underneath the tree. Because, let's face it, his cousins would probably just throw the things underneath without any care for the visual aesthetic of the tree.

It was as Loki was organizing the presents by size, that Uncle Vili came into the living room and slapped a friendly hand against Loki's back. Loki bit his tongue, choosing instead to smile politely at his uncle. "Hi," he muttered.

"Need help?" Uncle Vili asked, kneeling down beside him. Loki shook his head, but his uncle grabbed a few of the presents and began helping anyway.

Of course.

"Excited?" Uncle Vili asked with a grin, holding up a present that had Loki's name on the tag.

Loki shrugged. "I suppose."

Uncle Vili chuckled, arranging them in a similar pattern as Loki, to which the teen was most grateful for.

The rest of his family came into the living room in a wave, the volume increasing tenfold. "Hey!" Grandpa Bor called out, standing beside Loki. "Who's this fella?"

Uncle Vili put a hand on Loki's shoulder. "It's Loki, dad. You just saw him five minutes ago."

Grandpa Bor rolled his eyes, turning around to face Odin who stood in the doorway, a glass of wine in hand. "I thought he was you for a second," Grandpa Bor stated. "You were that skinny once." Then he laughed his loud laugh – the Odinson laugh - before turning back to Loki. "You're finally starting to look like your father."

Loki grit his teeth. So they didn't know. Oh god. How? How did they manage to keep this a secret from everyone?

He stood up then, abandoning his job and held up his chin at his grandfather as he said, "That's impossible. I'm adopted."

An awkward silence fell upon the family.

Thor coughed quietly before saying, "Merry Christmas!"


Author's Note: "You said you weren't on hiatus!" you all roar at me, to which I respond, "I know but I'm a liar." Actually, finals came out of nowhere... like what? Not true, I knew they were coming I was just avoiding them at all costs. Also, I was going to post last week but it was my birthday and Desolation of Smaug came out and then I had to fix my frostiron fest story so that didn't actually come to fruition. But now it's winter break so... yay! I'm going to do all of the writing.

Wanted to get this chapter up because Xmas is super soon and we've been at Xmas since like... August. Also, I'm getting on a plane tomorrow to go home (home is actually subjective. i guess my parents home) so I wanted to update.

I will be adding a new chapter to Beginnings. Hopefully tomorrow evening, if not then Friday. It's basically going to be the greatest thing ever. I promise. xRDJ603 knows exactly what I'm talking about. You have her to blame. Or thank.

Also I'm kind of really lazy so if there are any grammatical mistakes or something let me know. (I'm supposed to be packing right now. OOPS. but in my defense the school dryers suck monkey nuts and refuse to dry my jeans and sweaters)

Okay.. so some reviews:

poisson: I don't speak French! But thank god for google translate. So... THANKS! And I'm totally working on my thesis tomorrow on my plane. Because the outline is basically due very soon and I should get off my lazy butt and write that instead of fan fiction. Whatever.

Lulubearx95: sorry for not updating on that weekend, but I've updated now. so hopefully that has made up for it. If not... sorry. :( I'm a horrible person.

Elvadine: I is back! I've posted my tumblr on my thingy whatever but I can put it here again. (and you're totally not creepy. I promise) So my main is: andquitefrankly. Not really a surprise. My writing/fan fic blog is: whatwewhisper. And I actually made a new one where I reblog smutty pics. (for shame!) and that one's called: andquitefranklyisaclassylady

OKAY! Aardvark!