Notes From a Royal Screw-Up
"So, here's what I'm thinking" Tony said, giving Loki a speculative look. "You can understand and speak English without any trouble... so I figure you can probably somehow read and write in English, too. Correct?"
Loki shrugged and nodded.
"I've kinda been wondering how that works," Steve chimed in. "I mean, we all understood everyone when we in Asgard, and they us. When you and Thor are here on Earth, you understand us... How?"
"It must be some sort of god-power" Tony said casually, making Steve shudder ever-so-slightly. Tony smiled. Loki raised his eyebrows.
"Okay. Fair enough," Steve said mildly. "What I don't understand is... when you and I had our run-in in Stuttgart... you spoke English, yet all the German-speaking locals understood you just fine..."
Loki smiled enigmatically, and then made a gesture, one hand holding something, waved over the other hand, flat and palm up.
"What's that, Lassie? You want to write something?" Tony said with mock-childish enthusiasm. Both Loki and Steve gave Tony a questioning look. Tony chuckled and shook his head. "Do you have pen and paper?" he asked Steve.
Steve unzipped his satchel and removed his sketchbook and a pencil. He flipped the book open to a blank page and handed it to Loki.
'Magic' Loki wrote.
Steve's eyebrows shot up.
"Right" Tony drawled with a small smile.
"What do you mean, magic? As in, you have magic, or Asgard was magical?" Steve pressed.
Loki pursed his lips, and tapped one slender finger next to the single word he'd written, a haughty look upon his face.
"Magic" Steve repeated, frowning at Tony. "But... if you're bound and powerless and subject to the laws of physics of Earth, not the magic of Asgard... how does this work?" Steve questioned.
Loki quirked and eyebrow and wrote 'MAGIC' once again.
Steve fixed Loki with an even look, and the fallen god held the blonde man's gaze.
"Is magic going to be your answer for everything?" Steve asked, and edge creeping into his voice.
Yes Loki wrote with a smirk upon his face.
"Great" Steve sighed.
… … … …
"Thank you for accommodating us" Thor said, looking around the apartment Tony had provided in Stark Tower.
"No sweat. I can't really imagine you two bunking down in the local YMCA" Tony said, smiling mildly at the thought of Thor and Loki sharing bunk beds. He wondered who would win the fight to take top bunk.
"Besides, I had this place furnished with you in mind, you may as well use it."
"That was most courteous of you!" Thor enthused.
"Well, I figured you'd come visit eventually. So there's a California King in the main bedroom" he eyed Thor "I hope it'll be... big enough... for you. Loki, you're in the bedroom across from Thor. You've got a regular King-size." Tony broke off and laughed at his own dirty joke. "That's what he said!" he chuckled to himself.
Thor and Loki looked at him, puzzled.
"Oh, never mind. But hey, welcome to Earth! Prepared to be confused."
Loki took a pen and paper from his pocket. 'Was that a pun? Was Stark being puerile?' he wrote. 'I have a regular king-sized what?'
Thor grinned at him. "I would say you are more prince-sized" he said cunningly.
Loki's eye narrowed. 'You are as vile on Midgard as you are on Asgard' he wrote.
Thor thumped Loki on the back in a fond, brotherly manner.
… … … …
"You did what?" Pepper asked calmly.
Tony cringed. He knew what the calm tone meant. It mean he was about to have his scrotum proverbially handed to him. By the love of his life, no less.
"He doesn't even have magic anymore, Pep. It's fine. It's safe" he assured the strawberry blonde as he poured them both a drink. He looked up to face her again, expecting to find angry eyes boring into him. Her expression was not one of anger, but fear, and Tony's stomach clenched. He hated himself every time he made her look like that.
She strode away from him, towards the deck "He threw you out this window" she said firmly, jabbing a finger in the direction of the plate glass.
"Yes, that's true. But he's trying to turn over a new leaf. He was punished pretty heartily on Asgard, and he's mute, and his Mom, you know Frigga, the... goddess of everything... she was just so lovely, and she asked me to help look after him-" Tony ramblingly explained.
"He's a murderer" Pepper hissed. "He's responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people, Tony! How can you justify this? It would be like asking us to take in someone like-"
"I can't justify it, Pepper. I can't explain it." Tony butted in. He frowned and shook his head. "I don't know what I was thinking. I don't know what any of us were thinking. But I... felt sorry for him" he sighed.
"You felt sorry for him?" Pepper asked flatly. "He killed Phil" she breathed, tears welling in her eyes. "He was personally responsible for the death of a good man. You told me that yourself."
Tony swallowed and paced for a moment. Pepper watched him, openly stricken.
"I made a promise to Loki's family. I'm sorry. I should have run this by you first-"
"Yes. You should have" Pepper snapped.
"-There wasn't any way I could, Pepper. I was on Asgard, remember? It was a spur of the moment Avengers thing."
"Yeah? Well, I'm getting sick of you bringing your work home with you, Tony." She turned on her heel and stalked off.
"Nice going, jackass" Tony muttered to himself. "Next time, start with the apology."
… … … …
Loki awoke with a start and sprang up in bed, his heart hammering in his chest. His mouth and jaw ached, and he grabbed at his face as he looked around the dark, unfamiliar room.
His anxiety dropped a notched when he found his mouth was not sewn shut, but it took another few seconds for him to remember where he was. His shoulders heaved as he drew in slow, deep breaths, letting his eyes adjust to the darkness.
He worried his mouth with his fingers, trying to smooth out the ever-present ache of the invisible thread. He was covered in sweat, but him mouth was painfully dry.
He slipped from the bed and padded silently into the kitchen. He found a mug in one of the many cupboards, and after a moment of sleep-addled confusion, he remembered how to operate the taps so that the faucet issued cold water.
He took a deep draught, the liquid instantly soothing his parched throat, but he grimaced sharply at the taste of the water. He sniffed at the remaining water in the cup and frowned, and then took another experimental taste.
Clearly, what they called water on Midgard bore little resemblance to water on Asgard. Yet, it seemed to afford the same result. Grudgingly, Loki refilled the cup and took another long drink, the hot congestion in his throat subsiding.
Cup in hand, he wandered around the apartment in the dark. The huge suite he shared with his brother was on the same level as the apartment Captain Rogers sometimes used. Above him were the rooms Agents Romanoff and Barton occasionally occupied, and above those, Stark's own private quarters and various labs he used for his work. The whole floor below Loki belonged to Dr Banner; his own private lab and secure living quarters, retrofitted for safety and containment.
Loki moved over to the floor-to-ceiling windows off the living area. They afforded him a magnificent view of the city he'd partially destroyed and tried to enslave.
He felt a wave of emotion wash down his back, twisting his stomach as it went. He huffed as he forced himself to examine the feeling. It was guilt; it was anger. He tried to separate out the sensations, and his instinct was to try to justify his actions to himself once again. He shook his head and stopped that line of thought.
What did anger get you? he thought to himself in the darkness as he gazed out across the sparkling lights of the city. How did vengeance improve your position in life? You are maimed and powerless in this strange place, surrounded by these odd, dangerous people. At their mercy. You have few options... and now you must learn a new role and play your part in their games.
They think to tame me and teach me new ways? Well... I still know a trick or three. Perhaps they also have lessons to learn, which I alone can show them...
Loki smiled at the thought.
… … … ...
Author's notes: Welcome back, thank you for having me! This here series is going to be a bunch of interconnecting drabbles and short stories, which I will probably post as I write them- no real structure, just glimpses into Loki's mute adventures on Midgard.
I have a related mini-series and another major series that I'm working towards, but they're a ways off from being ready. Until then, enjoy some mischief!
Also, the story picture I found DeviantArt, but I couldn't figure out who the artist was. If anyone knows, please let me know so I can contact the artist for permission.