Title: Heartless

Fandom: The Avengers (movie)

Summary: After the invasion is stopped and Loki is in custody the Avengers are assigned to watch him. Loki has a question for one of his prison guards.

Characters: Tony Stark, Thor, Clint Barton, Natasha Romanoff, Dr. Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers, and Loki.

Pairing(s): none

WARNING: Tony being self-depreciating and slightly morbidly creepy/vindictive.

Disclaimer: None of the Avengers belong to me, and I was a big on comics as a kid but I'm basing this solely off the movies.

AN: None of this is Betaed by anyone but me so sorry for any mistakes.


They've just changed the guard when Loki finally speaks. Tony rotates in as Iron Man and replaces Thor while Clint replaces Natasha, they're officially keeping three Avengers on guard at all times just to be safe but Steve as the 'leader' doesn't leave and Bruce is always just around the corner waiting to see if they need Hulk to smash the puny god again. "What exactly are you?" He's staring straight at Tony with a curious, calculating look on his face. Both Thor and Natasha stop in the doorway and turn around at the sound of his voice.

"Me?" Tony's actually a little startled but that doesn't really come across in the electronic tone of Iron Man. "I'm the brilliant man who helped kick your ass yesterday."

"It was my understanding that all humans require a heart to live, my magic should work on anything with a heart," Loki explains a little bitterly. "Why did the staff not affect you when I tried to possess you?"

"I don't have a heart," his voice is cold and emotionless, but it almost always is with the suit filtering it.

"Impossible, you just admitted to being human, unless there's something you'd like to share with your friends," Loki sneers and yet even when he's beaten he still tries to wreak havoc.

Tony lets his Iron Man faceplate flip up as he grins darkly at the alien, "I had a heart. But it was an, inconvenience; I almost died because it was too, human. So I had it removed and built a machine to replace it." It's more or less the truth, interpreted pretty vaguely.

"You removed it," Loki looks impressed in spite of himself. "Was that not a dangerous task?"

"Yep, and the most painful thing I've ever felt." Tony lets himself look nostalgic, as if he's recalling a fond memory. "They held me down while the doctor cut me open. I remember seeing him remove bones and muscles and things from my chest before implanting my fake heart. Best part was when I built a better one, the second time I had to hold myself down while he worked."

"They?" Steve looks both sick and slightly embarrassed that he let his question slip out.

"The terrorists holding me captive. I doubt it even occurred to them to waste resources knocking me out or giving me anything for the pain. We were in a cave in the middle of nowhere though so it's unlikely they could've found something even if they were trying." Now his dark look isn't just for show but he allows himself a small, almost unnoticeable, slightly sadistic smile when he thinks of the fate he brought down on the Ten Rings. Let's just say that's one terrorist organization no one will ever hear from again. It's almost poetic that the men who partially drowned him, repeatedly, died in a blaze of fire, in a very morbid, ironic yet almost not, way.

Of course Loki, who is the one he's facing, has to be the only one to notice his smile. "What happened to these 'terrorists,' Man of Iron?"

"I blew-up their hideout when I escaped," he'll leave it to his imagination as to how since most of the team already knows that was the first Iron Man suit. "The group no longer exists."

Tony lets the visor slid back down over his features, hopefully before anyone but Loki saw the ruthless killer he knows was hidden in his eyes. That vindictive pleasure at getting revenge that he isn't a good enough man to not feel. Everyone watches him carefully in the next few minutes of silence. "You would have made an excellent minion. Or ally, if you'd prefer." Loki falls silent for the rest of his confinement and doesn't say anything else before Tony builds a muzzle for him and Thor takes him back to Asgard.

Tony is careful to reassure the rest of the team, once Loki is gone, that he was lying about not having a heart. The ARC Reactor in fact keeps his heart in working condition; it's not a replacement. He's not entirely certain that some damage wasn't done by that whole conversation anyways. Steve is nice to him and apologizes for thinking Tony didn't know what it was like on the front lines. In the next few months Clint spends an odd amount of time watching him work and occasionally sharing stories of his missions, it takes Tony embarrassingly long to realize the sniper is attempting to bond with and befriend him. Eventually though he and the archer make a great pranking team and he manages to annoy the Capsicle into snapping at him again so he figures the whole thing about his lack of a true heart can be put behind them and forgotten.

AN: Anyone else feel like that whole failed possession thing is something that Tony would use to mess with Loki's mind whenever possible?

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