Summary: Slightly AU and post-Avengers. Tony never expected to get along with Loki. He didn't expect to start a relationship (as strange as that was) either, but life works in strange ways, for better and for worse.
Note: I only state that this is slightly AU as we all know that Thor 2 is now filming. Technically all storylines are a little AU, I suppose, but I just wanted to be safe.
Warnings: MPreg, sorta.
It had been an ordinary night, as ordinary as it got anyhow. Tony was in his lab, looking over new plans for the suit. There weren't many modifications to be made, but he felt the need to update the filtration and cooling systems. Lately, the performance had been lacking, in his opinion, and new upgrades would bring everything back up to speed.
"Sir, there's a call coming through for you," Jarvis' voice said, causing the billionaire to look up.
"Who's it from?" he asked, rubbing his eyes.
"Director Fury of SHIELD. Should I patch him through?"
"How important is it?"
"I believe the director stated he would personally shove his boot up your posterior if you didn't pick up."
Tony blinked, carefully considering the last few words before he waved his hand in a casual manner, "Sure, put him through." He put on his best smile as the video feed pulled up, "What's the word?"
"You need to suit up," Fury stated, already uploading files to the inventor, "There's a thing on the loose and you're the closest to its location. You need to contain it while the others head out."
"Am I going to be paid overtime for this?" Tony was already reading over the file, not liking what he saw. The one picture they had of the target was blurry, but he could make out the female figure and stark white skin and hair.
"I'm not in the mood for your mouthing off right now," Fury stated, voice weary, "This thing has already destroyed two city blocks and set multiple structures on fire."
"Didn't you have any better pictures of this… thing?"
"It just crash landed half an hour ago," the director said, as if that should be explanation enough, "I suggest you move."
Tony rolled his eyes, "Yes, sir."
He touched his fingers to the video screen, ending the call. He quickly uploaded the files onto his system and got up from his work bench, stretching and working out the kinks from being bent over his desk for so long, "Jarvis, try and get better pictures for me through any CCTV feeds or satellite captures you can find while I suit up. I want to see what I'm up against."
"Shit," Tony breathed as he stood less than twenty feet away from the creature that was threatening to tear his entire city apart.
Its body was completely female, slender and tall. It had skin so pale it was nearly translucent. Its hair was like a veil of white silk. Its slender, claw like hands had blackened fingertips. It stood naked and pivoted, as if it were trying to see everything around it. However, that wasn't what disturbed Tony the most. The thing had a round face with a smile like a knife wound, but it had no eyes. Its face was just a blank slate, save for a creepy, nightmarish grin.
"Some back up would be nice here," Tony said as he took a step back, the creature had spotted him and its lips pulled back to reveal more teeth, a thick black substance slowly dripping from its mouth.
"We'll be there in three minutes," Captain America's voice said, "We're going as fast as we can."
"I'm not sure I have three minutes!" Iron Man exclaimed as he watched the thing shift in his direction.
He let loose several beams from his repulsors, hoping to stop it in its tracks, but the impact only staggered it for a moment. It shook its head before turning in his direction again, its grin becoming ever wider. He could see a deep crescent moon shape slowly appear in the middle of its face. It glowed bright red and began to smoke around the edges.
"Oh hell," Tony breathed as he launched himself out of the way, just a split second before the creature's face laser scorched the exact area he had been standing in. The ground was blackened and any debris that had been there was burnt to ash.
"Do not run," a gentle, soothing, female voice said as the creature moved forward, its body swaying from side to side as it approached, "You cannot hide from me."
"Well, this is horrifically disturbing," the billionaire said to himself as he directed his repulsor at the thing.
It laughed, soft and melodic, "Your weapons cannot hurt me."
The beam struck the creature in the chest. It stumbled back a couple of steps before standing to full height again. It lashed out, its arm elongating, grabbing Iron Man by the neck with its blackened fingers.
"Now would be a really great time to swoop in and save the day!" Tony yelled into his communication link.
"Thirty seconds!" Steve's voice was no longer calm, but it still held command.
The crescent moon on the creature's face burned bright red again. Tony swallowed thickly, his heart racing in his chest. He closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath, already feeling the immense heat radiating off of the thing.
"I will make this painless," the voice said, washing over him in slow, soothing waves.
Then the creature was screaming.
Tony felt himself being dropped. He landed gracelessly on the ground and rolled out of the way as quickly as he could. The thing was screaming so loud, he had to bring his hands up to his head, even though he couldn't cover his ears through the helmet.
"Back away, you filth!" a familiar voice was yelling, "It is not your place to have him!"
"Oh, fuck this noise," Iron Man said as he looked up to see a flash of familiar green and gold. The silhouette of a figure wearing foreboding horns.
"What's happening down there?" Black Widow's voice was in his ear now, the whir and beep of flight instruments loud in the background.
Tony watched as Loki raised his staff, one very similar to the one he had been carrying months ago, and shot at the creature, repeatedly. The thing shrieked and fell, writhing in pain. The trickster didn't let up as he approached the being, towering over it.
"Loki just showed up," Tony stated, watching the scene unfold, in fascination.
"What?!" Clint's exclamation of surprise made him wince.
"Do not let me set eyes on you again," Loki stated, looking down at the thing, sneering.
"You will regret this," the creature hissed before disappearing in a cloud of smoke.
The billionaire just stared in stunned silence as the god approached. He tried to move, to stand, to do anything, but it was like his brain had shut off from the overload of absurdity it had just experienced. The trickster let out a long sigh and Tony can only imagine how he looked at the moment. With a wave of his hand, Loki was gone, leaving Iron Man lying in the street, feeling extraordinarily confused by the whole encounter.
"We have no idea what this thing is," Bruce said as he ran his fingers across the screen he had pulled up before him. He had been looking over the footage and pictures Tony had gotten while in battle with the thing in the streets, but no one knew a damn thing about it.
The creature looked like it had just materialized out of nowhere, with all of its terrifying features. It had no motive that they could think of and the thing was just plain creepy. It didn't even register any type of signature, electrical or magical.
"So, what do we do now?" Steve asked, squinting at Bruce's screen, which made Tony stifle a laugh.
"Not sure, but we should also talk about the fact that Loki's back in town," Clint said from his seat, wearing a look of distaste.
"Yeah, not sure we need two villains on our hands at the same time," Natasha agreed.
"To be fair," Tony interjected, "Not that I'm on his side or anything, but he did save my ass. Just putting that out there."
"It could be a trick," Black Widow stated, as if it would be the most obvious explanation, "They could be working together."
"Not to side with Tony, but we don't know what he wants at this point. I think maybe we should focus on what's actually been destroying very large parts of the city and, possibly, traumatizing a lot of people by simply showing up," Bruce said, pulling up the video feeds they were able to gather.
"It looks like something that stepped right out of a horror film," Steve said, staring intently at the screen.
Tony didn't need to watch the video. He had been replaying the battle in his head over and over again. Each time, he wondered why Loki showed up, from out of nowhere, to save him.
He should have been far more surprised when Loki showed up on his balcony. He should have felt threatened, but it was so strange seeing the trickster wearing normal clothes, a pair of dark wash jeans and a thin forest green t-shirt, he couldn't do more than open the balcony door and wave him in.
"Jarvis, don't make any calls unless I say so. Or I'm in mortal danger," he commanded as he stepped back into the living room. Jarvis affirmed the command and went silent. He made his way to the bar to get a drink because he was certain this was the type of conversation that required one, "What's this about?"
"I was restless," Loki answered, striding forward with his hands clasped behind his back as he looked about the room, taking it all in, "You seem to be the only mortal of any interest in the vicinity, so I thought I would invite myself over."
"Isn't it a little presumptuous of you to think I would be in the mood to talk to you of all people?" the billionaire asked as he pulled out two glass, because why the hell not.
"I suppose it is. I hope I have not offended."
Tony snorted, nearly spilling the whiskey he was pouring, "Coming from the guy that threw me out a window just a few months ago."
The trickster smiled, a tilt of his lips that was less sinister and more sincere than the billionaire had previously witnessed, "I am not the same person I was."
"Cause change is so easy?"
"Because there are certain things even I cannot explain to you without going into some horrid monologue about space, time, and all of those wonderful things."
"Why are you here, Loki?" Tony finally asked, resting his hands on the counter.
"To receive my thanks for saving your life today?" Loki shrugged, stepping to the bar he placed his palms on the counter and leaned against it, "As I said. I was restless."
"Aren't you supposed to be in jail? Being punished for your crimes? All that jazz?"
"No cell in the universe can hold me. At least, not for long."
"Still doesn't answer why you're here, right now."
"Does there always have to be an answer to your questions?"
"I'm a man of science." Tony stated, as if that should have been obvious, "I seek answers."
Loki slowly stepped around the bar, his hands up to show that he wasn't advancing in a threatening manner, "Well then, man of science, man of iron, the answers you seek are very close and, perhaps, even right in front of your eyes."
Tony leaned back against the counter as the trickster stepped ever closer. Cool hands came into contact with his shoulders and he shuddered, inhaling sharply as he felt the god's body press against his, just ever so slightly, a whisper of warmth against his own. He could feel Loki's breath ghosting against his face as he looked up at the taller man. He studied the raven hair, the sharp features, and the paleness of Loki's skin and how they all made his green eyes stand out, bright as emeralds.
Green eyes, Tony thought. Green eyes. He blinked and had to look again, hoping that it was just a trick of the light. Slowly, he breathed, "Your eyes are green."
"Very perceptive, Anthony Stark," Loki grinned, his body now flush with the billionaire's, hands splayed against the shorter man's chest, framing the arc reactor.
"Why are they green?" Tony asked, swallowing thickly as he realized just how close the god was.
"This is their natural state," the trickster answered, leaning down, his lips brushing against the human's ear as he spoke, "Does that displease you?"
"They were blue. Why were they blue?" It was becoming harder to think, to be clever.
The god gave a soft laugh, a hint of bitterness lingering in the sound, "As I stated before, there are certain things even I cannot explain without a terrible, drawn out story."
Tony inhaled sharply, feeling Loki's teeth nip at his earlobe. The god's tongue slowly traced the outline of his ear and it sent a knee weakening shiver down his spine.
"Okay, wait!" the billionaire exclaimed, pushing the trickster off him and maneuvering himself a couple of feet away, "What are you doing? Not that I didn't like what you were doing, but, seriously, what are you doing?"
Loki rolled his eyes, "What does it look like I was doing?"
"Pretty sure you were sticking your tongue in my ear."
"So very, very observant, Stark."
"That still doesn't answer my question."
"You are infuriating," Loki stated, all humor gone from his voice as he grabbed one of the glasses from the bar and downed his drink in one gulp. He barely even winced, "I'll be off now."
The trickster was gone before Tony could get another word out. He looked around the room, half expecting Loki to jump out and shout "gotcha!". But he found that he was completely alone and extremely perplexed by what had just transpired.
"Did you get that Jarvis?" he asked, deciding it was a good idea to have his own drink.
"Of course, sir."
"Please upload the video to my laptop. I just… need to... You know what? I don't need to explain myself."
"Very good, sir," a part of Tony hated that his AI actually sounded a little snarky when it spoke.
Over the course of the week, the creature kept appearing in random parts of the city. However, whenever the Avengers would appear, it would look around, hesitate for a moment and then disappear.
No one had an explanation as to why it kept showing up and each appearance left them with more questions than answers.
Tony half hoped that Loki would appear to help them catch this thing, but the god was nowhere in sight.
"Sir, you have a visitor on the balcony," Jarvis said, pulling Tony out of his trance. He had been in his lab looking over more video footage, trying to splice bits and pieces together to make sense of what had been happening. In the past week, they've had to try and chase down the creature on five different occasions. Each time, it had gotten away just before they arrived and left no traces of how to locate it once more.
There was only one person – being – who would be able to just show up at his tower. Tony contemplated for a moment before closing his laptop, "Let him in and make sure he doesn't break anything while I'm making my way up there."
"Yes, sir. Shall I keep previous protocols in place?"
"Obviously," Tony said as he boarded the elevator and rode it to the penthouse, unsure of what he was going to do or say. When the elevator doors opened, he spied Loki's lean form, dressed once more in dark jeans and a t-shirt, at the bar, already pouring scotch into two lowball glasses filled with ice. Tony approached, raking a hand through his hair. When the god turned, he stopped in his tracks.
"What the hell happened to you?" the billionaire asked before he could stop the question from coming out of his mouth.
Loki rolled his eyes, "I see we're forgoing formalities tonight, Stark."
"Sorry?" Tony shrugged as he stepped up to the bar and grabbed one of the two glasses, "Hello, nice to see you. By the way, what happened to your face?"
The trickster's face was a sight to take in. The entire left side of his face was bruised black and blue. His lower lip was split and there were a myriad of cuts and scrapes traveled down from his temple all the way down to his jawline. As bad as it looked, Tony could see that the damage was healing. The cuts were already slowly closing and the bruising receding, they would be gone before the night was out.
"It gets dangerous gallivanting across the universe," Loki stated, picking up his own glass and making his way to the couch. "I was going to wait until I was better rested, but I felt you would want the information I gathered,"
"And what information would that be?" Tony asked, watching the god take a seat on his couch, without even asking, like he owned the place.
"Information about this horrid, faceless creature you've been trying to tackle," the trickster said, taking a long sip from his glass.
The billionaire's ears perked at that, "Oh really?"
"Yes, you see, sometimes, the only way to find what you need is to look. Unfortunately for you,"' Loki gestured at Tony's body, "'your mortal body is not fit for the type of traveling that is required for such a venture."
Tony had to bite his tongue to keep from speaking. Frankly, that was offensive to him and may have hurt his pride a little.
"Fortunately, for you, and perhaps all of your so called Avenger friends, I want that thing off this planet as soon as possible."
"And why's that?"
"It killed my cat and it has no manners."
"I was jesting. I don't need to explain my true reasons to you."
Tony sighed. He was really starting to get sick of talking in circles. Deciding that it was safe enough, he took a seat next to Loki and put his feet up on the coffee table, sipping at his drink, "So, now you're going to fill me in about this… thing?"
"There is always a price for such information, Stark," Loki said with a smirk, cool fingertips trailing along the back of the billionaire's hand.
"Listen buddy, I've got money. I think I got this," Tony swallowed, trying to ignore the way the trickster's hand was trailing up his forearm.
"I have no need for currency. I find that it's quite easy to manipulate. Add enough zeros and you can get anywhere in this world," the god's voice was low as he shifted closer, setting his glass down on the coffee table, "I was thinking of something more your style."
"And what, exactly, is my style?" Tony would have said something witty, but Loki was extremely close and concentrating suddenly seemed like the hardest thing in the world.
"If the tabloids are to be believed, I'd say it would be quick and dirty."
Tony inhaled sharply at those words, feeling a very distinct rush of blood going to his groin. He wasn't coherent enough for this. Hell, he wasn't drunk enough for this. Yet, when Loki pulled him into a kiss, one that was unexpectedly gentle, he didn't have the will to fight back. His drink slipped from his fingertips, faintly he heard the glass hitting the floor, and he found himself running his hands through the trickster's hair, pulling the god closer. When he shoved his tongue into Loki's mouth, he tasted the coppery tang of blood and was surprised at how little resistance he met, considering this was the guy that tried to make the world kneel at his feet several months before. The moan that escaped the trickster's mouth made the billionaire's entire being flush, feeling as if the temperature in the room had been turned up far too high.
What am I doing? Tony asked himself as he pushed Loki back onto the couch, their mouth's never parting. He lay on top of the god, reaching under the other man's shirt where his hands met warm, smooth skin. He heard the trickster draw in a sharp breath, but he wasn't pushed away and their lips remained locked. What the hell am I doing? It was as if something clicked in his brain and reason finally, finally, made its appearance. He wretched himself up, hands planted firmly on Loki's shoulders as he gasped for air.
"What's the matter?" the trickster asked with a genuine expression of concern on his features.
Tony wasn't sure of what to say as he stared down at the man, the god, beneath him. The whole thing seemed so surreal. And sure, Loki was good looking, but he was also the bad guy, the guy who tried to take over the world and killed hundreds of people in the process. This wasn't someone he should be playing tonsil hockey with, especially when this was supposed to be payment of some sort for information that may or may not be forthcoming.
"Would it make you feel better if I didn't look like this?" Loki asked. His voice was quiet and, for some reason, Tony couldn't help but hear a hint of hurt.
"What?" the billionaire asked, unsure how much time had passed between them as he contemplated the situation.
"I can change, if that would make this easier," the god stated. Then, as if to prove his point, he shifted right before Tony's eyes. The trickster's body changed in such a smooth, fluid motion that Tony only felt it for a moment beneath his hands. When the billionaire blinked, it wasn't a man he was on top of anymore. It was a woman. She had long black hair, splayed out over the couch cushions. She had sharp, yet gentle facial features, rounding off in just the right areas, marred by a fading bruise and various scrapes. She had a curvaceous, yet slender figure, too small for the clothes she wore. Everything about her was model perfect. When she spoke, her voice was soft, demure, "Is this better?"
Tony considered that question for a long moment, looking into those large, green eyes, before he shook his head, "No. I don't like you like this."
Loki closed his eyes and shifted back to himself. He looked up at the being known as Iron Man, "Does this bother you?"
"I'm just a little, well, really confused," Tony admitted, climbing off the trickster and pulling them both into a sitting position on the couch once more, "I don't know what this is, what you're doing, or even what I'm doing."
"You really are thick for someone who's supposed to be extraordinarily clever," Loki said, his voice tinged with annoyance, "I'm trying to seduce you."
The god sighed, "Well, I guess I should take my leave."
"No. Wait," Tony said, grabbing Loki's wrist before he could get up. Carefully, he reached out and touched the trickster's face. He saw Loki wince as his fingertips came into contact with the bruise on the trickster's face, "Why hasn't this healed? I thought gods were able to get over this kind of thing pretty easily."
"Under normal circumstances, yes," Loki explained, shifting just out of Tony's reach, "But I'm depleted. My quest, if one could call it that, used nearly all of my magical reserves. Any injuries I obtained in that time will have to wait until I am properly rested before they can be fully healed.
"Can you tell me what happened? Not that I mind sucking face with you or anything, but it's a better start than what we had going."
Loki gave a soft laugh, "Unfortunately, I'll have to spare you the details of my travels, but I can tell you what I found out about the creature. I believe you'll be most intrigued… as a man of science."
Bruce looked over the files Tony had given him and glanced at the billionaire with a look that very obviously stated he was suspicious of where Tony could have gotten the material and background they had needed on their strange and horrifying threat. The billionaire was also pretty sure Bruce would be curious as to how Tony managed to get work done with everything else that was on his schedule coinciding with all the sightings.
"Are you going to tell me or not?" Bruce finally asked, placing the file on his desk.
Tony looked a little guilty as he thought over the question, "Confidential. Can't go talking about my sources."
"Listen, we have what we want. Isn't that all that matters?"
The file had been very detailed. The creature came through a rift created in space. It was carbon based and had a genetic structure much like a human, but its internal organs worked very differently, if they could be classified as internal organs at all. It was able to withstand temperatures that would incinerate a normal man, but it had a weakness to extreme cold. It practiced a form of telepathy and gave itself a voice it felt was soothing and fit for itself. It wasn't truly male or female, but its body moved better in a female form as it was slender and able to move through obstacles with less resistance. The "face laser", as Tony had dubbed it, was still unexplainable, but could explain the reasoning behind why it was impervious to fire. It sounded like a Frankenstein monster some galactic psycho scientist had pieced together.
"Have you shown this to Fury?" Bruce asked, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"No, but I sort of assumed you would send it to him after I leave. Probably better if I'm not the one to bring this up with the big guy."
"Tony, you can't make me your messenger. I have no way of explaining to him how I got a hold of this and he's going to want a damn good explanation."
The billionaire looked at his watch and started backing out of the room, "Oh, will you look at the time! I've got to run. You know, company to manage and all that fun, fun stuff."
Tony bolted out of the room before another word could be said.
Loki continued to show up at Tony's tower, always appearing on the balcony, though always at varying intervals. Jarvis would let him in and he would wait by the bar until the billionaire was able to get upstairs. They would talk; always start off with the most trivial things, such as how their days were and if one had news for the other about this creature they were both facing.
Somehow, they slowly started to learn each other's likes and dislikes. They spoke of magic and science and the greater universe. Loki would indulge Tony and explain about the different realms, but also would go further, speaking of the galaxies far beyond and into infinity, his words lighting up the inventor's imagination.
It became a constant with them.
And Tony didn't know what to make of it, but as he sat next to Loki, watching the god talk animatedly about a trick he had pulled long ago in Asgard, he felt an emotion working itself into a tight knot in the pit of his stomach.
"Loki?" Tony said, placing his hand on the trickster's arm to get his attention.
As Loki turned, Tony leaned in and pressed their lips together. He felt the god stiffen in surprise before slowly relaxing into the kiss. The billionaire swiped his tongue over the god's lips and moaned when he was granted entrance. Loki's tongue was warm against his own as they both gently fought for control. He pulled the trickster closer and ran a hand through locks of raven hair.
Then the god was pulling away, hands on Tony's shoulders, his expression questioning, "What's this?"
"I thought that was obvious?" the inventor stated as he moved his hand down to the hem of Loki's shirt.
"I thought this was confusing for you."
"Not anymore. And, well, I never did pay you back for that information," Tony said, moving his hands under the trickster's shirt. His fingers skimmed up Loki's body. When he placed his palms against the god's chest, he felt Loki flinch. He stopped, "Are you okay?"
Loki winced, but he was smiling, "I'm fine. Just, still, not fully recovered."
"Still? Why didn't you tell me? It's been like a month."
"There wasn't a need to. Besides, I'm alright. I've just been overexerting myself."
"And how, exactly, have you be-"
The god pulled Tony into a scorching kiss and the billionaire found he was unable to think of the right words or actions to protest. Finger scrambled at clothing, each article pulled off in a flurry of movement and deliberate touches of fingertips against skin.
They moved with one another, perfectly timed, and Tony had to pause for a moment, in the middle of it all, to contemplate how right and incredibly normal it all felt. Then their lips were meeting, over and over, hands dancing over skin and touching, searching for all the right places to caress. Their voices rang out, pleasure filled and loud as they pressed against one another, bodies slick with sweat.
If, for a moment, Tony thought that they shouldn't be doing what they were doing, he had no time to dwell on it. Loki's voice would wash over him and that mouth, that wonderful mouth, would cover his and all thought fled from his mind.
Tony woke to find Loki tangled in the sheets and he couldn't help but smile. He shifted and the trickster stirred. Loki rose, just the slightest bit from the bed, his face barely leaving his pillow as he pushed his hair out of his face.
"Hi," Tony said.
The god made a satisfied sound as he smiled and laid his head back on the bed, "More sleep."
The billionaire gave a soft laugh, running a hand through Loki's hair, gently playing with the long locks and minding the tangles as he thought over the previous night, "You stayed."
"Should I not have?" Loki asked, without moving from his position.
"I didn't say that," Tony answered. He was silent for a long moment before he poked the trickster's side, causing Loki to open his eyes.
"What?" the god asked, shifting so he could look up at the billionaire.
"How do you feel about a shower?" Tony asked, a devious grin spreading across his features and spreading wider when he realized Loki was wearing the exact same expression as the question clicked in the god's mind.
Then they were scrambling out of bed, racing for the bathroom and laughing in a way they had both thought they had forgotten.
They didn't know what to make of their new predicament, but neither could deny that it felt good.
Tony snapped out of his daydream when Pepper whacked him upside the head with a thick folder, glaring daggers at him.
"Do I have your attention now?" she asked, plopping the folder down before him, "All I need are a couple of signatures and you can go back to what you were doing."
"Sorry, sorry," the billionaire said, rubbing the back of his head as he looked down at the papers, none of the words interesting him, "I was just… zoning out."
"I'll say," Pepper rolled her eyes and shoved a pen into his hand.
Tony scrawled his name on the papers, trusting that Pepper wouldn't let him sign anything he didn't need to. As he pushed the file away, his phone started to ring, blaring Black Sabbath's "Iron Man". He quickly retrieved it.
"You have to get out here right now!" Steve's voice was already in his ear before he could fully bring the phone up to speak into it, "That thing is wreaking havoc again. Lock in on our location and move!"
The line went dead and Tony stared at his phone intently before carefully setting it down. He gave Pepper the best apologetic look he could muster, "Gotta go."
Iron Man wasn't quite sure how he got himself into the situations he did. Many would probably say that he's just a magnet for trouble. The creature was advancing toward him at a steady run. As it made to charge him, possibly crush him into the sidewalk, he took to the air, rocketing away as fast as possible. He thought it was the most logical idea, until the thing jumped and missed him by mere centimeters.
"I'm starting to think all of you are trying to make me face this thing on purpose," Tony said through the com-link as he flew through the air, meeting up with Hawkeye on one of the rooftops.
"You're just dumb enough to fly headlong towards it, not really our fault," Clint said, loading an arrow and aiming at the monster. He had been shooting it from the beginning, but nothing was phasing it. He figured there had to be a weak point and had spent the past five minutes trying to pinpoint whether or not there was a soft spot he could aim for, "Besides, you think you'd learn after last time."
"That was almost a month ago, do you really expect me to remember?" Tony asked, trying to get a zoom on the thing now that he was further away. It was unleashing its laser on the evacuated buildings, looking like it was throwing a temper tantrum, "This might be more helpful if Thor was here. He'd just crush the thing with his hammer."
"Not likely he'd come, the guy's still back in Asgard attending to kingly duties," the archer stated as he loaded another arrow and pulled back the string of his bow, steadying his hand. As he readied himself to let the arrow fly, there was a bright flash of green.
The creature shrieked and writhe where it stood, falling to the ground and flailing its limbs.
"No!" the things female voice was screaming, ringing out so loud, it made Clint and Tony wince, "You cannot do this to me! No!"
"It is not your place to be here!" Loki stepped out from behind a veil of smoke and struck the creature with his staff.
It shrank away from the god, all the while howling in pain. Tony watched, fascinated, and all the while thinking, Yeah, I'm totally tapping that.
Loki moved with absolute purpose, striking at the exact right moments. But then, as he raised his hand to deliver the final blow, nothing happened. Loki's brow furrowed in confusion for a moment and he tried again. The spell that came forth was strong, but only stunned the creature. He tried once more, and again, nothing.
Seeing its window of opportunity, the creature disappeared, leaving Loki standing in the streets below, looking utterly perplexed. The god looked to the rooftops and his gaze met the twin stares of Iron Man and Hawkeye before he disappeared as well.
"What happened out there today?" Tony asked when Loki finally showed up on the balcony. He had already been waiting for close to an hour, not that he would openly admit it.
"I'm not sure," the trickster stated, running a hand through his hair. He still looked puzzled, "It felt like something suddenly started sapping my magic."
"Like someone's trying to drain it from you?" the billionaire asked, concerned.
"Yes. No. I do not know," Loki stuttered, leaning against the railing.
"Hey, are you okay?" The god didn't answer, instead he stood there, arms crossed, looking out at the city. Tony wrapped his arms around the taller man's waist and pulled him close, pressing the trickster's back against his chest. He felt the god slowly relaxing, "You gonna be okay?"
Tony felt Loki's hand on his own as the god spoke, "You said once before you wanted to know why my eyes were blue when we first met."
"I have a theory," the inventor said, hugging the trickster a little tighter.
"And what is that theory?"
"You weren't in complete control of yourself?"
A soft laugh, "As I said before, you are very perceptive."
"I'd like to think I'm more than that. I'd say I'm witty, charming, extraordinary smart, and also exceptionally handsome."
"Your ego is far too inflated."
They were quiet for a long moment, listening to the sounds of the city below.
"If I ask you a question, will you answer honestly?" Tony asked.
"Depends on the question," Loki answered.
"Why did you go so crazy?" the trickster stiffened for a moment in the billionaires arms and he thought that perhaps that wasn't the most tactful way of putting it.
Loki took a deep, shuddering breath, "Everything I knew about my life was a lie. I tried to prove myself worthy and I failed. I fell, willingly, into an abyss that ended up holding nothing by pain and terror for me. When the power of the Tesseract touched me, it warped my memories, my perception. I was held by it for so long, that I believed what it had twisted to be true." His hold on Tony's hands tightened, his voice hitching for just a moment, "I was not in control of myself, but neither was I out of control."
"Do you regret what you did?"
"Yes and no." No further explanation was offered.
Tony thought for a moment before turning Loki to face him. The god's face was unreadable, but his eyes gleamed in the darkness. The billionaire placed a warm hand on the trickster's cheek and Loki leaned into it, closing his eyes and tilting his head forward.
"Do you hate me?" Loki asked, eyes still closed, his voice so soft the words were nearly carried away with the wind.
"No," Tony answered, "Can't really hate you that much if I'm sleeping with you."
Green eyes met brown and the trickster smiled, laughing softly, "Thank you."
They kissed, just a gentle of dance of their lips against one another, as they embraced.
They kissed and nothing else in the world seemed to matter.
They kissed and everything around them faded away.
The creature disappeared for three months.
No one knew what to make of it, except that it was incredibly suspicious.
So they waited.
Each day, the threat of it seemed to fade further and further away.
"I want to tell you something."
Tony looked up from the new building plans he had been going over. In the past month, he had gotten so used to the god showing up that he finally allowed him to walk freely through the tower, their boundaries slowly disappearing as the days, weeks, and months slipped by. He slid away his laptop and smiled at Loki, "What is it?"
The trickster stood in the doorway of the lab, wringing his hands together and biting his lip. He looked hesitant to speak and at the same time, looked as if the words were just going to burst out of him. He looked so uncertain, that the billionaire rose from his place at the work bench.
"Hey, is everything okay?" Tony asked, placing a hand on Loki's arm.
The god smiled, placing his hand over the inventor's, "Yes. I just-"
Tony jumped when his phone rang. He looked over at the screen where the video feed was pulling up, flashing the words: INCOMING CALL. He frowned, "Jarvis, who's calling?"
"Director Fury. I believe they have spotted the creature once more."
The billionaire sighed, smiling at Loki apologetically, "Mind if we pick this up later?"
"No," the trickster shook his head, that anxious look eased a little at those words, "Be careful out there."
"When am I not?"
Tony was never good at keeping himself out of trouble.
Either that or the creature really had a thing for him, as the moment it spotted him, it lurched forward into a full run. Iron Man found himself dodging the enemy's advances, propelling himself into the air, and performing all sorts of acrobatic moves he wasn't even of aware of until that moment. And though he was fast, the creature caught him by the ankle and yanked him out of the air, smashing him into the ground. It released an electrical charge that made everything in his suit flare up and go haywire.
"Holy hell," Tony breathed as the creature stepped on his chest. He could feel the breastplate on the suit buckling under the pressure, "Little help?"
"Nothing's penetrating this thing's defenses," Steve's voice was in his ear.
He saw flashes of things from his vantage point on the ground. Arrows splintered. A red, white, and blue shield came whirling in from the left, but it was deflected with just a flick of the creature's wrist. Bullets became nothing more than ash as they sped toward the creature. Nothing was touching the monster and Tony was pinned beneath it, feeling just a little too helpless for his liking.
"They're bringing in the Hulk," Hawkeye said, "But they're at least a few more minutes out."
"I don't know why I keep saying this, but I'm not sure we have a few more minutes!" Tony exclaimed, feeling a very noticeable, sharp dent pushing into his chest. Shit!
There was a flash of light and the creature faltered as its weight lifted from Iron Man's chest. It cried out, a terrible shrill sound as it stumbled. But as suddenly as it had been struck, it rose to its full height looking for the source of the attack.
"Looks like Loki's on the loose again," Agent Barton said, his voice tense.
"He's attacking it, not us," Natasha observed.
Thank god, someone finally noticed, Tony thought as he shifted, trying to get himself up. His suit moved awkwardly, sluggish. Yet, from his position, he could see Loki approaching, suited up in battle armor, cape flying in the wind. The billionaire actually felt his breath catch in his throat at the sight.
"I thought I was very clear the last time we met," Loki sneered, glaring daggers at the creature as he raised his staff, firing off three rapid shots that caught the creature in the chest.
The monster fell back, supporting itself with its long arms, but did not waver as it did before. It stood straight and that horrible grin spread across its face, thick, viscous liquid dripping.
"Where is your power?" its voice hissed as it stepped forward, approaching the trickster.
Loki raised his hand and shot forth a spray of ice, sharp as daggers. The creature doubled over, arms clutching its middle, but it didn't scream. It didn't cry and wail. Instead it laughed, its voice becoming louder and louder as it rose once more, barely scathed.
This is really bad, Tony thought as he looked over at the trickster, unable to read the god's expression.
The creature bounded forward and its hand caught Loki by the neck, lifting the trickster off his feet. Tony felt his heart leap into his throat.
"Where, oh, where has it gone?" the creature hissed, pressing its face against the gods as it laughed. Its free hand hovered over the length of the trickster's body. Then, it made a sound of surprise, "Oh my! What have we here?"
Fear flashed in Loki's eyes as he struggled against the creature's grasp, but it tightened its hold against his neck. Then the trickster's armor was flickering, fading away to reveal Midgardian clothes.
"What's happening down there?" Steve asked, concern etching each word.
"I have no idea," Hawkeye answered, his tone hard, but Tony could hear the tremor in his voice.
"How precious," the creature's female voice cooed as its free hand wrapped around Loki's abdomen, fingers pressing into the trickster's flesh, slowly sliding in. The god cried out and grabbed at the thing's wrist to pull it away – out – of him, but it refused to budge. It giggled, child-like and terrible, "This is what is taking all of that powerful magic? This parasite?"
Tony pushed himself to his feet, the weight of the suit heavy as his systems slowly started to come back online. He glowered, watching the scene unfold, taking in the creature's words. He felt his hands tremble as the words tumbled out of his mouth, "What do you mean by that?"
"He does not know," the thing breathed, laughing again, a manic sound. The grin on its face was a gash, bleeding black, "Then, I suppose, he will not miss it."
Tony watched as Loki's blood flowed from the wounds the monster's fingers were creating where they dug into the god's flesh. He watched as Loki screamed when the creature shifted its hand and viciously pulled itself free from the trickster's abdomen. He felt as if his heart had stopped when the thing let go and Loki's body hit the pavement, unmoving, blood pooling all around him.
Without thinking, Iron Man launched himself at the creature, firing all weapons in a blind fury. But nothing he did damaged the thing. It aimed one strong swing and its fist caught Tony square in the chest, sending him flying into the streets, smashing into concrete and steel. The blow should have brought any man down. It should have put him out of commission.
But he was Iron Man. He had more in him.
He was also pissed.
He propelled himself toward it again, ignoring the terrible ache all over, doing all he could to land his weapons against the monster. It swung at him once more, this time, catching him in the face. This time, he couldn't will himself to get up as the world started to blur around the edges.
"Pathetic," he heard the thing's voice hiss as it approached.
Then the deafening sound of thunder shook the air and it felt as if the entire world vibrated.
Tony saw a streak of red crashing down into the asphalt before everything went dark.
He stood in the corner of the interrogation room, glaring at the Thunder God who stood opposite of him. They had been taken to SHIELD headquarters and he had been hauled into their interrogation room after seeing his crazy stunt, his stupid flight after seeing Loki bloodied on the pavement.
"Where the fuck were you?" Tony could hardly keep the anger out of his voice when he finally spoke. At least, Thor had the decency to look guilt ridden and ashamed, but that wasn't enough. The billionaire was out of his torn armor, but he couldn't bring himself to care as he got into the god's face, his voice rising as he asked again, "Where the fuck were you?!"
Thor stepped back, his hands up, "You must let me explain."
"There's nothing to explain. You were too damn caught up in your affairs to think about little old Earth."
"That is not true and you know this well, Man of Iron."
"Then what's the truth of it, your majesty?" Tony couldn't keep the sarcasm from his tone. He was sure the god would strike him, but all he received was a defeated look.
"While I have been attending to my duties, I have also been inquiring about this creature that you have been plagued with," Thor explained, his entire demeanor suddenly tired, "As for Loki… My brother is apt at cloaking himself. If he does not want to be found, he will not be."
"That's no excuse for-"
"I am not done," the god stated with a sigh, "Recently, Heimdall was able to catch flickers of my brother, here and there. He would appear and then disappear."
That gave Tony pause, "What does that mean?"
"He couldn't keep himself cloaked, something was impairing his magic."
Thor ran a hand through his hair, looking as if the words he spoke were hard to force out, "Did he not tell you?"
"Tell me what?" Tony was starting to feel like a parrot, repeating back the words spoken to him.
"The only time this has happened to Loki has been…" the god trailed off, biting his lip and looking hesitant. His eyes met Tony's and they were filled with turmoil, "The last time this happened was when he was with child."
And suddenly the conversation in the lab slowly started to make sense. The way that Loki acted. The hesitation in the trickster's voice. The absolute uncertainty that was etched into the raven haired god's features.
"Oh no," Tony breathed as the creature's words and actions clicked in his mind. He leaned back against the wall and sank down into a crouch, face in his hands, feeling as if his heart would seize up in his chest.
This is what is taking all of that powerful magic?
His breath caught in his throat remembering the look of fear in Loki's eyes.
He does not know.
He clenched his hands into fists as he remembered the carnage, the blood pooling around the trickster's lifeless form.
He does not know.
He relaxed his hands, trying to remember how to breathe properly.
He does not know.
He clenched his hands, knuckles turning white.
Then, I suppose, he will not miss it.
Though Loki had been placed in a private room in the medical bay, SHIELD had taken the precaution of strapping him down with leather restrains, thick black straps binding his hands and feet to the bed.
Bastards, Tony thought as he stepped closer, taking in the sight before him. Loki was a god and, yet, lying there, he looked so human, so fragile. The billionaire picked up the chart at the end of the bed and started to read through the jumbled writing. So much of it was just filler, big words for small things. Tony closed his eyes, trying to force away the images the words on the clipboard brought to mind. They had to sew him back together after they put his entrails back inside his body, he felt like he was going to vomit.
There was also a small notation in the margin of the chart, as if the person who had been overlooking the case didn't know where to put it. (Pregnancy?) Just seeing the word caused anger and hurt to flare up inside of him, but he knew that at that moment there was nothing he could do.
He replaced the chart as he rubbed a hand over his face, finally feeling the utter exhaustion that was running through his body. Yet, as tired as he was, he knew he wouldn't be able to leave. Nothing would be able to make him leave.
With quick fingers, he unclasped the restraints on Loki's wrists and ankles before pulling up a chair to the side of the bed. They should know better, Tony thought as he pulled the chair closer and settled down into it, taking hold of Loki's hand.
Tony woke with a start when he felt Loki's hand tighten. He looked up from his position by the bed, neck and back aching terribly from his time in the uncomfortable wooden chair that had little to no padding. He glanced at the clock, noting how many hours he had spent there, hardly even moving. Almost three days.
Fury had tried to move him, stating that he needed to be questioned. His teammates had come and gone, each in turn berating him or staring at him in disbelief. They even managed to get Pepper into the room. But all of their words just flowed over him, hardly even touching him. They even sent in a couple of goons, rookies who thought they were big shit, to try and drag him from the room by force. They angered him so much that he lashed out. One of them left with a broken nose and the other had to crawl out after Tony dealt a low blow.
Thor had been the only one out of all of them to respect his wishes and leave him alone. Though, that didn't stop the thunder god from standing in the corner of the room for nearly half a day, just watching and saying nothing, sometimes huffing and whispering under his breath while he shifted from one foot to another.
But none of that nonsense mattered anymore. The trickster was stirring, slowly coming out of his comatose, possibly drug induced, state. Nothing could pull Tony from that moment as green eyes opened, unfocused and dazed.
The billionaire pushed out of his chair, grasping Loki's hand ever tighter, "Hey."
The god glanced at him, confusion etched across his features. Then slowly, recognition made itself present. Loki weakly pushed at the covers with his free hand, his movements desperate. The cloth moved further down and Tony couldn't think of what to do except stare, knowing that realization was about to hit.
"Loki," the billionaire started; his voice raspy from disuse.
The god was feeling his abdomen, hand moving over the injured area, wincing when his fingers prodded tender flesh.
"Loki," Tony tried again, but found that the words caught in his throat when he saw the tears that were forming in the trickster's eyes.
"It's gone," Loki breathed, voice so soft it was barely audible. Then those eyes, filled with sadness and guilt were on Tony. A terrible, bitter laugh escaped his lips as tears started to trail their way down his face, "He's gone."
And Tony didn't know what to do as he stood there, watching the trickster fall apart before his eyes. He didn't know what to say as he leaned in and tried to wipe the tears from Loki's eyes. He couldn't think of the right words because he had never been in a situation like this and he damned his inability to do anything. He could buy anything, make anything, but this wasn't something he could fix.
"He's gone, he's gone," Loki said over and over, "He's gone."
And there was nothing Tony could do.
Loki wouldn't eat. He wouldn't drink. He barely talked and he refused to leave his bed, choosing to either lie staring up at the ceiling for hours on end or curling up into a ball, sometimes quietly crying, sometimes whispering secret words to himself, sometimes completely silent, until he fell asleep once more.
Tony would spend hours by Loki's bedside, not knowing what to do, just holding the god's hand and speaking soft words about everything and nothing. Occasionally, the trickster would look his way. Then pain would flick across those pale features and the silence would continue to stretch.
It felt as if the silence would stretch on and on, forever.
"All my children were taken from me," Loki said, one day, startling Tony so much the billionaire leap out of his seat.
"Loki," Tony breathed, feeling those eyes on him. Those eyes which have recently been so filled with sadness.
"I shouldn't have expected anything to change this time around," the god continued, his hands pressed firmly to his covered abdomen, fingers clenching the sheets, "What made me believe that I would deserve anything but misery?"
"You do not deserve misery," the billionaire stated, daring to sit on Loki's bed, finally after weeks of just sitting idly by and doing nothing.
"I don't deserve happiness," the trickster countered.
Then Tony was grabbing Loki's hands, gripping them in his own so tightly the god nearly pulled away. But the billionaire kept his hold, knowing that if Loki wanted to, the god would have pulled free already.
"Listen to me," Tony breathed, leaning in and placing his forehead against Loki's, feeling that wonderful cool skin against his own, "You did not deserve what happened and it wasn't your fault. You can never believe that what happened was meant to be."
"Why not?" the trickster asked, voice shaky.
Tony moved his hands up and placed his palms against Loki's cheeks, holding the god's face, thumbs already swiping away the tears slowly falling from the trickster's eyes, "Because you're a god."
"And yet I couldn't stop what happened."
"That doesn't matter. You're stronger than that."
"What if I'm not?"
Then Loki was crying and sobbing in earnest, the first time he ever let his true despair show as he pulled Tony down to him, clinging on as if for dear life. And Tony held on just as tightly, wrapping his arms around the trickster's thin frame, as if he could keep this god – his lover – from completely shattering before his eyes.
The next time Tony went to visit Loki, the god had disappeared. Though the rest of SHIELD was in a panic, he simply felt a sense of relief.
He'll be alright, he thought as he walked through the halls of headquarters. He smiled to himself, knowing Fury would come down hard on him now, but he didn't care.
Nine days, five hours, seven minutes and twelve seconds.
Tony tried to convince himself he wasn't counting the how long it had been since Loki disappeared, but that obviously wasn't working out.
Loki reappeared approximately two weeks after he disappeared from the med bay, standing on Tony's balcony, looking better, yet still very much weary. That devastated, haunted look hadn't yet left his eyes, but Tony could see life, fire, want in those green depths once more.
"I was almost afraid you'd left," the billionaire said after he had opened the large glass doors to allow the god in. He watched as Loki entered, feeling a very noticeable strain in the air as they looked at one another, "Are you okay?"
"I will manage," the trickster answered, his eyes fixed on the floor.
Tony took a step forward and Loki quickly took one step back. The billionaire gave the god a questioning look.
"We should stop this," Loki said, finally looking up and meeting Tony's eyes.
"Why?" the billionaire asked, already feeling a terrible sense of dread coiling in the pit of his stomach.
"This should have never started. I was wrong to have approached you."
"That's not an answer."
"That is all you will get."
"No," Tony's voice was low, tone warning as he felt that dread in his stomach unfurl and turn to anger, red hot and threatening to boil over, "No, we are not doing this. Not now. You don't get to just call it off for no good reason after disappearing for two weeks."
"Did you really count the days?" Loki asked, a sad smile upon his features.
"Down to the very last second."
"And you believe, that just because you say no, that you refuse, I will somehow stay and… and what? Learn to live with what we lost?" the trickster's eyes grew damp, tears threatening to spill. And it was then that Tony knew, knew that as much as Loki wanted to pretend to be alright, he was still a wreak, "What do you expect to come from this?"
"I don't know," the billionaire answered, daring to step closer, slowly moving inch by inch, pressing on until he was so close he could smell the sharp scent of magic he had grown so accustomed to. Instinctively, he placed a hand on the back of Loki's neck and pulled him closer, pressing their foreheads together, "But I'd like you to stay. And please don't make me beg cause that's just not something I can do."
Loki made a sound that could have been a laugh, his warm breath ghosting over Tony's face as he spoke, "I never asked you to beg."
"Then, why do you want this to end?"
There was a long silence and Tony watched as Loki's throat worked to get the words out, lips opening and then closing, all movements pausing for the longest moment until he finally breathed, "Because it hurts too much to be reminded."
Tony could feel his insides twist at those words, "I can give you time, if that's what you need."
"You're so insistent and yet… we're not really anything to each other."
"Are we something?" Loki asked, hands gripping Tony's shoulders, long fingers gripping the fabric of the billionaire's shirt tight.
"I don't know," Tony answered, one hand cupping the trickster's cheek, trying to get those eyes to meet with his, "But I do know that I care about you, as crazy as that is."
"You're not living up to your billionaire playboy status."
"Who said I had to?"
Then Loki's lips were on his, needy and desperate, and those long, lithe fingers were in his hair and pulling him closer, closer until he found himself getting lightheaded. And yet, he refused to push away, to pull back, do anything to ruin the moment, because Loki needed him and that was all that mattered.
"So, what happens now?" Tony asked, his fingers tangled in Loki's long black hair.
"From what I can tell, Thor was able to inflict substantial damage to the creature before it fled," Loki said, pressing his face closer to the billionaire's chest, his pale features bathed in the arc reactor's glow, "I tried to gather more information while I was away. It seems that it has gone into hiding, though I know not where."
Tony could see the line of Loki's jaw tighten and he traced his fingers across that line, smoothing the harshness from the trickster's face. He leaned in and kissed the god's hairline, "So, what happens now?"
"I do not know."
"It's okay," Tony breathed, taking in the scent of the being in his arms, the smell of snow, of ozone, of the moment before the storm, of magic and electric sparks, "We'll figure it out."
"We'll figure it out," Loki echoed.
Note: And that is the end of the story, for now. This is a small part of a larger series that I will be (hopefully) working on. This took forever to write and even as I contemplated breaking it down into smaller chapters, I knew I couldn't.
I do sincerely apologize if the characters seemed a little OOC. I know Tony feels a little OOC, but as much as I willed myself to write him as this snarky, quick witted person who couldn't give less of a shit, he turned out to be someone completely different when in Loki's presence. I have no idea how that happened, but that was the way it flowed.
All that has happened here is a prelude to what their relationship is. This story has moments, flickers of time that they have spent together, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they have had a lot of time together to really delve deeper into what's happening between them. They have a few things hanging over their heads, but for now, they're still kind of just happy to have found someone who they can be with, whether or not they understand it, but this does not at all touch on the imperfections this relationship is bound to have, which is what I want to touch base on in later stories.
Thank you for reading. I hope you have all enjoyed this story. Reviews and feedback are very much appreciated.