(A/N. I own nothing related to the Avengers franchise. Phoebe Stark is a character of my own creation and she will be joined by others. Please enjoy.)
Loki bent down, held out his hand and smiled, "Come here, little one. I won't hurt you. Come with me and I can show you wonderful things. Beautiful, wonderful things." The girl looked back at him with wide eyes, and shook her head. She was crouched under the table hugging the leg, attempting to hide herself.
"Are you sure, little child? Think about it. Don't you want to know, to experience true freedom?"
She shook her head and clung closer to the table leg.
"She's six, Loki, six years old. To her, true freedom means being able to stay up past eight thirty."
Loki turned around, Tony Stark stood in his Iron Man suit, now battered and falling apart. He looked pathetic and weak in his opinion. Stark's face was exposed, sweaty and full of concern. He was leaning against the wall, unable to support himself on his own.
"You may be right about that Stark," he stood contemplative for a moment, and then grabbed the girl's wrist pulling her closer, and arranged his grip, both her arms were pinioned to her sides, and his staff was held up to her chest. She continued to squirm. He smirked, "But, maybe once she experiences freedom, she'll enjoy it. Who would you be to stop it? You wouldn't be able to do anything. You can't do anything more to stop me. Once she reaches child bearing age, I can show her what true freedom really is. How old is that on Midgard? Fourteen? Fifteen? That's only around ten years, plenty of time to mold her mind beforehand…"
"If you even touch a hair on my daughter's head, I swear…"
Loki smirked, the hand holding Stark's daughter, traveled to her scalp and plucked out a single strand. He then let his fingers slide down through her hair. He even brushed a strand away from her face and tucked it behind her ear. She flinched when he pulled the hair and still squirmed in his grip.
"Stop touching me," she cried as tried to free herself; it was like watching a turtle stuck on its back, "Daddy, a stranger is touching me."
"Quiet yourself, child. And I am no stranger, my name is Loki. I am from Asgard," he said sternly.
"Phoebe, remember what I told you," Stark shouted, almost gleefully.
The girl nodded. And Loki felt a thump against his shin. The girl began to fall but he lifted right back up gripping her under her armpits. Then he let go.
"Do not tell me you thought that would work. Surely, you are smarter than that, Phoebe."
Stark still stood back, "A little higher, Phoebe."
She lifted her leg, but Loki caught her right in time, and swept one arm under her leg and scooped her up, so he was holding her near his shoulder. She was tiny for a six year old, and he was able to hold her in one arm without an issue. He laughed as she fidgeted.
"Now calm down," he said putting on his gentlest voice, "I said I would not hurt you, and I do not want to hurt you. I really do not."
She looked up at him, her eyes filled with fright and confusion, he noted he had the same eyes as her mother who lay dead, in the room next door but she had many features from her father. Did she also have his talents?
"Put her down, Loki, and let's finish this like men."
He couldn't help but smirk, "Okay, Stark," he put the girl down gently, as soon as her feet touched the floor, she scampered off, "What a sweet little girl you've raised. She will grow up to be quite pretty. It is too bad you will not be able to protect her much longer. You are half dead, already. Your team is gone; all that is left is my brother who hides with his son in Asgard. You were wrong that day, Stark, I am on top."
By now, he was right in front of Stark. Loki pulled up his staff and bought it to Stark's chest. Stark looked down and laughed, "Did you finally start taking those pills?"
He stuck the staff into Stark's chest, there was terrible cracking sound, and Stark looked down, his eyes were glazing over., with one quick pull Loki yanked the reactor out of Stark's chest and let him pitch forward to the floor with a crash.
"Good bye," he said. Stark turned to him. Loki could see the life leaving Stark's eyes. Loki bent down and grabbed the crushed piece of metal, "A trophy for myself," he said, "to remember this day by. And do not worry about your daughter. I will be sure to take good care of her."
Loki watched as he lay on the floor, left to die, like he had with the others. They had wriggled on the floor like fish out of water, gasping for life, with darkness fading over them, trying to grasp for that last bit of strength that they would use to drag him down with them. He smirked, and watched Stark's eyes widened in fear as he took on Stark's image from his hair down to his shoes.
"No," Stark whispered.
"Yes, Stark. Don't you think that your little girl will believe anything you tell her, for instance that Daddy and the man were only sparring because he wanted to make sure he could protect her while he goes away? How does that sound? Or would you rather I told her the truth?"
"You bastard," Stark tried rise, but he knelt on Starks chest, so their faces were mere inches apart, "You think you can win?"
"Yes. Now," he said, pulling his knee off Stark's chest, "I need to go see my daughter."
Stark gasped, sucking down air, in funny uneven breathes, for a moment Loki thought, it was because he was having trouble breathing, but he realized that he was crying. He smirked, the others had cried as well, even Agent Romanov, who he had almost began to think could not shed tears. He took a minute to adjust his clothing, and left Stark, humiliated and pathetic, to fade away.
It would be so easy to manipulate the girl, that he knew. She was a child, and probably still believed in the Midgardian tales of the Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy. But of course, she only believed these because of the stories she had been told. She'd probably believe anything her father told her. It would be so much more of a victory for him to get her to go with him willingly. Lies, trickery, deceit, manipulation, deception, just made the whole game so much more interesting.
The door to her room wasn't locked but was rather clumsily barricaded by a chair and a stack of books, he carefully maneuvered his way around them and made his way to the bed.
"Hey, Phoebe, it's me. It's Daddy."
He saw something rustle from under the mound of stuffed animals and blankets on the bed, and then Phoebe's head poked out. It looked like she had been crying, but as soon as she saw him, she broke out into a smile. He sat himself beside her, and let her lay her head on his shoulder. She cuddled into him. He put his arm around her.
"Are you okay, kiddo? Are you hurt?"
"No, I'm fine, Daddy. Did the bad man go away?"
He chuckled and started to ruffle her hair, "It's okay, sweetie. Everything's okay. That wasn't a bad man. That was a friend of Daddy's. You see, Daddy has to go away for awhile and since there is a bad man out there, a real bad man, I wanted to make sure he could protect you. I'm sorry he scared you but I needed to make sure he could fight well because you know f he could beat me then he's really strong," he tousled her hair, "Since he did well, I need you to go with him while Mommy and I go on the trip, do you understand?"
"Why can't I go with you?"
"This is a very important, secret trip. I am sorry. Next time you can come with us. But as for now I need you to be a good girl for Daddy's friend, alright?"
She nodded, "Alright, Daddy. Alright."
"That's my girl. I'll see you when I come home."
She hugged him. The sudden gesture surprised him a little but he returned it and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. She smiled.
"I got to go now. But Daddy's friend is right outside. He will be right in okay?"
"Okay, Daddy. I love you."
"Love you too."
She kept her arms hung around his neck for a few moments and kissed his cheek. She had no idea that he wasn't her father, and it was just a façade. That it was just a glamour and that she'd never see him again and what would be her last memory of her father was just a lie. She'd never know.
"I have to go now."
He kissed the top of her head, stroked her hair and smiled. She smiled. It was almost sad that Stark wasn't here to witness this, her last moments with her father, and that she currently trusted him wholeheartedly. He left the room, and closed the door slowly. He looked down at the floor. Stark had stopped moving. He wasn't sure if he was dead but it didn't matter. If he wasn't dead now, he would be soon.
He undid the glamour, reverting back to his original appearance. He adjusted his clothing, and opened the door. Phoebe was still on her bed, she sat on the edge with her legs hanging off.
She looked at him, her eyes wide and tentative, her body had turned rigid and tense, like prey cornered by a predator. Despite, what "her father" had told her she still seemed nervous, and unsure of whether he was too be trusted. Smart girl.
Without being invited to do so, he sat on the bed beside her. She inched away from him. He inched in a little closer.
"I'm sorry if I scared you, little one. I thought your father told you. I did not realize. Are you alright?"
She nodded. He went to ruffle her hair, to calm her down, but she shrank away from him.
"I'm not going to hurt you, Phoebe. I promise I won't hurt you" he cooed, his voice quiet, gentle, and soothing, "I'm not going to hurt you. Do you understand me?"
"Yes," she whispered, and looked down, avoiding his gaze, staring at her kicking feet. She wasn't wearing shoes, just socks, with purple and white stripes, bunched down around her ankles, "I understand. Daddy told me everything. He told me you were just sparring."
"Yes, we were," he said, "I must have frightened you with my behavior. I did not mean to. I feel first impressions are very important and I am afraid made a very bad first impression. But I also believe in second chances. Will you give me a second chance?"
He held out his hand. The girl looked up, and at his hand, "Okay," and held out her own hand and put it in his, it was small, soft and cold. He bought it close to himself and kissed it lightly. Her cheeks turned bright red, she broke out into a gap toothed smile, and giggled.
"Where I am from," he said, "that is the proper way to greet a lady. My name is Loki."
"I'm Phoebe," she said, her voice still giggly, like any other woman, a few words, a kind smile, and the traditional hand-kiss, it was enough for her to trust him, it was even easier with children. Short memories, and moldable minds, he'd be able to convince her of anything in just a few short days. He smiled to himself. Even if he had only one or two of the children, it would be a victory for him.
"It is nice to meet you, Phoebe."
She smiled, and looked down shyly. How fast a child can change their opinions on a person, he thought. Not a half hour ago, she had hidden away from him frightened, now she trusted him maybe not fully, not yet, at least. So naïve…with a near blank slate for a mind, he could do whatever he wished with it. The girl yawned, and began to rub at her eyes.
"Are you tired, little one?"
She nodded, and he smiled, "Well, then we should be on our way. You can go to sleep when we get home."
He went and ruffled her hair, then tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear, her hair was thick, tangled and seemed to fall into her face as though it were attracted by a magnet. He picked up the blanket she had half draped around her legs. It was a slightly raggedy thing with faded
"It's chilly out," he whispered, "I would hate for you to fall ill."
He lifted her up, as though by instinct, she wrapped her arms around him, clinging like a baby monkey. So easy, he thought as she leaned her head on to his shoulder, simple, he thought, as her breaths became more rhythmic. Yes, it was so easy. And now he had a prize, a trophy to keep as a memento of his glorious victory, one to do with whatever he pleased. He grinned.
"Sleep well, little one," he whispered, into her ear, "Sleep well."
(Stay tuned. Chapter 2 is on its way. Reviews and criticisms welcome.)