I still own nothing :(
Loki schooled his expression back to his unfeeling mask and went back to looking at his hands. Hands that were now clenched into fists so tight that the knuckles were going white. Toni was surprised that she could not see blood escaping from the grip, surely his nails must be biting into his skin.
He smiled lazily, the expression contrasting heavily with his tense body and turned away from her to return to his bench. Eyes fixed on his hands.
She stood and waited. Patience had never been one of her strong suits but she bit her tongue and fought back the desire to fill the silence. She filled her lab with music when she was working, and even if there wasn't music playing there would be the sound of her welding metal or JARVIS would always be there to talk to. And if all else had been muted Pip would be there to fill the silence with his Nanny nagging.
She kept her eyes fixed on the dark bowed head and tried to keep herself occupied.
When all this crap had blown over she was going to treat herself to something. That is if it did all blow over and the whole human race didn't become servants of darkness or whatever Loki was aiming for with the bid for world domination thing he was trying his hand at.
Maybe a movie marathon with a ton of all-things-bad-for-her junk food. That sounded really good right now. Just the chance to switch off her mind and watch something where the welfare of the planet was on someone else's shoulders for a few hours, sounded beyond amazing.
Maybe Transformers, after all she felt a bit of a connection to the giant machines and Optimus Prime was one sexy bit of hardware. If he was real that is. But hey, she was in the same room as a Norse god so anything was possible. She lived in hope of Cybertron being out there somewhere waiting to be discovered.
The silence continued and Toni finally felt herself beginning to fray around the edges.
It looking like in the silence war Loki was going to be the victor for this round.
"I would totally win a staring contest though," she grumbled to herself.
This got the gods attention and she inwardly crowed in delight when his head lifted and he frowned at her.
She would annoy him into talking to her.
She looked into his face, still covered in a thin sheen of sweat, his face pale.
Like her previous visit his condition struck her as wrong somehow, he was nothing like the glowing Thor she had talked with…wait?
Just why was he sweating?
Maybe his frost-giantey-ness was the cause of it? After all, he must run at a lower temperature than everyone else. But he had been living on another world his entire life and he had been fine – well, she assumed he had been fine or he would have found out about his adopted status long before now. Besides he was in the bowels of the helicarrier and it wasn't exactly Hawaii down here, she was starting to have problems feeling her toes as it was and flexed them inside the thin shoes.
Phew, they were still there.
She looked into his eyes and ice glittered back at her from the depths.
Ice so blue…
Toni blinked and only just stopped herself from shaking the fog from her mind.
Stick to the plan, Stark!
"You see," she forced cheeriness into her tone aiming for the most annoying chirpiness she could muster, anything to get him to finally talk "the way I see it, your brother must be annoying you somehow. There is quite a bit of bottled up – and not quite so bottled up by the way, you might want to work on that – animosity between the two of you,"
The ice continued to bear into her soul and her chest began to tighten.
She wanted out of here but not before she got what she had come for damn it!
"He's a nice guy your brother, I had a little talk with him today," she aimed for a thoughtless 'oh look it's raining tone' but the strain she was feeling escaped through her voice and it came out a bit more desperate than she had intended.
Wait, was that a flicker she saw there?
Thor, talk Thor, she coached herself.
She thought back to the animated conversation she had with the Thunder God and how much his obvious affection for the Loki of the past had shone through.
"He loves you, you know. He had quite a lot of things to say about you. Told me all about your adventures, how you rescued him time and time again with your magic,"
The silence was still there but the alien god behind the glass slowly stood up and came towards her again, pacing steadily, fluidly like a jungle cat.
"I can't understand why you would turn against him like you did, I mean, dude, you tried to kill him," Toni liked to think she was an open minded individual but even she knew trying to kill your brother could be viewed as a hostile move no matter how you looked at it.
His steps continued, his eyes…so blue, never leaving her.
"Why? Did you finally get fed up of pulling him out of scrape after scrape and never being appreciated for you hard work? Jealous that the idiot brother, the golden child was to be king and you were always going to be second best-"
"You know nothing,"
He had reached the glass and his fists slammed into the wall in his anger. His face was twisted in rage. She looked into his face, she could see the sweat glistening on his pale skin, beading above his snarling lips. She allowed her eyes to drift higher.
The ice blue eyes flickered at her, seeming almost green and then blue.
No…blue and then…green.
Blue and green…
There it was.
Things fell into place in Toni's mind like a line of dominoes.
She leaned into the glass until she could see her breath fogging it up and stared into Loki's fixed gaze.
"Fight it," she hissed to the god, hoping against hope that she was right.
The snarl faded from Loki's lips and he frowned in confusion as his eyes continued to flicker.
"Fight it," she snarled, striking her own fists against the glass now.
He backed away several more steps and tensed, looking down at the ground as he gripped at his head.
"Fight it!" she shouted, slamming her hands against the wall once more, willing Loki to shake off whatever had him under its control.
The ice in the alien's eyes was not from the frost giant in his veins… But it begged one more question. If Loki was supposed to be controlling the blue eyed zombies just who was controlling the controller?
She leaned heavily into the glass and craned her head to several angles trying to see into the eyes that were hidden from her but she could see nothing but the dark hair of the bent head.
"Fight it," she whispered into the stillness as his head began to lift.
Her blood froze in her veins and a shiver ran through her at the demonic smile spitting his ash white face.
"I shall enjoy killing you, mortal," he told her, his voice full of malice and promise.
"And yet…" he sighed, almost playfully, "Mortals have known me as the God of Lies for eons, and you, little mortal, you have lies sitting upon you so thick they cross your skin like the scars of a flogging," he was almost hissing at her now, "You hide from others and from yourself," he chuckled, darkly amused about something and Toni clenched her hands into fists to stop them from shaking, "Yes, it would be a shame to kill you. It would seem I have a devout follower in you, little mortal,"
Toni braced herself and looked into his eyes.
She backed away from the glass as Loki threw back his head, chuckling into the silence.
She left the room.
Toni sat at her work station, once against wearing the bracelets and staring blindly at the screen before her and rolling a blueberry between her fingers.
For the first time since leaving Loki she gave herself the time to think over what had happened and played over the events time and again in her mind.
What could she do about what she found out? Should she tell someone what she suspected? Would they believe her? No. The question was would they believe Anthony Stark and even if they did it did not take away from the fact that thanks to some mind voodoo Loki was still the bad guy and the fact that he had a reputation thousands of years in the making didn't get him any points either.
What to do, what to do?
She mindlessly adjusted the setting on the screen when they started to blink at her and popped the blueberry into her mouth.
Her initial reaction as with most things was to talk to Pip but she had been away from the lab for too long and after rushing to her room (ducking through the door after a quick look round to see no one there to witness it)and changing she had returned to help Bruce – with a quick detour to the vending machine at the end of the hallway for a packet of plastic tasting fruit.
As it turned out there wasn't much that needed doing.
The program was still running and had yet to find anything and the sceptre was still sitting where it had been placed, looming ominously from the table.
All was quiet on the tools of destruction front.
She reached for her phone and brought up a private window on the screen. The bug was still doing its thing on the bridge.
Toni sighed and stood, stretching her arms above her head carefully and lowering them to her sides.
Bruce looked up from his own station and peered at her over his glasses.
"Bored?" he queried, smiling in an understanding way.
Toni wished she could say she was bored but unfortunately she was a little too worried about the new aspect of the Loki problem to be bored. Why couldn't he just be a cut-and-dry bad guy?
She shook her head.
"I wish," she mumbled and held out the bag of fruit.
Banner smiled and she took that as a yes.
Toni reached into the bag, plucked out a blueberry and winking.
"Open wide, doc," she threw the berry high and watched as it sailed through the distance between them.
To her surprise Bruce leaned back his head, opened his mouth and caught the fruit effortlessly in his mouth.
"Wow, great catch Doc,"
Aww, he was blushing.
Sparing a glance at the various blinky lights to make sure they were blinking as required Toni continued to throw berries at one of the most intelligent men on the planet and cheer every time he caught one.
"Stark!" the sharp call of her name from the original buzz killer himself almost had her flinching and the blueberry that she had just sent flying hit Bruce in the eye as the new arrival grabbed his attention.
"Sorry," she hissed across the room before turning to the door.
What had she done now?
Toni's mouth dropped open.
He was actually still wearing his super-identity…How was she supposed to take his seriously in that get up when there were no bullets or evil sceptres flying at them? Didn't he realise that being off duty meant the Clark Kent getup went back on?
"Now is not the time for playing around!"
Heaven forbid they do anything 'light' during such a time.
Wait a minute…
For the first time Toni wondered just what Captain Courageous had been up to all this time, because he sure as hell hadn't been collaborating the evil-voodoo-tracker for the past couple of days.
She looked at the self-righteous Boy Scout as Bruce began to mumble about their progress (not that they had actually made any) and wondered just how far he could be trusted. The guy had basically been created by SHIELD after all. So what was he? A glorified lapdog or did he actually think for himself?
Never being one to drag her feet on certain things Toni figured that now was as good a time as any to see just what kind of man her father's hero was.
I am so sorry for the delay in getting this chapter out to you and for the evil cliff hanger. I am having some laptop issues at the moment (spontaneous shut downs/screen black out/freezing) so things will be a bit stilted (well, more than usual *hangs head in shame* until the end of October/beginning of November when I will be able to get a new laptop (hopefully sooner *fingers crossed*). In the meantime every time I switch on the laptop it is a cross fingers and toes and hope for the best job so I am spending quite a lot of time transferring all of my files so I don't lose everything and writing chapters by hand so I can bash them out without messing around and wasting time.
Ok, so that is explanations out of the way.
I really hope you enjoyed this chapter and the Loki revelation. Does anyone else think there was something dodgy about Loki (other than the insane thing) in Avangers. He did not look-i (lol sorry) well at all.
Anyhoo, please let me know what you thought and sorry again for the delay. I shall try and update again in between file copying.
I hope you all had a smashing weekend.