.


.

Tony remains utterly still, sitting in increasingly chilling water and holding his knees to his chest with his arms.

Loki, alternatively, doesn't stop moving. He glances around the bathroom, digs his fingers into his legs, scoffs at himself and jerks his head to each side before finally landing on Tony again, narrowing his eyes until he eventually gives up with whatever internal battle he's been so obviously having and sighs, "Are you going to ask?"

Tony's heart pounds but other than that, he surprisingly feels quite calm, "Not - entirely sure which question I want to ask first ... really." Loki's fingers clench harder into his legs; he's going to leave a bruise there at least. Why is - ? Okay. So maybe he does have a question first in line, "Why are you talking about this? If you clearly don't want to?"

"Cathartism."

Okay then. Tony shifts in the water, his limbs slowly beginning to ache from the position he's holding but he refuses to stretch them out just yet, finding some semblance of comfort in making himself as small as possible, "Why did you kill her?" He then blurts out, when nothing else seems to want to force it's way into his mind. "This - this Lilah?"

"Why not?" Is the badly-covered-up attempt at indifference. Tony just looks at him and that seems to be enough. "She wished to die." He sounds almost defensive about it.

"So what are you, resident Omega mercy killer?" The attempt at harsh-humor runs dry and they both fall into silence again. At least until Tony finds that he can't stand it anymore, "Did she - want to die before or after you'd had your way with her?" Loki doesn't answer. Tony scoffs, "Just me then?"

"If you are asking if I lay with her, then yes. I did." These quick, seemingly honest answers are kind of freaking Tony out, more than the topic itself is, "Her ... and at least nineteen others." Which makes Tony 20th in line for the murder train, "Which is where your so-called luck comes about. If you were like the others, you would be dead by now as well."

He kind of figured already. "And why 's that? What makes me so different?"

Loki rotates his jaw, taking in a slow breath through his nose, "... I do not know."

Fine. Tony finally unravels his arms from his legs and stands, wincing when his body protests as frozen water cascades down his calves from where it had built up between them. Casually stepping out of the tub to walk out and past Loki obviously isn't what he'd been expected to do because Loki actually gives a start, leaning back to watch him go; frowning slightly in surprise. Still naked and now soaked all over again, Tony's annoyance at Loki will likely not get him some clean clothes after this, now that his new ones are covered with blood, but. But he's been naked all this time already, and a little discomfort - a lot of discomfort - is necessary if it'll help him work out why he's here in the first place and how to get out.

At least he hopes.

Tony shuts the door after him, cringing when it only slams open again afterward and Loki follows him out, "Where do you think you're going?"

"To write my Will." Short and snappy. Taste your own medicine Loki. "I mean, after all. If I've only got until you figure out what it is about me that you 'don't know' yet, I need to make sure that there's at least something left behind." He's already got a Will, obviously, but the statement is what he really needs to make, and it works. Loki grabs at his arm and spins him back around, glaring in such a similar way to the first time he had - right after Tony had stabbed him. Come on. Spill it. "Unless my time's already up?"

Loki's chest heaves, like he'd ran here from at least two miles away, instead of just five steps out the door. His nostrils flare, fire in his eyes, and Tony's arm begins to warm under his grip from where he must obviously be trying to burn him. Or - restraining from burning him, because it isn't painful. Not yet, anyway.

"You have no time." He then suddenly barks, the words grated and low, forced out from behind clenched teeth, "For reasons you cannot understand, you are safe." He pauses, "From death, at least, if nothing else." The look on his face is all kinds of hesitant, mixing Tony's hate for him into something much more distastefully pitying, and suddenly - he knows.

He just - knows.

Like he always has known. Everything, every moment in this house, every word said or screamed, and every action that's frightened or confused Tony flies through his mind and he really isn't called a genius for nothing.

Loki electrocuting himself - right after almost, but never quite, trying to hurt Tony. Loki's demeanour dramatically changing every time Tony sees him. Loki's outline in the wall down below, burnt into the stone. The fresh blood from the Omegas still left over.

Loki doesn't need blood, doesn't want it. Thor has told them all before about blood magic but if the user is dead, the 'magic' - or whatever it is - isn't as powerful. Loki uses the best and only the best. Blood from the Omegas wouldn't do anything for him. Because it isn't for him.

He remembers their names. Or at least the first Omega he killed. Killing Omegas goes completely against an Alpha's biology, when their sole instinct is to protect, so unless they're truly insane or disturbed, the effect of murdering Omegas would be horrible for them. And remembering their names doesn't fit into the bill of 'truly insane or disturbed'. Loki is - maybe less than severe - insane, but obviously not enough for this to not be effecting him. And it has been, so obviously so that Tony kicks himself internally for not having put two-and-two together.

The wine, the pure alcohol, getting drunk, wallowing around on his own as far away from Tony as he can get almost every single day, sometimes leaving the house to do who-knows-what, but it probably wasn't to hysterically laugh about what he's been doing. He hasn't been acting like a typical serial Omega-killer at all.

His thoughts must show on his face because Loki uncertainly, but slowly, releases him, his face now blank. He turns from anger to questioning but when Tony finally manages to actually say something, it barely comes out as a whisper, "How powerful is it?"

Loki looks at him, "What?"

"The thing that's controlling you? The thing that's got us trapped here?" And just like that, it's like a light's been switched off on Loki's face, pale becoming paler. He steps backward, putting some space between them both, and his hand clasps the one that had been burnt with a jerk of movement; in remembrance. "How powerful is it?"

Straightening, Loki rotates his jaw again with a grim look on his face, "More than should be possible."

.


.

Clint slams his body backward, gasping.

The severe chill of the room that he's now in sinks into his skin, burning him with it's intensity until he's actually crying out. Pain throbs constantly but he bites it back, well adjusted to this sort of torture and if Loki thinks he'll give in after only a few hours, he's got another -

"Fu - " He falls through the floor, not an odd-occurrence in this fucking house apparently - landing hard over a metal table. He's bent over it on his back, gasping, in a position that sends spasms of agony through his spine. Panting and staring up at the ceiling, where there isn't even a hole to show where he'd fallen through, he tries to speak, to taunt Loki into showing himself, but nothing really wants to come out. Swallowing, he tries to roll over instead, which is when he notices that he's lying on another body.

Jerking back, he climbs off of it as slowly and gently as he can, his heart clenching at the sheer disrespect of how the corpse is so horribly laid out here, and with a pang he wonders if it's Tony. Shit. No - it can't be. Don't be.

But once he's standing again, he can tell that it isn't. For one, it's a woman, naked and cut into, long dead but not so compared to how the house had looked before. She must have been here after the fire then. If there even had been a fire.

Thor had said something about Loki being able to change the way the house looks, so maybe these are all tricks of his, to drive them apart and freak them out. Thor and him will be okay with this all. Maybe even Steve and Rhodey, with them both having been in the army, but he wonders how Tony's been faring if he's been seeing all this as well. Not well, is all he can think. Tony may put on a tough act most of the time, but he still feels things a little too strongly.

Dammit.

Wiping his nose, Clint starts at how cold it is to his touch, trying to walk but only managing a slight stagger before he has to stop again. Since that one glimpse before, he hasn't seen Loki at all, but his 'magic', or whatever, is obviously doing the job for him. Clint's wrist is broken, snapped by something he hadn't been able to see in the dark. He's covered in blood, from superficial wounds only, but they still sting horribly and each step brings all the more pain when the grooves cut into his ankles spread each time.

If he could see how it's all happening to him, he could fight back, but -

"Where do you think you are going?"

He freezes. Loki's voice echoes all around him and he turns, spinning around only to find himself facing a wall and nothing else.

"To write my Will." Ghost-like, the words chime through the room, and Clint rushes to the wall, slamming his hands against it, "After all, if I've - "

"Tony?" He punches the wall, the voices fading away. No! "Tony! Tony can you hear me?!" His wrist flares, but he ignores it, his throat becoming raw from how loud he shouts, "Tony!"

Nothing. Gone again. Fuck.

He kicks at the wall, his hands still plastered to it's surface, and he's just about to turn away to find a door or another way out, when that same surface suddenly - gives. He pauses, glancing back, watching with narrowed eyes as the brick turns to sand; engulfing his hands in no time. Too late, he realises that that's bad, and he yanks back but by then the wall is solid again and he's stuck. "Shit - " He pulls harder, biting the inside of his cheeks when his broken wrist protests awfully to the treatment, but before he can even budge it at all, his fingers find a wire within it.

Open, sparking, and when he skims over it just the once, the electricity surges into him.

And he screams.

.


.

One by a library. Two on the road. The rest in various forms of self-defence inside what must have been a pub once.

She counts at least nine. All dead.

Murdered too, by the looks of it, by someone who clearly didn't want to hide that fact at all. Loki. Watching her back as carefully as she can while walking through the 'empty' town, Natasha's keeps a firm grip on her gun with one hand, constantly checking the box that Clint had given her before as well. She isn't exactly sure what it does but by the little trigger on the side, she's pretty sure it's relatively easy to use.

Neither of them have left the house yet, but it hasn't been any more then 10 minutes so she hadn't exactly expected progress. Still. With no reception out here and without hearing anything from any of them any other way, she can't help but worry. And clearly, Loki isn't against murdering those in his way, if -

Oh. What's this?

The small garage that she comes across then has it's two doors wide open and it's interior doesn't exactly leave much to the imagination. She yanks a cloth out from her pocket, usually reserved for a make-shift spanish-windlass, but right now it'll do to keep the smell out by pressing her nose against it.

Torture tools, binds, and blood. Looks like the breedonistic bastards didn't die with their facility. Hefting her gun higher, she steps inside, looking into every corner, every hiding place she can see, before stopping short at the sight of a body. She kneels beside it, checking for a pulse that she knows she won't find, only to then just check how long he's been dead instead.

More than three days, at least, though basic forensic pathology has never really been her strong suit. She stands with a sigh, looking around the room with barely concealed disgust. Why would Loki murder a man with the same ideals as him? Torturing and capturing Omegas. Science and pleasure are obviously different reasons, but still. Unless the man had stepped over his boundaries, or maybe Loki had just been angry that day. Who knows.

The binds that she had first seen when she'd entered the room have been cut through, so whoever had last been captive here had had some help in getting out at least. Good for them. Their blood has dried over the ground as well, so she takes out her scanner from one of her clips, switching it on with a thumb-print touch.

It picks up the blood easily, flashing as it dissects the sample, finally giving her a result of: Blood Type A+ [Anthony Edward Stark MATCH].

Tony's then. But - frowning, she bends, touching the binds with one hand and chewing on her bottom lip. Picking up the smell, she confirms that it definitely is Tony's blood and also his pain that she can sense here, having picked that up way back when she'd been Natalie Rushman and Tony had been dying. So he had been the last captive here. And had gotten help getting out.

Glancing back at the body behind her, her frown deepens. Or maybe not. At least - not help in a way she would want for him. Possibly just Loki taking back what he'd stolen. And his anger could be explained this way as well, if he had killed these Alpha's simply for hurting what he obviously thinks now belongs to him. Clenching her hands into fists, she sighs, before suddenly becoming alert at a light scrape to her left and spinning around to shoot at it quickly.

A woman screams at the sound, jumping out of her hiding place with her hands held high, "Please!" Natasha glares at her, distrustful and angry, "Are - are you police?" She doesn't get an answer but then she doesn't really wait for one either, "You have to help me! Please! You can't let him get me too!"

Holding her gun threateningly, Natasha narrows her eyes, stepping forward, "How many of you are there?"

"What?" The woman flinches at another gunshot and flings her arms around her head, "It's just me! They're all dead, he killed them all! I swear, I swear on my life, it's just me now!"

Still glaring, she refuses to lower her gun, "And who are you?"

"My name's Irene Penfield! I - I used to work around here!" Really. "Are you poli - ?"

Natasha lowers her gun, making her tone very, very clear, "Tell me everything that happened here." Irene staggers back a step, putting a hand to heart in an act of pity, and though she is elderly Natasha doesn't feel any sympathy at all, "And if you lie … I won't be happy."

.


.

"Tell me everything." Loki gives Tony a barely concealed look of disdain, "Starting with why - scratch that - how in the hell it's even controlling you. What happened to 'real power' and all that?"

"It expired." Curt and close-mouthed all over again.

"I can't do anything unless you tell me, you know."

Loki lowers his gaze, chuckling softly, "You think knowing that I am not the master at work here will help you? You are not the only Omega to have known."

Tony blinks, taken-aback, "You said you killed them all sooner than you - "

"And I did. I told the third Omega I captured."

"Why?" But the conversation is apparently over, when his 'captor' decides to walk away, "Loki - "

"I have told you knowing will not help. Does it really matter?" Looking at him over his shoulder, Loki sneers, "It will hardly change your opinion over me."

"Does that matter to you?" Smiling a little at that jab, Loki only turns away again and he's gone the next second, down the stairs to get drunk as usual. Tony stays there, watching the empty space he'd been looking at not moments ago, chewing on his bottom lip.

He - doesn't actually know what to think. Are actions punishable if you're not the one at the steering wheel? How's he supposed to feel now? Hating Loki had been so easy, so simple. He wants to still do it, feels like he should still do it, and the phantom memory of the rape reminds him of the reasons why. But then there's the fact that Loki hadn't even been in control during that time, or at least he's guessing that he hadn't been, and until he knows the truth it's probably going to eat up inside him like fire.

But if Loki hadn't been in control, then isn't that rape on his side too? God he doesn't know, this is all so confusing. And for whatever reason, he really wants to talk to Natasha about it. When she'd been Natalie Rushman, she'd given him the best Alpha advice that he's ever gotten, on how they instinctively feel and think, and that had opened his mind a whole lot more on the subject of bonding and so on. Hell, he'd considered bonding with Pepper after mulling it all over.

Which reminds him. A bond is one lifetime. It can be severed, but it's difficult, and neither of the two bonded can do it themselves. Mostly, a bond can be broken when another half dies, which means - Loki must have had, what, nineteen bonds? No. Twenty.

If he's telling the truth, then emotionally, that's - man.

He doesn't know how to describe it and subconsciously, he finds himself squeezing his legs together in the memory of the night that he'd bonded with Loki. The night that had started this whole nightmare for him.

So he's bond number 21. He wonders how that feels. He wonders if Loki even does feel. Wonders -

Wonders what in the hell he's supposed to feel himself, and what he's supposed to do now. First things first, he wants answers. Long, detailed answers.

And then - he wants to see that thing down there again. Or at least - to know what it is. How big it is, when it sleeps, how it's survived in a dungeon-like habitat. Any weaknesses maybe. Because if Loki can't escape because he's under it's control, that doesn't mean Tony has to stop trying too.

.

Sorry it's so short again, and sorry for the long wait!

I think the last two chapters have lost me some audience anyway, but I hope those still here enjoy!