Author Note: It's all Eowyn77's fault. She sort of issued a challenge to write a crack!fic about Loki and the origin of Odin's horse Sleipnir. My muse read, stirred, researched, went "ooh!" and voila.
To be on the safe side of things, I decided to go with a T rating rather than K+.
Disclaimer: Nothing recognizable is mine so don't sue.
The day was coming to a close and Steven could slowly relax into the soft sofa. There was still a lot to do – namely clean-up; the city was a single ruin – and he just knew the next days would be arduous, but with the… aliens defeated and the threat of the nuclear bomb diverted, the future was looking a little brighter again.
When a hand held out a glass with amber liquid to him, his musings came to a halt. He looked up at Agent Romanoff and took the offered glass with a "Thanks."
"You're welcome," she said and went on to give a second, identical glass to the archer before sitting down on the sofa arrangement next to the scientist who looked contemplative. Steve's gaze returned to the archer; Clint Barton was his name if he remembered correctly. He stood at the window and looked out over the city while absent-mindedly fingering his arrows.
The rather meditative moment was disturbed when the doors at the other end of the large room opened. Every head whipped around toward it. Mr. Stark entered, followed by two men. Norse Gods, Steve corrected himself mentally while he stood just like everyone else. He still couldn't quite believe that those really were Thor God of Thunder and Loki the Trickster God, despite what his comrades had told him and what he witnessed himself during the battle. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw Clint Barton tensely finger his bow.
"This place is as good as any," Mr. Stark was just saying toward the blond god. "You shouldn't remain here for too long though. No idea what the government will do to him if they can get their hands on him –" he jerked his thumb at the other god, "but it ain't going to be pretty."
"We will not linger here for too much longer," Thor said with sincere intonation. Next to him, the dark-haired figure feebly sneered, but gave no other sign of ill-attempt.
"I'd say we throw him into the darkest and muddiest place this tower has," Clint Barton said. When Steve turned to look at him, the archer had his bow up and drawn, an arrow pointed straight at Loki's head.
To everyone's surprise, Thor stepped into the line of fire. "Please, don't shoot him. I promise Loki will be punished as soon as we return to Asgard. You will never again see him in this world."
The silence that settled over them was tense, but eventually, Clint lowered his bow. "All right, I'll take you by your word." He gestured in their direction with a loose arrow. "But you better put him in chains or whatever."
"I should have some lying around here or somewhere," Mr. Stark said, a hint of amusement in his voice.
"Thank you," Thor said sincerely and bowed his head in gratitude to both of them.
Before Clint – or anyone else – had the chance to say something else, the doors opened a second time and a woman came running in, heading straight for Mr. Stark. "Oh my God, Tony, are you all right?" she called.
Mr. Stark was obviously flustered by so much attention. "Yes, of course. You should know I'm always all right," he tried placating her.
Whether it worked or not, the woman came to a halt in front of Mr. Stark and took a look around. "What happened here?" she asked, clearly bewildered. Then her gaze fell on Steven and the others before wandering off toward Loki and Thor. Her eyes widened before narrowing in suspicion. "Who are you?" she asked the room at large.
"Lady, gentlemen, this is Virginia Potts, my assistant and confidante," Mr. Stark introduced, then gave all their names, starting with Agent Romanoff and finishing with the two Norse gods. At this point, Ms. Potts' eyebrows threatened to vanish under her haircut, they were raised this high.
When Mr. Stark finished, silence settled. Ms. Potts broke it by turning toward her boss and saying, "So… Norse Gods, eh?" She looked back at Thor and Loki for another moment, then said, "All right, tell me the truth: Who are they and what have you gotten into yourself this time?"
Before Mr. Stark could respond, Thor took a step forward. "I assure you, Ms. Potts, I really am Thor, and this is my brother Loki. We come from Asgard and will return there in a short while."
Following his little speech, she gave both men a long look over, her forehead becoming more and more furrowed. "You really are Aesir?" she eventually asked.
"Indeed we are," Thor replied.
Exhaling loudly and violently, Ms. Potts slumped. "Oh my God…" she breathed before realizing what she said. She started giggling, bordering on hysterical.
Steven exchanged a look with Dr. Banner.
Mr. Stark opened his mouth to say something, but his assistant was faster. She stopped giggling and asked out of the blue, "Are the legends true about where Sleipnir comes from?"
Loki sighed in resignation while Thor – after blinking owlishly twice in surprise – started grinning. Steven exchanged another look with Dr. Banner, and out of the corner of his eyes noticed Agent Romanoff do the same with Clint Barton. "What?" he eventually asked the room at large.
"Sleipnir is our father's horse," Thor clarified while Ms. Potts at the same time said, "An eight-legged horse of Nordic mythology. It's said he carries Odin to the underworld and back. He's supposedly able to cross the worlds as well."
All eyes were now on the two Gods. "It is true," Thor said. "With Sleipnir, father can travel henceforth and back whenever he wishes."
"So where does this horse come from?" Steven asked, now intrigued about the legends.
Loki looked unwell and Thor sniggered. He prodded him in his side with an elbow. "Go on, brother, tell them. Where does Sleipnir originate from?"
The Trickster God scowled. "Where all horses come from of course. He was born to a mare after she flirted with a stallion."
Ms. Potts frowned but before she could say something, Mr. Stark noted, "If it were that simple, there wouldn't be a story around it, would it?" He glanced at his assistant. "There is a story about that horse, right?"
"Yes, there is," Agent Romanoff cut in. She crossed her arms in front of her chest. "The mythology says the stallion helped his owner, a giant, with building Asgard. The giant was supposed to finish within an allotted time, and in exchange he asked for the Goddess Freya. To prevent losing Freya to the giant, the Aesir held council and decided that Loki should hold him up somehow so that the allotted time was up before the giant finished."
"So Loki changed into a mare, flirted with the stallion and thus kept both it and its master from finishing in time and Freya was saved," Ms. Potts concluded.
All men with the exception of Thor looked at Loki, feeling sick. Dr. Banner was the first to speak. "You gave birth to an eight-legged horse?"
Loki paled in obvious discomfort while Thor sniggered even harder. "He did indeed," the God of Thunder said with a wide grin.
"How is that even possible?" Agent Romanoff asked.
"How did you give birth to a child?" Loki shot back.
Clint Barton sniggered, but Agent Romanoff was calmness personified. "I didn't. I have no children."
Dr. Banner queried, "No, seriously: How can a hu— man give birth to a horse? This is scientifically impossible."
Thor sniggered even harder and prodded Loki again. "Come on, brother. Tell them all about the labor pains you had giving birth to father's horse."
"Labor!" Ms. Potts giggled. "I would have loved seeing that!" she exclaimed.
Mr. Stark peered closely at her. "My dear, did you have a glass too many on the flight over?"
She sweetly smiled up at him. "You bet I have." She giggled again.
Loki rolled his eyes and muttered something that might have sounded along the line of "Mortals."