Title: Chasing Shadows
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Comics, The Avengers
Pairing: Loki/Tony Stark,
Warnings: swearing, graphic violence (blood, gore), graphic sexual content, mentions of abuse, (warnings will appear if applicable on individual chapters if other stuff comes up)
Spoilers: MCU Phase One, shades of 616 established canon
Summary: Loki has escaped his cell in Asgard, now he's on Midgard and his main priority is getting out of the city, getting to freedom, he finds himself a disguise but he is soon caught up with the antics of a super hero and he has to make sure he isn't caught. Eventual FrostIron.
Author's Notes: Mainly takes place within the MCU, with 616 canon to cover parts not established within, and a few of my own musings to cover everything else. I'm working without a beta so spelling and grammar errors are my own, and an apology in advance for anything extremely British coming from an American characters mouth, and any geography errors when it comes to New York, I am using maps and wiki for reference, but never having been to America, I can only use what is available to me online.
Of course. It had to be New York. Of all the places in all of Midgard, he had to materialise in, it had to be New York. Though when he had been given the brief window of opportunity to escape his cell in Asgard he hadn't exactly been aiming for any place in particular, and the bracelet still locked around his right hand wrist, carved in runes was still blocking much of his magic, and his ability to teleport.
So of course he had to materialise in the one city he would likely to be recognised instantaneously.
He had to flee the city, he couldn't spend the entire night hiding in an alley way, waiting for some homeless tramp to discover him. He had to get outside the limits, he had to get to freedom. This land was big enough for him to find a Midgardian-less expanse to hide in until he could get the damn bracelet off and get his magic back.
From his hiding place behind a large bin, him a Prince of Asgard hiding behind a rubbish receptacle - the very thought, he could see passers by moving on the street. Something was wrong however, something was…. different.
Instead of normal - as far as Midgardians were concerned - clothing, he spotted many if not all, sporting some kind of costumes. Masks, colourful outfits, amongst the throngs he saw more than a few dressed as members of Earth's finest champions, The Avengers, when he saw one dressed as his brother wearing a long blonde wig and carrying what was obviously a child's toy hammer, he couldn't help but snort.
He bided his time, waiting for one to pass by who was not only his approximate height, but also masked. He did not care if the clothing was too large, it would add to the disguise. After an hour of watching, a painful hour in which water dripped on his hair from an overhanging fire escape, and a few rats had attempted to climb up his trousers, he spotted a suitable man.
By pure chance he matched his frame almost perfectly, Loki darted. His magic may have been bound, but Loki was still quick and agile, he had his hand clamped around the man's mouth and had him dragged into the alley before he knew what was happening.
A knock to the back of the head and the man was out cold. It would have been just as easy to kill him, but murders drew a little more attention than simple muggings and Loki needed to lay low.
He stripped him of his outer garments, Loki's prison clothes weren't instantly recognisable as Asgardian, a Hessian shirt and cloth trousers that were now grimey and soaked from the alley. Loki pulled them off his own body and stuffed them deep down inside the bin beside him, then pulled on the strangers clothing. A pair of thick black trousers with pockets on the thighs, a black undershirt, with a body armour vest Loki added as well since he supposed it went with the costume and he had no idea what the man was dressed as.
Finally the mask, a black cowl nothing fancy, it left the bottom half of his face, below the nose exposed, but covered the rest and his hair was easily tucked beneath. He discovered the shirt had a hood, so he pulled it up, covering the cowl, adding to the disguise, then he looked down at the man, who had black make-up marks around his eyes. Loki searched the pockets of the trousers he was now wearing. He found a wallet, it had a little money inside, not much, but perhaps enough to come in handy should he need it. A set of keys, to what he had no idea, so feeling like not being a complete bastard he tucked them inside the man's underwear for him. Then found a small red handle, which had a set of knives and attachments which folded out - always handy, finally a small black pot. He unscrewed the lid, it bore a single finger delve, it had obviously been bought for the costume, he swirled his finger on the make-up, then lifting the cowl, did his best to slather it around his eyes before putting the pot back in his pocket.
There were no windows in the alley way to glance at his reflection, so taking a breath he stepped out into the street and began blending in with the crowds. No one noticed him, he was now part of the swarm of people. Weaving and bobbing between pedestrians Loki could now see that not every Midgardian was dressed in colourful costumes, but the particular alley way he'd been hiding in appeared to be just happened to be nearby some kind of parade or street party.
Damn he needed to find a way out this city and tonight. Before the end of the costumed parade where he would once again stand out. He knew from his past time in New York that the city was large, every second he was on foot he felt exposed.
He wished he could get the damned bracelet off his wrist. At least he could access a little of his magic, not enough to disguise his appearance or teleport, but enough to summon perhaps energy knives, maybe enough to save his skin if it was called for.
He saw people heading underground, he followed them. The underground trains he knew of, but he didn't know enough about the system to be able to navigate it without help. There was a ticket booth, a slightly disgruntled looking employee sat behind it, Loki breathed, he really didn't have much choice in the matter if he wanted to escape.
Despite appearances the operator was surprisingly helpful. He was presented with two options, take a train north and then disembark and continue heading north by foot, or take a train to the south and head across a bridge to the west. Loki felt he stood a better chance heading north, so he bought a ticket with some of the money from the man's wallet and followed the operators directions to the correct platform.
There were fewer costumed people underground, but his apparel didn't draw stares which was good. Actually, he reasoned if need be and he got stuck travelling into the next day without acquiring a hiding place, then he could at least ditch the body armour and mask and keep the hood drawn up and he may be ok. Once he was out of the city of course.
The train pulled in, Loki boarded the end carriage, fewer people, easier to avoid unwanted attention from some of the revellers boarding the other carriages who were clearly drunk.
Loki found a seat, with a newspaper. He didn't have to concentrate on the muffled voice calling out stations, he was riding to the end of the line. He opened the paper, splashed across it's pages was a photograph of Tony Stark, falling out of a bar, being supported upright by the monster, or at least the man who became the monster. The print below spoke of failed relationship and a now constantly drunk Stark who had been seen with more than one Avenger propping him up, dragging him out of bars. Loki actually relaxed a little, if they were busy dealing with Stark destroying himself, they were not on their toes to be on the look out for a possibly escaped Asgardian, even if Thor would not have had the chance to have even realised he had escaped yet, let alone inform the Avengers to be on the look out for him.
He flicked through the articles, somewhere nearby a mother admonished a small child to come closer. The train jolted violently, Loki looked around, from the panicked look on the other passengers faces this was not a typical part of the journey. A boy, a teenager stood at the end of the carriage, clinging onto a metal pole, a look of pure fear overcoming his expression as the train threw itself over.
Loki was plunged, glass shattered, bodies were in constant motion around him, the lights went out and he could hear screaming as they were tossed around. Loki clung to a metal bar, and eventually the movement stopped. After a minute, an extremely long minute which was filled with screaming and crying, lights flickered on, small spot lights which passengers held in their hands, trying to see around them and assess the situation.
Loki looked around, standing to his feet the best he could. Their carriage was on its side, looking through the end window he could see it had detached from the rest of the train and that was nowhere in sight, not that they could see very far.
Well this was just fucking perfect.
A woman groaned nearby him, then she began to scream, Loki turned his head, seeing her in the dim light cradling the little boy she had admonished earlier. At first Loki would have sworn she was screaming his own name, but he moved closer and realised she was screaming, "Luke-ee, Luu-kee!"
The woman needed to stop screaming, he needed a clear head, he could not afford to be caught up in this nonsense, he needed to escape the city. He saw blood on her hands, the child was limp. Loki had a little magic. Loki needed to save it, just in case. So why the hell was he moving towards the woman, insisting upon her to let him inspect the child.
He cradled the head in his hands, the skull was not broken, but he had hit it hard and there was a gash across his forehead. Loki instilled a little magic into the child, not enough to heal the cut, but enough to soothe his brain, and to get him to open his eyes, and the mother sobbed with relief, clinging to her son.
"We need to get out of here," said the teenage boy Loki had seen gripping to a metal pole earlier, "there's a train due to come from the other way soon, it'll smack right into us, we need to run on our rail in the direction it's going to be coming from, so we don't get hit and we can get help at the last station we passed."
For some reason, everyone seemed to like this plan, and Loki was in no position to argue, he didn't have one of the hand lights most of the others seemed to own. He would not be able to find his own way in the darkness in the way he wanted to be heading, and who knew what kind of disaster could lay ahead with the rest of the train.
The boy ushered the passengers out one by one, Loki made sure that the mother and her child got out in front of him to run ahead, he didn't want her thanking and fawning all over him. Stupid mistake. He should have left the child as he was. Oh well, live and learn.
"Come on!" the boy shouted to him, as he jumped out the back of the train, leaving Loki the last to disembark. They were all running along the tracks, Loki was following the lights, and pounding footsteps. It wasn't long before they rounded a corner and ahead Loki could see a lit platform, other passengers starting to climb up, being helped by people standing above them.
Not far left for him to run, 400 feet he reckoned, the teenage boy was at least 40 feet in front of him, he wasn't sure how they were so far behind the others, maybe it was because neither of them had been carrying hand lights and the others had, and had to be less careful about their footing. Though Loki looked and saw the boy turn his head towards him several times as they ran, making sure that Loki was keeping up perhaps?
The mother and the child had reached the platform, they were being pulled up when suddenly the teenager screamed at Loki "TRAIN!"
And hurtling out of the darkness, directly towards them, was indeed a train. Loki froze, he actually froze solid. Normally he would just teleport out of this situation, but that damned bracelet, he looked to his left and to his right, and just in the split seconds he was trying to make his decision, suddenly the teenager was on him.
He had moved at a speed which Loki knew, he just knew, was not possibly for humans to move at, even the solider could not move like this. Loki felt the boys arms wrap around him, and pushed him onto the ground to his right, diving into a recess in the wall which Loki had not seen. The boy's body pressed tightly against Loki's pushing his back against the wall and just as Loki was wondering how the hell the boy was this strong, a train came hurtling past the boys head, loud, unbelievably loud, screeches and hisses as two carriages past them, then eventually the train came to a stop.
Loki breathed, somewhere, probably on the platform someone was screaming, "DID THEY MAKE IT? DID THEY MAKE IT?"
The boy looked up and shouted at the top of his lungs, "WE'RE OK! THE TRAIN WILL HAVE TO BACK UP SO WE CAN GET OUT, BUT WE'RE OK! DON'T LET IT GO FORWARD!"
A voice shouted back, "WE KNOW ABOUT THE CRASH, ALL THE LINES ARE BEING SHUT DOWN! WE'LL GET TO YOU WHEN WE CAN!"
The boy then looked at Loki and gave him a wide, cocky grin, "Don't suppose you brought a crossword to keep us occupied, did you?"
Loki grimaced. Great, he was trapped with a comedian. "Will you unhand me, boy?"
"Hey, dude, it's the 21st century, not cool to be homophobic," said the boy with a shrug of his shoulders, "besides I have a train literally two inches from my head, won't have the space to move my arms until it moves."
"Fantastic," said Loki. Literally nothing else could go wrong now.
"And it's not boy," said the boy, "It's Peter, Peter Parker, pleased to save you, grope you, then meet you."
Shit. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. The cocky little sod had saved him. He was buggered. He could not owe a life debt to this child.
"What's your name?" asked the boy. "Might as well make with the small talk, because we'll be here for a while."
"Not really interested in small talk, Parker," said Loki.
"Shame," said Parker, "and here I was thinking this was the start of a beautiful friendship."
Loki shifted uncomfortably, "I just need to get out of here," he said. Out of this dark hole, out of this city, just out.
"Hey, dude, chillax, ok?" said Parker, "I know we're in a bit of a bind here, not a huge fan of the small spaces myself, but try not to think about it, just talk to me, we'll be outta here soon and you'll be fine."
The kid thought he was bothered by the small space, he wasn't extremely pleased by the lack of movement and the unnaturally strong arms wrapped around him, the crushing metal in close proximity… ok… maybe it bothered him a little, but only a little.
Loki could feel heat rising inside himself and he grew more desperate to escape from this ever increasing hell.
"I just… need to get OUT of here," snarled Loki through his teeth.
"Hey, dude," said Parker, "tell…"
"STOP calling me DUDE," said Loki.
"Then tell me your name," said Parker.
Loki grumbled, "Puck."
"Alright," said the boy, "Parker and Puck, we should open our own detective agency." The boy grinned at him again, "Tell me where you were heading, keep your mind off things."
"I don't know," said Loki, heat still rising in his chest and if he wasn't careful his body would shift into it's Jotun form just to cope with it.
"Home? Work? A party?" he asked. The kid asked a lot of questions.
"I can't go home," Loki said too quickly and he realised he was wearing the costume still and wished he had said 'party'. He had been under much more stressful situations than this, so he wasn't sure why he wasn't able to keep his cool. Perhaps it was the blocking of his magic, perhaps it was because, he suddenly realised, that this kid, whoever he was, was completely capable of crushing him with his arms, and if he knew who Loki was, he would, and not a single person would care.
"I won't pry," said Parker, snapping Loki out of his train of thought and back to the present.
"Thank the gods for small favours," mumbled Loki.
They heard a voice calling to them, "WE'RE MOVING THE TRAIN!" the voice shouted, "STAY STILL! KEEP TO THE WALL! WE'LL CALL WHEN IT'S CLEAR. OK?"
"OK!" shouted Parker. He grinned at Loki, "See, we're getting out of here, Puck, now hold still."
Parker pushed himself against Loki, Loki noticed the tips of his hair were brushing the train. Shit. They were so close to it.
He heard a hiss, then slowly, slowly, the train began to pull backwards. Loki gritted his teeth, counting seconds until a voice called out to them.
"YOU'RE GOOD TO MOVE!"
Loki sighed with relief a the kid released his grip from him and rolled out, Loki scrambled after him, getting to his feet, they both began brushing themselves down and suddenly Loki looked up and hard swallowed as he realised there were far too many people around.
Men and women in uniforms, flashing lights, then suddenly he heard a woman shouting, "That's him!"
He was caught. A rat in the sewer.
"That's the man who saved my boy!" shouted the woman, "he saved that boy too! He's a hero."
Entire world of shit.
"No, no," said Loki, shaking his head, attempting to back away, then he felt Parker slapping his back, pushing him forward towards the platform, to reaching hands that were trying to pull them both up.
"That's right," said Parker, "he saved my life! Complete hero!"
Loki glared at the kid. You little….
Loki was pulled up onto the platform, people were slapping his back, attempting to ask him questions, flashing lights in his face, he saw Parker duck behind the crowd, slipping away, heading up the stairs.
"I need to go!" said Loki.
"Give the man some space!" someone shouted, "let him get some air!"
Some of the crowd parted, letting Loki slip through, heading up stairs, after Parker. Some men in uniform were chasing after him, shouting for him to stop, they had statements to take, they needed to know his name. No chance of that.
He got to the top of the stairs, seeing Parker's hair duck into an alley way, Loki chased after him. How could this kid move so fast?
Loki got inside the alley and saw the boy climbing up the side of a building, but he wasn't using ladders or the metal frame, his hands were simply pressing onto the bricks and somehow he was scaling the side.
Loki stood mouth slightly agape, then began climbing himself, luckily he was strong and agile, and there was enough space between the brick work for him to be able to dig his fingers into the spaces, climbing the wall, occasionally gaining footing on a more solid window frame and boosting himself further upwards.
He pulled himself up and onto the roof, swinging his legs up and landing in time to see Parker pulling a mask over his face. He was now dressed head to toe in a skin tight blue and red costume, a spider emblazoned on his chest, his head snapped towards Loki, he'd slung a bag onto his back, even through the mask Loki could sense a note of panic from Parker.
Then he cocked his head to the side and pressed a single gloved finger to the space where his mouth should have been.
"Quiet now, twinkle toes," he said, "I saved your life, so, you owe me."
Then Parker broke into a sprint, running towards the opposite edge of the roof. The little shit was bolting, Loki wasn't about to have any of that. He moved after him, and Parker jumped over the edge, Loki jumped after him, seconds later, expecting to see Parker scaling down the side of the building, but he was swinging into the air on a rope and Loki was now in free fall. Oh well, he'd survive, it'd just hurt like a bitch. He prepared himself, covering his face with his forearms.
The pain never arrived. A strong arm grabbed him around his waist and suddenly he was swinging through the air, Loki looked, Parker had him.
"Well that was pretty stupid," said Parker, the rope fell and they began to fall, but Parker created a new one from his wrist, swinging them in a long arc around a corner. "What are you? My shadow? How many times do I have to save you in one night? Just hold on."
As much as Loki knew he'd survive the fall from the height they were at, he really didn't like the idea of free falling through the city into crowds below, so he clung his arms around Parker, and Parker, - the utter shit - released his hold, freeing up his arm to create a new rope, and gripping Loki with the arm he'd been using. The contact had only been lost for a second, but Loki clung for dear life. If he fell at this height and speed, he'd live, but they've be scraping him off the pavement and his identity would soon be discovered.
Parker swung them, building after building, until they reached an area which was more of a home neighbourhood than the busy area in the centre of the city. Parker dropped them onto rooftop, letting go of his hold on Loki.
As soon as he was on his feet, Loki punched the kid in his masked face, the kid stumbled, holding his cheek, but he wasn't floored, he should be floored. Who the hell was this kid?
"Hey," said Parker, rubbing his face, "I save you twice and that's the thanks I get? Well, cheers, buddy, boy you pack a hell of a wallop."
"Who are you?" demanded Loki, "Are you one of the Avengers?"
"Me?" said Parker, "I'm just your friendly neighbourhood Spider-man."
Parker walked towards him, Loki had never seen someone walk as effortlessly as he did, but this kid, strutted. In a skin tight costume. The kid had style.
Parker pressed his index finger into Loki's chest, "Look, I don't need no shadow following me around, trying to be my sidekick."
Well that was good, because Loki still needed to flee the city, he needed to get out of there.
"But you drew a lot of attention to me tonight," Parker continued, "and you've seen who I am, and Jesus man, I don't know who you are, Puck, but if you can punch car thieves as hard as you can punch me, then maybe I could do with a shadow following me around, watching my back."
"What?" said Loki.
"Those Avenger dudes haven't sniffed me out yet," said Parker, "but I'm still in school and I don't want to get dragged into their scary ass, world saving antics, I just want to help people, you know, on the street, not get my ass killed. I saved you twice tonight, so I'll do you a deal. You want to be my shadow? Help me out and keep those crazy Avenger dudes away from me and off my back, be my shadow and I'll keep them off yours."
"What do you mean?" asked Loki, darkly, had this kid figured out who he was.
"Come on," said Parker, "it's going to be all over the papers tomorrow, you did something to that kid on the train. Once it's out, Halloween or not, dude in a costume saves two kids in an epic train wreck, they're going to be interested in finding out if you're something they want to be on their side, or taken away to the place where they take the guys who piss them off."
Oh not an option Loki was keen on.
"I… I've got no place to go," said Loki.
"Shit," said Parker, "you get kicked out of home?"
"Well my aunt would have a shit fit if I took you back to my place," said Parker, looking around, "but, this building's empty, been abandoned for as long as I can remember. We'll see if we can get you inside, then I'll bring you some supplies from home to see you through the night. You'll be safe here, I promise."
And before Loki could protest the kid was crawling down the side of the wall, testing out windows and then soon his head appeared again and Loki could tell the kid was grinning beneath the mask.
"Found a way in, come on, Shadow," said Parker, "follow me."