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The Trickster God and the Infamous Inventor-Thief

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Tony Stark was not having a good week.

Jotunnheim, it turned out, was a really difficult place to commit major thefts upon. Go figure––for a planet occupied by a race older than any of the other realms currently embroiled in a nasty civil war with some icy tribes armed with a super-weapon stolen from Nifelheim, back from whatever abyss Asgard had knocked their asses into a couple millennia before, and twice as vengeful––that people seemed to be very paranoid all the time, for some strange and surely unknowable reasons.

He knew he shouldn’t have taken the contract from Nifelheim. He should’ve backed out way earlier, like when his team told him it was madness and he’d had to all but break out of their idea of house-arrest in his own flagship in order to even pursue it. Or when Asgard had made concerned and horrified faces at him when he’d asked to use their bi-frost to get to Jotunnheim’s capitol city.

 

~~

 

"The situation on the ground is beyond control entirely," Odin insisted.

"How are you so sure? Your all-seeing gatekeeper just admitted to me that he himself doesn’t have much of a clue, so what secrets are you keeping?”

The king had looked grave, then. “My… son, is there.”

"Interesting hesitation."

"I adopted him, when he was very young. He was an orphan, left in a temple in Jotunnheim after the first war with Laufey and her kin. He was very small, for a Jotunn child, though he is tall as any Aesir now. I made the unwise decision of trying to keep his true heritage from him, but I failed, and he discovered it about ten years ago. It took me a very long time to regain his trust, and Frigga and I shared blood with him in a ceremony which bound us to one another as kin. He will never inherit the throne because of that, of course, technically being our blood-brother rather than our son now, but he… he and I both, and one other, are to Asgard and the rest of the nine realms what the Three are to Nifelheim and their nameless city. We will remain so, as long as we do live."

"All the rest of the nine?" Tony asked. "Isn’t that a bit, uh, presumptuous?"

"The Three are above monarchs, and free to bend and occasionally break laws throughout the rest of the realms. There are others like them, who we regard as equals, throughout Yggdrasil. We are welcomed by them, and do not meddle with their worlds without first consulting them."

Tony nodded. “So you’re getting word back from your adopted kid on the ground?”

"No, he has not,” Frigga said sharply. “Not for several days.”

Odin winced.

"Uh-huh.”

"However, our son spoke to me three days ago, if only briefly, by dream-walking," Frigga said. "He has discovered more inconvenient facts of his true heritage. He is… troubled by them, but also very busy using them to his advantage, gaining their trust; although, as a result, he cannot risk their mages detecting any further contact with Asgard, for some weeks."

Tony nodded. “Well, I’m just dropping in for a bit of theft on behalf of the Three of Nifelheim. I’ll try not to step on his toes or anything. Seriously, I just need a lift. I can even bring back recon if you like. Just give me something to signal you with subtly when I need to be pulled out, okay?”

The king and queen exchanged glanced before looking at him again.

"His name is Loki. Let us know if you see him alive," Odin said, pressing a small, inactive beacon-device into his hand, and then stepping back.

Then the bi-frost lit up and Tony marveled, not for the first time and hopefully far from the last, at the burst of color and noise and light.

 

~~

 

Now, Tony was regretting his recent series of poor life-choices.

After a week of barely managing not to get caught or murdered by the many, many, many people hunting for anyone out of the ordinary in the wake of the bi-frost delivery (oh how unsubtle that was, stupid, stupid, stupid; how had Loki avoided this mistake? Clearly it seemed he had; no one else spoke of any other bi-frost activity within the past few years, when Tony eavesdropped on his hunters) and getting very few hours of sleep at all, and being in one place for no longer than 2-3 hours at a time, he had finally gotten into the vault where the Casket of Ancient Winters was kept, only to find himself knocked back on his ass by an unexpected Jotunn who was far better at seeing through cloaking tech than all of the guards Tony had passed by earlier.

Now Tony was flat on his back, with a spear-point at his throat, and all he had been doing was scouting the vault. He hadn’t even gotten much of that done, and already he was trying not to die, yet again.

He was also trying not to ogle the tall, magnificent study in blue currently pressing the tip of a spear to his throat, while the ice that formed fast around him––pinning his arms to his torso and anchoring him solidly to the ground to keep him in place––destroyed the delicate circuitry of his cloaking devices and left the piratical inventor exposed to the naked eye of anyone who might look. Luckily, the pair of them seemed to be quite alone.

"This isn’t what it looks like?" Tony tried.

The Jotunn grinned down at him, cruel and condescending. He wasn’t much taller than an Aesir; in fact, he might just barely be shorter than the likes of Thor. His features were fine and sharp, crimson eyes full of laughter and vicious mirth. He was also wearing leather leggings down to his knees, leather braces to protect his shins, gold vambraces on his forearms, a belt about his narrow hips from which a few pouches and a couple of sheathed daggers hung, and nothing else. “What then might it be, Mr. Stark?”

The technomage-pirate’s expression turned cold and flat and dangerous, then. “I didn’t give you my name.”

"I was expecting you. I was not expecting you to be so very rushed and nearly inept, however. It’s like no one ever taught you about the sort of tricks and traps Jotunn mages often use to protect their most precious treasures." The spear-tip lifted enough to trace one of the pale, raised markings that had appeared on Tony’s cheek when the pirate had hit the icy ground and been frozen in place there. "And you are not nearly ice-resistant enough by far."

"How’d you come to expect me?"

He tisked. “I tried to tell Hretha that there was no need to send an upstart technologist to do a con-man’s job.”

Tony stared for a long moment, blinking. “You’re Loki, then?” He hissed as the blade pressed hard to his throat again suddenly. “Hey fuckin’ knock it off! Your parents just wanted me to tell them if I happened to see you alive while I was here, since you’re on fucking magical-radio silence lately.”

Loki relaxed, then gave a mildly exasperated sigh and muttered under his breath. “Of course they did. Norns forbid I be out of their sight and awareness for too long. Make one easily-stopped and ultimately failed attempt at genocide and fall into one harrowing abyss through a rift in time and space and come back brainwashed by a mad demigod obsessed with death, and people develop such irritating combinations of trust-issues and protective instincts that it’s honestly a bit sickening. Did they inquire after any possible treason on my part as well, this time?”

"Uh, no. Your mother didn’t, anyway, but Odin looked a bit like something made his skin crawl, mentioning uh, connections you’re recently exploiting?"

"Laufey has had but few children, for a Jotunn of his standing. He welcomes even a bastard offspring formerly left to die for my small size, if only to prove he is not actually impotent."

Tony blinked a few times in rapid succession, at that. “Oh, wow. Wait, I thought Laufey was a woman?”

“Laufey changes, based upon his mood. Of recent, he feels like being a king, and thus is male in physiology and gender expression.”

Tony nodded thoughtfully. “Wait a minute, you’re his son?”

"Yes. I’m actually quite close to persuading him to name me his heir, much to the mutual consternation of Býleistr and Helblindi, but the pair of them are rather too like their father: very jealous, very proud, very self-righteous and inclined to seize what they believe they have every right to. Turning them against each other was child’s play. They’re dueling to the death right now, as we speak.”

"Well… I’ll just take the casket, then, and-"

"No. You won’t. I still need that."

Tony wasn’t sure what exactly about that tone made his heart pump quicker and his pants to feel a bit uncomfortable. He managed to restrain the reaction before it became at all obvious, and cleared his throat. “Well, I sort of can’t leave without it. That’d leave a question of why the bi-frost went off recently. I know it’s not exactly a subtle means of travel.”

"Yes," Loki said, in a flat and annoyed tone. "There are people hunting for the heads of Aesir spies as we speak, on all sides of this conflict. The one thing Jotunn hate more than Laufey’s war-mongering right now, is the presumption of any outsider believing they have any say in the outcome of Jotunnheim’s future."

"I know. The only time in my life I was actually frightened of my mother was when she verbally flayed Howard for offering to, uh, aid anyone against Laufey’s forces, with Stark tech and the like," Tony said. “She chewed him out for over an hour, for presuming they would have any need for his aid, let alone desire such interference.”

The trickster hummed, considering. “Perhaps I might have some use for you, little pirate. You’re arrival is causing a stir that I don’t like… but it could easily be made into a more beneficial one.”

The pirate felt a sudden, deep sense of foreboding. “Uh… dare I ask?”

 

~~

 

The plan Loki came up with was impressively brilliant; it made use of the pirate’s considerable skill-set to plant evidence of betrayals in the homes (and occasionally the very pockets) of various members of Laufey’s court. It also fed rumors and put together false communications which eventually led to the formation of a resistance inclined to support Laufey being overthrown and his eldest remaining son taking over instead.

He had achieved what he’d been after. He’d started dissent amongst the ranks of Laufey’s forces, making life difficult for several officials who had been giving Loki trouble, or too closely questioning the bastard princeling’s sudden appearance out of nowhere and his ascent to power, and who just kept pointing out to others in court just how unwise it might be for Laufey to trust this Loki fellow anyway.

Thus had Tony spent three weeks working alongside a double-agent frost-giant mage with a wit of quicksilver and talent for mage-craft that made Tony’s breath catch, because he could do the same things with machines, sure enough––channel appropriate energies, aim and fire––but Loki himself was a weapon: a dangerous and subtle one, too. He spoke like a charming courtesan or diplomat to most other Jotunns, always leaving them with the impression that he was on their side, with frightful ease, and Tony had marveled at the mind-games he could discern at play, every time.

Three weeks of hiding most of the time just out of sight to keep an eye on Loki for certain signals to act throughout the days, and the rest of his time either on very scant sleep, or showing off his own skills for sabotage and misdirection and trickery, usually expanding upon Loki’s plans just because he couldn’t resist the urge. He couldn’t stop, not after the first time he’d managed to surprise the trickster. The way he had seen Loki’s face light up––with awed shock and glee as he watched the rest of Laufey’s court around him erupt and tear into one of his strongest opponents, sending the older Jotunn advisor's career crashing down in flames––left him wanting to see Loki happily surprised a lot more often.

And because he was Tony Stark, after only a little trial and error, he succeeded, and explosions were involved; however, unlike several of Tony's past lovers, Loki seemed to actually enjoy the explosions even more than the thief himself did.

 

~~

One memory of a brief lull between chaotic plans and their pleasantly catastrophic implementation, haunted Tony a little more than others: the first time he ever saw the lie-smith… thawed.

They were in Loki’s private quarters in the palace, which had a fireplace, and Loki had lit it after dinner, when they both settled into seating on the low fur-covered benches close to the hearth, and drank small goblets of hot, spiced mulled wine as their plans trailed off, the both of them exhausted from the day's missions and not uncomfortable sitting in silence with one another, gazing into the flames. Not long after that, the blue-and-red color-scheme Loki had worn for the entire time Tony had known him so far, began to fade in time with the room's rising warmth, and Tony might have gone slack-jawed for a moment in awe of the contrast of Loki’s long dark hair against his now-pale skin, littered with only occasional pale scars that were all probably older than Tony himself, and way those shadows and highlights combined influences in order to make the lie-smith's bright and vivid green eyes seem to glow in the firelight.

"What is it, Stark?" the god asked, teasing.

"You’re really sure you don’t want me to just, maybe blow you real quick?" the pirate had responded, his voice only a little ragged.

Loki had blinked at him, amused a little, but mostly almost perplexed. “Are you always so sexually fixated? Is this an addiction of yours?”

"I’m not exactly known for my chastity, but I’m actually fairly picky, especially since, well…" He tapped the arc-reactor in his chest, where its faint glow could be seen through his cloth shirt.

"Oh." Some faint color appeared at the tips of Loki’s ears, but his expression remained almost-innocently curious. Not lascivious. Not inviting further lasciviousness. "I’m flattered, then, but I… do not think it would be advisable at this juncture."

"Please?"

The trickster’s pupils had dilated and he coughed. “Did you just…”

"You know, you’re probably right. Forget it. Sorry, forget it," Tony had said hastily blushing deeply himself at the realization he’d basically just asked if he could please be allowed to put his mouth on Loki’s cock, and that was all sorts of… not… a Tony Stark… thing. With men. (There had been some memorable women, but Tony’s dealings with men had been all either rushed and fumbling and mostly-clothed, or he’d been the dominant party, taking what he wanted, so how had these wires gotten crossed?!)

~~

 

So maybe Tony had really, really liked impressing Loki. Maybe his impulse to tell Loki to run and the beast to catch him had been a hope that with their plans finished in their execution, he wouldn’t be made to leave. It would’ve been the optimal time to call down the bi-frost. It really would have.

Maybe he was hopelessly infatuated with an uninterested, tall and lithe blue man who walked around with a lot of bare skin showing that Tony had spent a lot of time thinking about exploring more thoroughly. With his tongue.

All of it had been mad and ridiculously clever and marvelous; Tony still wound up wishing he had never agreed to it, toward the end. Not in the least because of what the ending of it would entail.

Loki had tried to catch him in time, hide him in time, but something had gone wrong. Very wrong. Their escape had been all-too-hasty and too many other Jotunns had seen Tony’s face.

"You are astonishing," the trickster had said, sounding breathless from teleporting them out of the midst of a massive fire-fight, and beginning to heal his own minor injuries. He was also grinning incandescently: fearsomely pleased and mischievous and hungry in a way that made Tony’s breath catch. “I’m amazed. You went above and beyond my every expectation, how did you even come up with-“

A sudden crack from the ice under their feet shook them. A triumphant, animalistic bellow then made the cracked ice all but vibrate, with its sheer volume, nearness and enthusiasm.

Loki’s face fell. “That… would be a large creature which looks rather like a fat lizard was crossed with an enormous flat-faced feline. It must have your scent. It’s not far below us.”

"Let it catch me. I can get out of-"

The trickster looked at him sharply. “It won’t catch you, but it also will not stop chasing you. They are bound by magics… they can follow you anywhere.” He swallowed thickly, and teleported them ten feet to one side just as the beast crashed up through the ice formerly under them. He inhaled a startled breath at the feeling of Tony wrapping Loki’s own hand about his piratical throat.

"Tell ‘em you’ve captured me," Tony hissed.

"I’ve captured the spy. Call your beast from its chase; this morsel is more valuable for interrogation than its next meal, as our hunters should well know," Loki snapped, in authoritative tones, to the Jotunn who rode on the back of the massive hunting-beast’s neck, who proceeded to tug the reins and pull the beast up before it could lunge, and hissing a few spells which rendered it instantly docile.

Loki panted, near to the other man’s ear, “They do not waste time on interrogations here. Not very long, before they began looking to sell captives to the highest bidder. They will make you watch the bidding, over the channels, for your head. Most, if they are of any inclination to bribe their captors for a lesser fate, spill their secrets then, offered a way out from those who want to hurt them the worst. Those who remain quiet, are not worth the time to break, when breaking makes their word so much less reliable.”

Tony’s blood ran cold. He knew exactly the sort who would bid on him.

"Everyone who wants my head is someone I’ve escaped before, already."

"Yes, they’ll have learned." Loki teleported them all back to the palace, at the hunter’s request. His lips didn’t move, but his whisper still sounded in Tony’s ear: "I will come for you."

Tony didn’t look back at him as he was dragged from Loki’s restraining grip and put in shackles, then dragged down into one of the palace’s least comfortable dungeons: a tiny, cramped cell, not enough room to stand, barely enough room to stretch out. Food and water on trays.

It was cold. Tony had never been bothered by cold, of course. It was actually more comfortable than high heat.

It figured that Laufey would be one of few rulers who knew quite what a risk it really was to hold onto foreign spies of his like, and to know exactly how to scare them into begging for mercy from the captors who bid them off in auction, while promising they would be safe in Jotunnheim if only they would confess… It was brilliant, really.

It was so brilliant, he realized suddenly, that there was no way Laufey had come up with it. Loki had sounded apologetic, when he had explained, and panicked, like he suddenly regretted some of the improvements and reforms he’d inspired, showing off for the court and the military both.

Tony chuckled, low and brokenly. “Great. I really should’ve just activated the fucking beacon and ran for it. Let Asgard kill the beast thing. Stupid, Tony.” Stupid fucking fluttery sensations whenever Loki smiled at him. “Stupid dick, stop distracting me,” he muttered, but the worst part was, he was a playboy, after all. He knew the difference between physical attraction and the other thing, the more dangerous thing.

The sort of dangerous thing that had started to unfurl in his chest as soon as Loki mapped out the political landscape of Jotunnheim, and his plans, and what he wanted Tony to do, and had realized this Aesir-raised mage was a twisted, ruthless, brilliant tactician and a complete jackass, and genius, as well as having an absurdly pretty and expressive face, long hands with ridiculously clever fingers, and a body so long-boned and elegant, made up of sleek and wiry muscle, that Loki’s beautiful blue skin seemed to just seemed to go on for days.

But Loki had shot him down, that first day, in a matter-of-fact and professional manner, and while Tony had been disappointed, it had made some sense, after all. They had a lot of other things to deal with rather more import an than a technomage pirate’s boner over a trickster god’s intellect and twisted humour and beautiful everything.

Tony hadn’t been able to decide if the second evening of their acquaintance had been better or worse, in the sexual frustration department. It had been the first (and so far only) time he had seen Loki without his Jotunn war-colors, all beautiful and fire-lit.

It had been hard not to be stung, a little––being called "not advisable" but the way Loki had said it, part of Tony hoped maybe it was more about the juncture they were both in, politically and perilously and all, rather than a lack of attraction. At least, he had hoped he could try again, maybe, after the war was over. Now he would be lucky to survive even that long, at this rate.

In his prison cell, Tony rubbed his hands over his face as it heated with the recollection of that evening and his stomach felt as though it were full of thrashing eels tussling over scraps of food. With an effort of will, he pushed aside his various regrets.

He’d gotten caught. They took the beacon he’d been using. They would get nothing out of him. They’d have to sell him. Loki catching him had been suspicious. It would raise questions about his loyalty and he’d have to keep his distance for the sake of his plans, and probably even demand Tony’s execution instead of selling him off.

Running through his list of enemies in his head, Tony forced himself to start coming up with contingency plans.

He wound up doing that instead of sleeping, or indeed much of anything else, for about two long Jotunnehim days, in that cramped cell.

~~

The interrogations weren’t half-bad. The interrogators knew what they were doing; they were matter-of-fact and non-threatening, even offering him food and water of better quality than he’d been getting in his cell, which Tony gratefully accepted.

"You guys know how to treat your prisoners. If I had a traitorous bone in my body, I’d be rolling over for you, absolutely," he assured them. "You really cover the concern-for-my-safety angle just fine, but the people who hired me aren’t gonna be after me. The people who are gonna be interested in killing me, or worse, are everyone else, including all of your people. The problem for all of you is that I’m an independent mercenary hired by an outside interested party, and I’m one of the highest-ranking officers in my fleet. That said, I’ve also got a reputation to maintain, and spilling all of my employer’s secrets to all of you wouldn’t do much for me, long-term. It’d ruin my career outright, and we all know it. I’m a Stark. Integrity is a new thing I’ve decided our legacy should really work on, you see."

"Integrity," repeated the male interrogator. In the uncomfortably-warm interrogation room, his skin was a light yellowish-sepia and his expressive dark eyes, higher at their outer corners than their lower ones, were full of bitter amusement. "Among thieves and spies and war-mongers?"

"No more war-mongering. We’re strictly damage-control," Tony said, sharp and steely. "Tell him, Hlín, that he should work on both tact and research. If I were any other criminal, maybe even one willing to plea bargain, that’d make me fling the previous cooperativeness out the window and try to smash your face. Just sayin’."

The female interrogator, a mage with fine grey-and-white hair pulled back in a long braid, warm skin of dark brown lined only a bit more deepy than those on the face of the queen of Asgard, and brown eyes full of ancient depths of knowledge the pirate before her knew that he could scarcely fathom, smiled at him sadly. “You know of our policies, then, with our prisoners of war. We would prefer to send your army elsewhere to hunt you down, after all, if you will not change sides. In your case, mercenary as we are, we might just pay you more than they did offer.”

The pirate swallowed tightly. “I didn’t exactly accept this one for money. I accepted it for my mother. Several years ago, when she tried to come to Jotunnheim and visit some of her kin near here, she got slaughtered in a raid from Laufey’s forces. You really could not pay me enough to switch sides in this conflict. I’m not of Jotunnheim, but this is still quite personal for me. I don’t aid your enemies because I think they know any better; they just had the means to get me here so I could get some of my own back.”

"A pity," Hlín mused. "How interesting, that you and one of Laufey’s own sons share such a similarity in common."

Tony stilled. “Pardon?”

"Loki, the popular newfound princeling, freed from ignorance living among enemy tribes deeper in the south, has no living mother," she explained. "Not by blood. She was killed, for the traitorous act of attempting to steal the Casket of Ancient Winters, and trying to use it to contact the Three in Nifelheim, during the height of Laufey’s first war against Asgard."

The pirate blinked. “What’s that got to do with anything?”

"You were captured by him, were you not? Ravi, was it not so?" she asked the other interrogator.

"Yes. Loki dragged this one back to the palace by his throat, in fact."

"Yeah, and I didn’t even get a good look at him, as a result," Tony growled.

"Odd, given you bore more traces of his magic than merely a transport spell," Hlín pointed out. "He had healed one or two of your injuries."

Shit, Tony thought. “He did?”

"You were concussed, but not for long," Ravi assured.

"Well, he wanted me for information, and if I was concussed, knocking me unconscious might’ve killed me, and before that hulking beast-thing showed up, I didn’t have much incentive not to fight back pretty hard."

"Loki didn’t look much the worse for it," Hlín observed. "He healed some of his own injuries from other causes, but nothing suggests you successfully injured him, save your own words."

"I never said I succeeded," Tony sighed. "The fucker caught me off-guard. I’d used up my last few tricks. I was hurt. Then there was a giant thing with a lot of scales and teeth, right after I got grabbed by the throat. I didn’t have much time to struggle; he didn’t have time to properly restrain or sedate me before he had to make sure he didn’t wind up part of the same mouthful I would’ve been to that thing. If I really had connections with one of Laufey’s kids, do you really think I’d still be here right now?"

Both interrogators looked at each other, then back to Tony.

"Then I am sorry, but you will be sold to the highest bidder within the hour," Hlín said. Ravi left soon after she said it. She rested a hand over Tony’s and, just for a second, winked at him. "Good work," she whispered in his ear, without moving her lips.

Tony watched her stride out, afterward. He wondered, too, how Loki had gotten a mage the likes of that woman on his side. She was so powerful it gave him chills just to be around her, and her eyes didn’t seem to reflect light normally anymore. Older mages sometimes had… unnatural little things about them, like that. Hlín’s eyes reflected the stars in the sky, even if she was far underground in a prison interrogation cell, during the daytime. It was disconcerting.

~~

Sitting and watching the bidding as he himself was auctioned off was, as Tony had anticipated, the absolute worst part. His organs were all doing their finest impression of the contents of a cement-mixer. He watched as Hydra and the Ten Rings vied for proprietorial possession of his person.

To distract himself, he tried to focus on the map of planned events in the back of his head, from Loki’s plans. By his calculations, Laufey’s son Býleistr, having survived battle to the death with his elder brother Helblindi quite against the odds, should be fomenting revolt. An all-out coup, unknowingly encouraged and armed in part by Loki, would storm Laufey’s palace within two days, give or take. After another day or two to let Laufey’s forces settle comfortably into siege mentality, Loki would let Býleistr into the palace by means of an ancient corridor under it he’d found not long after first arriving in Jotunnheim. Loki would lead his half-brother into the palace, and let slip that he had been not only sent by agreement of the Three of Nifelheim, and equivalent forces in Asgard, but he had also been welcomed by the Five guardians of Jotunnheim, equals and kin to the Three of Nifelheim, who had so far been out of the reach of their people since Laufey had once more gotten his hands on the Casket of Ancient Winters.

At last, Loki would tell Býleistr that the Five were trapped under ice––a crime worse than regicide was stealing or murder of those considered above kings, in times of war, when they would be most vital to protect the most vulnerable members of the populace. He would show his half-brother the trapped wanderers and advisors of Jotunnheim: ancient creatures older and wiser than Odin. He would present Býleistr the option to return things to their proper order, and rule the lands won by his kin honorably from there forward, with no further attempts at territory expansion for the next century, or Loki would raze the place with all of his powers, and all of the traps he had been laying in place all throughout the palace and the surrounding territory, ever since he had first arrived in Jotunnheim.

Tony had seen Býleistr, in court, from his various hidden perches throughout the palace. Býleistr… was more like Loki, than like Laufey, deep down. Helblindi had been hot-headed and as over-zealous in his visions of a glorious future for their clan as his father, but the younger brother, the smaller and quieter one, had been more reserved, demanding caution and making pleas for reason, and for distrust of Loki for how much power he had acquired in such a short period of time. Rightfully so. He had the potential to be a great king, given a chance and some better guidance.

Then Loki… Loki would help him release some old heavily-iced Jotunns and wipe out Laufey and all of those who would still fight even beyond the pont of their king’s death and the death of his cause, rather than surrender. And Loki would go home, probably. Most likely. Not like Jotunnheim had much for him…

Except that the court really did love him. And Jotunn culture seemed to suit him more naturally than anything Tony knew of Aesir with their heavy armor and fully-binary gender-norms, and all of their cheerful warriors. Tony had known Thor for a while, now: the Aesir had aided the Avengers several times, and the guy was great, if with a tendency to alternate between genteel sagacity, viking fratboy singing drinking songs, and occasionally nearly-berzerker in one or two of their worse battles.

Tony tried to picture Loki in Aesir clothing, probably green, with black leathers, and vambraces like his usual ones, war colors nowhere in sight. The image wasn’t strange, until he actually imagined the rest of Asgard around him. Aesir attitudes and temperaments, as a people, tended to distrust people like Loki, as Tony knew from experience. He’d run into it himself before, trading with Aesir on the technology-side. He had found them to be annoyingly wary of himself.

Some of his mannerisms and his mode of speech, as well as his shameless sexual attraction to anyone with what he judged to be enough brain to be worth bantering with, seemed to set them off-balance, like he were somehow being crude and they did not know whether or not to be offended. Thus, Tony had concluded that some quintessentially Jotunn-like traits just made Aesir uneasy for a lot of ridiculous cultural reasons. In discussing the matter with traveling traders and merchants in Aesir markets, he had found sympathy among citizens of Alfheim. They told him that such thing sometimes just outright confused Aesir to the point of making them uneasy and unsure how to be polite. Tony had accepted it as a classic case of a few culturally backward locals.

Except that it was nearly every single time he visited Asgard, that he sensed it.

It occurred to him that Loki might have taken the court here by storm and made improvements to the way the place run, and made certain he impressed the hell out of everyone he came into contact with, because it had been so much easier in Jotunnheim than back at his home, in Asgard. The people here had a very different set of attitudes and didn’t consider masculine-males to be any sort of warrior ideal, especially given how many of their women warriors were capable of scaring the living daylights out of their male counterparts, and even moreso their enemies. Loki had taken to Jotunnheim politics like a fish to water.

What if… what if the bastard got it into his head to stay there?

Same as Tony had gotten it into his head to try and stay near Loki.

Because he’d felt accepted and appreciated for his talents, and like someone could finally, finally keep up…

His train of thought was cut off by a sudden disturbance in the room.

"There’s another bidder, and she’d bid high,” someone cried.

"Who is it?" one of the others asked.

"Helheim. The bidder is Queen of the Land of the dead," someone rasped, sounding afraid. "She’s offered Laufey prophecy. She’s one of the best seers in the Nine! Her knowledge… it could be valuable beyond measure."

Could be,” the king’s closest advisor chided. “What interest could she possibly have in this pirate?”

"Did you steal from Hel, Stark?” Ravi called, from the front of the room.

"That I know of?" Tony asked innocently.

"The Ten Rings just offered a dragon," someone else said gravely. "To use against our enemies, as their gift to us."

Messengers were sent to the king.

"You don’t want that dragon," Tony said flatly. "You really don’t. I know that dragon, and trust me, you do not want him here. He’s telepathic, and when he’s too far from his master in the Ten Rings? Well, he has a tendency to just decide to try and take over whatever planet he happens to find himself on." He thought about it. "Actually, go ahead, I’m so willing to watch that backfire from a safe distance."

More messengers were sent to the king, when that information was confirmed politely by Hydra and a few other bidders, happy to rat on their competition for fun and profit.

When they returned, the verdict was not what Tony was hoping to hear.

"The king thanks the Ten Rings for their offer of the dragon, but declines. Their previous bid, however, is the new starting point. Prophecy, he has judged to be a risk he cannot afford, these days, given its tendency to backfire," the messenger announced.

Bidding recommenced.

The Ten Rings won, and Tony shut his eyes, trying not to vomit over how sickening this feeling of deja vu felt.

The Ten Rings. Again.

He felt extremely sick.

~~

Mere hours later, he felt even worse.

That might have been from the panic-inducing, terribly familiar sensations of being nearly drowned for his first half-hour aboard the Ten Rings’ ship. Apparently, they had decided to cut to the chase.

Past traumatic experiences with the same thing did, in fact, reduce him to a shaking, panic- and fear-filled mess trying desperately to stop dry heaving now that he had most of the water out of his stomach and lungs. Now if he could do something about the water rolling down his face from his eyes and the way his guts were trying to turn themselves inside out to be rid of unwanted, less-than-ideally-clean waters.

"Brings back memories, does it not, Mr. Stark?"

“‘Ello, M,” the pirate hiccoughed. “Still a slimy sadistic cockroach of a life-form not fit to be called man, I see.”

"Ah, I have missed your wit," the Ten Rings leader purred. "How opportune, for us, to find you like this. A little failed altruism? Trying to stop some endless war in a far-away place, as only your genius can? How charming. How absolutely charming that the very people you went there to help captured you and put you up for sale to the likes of us.”

"I dunno, I think of it as a bit boring. This is you, after all. Going to torture me, try to capture people I love or otherwise threaten them until I’m forced to work on some project for a while, until word gets out about where I am, you get most of your ships blown up and about an 80% chance of being captured by the Avengers, and I escape. Let me tell you, honey, I’m looking forward to it."

"Well, I’m very sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Stark, but you’re not the target, this time." M smiled very viciously. "You’re the bait and the hostage. For every day that your Avengers go on ignoring my demands, I will cut some of your flesh away, and send them the footage. I will include the drowning here as a prelude, of course, before we get to that, today."

Tony felt his head spin. This was far worse than he thought, but he forced himself to smile and it somehow turned into hysterical, embittered giggling, high and mad and broken. “Oh, sweet-cheeks, bring it on.”

In answer, he was shot through with electricity on par with that of a cattle-prod, by something pressed against his left kidney. He cried out.

"I look forward to working with you further, Mr. Stark," M said. "In fact… I think I want that shout of yours to be heard wherever I happen to be on this ship, at every hour, like the bells of a clock tower." He looked at his watch. "Why, it’s nearly ten o’clock!" He strode forward to wear Tony was bound and patted his cheek. "You will break for us, or your Avengers will. I don’t know why you bother fighting." He then turned on his heel and strode away.

Twelve minutes later, Tony screamed ten times in succession. Like a clock tower. It was deeply unpleasant.

~~

By the third day he had been in the Ten Rings’ custody, things had started to get fuzzy. He’d already been hungry and sleep-deprived when he’d been captured back on Jotunnheim. He hadn’t been able to eat much while caged, nerves making him unable to stomach much.

He hadn’t slept, then, for almost a week. And he was effectively tazered every hour on the hour. Between that, when not allowed to get a few scant minutes of sleep that his brain now slipped into whenever he was given a sufficient duration of quiet, he was occasionally spoken to by numerous interrogators: some loud, some polite, all of them asking similar questions, or trying to cajole information from him, until they blurred together into a single constant chant urging him to share information and be obedient and then the Ten Rings would treat him just fine.

So, at first, when every alarm in the ship went off, Tony had thought all the colorful flashing lights had been another hallucination. Then other sounds went off, which Tony recognized as indicating the whole fleet was now on alert. He heard cries of dismay and alarm, and the rumble of troop-footsteps pounding through every corridor of the ship, but in his cell he remained alone. Still chained up. Waiting for the next hour to roll by.

He was floating in a daze, hearing something about compromised shields, and a few of their ships being blown up abruptly with no warning.

Then there was a horrible crashing sound and deeper alert noises. There was that most terrifying array of grinding and contorting sounds known to any seasoned space-ship traveler: the ship had been sliced open down one side, and large sections formerly safe for people to occupy were being quickly sealed off: lives outside the quick-seals over before anyone could save them, as space swallowed them up and they died horribly in the vacuum. Tony was sobered by it enough to try and raise his head.

The clock struck two.

The second shock cut off, shorter than before, and Tony realized various mechanical parts had just been forcibly ripped off the back of his chair.

"I will murder every single one of these mad fools. I will drown them in their own blood, after I peel up the skin upon their limbs, and salt it, then stitch it back onto them," snarled a familiar voice, sounding now shaken and so very, very full of rage.

"F’get it, jus gemme out," Tony groaned. Then he finally felt his bonds removed and promptly collapsed out of his chair onto the ground.

Well, okay, not the ground, because two long arms wrapped around him quickly and drew him up against a very tall, lean body and Tony wished his vision worked better because that face looked so familiar. So familiar. Then realisation struck. “Oh. I almost didn’t recognize you without the blue,” he slurred. “Couldn’t focus vision enough to see your eyes properly. You have really unfairly gorgeous eyes, Loki, didjou know that?”

"Tony, are you able to stand?" the trickster asked, slow and calm as he could manage, but the look on his face was a fearful one. Almost terrified, in fact. "You have a head injury, and a lot of contusions, and burns from that electrical device that have… not been well-treated. I need you to focus on me, Tony, can you do that?"

"Really pretty eyes," Tony muttered and his head lolled forward so his brow hit Loki’s collarbone.

"I cannot heal you here. I barely have sufficient magic to get us past their wards and out of here, Tony, and the less lucid you are, the more of a strain on my magic it is. Please, Tony, focus."

The pirate raised his head with a groan, eyes clamped shut. “The fuck are you doing here? I thought you had a war on?”

Loki’s lips thinned. “Býleistr has a war on. If I could not be confident in the rulers I arrange military and political coups for, I would be very bad at my role as one of the Three of Asgard.”

"Who’s third?"

"Hlín."

"But she’s-"

"Actually only half-Jotunn, believe it or not."

"I was going to say she’s a bit creepy, in a serene sort of way." Loki’s hand on his face felt blissfully cool and he managed to open his eyes to find the trickster staring at him with that fearfully concerned look again.

"You’re with me, Tony?" he asked softly.

"I’m back, yeah. Mostly. Dunno how that’ll last, though so hurry up and get us-" He hadn’t been expecting to be kissed. He really hadn’t. He especially hadn’t expected to be devoured by an extremely eager and desperately hungry kiss, or for Loki to emit a high noise between pure lust and a half-sob of relief as he drew Tony closer.

Complaints, however, were the furthest thing from the pirate’s mind, and he emitted a helpless noise of his own, lips parting eagerly and letting Loki’s tongue conquer him and tangle with his own for a few seconds.

Then Loki sharply pulled back, looking alarmed. “I... I’m Sor-“

"Don’t you dare fucking apologize for that. Take me home with you, and we’ll work from there about when the fuck you decided you wanted to do that, and how the fuck I missed it given I basically fell in love with you. Go. Now. Let’s."

"Yes," the trickster panted, pressing their foreheads together, taking a deep breath before hissing out a complicated spell between his lips.

The world around them vanished in a very literal sense shortly after.

Tony shuddered at the whirling of the dark around them, recalling why teleportation usually bothered him, but with Loki close like this it wasn’t overwhelming for once. He knew wherever he was falling, he would land and be with Loki. That… made things significantly easier to deal with.

They landed in a healing room in Asgard.

Tony exhaled heavily, then chuckled when Loki growled at the first healers who approached them. “You gonna heal me yourself? Hot.”

Loki rolled his eyes, forcing himself to refocus on what needed to be done. He sighed, and started to disentangle himself from the pirate, who protested petulantly. “I need you healed and mended before I can fuck you properly,” he murmured in Tony’s ear. “And more than that, if you’re still so willing to say ‘please’ among other indecently pretty things.”

The pirate went red from his hairline all the way to his upper arms.

Apparently, he was not as gender-specific about some of his kinks as he’d ever before assumed.

"Presuming you are willing?”

"Did you not hear the part where I’m in love with you?"

"Pardon me for not quite believing that while you’re still intermittently delirious," Loki said, a little sadly. "I will not have that excuse, however, once you are well," he added, sounding a bit more hopeful.

"But why do I have to let go of you to do the healing thing?"

"Because you need to get into one of these stasis chambers, and go into a healing trance, in which Asgard’s finest medical practitioners can repair your injuries, and restore you to full health."

"W-wait," Tony protested. "I can’t––there’s shrapnel that they couldn’t-"

"There are… limits to what they are normally allowed to offer those who are not full citizens, and also not Aesir, which were defined by the law," Loki said, sounding quietly enraged. "I have made it clear to Odin that those laws do not apply to you any longer, citizenship or not, and he has consented to such, which the removal of that, and similar other legislation, is now being purged from Asgardian law. They can repair… all, if you wish."

Tony stared at him. “I kind of want to thank you, but I’m also really pissed off that they lied to me when I first asked about this shit.”

"As am I. I was unaware those laws existed, until very recently."

"So. Healing."

Loki nodded, guiding him toward the healers instead of growling to keep them at bay, seemingly relieved when Tony followed him without struggle. “I will oversee everything. The reactor will be held in my own custody until it can be safely returned to you.”

"Thank you. I wouldn’t trust anyone else around here."

The trickster looked momentarily stunned by that, somehow.

Right. God of lies.

"Yes, I trust you, Loki," Tony said, just before letting himself be guided down into what felt like a pool of warm gold light.

He lost awareness of himself, and everything else beyond that, for a long while, after that.

~~

He awoke to the sound of bickering.

"I have fought alongside him, brother. I know him better than-"

"Thor," Loki snarled, low and almost inhuman. "Hold your tongue before I rip it out of your face and shove it up your ass."

The Thunderer seemed stunned speechless by that.

Loki’s voice grew quieter, then, and deathly calm, just too far away for the words to reach Tony clearly. He was still caught in the undertow of slumber, but was struggling against it, trying to hear.

Eventually, the trickster’s voice rose again, back to a shout, “You are a complete fool incapable of listening to reason!”

"It is you who are irrational, brother! You speak of leaving Asgard, even as you gut our laws to suit your infatuation with a mercenary and former war-monger, and you try your best to gut me with your words when I ask you, beg you to stay!”

"Do not dare speak of him like that. It is who would sully his honor, if even he would be interested in me, Thor, which remains questionable. I am the liar, the cheat, the tool used where honest means would lead only to senseless slaughter because lies are so much more soothing to the ears of politicians and war-leaders. I am the one who would have slaughtered thousands had you not stopped the bi-frost before it struck Jotunnheim. Do not dare presume to consider this man lesser than I for having no kingdom and no loyalties beyond those few he dares trust. If not for Frigga, I would be the very same.”

"I would not let you," Thor insisted. "I would chase you as far as it took to prove to you-"

"To prove what Thor? That you love me is clear, but your love is blind. Mine has been far more frequently betrayed and abused by countless Aesir over the millennia, and cannot afford, cannot survive, being so blind!”

"But why would you leave? What so offends you about your former home?"

"No, first let us address your ridiculous fancy of chasing me down as you say. You would chase after me and try to put ends to my schemes and I, Thor, would relish such a chance to torment you at length, for such a vast fundamental misunderstanding of my nature as to believe that I could be brought home because you dragged me back out of love and good will. I would poison you, for trying to contain me, and I would not be able to stop, anymore than you would be able to stop chasing, making the both of us mad monsters with nothing more to us than your desperate and senseless love and my own pain and hatred of the lack of freedom you would bind me to. Do you know why, Thor? Do you know what created this poison in me, and now makes me wish to spend as little time in Asgard as possible? As little as I can, without breaking Frigga’s heart outright?”

"Apparently, I do not."

"Were you to chase me down, drag me back out of belief that you know what is better for me, you would be nullifying my capacity to make my own decisions and know what is right for who and what I am. You are making a child of me, because you cannot understand why else I might rebel like this, and you have not even bothered to ask yourself ‘what if it is more than Loki’s temper and his feelings toward his kin? What if Asgard has genuinely done him harm?’ No, not once,” he raged. “Just as all of Asgard had always failed to do, even before I knew the truth of my nature and why they have always treated me the way that they still do now, knowing I am Jotunn rather than Aesir. They did not even have to change their behavior, how fortunate for them!”

Loki’s voice became a low growl, “This place, Asgard, put within me all of the poison I possess, by making me loathe all about myself which resembled some of the truest aspects of my nature as a Jotunn, and it will be a very long time before I forgive any of you for that, however unknowingly it was done, for I have seen their world the closer now, and I do like it better than here, where I have to feign tameness in order to avoid constant suspicion over my motives and outright threats of abuse intended to keep me in my place! Oh, for example: your promise to chase me if I were to run from ‘home’ again. Do you see now, Thor? Do you see why I am not at home here, and may never be again?” There was the sound of sharp footsteps away from Tony, toward Thor’s voice, and the sound of the larger warrior taking a stumbling step back.

"Brother… I am sorry if I ever-"

A viciously deprecating scoff cut him off. “Go now, Thor. Take your ‘if’ and shove it up your heroically optimistic backside, presuming you can possibly fit it past where your head is clearly shoved up there already. Go now, and think back on all of the occasions you, your friends, and others, have treated me like an alien before you even knew I wasn’t Aesir. Scold yourself in private. I have absolutely no desire to see your face presently.”

After a long pause, and the sound of shuffling footsteps and a door closing, muffling them to nothing, Loki took a deep breath and let out a very long and heavy sigh.

Tony opened his eyes cautiously, then, and lifted his head a bit, finding that Loki stood a few yards from the bed, his back to it, hands clenched into fists at his sides. He was breathing short and fast, full of anger.

"You’re not staying in Asgard, then?" Tony asked lightly.

Before that moment, the pirate would’ve sworn it to be impossible for Loki’s spine to stiffen further, but it did. ”When did you wake?”

"About the time you threatened to rip out his tongue."

"I… have rarely ever loosed threats against him," Loki said quietly. "None of that degree of detail concerning crippling bodily injury, in any case. Threatening death, by contrast, is so much more impersonal."

"If he, uh, raised concerns about the blood on my hands, I do have an awful lot of it."

"So do I," said the trickster. "I care no more about your stained hands than you do mine, I suspect, which is to say that I care only as much as they affect you."

Tony swallowed tightly. “Y-yeah.”

Loki turned to face him, then, and approached the bed, sitting on the edge of it and brushing Tony’s hair back from his face slightly. “You should be fully healed. You feel well?”

"Yeah. Drowsiness wore off about halfway through the shouting match." He smiled when the god cringed a little. "Hey, it sounded like that was a long time coming, really."

"It has been. I hadn’t fully realized it. I had thought I might be fine, waiting for things in this insufferably stagnant realm to change, as cultural exchanges with Jotunnheim have improved, in recent years, but… Being there, among other Jotunns for so long, accepted in all of the ways I was usually considered… off.” He shrugged slightly. “I need more of that in my life. I need it desperately, and I had never even realized.”

"You, uh, planning to stick to Jotunnheim, then?"

"Oh, by the Norns, no. No, no. They would rely on me more heavily. They are used to their… to people of my rank being accessible, helpful and good listeners with mostly-good intentions. It would drive me up the wall, now that particular secret is out," Loki sighed.

Tony blinked a few times. “So… where will you go?”

"It’s been far too long since I wandered far, with no particular destination or purposes in mind, I think. I am a trickster, you know. Such things are mandatory, every few centuries, to maintain our trickiness and keep it quite sharp," Loki mused. "I don’t suppose you might recommend any traveling vessels where life is less dull than Asgard?"

Slowly, realization dawned and an incandescently bright grin broke out on Tony’s face. “I know a fleet that’s pretty good fun. Rarely ever a dull moment. In fact, depending on the quarters you choose, might even genuinely be never a dull moment. It’s up to you, on that, though.”

"Such a guarantee! How would such a thing be accomplished as that?"

"Well. You’d pick quarters that happen to already have a Tony Stark installed in them. Obviously. Then even if the rest of the fleet gets bored, I’ll just remind you casually that I’m sort of in love with you and probably make a valiant attempt to suck all the boredom out of you through your cock."

Loki opened his mouth, then shut it again. He cleared his throat. “That is the single most persuasive offer I have ever had presented to me in my entire life, Captain Stark.”

"Hey…"

"Yes?"

"You know I’m not delirious right now, right?"

"Yes."

"And I just sort of-" He was cut off by the trickster suddenly straddling his hips and grinding their hips together, making him gasp, among a few other embarrassing noises, as he got hard almost instantly. "Ffffuck."

"Mmm, yes, I think I would like to."

"Loki…"

"I love you, too, Tony."

Tony rocked his hips up a little helplessly at that. “Damn, that sounds good. You sound good. Amazing. C’mere.” He pulled Loki’s face down until he could catch the god’s lips again. It was good. It was wonderful and delicious and then Loki rolled his hips again and Tony discovered that apparently the trickster god in his lap was indeed hung as befit the deific title. Tony felt horribly tempted to tell Thor, at some point, how much more impressive he considered Loki’s hammer, just to see the horrified and offended face that the thunder god would make.

"Ahem," said a prim-sounding voice from the door suddenly.

The pair broke apart reluctantly and sent irate looks in the intruder's direction before they even quite saw her.

Hlín raised an eyebrow at them both. “Get out of my healing room before you start that, or I will throw you out, and make sure that you land in the middle of a crowded courtyard without any of your clothing on.”

"You say that like it would actually deter us," Tony deadpanned, causing Loki to shoot him a thoughtful, almost smugly curious look.

"The throne room, then," Hlín corrected.

Both men winced.

"We were just leaving," Loki assured, and teleported them out.

~~

Tony chuckled a bit, when they landed on another bed. “Eager?”

"Oh, my dear," Loki purred. "I’ve wanted to take you apart for weeks."

"What happened to ‘not a good idea at this juncture’?"

"I’m no longer on a delicate political mission, wherein I could not afford to be distracted by the temptation to teleport you from one of your observation perches, to underneath a well-covered dining table, to see how well you improvise."

Tony swallowed tightly at the image: suddenly finding himself under a table, surrounded by the voices of the elite and powerful, facing Loki’s legs, spread open just enough to welcome him, and give him room to work. Trying to see how much noise he could get out of Loki, and what tactics the god had to resort to in order to prevent any of them alerting the other guests. “Oh, wow, yeah, that’s a really distracting thought.”

Loki chuckled darkly, and kissed him again. “Yes. Almost as distracting as anytime after a certain occasion that the word ‘please’ ever crossed your lips. Maddening, I will have you know.”

"Well then." Tony stroked the mage’s arousal through his trousers, making the god swear reverently. "Please let me make it up to you, and suck you dry." He grinned viciously at the breathless little noise Loki made, at that.

Abruptly, all of their clothing vanished.

The perks of sex with a talented enough mage. Tony could definitely get used to that, and said as much as he tugged at Loki’s hips to get the god to kneel up, while the pirate himself slid further down the bed until he could rest back on his elbows and lick the head of Loki’s cock, in long and slow and firm swipes, humming softly in approval of the taste before wrapping his mouth around it and giving a firm suck, letting his tongue swirl over the slit.

Loki panted, carding hands through his hair and watching him with hooded eyes. “You look almost worshipful, Tony.”

"Shhh, your cock is magnificent, just let it happen," Tony murmured, and to further make his point, proceeded to swallow as much of it as he could. It took him a few moments to remember the trick to suppressing his gag reflex, as he worked Loki over with his tongue, but once he did, it was wholly worth it for the breathless and rasping cry, low and cracked, that escaped the trickster’s throat in response to Tony’s initial bob down to take more. A longer, more mellifluous version of the same sound followed as Tony slid slowly, unhesitant, the last further few inches.

"Oh Tony," Loki rumbled, breathing ragged now. "Oh, you’re so good, my dear, so good. You look like you love the feel of me." An experimental tug back, and push back in earned him an encouraging half-moan from the pirate and the god shuddered and gripped Tony’s hair a bit harder, beginning to guide the motions himself, speeding up his pace as Tony’s hands stroked his thighs.

Tony was not picky about who he slept with, and that was widely known. What was not widely known was that on the occasions he was involved with women, even serious long-term relationships, he still did miss this. He loved letting go, letting himself be used…

Maybe it shouldn’t have come to a shock to him at all, really, that he might enjoy being submissive with another man. Maybe it was just that he hadn’t met another man like Loki, whose hands were reverent even as he began roll his hips harder, each deep stroke filling Tony’s mouth and sliding down his throat roughly, beginning to make his eyes water, but Tony only moaned with it, the discomfort making him all the more acutely aware of his position, his own need being neglected, his own utter surrender.

It felt so damned good that he actually groaned petulantly in protest when Loki pulled out of his mouth.

"What should I call you, Tony dear, when you’re so pliant and good for me? You deserve to know you’re doing well, and that I will take such care of you," the trickster purred. "Only here, when you are open and eager for me like this…" He paused to rub the tip of his cock over Tony’s lips and enjoy the brief tonguing and suction before he pulled away once more, smiling benevolently down when Tony made another disgruntled sound. "Here, you are my pet, Tony Stark. Now tell me what I can expect to hear from you if you need that to stop."

Tony nodded. “Reactor.”

"Good. Now, dear Pet." He slid back, and pushed Tony’s legs apart. "Have you ever bedded a mage before?"

"N-not really, no."

Loki’s responding grin was quite evil, before it relaxed upon his lips meeting Tony’s again, kissing him slow and deep, hands wandering.

Hands… too many hands.

Tony shuddered, uncertain exactly how Loki was doing that with his tongue so occupied, but it genuinely felt like there were extra hands all over him, smoothing over his arms up and down, while also holding his wrists, and also stroking his thighs, and one of them delving slick and wet into-

The pirate shuddered with a high keening moan at the feel of––was that a hand? It felt like it was, like fingers pushing into him, two, dragging in and out of him, slow and not-quite gentle. The stretch burned and he emitted a whimper, but rolled his hips down for more when he felt Loki go still against him, concerned.

Breaking from the kiss with a gasp, Loki stared down at him.

Tony noticed the trickster’s actual hands, were indeed holding his wrists down. All of the others, he couldn’t see at all, but it still felt… they still felt like Loki. He rocked his hips back and down, seeking more friction and panting out, “You really redefine what it means to be ‘handsy’ don’t y-you y-yeah there oh fuck.”

"You’re quite sensitive, there." A harder, twisting stroke followed, over the same spot.

Tony’s whole body arched back, taught as a bow. “Oh, damn, w-why have I not tried bottoming before? Holy fuck.”

Loki’s eyebrows raised.

"If you slow or stop, Loki, I swear to-hhhhnnngghhh fuck AH!" Apparently, he had inspired the trickster to show absolutely zero mercy and the magic that had been slowly fucking into him wasn’t a hand any longer. Hands did not stretch like that, or go that deep, even though Tony could tell it was still light stretching, compared to what Loki’s cock would do to him. “Ohhh, fuck, you’re gonna wreck me.”

"And you will love every second of it," Loki assured, kissing down his throat. "Grab the headboard, and keep your hands there. I’ll have to punish you if they move from that spot."

Tony obeyed, watching the god caress and kiss down his body while that still-invisible bit of magic applied pressure to his prostate and then––oh then it hummed suddenly with acute vibrations right there, and the pirate emitted an almost-inhuman high-pitched sound, his hips bucking helplessly as he tried to get more, but the pressure stayed where it was, too light over that spot, instead of adding friction, making him whine.

"Shh, pet, keep your legs spread for me."

Barely able to focus, Tony still managed to push his legs back further apart.

"Good pet," Loki purred, and smiled when the warmth of his breath with the words, stirring the air over the head of Tony’s dick as it did, made the pirate give a full-body shudder.

"You like the vibrations?"

"I do, I do, please, more, please."

"Hmm, I think you can beg prettier than that."

Tony gasped and bucked his hips again, struggling to keep his legs in place where they were as the buzzing continued to drive him crazy. “N-n-need more pressure please, and g-good as this is, I w-want to come with you in me.”

"You will, but I think I want to see you break like this first," Loki purred. "I want to see you desperately writhing until you ache in that place you know needs more, but gets no more, until it is all you can think of, all that you can focus upon. Your focus will be so sharp you start to feel that place almost pulse with it, with need. Oh, clench like that again."

"It d-doesn’t help."

"I wasn’t telling you for your sake. I can very much feel what you’re doing."

Tony gulped at that, and started to feel what Loki described. The place he needed more, needed pressure and deeper and more, all but ached with that need, and he felt dragged to the precipice by the ache of that need alone, and by the sweet agony of being denied. “Oh, f-fuck, ‘m close.”

"Good, Tony. Very good."

Tony emitted almost a scream as he was suddenly stretched a little wider, making him ache, but the vibrations lingered and the ache of need didn’t let up. Tony felt held open but empty, buzzing and needing and helpless. The pleas escaping his throat lost coherency and he started to just writhe, only for Loki to pin down his hips. The stretch increased again and Tony did give a sharp cry this time, jerking in sudden pain.

"Shhh, pet. I’m opening you up for me," Loki purred. "Just relax for me. Relax…"

The vibrations against his prostate were a little less intense now, deliberately weakened, deepening the ache Tony felt. He choked and arched his hips up. “P-please let me come.”

"You should see the sight you make. I can feel the heat of you, through the spell, I can feel every twitch of you, see how slick you are for me now with my magic, and every little tremor going through you with that little, little bit of friction, just over that sensitive little place inside you. Does it feel like fluttering? Like buzzing? Like the lightest tapping touch when what you really want is the long drag of something much more substantial?"

Tony gave a sobbing gasp at the feel of the head of Loki’s cock brushing briefly across his entrance, and realized he really was just being held open, stretched open, and that, and Loki’s words, sent him over the edge with a scream that trailed off, then returned louder still when Loki slid back and leaned down to suck the head of his cock.

Breathless half-syllables of acute discomfort escaped his throat as the stretch suddenly went away and Loki’s mouth engulfed him, all the way down to the root, and that clever tongue––

Oh that tongue.

Tony was beyond words, almost sobbing with hyper-sensitivity even as Loki pushed him over the threshold into renewed arousal, forcing his refractory rate to shorten because he demanded it of Tony’s body, and Tony’s body was more than happy to obey.

Once Tony was hard again, and back to writhing and bucking his hips, Loki raised his head, and despite the protesting growl from his lover, grabbed both of the pirate’s legs and slung them over his shoulder. Slicking his own length in one long stroke, with a quick spell, Loki then seized Tony’s ass and dragged him down onto his length, slow but unhalting, until he was buried as deep as he could reach and Tony was still against him, stiff at the initial foreignness and depth of the intrusion, but slowly relaxing, tightening muscle around him just slightly, experimentally.

"You feel exquisite," Loki panted.

"You… fuck… Loki… I c-can’t th-think." He rolled his hips back and down hard, getting a little more, Loki’s cock hitting a place in him so deep it took his breath away and pulled a strangled moan from him.

"Oh yes, perfectly sensitive and perfectly stretched," the trickster purred. "Tell me what you’re feeling, pet."

"St-stretched, like you’re breaking me open, but you’re so good, so hot and d-deep, please push in harder again like–" He barely suppressed a scream as Loki rolled his hips forward hard. "Ngh! Fffyeah that, that, more of that, Loki please, fuck me."

"You’ve been so good for me," Loki said, pulling back, watching the conflicting feelings flicker across the pirate’s expression at the slow, heavy drag. "I would give to you everything, pet. Especially myself, and especially like this." He then shoved in again, hard, and picked up a steady rhythm of deep thrusts, each one pulling the sweetest sounds up from Tony’s throat, like a perverse symphony.

Tony came again without being touched, so hard he saw stars, and this time screamed in more genuine pain as again Loki sought to bring him back to arousal almost immediately by increasing the speed of his thrusts and stroking his cock.

"You wish me to stop?"

"N-n-no, don’t," Tony heard himself saying, even as the pain seemed to go to his very bones. It was too good, with Loki still fucking him, jostling his insides and making him ache and feel bruised while the hand stroking his cock felt too rough, too demanding and Tony just––couldn’t get enough of pushing against the sharp bleeding edge until the pain gave way to endorphins gave way to uncomfortable arousal, gave way this time, as he had only experienced a few times when submissive, to his entering a state wherein he felt like he was floating, existing not as thought anymore but just experience and sensation. He could feel every pull and thrust, ever kiss Loki pressed against his neck as the pace sped further and almost knocked Tony’s breath out of him each time Loki struck home, hitting his prostate like striking a bell that rang up through his belly and his cock and out through the rest of him, like an orgasm that refused to let up, and Tony found himself babbling breathlessly whimpering, pleading, begging Loki to come with him, begging to be marked, begging to get that much higher.

Then Loki came with a harsh cry of his own, only a little muffled against Tony’s skin, and Tony felt the floating glow of it for a moment, before the trickster whispered, “Now come for me, pet, let it break over you,” and everything shattered entirely, intense and blinding, and he knew he sobbed with it more than he screamed, before he lost track of himself entirely, his vision gone white.

It took a few moments for the buzz and the whiteness to fade, by which time Loki was slowly pulling out and cleaned them both up with a spell before rolling onto his side and panting heavily.

They both spent a long while catching their breaths.

"Did you… come more than once?" He felt… very well-used and slick. Very slick. It felt indecent and perverse and a bit ridiculously hot.

"I came twice while fucking you. I just didn’t stop."

"Goddamn, that’s unfairly hot."

Loki chuckled softly, and smiled when the pirate tugged him closer and used him as  a full-sized body pillow. He stroked Tony’s hair. “I want to keep you.”

"Then lemme keep you awhile," Tony murmured. "Welcome aboard. Except not quite yet. I think, for that introduction, I should have functioning legs."

The trickster hummed. “Both of us should, yes.”

"So I can keep you?" Tony asked.

"You’d better."

Tony grinned and leaned up to kiss him firmly. “Good. That’s good. Perfect.”