This night’s event is a fundraising, that much Tony’s aware of; a fundraising for what, well, he’s sure Pepper has mentioned it. But it’s always beautiful and so rich in irony, men and women with too much money and too much time tapping at their social consciousness and caring for the less fortunate. Whoever they are this time. And it’s just the kind of promotion the Avengers don’t want but are obliged to yield to (because Nick Fury’s got quite a death glare for a one-eyed man).
Hawkeye and Thor are left behind with Coulson to work on some strategies (on Texas Hold’em), and Banner hasn’t left his lab for days (Tony thinks someone should really check if he’s still alive).
Cap’s in his full military uniform and looking exactly like the poster boy for The Good Guys. Tony doesn’t want to know where the Widow has hidden her weapons in a dress that clingy but she’s definitely screaming the silent scream of a strong independent woman. Steve shakes his head, so she shares her bottle of vodka with Tony in the back of the limo before the red carpet.
It’s like any other red carpet anywhere: cameras flashing; smiles with too much teeth and too little feeling; Giorgio Armani, meet Jimmy Choo, your old friend in yet another disguise; and Steve, oh Steve, if they’re offering you coke it’s not soda at all.
It should be painless enough.
Get dressed up, get drunk, get laid, get back to work.
Tony exchanges pleasantries with one group of people and then another, searching for Pepper with his eyes but she’s nowhere to be seen, probably making sure that he’ll die alone but not forgotten. (Tony, we’re not dating anymore, I’m officially off the arm-candy duty.)
He’s pretty much left on his own. Apparently Iron Man is so last season.
He downs a few more quick drinks at the bar before focusing his gaze on anyone else, but when he starts looking for a target he doesn’t have to look for long, because, hello gorgeous, there’s a woman chatting away in a circle of admirers by the buffet table, and when she shakes her head her cascade of raven black hair reveals that there’s no back in her dark green knee-length dress.
It’s time for the hunt, and when Tony approaches he absolutely refuses to be intimidated by the fact that the woman is taller than him by several inches (how can anyone walk in those shoes?).
His witty opening line never takes its place in this world: the woman turns around just in time to flash him the most beautiful predatory smile he can imagine and the words die on his tongue.
“Anthony Stark, this is a pleasant surprise.”
It’s not a surprise for her and it’s anything but pleasant for Tony, but he’s too dumb-struck to correct her.
Because, hey, he’s not that drunk and Loki (he was tired of glaring at that face on security tapes and S.H.I.E.L.D. files even before the bastard pushed him into a freefall from the twentieth floor), for the love of sweet baby Jesus and all his entourage, Loki definitely has breasts and other nice curves under that dress.
He knows his life has stopped making sense a long time ago, even long before Afghanistan, and he’s teamed up with a fucking Viking god already, but this one here has been sold to him as Thor’s brother without any kind of memo of a twin sister, and Tony is convinced that he has every right in the world to be upset.
Loki holds out her (his? No, her) hand and Tony has no other choice than to take it in his own and give the back of it a ghost of a kiss.
Pepper’s still not around.
Steve’s supposedly trapped and cooed over by his fan club, and there’s no knowing of Natasha’s whereabouts (he would put his money on her hiding in the ladies room getting shit-faced before too many social encounters).
“Would you like to dance, mister Stark?”
She’s still holding his hand, and her fingernails are dangerously sharp.
Her eyes are even sharper, and Tony’s yet more puzzled by the lack of murder in them: there’s unmistakable glee instead.
The only consolation are the faces of the men left behind as he summons a smile: “With such a breath-taking creature, always.”
Loki keeps his hand and glues to his side just so that the Avengers Special Identity Card Peeper is trapped in his pocket beyond his reach with his phone.
Screaming for assembling and risking everyone’s life (and his own dignity if Cap and Widow won’t hear), for now, feels goddamn stupid.
“So, you are a woman,” he mutters as they’ve taken their position on the crowded dance floor, his hand resting on the small of Loki’s back, her hand on his shoulder, their other hands’ fingers entwined.
“Am I?” There’s a smirk and she’s cocking her head to one side. “Is it really me if this is not my body? Is this? Are you Iron Man without the suit?”
Her eyes are green and there’s apparently no make-up on her long black eyelashes; and those features, too familiar and still feminine, are truly unnerving.
There are cameras, naturally, but somehow she’s managing to avoid them catching her face, and Tony’s already sure no-one’s gonna believe him.
“I’m not in the mood for games, missy. Mister. Whatever you are. What do you want?”
She purses her lips. “Do I always have to want something in particular? What if I was bored? What if I just happen to like putting on ridiculous heels and parading around?”
The song ends; the next one starts. They don’t break eye contact.
“In my experience you push people out of the windows when you get bored.” There’s no way in hell he’s capable of saying it aloud without it tasting like compressed bitterness.
Loki simply shrugs. “You’re still alive.”
“Yeah, well, you need to try a little harder next time.”
For a while they swing together in silence.
“You’re an interesting man, Tony Stark, and I would very much like to play a game with you.”
It really should not awaken his interest. “Why me? Couldn’t you just go and play with your brother?”
Loki actually laughs at that; a soft, dark chuckle before leaning in closer and whispering the words into his ear, as if confidentially. “I’ve always found broken toys more fun.”
The whisper runs down his spine as a shiver.
Loki leans back, casually supporting some of her weight on Tony’s arm. “So, I’m asking you to spend a night with me.”
He really should laugh out loud; the way Loki raises her eyebrows and bites her lower lip is critically distracting, and the noise comes out as a cough.
“You’re kidding, right? I mean, what’s wrong with you Asgardians anyway, do you pop crazy-pills for breakfast? Why the fuck would I, quote, spend a night with you?”
Loki takes a meaningful glance at her own cleavage (dear god, look at those) before giving him a lewd smile. “I’m giving you a chance to get to know your enemy.”
“As well as giving yourself one?”
“I’m not playing any fairer than this.”
Tony closes his eyes for a second and wishes upon an imaginary star, but there’s no-one bursting to rescue.
“So,” he sighs, taking one more look around for his teammates. In vain.
“So,” she muses, pressing her body closer, and it’s a very sad thing to admit and tells horrible things of his character that he’d like to weep for the fact that this package of pure hotness and self-confident beauty comes with Loki in it. And fuck the universe if he’ll end up having a hard-on for a gender-bending alien in stiletto heels.
“What kind of a trick is this, anyway?” He would wiggle his fingers if they weren’t so securely trapped in Loki’s hold. “Do you really shape-shift or do you just commit mindfuckery?”
“I shape-shift. For real. As for you, your mind is only influenced by a minor love spell.”
His throat suddenly feels a little too dry for the occasion. “What kind of a love spell, exactly, since I haven’t noticed?”
“This kind of,” Loki chuckles, leans forward and kisses him.
Tony’s world takes a spin.
And it’s surely not him who starts the thing with the tongues.
Loki’s a freakin’ perfect kisser.
Life just isn’t fair.
When he finally pulls back, he finds his hands where he left them, and Loki gives the one she’s holding a gentle squeeze and licks her lips in a most indecent way before leaning back in for another whisper in his ear. “Mister Stark?”
“Yes?” And okay, maybe he’s planning the fastest way out of the party and somewhere private, but can he really be blamed?
“Do you really believe in love spells?”
Life just isn’t fair, and the universe is a bitch.
Loki finally releases him from her grip and gives him a cheeky grin. Tony reaches for the Card, mutters a defeated “Avengers, assemble” to it and shakes his head. If people weren’t staring at them already, they are now.
“Oh, don’t look so sad, mister Stark. You’re really cute for a mortal, and who knows, if I didn’t have a world to take over…” She blows him a kiss and weaves something in the air with her hands. “And I must admit: I was bored, and I really like these shoes.” Then she’s gone with a theatrical poof and a couple of accompanying screams from their audience.
And now Cap rushes to his side followed by the Widow.
“Tony? What’s the matter?”
He guesses his face looks blank enough to cause those worried frowns. “Loki’s got boobs. She’s hot. There’s not enough alcohol in the world to come to terms with this. We’re doomed.”