Tony was dreading walking through those doors. Walking through those doors meant becoming one of them—a public school goer. Why his father was making him go to a public school, God knows why. Tony knew for a fact that he could get a better education being taught by a monkey. He could get better social skills from a monkey. Yet here he was, in the front office, slumped in a chair, just wishing for this day to end.
Maybe he wanted his life to end.
Why? He knew the snide remarks that would soon follow his entrance into one of those classrooms: “Is that Tony Stark? The Tony Stark?” “He’s probably a rich snob.” “He’s probably nothing like his dad.”
He wanted to ram his head into the desk. He couldn’t do that; didn’t want any weird looks on little Tony’s first day of public school.
Well, it wasn’t like he had much to worry about. He was seventeen, a senior, so he would be out of this hellhole at the end of the year. Why would his dad throw him to the dogs this late in the game? If Howard had wanted to send Tony to a public school, he should have done it a long time ago, so he could have gathered a friend base and not be such a social outcast. He could see it now: Tony, sitting at the lunch table, staring at his tray, thinking of all the ways he could end his life. He could see himself seeing the table with all the popular people, all sparkly and beautiful and perfect, perfect grades, in a type of sport, something that separated them from the rest.
Tony had something to separate himself from the rest. His IQ, his engineering dexterity; he was currently building something in the basement of he and his father’s mansion that would hopefully make Howard Stark so damn impressed with his son that he would yank him out of the clutches of this evil institution as soon as he laid eyes on the marvelous contraption Tony was building. He had plans; huge plans that would help the world. Right now he needed to focus on these plans, not be here, in this school, feeling his IQ dropping at a steady rate.
He nearly leapt out of his skin at the calling of his name, then he settled himself. He glanced up to see some guy, his age, with blond hair and blue eyes. He seemed the picture of innocence, and Tony couldn’t see the guy planning his death of anything, so he stood up.
“Ah, there you are. Pleasure to meet you. My name’s Steven Rogers, but people call me Steve.” The guy held out a hand, and Tony was almost tempted not to shake it, but decided that this Steve seemed to be the picture of not public school hygiene. His skin was clear, eyes without the usual dark circles like most teenagers, and he seemed ready to help anyone that needed assistance. To Tony, he seemed like the friendly guy that talked to everyone and was nice to even the most bitchiest of people.
“Nice to meet you too. You can call me Tony, by the way,” he added as an afterthought, shuddering when he remembered that in public schools, there was roll call, and he would have to tell every teacher to call him Tony, not Anthony.
“Tony? That’s a cool name. Anyway, I suppose I’m a part of what one might call ‘the welcoming committee’.” He air-quoted the words. “I was sent here to, you know, walk you around the school, help you see the sights, get to know people, yada yada, the proverbial ‘welcome’ stuff. I personally don’t see why they chose me for this task, but I guess I’m good enough.”
Tony could actually see why they chose Steve, whoever they are. Steve seemed very docile and friendly, talkative, and generally likable so far. He wondered if Steve would be a good candidate for a wingman.
No, Tony, said a voice in his mind. The correct term is ‘friend.’ And besides, he seems to innocent to be a playboy’s wingman. Don’t taint his mind.
“So, before you head to your classes, I’m gonna have to show you around the school,” Steve said, then he picked up Tony’s bag. Tony was about to say he could carry it, but Steve piped, “Don’t worry, I got this. Wow, this is light.”
“How is it light? It’s got a bunch of books in it out the wazoo.”
“I’m in weightlifting.”
Tony blinked, then realized that good god, Steve had muscle. He started to laugh, then clapped Steve on the shoulder. “Lead the way, big guy.”
He laughed. “Will do!”
“So basically this school has two main hallways,” Steve said. They were standing at the front of the school, in the middle of the entrance area, looking straight at the office. Tony glanced over and saw the opening to two large hallways; he noticed that’s where Steve was pointing. “Well, actually, four main hallways, counting upstairs. This school’s relatively small, so it’s no trouble getting to your classes and locker before the bell rings. Here’s the main office, obviously. Hm…that about covers here.”
“That was quick,” Tony commented as they started walking down the left hallway. The lockers were a bland grey color, just like his outlook on this whole excursion.
“This is…your locker.” Steve halted in front of one of those grey lockers. He handed Tony a slip of paper with some numbers on it. “This is your combination for the lock. It took me a few tries to get it right, so—oh.” He became quiet when Tony had it open in five seconds. Tony grinned. He always had to open up locks and things, so this was a joke.
“Your first hour is…Algebra three, so here’s your book,” Steve continued, handing Tony the book and placing the bag into the locker. He shut it and twirled the lock. “There.”
“Algebra? Ugh. I hate math.” Well, Tony had to use a lot of it for his plans, so the only reason why he hated math was because of the fact he used it all the damn time. Well, he got straight A’s, so he wasn’t complaining.
The two froze up, though Tony had no idea why, and turned stonily to the direction of the voice. Sharing the hallway with them was a guy, about their age too, wearing a dark trench coat, raven hair slicked back so it curled up at the nape of his neck, and, Jesus Christ, Tony thought, extremely green eyes that seemed to pop out at you from his pale skin. Steve sucked in a breath and Tony pursed his lips when a hand went to his shoulder.
“Oh…hello, Loki,” Steve said, voice trying to stay strong, but it still had a small quiver in it.
“I see we have a new face here,” said Loki, eyes narrowed. Tony could still see the green slits. “Why don’t you introduce yourself?”
Steve looked at Tony, then gave him a gentle push forward. Tony stared back, trying to wonder what the hell was up with this Loki guy.
Said Loki held out his hand, and this time Tony shook it, mostly out of fear that Loki would kill him if he didn’t. Loki chuckled, looking down upon him. God, he was tall. Taller than Steve.
“I would say welcome to our school, but that would be a tad cliché, wouldn’t it now?” Loki murmured, then bent down to whisper in his ear. “So instead, welcome to hell.”
Loki pulled away, smiled at them both, and then made his way down the hall, disappearing around the corner.
Tony sank onto his knees. “What the hell was that about?”
“That was Loki,” Steve muttered, hand hovering over Tony, wanting to help him up. “He’s a devious little bastard. Don’t trust him, Tony. Take it from me. He will make your life a living hell.”
Tony considered this and could only agree with what Loki had said to him.
Welcome to hell.