"Why," is all that comes from Steve's mouth, the killjoy, when Tony comes back to the Avengers mansion fresh from a Tokyo conference. So much for a warm welcome from their inspiring leader.
Personally, Tony blames Bucky, because ever since Bucky and Steve found each other again, Steve's kind of become less reliant to go along with his schemes, and more adverse to cramping his style and stopping him. Not that Bucky and Steve aren't a touching story. (The paparazzi has been skulking around the mansion for weeks and God, Tony won't even Google them anymore since that one time with the photoshopped pictures.) It's just they're both so old fashioned.
Seriously, who actually watches the movie on a movie date?
"I'm going to hope for the sake of our working relationship, which includes a magical cross-time friendship and my fragile ego, that you're referring to Thor's present that I'm holding and not that I've finally returned home." Steve just gives a dismissive snort, above Tony's bullshit , and ok: maybe Bucky has some positive influences on him, because this Steve is totally ballsy.
"I'm starting to think humility is a foreign word to you, never mind your ego." Steve hesitantly reaches out and takes the object in Tony’s arms to survey it. 'It' being a pillow upon which was an almost frighteningly accurate illustration of Loki, their on-and-off again nemesis. "I don't--how did you even get this? Who would MAKE this?"
Clearly Steve doesn't find the attention-to-detail on Loki's costume as hilarious as Tony does, which whatever. Like he said. Killjoy.
"Apparently we're big in Japan, and so are our villains. Loki's got some weird fanclub over there. You'd be horrified at half the positions I found him in in Akihabara. Which reminds me--don't turn him over."
It's two seconds too late, and Tony gets to witness the adjunct horror and confusion on Steve's face. (Which is really uncalled for; Tony actually feels offended for Loki.) Tony knows—well, everyone does nowadays—that Steve and Bucky's relationship is so much more of the Let's-tell-even-though-no-one-asked variety, so it can't be the fact that Loki's naked. Well, mostly naked.
"Why is he only wearing his helmet? No, wait, don't tell me—and don't tell me what's on his face." Ears burning, Steve all but shoves Loki back into Tony's arms. "You cannot give that to Thor. You'll mentally scar him."
"He doesn't have to see the other side! I didn't even notice it until TSA started some shit storm—which I’m probably going to hear about from Fury later, by the way—"
"How can you not notice that? He's only wearing a helmet."
"I may have been drunk and there may have been two lovely female scientists who—"
"No, do not finish that sentence," Steve interrupts, staring as Tony places the Loki pillow down, mostly-clothed side on the couch. "Get rid of it now."
"Do you know how lucky I was to even get this? Apparently Loki sells out fast and I had to bribe the shop-keeper to part with this last one. Even when I told him I was Iron Man, and reminded him that he was lucky I wasn't bringing in a storm of lawyers about the blatant copyright infringement going on there. I mean, do you know they had these of all of us? Except Hulk, but I feel like I just have to go to the right store for him." Tony adjusts the pillow so that it's turned towards them. "I was actually tempted to buy one of each of us. Would've been a hell of a gag gift."
"What would we do with them? Why would we want them?" Steve is blatantly glossing over the fact that people are buying pillows with him printed on them in indecent poses but Tony can predict that it's going to come up in conversation with Bucky later. "Are we all like…" Steve gestures at Loki as if he's actually there. "That?"
"You at least had the shield? Also they grossly misrepresented how the Iron Man armor comes off. It doesn't just split down the middle like that," Tony explains thoughtfully. Steve splutters but Tony continues on because seriously? He has seen so much worse over the years, and besides: no one else is around to listen. "Yeah, the shield was a lot smaller than it is when you carry it. Also, your eyes aren't ever brimming with tears usually. I mean jeez, I almost felt guilt from the way you were looking at me. Well, not you, but pillow-you. I guess that's a thing? The whole please don't bad touch me thing you had going. Not as bad as Natasha though, I mean that was just an unashamed lie about her cup s—"
"Just get rid of it before Thor sees it!" Steve hisses, looking at Tony desperately, as if willing some kind of sense into Tony. Whatever, ha, eccentric billionaire playboy philanthropist, this kind of thing came with the territory. "He'll be home any minute. Just—"
Of course that's when Thor walks in from where ever he goes off too with that S.H.I.E.L.D scientist these days, waving amicably and booming, "Starkson, it is good to see you have returned! We shall have much merriment and feasting for your home-coming!"
It takes about less than a second for Thor to notice Pillow Loki on the couch. There are a few beats of silence, with Thor just staring at the pillow intently. Steve keeps shooting Tony disappointed looks, which ok, don't feel that great anymore. Because Thor still has yet to say anything; he just creeps closer to the couch as if he's not sure what else to do.
"Is this for me?"
Tony blinks because it almost sounds like the big guy is about to cry and this is getting a lot less funny than he thought it would be by the second. Thor seems to be waiting for his approval though, so Tony offers up a, "Yup, all yours. Thought of you when I saw it," with a lot less enthusiasm than he meant.
"My thanks, Man of Iron. It is a fine gift," Thor replies with a lot more gravity than the situation calls for, grabbing Tony's gaze to assure him that he is indeed very, very grateful, and picks up the pillow. (Tony resolutely refuses to see how Steve's taking the reaction.)
It's a rather surreal sight to see Thor staring so intensely at the pillow, as if he's somehow going to find a way to make all the weird complicated facets of their relationship disappear. Tony doesn't think to warn him about the other side until he's turned it over and there's another pause, one that Tony's afraid is going to end with him getting a hammer to the head and being smote or whatever. At the very least, some angry yelling and some thunder and lightning. Thankfully, it doesn't end in any of that.
Thor just takes in the other side with a raised brow, seemingly undisturbed that his brother's only wearing a helmet and his crossed legs are doing a poor job of leaving anything up to the imagination. He just shrugs it off. Which...kind of weird, but Tony's going to chalk it up to the whole machismo, warrior-culture thing.
Maybe they had communal baths in Asgard, or something. They're gods; bathhouses are in a god’s contract, right?
"I shall retire temporarily, please summon me when festivities are set to occur." Thor turns over the pillow, tucks it under his arm, and trots away. His boots stomping up the stairs echo for a while after.
"Huh," Tony says after a moment, he gives a one-armed shrug in Steve's direction. "Guess that didn't go so badly after all?"
Steve sighs, uncrosses his arms and shakes his head. How he can manage to convey so much disappointment in one motion is, quite frankly, amazing. “This is going to end horribly. Just wait."
Tony actually manages to forget about the whole thing for a while. Thor seems back to normal when they go out to eat at Tony's favorite restaurant (second favorite, actually, after this one strip club; Tony swears by their chicken wings, but Natasha vetoed it instantly) and the rest of the night is just playing catch up. Then the next few days, it's Tony playing catch up with Pepper because the board of directors is bitching about something or another, and of course the whole patrolling-at-night since super villainy could care less that you've just returned from overseas. Hawkeye's been feeling under the weather, so naturally Tony and his screwed up sleep schedule are the next volunteers.
It's actually when he's just gotten back from patrol, reclining against the couch in the living room and internally debating if he should attempt sleep or work on new schematics for the Iron Man suit, when he remembers. Or, well, is forcibly reminded of it.
Bruce and Natasha are both staring down at him with the exact same look of disappointment and disapproval that Steve gave him, which actually comes out to be less guilt-inducing and more terrifying for some strange reason. Probably due to the fact he's kind of walking on eggshells around Bruce, playing around in the lab aside.
"What the hell did you do?" Natasha demands, all frost in her glare, and Tony internally back tracks to see if he's actually done anything to offend her recently. When he draws a blank at that, he tries to think if he's caused any overly extravagant property damage as Iron Man. When he gets nothing from that either, he just kind of blinks at them until they tell him what he did wrong this time.
"The pillow you gave Thor, the…" Bruce makes some kind of complicated motion with his hands. "Weird Loki one."
Oh right, that.
"I believe the correct phrase, Bruce, is Dakimakura. They've got a whole market donated to them," Tony explains, purposefully unhelpful. When they just narrow their eyes at him further, Tony just leans back against the couch, settling in. "What did he do now?"
"He won't stop taking it with him around the house everywhere. He even brought it to the gym." Tony knows it's a bad idea to laugh, but it just kind of comes out, and really, he isn't that surprised when someone hits him and all but screeches, "This is serious! Fury's worried that he'll become a liability."
"It's a Japanese love pillow, and Thor is 200-plus pounds of pure muscle. And you know, a god. So he's getting a little weirdly attached to a pillow that just happens to have his estranged brother on it. The pros still out weight the cons here." Tony honestly can't see why they're so concerned. Then again, it could also be sleep deprivation rearing its ugly head again. "He'll probably forget about it in a week anyway."
"Tony, it's been three weeks." Bruce's shoulders sag just slightly as he peers at him blearily in the dim light.
"Seriously? I haven't had jet lag this bad before." Because Tony is a master of avoiding uncomfortable issues via alcohol, he is not about to think too deeply on Thor and his...brother. "Listen, is he doing anything to it? Like you know...sexually? Or I don't know, feeding it? Taking it into the shower?"
"Why would you ask that?" Bruce all but wails, looking at Tony like it's not, you know, an obvious conclusion one can get from an erotic pillow case that he was assured would be "friendly to the skin." (Not thinking about that, either.) Natasha actually has the grace to just raise one expressive brow.
"No, he's not. He's just...taking it with him around the house," she says, and makes the same kind of sighing sound Pepper does when he disappoints her. Not a great sound, really. "He's not talking to it, just keeping it around him."
"That's it? I mean the obvious aside, that's not that weird." Because really, if Tony can recall his Norse Mythology correctly, Thor's probably done a lot of weirder things. "He's probably just using it as some kind of security blanket. You know how complicated he and Loki are. He's probably just substituting, and it'll hit him eventually that no matter what he does, it's not going to replace Loki and then we'll have that whole awkward confrontation with Loki and they'll fight and yell and kind of cry at each other and ignore us. The circle of life will continue."
Bruce and Natasha both still looked unconvinced. So Tony adds, while he wishes vaguely for a tumbler of scotch, "Thor's still dating that S.H.E.I.L.D. scientist, right? So obviously he's not trying to romanticize the thing, he clearly isn't even thinking of it like that. It'll be fine. Whole thing will blow over in a few more days, trust me."
The expression on both Bruce and Natasha's faces are just mean. Honestly, his fellow Avengers really need to attend some kind of sensitivity seminar. Tony would gladly cite the instances of emotional harm to get one going.
Thor breaks up with Jane barely a week later. Tony gets to hear about it when he clambers down the stairs and face six expectant faces waiting for him at breakfast. (Well, breakfast for him, mid-afternoon lunch for others).
"Tony, we need to talk," Pepper begins in her usual ’I am only keeping my voice level because I am about to interrogate you thoroughly’ tone.
He wordlessly turns around on his heel and goes back to his room. Then goes back to sleep.
It doesn't last long because Pepper has key code access to his door and Hawkeye isn't above literally jumping on him in bed to wake him up. But for a few minutes, it's pretty great.
"They weren't real school girls, those were just costumes," Tony finally mumbles after he has some coffee, the looks he gets in response clues him in that it probably isn't about that party a few weeks ago.
"And that makes it better?" Steve asks because someone always has to, and Tony just gives him an expectant look back.
"Doesn't it? Not usually my thing but they were—"
"It's amazing how much you're your father's son," Bucky mutters wryly, metal arm flexing in the sunlight. Tony has a very scathing retort back that involves Soviet technology and metal replacing other parts of Bucky’s anatomy, but Natasha interrupts before he can even get the first word out.
“Thor and Jane broke up.”
“It was Thor’s squeeze back home wasn’t it? The hot, tall Amazon-looking girl who almost broke my
hand when I—”
“Tony, the only reason Thor wanted to protect Midgard was BECAUSE of Jane.” Pepper cuts through flawlessly, because she’s Pepper and she’s always going to be able to have a handle on him like that. “Obviously she isn’t the only reason anymore, but she was still a big deal to him.”
“Oh.” Tony really actually doesn’t know what to say to that. He only knows that everyone’s frowning at him and he’s getting pretty annoyed with the constant looks of disappointment going around. “What do you want me to do about that? Maybe they’re working through some stuff? Why does it have to go back to the whole dakimakura thing?”
“Because Thor is watching a movie downstairs in the home theater with the Loki pillow right now.” Bruce interjects. “And aside from a few sad looks, he seems completely fine about the breakup.”
Tony was really starting to wonder why Dr. Doom just couldn’t chose to invade the U.N. right now. Anything, really, because it is a sad, sad day when Thor breaking up with his girlfriend is something that requires this much attention from the Avengers.
“Can’t we just leave it alone? He’ll deal with it, he’s a grown-up. We all are. Maybe he just realized they don’t have a lot in common? I mean, from what Thor’s told me about Jane, it always seemed kind of weird to me that he went for someone who seemed to have more in common with Loki. Well, Loki’s roaming sanity and penchant for Daddy issues aside.”
Steve just crosses his arms considering. Next to him, Bucky surprisingly nods along. “He does have a point.”
Tony likes Bucky just the littlest bit more for that, even if Steve is giving Bucky this look that clearly says
he’s not helping.
“Fury is concerned,” Natasha says. “Remember what I said about liability? He thinks Loki will take advantage of Thor.”
To his credit, Hawkeye is also laughing with Tony. Steve is at least being polite and just sighing loudly at the obvious statement while Bucky just does that weird communicating judgment through his eyebrows thing. Pepper slaps Tony in the arm, and ok he did deserve that one. Just a bit.
“Natasha, once again. Gods. And what are we going to do? Throw Loki in jail because Thor has a big brother complex? Loki’s always taking advantage of Thor, we already knew about that,” Tony says after a moment. He rubs his arm more out of habit than out of actually being injured. “Seriously, Pepper, why are you involved in this?”
“Because it was your idea to get him that pillow, even when I told you at the airport to throw it away, and you didn’t listen.” She looks like she’s going to go for round two and hit him again, so he angles his body just so. “Tony, you have to do something.”
“What do you want me to do?” He’s honestly the worst person at feelings, why can’t they just all agree to ignore the problem like normal people, or at least give this to Steve to handle? He’s great with feelings and repressed desires and the like. “I can’t take it away from him now, obviously. And I am not about to go trying to tell him to get over Loki because there are some really, really complicated things I just don’t want to know about Thor and he’ll probably tell me them if I do. And I will have nothing to offer him back. Besides, he’s not acting any different, so why do we even need to bother checking up on him? He’s not about to do anything crazy.”
Understandably, no one really looks convinced. Tony sighs loudly for emphasis.
“Look, if it bugs you so much I’ll go talk to him about getting rid of it, alright? But only if he does something absolutely insane because so far, it still seems to me like you guys are getting worked up over nothing. ” It’s not exactly the answer everyone wants but Pepper does give him a smile and nods.
“Thank you, Tony. That’s all we ask.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Tony takes another sip of coffee and peers at her over the rim. “It’s not even fair calling you in. Talk about overkill.”
Pepper just makes a noise of agreement and goes back to her PDA.
Two days later, Thor tries to sneak the pillow into Asgard.
It goes as well as you’d expect.
Odin is furious, Thor is furious in retaliation, S.H.I.E.L.D. is somehow involved, and it all ends with everyone, once again, looking at Tony to stage some kind of intervention while Thor yells angrily at his father and incidentally the sky and S.H.I.E.L.D. black suits politely and forcefully nudge away onlookers. After about a good fifteen minutes of one-sided yelling (well, it looks one-sided from Tony’s end but judging how Thor’s expressions seem to shift and he pauses into silence sometimes, he’s probably just not seeing it correctly or something), Tony finally approaches Thor and coaxes him to join him at his second favorite restaurant.
Thor still looks pretty wound up, and he’s still working on his temper so it’s probably a bad idea all around, but he agrees anyway.
Thor brings the pillow, Tony does the decent thing and orders a booth.
“So uh, you like your present a lot more than I thought you would,” Tony offers as they sit there waiting for garlic bread. He has to marvel at the good condition Thor’s actually kept the thing in as he stares at it from across the table. “I mean, I kind of thought you’d just you know shove it in your closet or smite me…possibly both.”
“I must admit, at first I found the novelty of it amusing.” So even Thor found it funny, at least he’s not too off the deep end. Then, “But, I grew attached to this cushion, as you would say. My brother, for millennia, was my best friend, we grew up together and though Loki thinks differently, he will always be my brother. It is a poor replacement, compared to him, but it is hard, knowing that my brother spurns me; that we will never be friends again. At least with this, for a while, it would be like he is here. It is a shame that my brother has lost himself to the hate and envy twisted into his heart. He would have enjoyed your company; all of you, my friends. You would have enjoyed him as well.”
Well, that was fast. He didn’t think he’d actually get Thor to open up until at least they got the calamari.
“Wait, so the whole bringing-the-pillow around thing? That’s because you want your brother to hang out around the house with us?” It’s a strangely touching gesture, and it kind of explains why Thor would bring the pillow back to Asgard—probably wasn’t even thinking about the picture. Just about the symbolic idea of bringing his brother back home. It’s actually kind of sad, but it doesn’t answer the whole Jane thing. “Why did you break up with the S.H.E.I.L.D. scientist then? Wouldn’t you want your brother to get to know your girlfriend?”
“Lady Jane is still a dear friend to me, but we both realized our relationship was turning to that of companionship and camaraderie.” Thor look at him slightly bemused, as if he can tell what everyone probably thought of him. “She was not discouraged by my actions in the slightest. It was a mutual realization that we were simply not fit for one another.”
So, actually everything kind of makes sense…mostly. Tony still has one more question to ask because everyone else will hound him if he doesn’t.
“You’re not bothered by the fact Loki’s naked on the other side? I mean you said he’s your brother, right, and you don’t like him that way, so that’s not weird?” Tony prompts because he can kind of get behind this whole thing now. It’s actually a lot less creepy when Thor explains it than people make it out to be.
“I’m afraid I don’t understand, friend Starkson.” Which right, Thor needs colloquies to be explained for American English just like they need it explained for Asgardian phrases.
“You’re not interested in your brother romantically right?” Tony clarifies, as the waiter puts down a basket and at the true mark of a professional does not pry or give them a strange look at the topic, just walks away.
Thor suddenly looks immensely interested in the candle in front of him.
“Are you serious? You just said that he’s your brother, that doesn’t—” Actually Tony can think of many unhelpful examples in mythology where incest wasn’t exactly an issue and if he wanted to get real technical about it, Thor and Loki weren’t actually related.
Thor just gives him a put-upon look and Tony does kind of back down from because right, complicated. That’s pretty much all Thor really can use to describe it.
“Ok, fair enough,” Tony remarks after a minute, digging into his garlic bread with more force than he means to with his knife. “I guess the pictures don’t bug you because of that then—”
“If you mean my brother’s visage, why should I be offended? I have seen my brother without clothing before—the royal baths are shared by all of us.” Thor reaches for some bread himself, and pauses to consider it for a minute. “If you perhaps mean to inquire why I am not titillated by the opposite side, it is simply because I know my brother would never pose as such, so I can only see it as something fictional.”
“You know Thor, you’re actually a pretty astute man. You get the whole unsuspecting tourist since you don’t understand a lot of stuff here, but you’re a lot more intuitive than people give you credit for.”
Because really, Tony actually feels kind of weirdly blown away at how sharp Thor is at times.
“Was there any doubt, Man of Iron?” It sounds faint enough to be sarcasm that Tony almost wants to reach over and high five him out of pride. Something about the phrase is faintly condescending but hey, god. Tony’s not too worried.
With enough convincing that Thor hasn’t turned into some crazy, pillow deviant, and is actually just kind of more lonely than they thought, everyone kind of drops the subject. If it’s a little unnerving for Steve and Bucky to watch a movie curled up on the couch while Thor sits across on the recliner, Loki in his hands, they don’t say a thing. Same goes with Clint in the gym at the same time Thor is working out while the dakimakura watches on a bench nearby. So basically everyone ignores it, which Tony had pointed out they do in the first place, but whatever. Tony will just chalk it up to being an eccentric genius and how no one will really listen to him till its’ too late anyway.
It almost gets to the point that things are almost back to normal. Thor still hasn’t been back to Asgard and it’s been a few weeks, but that’s nothing new, either. Tony gets the feeling Thor and his father fighting isn’t exactly a new issue either.
So of course this is the perfect time for Loki (the real one) to suddenly infiltrate their peaceful household for some reason or another after a long-enough absence. Of course it had to be when only Thor and Tony are home, sitting in the living room of all places where all they had was furniture for makeshift weaponry.
“Prepare yourself and your little Midgardian pets, Brother, for I have—“
It’s bad to laugh at the expression on Loki’s face when he actually sees the pillow in Thor’s hands, which of course because he’s holding clothed Loki to him, means mostly-naked Loki is facing outwardly. So Tony knows it’s bad. Also knows that he’s not wearing the suit right now and Loki could probably cause a lot of serious harm to him without magic because Tony’s only human—but he still laughs anyways. Because Loki’s expression is almost amazing in how bizarre it is.
“What is that thing? Put it away.” Loki actually looks offended, and he reaches over to grab it out of Thor’s hands like he wasn’t just about to announce some new nefarious scheme and Tony is unhelpful again because he just kind of starts laughing. Again. The scene of Thor in pajama pants and no shirt, trying to defend his erotic pillow of his brother from said brother in full battle armor and regalia.
“Jarvis, please say this is recording,” he comments idly, because Thor and Loki are doing that thing where they ignore everyone but themselves, so Tony’s pretty much just kind of stuck here till he can figure out a way to grab the Iron Man suitcase he was using as a footstool earlier that’s next to Loki’s leg.
“As usual your priorities are so well placed, Sir,” Jarvis informs crisply, which is pretty much a ‘yes’ to the question. “Already sent to your cell.”
“Love you too, Jarvis.” Tony’s pretty sure if he could, Jarvis would give him the same look Pepper does: affectionate and resigned.
“Thor, you will hand over that offending piece of furniture now or I shall burn this place to the ground.” Loki seems to have completely forgotten whatever he was going to do in the first place, since Thor’s holding back by swinging around Mjolnir with one hand from where ever he pulled it out from. Tony swears he didn’t have it earlier. “Does your depravity know no bounds that you would parade my image as such for the world to see?”
“I should see no problem with it—you have done plenty to damage your own image in the eyes of Midgardians.” Thor returns back and he sounds kind of, you know, epic and regal (if you ignore the pillow in his other arm). “You would rather they think you a liar, thief, or trickster than they see you nude? How backwards, brother.”
“Don’t you talk to me about honor, you ignorant brute. I should be feared than debased like some ignorant stupid lapdog to guard them.” Loki hisses and reaches for his brother only to be deterred again. “Give me that cushion, NOW.”
“Question," Tony speaks up. "Uh, why is it such a big deal that Thor has that? Hypothetically speaking, there may or may not be a niche market of other people who may or may not own pillow cases just like that one.” Tony really needs to work on his survival skills because Loki and Thor pause for a moment and Loki looks about ready to skin him alive. Thor looks pretty pissed himself but he’s still kind enough to jump in front of Tony.
“Is this his doing? I shall hang him by his entrails from the highest point in the land!” Loki screeches, and tries to reach for Tony, who has never happier that Thor is literally a mountain of a man. “They shall whisper of your death in fear and—”
“It is not Tony Starkson's doing that this came into creation. He simply purchased it for me.” Thor asserts. “You will not harm him, Brother, for this is your doing that I carry this with me instead of having you by my side instead.”
“My doing? You dare to accuse me of your base perversions—” Which ouch, that is seriously uncalled for, but when Tony looks up Loki doesn’t look disgusted or upset so much as annoyed.
“You are my brother and will ever be my brother. It is not a perversion of what I feel for you at all,” Thor says all poetically and shit. Tony really needs to ask Thor to be his wing man because seriously, this guy and his diction.
Loki doesn’t say anything, just narrows his eyes further. He snaps his fingers, glowing green mist surround them before he and Thor are gone completely.
…That’s not good.
“Uh Jarvis, any way you can tell if or if not they’re even still here in the building?” He shouldn’t be that worried. Thor is more than capable of handling Loki on his own. It’s just, you know, team mate and all; leave no man left behind and all that.
“According to the tracer on Thor Odinson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. ID, they are simply outside in the garden where there are less surveillance cameras around. They seem to be actively engaged in a very loud and emotional conversation,” Jarvis reports dully, “I cannot relay the audio sir, all attempts come out distorted.”
“Don’t bother, just wanted to make sure.” Ok Tony gets it, they need their privacy now, he’s not one to be a cockblock of all people. So, instead he just un-pauses the movie and waits patiently until something either explodes or Loki summons some kind of monster.
Neither happen, actually. Thor just comes in a little quieter than before, thirty minutes later. His grip around the Loki-pillow is iron-tight. The real Loki seems to be nowhere to be found. Tony gets up and makes him a rum and coke. Thor can drink him under the table, but he understands the sentiment and accepts it regardless.
They both don’t mention the run-in when the others return home that evening.
Tony wakes up the next day and makes his way downstairs as usual to the kitchen and prepares himself for the torture that is the board meeting Pepper’s forcing him to go to prove he’s still alive, and that Pepper didn’t actually kill him and stash the body somewhere. He’s walking past Thor’s room, and it’s kind of strange cause Thor doesn’t usually leave the door open, but this has been a strange couple of months so Tony does the nice thing and reach over to close said door and sees—
“One word out of you, Stark, and you will find yourself turned into one of those infernal cushions.” Is all Loki says before slamming the door shut in his face, idly raising a finger from where Thor's spooning him and making a small swinging motion. Tony takes a few more minutes to try and assert into his mind that, yes that was Loki, the real one. And yes, he was thankfully clothed. He’ll worry about the specifics as to why he’s there in the Mansion, and why he and Thor are cuddling in bed much, much later. When he’s had coffee and sat through two hours of old men bitching at him.
“You’re welcome!” He calls through the door because he still is a glutton for punishment, then not because he’s you know scared or anything, but because he is actually going to fall back asleep if he doesn’t get caffeine, he sprints downstairs and almost literally runs into Bucky.
“Morning, Sarge.” Bucky just nods expansively back, the corners of his mouth twitching upwards. Tony glances down and sees a Captain America love pillow in his hands, almost the exact same one from that little shop in Akihabara except this time Steve doesn’t look so much afraid as he does himself. The shield’s pretty much the same size though. Next to Bucky, Steve is decidedly flushed and clearly in the middle of trying to get the thing away from him.
“Lemme guess, it was a gift from an anonymous benefactor?” Tony asks, tilting his head to look at the design, which he has to hand it to whoever’s making these things. They are getting a lot better.
“My room was filled with them when we woke up—there are a lot of different varieties, actually.” Steve sounds more confused than embarrassed, like he can’t honestly fathom why someone would be that dedicated to drawing him in lewd poses, and then having it done in different themes. “This is the…least embarrassing one. We are getting rid of all the others.”
“So he says. I’ll be saving a few stragglers,” Bucky says smoothly, smiling wide as he places the pillow under his arm. “The cheerleader uniform and USO show girl one are staying.”
Steve looks at Tony beseechingly. Nope, Tony is not going to get involved in this one. He just smiles magnanimously and waves at them politely.
“Good luck there, Steve. Hope you enjoy yourself, Barnes.” Seriously Tony is really going to have to try to get to know Bucky better, because this guy is actually turning out to be less of a killjoy than he thought. Bucky just salutes while Steve gives him a look of betrayal before going back to trying to reason with Bucky, who just keeps smiling back.
Tony’s digging through the fridge when he gets a frantic call from Pepper.
“Are you out of your mind?” Is the first thing that Pepper shouts at him, panicked, and Tony has a very, very bad feeling in his stomach.
“What happened?” He’s actually considering the options of what Loki would do in retaliation, based on what he just saw in the living room, it’ll probably be dakimakura based.
“My office, and the conference room you’re supposed to be meeting the board in, are covered in these.” Pepper sends an image file over, and the room is, true to her word, covered in Tony Stark/Iron Man love pillows. He notes that there seem to be some genderbends tossed in there for variety. The six board members do not look amused at the flood of naked Tony Stark around them.
Tony can’t help it. He actually saves the image because hey, he has to admit that is kind of funny. Especially considering his dick looks like it's going to be penetrating someone's ear.
Distantly he thinks he hears someone laugh upstairs and Tony makes a thoughtful sound. He’s not that upset, because really, he’s pretty sure the board is used to this sort of thing. And if they’re not, then clearly they don’t know him that well.
“Try and save the female ones of those would you? And the one where the arc reactor is actually my di—”
Pepper hangs up on him, and then when he does make it to the meeting, hits him for good measure.
She does save the pillows though, so that’s a plus.