"It's a goddamn tragedy. I want you to know that. Tragedy. If Shakespeare were alive, he'd be writing a play about this and everyone would die in the end. And then Baz Luhrmann would make a movie about it. Leo would play you, and he'd get every nomination but still wouldn't get an Oscar. We have to fix this; if this goes on for much longer, they'll take away your Midgard Card."
"That is not a real thing," Loki says, reaching over to grasp a handful of popcorn, a staple when watching movies according to Darcy, who showed Loki how to time the microwave just right for "maximum yumminess without any of the burnt crap". He pops them into his mouth one by one, enjoying each new burst of buttery flavor on his tongue.
Darcy gives him a look. "How do you know? You've been here, what, like, five minutes?"
"I don't understand why you are so adamant that I do this. I have seen many Midgardian films." The one about the creature that incubates in a human host and bursts through the human's chest to continue perpetuating its species was fascinating. The one with the bloodsuckers that sparkled in the sunlight made him seriously reconsider his decision to not destroy the planet.
"These aren't just films," Darcy snaps, eyes wide and looking for all the world as if he has personally insulted her. If he were not so terrified of her and her electrocution gun, he would make a comment about it. He errs on the side of caution and takes more popcorn for himself instead.
In the wake of Victor von Doom's attack on the city, Jane has been spending quite a lot of time at Stark Tower with Thor, as well as utilizing the laboratory for her research. Loki cannot remember his brother ever being so happy. As a result, Jane's assistant-cum-friend, Darcy, has staged a rather subtle invasion, insinuating herself among the Avengers as if she had always been one of them. He enjoys Darcy's company; she is blunt, sarcastic, and fears nothing. On Asgard, she would surely be hailed as a goddess of Valhala.
"I fail to see the difference." Loki turns the DVD case over. "It is a man with apes. Anthropomorphized apes, at that."
Darcy snatches it from her hands. "It's Disney. How have these morons not shown you any Disney yet? PIXAR? Have you seen WALL-E? No? Oh god, like I said, tragedy. All right, new plan: Disney marathon. JARVIS, are you going to make me walk all the way over to the DVD player, or can you just fire up Starkflix and put it on for us?"
The air practically vibrates with amusement. "No, Darcy, I will not force you to endure the ten steps to and from the couch."
"I love you, JARVIS." Darcy settles back, pressed all along Loki's side and radiating heat and the smell of her citrusy, inexpensive shampoo. "JARVIS and I are in love. We're totally going to get married and have lots of invisible robot babies… at least until the Skynet takeover. Right, snookums?"
"Of course, dear," JARVIS says. "I will see to it that your death is swift and painless."
Darcy snaps and points at the ceiling. "True love, right there. All right, we ready? Loki, can you handle this? I don't think you can handle this. Now I'm afraid to even start the movie, JARVIS. Loki's head might cave in under the weight of all the animated awesomeness and the Phil Collins songs." To Loki, she says, "People will tell you that, like, Beauty and the Beast is the best, but that is a liar liar pants on fire situation."
"Hey, what are you watching? Ooh, Tarzan! I saw that one a couple weeks back. Boy, the part when he's fi --"
"If you spoil the movie for him, Steve, I will punch you. I will punch Captain America," Darcy vows darkly, as Captain America takes a seat in one of the plush chairs on either side of the sofa.
Despite having been accepted into the Tower in the weeks after the Doom incident, Loki still does not know how to act around Captain America -- or, Steve Rogers, as he prefers to be called out of the ridiculous uniform he wears. The man has a way about him that sets every part of Loki's body on edge, an itch that has no precise location and thus causes all of him to prickle. It is a peculiar reaction, especially when Rogers is such a virtuous creature. Perhaps it is Rogers's natural aura of an authority figure.
Tony is convinced it is pheromones, and "soon the entire world will descend upon the good Captain like an Axe commercial gone terribly, terribly wrong." Whatever that means.
Rogers flashes Loki an apologetic smile. "Sorry. It's a good movie. I mean, I read Tarzan and the Apes when I was a kid, but this… This is incredible. I can't believe you can do that sort of thing with art. I saw Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the cinema once and we used to make flipbooks when we had downtime, but it's nothing compared to what they do now."
Loki has no idea what Rogers is babbling about, and then he remembers Tony's explanation, shouted over a welding gun, about the Super Soldier serum, the war, the ice. Seventy years, submerged, asleep. Loki had used that against Captain America in Germany. A soldier out of time. He hadn't known the rest. A better man would perhaps feel regret for throwing in Rogers's face. Loki is not that man.
"You haven't seen Up, right?" Darcy peers at Rogers with wide, hunted eyes, holding her breath and drawn tightly at Loki's side.
Rogers blinks, confused and slightly wary. "Uh, should I have?"
All the air leaves her in a long, loud whoosh, and she collapses against Loki in obvious relief. "Oh, thank god. Steve, I'm telling you this as someone who cares about your huge, helping-old-people-across-the-street heart of gold: never, ever see Up. Or if you do, do us all a favor and skip the first fifteen minutes."
Like Tony, Darcy talks and talks around nothing and expects everyone to understand anyway, and so Loki has learned to listen to only the first and last words of each sentence to try and piece together meaning. If he can't, then he does not have to waste time caring.
"What happens in the first fif --"
"Start the movie, JARVIS!"
The beginning is diverting enough, he supposes, though perhaps the music lends credence to that above the actual story. The man singing has a pleasantly odd voice, and he enjoys the sound of the heavy drums.
"Right?" Darcy whispers, sliding her arm through his and holding tight. "Phil is the man. I saw him when Genesis got back together for a hot minute a couple of years back, and he played a seventeen-minute drum solo on the back of a folding chair. Nothing will ever be that impressive."
"… You are in a place where machines live and think on their own, you know a man who can transform into a beast with the strength of the gods, and Captain America is seated to your left."
The film continues, and the human child is brought to live with the apes, without the approval of the patriarch, the king, because the infant is different, a different race, a different species, and the voice is not right and the circumstances are completely wrong but Loki feels the words as keenly as one would a blade in the belly.
Look at it -- it's not our kind.
You have to take it back.
I said he could stay… that doesn't make him my son.
Things have changed since he has come to Midgard. He knows this. The knowledge of his powers was returned to him along with the forgiveness of Odin, but the wounds left behind from that day in the chamber of relics will never fully heal. Grow smaller, yes, and scar over in places, but he will bear them, seeping and oozing, until the end of his days.
Darcy is stifling where she sprawls against him, and he swallows down a wave of nausea, closes his eyes and attempts to block out the song sung by the ape mother. It sounds like Frigga.
"Oh, hey, I've seen this one."
His heart thrills beneath his breast as a warm body vaults over the back of the sofa and presses up against his other side, an arm thrown around his shoulders to drag him close until he is able to rest his temple against skin that smells of fire and metal. Tony buries his hand in the hair at the nape of Loki's neck, and pushes lightly at Darcy with his other hand.
"Get your own, you shameless hussy. I already called dibs on this one. Don't make me pull my earrings and eyelashes off, because this shit's about to get real."
Steve sighs. "Don't talk during the movie."
"I'll totally throw down. You may be able to Kamehameha my ass into next week, but I'm scrappy. I could take you." Darcy clings to Loki's arm tighter, then releases him with a laugh, turning back to the film.
Tony presses his grin into Loki's hair, then noses curiously at it, inhaling. "Is that my shampoo?"
Loki's cheeks are suddenly very hot. "I didn't notice."
"I like it." It's whispered into the skin behind his ear and he tilts his head back obligingly, stifling a gasp and shivering once. There's the suggestion of teeth, a quick scrape followed by the soft drag of a mouth, and his entire body burns. "It saves me the trouble of pissing on your leg to mark my territory."
"I find it absolutely darling that you assume I belong to you in some way. Also I would freeze your cock if you ever tried to urinate anywhere near me," Loki murmurs sweetly. "And then I would rip it off and stab you with it."
"You kinky bastard." Tony leans back, leaving him bereft, and gestures to the television. "The rollerblading through the trees thing is cool and all, but you should've showed him something off the beaten track. All these Disney flicks are the same. 'Oh, I'm different, poor me, I'll show 'em, ooh look a person who's a jerk, bet he won't cause me trouble in the last twenty minutes, and isn't that conveniently single prince just a dish, but we'll never be together. Show him something good, something funny. Show him The Emperor's New Groove."
Darcy snorts. "You mean Tony Stark: The Early Years? And shut your whore mouth, Tarzan is the best. Jane's awesome -- she's a pioneer who doesn't take shit from anyone."
"Because we don't already know any Janes who fit that bill."
"Can you both put a sock in it?" Rogers grouses, crossing his arms with a glare. "You can't talk during a movie. It's the law."
Tony's fingers curve over Loki's jaw, so close to his mouth, and he wants to stretch his tongue out and lick at the oil that surely clings to the skin. There is a thumb tucked behind his ear, stroking. On screen, Tarzan learns how to be a man. "What have I told you about listening to anything Clint says, Cap?"
"Mm, Clint," Darcy says, smacking her lips. "I'd hit that like the fist of an angry god."
If she means anything like the gods he knows, Barton would die horribly. Humans are so inventive and carnal when it comes to sex, Tony more than most. His tongue ought to have its own place in Asgard's hall of relics. Loki has such dreams about that tongue.
His thoughts must be apparent, because Tony's eyes grow dark and nearly liquid with promise, tongue darting out to wet his lips. Heat flashes in Loki's gut, then trickles down to pool and harden between his legs. At some point the constant need for Tony's body will ease and he will not walk around in a daze born of incredibly athletic sex, and laughter. There is always laughter when he is pressed between soft sheets and hard muscle, or when he presses down into warm invitation. His body has never been so sated, his mind so hazy, unrushed.
"What's say we ditch the kiddie flick," Tony says quietly, leaning to press the bridge of his nose to Loki's jaw, and every hair on Loki's neck stands in shock at the brush of his breath. "And you and I take a trip to the lab. I've got something I want to show you. By which I mean use on you. It's perfect. Ten different, life-like models, variety of sizes. Hundred different vibration speeds, rhythms -- right along to music, too. Something slow, pounding, dripping. Watch you get off to some Zeppelin. Dazed and Confused, watch you crawl right out of yourself."
Loki swallows a groan, eyes falling shut. He presses into the thumb that presses pointedly behind his ear. Tony must be exaggerating; surely he did not spend his supposedly precious, expensive time crafting a machine to fuck him.
"I'll just sit back, maybe work on the Mark VIII or the helicarrier, while you come all over yourself. Just, over and over and over, without recupe time, just tie you down and force out another orgasm. Marathon them right out of you. Until you beg me to stop. Until your body literally can't take it anymore." A thoughtful pause, then, "Your mouth will be free, won't it? I should probably help keep it busy. Stuff you at both ends."
"Oh my god, you need to stop. You are gonna give Steve a brain aneurysm, and then Fury will murder you horribly."
Loki opens his eyes, hot, breath an uneven rattle in his lungs. His skin feels sensitive, a live wire set to explode at the slightest touch, and the thumb behind his ear is unbearable. At his side, Tony practically radiates smugness.
"Don't give me that prudish crap," Tony says cheerfully, as if he did not just whisper the most seductive filth into Loki's ear. "You were the one hounding me for bareback daisy chain porn last week."
Darcy hmphs. "Yeah, that's hot. But I didn't ask you while watching a Disney movie. My inner child is currently curled up in the fetal position, crying hysterically. If you're gonna be creepy, go do it somewhere Steve can't hear you. Steve, you okay? No aneurysm, right?"
Rogers, hands covering his ears, is flushed and wild-eyed. "I can't know those things! What is wrong with everybody in this century?"
"Was I talking too loud? Whoops."
This ought to be utterly humiliating. To air the private life of a prince of Asgard in such a manner should warrant the most grievous of punishments. If Thor were here, Tony would be dead before he could draw in his next breath.
Standing quickly and angling his lower body away from view, Loki smiles at Darcy. "Although I am quite enjoying it, I think I will finish the rest of the film at another time."
Darcy squints. "Did you pay any attention to it at all?"
"Not a bit." Loki nods to Rogers. "Captain. If you'll both excuse us."
"I liked you better when you were trying to destroy the world," Rogers says loudly, hands still covering his ears.
Cackling, Tony steps over to him, light as air, and presses a hand to his lower back, burning him through the thin shirt he wears. "Catch you later, kids. Oh, and if I were you? I'd keep everyone away from the lab for a few hours. Like, four. Four hours. Maybe five. Lots of scientific testing to do. Lots. Data collecting, that sort of thing."
"Stop shitting all over my childhood," Darcy hisses and gestures to the screen. Rogers burbles something that might be agreement, or perhaps his impending brain bleed.
Loki allows Tony's hand on his back to steer him out of the room, and they begin the endless walk to the laboratory.
"You okay there, Donner?"
"Five hours, you say?" The weight between his legs, constrained in his denim pants, is quite possibly one of the most uncomfortable sensations he's ever felt. Walking will be damn near impossible. "You had better make good on that, Stark."
Tony just grins. "Did I mention the thrusting capabilities?"