He was a vision in green.
Alright. So that was a line best used on a dame, not in a man's own head. Tony realised that. Didn't change the facts. Yon dark-haired beauty swaggering down the stairs into their little speakeasy, well. No other description was gonna match. From the cool, arrogant green gaze, down the neat black lines of his suit, to the green silk of his scarf and the subtle emerald highlights to his vest ... A vision. No other word.
Two words, though, he could do that. Big. Trouble. Capital T and everything.
Tony knew who the vision was, you see. Trouble from out of town, Daddy's little devil. Up from Atlantic City, son of the city chief down in the World's Favourite Playground. Looking to make a little trouble up on Tony's turf, maybe. Looking to scope out the competition, help Daddy move north a little bit. Pass a little time, make a little noise, take home a goodie or twenty.
Loki Laufeysson. Adopted son of Odin Odinsson, city treasurer of Atlantic City, proud Scandinavian ex-pat, and runner of the biggest bootlegging ring on the eastern seaboard.
Nice. Picture perfect, really. Tony'd been looking for something to pass some time for weeks now.
"Well ain't you a picture," he murmured, propping himself casually on the bar just behind their little interloper. Pulling out his third-best grin in the face of the cool, appraising eyes that cut his way, put the little curl on the end that said 'baby, come get me'. Highly illegal, mind you. But he knew the local noses, had a nice little in with Captain Rogers down the precinct. Ain't nobody was gonna knock Tony Stark for where his eyes wandered. Not no more, anyway.
The vision sneered, smooth and cold as ice. "And you, sir," he smiled, clipped and mean. "An eight-pager, perhaps?"
Tony blinked, and laughed. Delighted, really. "Well now," he said, grinning a touch more honestly. "I've got my clothes on yet. Didn't your mama tell you never to make assumptions?"
Loki's mouth curved, denting his cheeks. Not humour, though. Not just yet.
"My mother told me many things," he answered. "Well. One of my mothers. Mostly along the lines of not taking invitations from strange men."
Tony grinned, dark and salacious, and signalled up to Bruce to pass some shot glasses down the line. Ignoring, in the process, the vague warning glare his bartender, best friend, and chemist was shooting him. "Now, that's easily solved," he confided, dropping his voice deliberately low and suggestive, eyes on his hands as he poured a pair of drinks, flicking one across like a magician at a show. "Just got to make sure we ain't strangers first, don't we?"
He held up his own glass to catch the light, tipped the gleam towards those watching eyes and that cold, green vision. Letting, for the briefest of seconds, a sliver of danger flash across his features, a glimmer of warning. Enticement, he thought. Bit of fire and darkness, a hint of secrets. This wasn't no mama's boy, playing at being out alone. This was a man who'd touched the dark side, who'd played games with a gun nestled in his vest, and a smile in those icy eyes.
Big trouble, like Tony'd said. Baby, you ain't got no idea. And right now, Tony was in just the mood, for a touch of trouble.
Loki narrowed his eyes, long, tapered fingers reaching out to brush his own glass, flickering gold and green in stolen pleasures. Musing, watching the challenge in Tony's eyes. And then, delicately, he plucked the glass up into the cradle of his fingers, and raised it to touch Tony's.
"Perhaps, Mr Stark, you might be right," he smiled, thin and dangerous, and Tony felt something lazy and hot spool out from the base of his spine. A tingle like danger, a rush like promise.
Because of course. Of course Loki knew who he was. Nosing up into Tony's turf, of course he'd recognise the man standing in front of him. The current head of a string of speakeasies, distilleries, and a nice little weapons manufactory out in Queens. Not that most people knew that one. And the murdered son of a fallen empire, of one of New York's oldest, richest, and most spectacularly corrupt families, risen from the grave and back with a vengeance.
To be fair, Tony'd made quite a name for himself the past few years, for not being as dead as everyone thought he was. Also, for murdering, rather thoroughly, the treacherous son of a bitch who'd tried to have him killed. It was considered a little uncivilised, these days, the whole head-on-a-pike thing, but then there hadn't been all that much left of Obie's chest, and Tony'd had to make his point somehow, hadn't he?
You know. Little things. Made you a name on the street. Made you recognisable enough, maybe, when the well-informed type of out-of-town trouble came a-knocking. So long as the trouble knew its business. So long as the out-of-towner knew his game.
Tony looked at the man. Cool and collected, not a hair out of place, the low lights of the bar playing with the gold brocade on that really quite lovely vest. And those eyes. Clear green ice, unperturbed, for all the man had to know he stood in the heart of Tony's power, for all that he knew Tony, in turn, must know who he was, and what his father wanted. Loki Laufeysson, propping up a bar in enemy territory, cool and easy as though it was his own, raising his glass to his enemy's with that small, wicked little smirk.
Tony laughed, low and dark, and chinked his glass solidly against the other man's, tossing the shot back with never a wince. Oh yes. Big trouble, yessiree. A vision in green, and a game with knives in. Just what the doctor ordered.
"What say you and I go upstairs, Mr Laufeysson?" he purred, setting his glass back on the bar with a gentle chink, and ignoring Bruce's pained huff in favour of the hum of interest in that cool green gaze. "I think we might have some business to discuss, don't you?"
Loki's cheeks dented again, and this time, yes sir, there was humour in it, and danger, and that faintest come-hither curl. "Why not," he mused, knocking his own shot back in one long, smooth swallow, and flashing green-gold challenge Tony's way on the downswing. A flash of one pale hand, dare and invitation, all in one. "And Mr Stark?" That little smirk, light and deadly, that Tony already knew he was going to like. "You can call me Loki, if you like."
Tony felt the grin creep onto his face, at that. Not the good one, not the best ones, tweaked and moulded into careful meaning. The older one, the darker one. The little slash across his lips that harked back to different time, when power had meant a different thing, and the gun with Obie's blood had been hot in his hands.
"You know what?" he said, spreading wide his arms to lead the man on, "Don't mind if I do, Loki. Don't mind if I do."
Like he said. He was in just the mood, for a little bit of trouble. Take on the world in double time, sing it down, sweet and low.
Yessir. Today was a good day, to have a vision walk into his bar.