The world is in flames and nothing is left. Ruined buildings line broken streets. Rubble hides broken bodies, some living, some dead, all bloody, all broken. In the tower which was the epicenter for this broken kingdom lies the last hope.
Four bodies huddled together around a whirring machine that shines blue light on all of their downtrodden faces. They all think of what they are doing and the evil they will commit when the last stage of their plan comes to fruition. It’s worse than a death sentence, worse than anything they have done since their first great failure.
Maybe if there were still six of them then they could find their morality. However, that was lost in the first day when Natasha was taken. The forces had rained heavy upon them and she had been brave enough to try to close the portal. It failed, though, when the scientist tricked her, murdered her when in her trust turned her back on who she thought was an ally.
Bruce was lost a few hours later. He was an unbridled nerve of rage and never returned. Rumors of a green monster sometimes reached their ears, but they never searched. There wasn’t a point since they all knew they’d never reach him.
Now Tony was up for the next to go, lasting years when he should have only had hours. As there was no power, only one other arc reactor besides the one that had been buried in the sea, Tony had used his to build the device before them. He had only given himself a few hours after he removed it, but survived through sheer force of will as the shrapnel in his heart slowly ripped him apart.
“This isn’t going to work,” Clint said. “I know it won’t.”
“It will,” Steve said. “If it doesn’t…”
Steve couldn’t finish his sentence and no one wanted him to. None of them wanted to think of the sacrifices that would have been all for nothing if they failed. There was no way any of them could allow it.
“Think happy thoughts,” Tony said painfully as he threw a few switches.
“Loki, your family loves you. Loki, your family loves you,” Thor repeated, preparing to deliver the lines to the machine.
“Forgive,” Steve said, doing the same. “Forgive.”
Their plan, their evil, despicable plan, was to rewrite the mind of a child. It was the mind of Loki, the one who had caused all this, but he was still a child, still an innocent, at that point in time. What they were doing to him was unforgivable but, as they told themselves every night, it had to be done. This needed to be done.
All they had to do was touch the device and in that instant, their thoughts would go back in time and become Loki’s thoughts. Thor had been against the plan at first. He still loved his brother no matter what he did, still did even to this day. However, when Tony gave up his heart that was when Thor had decided to put his own feelings to the side.
“Almost there,” Tony said as he flipped more switches. “A few more…”
The machine before them began beeping wildly, smoking pouring out of it as if it were aflame. Tony grabbed onto it to begin running a diagnostic while Clint held it steady.
“I can fix this!” Tony shouted.
“Don’t let it blow up!” Clint yelled back. “I like Earth!”
Light years away from Earth, nearly a thousand years in the past, a small boy named Loki Odinson sat in the Royal Asgardian library reading books about magic. He had developed a love for learning when he realized he would never be as strong or noble as his brother, Thor. Everyone worshiped Thor because of this, leaving Loki to twiddle in his shadow.
Instead, Loki decided to rely on tricks and magic in an attempt to set himself apart. He seemed to have a knack for it, at least. One day, Loki even hoped to be as good as Odin, though that day seemed very far off.
“Very far off,” Loki muttered to himself.
As Loki grabbed for a spell about teleportation, an idea suddenly hit him. It didn’t feel like his mind, but then it twisted around him, invading every fiber of his being as he glowed with a blue light. This idea, he realized, was his reason for being. It was his destiny.
“I have to fix this!” he exclaimed. “I can’t let Earth blow up! I like Earth!”
Pulling the teleportation book off the shelf, Loki then went in search for more about “Earth”. He was sure it was called something else on Asgard, but he wasn’t sure what. Research would tell him, though, and when he knew all there was to know, he’d go to Earth because that was where he belonged.
In present day, Tony sat in his lab in his house in Malibu. As he worked on modification to his Iron Man suit, he felt like he had done something horrible. Every so often, Tony would stop to think what crime he could have possibly committed, but it wouldn’t come to him.
Then his concentration became even more muddled as the sound of metal scrapping across piano wire filled the air. Tony knew he had heard if from somewhere before. However, he only placed it when a big, blue box crashed landed into the middle of his lab.
“Doctor?” Tony asked hopefully.
“No, sorry, don’t I wish,” came a voice from inside.
“Wrong again. I’m coming out. Let’s not make anymore references until I can see your face properly. It’s very rude to make references when we’re not face to face.”
Tony held his breath as the blue police box doors opened wide and a tall, skinny man walked out. The man had long, black hair that curled at the edges that drew out the features of his pointed face. Unlike the Doctor though, this man actually dressed stylishly in a black suit accented with a green scarf that matched his eyes. In his hand, he held a golden scepter with a blue glowing tip which was ten times bigger than any sonic screwdriver.
“If you’re not the Doctor and you’re not the Master, then who are you?” Tony asked.
“I’m a mad man with a box, but most people call me Loki,” he said with a grin.
“Loki? Like Norse Mythology?”
“Exactly like Norse Mythology, though I’ve never slept with any horses or birthed any children or even had any children. And I was never tied to a rock with my own son’s intestines. Actually, my life is rather dull compared to Midgardian legends.”
“You’re saying you don’t use that thing?”
Loki looked over his shoulder at the TARDIS affectionately. He seemed to be in awe of it almost as much as Tony.
“It’s stolen,” Loki admitted. “It was just sitting their unused and not bigger on the inside. I had to remedy the situation.”
“Can it travel through time?”
“Not yet. Oh, not yet, but it will. Tony, you handsome, beautiful man, I need you to invent something that you’ve already invented but haven’t invented yet.”
“Are you sure you’re not the Doctor?”
“No,” he sighed. “Unfortunately, I am not.”
“Fair enough. Now, let’s go back to the part where I’m handsome.”
“You invented time travel or some form of it, Handsome.”
“Aren’t you afraid of spoilers?”
A grim look passed over Loki’s face. He didn’t seem to know how to answer, letting the silence between them pass uncomfortably. Tony waited, though. For a chance to ride in an actual TARDIS, Tony would wait forever.
“I’ve done my research, you see,” Loki said finally. “There was a great war. A war I kind of started.”
“And let me guess, you sealed away all the Time Lords.”
“No, worse. I destroyed Earth. I love Earth. It’s my favorite planet, but it wasn’t before. It just suddenly became my favorite planet out of nowhere. I didn’t think anything of it until I searched for the answers that shouldn’t be sought. I learned of the war and how I was brainwashed into loving Earth. I’m not mad. The brainwashing disallows me from being mad, but it did give me an idea. What if I find the creator of the invention that moved time and space to tear apart my mind and have them build me something I wanted since I first saw Tom Baker offer a jelly baby.”
“You want me to build you a TARDIS,” Tony concluded, completely dumbfounded.
“If it wouldn’t be too much trouble.”
“I will as long as you make me your companion.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Actually building the TARDIS wasn’t as hard as Tony thought it would be. Once Loki had handed him the plans to the machine he had built in the alternate reality, everything flowed and within a few days he had even been able to build a machine that contained paradoxes. Tony felt like a real Time Lord building her.
They christened her by trying to travel to Barcelona, but ended up saving the Earth from a Dalek invasion instead when they landed in the hull of a space station they had taken over. As it turns out, Loki’s scepter was sonic and it had come in handy when they needed to override the circuit boards to take the station back under control before it set off every nuclear bomb on the planet.
When they tried again, they ended up in London where the Cybermen were trying to convert everyone using free wireless internet. Then another time, they ended up on a planet filled entirely of porpoises bent on galactic domination. They both now had the joke that they were meant for “glorious porpoises” which caused them to giggle none stop whenever it was mentioned.
Tony was reminded of the TARDIS’ words to the Doctor when he accused her of being unreliable. She never took the Doctor where he wanted, only where he needed to be. It was for this reason that Tony isn’t surprised that they have yet to arrive in Barcelona.
“Think this is it?” Loki asked when the TARDIS finally settled.
“If I know our luck,” Tony replied, “then no.”
“Only one way to see then.”
Loki moved to the door and pulled it open. Tony closely followed as they stepped out in what appeared to be in the middle of a desert. Yellow sand stretched as far as the eye could see dotted with the occasional dry bush or dead tree.
All seemed quiet until sky began to become dark and the winds whipped sand around. It looked like it was going to be a storm and Tony was about to move into the TARDIS when he noticed Loki staring transfixed at the sky while shaking his head. He had never seen Loki so terrified.
“What’s wrong?” Tony asked over the roar of the storm.
“Something bad,” Loki replied. “The worst thing in the entire universe!”
“Ten times worse!”
At that moment, lightening split the sky and thunder roared. Tony’s attention was drawn to a figure falling down towards the Earth. The figure kept falling until it finally landed, sending up a cloud of dust in its wake.
When the dust cleared, a blond man caring a hammer stood proudly. He was wearing weird red and blue battle armor that had six weird, silver circle things adoring the chest. The man was also wearing a cape and didn’t seem slightly embarrassed by it all.
“Greetings, Brother!” the blond man boomed.
“Brilliant, just brilliant,” Loki sighed, rubbing his temple.
Using the TARDIS, they were able to move Thor, the real goddamn Thor, to a diner in the next town over, which turned out to be in New Mexico. The three of them sat awkwardly, Loki and Tony having to share the same side of a booth as Thor nearly took the entirety of his side. Also because of Thor, they were receiving too much attention from the other patrons who were all gawking at them as if Thor actually had two heads.
“What are you doing here?” Loki asked in a low whisper. “Isn’t the All-Father missing you?”
“He misses you, too,” Thor said sadly. “We all do.”
“Yes, unfortunately I have prior engagements,” he replied while slipping an arm around Tony’s shoulder. “This is all I need.”
Tony was confused. Loki didn’t really talk much of his life before he decided to make a TARDIS and Tony hadn’t really been inclined to ask. Now, however, knowing that bullshit about being a Norse God was true, Tony couldn’t comprehend why Loki would give it all up just to travel the universe with Tony when he already had Thor.
“Give up these poisonous dreams, Brother,” Thor growled. “You know it is not allowed and Odin would never approve.”
“I’m glad Odin is not my father, then.”
“He raised you-”
“No, I am another stolen relic. The day I found out was the day I started running and never stopped. Nothing can bring me back, not even a Time War.”
Tony snickered. “He told you, Lightening Rod.”
“So this is where you get that strange speech. The All-Father-”
“Yes, yes, he’s forbidden it,” Loki said, waving his hand dismissively. “I think Odin is the God of Fun-Sucking, if you ask me.”
Another snicker erupted from Tony, making Thor pout slightly. He didn’t seem to enjoy being told off. Maybe it was all the time he was spending with Loki, but he was having a ball teasing the God of Thunder.
“Is that your answer?”
“It is. I will never go back. Earth is my new home, now.”
“Then know this, Brother. I will never stop until you know that I love you. You will know Mother’s and Father’s love again. You will know all of Asgard loves you.”
“I know all of these to be lies. Honestly, Thor, can you just leave? I still haven’t made it to Barcelona. I’d like to see that before I’m sentenced.”
Thor’s lips thinned, but he didn’t say anything, just slid out of the booth. He left as quickly as a burly hunk of man could, his cape flowing majestically behind him, hiding the tail between his legs.
When he was gone, Loki tilted his head back and let out a long sigh. Tony wanted to comfort him, though no sooner did Tony find the right words, did Loki smile again.
“So, want to try again?” Loki asked.
“Yeah, alright, but only because we’re burdened with glorious porpoises.”
They both laughed, ignoring the looks they were receiving. Tony was happy. He didn’t care what future or past events brought them together. All Tony knew was that he hoped that his time with Loki would never end.