Tony is sitting in bed staring at the ultrasound picture Bruce has made earlier today when Loki joins him. He pauses, clearly caught off-guard a little; while awake Tony isn't often to be found being so still without some sort of gadget near.
"What is this?" Loki asks, climbing into the space Tony has left him on the other side of the bed. When Tony shows him the picture he frowns at the mix of black and grey.
"The child," Tony explains, pointing out the blurry outlines of the curled up fetus.
Loki goes perfectly still. "Is this," he asks, putting a hand on Tony's belly, "a picture of our child in you?"
"Yeah." Tony frowns, turning a little to look more closely at Loki's carefully blank face. "What is it?"
Loki stares at the picture for a little longer before he abruptly turns his face away and avoids looking at it.
"Loki?" Putting the picture down, Tony properly turns towards him. "What's going on?"
"A child's time before birth is very private," Loki tries to explain, glancing at the picture.
Tony frowns. "What, you're morally opposed to ultrasound?" Then he has to explain what ultrasound is. Once he's done Loki's face is even more displeased.
"You don't need it," he says. "I make sure you're both healthy."
"Yeah, I know." Tony frowns down at the picture. "So you really don't like it?" He himself had had mixed feelings about the picture as well, but not because he had any problems with the fact that it was being taken. It's more about what the picture shows and Tony's thoughts as to his fitness to be a parent.
"It's… vulnerable. Private," Loki repeats, floundering as he tries to find the right words to explain. "Reserved between the one carrying and the child."
That's… sort of romantic. And romantic isn't something either of them usually are. "So you don't like the ultrasound either?"
Wordlessly, Loki shakes his head. "You have no need for it," he reiterates.
Tony clears his throat. This whole conversation is weird. "Yeah, I suppose, but doesn't your involvement negate the privacy thing?"
"I don't see with my eyes," Loki tries to explain. "I… it's like another sense. And I don't look deep. I make sure everything is alright, but I don't go into detail."
Okay, Tony hadn't known that, and he certainly wouldn't have expected it. "Why?"
"Because it's between you and the child." Loki is clearly getting frustrated. Yeah, culture clashes. Tony isn't too fond of trying to explain something to someone who has absolutely no clue where he's coming from either, but most of the time when he has to Thor is on the other end. Usually when it would happen with Loki Tony doesn't actually want to explain because he likes where Loki is coming from better (for example the whole gender fluidity thing, Tony is very fond of that).
"So… you prefer if we didn't do any more ultrasounds."
Face clearing with relief at Tony's understanding, Loki nods.
Tony bites his lower lip. He doesn't really like that. He's always relied on technology. It's something he understands the limits of, that he can control. Magic is the complete opposite of all that. Tony doesn't trust magic, can't influence it, has no idea how reliable it actually is. "How reliable is magic?"
"Hundred percent," Loki replies immediately. Seeing Tony's skeptical face – in Tony's experience, nothing is ever a hundred percent – he adds, "The question you need to ask is: how good am I at interpreting the information magic relays?"
The answer to that, Tony knows that much, is very good. He's heard the point reiterated too often and from a variety of sources who know what they're talking about not to believe it. "Are you that good with this?"
"Yes." Loki leans in. "I would not risk your or the child's health for my pride." Yeah, Tony knows this very well. If it weren't true Loki wouldn't have agreed to talk to Thor, certainly wouldn't have been there when Tony did. "Also, you are aware that I am otherwise not wary of your technology." That is true as well. It's not quite a game between them, but they do find amusement in Loki taking Tony by surprise with how well-versed he is with technology.
Still, Tony isn't quite comfortable with it. Deciding to test Loki, he gets out his tablet and pulls up the results of the blood test Bruce did this morning. "Okay. Can you tell me the iron content of my blood?"
At first there's some negotiation; Loki isn't familiar with the names for some hormones and also not with the measuring units, but they manage to work it out – which is another point in Loki's favor, his being able to adapt to a completely unfamiliar system so quickly. But Tony's always known that Loki has a genius-level intellect. It's part of the attraction and Tony isn't ashamed of how much he enjoys having an intellectual equal who also matches his wit.
Naturally, Loki passes the test, never exceeding the margin of error Tony concedes due to the different time of day and the hours passed since his blood was taken. Not that Bruce won't continue monitoring his blood levels; Tony wouldn't let that happen, no matter how much he trusts Loki. But the ultrasounds… he glances at the picture. He'd started to like the idea of getting to see his baby grow and become more human-looking with his own eyes, but it clearly bothers Loki a lot or he wouldn't have been so delicate bringing it up. Ultrasounds are strictly speaking not necessary, not with Loki monitoring. Besides… well, he's always been possessive. He hadn't minded Bruce or his friends seeing the baby's ultrasound pictures, but there's something about the idea of keeping that completely between himself and the baby that he likes.
"You have to check often," he says. It's dressed as a demand – and it is one, definitely – but Loki knows that it's also a concession.
"I will." Eyes serious, Loki caresses Tony's belly, not looking away from Tony's face. "Thank you."
That's not something Loki says often, Tony knows. He shrugs awkwardly. "I trust you," he replies, watching the impact the words still have on Loki, despite everything. He means it.