There had been light. Brilliant, blue-white light the colour of his arc reactor (not a surprise; that's what he'd been playing with) and a smell like coconuts and ozone and a weird whining noise that grew louder and louder until bam. His whole body had jerked and his workshop had disappeared in a flash and he barely managed to choke out an "oh shi-" before Tony found himself on his knees on a straw covered floor – hooves the colour of gold aimed at his face.
He rolled away from the pissed off horse – it was screaming and bucking and damn but it was huge – and bumped into a door. Four hooves slammed into the ground right where his face had been moments before, sparks leaping up from the impact. The horse reared again and Tony dodged instinctively. His mind was already whirring. Four hooves? How on earth? But there was no time to think, only react. He didn't have his armour to protect him and the horse was fast. He ducked away from it again and cursed as he found himself in a corner and oh shit he was going to die.
A figure vaulted over the stable wall. In the light from Tony's reactor he caught a glimpse of dark clothes and bronze fastenings and a tall, slender silhouette. The figure reached up and hooked his fingers into the horse's bridle, pulling it down as he murmured nonsense in a low, soothing voice.
"Hush, Sleipnir, hush. It's alright. Mama's here, my dearest one."
Mama? Really? He couldn't quite stop himself from making a noise at that – part snort, part cough, and mostly an unsuccessful attempt at smothering it – and the figure looked at him, brilliant green eyes flashing in the cold light of the arc reactor.
He didn't even have time to blink before cold steel was pressed to his throat and 'Mama' was pinning him against the stable wall, an eerie grin stretched over his pale features. He was gorgeous, Tony noticed, and hated his libido for the first time ever. Really, really bad timing.
Then the blade drew back slightly. "You hail from Midgard," 'Mama' said. His breath fanned over Tony's face, cool and smelling faintly of honey. "How did you come to be here, mortal?" The blade pressed close again and Tony tried not to swallow. It was sharp and cuts on his neck weren't exactly his favourite thing. "Tell me," 'Mama' continued, "and I may not kill you for frightening my son."
Okay, that was it. "Definitely not in Kansas anymore," he choked out.
'Mama' drew back, waiting for his explanation. Tony lifted a hand to rub his neck and winced when it came away bloody – the knife was sharp enough to cut him just by resting there? So not good.
"I was experimenting," he said. "I make machines, and I was tinkering around and I ended up here. Don't know how, so don't ask. Something to do with this baby." He indicated the arc reactor and 'Mama' dropped his gaze to study at it. The horse shifted and huffed and nudged its nose towards him, and a long fingered hand raised automatically to scratch between its eyes.
"I was unaware mortals had such technology," 'Mama' said after a while.
"I invented it," Tony replied. Kind of. But he wasn't about to admit that he'd taken the idea from his father's notes to anyone, let alone some guy who thought he'd given birth to a horse. Time to change the subject. "Mind telling me where I am?"
"You are in the Royal Stables of Asgard," 'Mama' said. "A very, very long way from your home planet."
"Planet." The word came out dull and uninterested, but inside, Tony's mind was going into meltdown. Somehow, he'd managed to create an element that would replace the palladium in his reactor – good – but that would also open up a wormhole to god-knows-where when combined with a few calibrations and some equations that would have been perfectly harmless with anything else. Not so good.
"You believe me a liar?" 'Mama' was suddenly just as neutral as himself, and something about that made Tony nervous. Made actual fear crawl down his spine.
"Nope, no," he said. "I mean, the horse has eight legs. Either I'm not on earth anymore or I'm dreaming and honestly? My dreams are never this weird. So I'm going with not on earth until proven otherwise." He hoped he was dreaming. There were some things that just shouldn't be possible. "So, who are you?"
He can't keep calling the guy 'Mama' in his head all the time. That would just be weird.
"I am Loki, Prince of Asgard," was the reply.
"Tony Stark. Nice to meet you." Nice to not have my throat slit by you.
The room he was taken to looked more like a study than a bedroom, despite the very large bed in it. The walls were lined with books, floor to ceiling, with more stacked on every available flat surface and with sheaves of what looked like parchment scattered over them. He glanced curiously at one – it was covered in strange angular lettering written in a cramped hand, and there were diagrams that looked like they should have been familiar but weren't.
Despite the lack of machinery and wiring, he was reminded strongly of his workshop. "Nice place," he said. "I like it." It made his chest ache.
"Good," Loki replied, "for I cannot allow you to leave."
Tony glanced back at him. Loki hovered by the door, watching him closely. He was dressed, Tony noted for the first time, in what looked like leather armour. It was jointed like armour, at least. Black, highlighted with green and gold. It was tasteful – brought out his eyes.
"My father would not suffer a mortal to live, having seen Asgard," he said. "You may stay here until I can find a way to return you to Midgard. Only Heimdallr and myself shall know of your presence here, for he is all-seeing, but he shall keep his counsel as I will keep mine."
It took Tony a moment to wrap his mind around what he'd just heard. "You'll take me home?" he asked.
Loki nodded. "If I can. I am uncertain if your mortal body would survive using the Bifrost, let alone one of the more secret ways." His lips quirked. Tony recognised that look – hell, he wore it himself more often than not – it was the look of a man who knew more than other people. Knew more than other people thought he should know.
He found himself smiling back. "Thanks," he said. There was just one thing bothering him. "Why would you do this? I mean, not that I'm complaining. Getting back to earth would be amazing so don't think I'm ungrateful because I'm not, just…why?"
Why is he completely unable to stop himself from babbling around this guy?
"I'm bored," Loki replied. "This is by far the most interesting thing to happen on Asgard for a very long time." His smile widened, sly and utterly beautiful. "And you interest me," he said.
It was kind of flattering, actually. Tony turned away to look around again. Books and notes on the bed along with a pen and a tightly capped ink bottle. A black garment thrown over the back of a chair. It was the room of an academic rather than a prince. The window caught his eye and he crossed the room to look out of it – out onto stars that were not his own and were much closer than they should have been. His breath caught in his throat.
"I'm…not even in the right galaxy, am I."
"Not even close." He didn't know how Loki came to stand so close to him, but he was there and his profile in the starlight was one of the most incredible things Tony had ever seen. Better than endless, nameless models; than that first cheeseburger after months in a cave; than the whole of the world spread out beneath him as he soared through the clouds.
He tried to find his voice again. "I, uh, I need a pen," he choked out. "And paper. If you want to get me home, it would help if you knew how I got here. Right?"
"Indeed." And with that one word, Tony feels like a blithering idiot. He was usually the eloquent one; the one with all the right words to get what he wanted from people and leave them hanging afterwards. He was Tony Stark: genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. He did not act like a teenage girl around people, no matter how perfect their bone structure was.
Prince Loki of Asgard clearly hadn't got that memo.
He had, however, paid attention to Tony's request and retrieved the pen and ink from his bed and a sheaf of clean parchment from somewhere else. "Make yourself at home," he said as he handed them over. Tony tried not to focus on the smooth movements of his long fingers. "I must return downstairs, before it is discovered that I am not truly present at dinner."
Tony frowned at him. "How can you be in two places at once?"
Loki's grin was sharp as the dagger he'd held to Tony's throat. "Magic," he said, and in a swirl of green light he was gone.
Tony's assumption that Loki was a scholar was not proved wrong, and he was glad of it. He watched as Loki studied the notes and equations that he'd drawn up the previous night – his hair was unstyled and hung in wild curls around his face, his eyebrows were drawn together in a slight frown, and he was dressed in a loose, homespun tunic that was as far from princely attire as Tony's favourite Black Sabbath T-Shirt. He looked up when he finished the final page, and when their eyes met he knew. He just…knew.
This is the one person in the universe I could spend the rest of my life with.
"You are a remarkable mortal, Tony Stark," Loki said. He lowered the notes to his lap. He was sitting cross-legged on his bed, so close to Tony that their knees were millimetres away from touching. It felt like a fucking mile.
"I know," Tony replied. "So what did I do?"
He'd had to explain to Loki that, as far as Earth was concerned, his arc reactor contained an entirely new element that no-one – not even Tony – knew anything about.
"You recreated lost Asgardian technology and implanted it into your own body."
And yeah, Tony really was remarkable, wasn't he.
"The Tesseract was lost a long time ago," Loki said. "It was an energy source: a cube that glowed with blue power, the jewel of Odin's treasure room. It was used to build the Bifrost."
"Something that powerful, and you guys just lost it?" Tony asked. He couldn't quite keep the disbelief from his voice.
Loki smiled at him, but it wasn't a pleasant expression. There were centuries of pain in that smile. "Odin took something precious of mine," he said, "so I returned the favour. The Tesseract is on Midgard. Somewhere."
There had been drawings of a cube in his father's notes, and Tony got a sneaking suspicion that he knew who had the Tesseract now. Not that he was going to ask Fury if he could study it when he got back. He kind of liked his balls where they were, thanks.
"What did he take?" he asked.
Loki's fingers tightened on his notes, knuckles white. "My children," he whispered. "Sleipnir he enslaved, Fenris he bound in chains, Jormungandr and Hela he banished to other worlds. It is improper for the youngest son to bear children when the eldest has not sired even one." He bowed his head, but not fast enough to hide the way his lips pressed together and his eyes shone with tears and hate and so much sadness that Tony was glad of the curtain of black curls that fell between them.
He wasn't good at comforting people, but when he brushed his fingertips over Loki's trembling hand, he thought maybe it helped.
The palace gardens of Asgard were beautiful, even if he did only get to see them through Loki's bedroom window. Lush green lawns and strange flowers that bloomed incredible colours – it looked like paradise. He watched a group of Asgardians cross the grounds beneath him, their booming laughter causing a flock of birds to erupt from the trees.
Asgard was a place of beauty and light and laughter, like so many of the society balls he'd been dressed up for. He could understand why Loki would be so miserable here.
Maybe that was why, when Loki returned to him with a lunch of meats and breads and apples, he said "come with me". It certainly wasn't because of the way his heart skipped when Loki laughed and said "yes".
Tony was getting bored. Worse still, he was getting twitchy-bored. The kind of bored that led to him spending weeks in his lab taking things apart and creating wormholes in his own chest. It was unfair, he thought. He was on an alien planet, but he couldn't see it beyond what he could look at out of the window, and that had got old fast. He was trapped where he was until Loki had stopped double-checking his work and God that was annoying. Tony hadn't had someone double-check his work since his father had died – and Howard had never said anything more than a 'try harder next time'.
Loki was less predictable than his father. For starters, Tony had never seen him drunk.
He'd tried reading some of Loki's books, but he didn't know the language. He'd tried making notes for new inventions once he got back, but he'd always done better at that when he had something in front of him; to touch or take apart or just fiddle with as best as much as he liked. Drawing schematics only ever took him so far.
His last resort had been sleeping, but lying on Loki's bed, surrounded by furs and the honey-sweet scent of Loki's body made him feel uncomfortable. Uncomfortable because he swore that when Loki returned from court – brooding and cutting and so, so cold – he could see exactly what Tony had been fantasising about all day.
He felt like a prisoner. A prisoner with a huge-ass crush on his prison guard. His brain had even started making jokes about dropping the soap, and it took everything Tony had to keep himself from saying them out loud. He didn't think Loki would get the reference anyway.
Besides, he was in love with Pepper, wasn't he? He'd thought of her surprisingly little since arriving on Asgard. At first he'd had other things on his mind, like holy shit, different planet and trying to find a way home, but then he'd been distracted by pale skin and a wicked smile and Loki Loki Loki.
Loki, the prince of another planet, with his brilliant mind and his beauty and his impossible embodiment of everything Tony had ever dreamed he wanted.
Pepper, who had stuck with him through everything, but who hadn't noticed him dying right before her eyes.
"You think so hard," a voice said from right by his ear. "What ails you? I would not have one under my care suffer such troubles."
Tony had jumped and almost flung himself off the bed when Loki started talking, and he whipped round to glare at the man lazing on the furs just inches from where Tony had been, laughing madly at his reaction. He raised a hand to his chest and felt his heart pounding under the steady thrum of the arc reactor.
"Damn it Loki! Did you have to sneak up on me like that?"
Loki's laughter faded and his expression turned soft. "I thought, perhaps, you would like to know my research is complete," he said.
Tony didn't say 'took you long enough' even though he was tempted. He was grateful to Loki, really, he was just tired of being cooped up and powerless. Instead he said, "so what's the news?"
Loki rolled onto his side to look at him face-on. "We cannot risk repeating your experiment. It would be too unstable, and you could find yourself anywhere. Not all the realms of Yggdrasil are as pleasant as this one: if you arrived in Helheim, Muspelheim or Jotenheim you would die within moments – your body would be too fragile to survive them."
Tony hated thinking of himself as fragile, but he took Loki at his word. "Go on," he said.
"My routes through the branches of the World Tree are also too dangerous," Loki said. "Though the danger there would be from your own curiosity. I may find my way through by touch alone, but could you resist the urge to look?"
Funny how Loki knew him so well already.
"What would happen to me if I did?" he asked.
"Your mind would shatter," Loki replied. "If by some miracle you survived the experience, everything that makes you yourself would be lost irretrievably to madness."
"Lovely," Tony said. "So what's left?"
Loki smiled. There was something about that smile that made Tony nervous. That sent shivers down his spine and made heat begin to pool in his belly. "I will tell you," Loki said. "But first, Tony Stark, I would have you repay my hospitality."
There was a flicker of green and Loki was on top of him, long legs straddling Tony's hips. Their faces were inches apart, so close that Tony could see tiny scars dotted around Loki's mouth.
"Kiss me," Loki said.
It was more a command than a request, but there was no way Tony was going to even try to resist. He wanted this. Wanted it more than anything. He surged upwards, pressing their mouths together and flicking his tongue against Loki's lips until they parted. He kissed deeper. Loki's mouth was cold, but his lips were soft and he tasted of honey. It was glorious, and Tony was addicted. He wanted more of it – needed more – and he reached up to tangle his fingers in Loki's hair and pull him closer.
Loki moaned softly. Tony felt a thrill run through him at the thought that he had managed to make him sound like that: wanton and desperate. Loki was kissing back, hard and eager, and Tony couldn't help but arch his hips upward into the weight of Loki's body.
He gasped at the friction and the feel of Loki's hardness against his own and Loki moaned again, pushing back and rolling his hips in a way that made Tony's brain short circuit. For a moment, he thought he was flying. Then he was back on Loki's bed and there was a tingle of something rushing over his skin, and then his bare back and arse were touching fur and Loki was naked above him. Tony pulled away just enough to take a look and groaned at the sight. Loki was breathtaking: his slender body corded with lean muscle; his skin pale and almost luminous in the lamplight; his face flushed and his lips swollen from Tony's kisses; his cock, long and slender as the rest of him, hard and jutting upwards from a neat bed of black curls.
"Fuck," Tony breathed.
Loki laughed slightly, little more than a puff of air over Tony's mouth. "That was the idea," he said. His fingers traced the sensitive skin around the arc reactor as he spoke, following the fading lines left by the retreating blood poisoning.
"Oh thank God," Tony replied, and he pulled Loki down to him again, sealing their lips together and rocking his hips upwards to flip Loki under him. He let his hands slide from Loki's hair, down his chest and his hips and over those incredible legs that Loki parted for him willingly at the gentlest of touches.
He slid his fingers up Loki's inner thigh, biting lightly at the pale column of his throat. He was aiming for his cock, but his fingers brushed up against something slick and wet instead and he jerked in surprise even as Loki gasped.
Thoughts raced through his mind, first and foremost being 'is that normal?' but he didn't ask. Didn't want to know. Loki claimed to be mother to an eight-legged horse, of all things, how on earth else would the kid – foal, even – have come out?
So instead of speaking, he slid down Loki's body to take a closer look, leaving a trail of kisses in his wake and sucking lightly on the tip of Loki's cock before ducking between his thighs. The slit ran from the base of Loki's balls backwards, replacing his perineum. He parted the sides of it gently with his fingertips, revealing pink inner folds and a clitoris, glistening with arousal. He wrapped the fingers of his other hand around Loki's cock and stroked upwards as he leaned in and flicked his tongue against his clit. The taste of sweetness and musk exploded over his tongue and he groaned as he pressed closer, dipping his tongue deeper and curling it against tender flesh, trying to lap up as much of Loki's juices as possible.
Loki made a soft mewling noise and strong fingers pressed hard against Tony's scalp, urging him closer even as his hips shifted and bore down. Tony smirked, laved his tongue upwards and wrapped his lips around Loki's clit, sucking lightly as he pushed two of his fingers inside.
And if the way Loki moaned his name like that made Tony want to fuck him through the mattress, then… yeah. He didn't really think that Loki would mind all that much. He pulled back, licking his lips and pressing a slightly sticky kiss to the inside of Loki's thigh. He had insanely sexy legs, Tony thought. He bit down lightly, timing it with another thrust of his fingers and a stroke of Loki's cock.
Loki's hips bucked and he hummed in pleasure. Damn but Tony was getting addicted to the noises Loki made.
He relinquished his grip on Loki's erection and used that hand for balance as he moved upwards, trailing kisses over the taught, pale skin of Loki's abdomen. He wanted to taste all of him. He wanted to drag this out and take his time and worship every inch of Loki's body. He paused at his chest, taking a nipple into his mouth and nipping gently at the tip before swirling his tongue around it and releasing. He bit down on Loki's collar bone and again over his jugular, ran his tongue up the side of Loki's throat to just behind his ear. Loki's breathing had turned ragged, and Tony allowed himself a grin of satisfaction.
One of Loki's hands tangled in his hair, and he hissed into Tony's ear. "Now, damn you."
A horrible thought chose that moment to surface in Tony's brain. "You aren't going to get pregnant are you?"
The look of absolute frustration and disdain that Loki levelled at him made him flinch backwards. God, but he'd somehow forgotten how intimidating he could be.
"Not if you don't get on with it," he hissed.
Apparently the concept of contraception was an alien one on Asgard. But, after a brief calculation of how likely it was that he'd ever get to be in this position again if he backed out now, Tony decided 'fuck it'. He'd deal with the consequences later.
He leaned down and pressed his lips to Loki's as he used the hand still trapped between their bodies to guide himself in. Loki gasped against his mouth and Tony couldn't quite hold back a moan: Loki was tight and wet and absolutely –
"I must return him to Midgard," Loki said. "He has no place here."
The man he was talking to was the biggest guy Tony had ever seen in his life. Ever. He looked at Loki with amber eyes so distant that Tony swore he could see galaxies in them. He stayed silent as Loki talked, watching and waiting and filling Tony with so much dread that it hurt to breathe. He didn't want to try Loki's alternative – the one that he might not survive – or try and recreate his experiment. The Bifrost was the only way he could definitely get to Earth alive and sane.
"Open the Bifrost, Heimdallr."
The command sent a shiver down Tony's spine. Not because of the way it made him sound – like the royalty he was – but because of the last thing he'd heard Loki say in that tone.
"I would have you repay my hospitality, Tony Stark."
Loki had informed him – later – that this Heimdallr guy saw everything. Everything. Which meant that Tony was now face-to-breastplate with someone who had watched them get it on. That thought either hadn't occurred to Loki, or he just didn't care – Tony was betting on the latter – but it was pretty much the only thing that Tony could think about. It wasn't like he was ashamed. He was Tony Stark, after all. If he could live with the entirety of earth thinking he was a slut then this guy shouldn't matter either, but oddly it did. Maybe because he knew Loki.
There was probably something important in that, but he really, really didn't want to study it too closely right then.
"When the All-Father asks, when shall I say you plan to return, Odinson?"
Heimdallr's voice was so impossibly deep that Tony could feel it vibrating in his chest like thunder.
"When I am ready," Loki replied. "As always."
Apparently that was enough. Loki was apparently the kind of person who was accustomed to doing whatever the hell he liked – royalty, Tony, duh – and obviously other people were used to it too. Heimdallr inclined his head slightly and Loki nodded in return. Then he grabbed Tony by the wrist and dragged him past the gatekeeper to the other side of the circular room. There was a gap in the wall, which gave Tony a wonderful view of the star-filled void below them. He swallowed nervously.
"Are you sure this'll work?" he asked.
"Are you doubting your own calculations?" Loki retorted.
Tony winced. He'd forgotten that – although Loki had looked it over – it was his theory that they were working off.
"Okay," he said. "Never mind."
An eerily familiar whirring noise started, and the walls of the room started to move. Loki's hand slipped down his wrist to wrap around Tony's own and he gripped back hard, twisting their fingers together.
The whirring grew louder. There was a bright blue-white light and the smell of coconuts and ozone and, really, this was all very familiar. Then there was a tugging sensation around his heart that spread to the rest of his body and Tony gasped in sudden fear.
When the light cleared and the dust settled, he was in his workroom. Loki's fingers were still entwined with his own and there was a brand new hole in the ceiling. Huh. Tony was suddenly really glad that his house had already been trashed and that he hadn't quite got round to fixing it up again yet.
"Welcome back, sir," JARVIS said. Next to him, Loki jumped, looking around for the source of the voice.
"Good to be home," he replied. "Put the pot on for me, we'll be right up."
"Already done, sir."
First things first: he had to introduce Loki to the wonder that was coffee. The rest of earth could wait.