Loki Laufeyson worked at a coffee shop. A small, quaint coffee shop, the kind you find on streets, crammed between a laundromat and a used-appliance store. There was a chalkboard sign outside, decorated daily with the specials and occasionally a drawing of some pop-culture phenomenon. Once, the chalkboard sign was erased and replaced with a list of services offered by a very angry woman down the street in a skimpy outfit, but Loki wouldn't ever own up to that particular prank. It was something he enjoyed, those little pranks, and he pulled them whenever he had the chance. If his friends – and they were surprisingly many – came to order coffee from him, he would often prank them in some small way. Offering them the wrong drink, filling the cup with hot water, giving them an empty cup, Loki was very loose with his pranks.
So it stood that one day, when he was expecting a friend in from out-of-town, he would make a mistake. The coffee shop was busy, and his coworkers were working the till. Not because they didn't trust Loki with the money, but because they didn't trust him to give customers the real deal instead of paper monopoly money. Especially during rush-hour because that was just the kind of thing Loki did. Not that he was evil.
After the tenth iced mocha latte, he was getting a little annoyed. All John Smith's and Mary Sue's ordering the drinks, people that Loki couldn't possibly hope to prank, not with the boss finally getting on his heels about it. When a certain cup came to him, he had to pause, look at the name, and look to his coworker as if the cup were magical. It took him a moment to decide that the cup was part of a prank on him, and he flipped it under the machine with ease.
Tony Stark .
Well, from what he knew, Tony Stark was the surviving son of a wealthy businessman who owned half the city and supplied the entire military with top-secret weapons. It was, as Loki understood, a very boring and prank-free environment, what with the high-grade explosives. The order was a simple coffee, two sugars and one cream and a bit of whipped topping as a finisher. In all, Loki found it very bland for someone who wanted to parade as a wealthy person. So he embellished, and maybe added a few ingredients not usually found in coffee.
After sprinkling red pepper into the drink, he topped it with whipped cream and capped it, turning around and bringing it to the pick-up counter. He set it down and looked up, saying, “Here's your coffee, Mr. Star....” and stopped dead.
The man tilted his sunglasses down the bridge of his nose, lowering the smart phone to peer at the offending barista. “I'm sorry, what was that?”
“Oh... I... Uh...”
The man reached out for his coffee. “You should work on faster service.”
“No!” Loki cried, grabbing for the drink. Their hands met halfway, knocking against the coffee and sending it teetering. “I'm sorry!”
Tony Stark's eyes went wide behind his sunglasses as he moved to avoid the liquid spill, lifting his phone above the mess. As the coffee cup crashed down, Loki's hand grabbed the styrofoam and tilted it back upright. Without thinking, he gathered a roll of paper towels and leaned across the counter with a handful, dabbing at Tony Stark's (previously) impeccably clean suit while repeating, “I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!”
“Excuse me,” Tony said snidely, stepping away and pulling the paper towels from Loki. “I don't think I ordered my coffee to wear . And... is that red pepper ? Did you put pepper in my coffee? ”
“I thought you were someone else, I am so sorry, please, let me make you a new drink, on me,” Loki pleaded, patting at the coffee left on the counter with partially shredded paper towels.
Tony paused, letting the offer sink in, before tossing the towels on the counter and shrugging out of his blazer, folding it across his arm. “No, I don't think so.”
“Please don't report this to my boss.”
By this time, a sizable line had formed, and his coworkers were beginning to get impatient with him. Loki excused himself with an apologetic look and swept the mess into a trash can behind the counter.
Tony Stark still hadn't moved, or much said anything.
Loki stepped around the counter, hesitantly gesturing to the wall of products. “Please, choose any one you like, on me.”
A glint passed Tony's eyes, gone in an instant. “I don't think I'll report you, but you have to do something for me.”
“What's that? I'll do anything.”
Loki licked his lips and nodded.
“When do you get off work?”
Tony checked his phone impatiently, then looked back to Loki from behind his dark sunglasses. “What's that? I couldn't hear you.”
“I... uh, nine.”
“It's a shame. I really needed someone to bring this to the dry-cleaners for me.”
“Oh... I can do that...”
Tony put his phone to his forehead, sighing in frustration. “No, I don't... god, you're dull. I have tickets to this Opera and I figure it's the worst thing I can possibly do to you, make you sit through one of those things, so I'm asking if you want to go with me. It'll make Pepper furious.”
“I don't get off work till nine...”
“I'll pick you up at seven, show starts at eight.”
“What are we doing for an hour?” Loki asked, barely believing what was happening and not about to protest.
Tony looked at him like it was completely obvious. “I'm not eating food at an Opera house.”
“And do me a favor?”
Loki met Tony's eyes.
“Don't make me coffee again.”