Thor grinned, golden and lazy, straightening up from the leyscale pattern that the (repaired?) Bifrost had just scorched into the garden, swinging his hammer in a slow loop, floating up to the second floor balcony of the Avengers facility. Beside Tony, Peter’s eyes were huge. “Thunder God Thor?” he squeaked. “Oh man! Did he just harness a wormhole? And he’s flying? How come everyone can fly? Can he really control the weather and the lightning?”
“Never figured out how Asgardian tech worked,” Tony admitted, as Thor landed and swept him over, arm tucked with arrogant confidence around Tony’s waist. “Whoah, big guy-” Tony began, trying to bite down his grin, and Thor pressed close, his kiss just as arrogant, just as confident. Dimly, in the background, Tony could hear Peter retreating rapidly into the distance, the kiss growing sloppy as Tony got his hands into Thor’s thick tawny mane, pressed the thin fabric of his shirt and jeans against all that weird armour.
“Happy to see you too,” Tony said breathlessly, forever weak to handsome Norse Gods and their wiles. Thor rumbled, clearly pleased with himself, but as he bent for another kiss Tony clapped a palm over his mouth. “You also. Have the worst timing. And. Where’s your cloak? Is it off-cloak day?”
Thor latched Mjolnir back to his belt. “You do not like the cloak.”
“Since when have you cared about my opinions about your fashion choices?”
“Sif undertook to inform me at length regarding the importance of listening to my sváss.”
“And you actually paid attention? Wonders never cease.”
“Being King involves a great deal of having to listen to other people,” Thor conceded. “It has been a learning process. But yes. I have been very occupied.”
“Hell, you and everyone else.”
Thor shrugged. “My brother tried to usurp the throne-“
“-and destroy Asgard-“
“Seriously, this is my total lack of surprise.”
“-and nearly killed me and all I held dear. Yes. Yet again,” Thor was grinning again, all warm amusement, and he kissed Tony on the forehead. “Almost all that I held dear.”
“Well, this time I hope your brother didn’t just get off with some light spanking… hah, getting off on spanking… and some minor fish tank imprisonment.”
“We have taken sterner measures.” Thor studied Tony thoughtfully, all that playfulness fading. Somedays, Tony forgot that Thor was perceptive, where it counted. Sometimes. It was not intellect that separated them but culture, and a level of technology far beyond Tony’s ability to comprehend, and there lay the rush. With Thor around, it was difficult to concentrate on anything else.
“What?” Tony asked, when the silence uncurled, growing thin.
“You have been wounded.”
“Me? No. Well. I got over it.” The bruises had finally faded last week: he’d had quite a few shiners and cracked ribs. The arc reactor, sundered in its cradle, driving in cracking bone and that pure moment of animal panic, speeding between not dead and oh God the arc reactor I’m going to die the shards the shards the- Logically Tony had known that he no longer needed the reactor embedded in his chest to live. Fear, however, wasn’t a rational emotion.
Thor gently pressed his palm over Tony’s cheek, always patient, and when Tony didn’t flinch, he walked his fingers down, past Tony’s collar. Tony grabbed Thor’s wrist before he could get his hand down to Tony’s chest, where the reactor once had to sit. “You were wounded,” Thor murmured, and faced with that alien and immovable patience, Tony could finally be childish.
“The cares of an empire.” Maybe Thor was amused. Tony couldn’t tell: Thor’s mouth was against his neck now, chasing his pulse.
“If you’d come back only a week or so ago-“ Tony broke off, with a low, harsh breath. “And the thing is. You know what. I’m not even that sorry. About how everything turned out. I think I’m still right. And that’s what’s so fucking frustrating about all this. Steve has this way of making you doubt absolutely everything and, somedays I think maybe the only one who was mature during that whole fiasco was the guy who was prancing around in a literal catsuit-“
“Breathe,” Thor was stroking Tony’s spine now, gentle. “So you fought with the Captain.”
Tony let out a long and shaky laugh. “Oh, we more than fought. I thought he was going to kill me.”
“He would not have killed you.”
“If it came down to it, between me and that precious bestie of his, I’m not so sure.”
Thor pressed a kiss against Tony’s neck. “For every man there is a breaking point.”
“I know. I know. It’s not fair,” Tony muttered. “I tried, you know? And. Hell. I keep forgetting. Steve might’ve been living in the new world now, but he grew up in the 1930s, spent most of his life in the military. Uncle Sam did a real number on him. The shit he thinks is the right thing to do, all that American Exceptionalism, We’re Right, Fuck the Rest of the World, Their Opinions Don’t Fucking Count because We Know Fucking Better? That’s just the way our foreign policy’s always been. I bet it doesn’t even occur to him that there’s something wrong with… with.”
Tony took in a deep breath when Thor said nothing. “He was in the ice when we dropped all those bombs on neutral Cambodia because America thought it was the right thing to do. Rise of the Khmer Rouge? Oops! Our bad, but it couldn’t have been helped, let’s just edit the history books. When we invaded Iraq without UN approval and pretty much fucked that whole area of the world up? Same deal. We caused so much misery in the world but… Screw everyone else, right? If we think it’s the right thing to do, even if it’s for the wrong reasons, we stand like a fucking rock, right? History repeats itself. Always does.”
“So it does,” Thor said gravely. “It is often the case, for civilisations like yours, bound to one Earth.”
“You’re not helping,” Tony said shakily, his hands clenching tight over Thor’s shoulders before slipping around his neck. “Also, we seem to have moved Guantanamo offshore, cleaned it up, added sanitary cells and everything. Crazy right? Screw the UN and what they think about extended solitary confinement being a breach of human rights. That’s America for you.”
“I think,” Thor noted carefully, “That you should be having this conversation with Steven.”
“I know. I know. Sorry for unloading.”
“Don’t be,” Thor kissed Tony again, higher up, against his jaw. “Perhaps the hurt is yet too raw.”
“He left me with a goddamned flip phone. As though I needed any more reminders that he’s from another century.” Tony choked out a burp of brittle laughter. “Why does it always hurt like this? When people go away? First Pepper, then Steve, and you’re never really here, and-“
“I am here now,” Thor assured him, and kissed Tony on the mouth, with that immovable gentleness. They made it to Tony’s room without scandalising anyone, scattering Tony’s shoes by the door and pieces of Thor’s armour by the foot of the bed. Tony’s hands were shaking by the time Thor shed his boots, and Thor looked him over soberly before lying on his flank and tugging Tony’s back flush against his chest, breathing against his hair.
“Seems like a waste,” Tony said unsteadily. “You being here for once, but us doing not much.”
“Mm.” Thor’s arm settled around Tony’s waist.
“And the annoying thing is,” Tony muttered, “What happened at the end was totally predictable. I kinda said as much to Steve. I can’t stop. The Iron Man Suit. Flying in it, it’s such a rush, like you’re invincible, like you can do anything. It skews perspective. Shit that should’ve been worked out in court with a bunch of lawyers and shrinks boils down to a punch-up. Like we’re all cavemen again and civilisation never happened.”
“Sometimes a ‘punch-up’ is the appropriate response.”
“Yeah, you’d say that. And. Might I add, it’s somehow really depressing to hear you say that, given you’re meant to be from an advanced enlightened alien society and everything.”
“Every society is different. Alien ones, even more so. There are civilisations that are older and more advanced than Asgard that are still prone to petty conflicts. Save that the consequences of their conflicts can be measured out across entire galaxies.”
“So you’re saying I should count myself lucky that the latest fuck-up was just confined to tiny parts of our rapidly overheating mudball planet.”
“There’s always something worse,” Thor was untroubled, and it was that warm and unflinching calm that followed Tony into a dead sleep, for once untroubled by dreams.
“Seriously,” Peter could be heard to say faintly from somewhere. “I didn’t know, I mean, Mister Stark hit on my aunt.”
“He does that.” Rhodey sounded amused.
“Mmff,” Tony pushed at Thor’s shoulders until Thor let up, because hello, they had a rule against PDA in the kitchen, thank you, after that one time when they very nearly gave Clint’s adorable little kids an eyeful of far too much advanced sex ed all at once.
Clint. Tony’s mood soured all over again, even under the whiskery kiss to his temple. “It is the morning,” Thor declared. In Gandalf fashion, Thor had never really gotten the hang of greeting humans properly, and whatever translator tech Thor was using always seemed confused by Thor’s attempts to Fit In With Local Customs.
“So what happened to the coffee machine?” Tony asked Vision pointedly.
“I told him that if he really wanted to do something for me he could make me a coffee,” Rhodey said, only mildly apologetic, perched on a stool at the kitchen bench.
Time hadn’t made Vision feel any less guilty over Rhodey’s injuries, though Vision’s tendency, like Thor, to blithely ignore minor human customs like privacy and dignity was starting to wear on Rhodey’s nerves. It’s not that I don’t like the guy, Rhodey had complained only yesterday, But when I ask someone for a toilet roll and he comes up through the fucking floor… Jesus, Tony, it was like one of them Korean horror movies.
“He tried,” Peter chimed in loyally. Peter, at least, seemed to think that Vision was ‘endlessly awesome’. “I’ll fix it! I’ve fixed coffee machines before. Nothing to it.”
Years ago Tony would’ve smiled and said something dismissive and fixed the damned thing himself. Age, however, had a way of putting things in their place. “You do that, kid. Someone wake me up when we have coffee again. Peacing out.”
“You’re going back to bed?” Rhodey was still military enough to wake up at the asscrack of dawn, and always seemed mildly appalled that everyone else (less Vision, who didn’t seem to sleep) kept saner hours.
“Yup. Let’s rewind and replay this conversation again later.” Tony hauled himself back to his room, yawning, and was a little surprised to find Thor following him. “Ah,” Tony began, as Thor closed the door, then he blinked in surprise as Thor kissed him, with a little teeth this time, his big warm hands going up under Tony’s shirt.
They stumbled back towards the bed, losing their clothes along the way, growing impatient with buttons and clasps. Age meant getting his motor started took a little more doing than normal, but Tony purred and arched anyway as Thor spat on his palm and stroked him, bent over him, bracketing him in. Christ. Perfection made flesh. There was nothing about Thor that was not unapologetically beautiful, from his broad, wolfish grin and the warmth of the lust in his eyes, the firm curve of his ass, the easy strength in his fingers. Thor always kissed as though time didn’t matter, and maybe it didn’t to Thor, maybe this was normal in Asgard, but it was nice, deep down, for Tony to feel for a moment like he was the centre of the universe to someone else. No one, not even Pepper, had ever touched him like this before.
“You are very quiet,” Thor murmured, lips brushing over the scars on Tony’s chest, the bleached bursts of rough tissue.
“Got a lot on my mind,” Tony got his fingers into Thor’s rich hair. “How the hell do you have such amazing hair? Asgardian product? Bioengineering? We could make millions.” Billions, if Tony ever figured out Asgardian translator tech.
Thor chuckled. That was another thing about Thor. He never seemed to get blindsided by whatever came out of Tony’s mouth. “Pay attention,” Thor suggested, kissing down to Tony’s belly. “I have crossed the stars for you, Man of Iron, I am here despite the cares of an entire empire. So.”
“All shall love you and despair?” Tony asked facetiously, though he leaned up on his elbows as Thor started to lick his cock, all slow, hungry laps, the tease.
“I do not like you thinking about other matters when you are with me.” Thor held Tony down as Tony tried to push against his mouth, licking lower as Tony cursed and kicked a heel against Thor’s back.
“It’s hard not to,” Tony admitted, gasping as Thor starting with the slow licks again, this time over his balls. “Kinda… nff… kinda prefer it that way, thinking, all over the place-aggh, y’see,” he was starting to babble again, but as he tried to get a wrist up to his mouth Thor pinned his hands to the bed and held them there. “Keeps my mind off it.”
“Off what, sváss?”
Tony squirmed. All that warm breath and heat, so close. “Off knowing that you’re only going to be here for a few days,” he grit out, “Happy now? Wait. Wait. Why are you stopping? Thor,” Tony complained, as Thor sighed and shifted up, eye to eye, sober. “Oh, come on.”
“Peace,” Thor kissed Tony until Tony stopped squirming and grumbling, until Tony was pulling at his shoulders, breathless, their cocks lined up and caught in Thor’s free hand, the other curled around the back of Tony’s neck. It was like being anchored in place. “I love you like the stars,” Thor murmured, always a great time for translator tech to fritz out.
“Giant balls of plasma held together by their own gravity?” Tony tried to sound amused, but only managed breathlessness. His chest ached, a ghost pain that squeezed down in degrees. Tony wasn’t surprised. Love had always hurt.
Thor shook his leonine head in mild exasperation. “Your tongue has not the words,” he said finally. “Or not the context. All known life in the universe has begun around a star. And yet even Asgard understands only a fraction of why that is so, of the why of the stars, of the spaces between…” Thor shook his head again. “The words are wrong.”
“I think you’re doing fine,” Tony whispered. It wouldn’t hurt so much if Thor wasn’t.
“Life, like love, is a matter of gravity,” Thor murmured, and bent for his kiss, “Things pulled together, endlessly. Do you understand, sváss?”
“No,” Tony lied, and closed his eyes as they kissed, as they rubbed together, Tony desperate and out of rhythm, Thor measured, his fist squeezing tight almost to pain at the base of their cocks before stroking up, made fluid by spit. Even this ached. Tony dug his nails into Thor’s back and counted his breaths, dazed. When he finished he kept his eyes closed, his cheek pressed against the pillows, while Thor rumbled a low sound of satisfaction and swiped a lazy hand through the mess, whorling it over Tony’s belly.
“If you wanted to do something that you felt was right, but everyone else had another opinion of ‘right’, what would you do?” Tony asked later, sprawled on the bed with Thor curled against him like a huge cat.
“Are you asking me what I would do as an individual or as a king?”
“Wow,” Tony was impressed. “You’ve seriously grown up.”
Thor chuckled, and kissed Tony on the cheek, ticklish and warm. “When I was younger I would say, if I knew absolutely that something was the right thing to do, then, to Ragnarok with everyone else.”
“And then I sparked off a war that killed many of my subjects.”
“I see how that might have given you some perspective.”
“Had it not happened I would never have met you. Or the others,” Thor said quietly. “And yes. Perhaps the war was coming anyway. But mistakes do have a way of giving one perspective - if they are inclined to listen. ‘Right’ and ‘wrong’ have always been a matter of opinion, stretched thin across the vastness of the universe, across cultures. To see everything in black and white is to invite chaos.”
“You should’ve been here,” Tony said resentfully. “Maybe Steve would’ve listened to you.”
“Your people have a strange opinion of anything that is different,” Thor reminded him with amusement. “I am not human. I suspect that if our species did not look so similar, thanks to yours bearing the Asgardian geneseed, I would not be even given the courtesy of being treated as human. Yours is a savage species still, in many ways.”
“Don’t I know it.” Tony muttered, sitting up, then he let out a horrified yelp as he noticed Vision’s head slowly rising up from the carpet. “Holy fuck!”
Thor’s hand had darted towards Mjolnir’s handle, by the side of the bed, but he relaxed and laughed. “Friend Vision!”
“Shut up, don’t encourage him. Vision. Seriously. We’ve talked about this.”
“Peter wished to inform you that the coffee machine is back in order.” Vision looked mildly hurt.
“Yes, thank you, I think you shaved years off my life again, fuck.” Tony rubbed a hand slowly over his eyes as Vision sank reproachfully back into the floor. “See what I have to deal with?”
“You are doing quite well,” Thor kissed the nape of his neck, the arch of his spine.
“Really? I pissed off half my friends, who went completely off the reservation and who are now on the lam, the government’s breathing down my neck, Rhodey’s paraplegic-“
“And it will get better,” Thor said, untroubled. He rolled to his feet, off the bed, and sauntered off towards the shower, completely unselfconscious. Tony admired Thor’s ass with undisguised greed until it was out of sight, then he sighed and flopped back down on the bed.
Life, like love, like gravity. The flip phone inside his desk. Tony would call tonight. Just to check in. Nothing to it.