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Perchance to Dream

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It was risky, and Tony knew it. That was why he waited until about midnight. Only the assassins might be stirring now, after the fairly sleepless week they’d all had, and by the time Tony strode down the halls and made his way down, down to the most high-security labs. Below the tower, down where they kept real danger as contained as they could, and not just for training purposes.

The med wing wasn’t usually where they kept it, though. Some augmentations had been made to try and make it more secure, but Tony knew they were likely in vain. If and (hopefully) when Loki did finish recovering, back to being a bit more his old self, he doubted the trickster would be inclined to stick around. Long experience had taught the Avengers that trying to hold onto him tended to be a futile exercise. Not even Asgard could manage it for long, anymore. They couldn’t even use a magic-dampening field, because the odds were that Loki’s recovering magic would be the only thing likely able to help him come back out of his current catatonic state.

Thor had once let on that he did secretly fear his brother a bit, after the Chitauri incident. Before then, the god of thunder had been able to believe that he might be capable of taking down his brother on his own––that when it came down to it, he was still the slightly more powerful of the two of them. Thor now knew that he could not have been more wrong. Loki’s mind and his magic put him closer in power to Odin than to Thor, and unless it suited his schemes, Loki would not hold back and concede or surrender to his adoptive brother. And when he held nothing back, he was not a force Thor could bring down on his own.

Odin knew it, too: that the only reason he remained more powerful than Loki was due to his advantages of age and experience, the Odinforce which protected all of Asgard and had not been kept so stable and well-tamed by any king before Odin, and Loki’s own impatience and chaotic nature. Tony recalled the one incident wherein Loki had taken the reigns of the Odinforce, after that mess with the Norn Stones, Amora, and the Masters of Evil, though. Thor had once explained that Odin’s control of the Odinforce was in fully embracing it as though it were a part of himself, which no others had done before––for such an embrasure required sacrifice of a certain degree of control over himself and his actions, for the good of Asgard. Loki had embraced it the same way, corrupted it even, and Tony had to wonder at times what he might have done with it if they hadn’t stopped him. What if we’d let it burn? Morbid curiosity. That sort of thing was likely to get him in trouble.

So was this, though.

The machine Tony brought out was one he’d based on what he and Mr. Fantastic had built in order to try and communicate with a certain Princess Ravonna, who’d been trapped in a temporal/psychic limbo to keep her alive despite damages done to her timeline––damages that had brought her lover Kang to try and take over the earth a millennia or two earlier than before, to destroy Captain America and repair the time line. As a result, she was in a comatose out-of-joint state mentally and physically, not entirely dissimilar to Loki’s present one.

Tony’s new version had the more temporal components removed, creating what the inventor thought of fondly as an interface somewhere between The Matrix, and Star Trek’s Holo-deck. In theory, it’d give him a chance to have a little chat with the incapacitated god of mischief. So far it was limited in application, or he’d have something like it collecting the Last Will and Testament of many coma patients around the world. It needed someone with experience in lucid dreams, at the least. Someone who was used to connecting with complex computer interfaces with their minds would find it a cinch––as Tony had, after the whole Extremis incident––but aside from himself and people from distant future-timelines like Ravonna, there weren’t many on earth with such experience. It seemed a long-shot that Loki might manage it, but Doc Strange wasn’t exactly known for his high-tech expertise so much as his psychic and mystical expertise, and had volunteered to test it with just his more mystical experience to draw on, and it had worked. Thor had started to get uneasy as soon as Strange compared it to dream-walking.




“My brother is very experienced at dream-walking, and navigation of the astral plane. It would be a considerable risk to connect to his mind in such a fashion––he can affect persons in dreams in such a way that they will wake still feeling the effects. He has cut me in a dream, and I have woken bleeding.”

Doctor Strange nodded solemnly. “That is not unheard of, but it does require a great deal of power to accomplish. Your brother is hardly at his full strength. His soul has only just been returned to him, and I was not able to discern whether it was––undamaged, by its journey.”

Thor’s expression darkened again from concern to rage. “And you still do not know how it was torn from him?”

Strange shook his head. “Your brother is the most powerful mage I have ever had the misfortune to cross, Thor, and I do not make that judgement lightly. I cannot imagine how anyone managed to weaken him to such a degree. If it comes after me for my soul as it has for the others, I will be just as vulnerable, unless we can find out more about what to expect from it.”

“Amora suggested he might’ve lost a wager and got more comeuppance from Chthon than he anticipated,” Tony pointed out. “I got that much, between her taunting and constant hitting on you during that consultation, Thor. She said something about how the last she recalled seeing him, he was limping away from that little encounter and was quite rude to her. Someone caught him when he was already not in top form. So whoever it is targeting our telepaths and magic-users here on earth lately knew a bit about Loki and who his enemies are, as well as how to keep an eye out for him in a vulnerable state, which should narrow down our list of suspects at least a little.”

“I would suspect Chthon himself, if we had been able to find Scarlet Witch’s soul by now,” Strange offered. “She would be more useful to him keeping an eye on us in a mobile, conscious fashion rather than catatonic with all of the others at the Baxter Building.”

“How’d I get stuck with the only villain on our victim list anyhow?” Tony muttered.

“I thought you Avengers had more experience containing this particular trickster,” Strange mused.

“Only in theory. He’s a slippery bastard when he’s... not in a coma.” Tony prodded the trickster’s upper arm, frowning down at him, looking a little concerned despite himself. Loki still looked gaunt, still had dark circles around his eyes that had only faded a little once Strange had put his soul back. “Or faking a coma. I wouldn’t put it past him to be mostly-recovered and just biding his time, which he’d not be able to fully hide if confronted in my little holo-deck here.” He tapped the metal headband he still wore, with its assorted wires trailing back to the main machine itself, which reached out with similar tendrils to a slightly more intricate circlet in Strange’s hands.

“It was indeed very difficult to lie in that environment, I noticed. I couldn’t manage it myself. I could not manipulate it so easily as a dream, either,” Strange said.

“My brother has more experience than yourself, Doctor Strange, in such things,” Thor warned coolly. “Millennia more.”

“So what, we just sit and wait around here in awkward silence for him to wake up? Hell no,” Tony argued. “That will go one of two ways: he won’t wake up, and we’ll never get any more information from him about who is behind this mess of stolen souls, or he will wake up, and he’ll vanish his happy magical ass away at the first opportunity, and probably leave the tower full of mayhem in his wake the way he always does.”

“My brother has clearly not recovered. He has no spells about him, not even those which require the least exertion––no wards, no glamours––and those cuffs at his wrists-”

“Weren’t enough to hold him in Asgard last time!” Tony interrupted. “Were they?”

Thor scowled deeply. “He would destroy any who would dare tamper with his mind, Tony Stark.”

“It’s not tampering with his head. It’s knocking. He can join me in this little meeting-space, or he can happily stay in his own head.”

“And if he cannot be contained by your meeting-space, and wanders into your mind, Stark, what then?”

Tony smiled unpleasantly. “My mind is a dangerous place, too, these days. Ask the last telepath who tried to peek in there after the alterations I made with Extremis.”

The thunder god shook his head. “Do not underestimate Loki.”

“I finished making that mistake a long time ago, Sparky. How about you?” It was a low blow, and he knew it. Just then, he hadn’t cared. He was getting impatient.

“I would not risk it myself, Stark,” the sorcerer warned.

“Well, to be fair, you’re a bit of a pansy. I mean, who wears a cape? Oh, sorry, wrong audience for that joke. I’m clearly the odd one out there, with this crowd.”

“I can see you’ve already ceased to take our concerns seriously,” Strange sighed.

“This is my serious-face,” Tony said blithely, pointing at his own grimly annoyed expression. “I seriously think we can’t afford to let sleeping gods lie here. Especially given he might not even really be sleeping, for all we know. He’s faked coma-like vitals convincing even to your lot in Asgard before. Pardon me not trusting the apparent helplessness when we all know this guy is most dangerous when he seems helpless.”

Thor smiled faintly. “That is indeed something you share in common with him, at times, Tony.”

“So clearly I know what I’m talking about. Obviously.”

“We should discuss this more in the morning,” Strange said. “With input from the others, as well. Natasha and Black Panther both know a good deal about shielding their minds, and may have useful input before we proceed with this endeavor.”

Tony had muttered reluctant agreement at the time.

And then they had all put off that meeting for two days because more victims showed up and a few started to act a bit violently possessed, and once all that was cleared up for a while and things got quiet again, Tony lost patience and decided to take matters into his own hands.




Now here he was, settling a sturdy, comfortable operating chair at the god of mischief’s bedside, and connecting up his machine. He had to lift Loki’s head slightly to get the apparatus on him, and realized it was closest he’d ever been to the trickster without violence involved. On Loki, the metal headband, woven with electrodes and nanomachinery as it was, looked like a circlet or crown more than anything else. With his long black hair only slightly mussed by the pillow, Loki looked like a prince from some cyberpunk alternate fairytale retelling. Sleeping beauty: technologically advanced trickster god edition. The Asgardian casual-wear Thor had replaced his usual armor with at some point only added to the impression: a loose green shirt of a slightly antiquated style, the threads at the collar loose enough to expose collarbones and a bit of bare chest. It was pretty distracting, actually, so the inventor focused on Loki’s face again, and found himself a little surprised.

Tony definitely didn’t recall noticing the very faint scars around Loki’s mouth before: they were not deep, and only stood out against his skin where the light caught them just enough to make clear they had a slightly more pearlescent sheen than the rest of his pale skin. They must be very old, then. Gods didn’t scar easy, either, so it must’ve been something pretty intense.

It didn’t take him long to work out that someone had sown Loki’s lips shut. He vaguely remembered reading something about that in the mythology somewhere, ages and ages ago. The thought was an uncomfortable one: caught between empathy for being painfully unable to speak, and uneasy understanding of some of Loki’s anger and bitterness on some level.

Thor was right about the pair of them being alike. More right than he realized, probably. Tony had known that for ages. Sometimes he was pretty sure Loki did, too. It showed in the way he focused his better banter on the mad inventor, when he fought the Avengers, and the sorts of tricks he sent Tony’s way; they were really good tricks, that were often a major pain in the ass to deal with, but they were challenging in a way that most other villains just couldn’t match, and there was something Tony sort of appreciated about the artistry of them, that way.

Tony was pretty sure he himself just still looked like Iron Man Lite, in his own tiara. That was how bad this was: now he was thinking of the things as tiaras, which just wasn’t fair. “If you’re particularly good,” he said quietly, “maybe you’ll wake up to a kiss. Maybe even a surreptitious grope. Sound good?”

No answer. That alone made the inventor think maybe the trickster really was still out of it, which saddened him a bit, on some levels. Loki was more often delightfully responsive to bantering provocation.

It was hard to imagine this enemy, their god of lies and chaos and mischief, was really weakened and may not wake up again, especially after nearly a decade of crossing paths with him, and fighting against the trickster’s schemes. Even remembering how they’d found him, how bloodied and near-dead and inexplicably blue he’d looked when Thor dragged him into the lab, Tony couldn’t imagine Loki being––anything less than Loki: mad and brilliant, bone-shatteringly strong, terrifying and beautiful like chaos at its best, always full of surprises and––well, always able to challenge even the likes of Tony Stark.

It bothered him a bit, when he realized that if they really had lost Loki this time, if somehow his soul had been damaged or something else had gone wrong after it was returned to him, that he’d really miss the rotten bastard.

Settling down into his preferred folding chair, which reclined a little, and flipped up a head-rest automatically, Tony shut his eyes and reached out motionlessly with his mind to activate the machine.

He hadn’t mentioned to Strange just how much of the machine was for show, and how much of it really was an extension built-out from his thoughts, anchored on structures the machine created.

Tony’s world went dark.




Lucid dreams take some time to get accustomed to. Tony had gotten plenty of practice, once he’d worked out that the upgrades he’d made to his neural network and its processing power with the aid of Extremis allowed him to do a bit more with his sleep-time than ever before. He could even package up particular dream-concepts and send them to JARVIS for later de-encryption. He’d built a whole new suit design just in dreams, even.

This wasn’t quite dreaming, but it was close.

It started out dark, as he pulled the room together around him: walls, floor, sourceless ambient lighting, windows with the view from his penthouse at night, because the idea of Loki trying to fling him out of such windows again was strangely amusing. It also likely wouldn’t work here––unless Loki broke the room, the way Thor thought he might, but Tony was dangerously curious about what the god would do about that, if anything.

The room had two doors opposite each-other: one at Tony’s back, leading to his own mind, and one to Loki’s. He focused on Loki’s door, found after a few moments, he lost the ability to change its appearance, or indeed sense it in any manner but visually and, when he strode up to it, by touch. The door felt very cold under his hand. It looked like heavy oak, and somehow he just knew it was locked, blockaded, bolted shut. Raising his hand, he knocked three times.

Silence followed.

After nearly a full minute of it, Tony knocked again, louder. “Hey, Princess, I’d like a word or two with you. You’re in my house, and I’ve been pretty hospitable, now. Don’t be rude.”

After a few seconds more, there was the sound of a very heavy bolt being moved, followed by several other loud, less identifiable scraping sounds.

Tony took two decisive steps back, and waited, with his hands folded behind him.

The door didn’t open. Loki just appeared in front of it, as he was wont to do, but the door was unlocked now, and they both knew it. At least, he could be no one other than Loki, but he looked...

The trickster’s voice soon both interrupted his train of thought and confirmed his identity both, with idle greeting: “Anthony Stark.” He looked around the room slowly, as though deciphering coded messaged from the walls, though his gaze lingered for a long few moments on the windows before he met Tony’s stare with his own calm, calculating one. “Interesting means of communication you’ve chosen.”

“I’d prefer if you didn’t break it. I’ve just got a few questions.”

“You do tend to be full of them,” the trickster mused, stepping closer. He really was unfairly tall, but that wasn’t the really distracting part this time. “Ask.”

“Why are you blue?”

Loki’s expression suddenly darkened, red eyes like blood and wine. The room rattled around them for a few moments, the ambient light flickering. Then Loki wore his more usual appearance: all pale skin and dark hair, with those bright green eyes. “None of your business.”

“You actually looked like that a bit when Thor first brought you in. He wouldn’t talk about it, and once you warmed up a bit, it faded. Neither one was illusion, because you were utterly drained, and furthermore your soul was missing, so none of your magic was behind it,” Tony rattled off. “Therefore, that’s just how you look sometimes. Why?”

“I am a monster. What more reason need you?”

“All I can get. Just generally speaking.” Tony’s brow furrowed. “It’s not a bad look for you, actually. I didn’t realize your eyes had changed too, but they were closed last time. The red makes for interesting contrast.”

Loki looked at him for a moment as though he were insane, then shook his head. “Of course. You are, after all, human, and your kind has been known to be unbothered by all sorts of monstrosities outside your own species, to such a degree even as to fornicate with them. You mortals really will take all comers.”

“You should talk. I read an interesting story about you and a horse.”

“One of Thor’s few surprisingly decent attempts at slander,” Loki scathed. “I admit to being impressed by its staying power.”

“So you weren’t offering?” Tony looked him up and down a little lecherously and grinned. “You could do worse. I’m close to being a prince and a global political and economic power in my own right on this planet anyhow, as you know.”

Loki shot him that look again: like he was genuinely wondering if Tony was perhaps suffering from the effects of a bad concussion. “You really have no shame at all, do you?”

“Neither do you. Not if the way you behave in a dress is anything to go by.”

“I don’t recall you complaining,” Loki shot back.

“Not at all. Well, not until I realized I wasn’t getting the real deal.”

Loki made a thoughtful noise.

Realizing he might’ve been just a hint more sincere than he’d intended there, Tony backtracked swiftly, changing the subject back to the real issues. “So. How are you, these days, and how fake is your coma?”

The trickster smirked faintly. “Only a little.” He sidled just a little closer, so there was perhaps eight inches between them. “The damages I suffered were the worst since my return from the void between Yggdrasil and the region of space that the Chitauri are more native to. My soul was surprisingly intact, given how difficult it proved for its thief to hold on to, and how far they got with it in spite of that.”

“About that thief: any ideas who it was? You’re not the only magic-user on the planet they’ve gone after lately, by far.”

“I’m the only one from another realm, I suspect. Our souls are a bit different from those of the average mortal. It comes with our nature to some extent, but mostly the effects of age and strange travels. In my case, being Jötunn adds further difficulties for containment.”

“Yeah. We haven’t been able to track any of the others. Strange said yours was an anomaly: not contained the same way.”

“I’m good at shattering containers made by those who would underestimate me.”

Again, the floor and walls shuddered around and under them.

“You know better than to think I’d do that without having a few tricks of my own up my sleeve waiting for you,” Tony warned, low and calm.

The trickster smiled his best wicked smile. “Yes, but now I’m curious what they might be.” He reached out then, and two fingers applied gentle pressure from under Tony’s chin, tilting his head up a bit further. “I’ve met a great many mortals over the millennia and none has ever been half so interesting as you.”

“I thought it was my job to flirt inappropriately.”

“Then clearly you’ve not read enough of the old stories about me.” His voice turned a bit sultry then, quite unfairly.

Damn. That’s... really distracting. Focus, Tony, focus. Answers needed. “Do you know who stole your soul, or not?”

Loki’s eyes narrowed. “I was not in peak condition when they struck, and there were several of them. I killed four, but the other three by then had their hooks where I had not expected they would dare aim. I have been stuck here, recuperating, and have not been able to wander far from my body, after this recent ordeal. I know not who is at the head of this: only that I have burnt their hands.”

Tony smiled a little fiercely, trying to ignore that Loki was still touching him. “Want to burn them a bit more?”

The trickster gave a thoughtful hum. “You’re proposing I work with you and your Avengers.” It wasn’t a question.

“We’ve got a common enemy, and you know how much hurt we can bring down on someone, what with how many times we’ve kicked your ass.”

Green eyes flickering for a moment, Loki switched back to his more blue-and-red appearance. “You would trust a monster not to maul you after the battle is won and we’ve all presumably survived?”

Tony shivered, because Loki’s touch was suddenly like ice. Oh yeah: frost-giant. That must be it. Sudden insight into Loki referring to himself as a monster struck shortly after and he wondered a bit about that; it would explain a lot. “There’s a lot of us, Loki. We can watch each other’s backs, and Thor’s since he seems to forget he needs to do that with you on a pretty consistent basis. If I allow a weak spot for you to hit, that means you’d better be aware of another Avenger already looking your way, ready to make you hurt if you decide to try and kill me yet again. Same for all of us: we’ll fight with you, but don’t think that we’ll be Thor-like enough to really trust you at our backs in a fire-fight.”

Loki hummed, thoughtful and amused. “It’s been quite a long time since I’ve aimed to actually kill you, Anthony Stark.”

The inventor raised an eyebrow. “I’d wondered a bit. I think we all know you don’t really want Thor dead, because they who would you have left to screw over when you need a pick-me-up? I figure that’s a family thing, though.”

The god of mischief looked momentarily quite surprised, before his smirk quite returned. “Very good.”

“When do you think you’ll be recovered enough to hunt with us?”

Loki hummed. “Three more days. I will remain apparently comatose until then: I shall need all of my energies.”

“So you wouldn’t be up for company in your bed with you, then? Here I was hoping I could make you feel bett––” Tony cut off at that point because Loki suddenly had him pressed hard against the wall. He swallowed tightly. “Alright. I got it. I’ll stop.”

“Oh, now that would be disappointing,” Loki purred, pressing closer, bodily.

Oh. OH. Tony’s mouth went dry. “Well, I’d hate to disappoint a guest.”

“You are such a strange creature, even by mortal standards. You hold even your teammates and most of your friends at arms’ length, hide your secrets from them best that you can until they nearly get you killed, and yet you so willingly share your body with anyone you find sufficiently attractive.” His face was close now, that long-limbed body surprisingly heavy and solid against him, seeming to radiate cold rather than heat. Even his breath on the inventor’s lips was cool. “You enjoy this surrender, even knowing how easily I might kill you.”

“You like me too much to kill me.” He felt something slip, then: something important. The room around them was less tangible, suddenly. His control of it was suddenly less strong, and felt almost numbed. The lighting was even a bit different––more like fire-light. The adrenaline rush of it hit fast and hard enough to set his limbs tingling, and his eyes widened a little. “Oh. Shit.”

Loki’s grin widened. “You let yourself grow too distracted.”

“Well, you’re distracting.” He smirked a little. “But so am I, or is that a magic staff in your pocket?”

The trickster seemed caught up with confusion and disbelief for a moment, pulling back slightly. “You still have no fear, here. Not of me, really.”

“I want you. And I can tell that you want me just now, and that you’re still more surprised and off-balance than I am.” He wrapped an arm around Loki’s neck, drawing him back down a bit. “It makes me wonder if you like me even more than you already knew you did.”

Loki’s expression darkened, but he didn’t resist or stiffen in any way that indicated he might be genuinely offended. “I’ve met very few minds capable of keeping pace with my own. Your mind is not like that of most humans, particularly here and now. I knew you had altered it, but not to this extent.” He narrowed his eyes a little, examining Tony’s expression a bit searchingly. “You have such potential,” he growled, sounding openly turned on this time.

Tony shivered, and not with cold. “You’re afraid.”

“So are you.”

“Yeah. Because if the only way you might be inclined to break me was as my enemy, I’d know what to expect. I like you enough, and you interest me enough, that you’re not really on my enemy list. You’re a villain, yeah, but you’re not my enemy. You’re just a pain in the ass because of how much you hate and love Thor. And if you maybe didn’t see me as an enemy either, well, that leaves me looking at more pain, potentially, knowing you.” He licked his lips absently. “And knowing me.”

Loki stood very still, then. His expression was a bit harder to read with the blue color-scheme, by firelight. “You are not lying,” he said, almost a whisper.

Tony swallowed tightly. “Yeah. Seemed pointless, with you. You see through me.”

“Not very far. Not so far as with most others.”

“You see more of me than most others do, though.”

“And you see similarly through me, all too often,” the trickster murmured. “It’s dangerously appealing.”

“You like it.”

“Hence the danger.”

Tony’s eyes widened a bit. On the list of things he’d never expected to see or hear from the god of lies and mischief, it was a surprisingly sincere admission of: if I allowed you close, I know that you could harm me very badly, and I would not be able to stop it. Because really, that was what this came down to, with the both of them, and all the walls they put up between themselves and the rest of the universe. Before, Tony had felt invulnerable. He’d had to deliberately lower his walls to let Pepper in far enough she could hurt him. Even then, he’d been able to see it coming. Loki had cut deep before, without even building trust first. And he’d cut Loki. They were both already under each other’s skin, as enemies. Now, here, this close and this aroused and this frightfully open––this wouldn’t be easy to walk away from. Oh, once the afterglow wore off, and they’d put their respective armor back on, there would be distance again, but there would also be temptation stronger than it was already, to draw them inexorably closer again thereafter.

And oh, was the temptation already strong.

“This is a terrible idea,” Tony said, his voice not as even as he’d have liked.

“Oh yes. One of my worst, I think,” Loki concurred.

They stared at each other for a long moment, then both began to smile viciously.

“I like a challenge,” Loki purred.

“Me too.”

“You have the potential to be the death of me,” Loki said. “You moreso than any other I can think of, given time.”

“If I didn’t want to take you apart first to see how you really work, I’d consider it more of an option.” It took an effort to work out that it was indeed his own dream they were in, and to get a couple of mental footholds in it, but he managed it. With that bit of regained control, he changed Loki’s clothes from full armor to the more casual clothing he knew the trickster to be wearing out in the real world. Then he lowered his head and licked at Loki’s exposed collarbone, smirking at the low noise the god of mischief made in response.

Then Loki’s long fingers were in his hair, gripping tight, jerking his head up, and the trickster caught his mouth in a hungry kiss, the contact making them both gasp sharply at the shock of contrast: hot and cold. Tony returned it, one arm curling around Loki’s waist to pull him in still closer as he parted his lips and got a proper taste of that silver tongue for the first time. Loki tasted like fresh snow, at first, and it seemed his relative cold made him more sensitive to the relative heat of Tony’s touch. When the inventor tugged his shirt untucked and slid his hands under it, the shudder Loki gave in response was deeply satisfying. Not long after, though, the cold started to abate, and the taste of fresh snow became fainter, replaced by spice and something simply warm and alive and uniquely Loki.

Tony found the whole thing an incredible turn-on, and thrust his hand down the front of Loki’s pants as soon as he could get them open to better express his appreciation––only for their clothing to vanish entirely. Breaking the kiss briefly, Tony panted, “Eager, are we?”

“Yes.” He then grabbed Tony’s hips and lifted him with seemingly no effort, his hands guiding the inventor’s legs to wrap around his waist. “I believe we are.”

“Yeah. Yeah, no arguments here.”

“I’m inclined to take you here.”

Tony shuddered, his legs gripping a bit tighter as Loki mouthed at his neck, those long pale hands gripping his ass. “That’s fine. Yeah, god, yeah.” With similar dream-style convenience to the sort which had vanished their clothes, Loki’s fingers were already slick where two of them pressed against Tony’s entrance, then: first gently, then with more persistence, slipping inside him slowly. He hissed a little at the burn, which was decided not-dreamlike. It had been a long while, after all. “Oh, hell, I’m gonna feel this in the morning, aren’t I?”

Loki chuckled in his ear. “I want you to. I want as much and as real as I can have of you in this place.” His fingers began moving then, slow and unhurried.

“Fine. But that means we need to fuck at least once outside a dream, or I’m going to feel kinda cheated.” Tony jerked a bit when Loki found his prostate, then gave a small cry when the god of mischief promptly revisited it with more pressure and rougher friction. “Oh, fuck. That’s good.” He then lost thoughts and words alike for a few moments as those long, skilled fingers continued to torment the spot.

“Interesting suggestion. Here, you have plausible deniability. This is, after all, mostly dream, and I am easy to blame there. My brother likely warned you of that, in fact, the noble fool.”

“You think I won’t want you out there because we’d be a little more likely to get caught, and I wouldn’t have the excuse of ‘the devil made me do it’ after this?” Tony panted. “You clearly underestimate just how shameless I am.”

Loki smirked then, adding a third finger. “Perhaps.” He then sped up his movements, being a bit less gentle. “And I may understand better once I’ve fucked you thoroughly. You haven’t had that in some time, I don’t think.”

“Cheeky bastard,” Tony groaned, pulling him into another kiss, this one rougher, more desperate, as Loki’s fingers drove him slowly insane. He reached down between them to stroke himself briefly, needing the friction, but it threatened to be too much. So he took hold of Loki’s cock instead, and set about bringing them onto more equal footing where desperation was concerned. It didn’t take much before Loki’s fingers left him, and curled around Tony’s wrist to stop him.

The kiss broke briefly, and Loki panted, “You’re quite good.”

“Silver-tongue, I can see. Did your fingers earn you a nickname too? They should’ve.”

The trickster chuckled, letting go of Tony’s hand and lining himself up at the the inventor’s entrance. “You’ve had only a mild dose of my tongue, for now.”

“Then we are definitely doing this again. No question. Now please fuck me.”

“Yes,” Loki growled, and pushed into him, not quite slowly.

Tony’s head fell back against the wall with a light thunk as he struggled to breathe. It really had been a long time and Loki was gifted suitably for a god––which Tony was going to stand by because by that standard, proportionally, so was he. “Fuck.”

Loki bit at the side of his neck, breathing hard, muttering something obscene-sounding in an unrecognizable language, keeping himself still to let the mortal adjust. Only when Tony’s body relaxed a bit against him and the inventor rolled his hips with a decidedly encouraging moan low in his throat, did Loki let his control relax and his hips begin to move: slow only briefly, then picking up the pace and growing steadily less gentle, especially once he found the appropriate angle to make Tony Stark’s back arch and his voice rise in a breathless near-shout. “Let me hear you.”

Tony all but growled in response. “Goes both ways––god yes there oh fuck!”

The trickster’s lips curled with a hint of a smirk. “You want to hear how good you feel, or how lovely you look like this, wrapped around me as I’m making you come?”

“That’s––not fair.”

“Trickster god.”

“Yeah, I know, you’re fucking gorgeous and insane and insanely gorgeous when you’re fucking.”

“Flattery will get you everywhere.” With that, he wrapped a long-fingered hand around Tony’s cock and began stroking him, fast and hot and-

“I think I love your hands. You just––fuck, Loki, just... h-harder!”

Loki obliged, his breathing ragged, catching Tony’s mouth with his own just before the inventor came hard in his hand, breaking away again when Tony more deliberately tightened around him, dragging the trickster closer to the edge too. “Fuck.”

“Yeah, come on, Loki, please, god, you’re good. Come for me.”

“Tony,” the trickster gasped, close to the inventor’s lips. “Tighten. Again.” He moaned when Tony obliged, then hissed when he stopped. “Don’t-”

“Say my name again,” Tony challenged.

“Tony, please.”

“Yeah.” Tony tightened, shuddering a little, over-sensitive still, but it still felt so good and Loki looked incredible like this, desperate for him. “Come for me, Loki.”

With a few more frantic thrusts, Loki did, his composure shattering as Tony milked him, so he was left gasping against the mortal’s shoulder and leaning on the wall heavily to keep them both upright.

Tony wasn’t much better, limp and sated and drained, and deeply satisfied. “Wanted that for ages,” he muttered, after nearly a full minute trying to remember how to breathe properly.

“Did you?”

“Yeah. Along with wanting to make you beg for same. I’d like to work up to that.”

Loki chuckled softly, in a good-humored manner. “If you can manage it.”

“Oh, that sounds like a challenge.”

“It is,” Loki countered, turning his head a bit to nip at Tony’s neck.

“Challenge accepted. Once you’re awake, I’ll work on that post-haste.”

The trickster hummed against his skin. “You are insane, I think.”

“So’re you. Matched set, really.”

“Fair enough.” Loki lifted his head enough to kiss him once more. “For now, I think it best you awaken, before we’re a bit less alone.”

“Wait, what?”

Too late, apparently. Because the room, the wall at his back, and Loki against his front, all abruptly vanished.




Tony’s eyes snapped open and his head jerked up abruptly. He was on full alert, his senses pulling in data from hardware both biological and otherwise, and as such he could hear the sound footsteps in the hall outside, through JARVIS’ ears. He also felt distinctly uncomfortable, in a sticky manner that indicated he hadn’t been unaffected by that particularly hot dream-date out here in the real world. A glance Loki’s way showed no similar stickiness––likely the reason he’d dragged them into Tony’s head and Tony’s dream, rather than his own. “You little bastard.”

Then he crossed his legs quickly as the nearest door opened, concealing the obvious damp spot as best he could. He donned his most innocent expression as Thor and Natasha approached. Natasha looked like she’d gotten a quick briefing from Thor on Why This Looked Like A Bad Idea from Thor at some point along the way. Likely, she’d heard Tony head downstairs, and then later conversed with an equally insomniac Thor about his worries. The thunderer hadn’t been sleeping much since his brother showed up. Funny thing, that.

Tony thought to himself that he was starting to get to know these guys a bit too well, really. “I told you I’d be fine,” he said to Thor. “Your brother’s recuperating still, by the by, but he’s in the coma optionally rather than because he can’t wake up. It’s just easier for him to recover that way a bit, apparently. He’s also willing to work with us to find out who’s behind this string of soul-thefts, since he’s not sure who they are either, but he’s really pissed off at them––even more than he just generally is always pissed at you, Thor.”

Natasha raised an eyebrow. “You look pretty relaxed, for having just dealt with Loki. You’re certain he didn’t lie about everything under the sun this time?”

“I’m certain he wants to use us against another enemy he’s currently more angry with, and that he knows cooperation is the best way to go about that for now,” Tony said, and shrugged. “That’s all we really need, for now, I think.”

“You’re also certain that you are truly all right, Tony?” Thor asked, his brow deeply furrowed.

“I’m fit as a fiddle, Goldilocks.”

Natasha snorted at him. “He’s feeling smug, and looks mostly intact, Thor. Looks like Loki knew better than to mess with one of the Avengers while he still can’t leave our basement.”

“He could,” Tony corrected. “It’d just be a bad idea. Survivable, I’m sure, but really not very pretty. Especially not with JARVIS and I making things very difficult.”

“Presuming he did not incapacitate you,” Thor said flatly.

“He tried a bit. We reached an understanding.” Tony’s grin widened, becoming even more deliberately grating. “It was real fun.”

The thunderer shook his head a little with a sigh, even as he looked faintly amused. “At times you remind me of him quite disconcertingly, Tony Stark. Goodnight to you. Natasha, my apologies for causing you any undue concern.”

“Your concern was merited. Tony’s just an irritatingly brilliant dick.” She patted his arm, and started to follow him out. “Goodnight, Tony.”

“And good morning. Get some sleep at some point, Natasha. It’s not good for you, otherwise. Seriously, do you ever sleep?”

“You only say that because you often get even less. Go to bed before dawn.”

“You’re not my real mom!”

“I’ll tell Pepper!” she sing-songed, just before the door closed behind her.

“Dammit,” Tony muttered. Then he glanced sidelong at Loki while he removed his metal headband, and got to his feet. Leaning over the god of mischief, Tony considered just how insane he really must be. “You’re an ass, you know. I haven’t come in my own pants in fuckin’ years.” He removed the similar metal circlet from Loki and set it aside, examining the trickster’s face for a long moment. “I do like you. And I want to break you open and find out everything you keep inside that brilliant head of yours, because you’re so crazy I can barely keep up––but I can keep up.” He leaned in, kissed the trickster’s lips briefly and then hissed in his ear, “I’ll be more than just a dream if you will.”

He went to pull away, and found a hand gripping hard at the front of his shirt.

“Stop distracting me. I’m trying to repair the connections between my body and soul, you comprehensive ass.” He didn’t even open his eyes, just muttered it.

“Just seeing if you were listening.” He kissed Loki’s hand playfully as those long fingers relaxed and the trickster fell back under. With considerable amusement, he replaced the manacle-cuff about Loki’s wrist. I knew they wouldn’t work on him more than once or twice. “Goodnight.”

Loki said nothing more. But that was fine.

It was already a bit more than just a dream, now.

Tony left him there, working out how much he could get done, in such a way that in about three days he’d have some breathing room, and maybe an hour or so he might be available in his bedroom to see if Loki might meet him there before anyone else worked out he was awake.

It felt like a game, for now––albeit a dangerous one, but it wouldn’t stay so light-hearted for long, not knowing the both of them. It would get complicated and painful soon enough. It would be constantly challenging. But then, they both had a fondness for challenges worthy of them. And this one was certainly insane enough to qualify.

And so were they.