Tony was so fucking tired that it’s impressive that he was still awake at all.
After putting a lock on Loki who looked contrite at being caught and not, you know, trying to take over the world, the Avengers – a name that they’re sticking to no matter how comic-book based it sounded – had a grim Thor and disgruntled Hulk looking after him since Loki seemed oddly wary of the big green guy. Which, of course, should be utilized at all cost.
After they took care of that mess, they got to the slow labor part of the job. Of being superheroes.
What even was his life anymore these days?
Anyway, by this point he was running on adrenaline and sharp urgency that drove him to broken buildings that had people crushed under the debris of battle, directing people to hospitals, or reuniting families that weren’t together during the alien attack on New York.
And wow, that’s a sentence he never thought would cross his mind outside of a sci-fi movie. This was so not how he wanted to be first introduced to legit aliens.
Tony pushed forward though, backed up by Captain America and Black Widow who proved to be soothing presences to the mass of people frantically trying to go home or find their loved ones in this whole doomsday scenario gone very wrong that turned out semi-alright in the end.
He ended up lugging Hawkeye around periodically as the man’s bird-eye view (ha!) sharply picked out which areas of the city they circled around needed help. Telling this information through the coms to the rest of the team had them quickly operating on an efficient system that worked out well for them. Something that surprised Tony for all their rocky starts and issues with each other as a unit.
Well, he figured, there were some things you couldn’t share without ending up liking each other, and stopping an alien invasion was one of them.
The process took hours and by the time the situation was well-handled by the police who could take care of the rest, Tony was ready to collapse the moment he landed with Hawkeye in his arms towards the group all gathered in the middle of a broken street under an equally wrecked lamppost that was crookedly bending in the wrong direction.
Thor and a now haggard looking Bruce Banner were there too, Loki hazardously thrown over Thor’s shoulder like a body bag. The almost-conqueror now conquered was glaring heatedly at them all, not talking due to-
“Is that duct tape?” Tony blurted out incredulously. Hawkeye choked next to him.
“Anything can be fixed with duct tape.” the scientist said mildly.
Thor nodded, the ridiculousness of the entire situation flying right over his head.
“The tool seemed quite necessary in this situation, as proven by Banner here,” Thor said seriously. “My brother possesses a silvertongue.”
“Yeah,” Natasha responded blandly. “We've noticed.”
Cap sighed, looking fed up by the entirety of this conversation.
“Should we go back to the tower? SHIELD should be arriving in a couple of hours to receive Loki.” The blond frowned. “Though we’ll probably have to stick around and make sure that it happens.”
He really looked like he didn’t want to do it. Tony couldn’t really blame the old man. He just wanted to wash his hands off of this whole affair and get back to Pepper.
(God, Pepper. He had to call her soon or she’ll kill him for scaring her like that. He needed some sort of normalcy in this entire mess.)
“You know,” he started speaking without any real idea what was going to come out of his mouth. “I’m still really up for shawarma? Cause I’m craving for something right now and Pepper’s always telling me that I should eat before I sleep before I forget.”
Surprisingly, all of them agreed. Turns out punching extraterrestrials really worked up an appetite.
They ended up at a small, mostly ruined restaurant after the third try. The owners there just rolled with the fact they had the saviors of the city in their restaurant as if it were any other day to them.
You gotta love New Yorkers.
They ate in silence, Loki tussled up and left outside. By this point, Tony was pretty sure that if the bastard wanted to leave, he would’ve by now. But he didn’t, which was worrying but so not Tony’s problem and he was perfectly fine with just, eating his meal in peace.
Of course, because the world loved to fuck over any good thing in Tony’s life, it didn’t last.
A bright light suddenly was bursting right in front of them, blazing hot and nearly blinding all of them in its close proximity. It slowly started to condense in on itself until it took – what Tony belatedly realized – human form.
That’s it. He was done. He couldn’t take another hit right now.
Why did the universe hate him?
They all stood up, Cap jolting out of his nap and reaching for his shield while Natasha untangled herself from Hawkeye, both assassins getting ready. Bruce stood up, shoulders and mouth tight with worry. Nobody would want the Hulk to appear right now and escalate something, but he was preparing to defend them all the same. That kind of thing meant something and Tony couldn’t help be a bit proud. Thor's eyes were darting immediately to the door where Loki was tied up outside, looking ready to attack first and ask questions later.
As for Tony, he cursed hard at the fact he had stupidly stripped himself off his armor. He couldn’t help it with the sense of claustrophobia that had his throat tightening at the thought of continuing to wear what he essentially almost died in. He should’ve held on a little longer, should’ve been ready for anything even if it seemed like it all ended.
And Rhodey told him he was too paranoid. Ha!
Just when Tony was relatively sure they were all going to die, the glowing finally faded away and Tony’s brain impossibly stopped working.
It was Thor.
It was Thor?
Whoever it was, he looked an awful lot like him. Goldilocks was no more, his curling blond hair cropped short and revealing darker roots than Tony first believed. The red cape was gone and the man was instead wearing a practical brown cloak that was fraying at the edges and a giant traveling pack the man had slung over his shoulder with ease.
However, the two biggest differences sent a jolt of shock – see what he did there? – through his whole body right down to his toes.
One, Tony couldn’t see the ever-present hammer. Unless he was hiding it underneath the cloak or it was stuffed somewhere in that bag, he had no idea.
Second, the man was wearing an eyepatch. And unless it was Halloween where Thor decided to cosplay as Nick Fury’s immortal cousin, this Thor most likely lost an eye at one point.
Seeing how the man was the God of Thunder and could match up to the Hulk, this was very concerning.
That is, if this really was Thor.
First thing this Thor said was, “Oh shit.”
The next thing was, “Is that shawarma?”
The ragged appearance of the man did nothing to erase the radiant grin he was now sporting as he casually walked toward the table full of armed Avengers and picked up a bowl of shawarma before taking a giant bite out of it.
Tony wasn’t even kidding. It looked like the man was unhinging his entire jaw as he bit it, completely undeterred by his baffled audience that included his gaping double.
“You have no idea,” the one-eyed Thor managed to say while chewing enthusiastically. “No idea how much I miss Midgardian food.”
And, well, what the hell were you supposed to say to that?
The shock was quickly wearing off of Thor now as he glared threateningly at the bizarre aberration that stood before them. He clenched onto his hammer and took a step forward.
“Loki, stop playing one of your games.” Thor ordered. A shiver ran down Tony’s neck at the God’s tone. Natasha was narrowing her eyes at the lopsided copy as if she was trying to figure something out.
He hoped she did soon. He worked too hard to stay alive today to die like this.
One-eyed Thor somehow managed to look completely unimpressed, raising an eyebrow and staring at Thor in a manner that Tony couldn’t help but think meant, “Oh honey,” which would’ve been a lot more hilarious under different circumstances. He had no idea the blond had it in him.
“You know as well as I do I’m not Loki.” One-eyed Thor waved his shawarma in a scolding manner at the other god. “You can sense magical signatures well enough. Calm down.”
“It can be faked.” Thor rumbled, irritation increasing with every gritted word.
“You know him well enough to tell.” the other Thor pointed out. He took another bite out of the wrapped up food.
“You’re from the future.” Natasha abruptly stated. She was staring at him as if she didn’t know what to make of him. “Time travel?”
The man swallowed before beaming at her.
“Observant as always Natasha.” he said cheerfully.
Everyone blinked at the use of first name. It was strange to hear such familiar address from the overly-formal prince.
And then what Thor confirmed sunk in.
“Time travel?” Bruce was shaking his head furiously, looking about ready to blow a gasket. Tony couldn’t blame him, he felt like doing the same in the face of something so out there. And they just fought aliens. “That should not be possible.”
The other Thor smirked far too smugly. “Magic.”
“No.” Tony denied. And will continue to deny for the rest of his days, cause fuck that. “No, everyone knows that’s a fucking cheat answer and like hell I’m going to let you get away with that.”
“But it’s the truth?” This Thor widened his eyes, looking so confused and overly innocent that Tony instantly knew was Thor’s version of a shit-eating grin. Jesus, he could give 16-year-old Tony, the biggest piece of shit there ever was, a run for his money with that look. If Tony wasn’t so outraged by the topic, he’d almost be impressed.
He could definitely see himself get along with this version of Thor.
Cap was staring at one-eyed Thor with disbelieving eyes before finally closing them as if he was only now accepting how crazy his life was.
“Yeah, no dice.” Hawkeye looked far too amused by the situation now that it was clear they weren’t in danger, smirking with shoulders relaxed. “How did you get here?”
While the question was said nonchalantly, the archer was shifting his stance in a way where he was subtly glancing outside the shop to check up on their resident magician. Seeing if he really wasn’t playing a part in this madness.
The one-eyed Thor whether didn’t notice or didn’t care.
“An accident.” He shrugged. “Pissed off someone and ended up here. My ride should come soon and I’ll be out of here in a jiffy, don’t worry. Shouldn’t affect the space-time continuum too much. The guy who sent me here isn’t powerful enough to bend time to his will.”
“You’re using modern lingo.” Tony didn’t bother to try to hide his glee. “You said space-time continuum! Oh my god, you’re more ahead of the curb than Capsicle! Ha!”
Said mentioned man shot an exasperated look at the billionaire. “Stark.”
Before Cap could really get into it, a more minimized bright light suddenly shined right next to the other Thor before dimming down and making it clear who appeared this time.
Whatever lightened atmosphere resulted in clearing up the strange Thor’s presence immediately disappeared at the sight of the next visitor.
“What the fuck.” Hawkeye spat out, hand jerking for the bow. It vanished before it could and appeared in a sneering Loki’s hand, looking exactly the same as his other counterpart. He dropped the weapon in an overdramatic act of disgust. You could visibly see him thinking the word "plebian" from his expression alone.
“If you don’t mind, I don’t want to get shot at. Again.” The criminal whipped his head around and glared at Thor’s doppelganger with extreme annoyance. “I can’t believe you.”
“What?” For the first time since he appeared, there was no sign of playfulness now. Long finished with his stolen meal, he set the bowl down in a decisive move before crossing his arms across his broad chest defensively. “It’s not like I was about to let you get hit.”
“I knew what I was doing.” this Loki hissed. For a brief moment that Tony almost missed, his green eyes flickered up and down Thor’s frame as if-
As if he was checking Thor for injuries.
The very implications were confusing to say the least. He almost thought he imagined it if it weren’t for the slight straightening of Natasha’s spine and the way her eyes widened just a fraction from surprise. Hawkeye followed his partner’s lead and his rage leveled down a notch as he seemed to catch it as well.
“I’m fine.” The one-eyed Thor rolled his eye – as in singular, there had to be a story there – and jerked a thumb in the Avengers’ direction. “You can yell at me later.”
All that rage slowly seemed to disappear underneath a smooth, cool mask at the reminder. It was such a contrast to the spitting pile of uncontained, raging madness that Tony had come to expect from him that it was disconcerting. It was doubly so when it hit that Loki was actually listening to Thor.
From the dumbstruck look on Goldilocks’s face, this was just as weird to him too.
What the hell was going to happen in the future?
“Fine.” Loki sneered. “Now let’s leave-”
Suddenly, the door behind them banged open and just to add on to this clusterfuck of chaos that had just been about to leave damnit, the Loki of their time stood there, somehow having broken out of his feet restraints with his mouth and hands still taped over.
“Mmmhmm Hmm!” the degraded Loki sounded out, scathingly glaring at them all.
The double Loki sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose while the one-eyed Thor starting laughing immediately.
“Oh god, I completely forgot about this!” the man exclaimed, absolutely delighted. “This is amazing!”
“I,” The more composed of the two Lokis sounded completely done. “regret everything that has led us to this point.”
Thor casually waved a hand at the Loki next to him while still staring gleefully at the seething, voice-muffled Loki in front of him.
“This all already happened brother.” Both past Loki and Thor stared in shock at the address, the former with horror and the latter with alighted hope. “Get over yourself.”
Captain America choked.
“Anyway,” The one-eyed man smiled at all of them as if the two hadn’t opened a hundred questions into the open with their existence. “it was nice to see you guys again and you won’t remember any of this, so don’t worry about us changing anything. Live your lives and I hope you get that Civil War business done soon or whatever. Raging fire,” The time traveler made honest-to-god finger guns and pointed both at Bruce with a cheeky grin. “I’ll see you on the ship.”
And as flashily as they appeared, they were gone in a flash.
Tony stared at the very spot they were just standing and turned to look at the others to share his confusion when-
The genius frowned.
What the hell were they all doing standing around? Weren’t they just eating a minute ago?
“Hey! How the hell is Reindeer Games here?”