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One Hell of a Ride

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Rhodey was dead. The fall hadn’t killed him, but a hospital borne infection had. Pepper stayed away. The public were back and forth on what they thought of the Accords. Tony turned back to drink, but kept it in control.

But Tony felt lost. He felt unmoored and hollow. When he wasn’t maintaining a pleasant buzz he was super-heroing.

That’s how he ended up on the streets of New York in his suit, meeting Dr. Strange, and then on the vista of Norway. He gave Thor and Loki privacy with their father before Odin turned into gold dust and a new player appeared.

He got the full story before Loki sent them flying through space. Loki was knocked out of the light stream then Thor was too. Tony kept his mouth shut, doubting he’d survive the same treatment.

They landed on Asgard. Tony’s mind raced. He snapped to a few conclusions and knew if he didn’t act fast he’d be dead.

He started clapping, his metal covered hands clanking together loudly.

“Congratulations, you’ve made your first mistake,” he said, drawing her attention to him. Hela turned towards him, raising an eyebrow. “They’re not dead and you’ve just given them a chance to regroup and find reinforcements.”

“You dare speak to me,” Hela paused, “whoever you are?”

Tony gave a slight bow, ignoring the other Asgardians. “The name’s Tony Stark and I can be of use to you, if you’re willing to let me.” He gave her his most charming smile. Hela narrowed her eyes, sizing him up. “You want to take your place as first born and heir to the throne. I get that.” He walked up to her so that they were face to face. “But frankly, you need some finesse, and I’m all about finesse, honey.” She cocked her head in thought. Tony turned to the other Asgardians in the golden room. “Behold!” he called out. “Hela Odindottir, first born of Odin and Asgard’s rightful ruler now that Odin has passed on! Long live the queen!”

A blond man with a goatee (that was nowhere as good as Tony’s) stood up. “I do not recognize this woman!” he said while pulling out a rapier-like sword.

A dagger appeared in Hela’s hand, but Tony was fast to grab her wrist. “Killing the opposition is easy, but wouldn’t getting them to yield to you be more satisfying?”

Hela hummed, not immediately putting away her dagger. “You are an interesting man, Tony Stark. I have waited centuries for my return. I can bear to wait and see the fruition of your ideas.” Her smile was demented. Tony kind of liked it. She looked at the Asgardian who had spoken before. “Come, you knave. I will show you proof of my heritage and then you shall spread the news.”

“No, I will wait for Thor to return. He will clear up this matter up.” Blondie still hadn’t sheathed his sword. The other warrior in the room didn’t move to take his sword out of the pedestal.

“Thor is in mourning. I’m Tony Stark, Iron Man, his friend and ally.” He gave him a friendly smile. “What could it hurt to see what proof she can bring forward?”

Blondie looked perturbed, but sheathed his sword. “Prince Thor has spoken highly of you. But know this, if this is a trick I will not show you mercy.”

Before anything else could be said there was a flash of green light and they were in a new golden room that had to be the throne room.

“Look skyward and see the truth.” Hela sent her daggers flying towards a mosaic on the ceiling. Large chunks came tumbling down, barely missing Tony, Hela, and blondie. A new image became clear, showing Hela standing beside Odin as an equal.

“That… hardly proves anything,” blondie said.

Hela held out her hand while grinning. There was a long paused before a golden spear came flying at her and landed neatly in her hand.

Blondie gasped before falling to his knee. “My queen, please forgive my insolence. I am Frandral the Dashing. With your leave, I shall tell everyone of what I have just seen.”

Hela waved him off in a queenly fashion. She turned towards Tony when Frandral was gone. “Tell me more of yourself, Tony Stark. I would know the man who has changed my plans in an unheard-of way.”

*

Tony and Hela were sitting at a wooden table in a dimly lit room. His armor was off, standing sentry behind him. Things were going well.

There was nothing Tony couldn’t achieve over a glass of wine and with a willing audience. Hela was a lonely woman, though she hid it well. He couldn’t fault her for that, considering she’d been in exile for almost half her life.

Tony told her about his history and she laughed at the moniker ‘Merchant of Death’. He talked about how he’d been betrayed over and over again—How he was ready to start a new chapter of his life.

With every drink and confession Hela opened up.

“I am what he made me,” Hela said while glaring at her drink. “He taught me the joys of battle and killing then turned his back on me! He was losing his mind and it was my duty to take his place as ruler! Odin killed his father before him. It was my turn to kill my father! Yet he set Asgard’s forces against me.” Hela began again carving into the wood table they were sitting at. She’d started after her third drink.

“My father wanted me to be the same as him, but I evolved and pulled out of the weapons industry. He’s rolling over in his grave because I’m better than him.” Tony finished off his drink before refilling it with water. He’d only had half a glass of Asgardian wine and it nearly made him black out. “Fuck Odin! He’s a shitty dad! I’m glad he’s gone!” Tony raised his glass up and Hela toasted with him. “This is your chance, Hela. Destroying is easy, but creating is hard. Be more than he could ever be! It is the ultimate form of rebellion!”

Hela hummed in thought, her eyes glassy.

“Servant!” Tony called out and one of the Asgardians came running forward. “Tomorrow afternoon we will have a celebration! It will be in remembrance of Odin and to celebrate Asgard’s new queen! Have the cooks start preparing a feast and the meadery emptied. Free drinks for everyone tomorrow afternoon! Make it happen!” The servant hesitantly glanced at Hela who nodded in agreement.

“Tony Stark of Midgard, you are good at this,” Hela said, nearly slurring. “How are you so good at this?” She was carving what looked like a dog into the table.

“Practice. And nothing cheers people up like a good party.” Howard had taught him that. The asshole. “But you’ll need to make a few policy changes to make sure they know you’re different than Odin, that you’re better.”

“Too drunk to think.” Hela was petting the engraved dog, looking at it fondly. “You do it.”

“I don’t have any authority here. I’m just some Earthling who happens to be friends with Thor—and your friend.”

Hela made a raspberry. She reached over the table and grabbed Tony’s shoulder and the golden spear from earlier. “I grant thee godship and make you my chief advisor!”

Gold swirled around Tony. Every cell of his body felt like it was buzzing with energy that was almost knocking the air from his lungs. Tony’s heart was racing, flushing his body with something new. Something better.

His clothing fluttered as it shifted into leather and metal armor, hugging him snuggly and making him sit straighter. His magic girl transformation was complete with a helmet that felt nearly weightless on his head.

Hela ran her fingers down his arm, putting out a clear sign. But she was drunk, and Tony still wasn’t sure where his loyalties laid.

“Go to bed. I’ll look into the policies while you sleep.” Hela pouted. Tony took her hand, running his thumb over her knuckles. “This isn’t a rejection. It’s just not the right time.”

“Pah! I was testing you!” Hela stood up wobblily and Tony tried not to be charmed by her behavior. He could relate to trying to save face, only to look silly doing so. “Poof!” she said before disappearing.

Tony blinked in disbelief before pouring himself some wine. He no longer feeling buzzed now that he was a god. And what a shit-show that was. Tony’s best friend was dead. What good was immortality without Rhodey?

But Tony had to focus on making sure Hela didn’t turn her attention on Midgard. Earth might have scorned him, but he hadn’t given up on it yet.

With the help of a servant Tony found his way to what must have been Odin’s office—Or Loki’s. Same difference, in this case.

He went to work on reading notes and sent servants off to gather him more information.

He’d learned thermonuclear astrophysics in a night. Asgardian politics were nothing in comparison.

*

Entering a queen’s room uninvited was probably not kosher. But he’d brought food and drink and that had to get him some forgiveness.

Hela’s room looked like the rest of Asgard, gold and overdone. There was a black bird’s nest peeking out of the bedsheets.

Tony sat on the edge of the bed. The only time he’d willingly woken someone up was when he dumped a bucket of water on Rhodey. And that was right before he hightailed it out of there while giggling. Rhodey had not been entertained.

And this situation required more finesse. Tony clinked a spoon against the bowl like he was about to give a toast. Hela flinched and then sleepily grumbled something.

“It is the first full day of your rule. Can’t leave the people waiting.” Hela turned over to see him. Her smokey eye shadow had smudged, making her look like a racoon. “I brought breakfast and I have some policies for you to sign into law.”

Hela yawned loudly while sitting up. She was wearing what was equivalent to a floppy shirt, but with tassels and bells. She wiped away a line of drool from her face.

“I can’t remember the last time I slept in a bed,” she said groggily. Tony handed her what passed for coffee in Asgard.

“Fuck Odin for exiling you without a bed.”

“Fuck Odin,” she parroted with no real bite behind it. That was probably a good sign, or she was just too tired to muster up hatred.

Tony began explaining the different policy changes he thought would help distinguish her rule from Odin’s (and also keep Earth safe).

Hela nodded along as she ate.

“I also ordered you a few new outfits. New you, new look.” Tony clapped his hands once and a flurry of Asgardians entered with different clothes.

“You are highly efficient.” Hela got out of bed. Her shirt was high enough to get him a good peek at her rear. It was a very nice view.

He studied her as she looked over the different outfits. Hela was brushing her hair out absentmindedly with her hand while her other hand was playing with a tassel on her shirt. She paused in front of a get-up that was similar to the one she’d worn yesterday. It had softer lines, no pointed shoulders, and no cape. The main difference was the half skirt. It had no front, showing off the skin-tight pants, and went down to just above her ankles.

“This one.” Hela waved off the servants and they took the other outfits with them.

“About your helmet—”

“What about my helmet?” she asked sharply.

“It will look great with that outfit,” Tony hastily said, sensing a touchy subject. He held up the different policies. “I still need your signature.”

Hela took the pieces of parchments and flipped through them, each time with a flash of green her signature appeared. She handed them off to Tony and he left to make sure things were underway.

*

The music wasn’t to his taste, but apparently everyone else thought it was a banger. Tony had had Frandral do the announcing of the new laws, a eulogy to Odin, and introduce the new queen once everyone was sloshed, since he was a trusted face. Very few people cried over Odin and even fewer seemed to care that practically a stranger was their new ruler.

There were murmurs questioning where Thor and Loki were though.

The elderly were another matter altogether. They were alive when Hela rebelled against Odin. Tony did his best to tell them Hela had turned over a new leaf, but they were skeptical. It would take time for them to come to terms with her being in power.

Tony had a good buzz going as he sat next to Hela on a dais.

“If I have to kiss another baby…” Hela growled out. Tony laughed loudly at her and she sent him a glare.

“Hey, you wanted to be queen. It’s not all fun.” Tony still needed to think of a way to properly distract her more violent tendencies. He had thought up one possible solution though. Her interest was piqued, and he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t interested. Tony leaned over and whispered in her ear, “But I can think of plenty of things we can do in the bedroom to make up for it.”

Hela grinned at him salaciously, but before she could respond there was a ruckus. Tony spotted Thor, Bruce (?!), and a woman storming the area, pushing through the drunk and partying crowd.

Tony stood to intercept them. They met in the middle.

They looked like they were rearing to fight.

“Surprise,” Tony said while raising his glass, “I saved the day!”