All Tony is aware of is pain. The pain of the cold seeping into his suit, the pain of his barely hanging on chest the pain of the enormity of what Steve had done.
But most of all the pain of spending decades blaming Howard for killing his mother. Decades of ignoring Howard's grave and even trying to get his mother's grave moved away from his. Howard hadn't been a particularly good parent, had berated Tony, bullied Tony, made him feel insignificant, and ignored him entirely, but Howard hadn't deserved that hadn't deserved Tony's hatred and nightmare filled curses upon his spirit for the accident.
Tony doesn't know how to feel about Barnes. Yes it was his hands that punched Howard and choked his mother but it was HYDRA controlling the action. As a ex-weapons maker Tony knows that responsibility falls on the person with the trigger.
He's sure he doesn't want to kill Barnes. If he had Barnes would be dead. After all his suits have missiles in them. He could have flown outside and blown the whole place to hell of he had wanted to.
So, he's not as mad at Barnes. Torture and mental manipulation are things that Tony has experience with. Things he knows and can empathize with. He isn't sure how far that understanding reaches. Maybe enough to get him some medical help in Denmark or Finland or some other country with decent healthcare. But Tony isn't sure about much farther than that.
The person he's most angry with is Rogers.
Rogers knew his parents were killed. Sure he claims to not have known it was Bucky, and Tony is willing to overlook the unlikeliness of that, but Rogers knew it was murder.
Tony is self-aware enough to know that had Rogers lied about who had done it that Tony would still be pissed. Maybe still deliver that punch. But after he's have been calmer. All Rogers had to do was tell him about it being murder, and this whole thing would have gone easier.
Tony's also pissed that Zemo’s fucking unnecessarily complicated plan worked as well as it did. Come on, the man's plan was the equivalent of a cartoon villain coming up with some stupid way to kill the hero involving balls triggering axes to cut ropes to move blocks, to trigger a mouse trap to snap the hero's head off.
Tony lays in his suit, the cold numbing the pain, cursing everything that led him to this point. He can see every manipulation he was put through, every tactic used against him. He wants to make them all pay. Pay for using him, for abusing his trust, and most of all for hurting him.
He can see it. He could have Wilson dishonorably discharged maybe even court marshalled. He could get bug boy in so much trouble with someone. He could take Barton’s family away Laura is probably already pissed a few pieces of information and she'd probably drop kick him off the planet, he would lock up Romanov, remove Maximoff’s powers, and then he would help Bucky and ruin Steve's reputation. He can see himself doing all of it, deep down he knows that Pepper and Rhodey would help him. He knows that in his bones.
But… That would put him on par with them. He'd be no better. Happier but no better, vindicated but no better. He won't destroy them. Not fully. Wilson never really made an effort to fully reach out. They were on okay terms before Ultron but after he stopped trying. And Tony doesn't even know who bug boy is. He'll leave those two alone completely. He'll get Laura and the kids to a safe house and give her information if she asks but he's willing to let her be the one to punish Barton. There's probably nothing he can do about Romanov, she signed and then betrayed the accords. He won't actively pursue her for trial but he won't stop others from doing it, or lending a hand if he's asked. He'll let America revoke Maximoff’s Visa if that's what they want.
The one he wants to hurt most is Rogers. He wants to destroy him. Rogers but he'll settle for exposing some of his checkered past and present.
He doesn't want to ruin them completely but he's been abandoned to die in a bunker in Siberia. He deserves to indulge in a little revenge and pettiness. The most important thing is that the public no longer treats them like infallable gods. Rogers will learn to be accountable for his deeds. Without Tony to guide him through it because Tony is done with coddling them like spoiled children. Hell Rogers is technically older than him anyway.
Tony is snapped out of his fantasy of Rogers having to return to those dancing monkey days in order to help fund his team without Tony by the sounds of several jets landing.
Hope surges in his chest at the idea of being rescued, but it quickly dies out when he realizes that there are too many sets of feet for it to be a rescue from his side or Roger's. Maybe it's the Russian police. Tony is here legally, so that's not a problem. They'll take him to a hospital and when he's good enough to go he'll head to the US.
That hope lasts about as long a heartbeat before Tony realizes that the Russian police wouldn't arrive by jet. Tony blames his stupidity on the fact that he's dying.
When his brain is done running through probabilities he's left praying to a god he doesn't believe in that the dying made his numbers wrong because the absolute last thing he needs is for HYDRA to find him.
There's only so much one guy can take in a couple of days.
“Well well I must say, the loss of the Winter Soldiers is a price worth paying to have the esteemed Merchant of Death in our possession,” a man says as he and his crew circle Tony in.
“Haven't y...y... you heard? I'm the merchant of cellphones now. If you want the n... next Starkphone so badly you can have one,” Tony says trying to keep his teeth from chattering.
“Don't worry. I give you about a week before you'll be our own personal Merchant of Death,” the head HYDRA goon says and Tony sighs. Of course they're probably going to torture him and Tony doubts that HYDRA is as stupid as a back alley terrorist group. He'll have a much harder time escaping.
“I'll never be that again,” Tony says and the goons laugh.
“You won't have a choice,” head honcho says reaching down to grab the leg of the suit. Tony laughs when he can't move it.
“This suit weighs more than any of you will ever be able to lift alone or together. Why do you think I haven't just walked off? I can't make it move. Also moving me is not a viable option. I'll die before you make out of the bunker if you worsen my injuries by moving me,” Tony babbles. He can't go with them. If they mind control him no one will be safe. He won't be responsible for any deaths. His fingers feel along inside his suit for the self destruct button, thankfully he had the foresight to have it one several forms of power for it, not just the reactor in the suit. He can save the world from himself and destroy a couple of HYDRA operatives in one shot.
Before his fingers can find the button a metal bulkhead bends and wraps itself around the HYDRA goon above his head and squeezing him until he's no longer able to move. Tony can also hear the sounds of the other goons being taken out by things or maybe people. Tony can't tell because he isn't able to see over the rise of his suit. He sees a metal box flying across the room and it smacks into someone.
There are more grunts of pain from Hydra and chuckles from whoever is doing this. More metal starts shooting across the room. Hitting people and trapping them.
Tony strains to look around and try to see who is doing all of this and suddenly there's a face above his and Tony groans. Of course he'd have to be found by Magneto of all people.
“I'm not helping you overthrow humanity,” Tony says closing his eyes.
“You owe me five bucks Kurt. I told you that'd be the first thing he’d say,” a relatively young voice says and there's a voice that curses in German.
“Don't you watch the news? I have turned over a new leaf. I have started working with Charles to get more legislation passed. It is a more long term solution,” Magneto says.
“I've been a little busy getting betrayed, trying to keep the world from falling apart, and nearly being killed,” Tony says which gets a laugh from Magneto.
“I'm going to peel away some of this metal. Make it easier for you to move and breathe. Johnny! I need you to come in here,” Magneto says and Tony sees a boy join his field of vision.
“I want you to start a fire. But away from him. We need to warm him up without sending his body into shock,” Magneto says and the kid makes a fire ball in his hand and Tony stares at it.
“Cool,” Tony says as the kid leaves his view.
“I need to know if anything is wrong,” Magneto says.
“Besides the obvious?” Tony asks.
“The suit is the only thing keeping my ribs in place. I have an artificial sternum in place. You might be able to keep it in place with the metal screws,” Tony says shyly. Hating that he's admitting a weakness to Magneto of all people.
“Okay, can I remove the leg and arm parts? I don't want that much weight on your body,” he asks and Tony nods. There's the sound of tearing metal and Tony sighs in relief as he feels like he's slowly starting to warm up from the kid... John's...fire.
“Should we make sure he's aware?” A voice with a heavy German accent asks.
“Alright then. What's your name?” Magneto asks peeling away metal.
“Anthony Edward Stark.”
“How old are you?”
“Google it,” Tony says.
“What is the name of your best friend?”
“Colonel James Rhodes,” Tony says.
“I'm convinced. Can we get out of here. It's really cold,” someone says.
“Alright Peter. Go to the ship and get it set up to transport him. Kurt can you teleport Anthony to the ship?”
“No. There are too many solid objects. I could get hurt,” Kurt says.
“Alright, P...and he's gone,” Magneto says and pulls off his helmet. After a minute two more people come in.
“Do you think that the two of you with my help can carry him?”
“You admitting that you need help? Have you been replaced by an LMD?” A gruff voice asks.
“If I lift him by the metal then his spine might be damaged unless supported,” Magneto says with a repressed sigh.
“I've got it. Wolverine might not be gentle enough,” a Russian accented voice says.
“Listen bub, I can be gentle. Can you? You're made if metal. That's not exactly soft and huggable,” the gruff voice says.
“Ladies you're both pretty. Now would one of you grow up,” Magneto drones and suddenly Tony feels himself being lifted.
“So, where are we going? You got a super secret lair or something?” Tony asks.
“A worse, school,” the German voice says.
“Oh...okay. I think I'll just pass out now,” Tony says and everything goes black.
Loki watches from the throne of Asgard seething in anger. How dare those pathetic mortals nearly kill their only hope for survival against the coming threat of Thanos?
Loki understands the need for the accords. If he were in the place of the UN he would have make a push for something similar. There's a reason Asgardian berserkers are watched like hawks in times of peace. But it could not have been made at a worse time. If they had waited a year or so then Thanos would have hopefully been a mere memory.
But as always mortals are their own worst enemy. Now they have endangered the only person who knows what's coming, who will be able to set up defenses.
He resolves himself to sending a bit of healing potion to Stark. Not enough to heal him completely but enough to get him out of danger.
He also might also make a few secret trips to Midgard in order to guide people to where they must be. He'll leave those bumbling morons hiding in Wakanda to their own karma. They are truly unneeded.
Plenty of people can hit with a shield, besides what use would he be against Thanos’ large amount of fliers? What is Romanov to do? Infiltrate one of the ships? She'd stand out more than she does in Wakanda. Barton is pretty much useless once he runs out of arrows. The one known as Scott Lang might be able to be useful against the minions but not for much else, although Stark is fully capable of building a robot to do something similar. Same with the one known as Sam Wilson, anyone can use the wings and they're not particularly impressive and lack major offense capabilities. The armor known as War Machine is a much better option.
Which leaves Wanda. A pathetically plain creature who is far too twisted to be trusted. Her anger gets the better of her too easily and would lead to more collateral damage than take downs of opponents. The woman known as Jean Grey is a far more stable option as of now.
He'll leave them in Wakanda so they can't cause anymore distractions. They may be useful as cannon fodder should the need arise.
But even if Loki helps Stark along from the shadows there is still too few fighters to win. Thanos’ army is huge. Stark only saw a fraction of it. A small fraction of it. Loki will need to do more to help.
If Thor were here then Loki, under the guise of Odin, could deliver aid as a boon to his son, but with Thor gone norns know where and acting as a fool Loki doesn't have that option. Nor does he have the ability to fake a message to Odin from a general and he had to get rid of Heimdall lest his ruse be discovered.
Loki sighs. He might be able to hide his own realm’s war preparations as training and games, but if he wants Thanos to be defeated it'll take even more than Midgard and Asgard. The other realms will have to help too and to do that he'd need to give them information that Odin himself has no way of knowing. His lies will be discovered and Thanos will win.
Loki buries his face in his hands onces he's reached the privacy of Frigga's garden. The one place Loki can feel safe letting down his illusion.
He avoids looking at himself when the illusion falls knowing what he'll find. His normally pale skin is almost translucent now, his hair stringy and a mess. He knows his eyes are encircled by thick dark rings and his ribs can be seen through his skin.
When he was a child he remembers thinking that he would die if he didn't take the throne, but now with the threat of Thanos, the return of each Realm's sovereignty, the lies and deals he's had to make, and the stress of ruling, he thinks that it's the other way around. He's dying because he took the throne.
Loki pushes away his morbid thoughts and replaces his glamour. He'll call an assembly of his generals. He can have them send scouts further than the nine realms and hopefully they'll pick up on Thanos that way.
Loki sighs and heads for the throne room.
Time to be the King Odin never could be.
“That's right Mark. There is finally news as to the location of Tony Stark. It seems that after whatever events transpired in Siberia, Dr. Stark was nearly kidnapped by HYDRA agents. Those agents were found today tied up with metal inside the abandoned bunker. Dr. Stark was not there however but his blood was. Now we've just learned that Pepper Potts CEO of Stark Industries and Colonel James Rhodes were contacted by someone they refuse to name to act as medical proxies for Dr. Stark. They left shortly after releasing that statement to the press. We only hope that Dr. Stark is okay and that he can help put our fears to rest,” the news caster on screen says and Clint clicks it off with a huff.
“Stark is probably at some spa or something, living it up while trying to get some sympathy so he won't get in trouble,” Clint says.
“Cint, do you really think that he would put Pepper and Rhodes through the stress of him being missing just for his own benefit? That man loves Rhodes like a brother and Pepper like a sister,” Sam says.
“Maybe they knew,” Wanda says.
“Wanda, Pepper cried on live television. She doesn't do that, not in front of the press. I know we're all mad at him but that doesn't mean that he deserves his health to be in danger,” Sam says.
“Who's side are you on?” Clint snaps and Sam sighs.
“I'm on your side. Tony may have disagreed with us on the Accords but that doesn't mean that I just stop caring about his safety because of it. People disagree, that's a fact of life. It doesn't mean that I'm going to berate a fellow human being,” Sam says.
“Come on you know Stark, he loves to make a big deal out of everything and he loves being the center of attention. He always did all the talking in press conferences,” Clint says.
“Maybe because of all of us he has the most experience with the press? He's been working with the press longer than Wanda's been alive most likely. Longer than most of us have if I think about it. After all he's been in newspapers since he was four,” Sam says.
“Would you send an agent who's only been doing things for two months into a mission that could have dire consequences? Or would you send the agent who's been working for forty years?” Sam asks.
“What dire consequences could bad press have?” Steve asks as Clint seems to be thinking things over.
“Well, if no one wanted Wanda in the US she could have been deported. Press could influence their opinions of her. No one was willing to believe you were the real Captain America, they thought you were a clone or a fake to inspire hope. Tony took care of that, he explained the science. That's just a few examples that I know about,” Sam says.
“Okay I see what you mean, but why wouldn't he let us talk for more than ten minutes?” Steve asks.
“Because we would go off the script his PR department prepared, making his job harder,” Sam says.
“But they can't just tell us what to say! We are adults,” Steve says.
“Steve, these guys are experts in their fields. They know more about it than we do...let me put it this way. Do you send a sniper on an infiltration mission?”
“Exactly. You know that a sniper doesn't have the skill set for it, you send in a spy for infiltration. In this situation were the snipers and the PR statements are their attempt to help us be closer to spies,” Sam says but he can see that Steve isn't getting it.
“Does any of this matter?” Stark is out of play right now which means that we can't use him to help is get home,” Wanda says.
“I thought your home was Sokovia? You complain about Stark destroying your home all the time,” Scott snaps and Sam sighs. Of all of them Scott is having the hardest time adjusting. Sam can understand. Scott had joined them thinking that he was helping with some world ending problem or evil villain. When he found out that he had given up his ability to save his daughter for a fight about legislation he was pissed, not that Sam can fault him.
“Scott not now,” Steve says head in his hands trying to sketch out the way they had come into the palace so that they can get back out. Sam sighs. T’Challa had been exceptionally kind with allowing them to hide in Wakanda and Steve wants to spit on that by planning an escape from here as well.
“No now Scott, don't say things like that Scott, you don't understand Scott. If I don't get a say then why the fuck did you invite me along? Is this what Star...oh, I see it now. An outsider, someone who doesn't have the perfect past that Captain America values, who is smart, and who has a mechanical suit. I'm just a replacement for him aren't I?” Scott says.
“No of course not. You're not a replacement for Stark. We couldn't have won at the airport without you,” Natasha says.
“Is this what you did with him? Everytime he questioned the way you treat him would you send in Natasha to placate him with a few choice kind words? What's next? A thinly veiled insult that will make me try harder for approval?” Scott snaps at her.
“Captiain Rogers, I wish to speak to you in private,” T’Challa says coming in with a guard.
“Anything you can say to him you can say to us,” Clint says.
“Yeah,” Steve says.
“I simply wish to inquire about the condition of Dr. Stark when we left Siberia,” he says.
“Why?” Steve asks defensively.
“For my own peace of mind. I cannot sleep knowing that Dr. Stark's condition is a result of my actions,” T’Challa says and Sam can respect that. Since no one knows where Tony is T’Challa can't contact him to apologize for his actions yet.
“He was moving and talking. All I did was power down the suit,” Steve says.
“How?” Scott asks.
“I took out the reactor,” Steve says.
“That would completely disable the entire suit. He couldn't have been moving the suit and his speakers wouldn't be working so how could you hear him through the helmet?” Scott says and Sam doesn't like where this is going.
“His helmet was knocked off during the fight. And the suit was moving, I saw it,” Steve says.
“Oh shit. Tony told me one time. It was in the middle of one of his annoying science babbles so I wasn't paying much attention. The suit has a back up power source but it's limited to giving him a chance to get out of the suit and into a new one,” Clint says.
“Which he can't do in the cold if Siberia because he’d get frostbite,” Sam adds.
“And if his suit was down he wouldn't be able to call for help,” Scott says.
“Does it matter? Tony is fine now. He'll be back on his feet in no time,” Steve says.
“Steve...even in the suit he'd still eventually get frostbite. If he didn't get medical attention in time it could result in…” Scott says trailing off looking like he's seen a ghost.
“Result in what Mr. Lang?” T’Challa asks.
“In some cases it can lead to amputation,” Scott says and they all fall silent.
When Tony wakes up he's aware of someone staring down at him but he keeps his eyes closed.
“Peter, don't lurk. You're likely to give him heart attack when he wakes up,” Magneto says.
“But Daaaaad. I'm worried about him!” The young voice whines. Wait...DAD! that kid didn't just call Magneto dad. Tony imagined it as a side effect of the concussion.
“Well worry about him from a respectable distance. He has much right to personal space as everyone else is,” Magneto says.
“Maybe we should do something for the pain? It's going to be excruciating when he wakes up,” the voice known as Peter says and Tony jerks on the bed eyes flying open.
“No pain killers!” He almost screams.
“Yes we know. Miss Potts and Colonel Rhodes were very insistent upon that. Don't worry, we won't use them,” Magneto says.
“Pepper and Rhodey are here?” Tony asks trying to perk up but his body is just not responding.
“Not yet, they called us from the plane. They'll be here in a few hours,” magneto says.
“Wait... Rhodey's hurt. He shouldn't be moving,” Tony says wide eyed.
“Calm down. He realizes that. Miss Potts is bringing a secure laptop for the two of you to talk through, I miss the days of letters,” Magneto says.
“Old man,” Peter snickers and yelps as something metal drops to the floor beside him.
“Oops,” Magneto says sarcastically.
“I think I like you,” Tony says but he can't see anyone.
“Thank you. I'm sure everyone here will grow fond of you here,” Magneto says.
“How'd you guys find me?” Tony asks and hears a whirling noise.
“That was my doing. My name is Charles Xavier and I'm a telepath. When you were trapped your mind was practically shouting out into the world. I was looking for perspective students and heard you. So, I sent them to go help you,” a calming voice says.
“Well thanks. Never thought I'd be happy to see Magneto of all people,” Tony says.
“I know that feeling well,” Charles says and Tony hears Magneto huff fondly.
“So...where am I?” Tony asks.
“The Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters,” Charles says.
“Great, I spend most of my childhood escaping from boarding schools and now I'm stuck recovering from near death in one,” Tony mutters.
“At least you don't have to go to classes,” Peter's voice says.
“Speaking of, don't you have Algebra in ten minutes?” Magneto asks.
“Fu...um fun times. See you!” Peter says and there's a zip noise that he vaguely associates with Pietro.
“I like him too,” Tony says and Charles laughs.
“Yes, it's hard not to like most of our students,” Charles says.
“So... anything interesting happen while I was napping...how long was I out anyway?”
“Two days. Nothing much. The UN seems to be focused on finding the runaways,” Charles says.
“You make them sound like misbehaving children,” Tony says.
“It's certainly how they've been acting, especially Captain America. Only his temper tantrums are far more destructive than a child's,” Magneto says.
“Speaking as someone whose temper tantrums are prone to be destructive?” Charles asks.
“At least mine had a goal behind it. A broad goal, not just the idea to save one man from imagined dangers,” Magneto says.
“Erik, you attacked a boy whose only crime was being a mutant capable of curing someone,” Charles says calmly.
“Only because there's nothing to cure... but I can see how the cure might have been a tantalizing option for people whose mutations cause them pain or prevent them from ever knowing physical affection,” Magneto...Erik says.
“And I will admit that they took things too far when they weaponized it,” Charles says.
“It's only taken us thirty years to agree on something like this,” Magneto says.
“We've agreed on things before,” Charles accuses.
“Yes. Small things but nothing like this,” Magn...Erik says.
“Okay, you two are making the atmosphere sad. I will not have my deathbed be surrounded in sadness. Someone grab some tequila,” Tony says.
“You're not dying,” Erik says amused.
“You're trying to get sober. Do you really want to endanger that on your deathbed?” Charles says and Tony can hear the smile in his voice.
“Deathbed? You promised he was going to be okay,” the German voice from earlier says
“Kurt, he's fine. It was his attempt at humor,” Charles says.
“Death is not funny! People would be sad if you die,” Kurt says appearing in his field of vision. Tony is so distracted by the sternness in his eyes that it takes him a minute to realize that the kid is blue.
He must take too long to respond because Kurt is frowning down at him and suddenly something blue is waving in front of his face and...oh shit it's a tail.
“Ummm okay. I like the blue. It's nice, brings out your eyes,” Tony says and if he could facepalm he would.
“Johnny said the same thing to me when he saw me. I think the two of you would get along,” Kurt says.
“Erik don't,” Charles says.
“Yeah they'd get along like a house on fire,” Erik says.
“I'm leaving you,” Charles says.
“No you're not. You like having me to boss around again,” Erik says and Kurt mimes throwing up.
“I apologize. They are going to be gross now,” Kurt says.
“Whatever. I feel sorry for any other telepaths in the area. Something tells me they're playing the mental equivalent of footsie right now,” Tony says and Kurt laughs.
“Dads? Are we keeping him?” Kurt asks resting his tail in his shoulder.
“He's welcome here as long as he wants. He can't really move right now. Erik did a quick fix for his chest but he must do more as soon as the necessary conversations are had,” Charles says.
“Thanks...is it alright if I rest? I don't want to wall asleep while Pepper is here,” Tony says.
“You don't need to ask permission Anthony. This is a safe place, do what you need to in order to get better,” Charles says and he and Erik leave, the strange whirling noise fading with them.
“I'll let you sleep as well. Welcome to the institute,” Kurt says and his tail playfully hits Tony's shoulder. “Have a good rest. I have get to chemistry,” Kurt says with a grimace and runs out.
Tony wonders what kind of crazy place he ended up in as he falls back asleep.
T’Challa settles down in his office with a sigh. He hadn't thought that Rogers would have left a friend behind in that way. He assumed that he, Barnes, and Dr. Stark had come up with a ploy so that they could escape and Dr. Stark could have deniability. Not this, and T’Challa also has the strange feeling that things are still not being told to him, which makes him wonder if he made a country threatening mistake before he even took the throne officially.
“Brother? Are you alright?” Shuri asks coming in, Okoye close behind her. The Dora had been upset that she has been transferred to watching her instead of T’Challa, but he can handle himself against their guests, Shuri is another thing. He sighs in relief, Shuri never hesitates to tell him how stupid he's being and helping him solve problems.
“Shuri, I think I have made a grave mistake,” T’Challa says.
“You think?” Shuri asks sitting down across from him.
“Rogers has committed the most dishonorable thing a warrior can do in our culture and I cannot believe that I helped him. How do I make this right?”
“Throw them out or hand them over to the UN and beg Dr. Stark for forgiveness,” Shuri says.
“Except I can't get in contact with Dr. Stark and writing a letter seems like a dishonorable way to apologize. If I throw them out they'll just hurt more innocents staying on the run and if I give them to the UN then they might reveal that I hid them here,” he says.
“Then right a sincere letter to him. Take responsibility for the acts you committed and had a hand in. Then give him the option for a more sincere face to face apology. Then hope he forgives you but don't expect him to,” Shuri says.
“As for your guests…” Okoye sneers the word, “I can have them properly detained so that they can't cause trouble while you consider options, my King.”
“We can't do that Okoye. They'll try to escape and if I kick them out they might seek revenge,” T’Challa says.
“Then make them leave some other way,” Nakia says coming in.
“They are used to luxury and overindulgence. Aside from Lang. Take that away and they might leave,” she says.
“But that still doesn't help the countries around us. They will still run amok. There is also the issue of Sgt. Barnes,” T’Challa says.
“That is a simple matter. Simply hand him over to a country that has no stake in him but has medical facilities to help him. Once he is more stable he can be asked to make a deal of some sort. He was the weapon of many people's deaths but the murderers are still at large and some of his victim's families might not have found closure. He can provide that to them. You might also be able to sneak in some legislation about mind control and brainwashing to the UN and these Accords to help him while he is receiving treatment. M’Baku says as he and W’Kabi enter.
“Since when have you learned so much about the outside world?” T’Challa says.
“I have had several conferences with Princess Shuri, so that my people will not have a leader who is at a disadvantage when outsiders come,” M’Baku says.
“It took him a while to get over his dislike of anything to do with you,” Shuri says smiling at her brother.
“That still doesn't help us with with the unwanted guests,” Okoye says.
“Once Barnes is in treatment, you can begin Nakia’s plan to drive them out. Only you will not allow them to ask to leave so they will sneak out. I will just happen to be watching and find them trying to sneak into Wakanda instead of out. No one will believe them if they say that they were being held here,” W’Kabi says.
“Excellent. I will start compiling ways to send them running,” Shuri says and Nakia offers her help and the two of them leave with Okoye following behind them.
“I will inform my men,” W’Kabi says and he leaves. Thus, leaving M’Baku and T’Challa alone.
“Go ahead, I can see you thinking. Let me have it,” T’Challa says, he and M’Baku may be on much friendlier terms, but that doesn't mean that M’Baku will hesitate to question his authority.
“Allowing those outsiders sanctuary in Wakanda was a foolish move. Leaving without checking on this man Stark was equally foolish and dishonorable. What you are doing for Sgt. Barnes was misguided but noble and if the plan works you can help many people than just Barnes alone. The honorable thing to do is to make amends. Starting with that letter,” M’Baku says and they salute each other before M’Baku leaves.
T’Challa pulls out his personal stationary and a pen.
He stares at the blank page that seems to be mocking him. What do you even say to a man you left for dead?
T’Challa squeezes his eyes shut and then starts writing.
Loki takes his seat at the table where his advisors and generals are seated. Or rather Odin's advisors and generals are seated. The two empty seats where he and Thor are supposed to sit are glaring at him mockingly. How many times had he made suggestions from that seat only for those at the table to ignore him or mock his plan for being not manly enough for them. Loki sighs.
“Allfather?” One the generals says and Loki looks at him realizing that he must have missed something that was said.
“Can you repeat that?” Loki says in the tone Odin uses that brokers no argument.
“My King, the warriors are getting restless. They thirst for battle,” the general says.
“I know that they do. But as of now there are no battles to be had. Last time Asgardians went looking for battle where none should be had Prince Thor was banished,” Loki says.
“Sorry Allfather,” he says.
“I have a new mission for you. I wish for you to send scouts out past the nine realms so that we may see what else is out there. The planets, the people, the dangers,” Loki says.
“My King, I hardly see the point of such actions,” the same general says.
“We may find riches and useful goods. Asgard could always use more gold. However, I want the scouts to report first, nothing more,” Loki says, it would not be beneficial to make enemies of other planets simply for the sake of a ruse.
“Yes, my King,” The general says.
“Now that is settled what news do you have?” Loki asks.
“The original leader of Vanaheim has successfully been reinstated and the people do not seem to wish to seek revenge,” General Tyr says.
“That is good. But I was not worried about them the Vanir are a peaceful people,” Loki says.
“Tis as you say,” Tyr says and Loki nods.
“Is there are any more news?” Loki asks and when they shake their heads he dismisses them. He watches each general leave until he's alone with General Tyr.
“Is there something you wish to discuss General?” Loki asks as he stands.
“You have seemed different since Loki's death, my King. Almost like another person,” Tyr says and it's a miracle that Loki's skills are as good as they are because he doesn't even lose a step.
“I have no idea what you mean. And be care of how you speak to your King,” Loki says.
“You never cared about the sovereignty of the other realms before. You choose the diplomatic approach to things instead of the physical way. It is quite startling. At first I blamed the grief but that fails to explain most things,” he says and Loki's heart is practically beating into his throat.
“What are you saying?” Loki asks faking boredom. Wishing he had a way to distract Tyr. Loki’s stomach feels sick and he's watching his chance to beat Thanos slip away there's no way he can kill Tyr or convince Asgard that he's a traitor like he did with Heimdall.
Loki hopes that Tyr doesn't figure it out.
Norns help him.
When Tony wakes up he's in a different bed. He can now see the room around him which looks like a medical room straight out of Star Trek.
“Good morning Dr. Stark. I just want to check your vitals before I allow your friends in. I've heard from Miss Potts that you hate doctors and medical stuff and we've come to an understanding. No visit until I'm satisfied with your health. This can be as quick as long as you make it. My name is Dr. Hank McCoy by the way,” another guy with blue fur says coming in wearing a very nice suit, Tony may or may not be jealous.
“Nice suit. You always wear those when seeing patients?” Tony asks.
“No. I was called in from working on the accords because you needed an actual doctor here with you opposed to a field medic. I did not have time to change,” Hank says.
“Oh...wait the Accords?”
“May I check you over while we play twenty questions?”
“For a long time now I have been working to get non baseline humans. Mutants and inhumans more rights. As of now there are a staggering number of crimes against us with the laws in favor of the baseline rather than the victim. Often we are assumed to have started the altercations. I'm certain that there is room for articles in the accords addressing this problem. The Accords already establish us as having all out fundamental rights. Which you'd be surprised how often people over look those when a mutant is involved,” Hank says.
“I'll help,” Tony says.
“You don't have to. You do know that you don't owe us anything for helping you right?”
“Pepper warned you about me right?” Tony asks.
“No. Erik did,” Hank says.
“Damn I must really be screwed up for Magneto to understand me,” Tony says.
“On the contrary. He recognizes your desire to keep the people you like around you because you don't want to lose them. Xavier said that you would try to help us with thinks one, because you are compassionate, and two, because you don't want the day you head back to your tower to be the last time you see us,” Hank says.
“Did he read my mind?” Tony ask uncomfortably. He's had enough people poking in his mind.
“He didn't need to. He's had quite a few chicks refuse to leave the nest for similar reasons,” he says.
“I do want to help. The kids here need something stable to protect them when you, Charles, and Erik aren't around. Something that will last,” Tony says.
“Yes, by why do you want to be involved? You are baseline and owe no loyalty to us,” Hank says.
“Fuck this baseline and mutant bullshit. Those are kids, you, Charles, and Erik are men. I am a man,” Tony says and Hank smiles proudly.
“There you go. That is why you should help people. Not because you owe them, or they need the help, but because they are your equal. If you still want to help I will accept any and all support you are willing to provide and will return it with the same level of help for your own amendments,” Hank says.
“Thanks Doc Blue,” Tony says and winces ready to apologize if that was offensive.
“You're probably going to get tired of explaining the reference everytime you use it. Most people aren't going to get that you changed Doc Brown to Doc Blue,” Hank says.
“The name of a girl here.”
“An ongoing joke between Logan and I. Alright I'll let Miss Potts in now. Don't get too excited. Your heart is going to need some time to get back to normal strength,” Hank says.
“I will come up with a nickname for you. Bluebeard,” Tony says.
“I look forward to your attempt. I'd rather not be nicknamed after the story of a man who kills all his lovers and stuffs them in a room for each new wife to find so he can kill them too,” Hank says and lets Pepper in and leaves to give them privacy.
“Hey Pep,” Tony says.
“I'm going to kill Rogers,” she says simply hugging him gently.
“No, you can't be CEO from behind bars and I definitely don't want to be CEO,” Tony says making her laugh softly.
“You're right. Can you imagine those ugly orange jumpers with my hair? I refuse to look that hideous,” she says through tears.
“Like you could ever look anything other than stunning,” Tony says.
“Only you could be a shameless flirt after nearly dying,” Pepper says.
“Oh? Don't you know? Death is a lady who is quite fond of shameless flirts,” Tony says.
“More like she can't put up with your constant flirting so she refused to take you,” Pepper says wiping her eyes.
“Pepper, I'm okay. I promise. No maiming Rogers okay? How's Happy? He buck up and ask you the magic question?”
“Not yet. For a man who puts his life in danger to protect you he sure is a scaredy cat about popping the question,” Pepper says settling in the visitors chair.
“How's Vision? And Rhodey,” Tony asks.
“Vision wanted to come with me but I insisted he stay home and get some scans to make sure that he isn't damaged. I also have a psychologist visiting to help him understand what he's feeling. Rhodey should be awake in a few minutes. I had to practically tie him to the bed to get him to stay home.”
“Kinky,” Tony says with a laugh.
“Tell me the truth Tony. Are you alright here? I know Magneto is here. If he's threatened you…” Pepper starts.
“Pep. I'm okay. I swear. The only things he's done is have weird telepathic sex with his husband in front of me that I can't prove and make a pun. I'm fine here. Although being around all these kids might restart my biological clock,” Tony says winking at her and Pepper rolls her eyes.
“Do you want me to stay while you talk to Rhodey?” Pepper asks.
“Of course Pep. I want as much time with you as I can before you head back to New York,” Tony says as she hands him a laptop. He opens it and Rhodey's face fills the screen.
“Rhodey bear! Darling platypus! Are you okay?” Tony immediately asks.
“Am I alright? Tones, you were beaten to near death, almost froze, and were almost kidnapped by HYDRA. Are YOU alright?” Rhodey says.
“For now. They want to do something to help my sternum and ribs. Otherwise I'm... I'm not okay but I'm not in danger of buying the farm. You'll have to wait for my death bed a little bit longer,” Tony says.
“I want details about Siberia as soon as you're ready to talk about it. But for now I know enough to start my plan for revenge,” Rhodey says.
“No revenge honey bear,” Tony says.
“How about a little revenge?” Rhodey asks.
“Fine a little revenge,” Tony says.
“Why does he get revenge and I don't?” Pepper demands.
“You'd destroy them,” Tony says.
“How about a teensy little restraining order and assault charges?” Pepper asks.
“No to the restraining order. You never know if we might need to work together,” Tony says with a sigh.
“Nope. They can stay on one side of the world and you on the other. Same with the battle field.
“Where am I anyway? Am I still in America?” Tony asks.
“You're in New York, just not the city,” Pepper says.
“I guess I can live with that,” Tony says.
“Damn straight you're living with that. Because as much as I think Magneto's a dick. He is being helpful and you're getting amazing medical attention. So you are going to stay there until you're a hundred and fifty percent or I'll come there and sit on you,” Rhodey says.
“Fine. I'll stay here. But can someone bring me something to fiddle with at least or a tablet. I'll go insane here,” Tony whines.
“A young man named Kurt assured me you'd have plenty to do and lots of attention,” Pepper says.
“They'll keep you fed and watered,” Rhodey says.
“I am not a house plant,” Tony grumbles but has a feeling he's going to get tons of visitors and the work on the accords with Hank should help.
“Really because you wilt if you don't get enough attention,” Pepper says.
“Alright, enough about me. Platypus, how are you? Have the doctors told you anything yet?” Tony asks.
“Not yet. I can't feel them yet, but the doctors think that they might be able to to a little more surgery to get them going,” Rhodey says.
“If I can get a tablet I can design you braces,” Tony says.
“Tony you're supposed to take it easy,” Pepper says.
“Just the blueprint, promise. Have the second best R&D guy put it together,” Tony says.
“I promise that I won't move from the bed until Hank tells me I can. You have my solemn oath,” Tony says.
“Fine here,” she says handing over a tablet as a notification pops up on the laptop. Tony clicks on it and he sees FRIDAY’s code pop up.
“Boss? How are you feeling?”
“I'm okay baby girl… or rather I will be,” Tony says.
“Promise,” Tony says.
“There are four other people here that want to say hi” she says and a feed from a low sensor in his lab splits the screen with Rhodey. Dummy, Butterfingers, and U fill the screen with Vision peeking in.
“Hi guys. I'm going to be okay but I'm going to rest here a while. I'll be back soon. So, no wild parties. Pepper is Queen until I get back...and after...and before now for that matter,” Tony says and grins when he gets a smile from Pepper and beeps from the bots.
“I love you five,” Tony says making Vision look at him in shock and happiness.
The bots beep, and FRIDAY and VISION return the sentiment and the screen is Rhodey's once more.
“The nurses are glaring at me. Apparently it's time for my pain meds
I'll have to hang up soon,” Rhodey says.
“Make sure they give you the good stuff,” Tony says.
“Trust me. One of the nurses is sweet on me. She's making sure of it. They didn't give you any did they?”
“Nope. I apparently shouted it at the head guy here and he took it to heart. Go get your meds Rhodey. I'll be here tomorrow,” Tony says and the screen goes black.
“I'll leave the laptop here so you can talk to us as much as you can. I wish I could stay longer but I have to head back as soon as I talk with Magneto about his idea. I'll visit whenever I can. And I'll even have the bots do adorable stuff to show you when I do,” Pepper says.
“I take it that is my cue to tell you my idea,” Erik says.
“That would be appreciated,” Pepper says.
“You're friend is quite formidable. When I let her in she said to me that she would remove a much beloved piece of my anatomy if I should hurt you,” he says looking at Pepper.
“Charles would be so disappointed,” Tony says and scratches make Magneto speechless and blush off his bucket list.
“So what's they idea?” Pepper asks.
“I need Logan here for this. He's late as usual. He can explain the practical side of what I am proposing,” Erik says.
‘Well, that's foreboding’ Tony thinks to himself as they settle down to wait for whoever Logan is.
Loki's heart hammers in his chest. His breathing stutters slightly. He clenches his fist behind his back and takes a deep breath. How dare this pathetic man attempt to manipulate him!
“You dare? I lost more than Loki that day. Frigga was my wife and Queen and I shall regret her death for the remainder of my life!” Loki shouts.
“More like your mother and Queen. I don't intend to cause you trouble. I'm just tired of the charade and I have the feeling that you are as well,” Tyr says and Loki refuses to be fooled by pretty words.
“I am Odin, and you overstep your station Tyr. I will have you removed from command for this insolence,” Loki says.
“Loki. Drop the act. Odin never cared about the living conditions of the nine realms, just what can be taken from them. You gave yourself away,” Tyr says taking a step towards Loki.
“Stay back! Or I will have the guards imprison you,” Loki says.
“Can you summon them before I touch you to dispell the illusion? I don't think the guards will appreciate you being in the throne room,” he says taking another step and Loki feels himself hit the table. He's trapped.
“Have Amora or Lorelei enchanted you Tyr? You are one of my most loyal generals. You would never question me in this way,” Loki spits out.
“Loki drop the illusion or I will dispell it,” Tyr says and Loki growls.
“I am not Loki. You've taken leave of your senses and you will pay dearly for it,” Loki says.
“If you attack me, the illusion will fall and the enchantments will allow the guards will hear and see you,” Tyr says.
“There is no illusion here, I am Odin. I am your King,” Loki says.
“Loki, Odin never commissioned a golden statue of himself or Thor. What makes you think it's believable that Odin would have one made of you?” Tyr asks and Loki keeps himself from flinching.
“Loki died for the good of Asgard,” Odin says.
“Loki died because he's always been weaker than Thor,” Tyr says.
“How dare you belittle me you...damn,” Loki says and Tyr smirks triumphantly.
“Now will you remove the illusion?” Tyr asks and Loki drops it.
“So now you see who I truly am and you have doomed the universe to eternal suffering. All because you couldn't stand having a Jotun monster on the throne of Asgard!” Loki shouts thankful for the enchantments that keep people from listening in.
“Are you quite done?” Tyr asks and Loki rears back shocked. He'd expected Tyr to attack him. To drag him back to the dungeons and torture Odin's location from him. Not a calm question directed about himself.
“Yes,” Loki hisses.
“Don't talk about my mother like that,” Tyr says calmly and Loki's brain short circuits. He knows next to nothing about Tyr’s family and he's certain he didn't say anything about his mother.
“I'm sorry? I don't believe I did…”
“My mother was Jotunn. I am half Jotunn just as Odin is,” Tyr says and Loki is so shocked that he passes out.
Tony is drifting in and out of a nice nap when Erik gently wakes him up by talking to someone else in the room.
“Logan, thank you for coming to speak with him. I know that this is something that might make you uncomfortable but you are the only one who has experienced something like I'm suggesting before,” Erik says softly, at first Tony thinks he's being quiet for his sake, but then he thinks about it and wonders if Logan's mutation helps him hear better. If that's the case them whispers would be normal volume, normal would be shouting, and shouting would give him a headache.
“Don't worry bub, if I'm about to blame anyone it's the Star Spangled Man With a Flag Up His Ass,” the man Tony assumes to be Logan says and Tony can't help but laugh. Causing his ribs to twinge with pain.
“I'm sorry but that is the best nickname I've ever heard for Rogers,” Tony says practically shaking with laughter.
“Promise me if you ever do a news conference you'll call him that,” Pepper begs.
“I don’t do a lot of talkin’ so thats unlikely but sure. Name's Logan,” the man says and Tony opens his eyes to look at the man who looks like he just stepped out of a lumberjack magazine.
“I'm Pepper and this is Tony,” Pepper says and Logan gives her a nod before pulling up a chair and sitting in it backwards.
“Now that everyone is hear we can discuss my idea. You see Logan here has a skeleton made of a knock off version of Vibranium called adamantium. It's stronger than any other metal there is aside from vibranium. Meaning it's very difficult to break or bend by any means. I happen to have quite a bit of the stuff in my workroom. I was thinking that I could melt it down and weave it through your existing bones and then replace your false ribs with it. I can't do your whole rib cage because it'll put to much strain on your other bones and you're not strong enough to carry around a hundred and five pounds of an entire adamantium skeleton,” Erik says.
“But it can be broken by vibranium?” Pepper asks.
“Yes. It is weaker than vibranium, it could be harmed by it,” Erik admits.
“You have Roger's shield right? Can't you melt it down?” Pepper asks.
“I can but I won't be able to move it around his bones with my powers. They don't work on vibranium and therefore it would require him to be cut open,” Erik says.
“Adamantium it is,” Tony says.
“Logan has an entire skeleton of it, he will be able to answer practical questions,” Erik says.
“Thank you for offering...does it hurt?” Tony asks.
“It did for me, but the people who did the procedure on me weren't actually doing it for my benefit,” Logan says
“Mostly, the remainders are getting up there in years. I'll outlive them by decades,” Logan says.
“Does the metal ever irritate your insides?”
“Used to, until Erik here fixed them. Mine were actually put over the bone so they were malformed,” Logan says.
“If you were in my place, same situation, same circumstances, would you do it?”
“Yes,” Logan says.
“Okay. I definitely want to do this,” Tony says and Erik nods.
“Charles wants us to wait until you're a little stronger,” Erik says and Tony nods his head.
“Okay. Thank you.” Tony says.
“If this works you'll never have to worry about anything for the rest of your life,” Pepper ssys.
“Just protect mutants. That is all I ask,” Erik says and Pepper nods and they shake hands and Pepper kisses Tony's cheek.
“Obey Dr. McCoy because if you make yourself worse I'll kill you,” Pepper says and leaves to go back to New York.
“You got yourself a fearsome gal there. Went right up and got in Erik's face and threatened to castrate him if he harmed you,” Logan says.
“I've been threatened with worse,” Erik says and Tony vows to do some research on everyone here. He needs to know who he's dealing with.
“Well, we'll let you rest. We've already gone over hairball's allotted time,” Logan says and the two men leave and Tony huffs because great, he's not tired, and has nothing to do because Pepper put his tablet too far away.
He groans and shuts his eyes. Wondering of maybe he can meditate like Brucie used to do.
In the comics Erik is able to control the shield because it is an alloy of steel and vibranium so he's controlling the steel. If it were melted down the only thing he'd be moving would be the steel. When he faced Black Panther he was unable to control the pure vibranium T'Challa uses.
T’Challa sits there listening to the UN delegate from Germany asking how America is going to apologize for all the damage that Roger's group caused, apparently Dr. Stark had paid for his share of the damages before going to Siberia.
“We will find them and you can put them on trial,” the US representative says trying to placate her. She doesn't look like she believes that will actually happen and T’Challa can't really blame her. The American public would riot at the idea of their WWII hero being 'mistreated’ by Germany.
Suddenly one of the aides comes in with a file and hands it to the US representative. He quickly looks through it and he pales a little and swallows.
“It's a report from Miss Potts. Apparently Dr. Stark's suit was disabled in Siberia by a curved blunt object repeatedly being slammed into the chestplate of the armor.”
“A curved blunt object like a shield perhaps?” The Nigerian representative says.
“We don't know that yet,” the US representative says.
“But a shield was found next to the victim,” the representative from Japan says having received his own copy.
“It says here that the weapon cut through the armor and caused Dr. Stark's metal replacement ribs to snap off and lacerate his organs and his remaining pieces of ribs to be broken and in some places completely smashed,” the Russia representative says.
“And that Dr. Stark no longer has any whole ribs left. He also has a concussion and his skull is fractured,” the representative from China says.
“His femur was broken in two places and his pelvis is fractured. Good God. Of this is what Mr. Rogers does to country men he once considered an ally if not a friend, then what would he do to a foreign stranger?” the representative from Canada says.
“Collapse a traffic tunnel on them,” the Romanian representative says and T’Challa feels a little ill at the folder he's been given.
“Let's not forget the hypothermia he must have and the possible consequences of that,” the Russian representative says.
“It is a miracle that Dr. Stark survived,” the German representative says and T’Challa silently agrees. He isn't completely sure that he'd be able to survive if something similar were to occur to him.
“Have we any thoughts on how we should go about searching and bringing in the criminals?”
“Miss Potts says that she has one or two enhanced individuals willing to join a task force to find them. Apparently they are part of the same mysterious group that rescued Dr. Stark. They wish to open a dialogue about the accords in exchange for their help,” The US representative says.
“Tell Miss Potts that we are willing to speak with them. I believe we can agree that a discussion about the accords is a small price to pay for the help of enhanced individuals to hunt the criminals,” the German representative says and they all agree. T’Challa clenches his hands nervously in his pockets.
What in the name of Bast has Rogers made him a part of.
When he gets back to Wakanda that night he goes straight to Barnes’ home. He had refused to be housed with Miss Maximoff and was quite upset with Roger's easy acceptance of her into his team.
“Hello King T’Challa,” Barnes says.
“Good evening Sgt Barnes. There is something I wish to discuss with you,” T’Challa says and sits beside him.
“Okay. What's the idiot done this time?” Barnes asks.
“Something extremely dishonorable in my culture, you have as well, as well as I.”
“We left Stark,” Barnes says and T’Challa nods.
“What happened to him?”
“After we left Dr. Stark's suit was unable to help him leave and HYDRA arrived and found him,” he says and Barnes immediately jumps up.
“We have to rescue him!”
“They didn't get him. Calm yourself Sgt Barnes. Dr. Stark is safe. He was rescued by an unknown group. He is receiving treatment. I wanted to talk to you. I know that I offered you sanctuary here, but I was speaking with Shuri and some close confidantes of mine and they suggested that you receive help at a Danish clinic designed to treat victims of brainwashing and mind control,” T’Challa says.
“I can help arrange a deal for you with the American government. Perhaps you can mitigate harsher punishments by helping the families find closure. You already have a very good diminished capacity case,” T'Challa says and he nods.
“Does Stevie know?”
“Does he have to?”
“Not if you don't wish him to.”
“Don't tell him. He'll try to come with me and I don't think he'd be much help.”
“Alright Sgt Barnes. Are you okay to leave after the weekend?”
“Call me James. You've been doing all this nice stuff for me you might as well call me by my first name.”
“Okay James. I will leave you to get some rest. Good evening,” T’Challa says and returns to his palace. He walks past the room that Roger's and his friends are staying in and hears them talking.
“Nat, think you can go on the internet and see if anyone has found out where they took Stark? That's probably where we should start looking for my shield,” Steve is saying.
“Didn't Howard give it to you on loan? Because then it's not technically yours, it's Stark property,” Scott says.
“Is it such a good idea to leave Wakanda? We're safe here. If we leave we might not be able to come back,” Sam says.
“What do we do if we find Stark while we're looking?”
“Make him see our side of things,” Wanda says and T'Challa doesn't like her tone of voice.
He must find a way to warn the people who can help Stark.
Bast help him.
Loki regains consciousness to Tyr looking down at him worry clear on his face...no that's not possible. Why would he be worried about Loki of all people.
“I must say, I didn't expect you to react this way to Odin being half Jotunn,” Tyr says.
“If you are going to lie Tyr then do so convincingly. There is no way that Odin could be a Frost Giant,” Loki says and Tyr’s face flashes with anger.
“Frost Giant is a horrible term. You would do well not to use it in my presence. Unlike Odin I am not ashamed of those who birthed me. He did you a horrible disservice when he refused to inform you about the culture from which you came and he allowed you to grow under the shadows of the stories of men who have heads so far up their arses that they can't see the light. Many people in Asgard are not wholly Asgardian. Asgard has a long history of intermingling with the people of other realms and then others seem to forget that when talking about those same realms and their people,” Tyr says helping Loki to his feet. Loki's head is spinning and he feels a deep level of discomfort in his heart.
“You're quite certain that Odin is half fros...Jotunn? That seems like something that would cause quite the uproar amongst the nobles of Asgard and if he was half Fros... Jotunn then why did he go to war with them?” Loki asks.
“I am sure. Bor, Odin's father was a hateful man. He always disliked the way that Jotunn refused to pay his tax on their realm and refused to appoint Asgardians to positions of power amongst them. But Bor was not very discriminating in who he took to bed. Odin was conceived and Bor took him away and killed the mother. When his wife refused to care for the child she was killed nine months after Bor made an announcement that she was pregnant and was withdrawing from court. The official announcement was that she died in childbirth,” Tyr says.
“Is...ahem...is that why Odin took me? Because he too is a Jotunn?” Loki asks stomach clenching uneasily. What if, for all this time he had been acting in complete error? He would surely then deserve all the horrid tortures Thanos will enact once again should he fall into the Titan’s hands.
“I don't believe so. I believe that Bor kept Odin ignorant of his heritage and made sure to encourage Odin's foolish hatred towards them. It is my understanding that Bor wanted no one to ever find out the truth so he sought to guide Odin into destroying all of Jotunheim. A feat that Odin didn't accomplish,” Tyr says.
“But one that I almost did. Did I...did I harm any of your loved ones?” Loki asks softly feeling like he's ten instead of over a thousand.
“No. But that guilt you're feeling? Hold onto that, use it to spurn you towards making amends,” Tyr says.
“If Odin was ignorant of his nature. Why did he take me then?” Loki asks softly.
“I don't know. At first I thought perhaps that you were the result of one his affairs like Thor was,” Tyr says.
“WHAT!” Loki nearly screams at the top of his lungs. He breathing is even more labored than it was before, idly he wonders if this is what the mortals refer to a an anxiety attack. There's no possible way that Thor is also not wholly Odin and Frigga's child. Not the way he is so much like everything they wanted him to be as they were growing up. Not perfect Thor.
“Loki, look at me. I need you to take a slow deep breath,” Tyr says and helps him calm down.
“T... Thor was the result of an affair?” Loki demands after his breathing and heart are back to normal.
“Yes. Frigga refused to have children,” Tyr says.
“If I am to tell you I am going to need you to stay as calm as possible,” Tyr says and Loki finds himself nodding.
“Long before most of the current residents of Asgard were born, when they first married, Frigga birthed a daughter…”
“That means I have a sister,” Loki says and Tyr simply nods.
“Her name was Hela. She loved battle and war and even bloodshed. She went out of her way to seek it. She was Odin's executioner. But soon her ambitions surpassed his. She went mad when Odin stopped pillaging and fighting. When she tried to kill him in order to ascend the throne she was banished. Frigga was distraught over what happened. She thought perhaps that it was her Vanir nature reacting to an Asgardian nature the two are exceedingly different after all. One is focused on peace and knowledge the other on war and power. So, she refused to birth any children. I was worried about how she would react to the offspring of his indiscretions. But when Odin came back from the Dwarves with a new stock of weapons and a steady inflow of them for the future he also came with a baby,” Tyr says.
“So Thor's mother was a dwarf?” Loki asks and it would explain why he was so much bigger than not only Loki but also others that were Thor's age.
“Yes, Frigga then used her illusions to appear pregnant. Only Eir and I knew that she was not. She loved Thor as much as she had loved Hela,” Tyr says and Loki is struck by just how much he misses his mother. He had resigned himself to never seeing her again. After all she was in Valhalla and Loki is nearly certain that Odin would never give him the proper rites should he die.
“When Odin returned from the war in Jotunheim with a tiny baby that wouldn't stop crying unless you put something in front of him that was green,” Loki smiles slightly at that, “I thought perhaps that you were simply like Thor. Frigga didn't seem to mind. She was so happy to have another baby to care for. One that she was certain would lean towards her magical ways. One that she could teach and bond with, because for all Thor loved her and she him, he preferred Odin's lessons to hers,” Tyr says.
“I am a child of Laufrey,” Loki says.
“I can't be the result of an affair,” Loki says blinking at him. Perhaps Tyr is insane, he'd have to be to come up with this story.
“Oh norns, you never had the talk,” Tyr says placing his head in his hands.
“Yes I have!” Loki says blushing heavily, “Odin gave it to Thor and I when we neared the proper age and my mother gave me a more compassionate and understanding version shortly after,” Loki says.
“You received a talk geared towards Asgardian biology. You might be only partially a Jotunn, although I doubt it because Odin implied that you had a Jotunn form, which part Jotunns do not have, but some full blooded Jotunns are born capable of both parental natures. Laufrey could easily have been your mother and Odin your father, or another Jotunn be your father, or Laufrey could have been your father,” Tyr says and Loki feels like his head is spinning.
“You...you mean that I could have the ability to get pregnant?” Loki says he's happy that he had decided to stay on the floor because he's sure that his knees are too weak to support him.
“It is a possibility. Not all Jotunn are born capable of it. There are also spells to help those who don't want to be that way to be only one, and there are spells to help others become both...Eir is far better than I at explaining this, I should take you to see her tomorrow after you have had a chance to think through all of this new information. I shouldn't have given it all to you at once,” Tyr says.
“Are you mad? I am pretending to be Odin. I can't go to Eir!” Loki says.
“Loki, she cared for you when you were sick as a child, which was more times than you were healthy, another fact that makes me think that you are fully Jotunn, they need constant contact with ice, if you don't think that she didn't figure out that it was you the minute you sat on your throne then your certainly far less intelligent than Asgard thinks you are. In fact roughly ninety-two percent of the population has figured out that you are pretending to be Odin,” Tyr says.
“I... I don't have the time to worry about myself, I must find some way to warn people about the Mad Titan,” Loki says.
“So, that's why you wanted us to branch out to other worlds. You were hoping they'd find out about him and tell you so you can do something about it,” Tyr says and Loki nods.
“I will make you a bargain. Tell me what you need me to say and in two days time I will return from a scouting mission and report what you tell me. If you go and talk to Eir tomorrow to find about your biology and get the proper talk. I can ask my sibling for advice on how to handle whichever biology you have,” Tyr says.
“Thank you Tyr. Is there a way that I can repay you?” Loki asks as he replaces his Odin illusion.
“Don't become Odin,” Tyr says helping him to Odin's chambers. Loki nods and lays down in Odin's bed to think about all he's learned and he grips his hair tightly. If most people were half Asgardian then why was he treated so horribly? Was it just that there was something wrong with him in particular? After all Odin was half Fros... Jotunn and yet no one ever sensed anything that made them treat him differently. Thor was half dwarf and he was treated like he hung the moon and stars. Why was Loki different?
Why did people try so hard to make it clear they thought they didn't belong?
That night Loki falls asleep with tears on his cheeks, feeling confused, scared and just small.
Tony gives up about fifteen minutes into trying to nap. He's uncomfortable, there's no pain, Charles had said that a mild pain reliever and the shutting off of his pain receptors by Charles, but he's aware of a buzzing under his skin urging him to move or do something.
He tries for about five more minutes before finally opening his eyes to see a kid ducking out of sight on the other side of the door.
It takes Tony a second to recognize him. It's the Lava Lamp from the bunker, the kid who kept him warm. Erik had called him Johnny.
“Hey, Lava Lamp, you can come in. I don't bite and even if I did all it would take is a tap and I'd probably pass out!” Tony calls out and the kid peeks through the glass door before coming in.
“They said you were doing better, but I had to make sure for myself. You can't trust adults,” Johnny says eyes shifting around the room not looking at Tony. An large textbook in his arms.
“I'm okay. Erik is gonna give me a better chest. Thanks for keeping me warm,” Tony says and Johnny's eyes shoot to his and widen before looking away.
“No one's ever thanked me for using my powers,” Johnny says.
“Well you probably saved my fingers from frost bite, I don't care about my toes but as an engineer I need my fingers. So, thank you. My name's Tony by the way. What are you studying?” Tony asks motioning to the textbook.
“John... I'm attempting to finish my chemistry homework. I don't know why we even bother learning stuff like this. It's not like most places would hire a mutant,” he says.
“Don't worry Blue Man Group and I will be fixing that in the Accords and I will make sure that mutants aren't turned away in the hiring process,” Tony says.
“You really think that those pieces of paper will help us?”
“I think they can give us a jumping off point. Once we can get rights for you guys to live and defend yourselves. Then conferences and talk shows to humanize you, meet and greets, and good PR campaigns and that stuff that Pepper loves to hold,” Tony says and Johnny looks a little nervous about all that stuff.
“Blue Man Group? Do you mean Dr. McCoy?” Johnny says.
“Yep. But I'm also thinking of just calling him Bones after Star Trek,” Tony says.
“I've never seen it,” Johnny says.
“Well we'll be fixing that tomorrow,” Tony says.
“What about all that stuff you just told me about?”
“Enough about all that stuff. We have time. I can't do any of it till I get a new chest. Now gimme gimme. I'll help with the homework,” Tony says making grabby hands at the textbook.
“You're supposed to be resting,” Johnny says.
“Come on Lava Lamp, I'm bored and I can't sleep,” Tony says and Johnny nods and sits in the chair and positions the textbook so Tony can see it and then he pulls out his backpack to get his assignment.
Tony looks at the pages and the assignment and pulls up everything he remembers about chemistry from when he was in school.
It takes a while but he helps Johnny through balancing chemical equations and denoting isotopes. When they reach the end of the assignment Johnny is understanding his lessons a little more.
“Thank you for the help,” Johnny says stuffing his books back into his bag.
“Any time Lava Lamp. I get bored just sitting here,” Tony says.
“Then I have arrived just in time!” Kurt says balancing a bowl of popcorn on his head and juggling some DVDs and drinks.
“Movie night? Ooh yay. I've been wanting to bond with my newest brother,” another kid says and Tony recognizes the voice as Peter's. Now that he can see him he's shocked at how similar he looks to Pietro. The realization makes his chest pang. Pietro hadn't been absolutely horrible. He'd kinda been cool.
“I think I should go,” Johnny says reaching for his stuff.
“No, c’mon Lava Lamp, stay. We'll all have a great time,” Tony says.
“Yeah Johnny. Stay, Tony needs to get to know all his new brothers and sisters,” Peter says and Tony nods along before his head swivels towards Peter staring at him. Brothers! How? Why? How would want him?
Peter seems to notice him staring and says, “ah, you noticed that I bear a resemblance to a man you know named Pietro. Let me put things to rest, that HYDRA knockoff has nothing on me. I'm the OG,” Peter says assuming the wrong reason for the staring.
“My sister Wendy and I were taken by HYDRA when we first displayed our powers and they took our DNA they used that to make your lab rat versions of us,” Peter says.
“So, your sister can control minds?” Tony asks stomach immediately uneasy, remembering the feeling of her in his head.
“Can? Yes. Will? No. She doesn't use that power. She doesn't even use the telepathy unless given written permission. She's an artist. Very good work. She asks to see a memory and she draws it. Better than what passes as art now,” Peter says scrunching his nose.
“Don't forget the sketch thing,” Kurt says.
“Oh yes, she's sometimes asked to make police sketches since she can directly see the memories associated with it,” Peter says.
“Your sister sounds nice. I like her better than Wanda. She has no problem going in my head,” Tony says.
“Don't worry Dad will make you something to keep her out. Like he has against Mom,” Peter says.
“Wait? Dad? Mom? Are they actually…” Tony says.
“Magneto is actually my Dad. But the names are because most of us have pretty much either been adopted by them, or by one of the people they adopted,” Peter says.
“And Logan is sort of the weird Uncle in charge of discipline,” Kurt says.
“Discipline?” Tony asks worried. Logan didn't strike him as dangerous in normal circumstances but honestly neither had Stev…Rogers.
“Ugh you're telling me. Last time I used my powers in class I had to stand in his office and recite Macbeth from beginning to end. I hate Shakespeare,” Johnny huffs.
“Lucky, I had to watch The Wall video from that band Peter likes,” Kurt says shuddering.
“Hey! Pink Floyd is fantastic!” Peter says.
“Whoever directed it was high,” Kurt says.
“I had to read the Declaration of Independence,” Peter says.
“That is actually a very useful way of punishing people. Maybe if the Rogues have to come back I'll make them do that with the Accords,” Tony says.
“No talking about dickheads during movie night,” Peter says kicking off his tattered shoes kicking his feet up on the bed. Johnny stays in his chair and Kurt sets himself up on the foot of the bed his tail dropped over Tony's ankle and Tony realizes that they each have some contact with him. Peter's feet is resting against his hip and Johnny's arm is pressed against his.
“What did you mean about me being your brother?” Tony asks waiting for the advertisements to stop.
“We don't let just anybody stay here. You're part of the family now. We're going to take care of you,” Peter says.
“Mom and Dad adopted you. They're going to make sure you get better and everything,” Kurt says.
“Why would anyone want to adopt me?” Tony says.
“You're kidding right? Dude you're practically their love child. It's crazy,” Peter says staring at him.
“Seriously, your are scary like Prof X, you both believe in cooperation, in compromise, and you both have scary good insight into people. Even without his telepathy. Like Eric you are fiercely protective of people you care about, you like to tinker, you both have less than perfect pasts, and you both know what it's like to be hurt,” Kurt says.
“So, that makes you our little brother,” Peter says.
“Little brother? I'm nearly older than two of you combined,” Tony grumbles.
“But you're the newest member. Therefore you're the baby,” Peter says and the opening scene for Mama Mia comes on and Peter groans.
“Kurt why do you always pick musicals?” Peter says head tilted back in dispair.
“At least I didn't put on the Greatest Showman.”
“Is that the one with the guy that looks like Logan?” Peter asks.
“Yes, I don't like PT Barnum but the music is catchy,” Johnny says.
“Which is why we always just skip to the songs,” Peter says passing some popcorn to Tony. Kurt pops over and dims the lights and then pops back and Tony decides not to draw attention to the smell his teleportation left. Mostly because his mind is trying to figure out how to recreate that with a machine.
He can't help but feel warm and safe with these kids around him and his eyes droop. Before he knows it he's asleep in the middle of The Winner Takes it All.
He wakes up a little while later, the television has long since gone dark. Peter is slumped over in the chair asleep. Johnny's head is on his bed hair sticking up. Kurt is hanging over the side of the bed and passed out.
It takes Tony a second to figure out why he woke up. Erik is standing in the doorway with his cellphone out. Tony can't help but smile at how domestic he is.
“Okay Die Jungen, time to go to bed,” Erik says and carefully guides each teen out of the room and into the halls. Erik then gives him a smile as Tony drifts off back to sleep.
Before he completely goes under Erik smiles down at him and says, “goodnight Die Jungen. Rest. Charles and I will take care of somethings for you tomorrow."
Tony smiles as he falls asleep.
I only watched the Greatest Showman because 1.) The music and dancing was good 2.) because my University made us because we're built on the land his house in that movie was located in real life in fact the entire School is on land he owned, some of the buildings too on campus, along with the park next door. 3.) He was mayor of the town that my college is located in 4.) If you completely ignore real life Barnum it's a nice movie.
Edit:To Fenhuang thanks for the heads up about my horrible German. Yikes.
Loki curses whatever rotten being decided that he would have to endure this terrible thing. All he wanted to do was keep Thanos from attacking Asgard. That's all. Midgard would have been a small price to pay for the survival of his fam...Thor and Mother.
Hasn't he suffered enough at Thanos’ hands? Now he must suffer in the one place he felt safe as a child.
“Loki, stop fidgeting. You look like a schoolboy about to be chastised. We're here to make sure that you're healthy and help you understand you're body and any urges you may have. I'm not going to hurt you,” Eir says sitting across from him and handing him a cup of tea that he remembers well from his childhood.
“I don't need to know about this. No one is ever going to want me in that manner. I'm hardly at the top of any Asgardian’s list,” Loki says.
“Why? Because you prefer books to battle? So do the Vanir. Because you have seidr instead of bulging muscles? So do the Jotunn. Because you like to make things rather than destroy them? So do the drarves. You wax poetic about how little Asgardians know and yet you believe the same things that those people you hate do,” Eir says.
“What happened to not being chastised?” Loki says earning a small smile from her.
“Maybe just a small one,” she says and takes his hand.
“Loki, there is a herb in the tea which will call forth your other form. It will allow me to perform an examination. But I will wait till you are ready,” Eir says and Loki nods.
“What are the Jotunn like really?” Loki asks softly.
“They are beautiful. Capable of building the most lovely things out the ice of their realm. Their food is the most exotic I've ever had because they're always innovating new ways to serve their limited game. But the most amazing thing is the celebrations. They create lanterns made of ice that never thaw and their mages perform magic and they dance and it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen,” Eir says blinking tears away.
“Why have I never witnessed such things? We would have heard had there been a celebration,” Loki says.
“Something made Laufrey end such things. He focused on Asgard and destroying Odin. There was no room for joy in his heart,” Eir says and Loki has a sinking feeling he knows what caused the change.
“It was me wasn't it? Odin stole me away and either Laufrey didn't know and was mourning his child or he did and wanted me back,” Loki says and Eir pats his hand.
“Loki, near the end there was nothing of Laufrey left. There was only darkness and anger. Even had you and he known it would not have changed the course of events,” Eir says.
“How can you know? How could you ever be able to tell?”
“I was cousin to Laufrey. I grew up with him and if he could see what he became in the end he would have driven the dagger into his own heart,” Eir says softly.
“You...you knew I lived? Did my part...did the people who birthed me know?”
“No. I didn't know for sure until everything came to light for Asgard. Neither did Laufrey nor his wife or their two children. They believed that you were slaughtered by Odin or by animals,” Eir says.
“If they cared about me so much then why did they leave me there in the first place!” Loki shouts standing up angry hands running through his hair.
“They left you, and every other child in the tribe at the time, in the priestess’ temple. It was the safest location left at the time. Guards were posted outside but they were killed. Odin thought that something important must have been hidden there for it to be protected. When he saw that it was simply children he left, but he did not bother to close the doors and without the guards wild animals were able to get inside,” Eir says shuddering.
“The other children?”
“Some of the older ones were able to fight some off, other children ran and were hunted. Others…” Eir trails off but Loki doesn't need to hear the rest to know what happened.
“After Odin realized that he was fighting a battle that he could not win without heavy casualties he decided to go back to the place with the children and make examples out of them. What he found was a room of horrors. Blood, body parts, flesh, thrown about the room,” Eir says.
“How did I survive?” Loki asks.
“Your seidr is strong, even as a babe. I believe that you placed an illusion on yourself but I cannot be sure,” Eir says.
“And he took me as a war prize. Knowing that he had the son of the enemy in his house and bound to his will must have brought Odin much enjoyment,” Loki hisses.
“When Laufrey and your mother arrived at the temple. There was no true way to tell what belonged to who. Your mother thought you might still be alive, while Laufrey’s heart grew dark and twisted in his mourning and hatred,” Eir says, Loki feels conflicted. It feels like a betrayal of Frigga to miss his biological mother and one of Thor to miss his blood brothers.
Loki takes the cup of tea and swallows the entire thing before sitting back down. He watches his hands and arms turn blue and he tries to think through the bitter hatred instilled in him by Odin. He's had enough of listening to what his kidnapper believes.
“I will be as quick as I can Loki,” Eir says and Loki passes the exam in a state of disconnect. Is he Loki of Asgard or a child of unknown name of Jotunheim? His he the son of Frigga or of Laufrey’s wife? The brother of Thor or the brother of two unknown Jotunn? Maybe he can be all of these things. Being one doesn't necessarily mean he can't be the other. He'll have to think about this more. Perhaps Tyr will help him.
Of one thing he's certain. He is neither Odin’s nor Laufrey's son.
“Done,” Eir says snapping Loki out of his thoughts.
“You are a Jotunn male. However due to your ability to shapeshift you should be able to have both should you so choose,” Eir says.
“Does that mean no talk?” Loki asks hopefully and making moves to get up.
“Sit down. You always were in a rush as a child. I must have the talk with you because you could still have children. Now, there are potions that you can take that will prevent conception, and there are some that the penetrative partner can take to prevent conception. I will provide you with both. Also, about one to three days of every third month you will feel ill, should you have the receptive genitalia. This is your body cleaning itself out and keeping your body balances,” Eir says.
“Potions? Is that all?” Loki asks.
“As well as special water you must use when washing,” Eir says.
“Thank you Eir. For... many things,” Loki says softly.
“Loki, we are family. I will always be there to help you. Sit here and rest for a short time to rest and get your bearings and allow the tea to stop being effective,” Eir says and they offers to leave his potions in his room, which Loki accepts.
A few days later Loki walks through the halls of Asgard as Odin. When he gets near a large group of nobles, Tyr comes racing down the hall towards him.
“Allfather, I bring news from beyond the realms,” Tyr says.
“What sort of news General?”
“News of a threat like none ever seen,” Tyr says.
“Come with me then. We shall council and then call the other generals in,” Loki says and they head into the council room and Loki drops inelegantly into his chair.
“Finally, my plans can begin,” Loki says tilting his head back against the chair, his eyes closed.
“May I speak candidly?” Tyr asks.
“At this point? You no longer need to ask.”
“There is no way you'll be much help with just Asgardian warriors and Vanir healers. You need more people,” Tyr says.
“Who do you suggest?”
“Jotunheim,” Tyr says and Loki just sort of deflates in his chair.
“They will not help us Tyr. The Jotunn hate me, and with every right to,” Loki says face hidden behind his hands.
“Then make amends. Meet with their new leader and ask for help. They may surprise you,” Tyr says.
“Will you and Eir accompany me?” Loki says sounding like when he was young and needed Thor to walk with him through the dark halls in the middle of the night.
“Of course, we can stay with my mother and sibling while we meet with the leader of the tribe,” he says and Loki nods.
“Who is the leader of the tribe now?” Loki asks.
“Your biological mother,” Tyr says.
This time Loki doesn't drop to the floor when he faints, the chair stops him.
Tony wakes up the next morning and sees Erik passed out in the chair next to him. Erik's mouth is open slightly and there's a soft snoring noise from it.
“Good morning Tony,” a voice says and it takes all of his will power not to nearly jump out of his skin and he turns to see Charles there.
“Hey, what's going on?” Tony asks.
“Nothing so bad. I am going to be speaking before the UN today,” Charles says softly.
“What! Why?” Tony shouts and then fliches as Erik shifts in his sleep.
“Logan, Piotr, and some other members are going to offer their help to hunt down the fugitives and Hank and I will be discussing Mutants under the accords. Also, it seems that a General Ross has been arrested for human rights violations. Apparently someone released a large amount of evidence on him was released,” Charles says with a smile.
“Oh, I wonder how that happened,” Tony says innocently.
“General Ross seems to think that it was you. A belief that Colonel Rhodes dissuaded by saying that you were stuck in bed with no technology available to you,” Charles says his eyes glancing at the tablet under Tony's pillow.
“I know right? Funny thing about that,” Tony says with a smile and Charles smiles.
“Is Erik going with you?” Tony asks softly.
“No. I need him to watch the children,” Charles says.
“Oh? Who's going to watch him?” Tony asks.
“Jean probably. But I trust him to not cause lasting damage,” Charles says shooting a fond smile at Erik's sleeping form.
“You'll be careful right? T’Challa is a member of the UN and the accords council. He'll likely warn the rogues about you. Since they're in Wakanda,” Tony says.
“You know where they are?” Charles says.
“Yeah. But so long as they're stuck hiding in Wakanda they can't get up to anymore trouble. Plus, if we need them we'll know where they are,” Tony says and a memory of what he saw through the portal shoots across his mind and Charles rears back startled.
“What was that?” Charles asks.
“You saw that? That was what I saw through the portal during the invasion,” Tony says.
“You practically shoved it into my mind. When I get back we're going to plan out what to do about that,” Charles says.
“No one believes me. They think it was a hallucination,” Tony says.
“Well then, we'll just have to let them be pleasantly surprised when you save the world... again,” Charles says.
“You believe me?” Tony asks.
“Of course. You have no reason to lie or make something like that up,” Charles says.
“Rogers said I was doing it for attention,” Tony mutters under his breath.
“Then he is a fool,” Charles says.
“That we can agree on,” Erik mutters waking up.
“Sorry darling, didn't mean to wake you up,” Charles says.
“It's fine. My back was starting to ache anyway,” Erik says with a smile.
“You're going to be late if you don't leave now,” Tony says and Charles raises an eyebrow.
“You're always late,” Charles says smiling.
“But you strike me as a on time type of person. So go. I'll be fine,” Tony says and Charles nods.
“When I get back we're going to talk about what you saw,” Charles says and leaves.
“What did you see?” Erik asks and Tony tells him.
“How much metal do you think you're going to need?” Erik asks.
“A lot. I'll probably have to go back to my tower,” Tony says unhappily.
“Some of us will be with you at all times. We want you to be safe, we don't want you to be alone, and you're going to need all the help you can get,” Erik says.
“Because you're part of the family and we care about you,” Erik says and Tony beams.
“So, how long until I get my new ribs?” Tony asks.
“A week. You should be strong enough by then. After that it'll be a couple weeks of physical therapy to learn to balance with it,” Erik says softly.
“I'm so bored just laying here,” Tony whines.
“Tony, Hank would kill me if you hurt yourself under my watch,” Erik says making Tony pout. “But... I could rig one of Charles’ old wheelchairs for you to at least get out of the room for a short time,” Erik says and Tony's eyes light up.
“Please!” Tony says and Erik smiles.
“Okay. Let me go see what I can do,” Erik says and leaves the room and Tony resigns himself to staring at the ceiling and counting the ceiling tiles... again.
There are 1,245.
T’Challa is sitting in on the meeting of the Accords council his stomach twisted in a knot, as it is everytime he leaves Wakanda now that he knows Rogers is planning to get the shield back. Without him there Wakanda is down it's strongest defender and he worries for his people. But at least Sgt. Barnes has been safely sent away for treatment. At least one good thing has happened this week.
“Good afternoon gentlemen,” a bald man in a wheelchair says and T’Challa is jerked out of his thoughts and back to the meeting itself. There are three men standing in front of the council and T’Challa is happy that he isn't the only one surprised by the appearance of the man to the bald man's right.
“Good afternoon Professor Xavier. How may we help you? It's not everyday that we have mutants willing to meet with us,” one of the members says and there are several other members whose eyes widen in understanding.
“Yes well. We were hoping that we could help with the accords. I believe that it is an unprecedented chance to foster positive relationships between the two groups,” the blue man says.
“I'm sorry, you are?”
“Dr. Hank McCoy,” he says.
“Logan Howlett,” the third man says and T’Challa watches him.
“And how do you suppose the accords can help you?” The head of the council asks.
“Mutants are often unfairly arrested due to using their abilities to protect themselves. I was hoping that Amendments could be added the cover such things,” McCoy says.
“How do you suppose that?”
“The amendment could treat mutations as just a skill. If used in self defense it is nothing different than a martial artist using their training to defend themselves from a mugging, or a woman using a self defense class’ training to fight off an assailant,” Professor Xavier says.
“Why should we? The mutant community has shown no interest in working with us.”
“That is because we were afraid of what what could happen. What is happening. Cure weapons, talks of registrations, of scientific experimentation, of being locked up in secret prisons where we'll never had a trial,” Xavier says and several people wince at the reminder of what Ross was doing.
“Those sound like concerns that Magneto has had. Tell me Professor, has he turned over a new leaf as well? Or has he gotten to you?”
“Erik's fears are not unfounded. Similar events have happened over and over again. Those who are different often have a history of being treated horribly. Internment camps, the Civil Rights movement, and Hitler and his his Concentration Camps. Erik and I have lived through or witnessed them all. However Erik has seen that he needs long term and stable solutions, not a civil war which he likely will not live to see the end of. So, this is the mutant community asking to open a mutually beneficial relationship with you,” Xavier says.
“I'm not quite seeing the mutual side of this discussion,” one of the members says.
“Of course not. We haven't offered our help yet. Without the enhanced individuals known as Iron Man and War Machine, you lack the resources to safely find and detain the fugitives for formally known as part of the Avengers. However, Logan and several others are prepared to offer their help,” Xavier says.
“And once they are caught?” Someone asks.
“Then, myself and my team would be happy to help form a better, more organized Avenger initiative along side Iron Man and War Machine,” Xavier says.
After that T'Challa zones in and out of the conversation trying to figure out what he's supposed to do with Roger's group. If they leave Wakanda his entire country will be harmed both economically and politically and T’Challa has had to work hard to gain any political capital.
Perhaps he should talk to Shuri and see if their plan can still be started or if this changes things.
Soon the meeting is over and T’Challa walks with his Doras through the building.
“King T’Challa, I was wondering if I could have a minute of your time,” Xavier says rolling towards him.
“I'm very busy right now perhaps next time,” T’Challa says and starts to leave.
“It's about your pest problem in Wakanda,” Xavier says.
“What are you talking about?” T’Challa asks.
“I heard you have a couple of unwanted guests in Wakanda,” Xavier says.
“I'm sorry, I don't know what you're talking about and even if I did. Why would I talk about it with you?” T’Challa asks.
“Because they are putting your country in danger and either they don't understand that they are or they don't care. I'm a telepath your highness I know exactly where they are, where they've been, and where they plan to be,” Professor Xavier says.
“Then why have you not told the council?”
“Because Dr. Stark asked me not to. As long as they're in Wakanda and not trying to escape they are not a threat. When they become a threat he's allowed me to take them in. We both know that they want to leave and get the Captain America Shield back. My question to you is, why would they need it if they are hiding in Wakanda?” Xavier says.
“And if they leave Wakanda?” T’Challa asks.
“It's not a matter of if. They will eventually leave and when they do they will be taken in,” Xavier says.
“What do you suggest I do?”
“Keep the pests controlled,” he says rolling off.
When T'Challa gets back to the palace he winces when he hears Rogers talking about locations where the Shield could be kept. He squares his shoulders and walks into the area he set aside for them.
“We need to talk.”
When Loki opens his eyes and sees Tyr once again above him he groans.
“I would appreciate it if you could stop fainting. Every time it happens I worry that you won't wake up,” Tyr says helping him to his feet.
“Perhaps you should stop saying things that will cause me to faint if it worries you so,” Loki says.
“It's not my fault that you continue to be caught by surprise by things that seem completely normal to me,” Tyr says.
“You are asking me to speak to my biological mother centuries after she believes I perished by wild animals. I don't know if I even ever wanted to meet her,” Loki says but in his heart knows that he can't simply walk away from this. He needs the help that Jotunheim and Vanaheim can offer in the war with Thanos. He will not allow his own weakness be the downfall of the world.
“She is a kind woman. More like Frigga than even you are. When she finds out that you are her son she will likely hold a celebration in your honor. Your brother will be happy to see you as well,” Tyr says.
“Forgive me if I find that doubtful after nearly destroying all of them,” Loki says crossing his arms.
“Loki, when you make a mistake you apologize and try to make amends and try to never make it again. The way to do that is by stopping Thanos, who will destroy all of them,” Tyr says.
“Alright. In a few days time I will depart for Jotunheim while I send an ambassador to Vanaheim to recruit some of their healers,” Loki says.
“Eir and I will accompany you to Jotunheim. You have nothing to fear from them but you may need people there for emotional support,” Tyr says.
“I believe you mentioned this before I fainted,” Loki says.
“Yes, but who knows how much of our conversation you retained after passing out,” Tyr says.
“W...what is she like? You said she was similar to Frigga but in what manner?”
“She is kind and compassionate. Studious, creative, and intelligent,” Tyr says.
“D...do you think she'd want to see me?” Loki asks softly.
“I have no doubt in my mind that she'll want to see you. She's spent centuries missing you. Wondering what you would be like if you were alive,” Tyr says.
“Great, I get to be a huge disappointment for her. She'll be so ashamed of me,” Loki says.
“I do not wish to name all of your achievements and give you a swelled head, but I can say that Thor is the opposite of what they find impressive and you our a classic example of what they do find impressive. Now, the other generals will be arriving shortly. You should replace your illusion now,” Tyr says and Loki does it just seconds before the first general arrives.
The council goes exactly according to plan. The generals are practically salivating at the chance to do real battle again and the ones who aren't as bloodthirsty are appalled at Thanos’mission and want to stop him.
He even manages to get them to agree with his decision to bring Vanir healers with them to Midgard with little debate. Midgardians are far less durable then Asgardians and their ways of healing slow and uncertain.
The real problem starts when he brings up using soldiers from Jotunheim. It seems that the prejudice against them extends to even end of the world battles. In the end it takes Loki longer then even he suspected to convince them to fight along side Jotunns.
He's honestly amazed at Tyr's mask of indifference in the face of all the insults being unknowingly thrown his way. Loki is a patient man but even he wants to kill a couple of his generals, but that would be counter productive to the plan.
In the end he's accomplished everything he's needed to do and now the only thing left is to go to Jotunheim and speak with his mother.
Loki feels sick but he's happy to not that this time he stays conscious when he thinks about meeting his mother and brothers.
What if they hate him? What if they attack him? What would he do?
“What's the matter T'Challa?” Rogers asks and T’Challa wonders when they grew to a first name basis, but in the scope of issues he's having with them it is a small one.
“The council has asked people from the X-Men to track you down. How ever their leader, a telepath, told me that so long as you stay in Wakanda then they won't pursue you,” T'Challa says and people instantly start yelling at him.
“They’re sending Mutants after us?” Barton demands.
“You can't let them do this,” Rogers says.
“I'm not letting them do anything! But I am as much in danger as you are! I can be arrested for having you here and then my people will be left without a King,” T'Challa says.
“If I can just get my shield then we can help defend them,” Rogers says.
“Are you not listening? If you leave Wakanda you will be arrested. I am not just nervous or upset. The X-Men are formidable and it is not a matter of if you get arrested but when!” T’Challa says.
“T’Challa, I understand that you have a lot of people counting on you. But if I get my shield then I can help you protect them,” Rogers says.
“By bringing a war to my country like you did in Germany, Lagos, and Romania?” T’Challa asks.
“I had to save Bucky,” Steve says.
“So, say for instance if you try to save Bucky from something here by throwing the assailant you don't care if it hurts one of my people?” T’Challa says.
“We can't save everyone,” he says.
“But don't you owe it to people to try?” T’Challa asks.
“No Captain Rogers. I have given you a safe place to stay and coddled you. But in this you will listen. You are not to leave Wakanda. You are going to abandon this foolish plan of going after your shield. If you attempt to leave Wakanda I will use all methods to halt you and of you successfully leave then I will not allow you back. Am I understood?” T'Challa says.
“Am I understood?” T’Challa asks.
“Yes your highness,” Rogers says and T'Challa leave the room and stops to listen.
“So what are we gonna do now Cap?”
“We're going to get my shield and find a new place to stay. We can't risk T'Challa turning on us,” Rogers says and T'Challa sighs and walks away. It's only a matter of time before Rogers realizes that Barnes is no longer in Wakanda and he worries for the rest of the world when Rogers decides to go looking for him.
After much thought and a conference with his sister, T’Challa googles the phone number for Charles Xavier's school. Then he stares at his phone before typing it in and calling it.
“Hello?” A voice answers.
“Good Morning. This is King T’Challa from Wakanda. Is Professor Xavier there?”
“He hasn't gotten back from New York City yet. So, I'm assuming that the bastards aren't listening to you,” the man says.
“I... I'm sorry who am I speaking with?”
“Charles’ husband,” he says and T’Challa takes a breath.
“Your assumption is correct. I don't know what to do. If I throw them in prison then they'll cause more damage escaping and if I let them go then they would probably tell people about hiding in Wakanda,” T'Challa says.
“That's what you get for allowing fugitives into your country,” the man says.
“I... I'm sorry?”
“You say all this like you expect sympathy. But you knew what they had done in Lagos, in Romania, and in Germany. You were fully aware of their crimes. So, you may be able to get sympathy from Charles and perhaps Tony, bit from me no. You made the bed you are currently laying in and now you must figure out how to climb out. However, your people are innocent so I will help you in some way,” the voice says.
“We give them what they want. We fake their escape and retrieval of the shield and then some of us will catch them. Then you can lock them away and say that their being in Wakanda was part of a secret attempt to catch them,” the man says.
“Will that work?”
“If I ask Charles to support it then yes, or we can completely cut Wakanda out of the situation.”
“Again we fake the escape and capture them and when they say they were in Wakanda then Charles can say that they are making it up in an attempt to complicate the accords. The choice is yours.”
“I don't want to completely throw away my responsibility so I would like to do the first option,” T'Challa says.
“Good there may be hope for you. Also, this way is easier because Charles is a horrible liar,” the man says and his voice takes on a fond edge.
“What is your name? I want to know who to thank,” T'Challa says.
“Erik,” the man says and T'Challa blinks because he recognizes the name as being Magneto's real name.
“Thank you Erik,” he says and they do a little more planning, after having Shuri join in on the conversation, before finally hanging up.
That night T’Challa goes to sleep feeling better than he has in a while. He hopes that they don't have to implement the it but he's glad to have a plan.
“Sorry it took so long. Hank refused to part with any of the chairs. I had to sneak this one out of storage. And he insisted on outlining why letting you out of bed is a horrible idea, but he assured me it wouldn't kill you, so... I'm going to ignore him,” Erik says.
“I like you even more now,” Tony says.
“There was also a small issue I had to resolve in regards to your new ribs,” Erik says.
“Apparently adamantium can cause heavy metal poisoning,” Erik starts and Tony shudders at the unwanted memories filling his head before Erik continues, “but if I mold a thin layer of nonpoisonous metal around the adamantium then it will keep you from being poisoned.”
“Wait! Logan has a whole skeleton of that stuff. Shouldn't you be worried about him?”
“Remarkable. I just told you that a procedure you agreed to go through might have fatal consequences on you and your first thoughts are for a man you only met a few days ago,” Erik says and Tony shrugs.
“My brain is like a swarm of bees. By time you finished telling me about the poisoning I had already compartmentalize and figured out that Logan was the most important thing,” Tony says.
“God, your resemblance to Charles is disconcerting. I must ask Charles if he cheated on me around the time of your birth,” Erik says a small smile tugging at his lips.
“Nope. Mom was loyal to Howard even though he didn't deserve it,” Tony says.
“She sounds like a lovely woman. She would be proud of you. Also Logan's healing factor fixes the poisoning,” Erik says.
“No she wouldn't. Not with all the things I've done,” Tony says.
“You preserved Howard's legacy, you preserved hers, you fought your way out of your dark places, you fought through untold horrors, you saved innocent people, you never believed in the word impossible, and when the people who you were sworn to protect asked you to be better you strove for that. You are a good man. No man is perfect is he?”
“Rogers is,” Tony mutters as Erik helps him into a chair.
“Rogers committed crimes to get where he is. He faked his enlistment forms several times. That's a crime Tony. If you find me a perfect person I'll give you every cent of money I have,” Erik says.
“He still saved a bunch of people,” Tony says looking down.
“He saved a bunch of his fellow soldiers and destroyed a single weapons facility. He didn't destroy any of the concentration camps,” Erik says.
“Erik…” Tony says not sure what to say. He'd seen the numbers on his arm when Erik was napping.
“I am willing to admit that to those soldier's families Rogers may be a hero. But to a young Jewish boy in a concentration camp he is no more or less a hero than any other allied soldier in that war,” Erik says.
“But he never gives up. His determination is legendary,” Tony says softly.
“So is yours. You survived torture, you said you were going to get out of that cave and you did it. Steve's determination would have gotten any of his fellow soldiers killed. A sick man is a liability to every man on the field of battle. His determination is admiral but his thought process is skewed too far towards his own desires and not the greater good,” Erik says softly and begins rolling Tony through the hall.
“It's refreshing to meet someone who doesn't fall for Captain Bullshit,” Tony says.
“I do try my best to be unexpected,” Erik says and wheels Tony out of the school and into the front yard.
“Wow,” Tony breathes out looking at the beautiful grounds surrounding him. It's almost otherworldly.
“I know. I've been here for nearly fifty years and every time I see it the breath gets knocked out of me,” Erik says softly.
“I never want to leave,” Tony breathes out.
“You don't have to. You can have a room here. You can come to meals, holidays parties, live here full time, part time, or sometimes. Whatever you need,” Erik says.
“Because you're part of the family now. You're stuck with us. Whether you stay here or return to the tower. I'll even try to master that thing called video chat,” Erik says and Tony bursts out laughing. He's laughing so hard that it takes a minute to realize that he's crying.
When Erik realizes he immediately wraps Tony in a gentle hug so as not to hurt him.
“Let it out Tony. You need this. Keeping your emotions bottled up isn't healthy,” Erik murmurs and slowly Tony relaxes against him and the tears stop and he catches his breath.
“Thank you,” Tony says softly.
“It's fine,” Erik says and wheels Tony over to a small garden and places Tony in the shade and they sit in calming silence.
Tony never thought crying would help him feel so good. Not after everything Howard used to say.
But it does.
The next morning Tony wakes up and pulls out his tablet and begins typing. He had already taken care of getting rid of Ross now it’s time for him to help his Rhodey walk again because he’ll be damned if Rhodey ends up being unable to walk all because he took his side against Rogers. He can’t stand the thought that his friend would lose something so important all because of him.
He’s just finished designing the padding for the insides of the exoskeleton when he sees Scott chasing after two young kids who Tony assumes are skipping classes...ah to be young again. He can’t help but hope that Scott doesn’t come in to check on him.
Scott’s a good guy but he reminds Tony too much of Captain Tight Ass and Tony can’t deal with that right now. The memories are too fresh, the hurt too recent for him to be around him. But even with that he loves being here. He’s more at home with these people he just met than with people he lived with for years.
He knows that as much as John likes to hide it he loves art and hates science class with a burning passion. Kurt loves to act out things that he witnessed around campus and Tony knows that the kid is just destined to be in theater. Peter loves to just feel the wind around him and just likes to relax. He knows each of their likes and dislikes and they even know his.
Tony can’t believe that they took the time to call Pepper with his cellphone and find out all his favorite foods so they could make it or bring it to their next movie night. They even let him pick the movie and didn’t laugh when he picked an animated kid movie like Clint used to. Erik would sometimes join them but usually it was just the four of them and they adored it. They could just be them and there was no pressure for Tony to keep up his mask.
Erik and Charles also did their best to get to know him. Once Hank said he could eat solid foods for all his meal Erik started learning every single one of Tony’s favorite things to eat and somehow managed to make the perfect amount. Unlike when Ste...Rogers would cook and Tony would have enough leftovers on his plate to feed Thor or when he would cook have too little on his plate Erik’s meals were always done by the time his appetite would leave him. Tony is nearly certain that Erik’s mutation is actually seeing into the future. They also don’t berate him if he’s not hungry. They simple leave snack foods next to his bed and then the next day make him food that’s higher in nutritional value. Charles will read through his lesson plans with Tony so he won’t be bored and alone. Erik will check on him throughout the day asking about new recipes he found and wanting Tony’s opinion. They remind him of some weird two person version of his moth...nope not going there.
Tony jerks himself out of his thoughts just as Erik steps into the room with Logan and a man with the second best facial hair is slightly behind them and Tony can’t help but snort at the robes the man is wearing and obviously the man has never heard of Just for Men because his temples are sporting a bit of silver. Though Tony is man enough to admit that it looks good.
“Hey Bobcat, Magnet Man, what’s with Harry Potter back there?” Tony asks and the man in question smiles a small smile and it disappears as quickly as it came. It takes Tony a minute to realize that the man is floating.
“I am Dr. Stephen Strange, Sorcerer Supreme,” he says and Tony raises an eyebrow.
“Why are you here and not at Central Park making balloon animals?” Tony asks.
“Tony, Dr. Strange is going to be helping me with the medical side of the procedure to replace your ribs. He’s going to help me learn to mold them properly so they won’t cause you pain,” Erik says.
“Oh...thanks,” Tony says.
“I have to say it’s been a while since I was approached for my medical knowledge instead of magical,” Strange says.
“Magic is just science we don’t know how to explain yet,” Tony says.
“Oh? I believe that I can destroy that argument in an instant,” Strange says and bangs his hands together and suddenly there is a butterfly flying across the room and then divebombs Tony. When it comes into contact with him it disappears.
“Explain that Dr. Stark,” Strange says, a smirk curling over his face.
“You obviously have an ability to manipulate photons around you to create illusions and any contact I felt from it was simple my brain filling it what it expected to happen. Good try Doc,” Tony says.
“Oh believe me that is mere child’s play compared to some of the things that I am capable of doing,” Strange says.
“Yeah, yeah. I bet you have all sorts of tricks up your sleeve,” Tony says.
“I do,” Strange says.
“I’ll believe that when I see it,” Tony says.
“Seeing everything that I can do would probably break your mind,” Strange says.
“I’m tougher than I look, and even less impressed,” Tony says and Strange is smiling full out. He opens his mouth to counter him but a throat clearing interrupts them and they look over at Erik.
“As interesting as this is to watch we are here for a reason and that is to fix Tony’s chest,” Erik says.
“Of course,” Strange says and starts taking measurements of Tony’s chest area.
“What area of medicine do you practice?” Tony asks trying to distract himself from the overwhelming terror of someone being that close to his chest.
“I was a neurosurgeon,” Strange says.
“WAS?!” Tony asks fear crashing over him. What on earth did this guy do to get kicked out of practice and why is he being allowed near him?
“Worry not. I am no longer practicing because of non problematic reasons but believe me, Dr. McCoy and I are fully capable of teaching Mr. Lensherr the proper way to shape ribs,” Strange says and Tony looks into his eyes and recognizes the look in them well from when anyone ever wanted to talk to him about Afghanistan.
“Alright Doc I’m gonna trust you,” Tony says and Strange releases a sigh that neither man realized he was holding.
“Thank you,” Strange says and Tony barely hears him and before he can even react Strange is straightening up and moving back over to stand with Erik and Logan.
“Hey,” Tony says when Strange turns to leave, and when he turns back Tony says, “Don’t be a stranger Strange. You still have to show me some of the tricks up your sleeve.”
Strange smiles and the three men step out into the hall.
“Well, I shall go consult with Dr. McCoy. Good afternoon gentlemen,” Strange says stepping into his portal.
“Well, that was a surprising amount of sexual tension,” Erik says before heading off to tell Charles about everything he saw.
Loki stands at the Bifrost site anxiously playing with some of the armor he is currently wearing. His normal robes are hidden beneath them and it is quite awkward for him. He wishes that he could have just gone to Jotunheim as himself but he has to make sure that no one who may be near the Bifrost knows that he’s not Odin. Even if Tyr has convinced him that nearly everyone on Asgard knows that he’s not really Odin.
Loki pushes his worries down deep inside him and clenches his hands so that he’ll stop. Odin has never fidgeted in his life and Loki still has a ruse to maintain for some people. If Thor returns he’ll know in an instant that it is Loki.
“Good morning my King,” Tyr says as he and Eir arrive on their horses. Loki takes a deep breath and moves towards Odin’s steed, wishing not for the first time that he would be able to use his own horse, however that would raise suspicions amongst the few people of Asgard that don’t know.
“General Tyr, Lady Eir. Let us be off then,” Loki says and they enter the Bifrost and Loki’s stomach clenches a little uneasily as he mounts the horse, but the horse seems to be helping him along and making it easier for him to ride and Loki is shocked. Normally the horse always tries to buck him off. Perhaps he has finally begun to sense that Loki harbors no ill will towards it.
When the Bifrost deposits them in Jotunheim Loki feels his stomach clench up and is glad that he had foregone breaking his fast this morning. Because he would likely be wearing it by now.
“First we will go and speak with Farbauti and then we will go to the house of my parents and you can meet my siblings. When you meet Farbauti you may feel the urge to bow. Don’t, greet her with the traditional Warrior’s Greeting,” Tyr says and Loki nods. They’d been over this several times since making the decision to come here but somehow Loki continues having the same level of anxiety as the first time he studied magic with someone who wasn’t his mother.
“Prince Loki, please. Calm yourself. Farbauti is a kind woman with a heart that will practically burst when she sees you alive and well,” Tyr says.
“What if she does not believe that I am the child she lost all those years ago?” Loki asks softly and Eir gives him a gentle smile.
“A mother knows, but even if she did not, she would when she sees your markings. You are her spitting image in your Jotunn form,” Eir says with a soft smile. Loki still doesn’t feel all that confident as they draw close to the gate of the camp.
“Breathe, you look seconds away from fainting. No harm will come to you while I am here,” Tyr says putting a comforting hand on Loki’s shoulder and Loki smiles and nods and they are approached by several Jotunn sentries and Loki gulps and Tyr speaks to them in a language that Loki doesn’t naturally know but Allspeak allows him to translate.
“I bring the sitting leader of Asgard to discuss a matter of grave importance to all the realms,” Tyr says and one of the sentries goes into the fort before coming back out.
“The chief has agreed to see you,” they say and Loki dismounts and follows the sentry into the fort. Tyr stays close to Loki’s side and Loki feels a little comforted by that. Eir is gliding along beside them and Loki glances at each of the Jotunn around him. Body poised to defend himself from any of them that would attack him.
Standing in what Loki assumes is the meeting circle is a...Jotunn dressed in first with a necklace of ice dragon’s teeth around their neck. Standing on either side of her, because there is no doubt in Loki’s mind that this is Farbauti, are two male appearing Jotunn who Tyr quickly tells him are his brothers Helblindi and Byleistr.
“What brings the younger Odinson to us?” Farbauti says as Byleistr watches him and Loki squares his shoulders. He can do this, he’s had to speak to people who would love to see his entrails strung across a slab.
“May I first offer my condolences for the death of your spouse...and that I offer myself up to whatever justice you wish to exact after I have said what I need to say,” Loki says, it had taken him all night to decide to do this. He will take whatever price they wish to exact, and he also decides not to tell them that he’s Farbauti’s son.
“Whatever you wish to discuss must be awfully horrid to bring you here Asgardian,” Byleistr says and Loki nods.
“Thanos,” Loki says and hears muttering from the assembled Jotunns.
“And why do you care? Did you not come to heel for him?” Helbindi sneers and Farbauti holds up a hand to silence him.
“Helbindi, you as well as I know that Thanos is not a being that one man, especially one barely out of the nursery, is capable of standing against alone,” she says and Loki glances up and he can see what Tyr and Eir meant when they said she was much like Frigga.
“Of course Mother,” Helbindi says bowing his head.
“Now, what is this about Thanos child?”
“He makes a move on Midgard, if it falls then he will be positioned to take the rest of our realms easily,” Loki says.
“And what concern of this is ours?” Byleistr asks and Loki recognizes the look in his eyes. It's the same look he would get in his own when figuring out which angles to work on a person.
“As your chief said, Thanos is not a being that one person...one planet even...can stand against. Anyone who makes the attempt will simply be culled. However, if several realms band together we will be able to stop Thanos at Midgard and not risk damage to our own realms,” Loki says.
“Why are you fighting him? It is much more like you to run,” Helbindi says.
“I... Queen Frigga...my mother...hated Asgard, she was a war bride to Odin. A shiny bauble. However, she loved her people with every fiber of her essence. I am her son and I can't... I won't abandon the people she loved,” Loki says.
“Pretty words from an ugly tongue,” Helbindi says and Byleistr rolls his eyes and Loki is reminded much of himself when Thor says.
“Yes the words are pretty, but that is because sentiment is pretty. And yes my tongue is ugly, my character questionable, and my morals skewed. However I am willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that Thanos does not ruin the last thing I have to remember my mother by,” Loki says.
Helbindi opens his mouth, probably to deliver another retort or insult but Byleistr silences him with a hand on his shoulder. A move Loki had attempted with Thor several times only to be ignored.
I shall consider the proposal. We will discuss the various details tomorrow,” Farbauti says.
“Excellent, I will have him kept in the cage in town square,” Helbindi says and starts to motion guards over and Loki doesn't react. If this is what he must do then so be it.
The guards advance and Farbauti holds up a hand to halt them and says, “there is one more thing to discuss.”
“Of course Chief Farbauti,” Loki says giving her his full attention.
“When are you going to tell me that you are my lost son?” Farbauti asks and Loki feels like he's been punched.
Tony wakes up from what was supposed to be quick nap to the sound of his phone ringing right in his ear.
Tony groans and checks the caller ID and sees the name Roving Reporter and Tony smiles.
“Hey Lois Lane, what’s up?” Tony asks and there’s the sound of a long suffering sigh from the man on the other end of the phone.
“Why must you always call me that?” he says.
“Because you’re constantly doing stupid shit for the sake of your stories like her,” Tony says and the man mutters something unflattering under his breath.
“So...not that I’m complaining about getting a chance to talk to you, but what do I owe the pleasure of this call?” Tony asks.
“I finally got a chance to watch the news. Tony are you okay?” He asks.
“I’m fine Eddie, just a little sore and bored,” Tony says pulling out his tablet and doing a little research into his friend. What he reads make his eyes widen.
“You went after the Life Foundation!” Tony shrieks and there’s a clatter, most likely Eddie dropping the phone.
“There was a story there and I had to tell it,” Eddie says.
“You absolute Moron, they’re the kind of company that ruins the lives of people they don’t like. They could ruin your life!” Tony says wanting to throttle his friend. Seriously why does no one he knows have a survival instinct? At least Pepper and Rhodey have good sense to think before doing.
“They tried to do more than that,” Eddie mutters darkly.
“What! What does that mean? Eddie are you in danger? Do you need help? I can send Vison to you, you can stay in the tower,” Tony says sitting up in bed trying to kick off his covers and only succeeding in getting tangled up in them.
“Whoa whoa, I’m okay. I’ve got...someone on my side now. Someone strong, I’m okay. I can’t tell you what or who over the phone, you likely wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but when you’re doing better maybe I can come for a visit? We have a lot of things to talk about,” Eddie says.
“Sure Lois Lane, that makes me feel so much better about your safety. Not, get your ass to the tower,” Tony says struggling in his blankets.
“Tony, listen to me. Please, relax. For once worry about yourself first and everyone else second. I’m okay, the life foundation has bigger things to worry about than me right now and I have some major help on my side. I’ll text you once a day so you know I’m okay if it makes you feel better,” Eddie says.
“Are you sure? I know you didn’t want me involved in your life and career so that you can keep your stories bias free but if this is life and death you need to let me help you,” Tony says.
“Tony I’m fine. Besides when you see me you might see we have a little more in common now than ever before,” Eddie says.
“Are you actively trying to make me worry?” Tony asks but the tightness in his chest is easing a little. He’ll have FRIDAY keep an eye out for anything involving him and alert Vision if needed.
“You’re acting like my Mother, Tony. Do you want to check if I washed behind my ears too?” Eddie asks.
“Ewww no. There are probably unknown life forms growing back there,” Tony says and starts laughing so hard he doesn’t hear Eddie’s forced laugh.
“Anyway I gotta go, I have to go get something to eat. See ya,” Eddie says.
“Don’t forget to text me!” Tony says.
“Yes Mom,” Eddie says and hangs up and Tony sighs and flops back on the bed and falls asleep wondering why all his friends are idiots.
“T’Challa, can I speak with you for a moment?” Scott asks trying to catch up to the king.
“What about?” T'Challa asks.
“I want to turn myself in. I miss my daughter, I miss Hope, and I miss not having to run,” Scott says and T'Challa purses his lips. It should be possible to get him the the accord's council.
“If you wish I can contact the people sent to apprehend you. They would be fair and gentle with you,” T'Challa says.
“And,” Scott clears his throat, “do you think Maggie will still let me get to see Cassie?”
“I believe that several friends of Mr. Stark have been talking to her and pulling strings to ensure that you’ll still be able to see her. I don’t however know what your punishment might be. You caused significantly less damage than most of your fellows. Miss Van Dyne did not press theft charges against you, Mr. Stark did not press charges against you for assault and property damage. I’m unsure about what Germany will do,” T’Challa says.
“It doesn’t matter so long as I can still see Cassie,” Scott says softly eyes on the ground.
“I will advocate for house arrest if you are sure that you wish to turn yourself in,” T’Challa says.
“No, I did the crime and if I can’t handle the time I never should have done it,” Scott says and walks with T’Challa down the hall while T’Challa sends a message to Charles. He can’t help but wonder why all of a sudden Scott wishes to leave and asks the man as much.
“I miss Cassie and Hope, and I just don’t feel like the others understand what they did. They were talking about what happened in Lagos and Romania like it was nothing. Like they didn’t hurt people and even kill people. Then they were talking about Wanda and I found out she was HYDRA and I found out about what happened with the Hulk and I...it’s just wrong you know? It’s one thing to do your own dirty work and kill people, it’s another thing to make someone who is dedicated to protecting life, end it,” Scott says.
“Indeed it is Mr. Lang. Professor X says that his people will come to collect you within an hour. Anything you wish to bring with you can be left with them for safe keeping. I would not alert the others to the fact that you turned yourself in. They’ll likely react badly and cause more damage than they already have,” T’Challa says and walks with Scott back to the wing of the palace dedicated to the Rogues.
“I also wanted to warn you. Wanda was talking about using her powers to help the others get out of here to get Cap’s shield back. I don’t know what long term effects her powers can have on people but I really don’t want them to be suffered by anyone here. That’s just like super rude and probably illegal. Especially since it would put an entire country in danger,” Scott says running a hand through his hair.
“I appreciate you warning me. I will look into ways of blocking her powers,” T’Challa says as Scott enters his room to begin packing. He takes a plain T-Shirt and cargo pants and tears and rips at them and then works on making them look as dirty as possible so that it’ll look like he was on the run. He doesn’t want then to suspect that he was receiving help from someone.
“Scott? What are you doing?” a voice says behind him and Scott turns and looks at Sam.
“I’m just fooling around you know? There’s nothing really to do around here,” Scott says and Sam just gives him a look.
“You’re turning yourself in aren’t you,” Sam says.
“Yes. I miss my daughter and this side is kinda turning out to have been in the wrong. Turning myself in seems like the right thing to do, but I need to look like I was on the run so T’Challa won’t get in trouble,” Scott says.
“Yeah, I know what you mean. When everything was going down I thought I was doing the right thing you know? But now that I think back on it I’m starting to see everything for how it actually was and not just what I thought it was,” Sam says.
“Plus, Cap and them are going to get themselves in so much trouble when they try to get his shield and I know that it won’t end well. I don’t want any part in it,” Scott says.
“Yeah, I can see that,” Sam says and a pile of clothes lands besides Scott on the bed.
“Pass the scissors. If I’ve been on the run for a couple weeks I need to look the part,” Sam says holding out his hand. Scott smiles relieved that he won’t be going in this alone and passes the scissors over. They make quick work of their clothes and then go to meet T’Challa in Shuri’s lab.
Standing there are three mutants who look indifferent to both their surroundings and the people around them but Scott is marveling at everything in the lab.
“Chuck said we were only picking up Lang,” a man in a flannel shirt says though it’s more like a growl.
“I was unaware that Mr. Wilson also was intending to turn himself in. I vow that there is nothing amiss,” T’Challa says.
“Yeah, I feel the same way Scott does and I want to make sure he doesn’t have to do all this alone,” Sam says.
“Logan, we should check in with the Professor about this,” the second man says his voice thick with a Russian accent. The third man, more like a boy, really keeps sneaking glances around at all the tech.
“I will call him,” T’Challa says reaching for his phone but the first man, Logan, holds up a hand.
“No need. Chuck can get into our heads from even this distance. He just won’t without an invitation...or a compelling reason,” Logan says. A few seconds later his eyes open and says, “okay they can both come. You should alert the council about the change in number. They don’t like surprises.” Logan says and they nod and T’Challa sends a notice to the council.
Sam and Scott let themselves be cuffed and spend the ride quietly watching the world pass by. Sam finally musters up the courage to ask, “do any of you know anything regarding Rho...Colonel Rhodes’ condition?”
“Pissed,” Logan says and the other two nod emphatically.
“Apparently his main motivation in physical therapy is to get his legs strong enough so that he can personally kick Rogers’ team all the way back to jail. Tony threatened to tie him to the bed. Said he wasn’t letting Rhodey out of his sight ever again. Was very funny,” the third person finally speaks and it’s with a heavy German accent.
“But how is he?” Sam asks.
“He took a nose drive from several hundred feet in the air in a heavy mechanized suit. He’s doing a little better than most would. Dr. Cho is really something,” Logan says and the plane starts to begin landing procedure.
“He’s what?” Helbindi demands looking at Loki and Loki can see disbelief and something he’s never seen but he’s definitely felt. Helbindi looks like he’s trying to clamp down on hope.
“Loki is your little brother,” Farbauti says and both of her children turn to look at Loki.
“I...I am sorry but you must have me confused with someone else. I am the youngest child of Odin and Queen Frigga,” Loki says backing away towards Tyr.
“Loki, do not insult my intelligence. That sparkle in your eye? That comes from me, and my mother, and her mother,” Farbauti says.
“Any sparkle you see in my eye is from Queen Frigga,” Loki says.
“A mother knows her children. You may have spent the least amount of time with me. But I would know you at a glance,” Farbauti says and Loki feels his resolve against denying it waiver.
“You're wrong. I am a child of Odin,” Loki says softly and suddenly he's being pulled against several bodies that are surprisingly warm when you consider who they belong to.
“My son, you may be the God of Lies but you are a horrible liar,” Farbauti says and he hears Helbindi sniffle.
“I'm sorry I wasn't able to protect you in the temple,” Helbindi says burying his face in Loki's hair.
“I... I,” Loki says and melts into the hug.
“I am as well. When the wolves came I should have gotten you and Helbindi out of the temple but I was terrified of Odin and ran when he had appeared,” Byleistr says.
“I... I,” Loki says feeling a little overwhelmed. Farbauti seems to sense this because she motions everyone to separate.
“Tyrian, please allow my son to remain in your house while he is here,” she says to a man who looks like a much older Tyr.
“Of course. He can remain as long as my Chief f wants,” the man says and Loki blinks suddenly feeling small and confused.
“It is so good to have you back my son. However I can sense that this is a little overwhelming for you. If you wish you can spend as much or as little time as you want with us. We will not push you,” she says and Loki is reminded of Frigga's ability to always know what's going on in your life head. Is it magic or does it have to do with both being mothers?
“I... thank you...uh… Chief Farbauti,” Loki says and Tyr helps him back to a dwelling. That is much bigger on the inside than the outside.
“Is the spell for the tent a alteration on the one I have on my pockets?” Loki asks momentarily getting distracted from his emotional turmoil and examining the spell work.
“Yes and no. Your pockets have a mild teleportation spell on them. When you reach in you go to another dimension to retrieve your belongings. When you enter this tent you are still in the dimension you started in,” a deep rich voice says behind him and Loki turns and has to blink a couple of times.
“I...hello,” Loki says then begins internally cursing himself. Silver-tongued indeed! Can't even manage a full sentence without making a fool of himself!
“Ah! Brother! Here you are! Good to see you brother!” Tyr says clapping the stranger on the back. Then he turns to Loki. “This is Vidar, my younger brother. He is quite the accomplished magician. Best in his training group,” Tyr says and Loki thinks Vidar might be blushing.
“That is very impressive,” Loki says politely.
“Perhaps you could train together,” Tyr says and Vidar shoots his brother a look.
“I would enjoy that thank you. But perhaps you should be less obvious in you designs,” Loki says turning to look up at Tyr.
“I assure you, I have no designs,” Tyr says with an innocent smile but Loki doesn’t believe him for a second. Vidar must not have many friends if Tyr is trying to get him to be friends with Vidar. Honestly Loki doesn’t know why anyone would want him as a friend for their little brother.
“Sure,” Loki says but tries to give Vidar an encouraging smile.
“Boys...dinner time!” another man says and they sit down to eat. Vidar shows Loki how to position the food on the plate to get the most flavor in his food and even makes him a cup of tea.
Loki doesn’t understand why Vidar is trying so hard to be nice to him.
But he’ll admit. It feels nice.
“No,” Tony groans when he’s awoken by the sounds of someone entering his room.
“Tony there is a child here claiming to know you,” Erik says.
“I’m always getting kids like that,” Tony says trying to pull a blanket over his head.
“He said his name was Peter Park…” Erik says but Tony is already up and out of bed and in his wheelchair before Erik can even finish his statement.
“Take me to him please?” Tony asks and Erik smiles and helps him down the stairs.
“I really should talk to Charles about making a ramp. He spent so much time making this house perfect for everyone else except himself and it worries me,” Erik murmurs to himself and Tony is about to respond but stops when he sees the boy standing there.
“Peter! Are you okay? I know you had to have been hurt in Germany and I am so sorry that I put you in so much danger,” Tony says.
“Whoa, whoa. Mr. Stark breathe. I’m fine. Captain Rogers was going to hurt the little guy and I like protecting the little guy. Plus you’re worried about me being injured? You’re in a wheelchair. I should be worried about you,” Peter says making abortive movements to hug him.
“What? Oh no I need it because Erik wouldn’t let me out of bed without it,” Tony says standing and pulling the nervous kid into his arms.
“I am so sorry. I didn’t know that there would be a fight and I didn’t intend for you be involved if there was one,” Tony says into the teen’s hair.
“Whoa it’s okay. I looked a little banged up. Nothing broken. I’ve gotten worse from school bullies,” Peter says.
“Excuse me? Bullies? I want names, now,” Tony says fiercely and Peter flails trying to turn off whatever protective dad mode he accidently set off. Erik chuckles lightly. Which draws Peter’s attention to him.
“Oh hi. You’re the flying Magnet guy I see on Youtube sometimes,” Peter says.
“You can call me Erik,” he says smiling a little at the antics.
“How did you find me? No one knows where I am aside from the people here, Pepper, and Rhodey,” Tony says.
“I kept calling you office. Every time I called they just hung up on me and I was getting worried. Then there was a voice in my head and I recognized it from a TED Talk I listened to after I got my powers. He told me that you were here and so I swung by,” Peter says and Erik smiles fondly at his husbands thoughtfulness, but honestly if Charles wanted another grandchild he could have simply asked.
“Oh shi...shoot. Peter I hate to ask a favor of you but you’re really good at this sort of thing. Do you think you could find a kid I know named Harley Keener?” Tony asks.
“Oh! I know him! We met at science camp,” Peter says excitedly and Tony beams.
“Perfect! Can you tell him that I’m okay?” Tony asks.
“Tell me yourself mechanic,” a voice chimes out of Peter’s pocket.
“Um what?” Tony says as Peter pulls out a phone that looks more like it was cobbled together in a gara...oh.
“Hello there,” Harley says waving through the screen of Peter’s flip phone.
“Um what is this?” Tony asks staring at the Franken-phone that was obviously Harley’s doing.
“It’s my way of making a flip phone have facetime capabilities,” Hartley says like it should be obvious.
“It’s good, but I think I can at least make you guys two personally customized starkphones. No one who has ever met Tony Stark will ever have a store bought phone,” Tony says and both boy smile.
“Oh thank God. The phone was a pain in the ass,” Harley says.
“Speaking of pain, Tony it’s time for your medicine,” Erik says shaking a bottle in Tony’s direction.
“So when do we launch revenge?” Harley says an excited, and frankly scary, smile forming on his face.
“No. Revenge is bad, and even if I was going to get revenge you two would not have a hand in it,” Tony says.
“No,” Tony says crossing his arms after popping the pill into his mouth.
“Why not? They hurt you. If it were one of us you would be going full mama bear protective mode,” Harley says.
“No I wouldn’t.”
“You literally just tried to get the names of my bullies out of me,” Peter says.
“Irrelevant, and I still want that list,” Tony says and Erik smiles.
Apparently Charles set out to get one grandchild and got two.
Not that Erik is complaining.
“Wanda have you seen Sam?” Steve asks walking into the small common room T’Challa gave them. Her, Clint, and Natasha are sitting in various states of thinking.
“No. I thought perhaps he might have been with you. But when I peeked into his room I found that his things are gone,” Wanda says.
“Scott too. I stopped by his room and his stuff was gone and his bed was made,” Clint says.
“Do you think someone took them?” Steve asks and Natasha shakes her head.
“Their beds wouldn’t have been made and their stuff wouldn’t have been taken,” Natasha says.
“Maybe they left?” Clint says.
“Why would they leave we aren’t anywhere close to implementing the plan,” Steve says worry clear on their face. Whether it’s for his two missing friends or for what they're disappearance could mean for Bucky no one knows.
“What plan?” someone says from the doorway and they all turn to find Shuri standing there.
“Princess didn’t your mother ever teach you not to listen in on other people’s conversations?” Steve says.
“Only when they aren’t internationally wanted criminals living in my home and putting my kingdom in danger,” Shuri says and Steve blinks at her a little shocked.
“Do you know where Sam and Scott went?” Natasha asks.
“Yes,” Shuri says.
“Are you going to tell us?” Steve asks.
“I was asked not to,” Shuri says.
“Aren’t teenagers supposed to be rebellious?” Steve asks.
“There’s a difference between being rebellious and being a dick,” Shuri says.
“Language,” Steve says.
“Fuck you,” Shuri says not breaking eye contact with Steve.
“Princess, all we want to know is where Sam and Scott are. We’re worried about them,” Clint says.
“Obviously Rogers is not concerned. He didn’t even know Lang was gone,” Shuri says.
“I...I didn’t have a chance to check his room. Only Sam’s,” Steve says.
“You were worried that something had happened to Wilson then why didn’t you check on the rest of your team? I’m starting to think that Lang and Wilson had the right idea turning themselves in,” Shuri says and then her eyes widen comically.
“THEY WHAT?” the remaining Rogues ask rising out of their seats and Shuri heaves a sigh.
“They turned themselves into the authorities. Do not worry they are not going to reveal your location. We made sure of it,” Shuri says.
“T...thank you Princess, may we have some time alone to absorb this?” Steve asks.
“Of course,” Shuri says and leaves the room and listens to the Rogues discuss their plan to leave Wakanda and get Roger’s shield. Right under the bug she planted in their lamp. When she arrives in her Brother’s study she finds him bent over a video call and she glances at the person on the screen she smiles.
“My job is done. I let it slip that Lang and Wilson turned themselves in. The Rogues are losing their minds,” Shuri says.
“Thank you Shuri. I hated having to use you to deliver the message but I couldn’t get the same meaning behind it,” T’Challa says.
“It’s fine brother. The sooner the Rogues leave the sooner I can expand my lab into their chambers,” Shuri says and then turns to the man on the screen. “Mr. Lehnsherr, how is Dr. Stark?”
“He is doing as can be expected. I would like for the Rogues to be captured while he is under for surgery so that he doesn’t have to know until after the fact. Thank you for your roll in our plan,” he says.
“Of course, don’t worry they are terrified right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if they leave within the week,” Shuri says and leaves the room.
“King T’Challa, are you sure that this is the course that you want to follow?” Erik asks.
“Yes. I have been foolish. My father taught me better than this. And I shall make him proud,” T’Challa says.
“Then we will carry on. Are you ready for phase two?” Erik asks.
“Yes. When will your representative arrive?” T’Challa asks.
“In a days time,” She is excited to see you again, but very angry at your actions,” Erik says.
“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” T’Challa says a fond smile crossing his lips.
“Good evening your highness. I must get dinner started,” Erik says and the screen goes blank and T’Challa turns to find Nakia in the doorway.
“Nakia,” T’Challa says with a smile.
“Do I finally get to meet the girl that saved your life all those years ago?” Nakia asks and T’Challa nods.
“It will be an honor to meet such an important person in your life,” Nakia says and they share a small gentle kiss.
“Shall I have Shuri record our guest’s reactions to her?” T’Challa asks with a smile.
“Yes please, and invite her to dinner tomorrow,” Nakia says and and T’Challa walks her home.
For once he doesn’t have a worry bearing down on him.
“Tony are you sure that you’re ready?” Erik asks the night before Tony is supposed to undergo surgery.
“Yes,” Tony says. He’d been nervous enough all day and the day before. But now he's calm... he's ready. The world has been without Iron Man for far too long.
“Tony you know if you're not ready you don't have to go through with the surgery now,” Erik says as Charles rolls in with something folded on his lap.
“No. I'm sure. I have to get back on my feet. The world needs Iron Man, and I need to put together a new team,” Tony says.
“Well, when you’re ready to get back into the swing of things we have something for you,” Charles says hand resting on the pile of fabric in his lap.
“Oh? You got me a present?” Tony asks trying to keep the excitement off his face. He's never gotten many presents. He usually gives them.
“Yes. I had Hank exam the material that your under armor is made of and had him make this,” Charles says and holds up his under armor only it's embellished with the X-Men logo in gold and hot rod red.
“I...are you sure?” Tony asks his voice cracking a little hope surging in his chest.
“Yes. You are a member of this family and as such you are now a member of our team. If you so choose. Even if you don't want to be on our team you are and always will be part of this family,” Charles says.
“I... I…” Tony says trying to wipe tears away as quickly as the appear in his eyes but it's no use. The tears start falling in spite of his efforts.
“Come here,” Charles says rolling closer and gathering Tony into his arms.
“Thank you,” Tony says in Charles ear as Erik also pulls the two of them into a hug.
“So...do we have a new X-Man?” Erik asks a chuckle in his voice.
“Yes,” Tony says and they hug him tighter.
“GROUP HUG!” Kurt says and suddenly there are several bodies on him. Tony can tell by body temperatures, extra appendages, and leather jackets that Kurt, Johnny, and Peter have joined the hug.
“Do not smother the poor man. After all he has a surgery tomorrow,” a kind voice says from the door. They all pull apart and Tony grins at the white haired woman standing there.
“You know Doppler, I'm starting to wonder if you're avoiding me. I see you one week and then nothing for like two weeks,” Tony says.
“Of course not. It's just that I would not deny these three their time with their baby brother,” Storm says smiling at Tony's scowl at being called baby.
“Excuses,” Tony says.
“You caught me. It's because I am unable to spend any more than a day in your presence before suffering a hit to my own esteem,” she says smiling.
“Flattery gets you everywhere,” Tony says holding out his arms for a hug which she gives him.
“So how long will you be gone this time?” Tony asks.
“I am just spending a day with an old friend of mine,” she says.
“Name,” Tony says.
“No. I am fully capable of watching out for myself,” she says and ruffles his hair.
“Ugh, fine. You guys just want me to be bored,” Tony huffs.
“I wouldn't call undergoing surgery boring,” Erik says.
“Technicality,” Tony mutters as Charles places his new suit with his regular clothes that Peter had run to the tower to get. Tony reminds himself to keep Peter and FRIDAY apart. The two of them together are scary from what Vision told him.
“I will be back before you wake up from the surgery,” Ororo says and kisses his cheek before leaving.
“Goodnight Tony. I promise you that everything will go perfectly tomorrow,” Charles says.
“Alright. I’m making the decision to trust you,” Tony says as each of them give him a hug and they each file out of the room. Tony sighs and waits for the motion sensor lights to go off when he hears the door open.
“Tony?” a slightly familiar voice says and Tony opens his eyes and looks up.
“Hey there Dumbledore,” Tony says and Stephen huffs an amused sigh.
“Must you call me that?” he asks fondly.
“Must I? No. Am I going to keep doing it? Yes,” Tony says and Stephen comes further into the room and sits in the chair beside the bed.
“I...I never had much of a bedside manner...I was a surgeon because of that...but...if you would like to talk about any concerns you may have I am here,” Stephen says and Tony gives him a soft smile.
“I’m not going to be cut open am I?” Tony asks.
“No...A small incision will be made so that Erik can move the metal through you,” Stephen says.
“Will it hurt?” Tony asks.
“No more than you hurt now.”
“That’s comforting,” Tony says.
“I’m sorry. Eventually the pain will go away. And then you will get used to having the metal there...just don’t go through any airports without proper documentation,” Stephen says the corner of his mouth quirking up.
“YOU DO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR!” Tony says excitedly and Stephen smiles.
“Yes I do,” Stephen says and Tony yawns.
“Sleep now,” Stephen says and Tony drifts off and Stephen wonders if he should stay with Tony tomorrow after the surgery or go with Erik to handle the Rogues. But then he catches sight of a X-ray of the damage to Tony’s ribs and Stephen knows his choice.
“Okay. So, Sam and Scott turned themselves in. Where do we go from here?” Clint asks.
“We have to get my Shield and then we can't stay here. T'Challa could turn on us,” Steve says.
“Yeah, but where would we go? The US would toss us in jail again, same with Germany, Romania, and Lagos,” Clint says.
“I have a few places we can go. If we can get to Europe,” Natasha says.
“When are we leaving?” Wanda asks.
“Tomorrow I think. Leaving tonight would be too predictable assuming T'Challa even knows what we're doing,” Steve says and Clint and Natasha share a look.
“But, we don't even know where your shield is,” Wanda says just as the news starts.
“That's right Tom, The Accords Council is having the Captain America Shield shipped to a Government building they are using to house all the evidence on the Rogue Avengers,” the newscaster says.
“See, it's a sign. So, we'll sneak out tomorrow,” Steve says and a couple of seconds later their door bursts open.
“Oh I am so sorry. This used to he the way to T'Challa's office. I apologize,” a woman with shocking white hair says straightening up.
“It's fine…” Natasha says prompting for a name.
“Ororo,” she says.
“Are you from around here?” Clint asks.
“I suppose that depends. I'm from Egypt but then I lived here for a short time before going to the states,” she says with a relaxed friendly air.
“That's an interesting insignia on your belt. It seems familiar somehow,” Natasha says.
“Oh? Are you familiar with the Xavier school?” Ororo says pretending not to notice the worried looks everyone keeps shooting each other.
“You're a member of the X-Men? That must be exciting,” Natasha says.
“Yes it is. I'm usually sent in as a first step when they launch a mission. I scope the place out and then a few days later the others arrive. However I am quite tired with the current workload and decided to take a vacation to visit a very good friend of mine,” Ororo says as T'Challa comes in.
“There you are Ororo. We have much to discuss and Nakia has extended to you an invitation for dinner,” he says.
“Why thank you T'Challa,” she says and follows him out.
“New plan. We leave tonight. We can't risk it. She's an X-Man. You heard what she said about their missions,” Natasha says.
“Are you sure? I need more time to get Bucky up,” Steve says and Shuri just happened to be passing by the open door at that moment.
“Sergeant Barnes left weeks ago. He said he wanted to do the right thing and get help for his triggers,” she says.
“And you just let him go?” Steve asks.
“He is an adult and as such can make his own decisions regarding his medical care,” Shuri says.
“Why wasn't I told?”
“Because you are not his mother or father and he asked that you not be told,” Shuri says.
“Where is he?”
“Nunya,” Shuri says.
“Nunya business,” she says and keeps walking.
“Let's go talk to T'Challa,” Clint suggests and they go to T’Challa’s office without knocking and freeze when they hear Ororo and T’Challa talking in hushed whispers about arrivals and making sure no one was hurt with Nakia interjecting their names a couple of times and before the trio can look up Wanda has used her powers on them and the Rogues are running to where they know that all of Shuri’s vehicles are kept.
The teams quickly board one of the planes while Wanda deals with the guards and Natasha pilots them towards DC. Steve had recognized the building that the news had shown as the one he would run past on his jogs.
“How long we got Nat?” Clint asks.
“An hour until we arrive,” Nat says typing in the coordinates and turning to focus on her partner.
“We should grab provisions while we’re there. Make sure that there’s enough for all of us and I’ll focus on making sure that there is no tracking equipment in this ship so we can keep using it. It’ll make traveling much faster,” Natasha says.
I want to try and see Tony first. See if maybe we can get him to call off the people hunting us and get the Avengers back together,” Steve says.
“Like will Stark will ever do something like that,” Wanda says but Steve ignores her. After they get Tony to apologize and get rid of the accords he can look for Bucky and bring him back and undo whatever those horrible doctors did to him. Maybe even see about getting someone else to pilot the Iron Man armor.
“We’re closing in on our target,” Natasha says but just as they’re nearing the building an orange circle opens and engulfs the plane.
“Nat! Nat! What’s going on?” Steve asks as he’s thrown around in the belly of the plane.
“We have a hostile!” Nat says and the ship freezes and dissolves into a black material that Steve recognizes from his one accidental visit to Shur’s lab.
“Captain Rogers, I do believe I told you to remain in Wakanda,” a familiar voice says and they all look up to find T’Challa standing there.
“How are you already awake? You should have been out for hours,” Wanda says.
“I have a telepathic friend whom helped me find a way to remain awake even when hostile forces want me to be asleep,” he says eyeing Wanda meaningfully.
“I just wanted to get my Shield,” Steve says.
“And I told you that leaving Wakanda would put you and my people in danger. So I took methods to prevent it,” T’Challa says.
“Like what?” Wanda asks.
“Miss Potts gave me the Shield a few weeks ago. However the vibranium used in it was stolen and as such my advisors had me melt it down and I gave it to Shuri who used it to make a paperweight. A dishonorable end to a dishonorable weapon don’t you agree?” T’Challa says to someone in the shadows and Erik steps out.
“Magneto? You’re working with a villain?” Clint asks.
“Watch the news he’s a good guy now and is fighting to guarantee mutants their basic human rights,” a young sounding voice says as the Rogues jump back as a ring of fire closes around them.
“Something the Misty Red Missy definitely isn’t doing a good job of doing,” Another voice says that Steve recognizes as the guy from Queens that took his shield in Germany.
“I’m not a mutant,” Wanda says.
“But people look at you and assume that you are. Your powers were stolen. You’re nothing but a cheap HYDRA knock off,” a greyish silver blurr says and comes to a stop next to Magneto.
“I AM NOT!” Wanda shrieks and hurls red mist at the grey haired the boy but the mist freezes and dissipates.
“Very mature Miss Maximoff,” another voice says.
“Whah?” She says staring at her friends as a man with a similar beard to Tony’s steps out of the shadows.
“I locked away your powers Miss Maximoff,” he says and then turns to Magneto and says, “Tony is still asleep. Kurt just finished visiting him and has agreed to transport them away from here instead of me,” the man says.
“Thank you Stephen, I am sorry to have dragged you away from Tony’s side,” Magneto says.
“Oh you didn’t. I used a spell to duplicate myself so I am both there and here. But don’t play with them too much. I have to get back soon. We promised to be there when he woke up,” the man...Stephen says.
“You are right. I will make this quick. Peter?” Magneto says and the Grey haired kid zooms off and suddenly the Rogues find themselves suddenly up in the air and then they feel something hit them and wrap around them and they hit the ground wrapped in webbing from the guy from Queens.
“Stephen?” Magneto says and the man named Stephen waves a hand causing an orange circle to appear and everything goes black.
“Loki, Tyr told me that you can change your appearance,” Vidar says coming up to him after dinner. Loki glances down and then back up. It’s been a while since someone was interested in his magic abilities. Even though he could just be trying to be polite.
“Yes. It took me a long time to learn to do it,” Loki says slowly.
“Could you show me? I’ve always wanted to learn how to do it,” Vidar says.
“Are you sure you want to me to teach you? I am sure that there are other more experienced mages that you could ask,” Loki says because isn't that always how things are? He thinks he's finally good at something only to be overshadowed by someone else.
“I've tried learning it from them and it hasn't worked. They say you're the best at that sort of magic. If I'm capable of learning to do it then you would be able to teach me successfully,” Vidar says.
“How old are you?” Loki asks.
“A year younger than you,” Vidar says.
“Then you should be capable of doing the spell since I believe you would be fully mature?” Loki says and then falls quiet recognizing the words as those spoken by Frigga when she taught him the spell.
“Why are you sad?” Vidar asks reaching towards Loki's cheek.
“My mother was the one who taught me this spell,” Loki says trembling a little when he's his own skin begin to turn blue.
“I'm sorry,” Vidar says.
“You aren't going to berate me for not referring to the chief as my mother?” Loki asks.
“Is there a reason that they cannot both be your mother? My chief birth you and Queen Frigga nurtured you,” Vidar says.
“Yes but I do not know if I will ever be able to see Farbauti as my mother,” Loki says and is slightly startled when Vidar hugs him.
“No one can tell you how to do this. This is your heart, your life, your family. You make the rules and you decide where you take things,” he says and Loki leans against him.
“Thank you,” Loki says.
“Of course, but if I may offer you some advice?” Vidar asks hesitantly and Loki is touched that Vidar is trying not to over step.
“Talk to her and her sons. It may help you decide what to do and whether or not you want them to be your family,” Vidar says.
“I... I don't know... I'm afraid,” Loki says.
“Of Chief Farbauti?”
“No. I'm afraid of disappointing them,” Loki says softly.
“I’m not exactly what many people would consider the ideal child,” Loki says.
“No. You’re not what Odin considers to be the ideal child. And I’m sorry but he hasn’t exactly proven he has good decision making skills. You are everything that the Jotunn would love,” Vidar says and Loki smiles softly and reaches out to grab hold of Vidar’s hand.
“Thank you Vidar. You are wise beyond your years and your flattery is quite extensive. Shall I teach you to change shape now?” Loki asks.
“I would appreciate that,” Vidar smiles softly and they work on the spell.
The next morning Loki goes to the tent that Vidar says belongs to Farbauti, Helbindi, and Byleistr. Before he can even tug on the bell to announce his arrival the flap to the tent opens and Farbauti steps.
When Tony opens his eyes he sees Stephen standing there talking to a man in a wheelchair that Tony would recognize no matter how groggy he is.
“RHODEY!” Tony shrieks startling several of his other well wishers awake. Kurt somehow manages to fall off a set of bulkheads and teleports safely to the ground next to Ororo while Charles passes a napkin to Erik to wipe up the drool bubbling in the corner of his mouth.
“Hey Tony. Good to see you. Also when you’re back to a hundred percent we are going to have words. Believe me there will be words ,” Rhodey says and Tony pouts.
“Aww but Rhodey…”
“Nope, we will do this when you’re physically better,” Rhodey says and Tony pouts.
“Fine, how are the braces? Why aren’t you wearing them? Do they pinch? Did they break? How can I make them better? I’ll fix them no problem,” Tony asks realizing that he can’t see the braces.
“Relax Tones. I just wanted to try out this wheelchair because it looked badass and I’m letting some of the kids put stickers on the braces,” Rhodey says.
“You know...Dora the Explorer, Transformers, Hello Kitty?” Rhodey says.
“I know what stickers are but why would you want them on your braces?” Tony asks rolling his eyes.
“Because the kids wanted to do it and this way when I break Rogers’ leg all he'll see is Hello Kitty,” Rhodey says.
“Assuming he ever leaves Wakanda,” Tony says because by now pretty much everyone in the room knows that the rogues were at one point in Wakanda.
“About that…” Erik says and Tony looks up at him.
“Oh no. What did you do?” Tony asks.
“Our job as Avengers interim. We protected a highly important government building from invasion by hostiles,” Erik says straight faced.
“Why would Rogers want to break into a boring old Government build... where's his shield?” Tony asks looking at Hank who is by far the worst liar in the bunch.
“Downstairs in the metal lab,” Hank says.
“And where was it on the day Rogers left Wakanda?” Tony asks even though he has a pretty good idea of the answer.
“In a highly important government building,” Hank says.
“You're not even going to try and lie?” Tony asks a little surprised.
“Tony we're your family. We're not going to lie to you. Family doesn't do that,” Charles says.
“Though we did intend to tell you tomorrow,” Erik says with a smile.
“Can't really wrap my head around the whole not lying to me,” Tony says and waits for them to get mad at him.
“We’re not angry at you Tony. You have every reason not to believe that your friends and family would tell you the truth. So, we will work to show you that we are trustworthy,” Charles says.
“And if I’m never able to believe what you tell me?” Tony asks.
“Then we’ll keep our word and even if you don’t trust that our word is true,” Erik says and Tony smiles and yawns.
“I just work up from surgery. How am I tired?” Tony asks.
“Because you’re finally not carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders,” Erik says placing a hand on Tony’s shoulder and giving it a squeeze.
“I never…” Tony starts to say.
“I know up close what having the weight of the world looks like,” Erik says smiling thinly in Charles’ direction.
“What’s happening to the Rogues now?” Tony asks.
“They are being held in a secure facility being kept in check by one of the world’s most powerful people,” Stephen says.
“Who?” Tony asks.
“They have asked that their identity remain a secret. Just know that they are perfectly capable of wrangling renegade rogues,” Stephen says.
“Say that five times fast,” Tony says making Stephen smile just as the ground shakes hard like something crashed into the ground.
When Steve opens his eyes he’s locked inside of a clear cage and the hallway surrounding his cell is a sleek dark gray color. Steve manages to stand with some help from the wall and starts banging on the wall to break out.
“Hello! You're making a terrible mistake!” Steve yells at the top of his lungs.
“No Mr. Rogers, the only person who has made a mistake here is you and your cult,” a familiar voice says and Steve hears the click of heels and a familiar redhead enters the catwalk.
“Miss Potts, let me out of here. Has Tony finally gone off the deep end?” Steve asks.
“Actually Tony doesn’t know that you’re here. He was indisposed when you were apprehended. He doesn't know where you are nor does he care. I on the other hand have quite a few things to say to you,” Pepper says and there's a glint in her eye that Steve recognizes from Peggy back in the day.
“Miss Potts... I know there are probably a lot of things about what happened that you don't understand,” Steve starts to say.
“You're right. I don't understand how you could leave a man who clothed you, fed you, fought with and for you, who dedicated years to you, to die in Siberia. I don't understand how you could turn your back on the voice of the people who you claimed to protect. But, do you want to know the thing I don't understand the most? I don't understand how you could look Tony in the eye knowing that his parents were murdered,” Pepper says.
“There's more to the story!”
“No...there isn't. There's a man with a Napoleon complex ingrained within him but the unmatching body. There's a man who refused to listen to anyone but himself. Even when the other person is the demands of millions crying for him to be a little more responsible and not to treat their deaths as casualties of a war that they didn't sign up for. There's a man that is too much of a coward to tell the man who housed him that maybe the women who raised and cared for him had her life choked out of her. There's a man that so long as I or another Potts lives will never be called hero again. And that Mr. Rogers is all there is to the story,” Pepper says and her heels click on the ground as she leaves.
“Oh... before I forget,” Pepper says walking back to the cage.
“In case you think that you can escape this is a hulk containment cell. One wrong move and it drops you back into the ocean. Tony said that doing something like that would be cruel. But I don't really think that you deserve mercy,” Pepper says and Steve shudders a little but can't help but think that he'd be able to break out of the cell quick enough.
“Oh Tony was right about you. You're almost as stupid as Justin Hammer. Shall I show you how resistant that glass is?” Pepper asks lifting a hand to the cage and her hand suddenly becomes engulfed in fire and Steve leaps back and away from the glass. But the grass doesn't seem to be affected at all.
“While you were off ignoring Tony whenever he needed help I was attacked to get back at him. This happened to me and Tony did his damnedest to stabilize me. I don't like these powers. I like the superhero name he made me, Rescue. I don't want to be a superhero...but I will always be there to rescue Tony. From himself and from the dangers that hide behind friendly faces,” Pepper says and leaves the room. As soon as she's gone the floor opens up to reveal the ocean thousands of miles under where they are and Steve has to wonder where this place is.
He has to wonder where everyone else is. What did they do to poor Wanda? She's just a kid.
He hopes Bucky is able to avoid Tony's twisted revenge plot.
“Good morning Loki,” Farbauti says stepping out of her tent and Loki gulps.
“I...Uh...Good morning Chief Farbauti,”Loki says and she smiles at him softly.
“Are you here to talk to me?” she asks.
“I...uh yes but if this is a bad time then I can come back later. I intended no intrusion,” Loki says hastily not wanting to seem rude in what is only his second interaction with his biological mother. He can’t risk looking like an idiot to her of all people.
“No, no. Of course not. I was just going to train my magic. Would you like to join me?” she asks and Loki nods and follows her to a small icy clearing. Loki is amazed at the gorgeous view that he’s treated to.
“Jotunheim is more beautiful than you thought it would be, isn’t it,” she says knowingly.
“Yes...I can’t believe that I tried to destroy such a beautiful place. My offer still stands...I will take whatever punishment you wish to exact upon me,” Loki says.
“I think that what has happened with the Mad Titan and yourself has been a punishment in and of itself. Besides I think Odin might have had a hand in your reasoning,” she says and begins meditating.
“W...How do you know about the Thanos and I?” Loki asks.
“No one voluntarily goes after the titan without personal reason. I will not force you to tell me. Just know that you didn’t deserve whatever it was that he did and that I will be here if you need someone to listen,” she says and Loki is shocked at how similar she is to Frigga.
“I...I don’t think that I may ever be able to talk about it,” Loki says.
“That is alright as well. However I do ask that you not let what happened ruin you. Don’t let it snuff out who you were, who you are, and you will be,” she says and Loki sits next to her and they both meditate.
They stay like that for a little while and Loki is just about to ask what this has to do with training their magic when he feels the wind begin to whip up and around them. Loki opens his eyes and sees Farbauti floating a few feet of the ground.
“You can fly?” Loki breathes out watching her lift even higher into the air.
“Yes, would you like me to teach you?” she asks and Loki nods eagerly. Growing up he’d always been jealous of Thor being able to fly. Even if had been with the help of his hammer.
“Yes...I would like that very much,” Loki says.
“Excellent. I look forward to teaching you,” She says and soon their training session is over and she offers to walk Loki back to Tyr’s house. When they arrive Vidar is in the yard working with a couple of icy flowers.
“Chief Farbauti! Loki, I wasn’t aware you would both be returning here,” Vidar says glancing at Loki and ducking his head trying to hide a blush and Loki notices a small smile on Farbauti’s face whenever she looks at Vidar and Loki is left wondering why.
By the time she heads back to do her chiefly duties Loki is completely confused about her reaction to Vidar. Maybe she knows something he doesn’t? But Loki pushes it out of his mind as he promises to meet with his biological brothers the next day.
Vidar smiles at him over his shoulder as he works in the garden.
“What now?” Tony groans when the ground finally stops shaking. He stays in bed as the other people around him get ready to fight whatever caused the shaking. Rhodey rolls over to stay beside Tony along with Johnny and Kurt stays beside him as well.
“Charles? Any idea what that was?” Erik asks.
“I believe there are a couple of old friends who wish to see you again,” Charles says as Tony hears lightning and thunder cracking outside.
“Thor?” Tony says a little surprised that the God of Thunder would have come back after being gone for so long.
“As well as another old friend who you have missed dearly,” Charles says.
“Brucie?” Tony says because that’s the only person he can think of.
“You should go see for yourself,” Charles says and Tony finds himself being lowered into a wheelchair and Kurt grabs him and he finds himself upstairs on the lawn staring at a ship that is definitely not a Quinjet.
“Brucie!” Tony cries out flailing in his wheelchair and Bruce smiles that familiar smile that he always gives when Tony is up to his old antics. But then Tony can see the exact moment that Bruce realizes what exactly Tony is sitting in because his face falls and fills with worry.
“Whoa whoa. Breathe Brucie. I don’t need the chair, but my nannies insist I use one,” Tony says as Bruce immediately begins fretting over him.
“What happened to you?” Bruce demands looking at him and dashing over and away from Thor and the group of people disembarking the ship. Tony tries to see the people coming off the ship but suddenly his view is blocked by Bruce fretting over him.
“Brucie, I’m fine. I promise,” Tony says dodging his friends prodding fingers and sometimes batting them away. Still trying to avoid answering the question that Bruce had asked him. When Bruce is finally satisfied with his health status he steps back but Tony still can’t see.
“Tony. What. Happened?” Bruce asks voice cracking a little.
“Remember back when we first met...what you called the Avengers?” Tony asks.
“Well...the counter hit zero,” Tony says not able to meet his friend’s eye. He’s waiting for Bruce to blame him. To ask him what Tony could have done to prevent it or fix it. Like so many other people are asking online.
“What did they do?” Bruce asks and Tony glances up at him.
“What did they do? Obviously you aren’t in a wheelchair for fun. So, what did they do. How did they hurt you this time?” Bruce asks and Tony looks away from the concern swimming in Bruce’s eyes and gives him a quick rundown of “Civil War” leaving out what caused the fight in the bunker. Bruce doesn’t need to know about that.
Bruce opens his mouth to speak but suddenly he’s being pulled up into Thor’s arms for a hug and he has to wiggle away a little so that he can breathe.
“Hey there Point Break...What’s up with your hair?” Tony asks running a hand through the newly shorn locks.
“It is a long tale my friend, nearly as long as that of your Civil War,” Thor says and hugs Tony again and whispers in his ear, “my Heimdal told me everything that happened between you and our former allies. Just know that I am on your side,” Thor says and Tony feels himself smile softly as he’s placed back into his chair. As he’s adjusting back to his chair a woman steps up beside Thor.
“Friend Anthony this is Brunnhilde. She is a Valkyrie. I met her on the same planet that I found Banner on,” Thor says and Tony whips his head towards Bruce so quickly that he’s afraid he’ll get whiplash.
“Talk. Now,” Tony says and Bruce and Thor launch into a tale about how Thor was on an exploration of another realm when he fell through a wormhole and landed on a planet called Sakaar. Then they tell him about how Bruce, in Hulk form, was a gladiator. Tony is on the edge of his seat by the time they recount their escape and he wraps himself around Bruce refuses to budge.
“I’m glad you’re safe,” Tony says and when he sits back down he recognizes why Bruce’s clothes are so familiar.
“Are you wearing my clothes?” Tony asks grin cracking across his face as he watches the tension melt off of Bruce. Anything for his friend to feel comfortable.
“Yeah. How the hell do you even breathe in these?” Bruce asks tugging at the collar.
“Do remember that I am smaller than you in stature,” Tony says and Bruce smiles and there’s a sound of clearing throats and Tony looks over at the other people who Thor was blocking his view of you and Tony doesn’t bat an eye at the appearance of the people behind him.
“Who are you guys?” Tony asks.
“We’re the Guardians of the Galaxy.”
When Steve wakes up from the exhaustion he’d worked himself into trying to break out of the cage he can see Natasha in a newly added cell next to him. As well as Clint a couple of feet away from his cell on the other side, but there’s still no sign of Wanda. Steve’s stomach sinks and he’s worried about her. She’s just a kid after all.
“Are you two okay?” Steve asks looking at Natasha and Clint and they nod and they all turn to the door when they hear the sound of it opening.
Steve’s expecting to see Pepper again, but instead he sees someone he hasn’t seen in two years.
“Bruce?” Natasha says and the man in question barely gives her a look as a woman with strange marks on her face walks in behind him. An arm draped over his shoulder almost protectively.
“I’m not surprised,” Bruce says calmly.
“Bruce, whatever Tony told you isn’t true. He’s using you,” Natasha says.
“And Sokovia? That wasn’t you using me? Wasn’t you making me do something that you know I find so repulsive just because you needed me to do it. You pushed me into a pit in order to force the change...I...you are sick Natasha and I can’t believe I ever trusted you,” Bruce says and Natasha opens her mouth to respond but before she can Bruce continues talking.
“Actually no I can believe it. I trusted you because I thought that maybe you were more than a spy or an assassin. I thought that maybe there was something in you worth liking. Worth trusting and I wanted you to be someone worth trusting...because if that weren’t true what would that mean for me? We were all living together after all. I would want to be able to sleep peacefully. I pride myself on being right when it matters, but in this case I was beyond wrong,” Bruce says and the woman steps back in order to let Bruce walk forward and press a hand to the glass cages.
“You know it’s funny, these cages were originally built for me, but I’ve never been inside one...guess the cages are only used for the real monsters,” Bruce says turning his back on Natasha and facing Clint.
“I have nothing to say to you, but Tony wanted me to tell you that Laura and your kids are hiding out in the same place Scott and Sam are. As soon as he’s recovered from surgery he’ll have Vision pick up some letters they wrote to you,” Bruce says and when he looks at Steve his eyes burn with hatred.
“What you did was sick. How could you do that to him? To all those people? We’re supposed to help people not just your people,” Bruce says.
“Bruce calm down,” Steve says.
“Don’t tell me to calm down. Not when you let that little witch onto the team. Do you think I left because of Ultron? Did you forget what she did to me? Did to us? Would you force Clint to work with Loki after the mind control?” Bruce asks and starts walking away.
“Oh...and did you know that Tony withheld what caused him to punch you? I already knew because I was with Thor when Heimdall told him, but Tony didn’t tell me. Even after all you’ve done he’s still protecting you. You don’t deserve it and I’m not sure that you ever did. And I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t deserve it either. I left Tony when he would have needed me most. Yet he welcomed me back like I had never been gone. I am going to spend the rest of my life making it up to him and being the best friend I can be. And included in that is making sure that he never gets hurt by you again,” Bruce says.
“That sounded like a threat,” Clint says.
“That’s because it was,” Bruce says and walks out.
But, before he and the woman leave, Bruce says, “I was wrong one other time you know, I said that the Avengers were a timebomb. I was wrong. You were the timebomb Steve,” Bruce says and the door shuts behind him and Steve can feel Natasha staring at him. And he knows that she now knows that he never told Tony about his parents. He can feel it.
He pretends to sleep so that he won’t have to answer the questions that he’s sure are burning in both of their minds. Right now he needs to think of a way out of here and a way to find out where Wanda is.
Loki comes in from his walk to find an ice sculpture on his desk. He picks the small block of ice up and turns it over in his hands examining the markings and tracing them with a finger. Wondering what they mean. He’ll have to ask Tyr later on, after he meets with Farbauti’s childr...his brothers.
“Loki, the Princes are here,” Tyr says coming in and when he sees the ice sculpture he smiles in a way that makes Loki want to ask why. But, before he can, Helbindi and Byleistr come in and they share a look when they see the sculpture in his arms.
“Good evening Loki. What have you there?” Byleistr asks shooting a look at Helbindi when Helbindi makes a noise.
“I don’t know. It was on my desk when I came in,” Loki says wanting to ask what is going on with them but also not sure if he wants to know.
“Loki, did you want to come with us to hunt?” Helbindi asks.
“I do not think I would be very useful to your endeavors,” he says remembering how Thor and the warriors would hate his methods of hunting.
“Are you jesting? Your illusions would be very useful. Besides it doesn’t matter if we catch anything. This is only so that we can get to know each other. If you wish we can simply go for a walk. What we do doesn’t matter so long as we do it together,” Byleistr says.
“I am fine with hunting...if you’ll have me,” Loki says placing the sculpture on the desk and following them out into the woods.
It only takes a couple of minutes for Loki to realize that Helbindi is following him almost like a shadow and Loki won’t lie to himself it sort of hurts that he isn’t trusted but he’s gotten used to fam...people not trusting him.
“If you do not trust me than go ahead and imprison me,” Loki says an hour later when it’s gotten to be too much.
“I do trust you,” Helbindi says.
“Then why do you follow me like a merchant follows an urchin around their wares?” Loki snaps.
“The last time I saw my younger brother I was barely old enough to talk and then he was gone,” Helbindi mutters and won’t quite look at Loki. Loki looks away as well feeling bad about bringing up a sore subject with such little tact.
“I am sorry,” Loki says.
“It is not your fault it is Odin’s,” Helbindi hisses and then he and Byleistr both spit on the ground.
“We are just happy to know that our brother is alive. Just...we may become a little protective at times,” Byleistr says.
“It’s not that we doubt your abilities,” Helbindi says quickly and Loki smiles at him.
“I appreciate the sentiment. Just do not go too far. I will admit that this is...nice,” Loki says and moments later they come across a herd of some animal that Loki has never seen before but that have Byleistr and Helbindi practically salivating.
“Go to the left,” Loki says and then makes them invisible to the animals. He waves a hand and then works his magic in order to separate one of them from the others. When the animal is far enough away from it’s fellows Loki drives it towards his brot...his hunting partners spears.
“Nicely done Loki,” Helbindi says pulling his spear from the animal.
“Very well done,” Byleistr says wiping a bit of blood from his cheek and smiling at Loki. Loki feels a little tickle of pride in his stomach.
“We look forward to discussing our strategy for the Midgardian Defense with you in the coming weeks,” Byleistr says resting a hand on Loki’s shoulder and Loki smiles as they walk him back to Tyr’s home.
When he gets back to his room Tyr is gone but the sculpture is still there. Loki picks it up and carries it over to the bed and flops down onto his bed and returns to examining the sculpture trying to figure out what the engravings say and mean. The sculpture seems to be of a large flower. One that seems familiar but Loki cannot put his finger on why.
“Oh hi Loki,” Vidar says and Loki looks up at him standing in the door.
“Hello Vidar,” Loki says sitting up as Vidar pulls a cushion over. Vidar glances at the sculpture and then back up at Loki.
“Do you know what this is and what there mean?” Loki asks and Vidar nods.
“In Jotunn courting rituals one person gives another a sculpture with the recipient’s name carved into it,” Vidar says.
“Someone is courting me? I wonder who,” Loki says worried about some stranger trying to bother him while he is trying to save all the realms.
Vidar looks like he’s about to say something but just as he opens his mouth his father yells that it’s time for dinner.
Loki carefully places the sculpture on his desk and follows Vidar down to have a meal.
Tony has just woken up from a nap when he hears the door to his medical room open and he looks up and sees Bruce coming in wiping his glasses with his newly acquired shirt.
“Aw, and I was so happy to see you in my clothes,” Tony says smiling at Bruce. God he missed him.
“Tell you what, when your clothes get here I’ll happily let you dress me up,” Bruce says smiling but then looks down a frown on his face.
“What is it?” Tony asks not liking his friend being upset.
“I’m a horrible friend,” Bruce says and Tony practically leaps up in bed.
“No you’re not,” Tony exclaims not liking that Bruce is doubting himself.
“Yes I am. I fell asleep when you were telling me all those things years ago, I left you with the witch alone to deal with the fallout from Ultron. I beat you into the ground when I was under Wanda’s abilities and...god...why are you friends with me? I am the absolute worst person,” Bruce says not looking at Tony.
“Bruce...I’m not mad. I don’t care about any of those things,” Tony says reaching for Bruce’s hand.
“BUT YOU SHOULD!” Bruce shouts jerking his hand away and stalking away from the bed. “You should hate me. I betrayed you, I left you, I hurt you,” Bruce says and his back starts shaking and Tony gets into his chair and rolls over to him and forces his hand into Bruce’s hand.
“Bruce look at me,” Tony says and stands up so that he’s closer to eye level. When Bruce meets his eyes Tony gives him a smile.
“I am tired of people saying that they don’t deserve my forgiveness, that I should or shouldn’t forgive someone. I decide who, when, and what I am willing to forgive,” Tony says.
“Brucie, I forgive you, and nothing you say or do will stop me from forgiving you. You’re my friend and I will always take you opinion in consideration...but I’m done letting what other people want or think influence me. I am Tony Fucking Stark and I make my own damn decisions,” Tony says standing his ground.
Bruce looks away with tears in his eyes. Tony is such a good person how could the Rogues have hurt him.
“Thank you Tony,” Bruce says and Tony smiles.
“Don’t thank me yet. I have a lot of friends now. I get to play matchmaker,” Tony says and Bruce starts laughing.
“I think I can handle anyone you throw at me,” Bruce says and Tony smiles.
“I don’t know. This guy can be pretty married to his job,” Tony says with a smile.
“Like I’m not?” Bruce says and Tony and him stay up for a couple of hours talking about everything that has been going on in their lives since they lost each other. Tony hands Bruce the latest Starkphone and Starktop and Bruce shows Tony the pictures he snapped of Sakaar when he and Thor had been escaping.
“Tomorrow the Guardians want to try another meet and greet with you,” Bruce says and Tony groans.
“I still can’t believe I passed out in front of them. I’m so embarrassed,” Tony says putting a pillow over his head.
“Don’t worry about it. You just got done with a major reconstructive surgery. You shouldn’t even have been out of bed,” Bruce says and starts fussing around him.
“Bruce, you need to sleep. I’m fine, I’ve been doing nothing but sleeping,” Tony says shooing Bruce away.
“I don’t believe that,” Bruce says.
“I swear Brucie. For once there are things I want to do that isn’t building. Oh! Hold on,” Tony says and digs under his pillow and pulls out his tablet and calls FRIDAY and Vision and the Bots appear on the screen.
“Hey kids. Look who’s here,” Tony says and tilts the screen towards Bruce and smiles at the excited beepings that come through the speaker.
“Hi everyone. Have you all been good for Tony?” Bruce says smiling.
It’s another half an hour before the bots, Vision, and FRIDAY, sign off. And yet another before Bruce finally leaves and Tony is able to go back to sleep.
Tomorrow he’ll meet the Guardians and hopefully stay conscious through the encounter.
“Hey Vidar! We were wondering if we could talk to you,” Helbindi says as he and Byleistr interrupt Loki’s conversation with him.
“Uh...I was having a conversation with Loki,” Vidar says glancing at the courting gift still on Loki’s desk.
“It will only take a moment,” Byleistr says resting a hand on Loki’s shoulder.
“I don’t see why not. Are we still holding that meeting to discuss the plan to go to Midgard tomorrow?” Loki as Helbindi leads Vidar off to talk.
“Yes of course. I wish there was more whom we could convince to join the cause. We need as many people as we can get,” Byleistr says.
“I have an idea of someone whom I could go to. But I must wait until we get to Midgard to contact her,” Loki says.
“Do I get to know whom?” he asks and Loki shakes his head.
“You’ll try to stop me. Let’s just say she and I have quite a bit in common and perhaps I might be able to get her on our side. Plus I think she deserves a chance to get involved,” Loki says.
“Promise me this won’t hurt you,” Byleistr says watching his younger brother Loki opens his mouth to open but closes it as Helbindi comes over. Byleistr heads over to talk to Vidar and Helbindi looks at Loki.
“I want to apologize for my behavior when we first met. I can be kind of protective,” Helbindi says rubbing the back of his head and blushing.
“It is alright. I am happy to have such a protector on my side now,” Loki says smiling. Once Byleistr is done with Vidar the two pairs part ways and Vidar and Loki go on a walk. When they reach a clearing Loki is shocked to find lanterns made of thin ice and stuffed with luminous moss throwing streaks of color across the snow.
“Wow,” Loki breathes out looking around the clearing. He turns to look at Vidar who is blushing.
“Did you make these?” Loki asks.
“Yes,” Vidar says and Loki notices similarities between these and the courting gift he received.
“You’re my secret admirer,” Loki says and turns and something presses against his lips and Loki lets out a soft gasp.
“I...I...I’m sorry,” Vidar says when he steps back and makes like he is going to run away but Loki quickly grabs his wrist,
“Don’t...Don’t run. I’m not angry...I...want to...I want this,” Loki says softly voice cracking.
“Are you sure?” Vidar asks.
“Yes. I can’t promise that this’ll be easy,” Loki says.
“I don’t want easy. I want you,” Vidar says and Loki smiles softly and pulls Vidar into another kiss.
And Loki wonders if maybe he can unlearn all the things that Odin ingrained him, with time and with Vidar’s help.
They stay there for Fates know how long kissing under the moonlight.
Tony walks into the kitchen the next morning to find the Guardians there. The one Tony thinks is Peter is talking to Piotr, Peter and Peter and Tony wonders at the odds trying to do the math but then deciding to drag himself out of numbers and deal with the real people.
“Hey there Sleeping Beauty,” Peter says when he notices Tony standing there.
“Hey there. Sorry about passing out on you guys yesterday,” Tony says.
“Don’t worry about it. Many people fall asleep when Peter talks,” the man known as Drax, Tony thinks, and Mantis nods. Tony chuckles softly as Peter rolls his eyes.
“Friend Anthony, I am glad to find you feeling refreshed,” Thor says coming in with Bruce and the woman Tony thinks he heard Bruce call Val.
“Hey Point Break,” Tony says and rolls into place at the table as Erik comes in.
“Good morning all. I hope everyone’s rooms were to their liking,” Erik says cracking an egg into a pan to start in making eggs.
“Yeah, they were the bomb,” Peter says and Gamora rolls her eyes and elbows him, ‘I mean thank you for letting us stay here.”
“I wish we were bringing better news,” Thor says.
“What do you mean?”
“Thanos is coming to Earth,” Thor says.
“Thanos, the Mad Titan. He believes that by killing half the population of every planet he can help conserve resources,” Gamora says.
“And he’s coming to Earth?” Tony asks tensing up.
“We believe so. He wishes to have the infinity gems and from what I understand there are two located on Earth, three now that the Guardians have brought the Power stone to Earth. Thor says and Tony groans.
“So much for resting,” Tony says and Erik looks at him.
“Tony, you don’t need to do everything. We will help you every step of the way,” Charles says as he rolls in.
“We will also help fight,” Stephen says and sits besides Tony and magically switches Tony’s coffee for tea.
“Hey!” Tony says pouting and stealing the sugar from Bruce.
“You won’t be doing this alone,” Kurt says as he and Johnny come in.
“You have a family now and trust us when we say that we will stand by your side,” Charles says and Drax looks at them all oddly.
“You refer to yourselves as family but none of you are related,” Drax says.
“Sorry, he can takes things a little...literal,” Peter says.
“Blood relation is not what makes a family. It is emotion, care, and deed,” Charles says and Tony notices Peter nodding a little.
“Does that make us family?” Drax asks looking at Gamora who looks at Peter who nods.
“Yeah Drax. We’re family,” Peter says smiling at Gamora.
“Someone should get in touch with T’Challa and the council. We need to start taking measures to prevent Thanos from killing anyone. How long do we have?” Tony asks and Erik pulls out his phone.
“At current speed nine months, but if he gets the space stone? It’ll take about seconds,” Peter says and Tony lowers his head.
“And where is the Space stone?” Tony asks.
“On Asgard. My father will keep it safe,” Thor says.
“Okay, I’ll send in a request to the council to alert them to tell them what is happening so we can come up with a plan,” Tony says pulling his tablet out of the back on his wheelchair and begins typing at the screen before sending the email to the proper people. He waits for a minute and then receives a response scheduling a meeting for the next morning.
“Okay, let’s get a game plan going so that we can present it to the council. Spiderling don’t you have school?” Tony asks and Peter checks his watch and gets up to run out of the door only for Peter to grab him and take off with him.
“Don’t worry Tony, we’ll do this together,” Charles says placing a hand on Tony’s shoulder and Tony smiles and they all sit down to discuss how they can make sure that Thanos can’t kill anyone.
Tony doesn’t say it out loud but he’s afraid of one thing because he knows how people are and he knows that there will be people advocating for the return of the Rogue Avengers and Tony is not ready to deal with that. He isn’t ready to be forced to work with them. The hurt is too fresh. But deep down he knows, he knows he’ll force himself to do whatever it takes to keep the world safe.
Because that’s what he had to do.
Steve looks up as he hears someone come in and notices that Wanda is now in her own cell a few feet away from them asleep.
“Wow, I’m really glad I turned myself in now,” Steve hears Sam say and he immediately sits up and stare at his friend.
“Sam? What are you doing here?” Steve asks.
“I’m here to drop these off,” Sam says and holds up a pile of envelopes and taps something on the wall to make an opening in the glass of Clint’s cell and slides them in.
“What are these?” Clint asks holding them up.
“Letters from your family. Tony was supposed to have Vision deliver them but we asked if we could do it,” Sam says.
“We?” Clint asks as Scott comes in looking happier than they’ve ever seen him and passes a tablet through the opening.
“Here, so you can call and see your kids,” Scott says.
“You guys can drop the act. If you let us out we’ll all get out of here,” Natasha says.
“No thanks. We’ve got a good thing here,” Sam says closing the opening in the glass.
“You sold us out?” Clint asks.
“No, but we’re done letting Captain America use us to further his ends. Bucky had the right idea about getting as far away from you people,” Scott says.
“Let’s get going Scott, we promised that we would be back in time for dinner,” Sam says.
“Oh! Hold on one more thing,” Scott says and and passes several pieces of paper. Pictures of your kids. They’ll help you get through your time in here,” Scott says and then closes the window before following Sam out of the room.
“I can’t believe that they would betray us like that,” Clint says as he tears open his letters and starts reading through them. His face growing more and more stormy as he reads them and he grows quiet and reads through them and then turns on the skype function on the tablet and suddenly his cell goes silent in order to give him privacy.
Steve watched Clint talk to someone and it looks like he’s arguing and Steve opens his mouth to offer help explaining but then figures that if they can’t hear him he might not be able hear them. Clint continues to argue and soon Steve grows bored of watching him and turns to look at Wanda, who is still asleep.
Steve has to wonder where Bucky is and how he’ll find Bucky when he gets out of this cell. God only knows what people are doing to him.
He can’t let Tony get his hands on Bucky. There’s no telling what Tony would do to him if given the chance.
Steve refuses to let Bucky be used, hurt or controlled again.
T’Challa has just come back in from a run when he finds the notification on his phone from a text. He calls Erik back and listens as the older man explains about Thanos and the need to have a council meeting in order to plan for a defense.
“And what of Captain Rogers?” T’Challa says.
“I was hoping that if anyone were to suggest their reinstatement that you would stand against it,” Erik says.
“Is that what Dr. Stark wants?”
“No. He wants whatever will be best for the defense of Earth,” Erik says grudgingly.
“I know you want to keep him safe. It is very admirable and noble. But we both know that if the lack of Rogers and his team causes anything to go wrong that Dr. Stark will blame himself and that will hurt him far more than the rogues ever will be able to. I will do all in my power to help find a way to keep the Rogues from being allowed out, but if they must then I will do everything I can to keep them away from him,” T’Challa says.
“Thank you. I suppose I will see you at the council meeting tomorrow,” Erik says and hangs up. T’Challa sighs and goes to his sister’s lab hoping that she may be able to offer him some additional insight.
When he gets there he finds Nakia there watching his sister work.
“Hello brother. I suppose you have heard from Erik,” Shuri says not looking up from her work.
“How do you know about all that?” T’Challa asks.
“I answered the phone the second time he called,” Shuri says going over the schematic for the kingdom’s shields. Only on a much grander scale and to connect to other energy sources...ones that look like the arc reactors that Dr. Stark built for his buildings.
“Are those shields?” T’Challa asks.
“Yes. One for each major city right now. Next I’ll be working on ones for the second biggest cities. I’m going to keep going until we have enough to protect every city,” Shuri says.
“You are going to sleep right?” T’Challa asks.
“Yes brother I will sleep,”Shuri huffs out.
“Great. Because guess who gets to go to the council meeting with me tomorrow?” T’Challa says.
“Oh how exciting,” Shuri says.
“Dr. Stark will be there,” T’Challa says.
“Fine, I suppose I can spare a day,” Shuri says and T’Challa rolls his eyes at her attempts to look nonchalant.
“Terrific,” T’Challa says and he goes to finish his paperwork. He wishes for once that he could just relax and not have to worry about world ending problems.
Steve wakes up to find Natasha covered in blood and convulsing.
“Nat!” Steve yells banging on his cage as several guards run in. When they open the cage and reach out towards Nat she strikes out and steals one of their guns and goes to shoot one of them but the gun refuses to shoot. Nat uses the butt to hit one of the guards but before it connects the gun goes flying up to connect with the ceiling. Natasha watches it go up and it leaves her open to being tackled by a female guard.
“EVERYBODY STAND DOWN!” A loud voice says and the guards step back as a guy in what Steve thinks are red and black pajamas but the swords strapped to his back look sharp and he worries about Natasha’s safety.
“Now everyone be cool. Spider lady get back in the cell,” the man says.
“Make me,” Natasha says as the other guards back out of the room and the man draws one of his swords slowly swings one towards her and she dodges and grabs one of the guns attached to the stranger’s belt and she points the gun at him.
“Let them out of the cell or I’ll shoot you,” Nat says cocking the gun.
“Nah,” the man says and stretches himself out.
“I said open their cells!” Natasha says and the man simply giggles and rushes her head on and they all jump as she pulls the trigger, making all of them jump. Steve watches as the man drops the ground and Natasha puts the gun in her belt and starts messing around with things to see if she can get the cell open.
They’re all so preoccupied with getting the cells open that they’re all startled when a voice says, “wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve been shot. Cable’s gonna be pissed he missed it,” the man says sitting up, the holes from the bullets still there but there's no wound.
“What?” Natasha says staring at him.
“Name's Deadpool by the by. Thanks for asking. It's awfully rude to shoot someone without asking their name. People also call me DP because I'm a pain in the ass,” the man says and grabs the gun from Natasha and using her surprise to his advantage just chucks her back into her cell.
“About time bub. I was wondering when you were gonna stop playing with them,” a gruff voice says and Steve can't see who it belongs to.
“Awwwww it was fun can you really fault me?” Deadpool asks and then turns back to them and says, “oh and don't bitch and moan when one of you needs medical attention and we don't trust you. Blame the spider lady.”
The door shuts and Natasha is still looking slightly shocked that she finally came across something that she can't kill.
Steve wonders when Wanda will wake up so that she can use her powers to get them out of there and he can go find Tony and get everything straightened out.
This'll probably be the last chapter until at least Monday the 26th. I'm going home for Thanksgiving and I won't have internet.
“I must say that you plan to provide fighters and healers to Midgard is well thought out. From what you’ve told us the midgardians are terribly archaic in their methods of healing. Magic is a far more practical method,” Farbauti says as she and Loki walk around the village discussing plans.
“Thank you mother,” Loki says and she smiles a tiny bit.
“You do not have to call me that if it makes you distressed. I understand,” she says and Loki releases a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding.
“I’m sorry I know that you’re my mother but Frigga was also my mother,” Loki says breath speeding up a little and Farbauti’s face softens and she pulls him under her arm.
“My son, she is the woman that raised you. And based upon the man standing before me I could not wish for my son to have a better mother. To pretend that she was not your mother would be an insult to her memory. She is you mother in deed as I am your mother in blood. You choose who is in your family. I only pray that you allow us to count you as one of our family,” she says.
“Y...you want me in your family?” Loki asks not quite able to believe they would want him, after all he did try to destroy their home.
“Why would I not? You take after me in a lot of ways. I too would have made a huge spectacle of trying to destroy a planet,” she says and Loki blushes.
“But I failed,” Loki says and can’t believe where this conversation went.
“So? Fortune favors the bold,” she says and rubs his shoulder.
“I...I wish I could have been raised by you and Frigga,” Loki says shutting his eyes.
“I wish that I could have raised you with her as well. I have heard much about her. She seems to have been quite the woman,” she says and Loki nods wiping tears from his eyes.
“I didn’t even get to say goodbye. Odin couldn’t even let me have that one thing,” Loki says and a nearby rock cracks. Farbauti rubs his shoulder to calm him.
“Our people believe that dead loved ones become one with the stars. So that we may always be with and them with us. Especially when things are dark. Talk to her, it will help you,” She says and walks Loki to a cliff where he can see a large section of stars.
I will give you some privacy. We will leave for Vanaheim tomorrow,” she says and Loki is alone on the cliff.
“Mother...I must confess that this seems quite odd. I...I am not quite sure what to say to you. I’m so sorry. It’s my fault that you were killed. I just wanted to hurt Thor. I wasn’t thinking and you paid the price. I couldn’t even send you off properly,” Loki says and begins pacing.
“I just wanted father to be proud of me. Things just spiraled out of control,” Loki says and sits on a rock and stares up at the sky.
“I’m trying so hard to be good. I know that Thor would be crushed if Midgard was destroyed not to mention Asgard would be the next logical step. After all we have the space gem. I am sorry. It is my fault it’s on Asgard to begin with,” Loki says.
“I wish you were here. I could use your guidance...Did Thor and I truly have a sister? How could you allow her to be sent away? I know that Odin had far more power than you but surely there was something you could have done? But...then what would that have meant for Thor and I? How would our lives differ if you weren’t there due to Odin’s reaction? I...I pray for your strength and wisdom,” Loki says and stands and stares at the sky one last time and says, “are you proud of me mother?”
One of the stars above his head sparkles and Loki’s heart swells and a sob bubbled up and he drops to his knees sobbing.
He hasn’t been crying long when Farbauti comes to him and pulls him into her arms and holds him tightly as Loki sobs into her chest and whispers soft words of comfort.
Loki wipes his eyes when he’s finally calmed down and Farbauti keeps holding him.
“I...thank you,” Loki says.
“Of course, that’s what family is for,” she says and gently brushes his hair away from his face and holding him close.
“Thank you...mothers,” Loki says looking at the stars and at her Farbauti and she holds him even closer.
“Tony...hold up. If you’re going where I think you’re going I’m gonna need you to rethink it,” Rhodey says jogging to catch up to Tony who slows his wheelchair so that his best friend can keep up with him.
“Rhodey...You know that this is what has to be done,” Tony says looking up at his friend.
“No. If we have to work with them than fine, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be the one that talks to them. Give the job to Charles or Erik. Hell I don’t want to but I’ll take it,” Rhodey says and Stephen steps out of a portal beside him.
“I know that I will be unable to stop you from doing this but please, you do not need to do it now. Allow some time to build up other aspects of our defenses so that you are not distracted by dealing with them when we’re all trying to get ready for this Mad Titan,” Stephen says.
“Also, since we can’t talk you out of it, at least allow us to come with you when you do it. We want to be by your side,” Rhodey says.
“You just want to kick Rogers’ ass,” Tony says as Bruce comes down the all towards them having been out for a stroll.
“Brucie! Can we do some science? I really need to relax a little,” Tony says.
“Yeah sure. I just wanted to grab a shower,” Bruce says and Tony smiles as Charles comes rolling down a hallway.
“Tony there is someone at the door for you,” Charles says and Tony rolls to the door to find someone he had only heard from on the phone.
“Eddie!” Tony squeals getting out of his wheelchair to to tackle the reporter.
“Hey Tony...should you be rough housing? You just had a surgery,” Eddie says worriedly and his expression twitches a little and then he focuses on Tony again.
“Hey Rhodey go tell Brucie to wear his nice shirt,” Tony whispers to Rhodey and Rhodey chuckles softly and goes towards Bruce’s room.
“Tony what are you up to?” Eddie asks eyeing him closely and his lips twitch and he looks distracted for a second before focusing on him again.
“Nothing. I just want Bruce to look good,” Tony says smiling when he sees Bruce in an old T-shirt and jeans. Leave it to Bruce to he predictable even when refusing to do what Tony says.
Tony has to admit though. This is Bruce's best look, when he's not wearing clothes borrowed from Tony that is.
“Dr. Bruce Banner, allow me to introduce you to Eddie Brock,” Tony says wheeling back a little to watch them exchange pleasantries.
“It's...ahem...a pleasure to meet you,” Eddie says and looks startled at his hands and shoves them into his pockets.
“Likewise. Tony and I were just about to go to the lab. Would you like to join us?” Bruce asks.
“Uh... I'm not the biggest fan of labs. You two go on. I need to check into my hotel, shower and...and eat,” Eddie says.
“Are you sure you're okay?” Tony asks.
“Why wouldn't I be?”
“You're acting really alien,” Tony says.
“What? Don't be ridiculous Tony,” Eddie says laughing and leaving.
“Tony, if this was your attempt at matchmaking…”
“Give him a chance. You'll like him,” Tony says and Bruce shrugs and wheels Tony down to the lab to play.
It isn't as fun as their lab at the tower but it's a close second.
“Okay, what about that guy named Daredevil? We could get in contact with him and see if he’ll join in,” Tony says.
“T’Challa said that he would offer Wakanda’s full resources to the battle against Thanos and that he and Shuri will call later tonight to join in on the planning,” Erik says.
“Fury, if we can find the undead bastard might know someone. I heard whispers when I was younger,” Rhodey says through the laptop, having had to go back to his base to brief his superiors.
“I’m gonna rattle some skeletons, see if I can dig up wherever Coulson is hiding,” Tony says.
“I wanna help too,” Eddie says dropping his duffel by the door.
“Eddie you’re baseline. If you want you can help draft newsworthy articles to help educate the public about what is happening...what the fuck?” Tony says staring at the towering inky black...being...standing where Eddie once was.
“We are Venom,” Venom says and Tony blinks once and turns back to his lists and charts.
“Okay, so Eddie can help with the public outreach and Venom is gonna help with the fighting...hey buddy what’re your pronouns?” Tony asks.
“What is a pronoun?”
“Are you a boy or a girl?”
“Okay, I’ll just refer to you as Venom,” Tony says scribbling that down.
“Seriously Tones? There is a giant alien standing two feet from you and you’re not even gonna ask?” Rhodey asks.
“Hey if Venom is offering help, Venom can help all Venom wants. I’ll ask questions once we deal with the other giant alien coming this way. Oh but Eddie...we will be having words,” Tony says turning back to a diagram when a long, wet, and pink tongue licks him. Tony turns back to Venom just in time to watch Eddie come back.
“Care to explain?” Tony asks.
“Sorry, we’re working on learning boundaries,” Eddie says and Tony watches as a small Venom head appears over Eddie’s shoulder.
“We licked him, he’sssssss ourssssssss,” Venom says before vanishing again and Tony just sits there speechless for a few minutes before turning back to his diagram.
“Okay, I’m gonna call Doom in the AM to try and see if I can get him to help. Say what you want about the annoyance but he cares for his people. He won’t risk Thanos killing them. So, we’ll have him on air and ground support with his bots. Who else can we have on ground support?” Tony asks and a throat clears from the doorway and Tony’s heart screeches to a halt and he stares at the person standing there.
“I want to help,” Bucky says.
sorry for the short chapter I'm fighting with my word account and decided that this would go up tonight.
“Brother, you and I both know how Rogers is. How can we possibly keep him away from Dr. Tony? We couldn’t even keep them within Wakanda, how can we keep them within a state or city?” Shuri asks as they walk across the grass towards the school that is housing Tony and serving as a base of operations for the teams fighting against Thanos.
“We will more than likely not have a choice in the matter. We need as many people fighting as humanly possible. There is no way to get around it. However we can make sure that he has support to help him through the aftermath,” T'Challa says and they reach the steps just as a jet lands and a man in a red leather suit with horns on it, a woman in a leather jacket, a man wearing a grey hoodie...with holes in it? And another man behind them.
“Ah gentlemen and Ladies, it is a pleasure to host you,” Professor Xavier says wheeling out to the top of the steps to await them.
“You wanna tell us why some of us were hearing things in our heads?” The woman asks crossing her arms defensively.
“My name is Professor Charles Xavier and I am a mutant. You four were able to hear me as a result of my mutation,” he says and some of them tense up and share a look between each others.
“I assure you I have done no more than I had to in order to get to you. I was very careful in not reading your minds. I even respected your wishes to not enter you mind at all,” Charles says and T’Challa notices a familiar man several steps behind Xavier.
“You can read minds?” the man in the hoodie says and shudders.
“Dude, you’re bulletproof who are you to judge?” The woman asks and the man shakes his head.
“No, I was just thinking about what school would have been like if my teachers were able to read my mind,” he says and she snorts.
“You’re right I would have ended up in detention a lot more than I did,” she says.
“Charles I want to talk to you about the material your plane is made of...oh good you four are here and hi Dr. Shuri,” Tony says and she smiles.
“Hello Dr. Tony,” she says beaming at him and he looks delighted.
“Okay, you four we invited here because you have shown a deep desire to help people and right now we need people like that,” Tony says and looks back at the house and shakes his head and T’Challa wonders what has happened that has Tony acting so odd.
“What is the problem?” The man in red asks looking towards Tony. Tony takes a deep breath and explains everything that they know about Thanos and the Infinity Gems as well as everything they’re doing to make sure that he doesn’t get his hands on them.
“I’m in,” Red says.
“If DD is in so am I,” Jessica says and the others nod their heads and they start to head inside and when the man in the hoodie passes Tony, Tony walks beside him.
“Hey, do you want me to make you a bulletproof hoodie?”
“Why would I need that when I’m bulletproof?”
“It has to get ridiculous to keep replacing hoodies,” Tony says with a shrug.
“Why are you offering?”
“Because I don’t want the people I’m working with to get shot,” he says.
“What he means is, he doesn’t want anyone to get hurt when he could have prevented it because then he will blame himself,” Shuri whispers to him too low for Tony to be able to hear and he nods.
“Sooooo, I’m Tony, That’s Charles, Mr. Tense back there is Erik,” Tony babbles a little.
“Dr. Stark,” T’Challa says.
“Tony,” he corrects.
“I was wondering if you would do me the service of speaking to me in private later on?” T’Challa asks.
“Sure...what did I do?”
“Nothing, it is what my brother did,” Shuri says and if possible Tony looks even more worried than before as he steps off with T’Challa.
“What did you want to talk to me about King Kitty?” Tony asks.
“My behavior during what the media has dubbed the Civil War and more specifically afterwards in Siberia. It was dishonorable and quite unbecoming,” he says and Tony’s eyes widen and he opens his mouth and T’Challa holds a hand up.
“Before you respond I would like you to think about how you would feel if someone had done similar to Peter or Colonel Rhodes,” T’Challa says and Tony sighs.
“I know that if it were anyone else I would hate them. Hell, I’m still ticked off at Sam for what happened but with me it’s different. Charles has been helping me work on valuing myself as much as I do my friends and I know that I would end up forgiving you in the long run so while make it drag on…” Tony says.
“We can still work together even if you don’t forgive me. It will not change anything. I will still keep the Rogues away from you, I will still provide resources to this cause and I will still be on your team,” T’Challa says.
“I...I forgive you, for myself, for my state of mind I can’t hold on to all the hate inside. Erik told me that letting go of the anger will give me such relief that it’s indescribable. He would know, his powers get stronger with anger yes, but they also get stronger with love,” Tony says.
“A wise philosophy, and I vow to spend my every moment proving that I am worthy of your forgiveness,” he says and they head inside.
They have some more plans to make.
“Hey,” Tony hears from the door to his new workshop that Charles had FRIDAY help make for him. He looks up and finds Bucky standing in the doorway with that god awful man bun.
“What’s up?” Tony asks keeping his gaze pointed directly towards his screen. He doesn’t even so much as flinch when a gun comes sliding down his table to stop in front of him.
“Sorry, I don’t do weapons anymore,” Tony says.
“I don’t want you to fix it I want you to use it.”
“I lack a target,” Tony says.
“I want you use it on me. As much as you want. I promise I won’t retaliate,” Bucky says and Tony freezes hand hovering over the screen he was working with.
“I don’t want to.”
“I left a file with everything I could remember from my time as the soldier. The people I hurt will have closure and so will you. You can do whatever you want,” Bucky says stepping into the room so that the door will close and lock.
Tony picks up the gun and circles behind Bucky and in the silence Bucky can hear Tony checking to see if there are actually bullets in it.
Bucky stares straight ahead. He said he wasn’t going to fight back and he won’t. If he has to pick a way to go this is by far the best he can think of...he wonders how many people thought he was actually there to offer help and how many had a feeling that he was there to give Stark a chance of retribution. It does matter he won’t matter in a couple of minutes.
He lets out a startled noise when he feels something begin combing through his hair. Roughly at first and then it slows down.
“Finally! This man bun has been annoying me since you got here,” Tony says and Bucky glances behind him and sees that the gun has been completely dismantled and is now laying on the table forgotten.
“People have to stop thinking so little of me. I’m not about to murder you in cold blood, and between you and me I don’t know if I would have killed you in that bunker,” Tony says.
“I didn’t mean to imply that you would kill me in cold blood, but I wanted to give you the option. And I’ve seen footage of what you can do when you mean it and I can promise you that you weren’t even close to trying to kill me,” Bucky says softly with a smile.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think about everything that happened and I realized that what I was doing to you was the same thing that Wanda was doing to me,” Tony says and looks at Bucky as he steps back to his screen.
“I…” Bucky says, mouth falling open, looking around at all the interesting sights and graphs around the workshop eyes alight with interest and Tony’s mouth twitches up into a smile.
“Close your mouth before something accidently flies into it,” Tony says but there’s not real bite in his voice and then looks at Bucky’s arm and says, “sorry about blowing off your metal arm.”
“Don’t be. I hated that thing. It was the arm they gave me,” Bucky says and looks down.
“Your new arm looks really nice. Shuri is amazing. She’s going to go on to change the world,” Tony says eyes lighting up no doubt thinking about all the things she’ll be able to change.
“Yeah,” he says with a smile.
“If you want I can make you a synthetic skin so it looks like an actually arm. It can be quite jarring to wake up in the mornings and see something that’s not you,” Tony says absentmindedly rubbing his chest.
“You know, just because you don’t want to kill me doesn’t mean you have to be nice to me. Honestly you’d be justified putting me in cryo or a cage,” Bucky says.
“Bucky I don’t have the energy to hate or dislike you. I’m saving all my anger for Rogers and Romanoff. They’re betrayal was by far the worst and besides I really think it would be a lot easier for me to be nice,” Tony says.
“Let me earn the right to you kindness,” Bucky says and Tony nods slowly.
“So...what are you working on?” Bucky asks watching various plans and blueprints flick by in front of Tony and circle around the various screens.
“Protective gear for everyone who’ll be fighting Thanos,” Tony says and Bucky recognizes the outline for one of the mannequins.
“Those are Steve’s measurements,” Bucky says staring at the outline on the screen.
“You can recognize him by his measurements?” Tony asks looking at him.
“Some things never change. But you shouldn’t make things for him. Let him use Shuri’s stuff or the most basic things the government can supply. He isn’t your responsibility and he doesn’t deserve your tech.”
“When did you get wise?”
“Hey, goat farmers are exceedingly wise,” Bucky says.
“God I thought that Shuri was joking about the goats,” Tony says face breaking out into a grin.
“Nope...I actually kinda miss them,” Bucky says.
“Goats in general or those goats?”
“Those goats. I worked on a farm in order to make enough to buy the goats and then I was able to raise them,” Bucky says.
“When Thanos is over I’ll help settle you with them,” Tony says but Bucky shakes his head.
“No, I would appreciate any advice that you can give me to help in the process but I am capable of handling this by myself,” Bucky says.
“You are making it impossible to be nice to you huh,” Tony says and Bucky smiles.
“No, I’m making it impossible for you to let me take advantage of you,” Bucky says and watches Tony work for a couple of minutes more before going back up to talk to Shuri.
Tony lets out a deep breath and thinks about his mom, how gentle she had been, how ready to forgive and understand. She 100% would have forgiven him.
But Steve on the other hand, she would never forgive.
“Tony please let me go with you,” Stephen says over coffee the next morning as he and Tony settle into their usual morning routine. One that has steady become more and more crowded with Tony’s “siblings”, science children and parental figures.
Honestly if the idea wasn’t completely ridiculous Stephen would say that they were being chaperoned.
“You sound like Rhodey. I’ve been dealing with these people for years. I can handle doing it one last time. They can’t hurt me,” Tony says like he had been since the decision was first made. At this point no one is sure if he is trying to convince them that he’ll be okay or if he’s trying to convince himself.
“Tony please, I do not want to watch you feel bad about what they will likely say. Please let me there for you,” Stephen says and Tony nods because he really doesn’t want to have to go alone by he didn’t want to inconvenience anyone by asking them to come with him.
“I wish to see how the one named Wanda is handling the loss of her powers,” Charles says rolling over follow them and Erik falls into step beside them.
“If you insist on going to see them when they’re released then we are going with you and nothing you say is going to stop us. You have had to do things by yourself for s long and we will no longer allow that to be the case,” Erik says and Tony opens his mouth to say something but suddenly there is a silver blur and he finds himself standing in his X-Men under armour and Peter gives him a wink as he zooms past.
“You look good in our uniform,” Erik says and takes a picture and they head for the car that will take them to where the Rogues are being held. Tony doesn’t really want to, but it’s time for them to discuss the option of release.
I have to head home for winter break so I won't be able to guarantee updates. See you guys in January! Happy Holidays!
“Brother you do not need to babysit me. I am simply going to get a cup of tea, maybe some left over soup if there is any and get some rest. I’ve had a long day of inventing and I will have another long day tomorrow as well,” Shuri says and T'Challa frowns.
“Are you absolutely certain that you are not working yourself too much? Because I can have a word with Prof Xavier,” T'Challa says but Shuri rolls her eyes.
“Brother I am going to say this once. I do not need to be coddled. I am no longer an infant,” Shuri says and gives him a smile before going into her room.
She checks the camera outside her room to make sure he’s gone and then opens her secure video message and Vision appears on screen. His human appearance looking much more realistic that it was before. She’s quite proud of his progress.
“Good evening Princess,” Vision says and she smiles.
“Good evening Vision. What was the matter so important that you could not wait until our next meeting on Wednesday?”
“There is a project that FRIDAY and I have been working on and we wished to ask if you would assist us.”
“You would ask me over your friend Dr. Stark?”
“You are my friend as well. Also, the outcome of this project is to surprise Dr. Stark. We wish to keep this a secret until we know for sure that it will work,” Vision says.
“How did his meeting with Rogers go?”
“He is not slated to arrive for an hour. At which point I believe we will be able to hear the resulting shouting match from here,” Vision says.
“What is it precisely that you are trying to accomplish?” Shuri asks and listens as Vision, with some input from FRIDAY, explains exactly what they want to do and why.
“I will admit that what you are trying to do does seem nearly impossible but…since we are removing the mind stone from you soon then it may actually be possible. However are you sure you want to risk what could happen to you?” Shuri asks.
“Alright then. I will help in any way I can. However with you and FRIDAY in the city and me near the mansion how can we work on this?”
“I have already discussed this with Miss Potts and Dr. Strange. She will allow you access to the tower and Dr. Strange will provide you with transportation. I must express my deepest gratitude for you agreeing to do this,” Vision says.
“As must I,” FRIDAY says through the speaker.
“It is no trouble. I am happy to help. He could use a couple of good things in his life. He’s had enough pain,” Shuri says and after a couple more plans being made, hangs up and goes to bed. She’ll need to be well rested in order to keep up with everything that she needs to do tomorrow and for once in her life prays to Bast that she’s wrong about something and the meeting between Tony and Rogers will not end in a third World War.
This chapter is brought to you by an emergency trip to Michaels to get yarn for the scarves I'm making.
“Are you absolutely sure that you want to do this? Facing Thanos is a daunting task for anyone. Let alone someone who already has a history with him. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to stand by your side no matter what but…” Vidar says holding Loki’s hand as they leave the throne room of the newly reinstated king of Vanaheim.
The monarch had been understandably suspicious of Loki, under the guise of Odin, when he asked the king if he would lend them his healers. When Loki and Farbauti explained what was happening he went a step further and offered his newly trained warriors.
Then Loki makes a quick stop off in Asgard to gather not only his warriors but also the Space Stone so that it may be destroyed. Then he and the Jotun army and Vanir healers and warriors go over the plan.
“Are you sure that we will be able to whip them into shape? There are three separate realms represented here. Each with a different hierarchy of value placed on the skills of the others. Plus two of the realms have been at war for longer than some of us have been alive. Can we really all work together?” Loki asks staring up at Helbindi as they over see the training regime for the forces.
“Don’t sell our abilities short brother. We can most definitely get this army ready,” Helbindi says.
“Blind faith and reassurances are not helpful right now,” Loki says frowning and watching Tyr break up a fight between a few soldiers.
“They are not blind, but they need someone to rally behind. They need you,” Helbindi says.
“I…Odin was never good at rousing speeches,” Loki says.
“I was not referring to Odin…I was referring to you Loki. They need you right now. Not Odin, not me, and not Farbauti, you.” Helbindi says and Loki’s eyes widen.
“I…I can’t. There are still some people who think that I am Odin. I cannot tell them who I am,” Loki says.
“They need to hear from their leader. And that’s not Odin, that’s you,” Helbindi says and Loki looks away and glances down at the men who will be risking their lives, nervously. They do deserve to know who is leading them. If only to give them the chance to back out.
“I will discuss it with Chief Farbauti, however there is something else I wish to discuss with you,” Loki says.
“Would this have anything to do with the mysterious other warrior that you plan to recruit?” Helbindi asks.
“Yes…I…want to forewarn you. In order to reach her there are special…requirements. Requirements that might frighten you at first,” Loki says as he and Helbindi walk.
“How so?” he asks and Loki explains.
“I don’t like it…but that it the protective brother talking. I do think that it is a good idea,” Helbindi says and Loki goes to plan.
He has a speech to prepare.
“It’s not too late. You can return to the plane and no one will think any less of you. I promise that,” Rhodey says as they walk down the tarmac towards the building that it housing each of the rogues and Tony considers it for a brief moment. If he leaves he’ll never have to see them again. The rogues will just be a memory that leaves a bitter taste in his mouth.
But if he sees them he can finally close the door, burn the bridge, there is no forgiveness here. Not for Steve, Wanda, or Natasha.
“Thanks Honey Bear. I know that I will always have you on my side and I know that I don’t have to. But I want to. They need to know…need to see…that this, me and them. Is over,” Tony says.
“Then we will be right behind you. Would you like to go in alone and speak to them or do you want us by your side?” Erik asks.
“I want you all there. Let them see who Tony fucking Stark actually is and who they could have had. Let them see that there are actual people that want me with them both Iron Man and Tony Stark,” Tony says and they follow him into the building and he steps into the elevator. As they make their way down Tony wonders if this is a good idea. After all, he’s never been able to speak against Rogers before. How will he possibly do it now?
Tony jumps when a gloved hand grabs onto his and he looks up to find Stephen staring into his eyes. He gives Tony a smile and his hand a gentle squeeze and Tony feels like this is something he can actually do.
When the elevator stops they find themselves standing on a metal catwalk. Tony makes his way down it with his family holding hands with both Stephen and Rhodey, who keeps shooting glances at where their hands are clutched with a smirk on his face.
Tony knows the exact moment that they spot him because Clint starts pounding on the wall of his cell. Someone must have left the sound dampening on because he can’t hear a word, Nata…Romanov shifts slightly to better watch them without looking like she’s watching, Wanda is waving her hands at him and screaming when nothing happens, and Steve is calling his name.
“All of you shut the fuck up, sit down and listen up. I am here for one thing and one thing only,” Tony says hands shaking with all the anger that he’s been bottling up.
“Tony…” Steve starts to say but Stephen waves a hand silencing him magically.
“Don’t Tony me! This is my time to talk and you are going to listen. There is a threat coming to Earth. Fighters are needed. If you wanted to fight you can or not. I don’t care anymore. I’ve seen you lie and twist things beyond what is decent and I will no longer be responsible for it. I will no longer listen while Maximoff talks about how I killed her parents. I did not! A bomb I may or may not have built did. For all I know there was no bomb and this was a story she concocted to get out of punishment for assaulting me. I’m tired of listening to her talk about how she can’t control her powers. There are people with the exact same powers as her who can control them and she certainly didn’t have trouble with her powers when she was trapping is in nightmares and fighting for Ultron,” Tony says and then turns away from her to look at Clint.
“Clint…I’m not even upset with you for myself. I’m upset on behalf of Laura and your kids. Howard was hardly ever home when I was growing up. He was always out looking for Rogers. All I can remember is wondering why Howard wasn’t there, why something else was more important than me and my mom. I watched my mom grow more and more depressed and withdrawn. And I refuse to let you do that to Cooper, Lila, Nathaniel, and Laura,” Tony says and focuses on Natasha.
“Hey there Nat. Boy did you back the wrong horse. Does being wrong get tiring? You were wrong about me, wrong about SHIELD, and wrong about the Accords,” Tony says softly and sees her twitch.
“Does it burn? Knowing that you were completely off base?” Tony says and sees her twitch again and turns to Steve.
“Hi there Rogers. I…god…I want to yell at you. To scream and hit and ask why I wasn’t enough. But…I was enough. I went above and beyond everything that was asked of me. I housed you, clothed you, fed you. I let you into my life and you know what? I have a lot of regrets in my life but that isn’t one of them. Because I now know what signs to look for to prevent it from happening again. Everything you did to me led to me my new family, my new team, and my new life,” Tony says and turns away.
“Oh and you want to know the worst part about everything you did? If Maximoff were to show me my worst fear it would stay the same. It would still be everyone I love and care about dead. You three dead in front of me saying I could have done more. That’s what she showed me and that’s why I created Ultron. So, I’m sorry for being afraid to see you three die. Take the deal or don’t, I hope you use the second chance to right whatever wrongs you can. But I still hate you for everything you did so don’t try to contact me. My team and family are far more protective than you ever were,” Tony says and walks toward the exit.
When he reaches the exit he stops and says, “Bucky says hi. He came to where I was staying and asked to help fight Thanos. I hope you think long and hard about what your actions have cause. But we both knew you won't so a letter from him is going arrive at dinner," Tony says and he barely notices the walk back to the plane.
"That was amazing," Stephen says.
"I didn't mean to say any of that. I was going to say a couple of smart comments and then leave but then I saw their faces and I don't know what came over me," Tony says hands still shaking.
"That was closure. That was you finally saying everything that you've held back since meeting them. It feels good doesn't it?" Stephen asks.
"Y...yeah, but now I want to know why they didn't love me like I loved them," Tony says. Stephen pulls him into his arms.
"People like that? They can't see past their own selfish self interests. They didn't love you because they aren't capable of doing so. But know that every single person in the Mansion loves you with everything ounce of their hearts," Stephen says.
"Why wasn't I good enough?"
"You most certainly are good enough. But they knew that in order to control you they had to make you think you had to prove yourself. Think about it. In Germany when Loki attacked, who was it that saved Rogers?"
"Me," Tony says.
"Precisely. If you weren't good enough than he would be dead...he should be dead but I'll settle for detained," Charles says joining in on the hug.
"It's okay to not be okay Tones. You can cry. You'll feel better," Rhodey says also joining in.
"Stark men are made of iron. We don't cry," Tony says.
"Ah yes another piece of wisdom from the man that thought Captain War Bonds was worth defrosting," Erik says also joining in on the hug and Tony laughs harder than he ever did with his old team.
He doesn't even notice when his laughter morphs into tears but his family holds him through it.
So what if the Rogues never loved him. He has a new family that does.
"May I have everyone's attention?" Loki says stepping into the center of his men. Helbindi gives him an encouraging smile and stands by his side.
"I have something to confess... I have been lying to Asgard... I'm not Odin." Loki says and drops his illusion and has trouble looking up.
"You all owe me a beer!" Loki hears Fandral says and Loki's head shoots up to stare as people begin muttering under their breath.
"Wha..." Loki says.
"I told you that nearly everyone on Asgard had figured it out. It really was the most horribly kept secret ever. Which is a first for you. You were always so good at keeping secrets," Tyr says and Loki feels his face heat up and his brain scrambles to readjust his speech and Vidar steps up with him and Loki's racing heart slows down.
"I... I thank you for allowing me to prove that I am worthy of leading you. And I must confess that once Thanos is defeated I will likely have to return the throne to Odin or hand it over to Thor. So, I understand if you no longer want to be involved in the coming fight. However, if Thanos is allowed to take Earth he will not stop. He will come to Asgard and take the space stone. Once he gets that stone there will be no stopping him. Vanaheim, Jotunheim, Asgard, it will not matter. Friends, family, and lovers will all be victims. He will end lives indiscriminately and he will reach to every realm. We can stop him, we will stop him," Loki says.
"Count us in!" The Warriors Three and Sif say having returned from their various quests while Loki was on Jotunheim. Similar statements echoe around the square and Loki feels his knees wobble but suddenly Helbindi is there wrapping an arm around him to support him but to anyone else it appears as though he is congratulating Loki.
"Do you see this brother?" He asks as people start cheering.
"This is not for Odin or Thor. This is for you," Helbindi says and Loki smiles up at him wiping tears from his eyes.
"Thank you...brother," Loki says and can scarcely believe that this is happening.
But happy none the less.
Steve bangs on the glass of his cell watching as Tony leaves with the people he'd come in with.
Tony doesn't even seem to hear him as the weirdly dressed man wraps an arm around him and they leave.
This is a mess. Why can't Tony understand that if he has just backed him up then none of this would be happening. And now he has complete, unfettered, access to Bucky.
Steve has to get out of here.
When they bring dinner down to him he finds two envelopes. One contains a copy of the Accords and an explanation that if he signs then he can leave. The next is a letter in Bucky's handwriting.
When we were growing up I loved you like a brother. You were my little punk. A punk that never knew when to stop. You decided what was right for you and anyone who disagreed with you became a bully.
No matter how hard I tried to convince you that you're way doesn't constitute the right way. That day with the news reel? Do you know why people go to movie theaters Stevie? So that they can escape from the world around them. Away from the constant worry about whether their husband, brother, husband, Uncle, friend would come back. All he wanted to do was enjoy the movie.
Steve, the serum changed you. And I don't mean physically. You're more violent. You were always aggressive but not like this. I share the responsibility for what happened in Siberia. But watching you slam the shield into Tony's chest was beyond that. You were like a man possessed. It was frightening.
I realized something when I was working on this letter. I got on your case for expecing me to be the same ole Bucky even with everything I had gone through. And I was doing the same.
We're not the same people we were Stevie. You're not the skinny punk with more bark than bite and I'm not the easy going guy from Brooklyn.
Steve you can sign the Accords or not. It is no concern of mine but you don't come near Tony. He's had to deal with enough.
Steve rereads the letter over and over again trying to find the call for help that must be in the letter. This doesn't sound at all like Bucky.
Tony must have done something to him. There's no other explanation. He looks up and sees Clint signing the copy of the Accords he was given shooting a look Steve can't decipher.
Natasha is also signing. When shes done her pen is vacuumed up into the ceiling and Steve guesses they don't want her to have a sharp object. Which is ridiculous. No one can kill someone with a pen. Not even a Black Widow.
Wanda is watching Natasha and Clint sign and then turns to watch Steve.
The meaning is clear. If they all sign she will too.
Steve thinks about poor Bucky, probably sitting in a cell, agonizing over being made to say those things.
He nearly tears a hole in the paper as he signs it.
He has to save Bucky.
Shuri has to admit that the technology in Stark Tower is quite impressive. Translation devices worn on the ear, nearly invisible to the naked eye, voice command elevators, holographic interphases, not to mention the full implimentation of a learning AI throughout the building. FRIDAY is quite advanced. Nearly has advanced as Shuri's own AI, Griot. The only thing separating them is age. FRIDAY is still quite young.
It makes Shuri wonder how advanced JARVIS had been.
To code not only one AI but several, with differing responses to stimuli is quite the feat and one of the reasons Shuri stuck solely with Griot.
FRIDAY, JARVIS, KAREN, even U, Butterfingers, and Dum E have their own unique personalities and where KAREN and JARVIS, according to various sources, are more nurturing, FRIDAY is more rambunctious and fiery.
It makes her wonder who the inspiration was for KAREN and FRIDAY. Shuri has her ideas but decides to keep them to herself.
As she makes her way towards where Vision said to meet him she is amazed at how much access FRIDAY is allowed. Griot is restricted to controlling and surveying only Shuri's lab and basic monitoring to the other labs. She'd never dreamed of allowing him full access. Her people and the council would have a cow.
"Hi. You must be Princess Shuri. I am Pepper," a redhead in heels that make Shuri's feet throb empathetically says stepping out from a nearby room.
"It is a pleasure to finally meet you Miss Potts," Shuri says.
"The pleasure is mine. I appreciate you taking the time to help with this little surprise. Are you sure that it won't interfere with your work with Tony on the barriers?" Pepper asks.
"I am sure Miss Potts. I have scheduled my time appropriately so that I can handle all my responsibilities," Shuri says.
"Thank you," Pepper says and shows her to where Vision is waiting and they get to work.
"Are you ready?" Farbauti asks as she and Loki stand before the combined forces of Asgard, Jotunheim, and Vanaheim. The army will make a good addition to the one that the Midgardians have put together. Even more if the second part of Loki's plan works.
"N...Yes," Loki lies.
"Loki, I am not Odin. I will not humiliate you if you are nervous. The brash are foolish and reckless. Nerves keep you alive. They make you think," she says placing a hand upon his shoulder.
"I just... I care deeply about you, Helbindi, Byleistr, and Vidar. If something were to happen to you that would be on my conscience. I don't quite know if I could live with myself."
"You place too much importance upon you asking us to join the fight. The decision was still mine to make. However I am proud, you have learned a lesson that took your brother's much longer to learn.
"That as a Prince, and even as a person, your decision effect more than just yourself. I am proud. However even if you did not wish to join the fight I still might have," she says and wraps an arm around him.
"Thank you mother. But I am not sure if I even wish to be a prince. I have spent years bearing the responsibilities of one. I have grown ill from it. Thor was right. The throne does suit me ill," Loki says leading her into the palace and through the halls towards the vault. They could spend decades on a ship, spend days convincing Heimdall to send them through the bifrost, or simply use the space stone hiddne in the tesseract. The decision is an easy one.
"You have grown ill because you have not had the proper support for the position. I could provide you with that. But if you choose to hand the throne back to Odin or to Thor that is your decision," she says and Loki closes his hand around the tesseract and they head back out to the troops.
Loki hardly speaks as his mind travels years into the past to the first time he held the blue cube in his hands. To when he visited Midgard after Thanos had released him.
Anger rises up in Loki's belly, the intensity of which he's never felt before. Not even against Odin for taking him from a life in which he may have grown up wanted and cherished by everyone he claimed as family. To Thanos, like Odin, he was merely a pawn to be move about the board to get the important pieces into position.
Loki feels resolve hardening in his stomach burning away his fear. Even if he fails, or dies, he will not be the pawn anymore.
"I am ready," Loki says and Farbauti smiles at him.
"Then lead the way my son. With your brothers by your side," she says and Loki uses the tesseract and the are engulfed by a blue swirling portal.
It's time to show Thanos what a real God can do.
Happy birthday to me.
"Now what Cap? I mean you heard what Stark said. Stay away from them," Clint asks later when they've been allowed out of their cells to head for training.
"Tony did something to Bucky. I know he did. We have to go get him," Steve says.
"And how do you suppose we do that? There's a plane with a pilot who is intent on taking us into the city. We don't even know where Stark is," Natasha says.
"I can see if the Pilot knows. I can even make him take us there," Wanda says fingers glowing.
"Maybe not as a first try Wanda. Just try asking him. Who knows he might be on our side but just doing his job," Clint says flinching towards his bow a little. Steve would have missed it if he didn't have super soldier senses. He'll have to talk to Clint about upsetting Wanda later.
"Clint, do you really think that's a likely senario?" Natasha asks.
"No, but mind control isn't the first thing we should jump to," Clint says.
"Fine. We could threaten him. They gave me back most of my not SI weapons and they gave you your old bow back," Nat says.
"Are you nuts? This is an old plane. One wrong hit and we depressurize. Cap go ask him," Clint says.
"Because of the four of us you are the most popular," Nat says pushing him towards the cockpit.
"Um hey...look... I know you have orders but I really need to see Tony Stark about something important. If I don't talk to him it could cause the situation to become dangerous," Steve says and pilot turns in his chair and Steve feels the plane turn a little bit.
"Thank you," Steve says.
"I didn't do it for you. My boss said to take you because he doesn't want me to turn into a mindless toy for the Witch's pleasure," the pilot says turning around and Steve opens his mouth to call the soldier out for being rude but Clint puts a hand over his mouth and shakes his head.
"Do not start a fight Cap. We don't have time for your righteous anger right now," Clint says.
"Steve, are you positive that Barnes is in danger? Surely if he was he'd find a way to tell you. More than just disagreeing with each other," Natasha says.
"Yes. I'm sure the Bucky I know isn't like that. He would never say things like that. He promised we'd be friends till the end of the line."
"Steve, its been nearly seventy years since you saw him. I don't know about you but that seems like a lot of time for someone to grow and mature. I know I am not the same person as I was ten years ago. Clint isn't the same as two years ago. Things happen that change who we are," Natasha says.
"That's exactly what Bucky said in his letter. That he wasn't the same Bucky and that I wasn't the same Stevie. And that the Steve I am now and the J... James that he is now aren't compatible as friends," Steve says.
"Cap that just sounds like a normal trauma patient figuring out who they are with these new experiences," Clint says.
"No. Bucky's in danger. I know it. Tony's done something to him," Steve says.
"Why are you so adamant that Stark's done something to him? I mean I'll admit I'm pissed at him, but why would he hate Bucky so much?" Clint asks eyes narrowed slightly.
"We're landing," Wanda says from where she's looking out the window and the others buckle into their seats.
"Okay so where's Tony?" Natasha asks as they disembark and the plane takes off.
"I'm right here," a voice says from behind them. They turn to find Tony standing there with Sam, Scott, and Rhodes, as well as several people they recognize from Tony's last visit. And slightly behind Tony and to the left is Bucky.
"Bucky, I've come to help get you away from Tony. We can fix whatever he's done to you," Steve says and Bucky groans.
"Pay up goat herding Jesus. I told you that Rogers would say I did something to you," Tony says holding out his hand.
"Please, I'll take cooking duty, trash duty, anything but dish washing duty," Bucky begs pulling out several small grey cards of some kind.
"Dude why the hell did you get against him?" Rhodes asks laughing while Tony hands Bucky an ugly gold colored card.
"I didn't think Steve had his head this far up his ass. Damnit, now I'm on sparing teacher, bathroom cleaning, and dishwasher duty. Thanks a lot," Bucky says glaring at Rogers.
"It's not very hard to understand Rogers. James and I had a wager. I bet that you would have your head so far up your ass that you would come here thinking I did something to James. If I won James would take one of my chores, in this case dishwashing, if I lost, I would have taken bathroom duty. I have to admit though, I didn't think the spy twins were stupid enough to follow him," Tony says.
“Still so full of yourself Stark,” Clint says.
“Listen here Agent Barton, you don’t have to like me, but you do have to respect me. Because I have given you nothing but respect,” Tony says.
“You took our home from us,” Wanda says.
"Which home are you referring to Miss Maximoff? America? I thought with how much you talk about it's destruction that Sokovia is your home. Not to mention you're here on a work Visa and have done no work. Are you referring to the Tower? Sorry, that was destroyed when Ultron attacked. You remember Ultron right? The little AI you nudged me and Bruce into rushing to finish so we'd... I'd fuck up? Or are you referring to Wakanda? Sorry to say but Rogers lost that home for you when he led you to steal his shield back. Ooooh maybe you're referring to the compound! Sorry again, that one's on you. You took your home away from yourself when you threw Vision through it. Did you think it would fix itself? I wish that were true, I know a bunch of kids that would get a kick out of the training room. But no, the damage you caused to the compound hasn’t been repaired yet,” Tony says planting his feet.
“Are you that petty Stark?” Clint says.
“Good to know that stating that something involving labor laws, zoning issues, and major large scale reconstruction will take longer than six months to fix makes me petty. That compound took years to build. I was working on it the moment we all became a team. I guess it's poetic. A broken compound for a broken team,” Tony says.
“Tony, you can’t really blame us can you? You understand where we’re coming from,” Natasha says.
“The hell I can’t Agent Romanov. I watched my best friend fall to what I thought would be his death. And we're lucky he didn't because there are two deaths in the world that would make me go super villain. I watched innocent people get hurt and die because I wasn't able to get through Rogers' thick skull. I was left to die in a fucking Hydra base. I could feel my strength slowly slipping away from me. The sights and sounds of my parent’s deaths playing over and over again in my head. They died by supersoldier it’s only fitting that I die that way too, right? But you know the worst part? My death would have been peaceful. My body would have slowly gone numb and sooner or later I would have passed out from blood loss. But of course the universe couldn’t let me have a peaceful death like I always wanted. Fucking HYDRA shows up. Do you know what happened? I was ready to self destruct the suit. So there’s your sacrifice play Rogers. Since apparently the only men you respect are suicidal ones. So, forgive me if you are at the very bottom of the list of people I want to be around,” Tony says and Sam and Scott trying to figure out what he meant about his parents and Steve can see a flash of something in Natasha’s eyes, something akin to guilt maybe.
Unfortunately so does Tony.
"You knew about my parents too, didn’t you,” Tony says.
“Steve said he was going to tell you,” Natasha says.
“And you thought that finding out that my parents were murdered by Barnes, who Rogers is constantly making excuses for and protecting, would have been better than it coming from you who had no personal stake in it? And who would have delivered it with cold objectivity? Cut the bullshit Romanov, either you just didn’t care enough about me to tell me or you aren’t that good of a profiler to begin with and, actually, considering you didn’t realize half of your coworkers were HYDRA that’s entirely possible,” Tony says.
“Wait what? Bucky killed your parents?” Scott asks.
“Yes,” Tony says.
“And you found out in the bunker?” Sam asks.
“Saw it in the bunker, apparently it was taped. Then I found out that Rogers knew for two fucking years. I'm not even mad about the money you spent looking for him, Pepper is though, I'm mad that you didn't tell me. The sad part is, I would helped find him.” Tony corrects and Sam and Scott look like they’re going to be sick.
"That's not sad Tony. Thats a good deed," the guy in the weird cape says.
“Thanks Dumbledore. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have things to build,” Tony says turning to leave.
“Wait! Tony, I’m sorry that things happened the way they did, but you tore the Avengers apart because of it!” Steve says and Tony sighs and walks over to Steve and stares straight up into his eyes.
“No Steve, this is on you. I had no hand in this. I signed the accords so that there could be protection for the people around us. They spoke and I listened, something you never do, unless of course they’re saying what you want them to,” Tony says.
“Why do you always have to be so stubborn?” Steve growls.
“Well as my favorite Aunt once said, compromise where you can. Where you can't, don't. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say no, you move. Well Rogers, I suggest you get used to moving because I won’t be the one moving anymore,” Tony says and Steve opens his mouth to say something but Tony is already out of his space.
“You’re just going to walk away in the middle of a conversation?” Clint asks and Tony doesn’t even turn.
“In case you haven’t noticed Agent Barton, we’re prepping for a war and I am needed in more important places than this!” Tony says but stops and groans when he sees a large blue energy portal a few yards away.
"What now?" Tony says pointing his eyes heavenward before they all walk over to the portal. The other X-Men and Avengers joining them on the lawn.
"Nightcrawler be ready to get Tony out of here if there's danger," the man in the wheelchair says and Steve watches a man with blue skin and a tail nod his head and shift closer to Tony.
"No buts. You are still injured from Siberia," Erik says and Thor approaches the portal.
"Prince Thor! I am glad to see you doing well!" A man with a voice as booming as Thor's says clapping him on the shoulder.
"Tyr? What brings you here?" Thor asks.
"Our King has formed an alliance between Asgard, Jotunheim, and Vanaheim, to aid you against the Mad Titan," the man, Tyr, says.
"He has?" Thor asks.
"Yes. May I introduce Chief Farbauti and her Army General and Chief Advisor, Prince Helbindi and Prince Byleistr," Tyr says and a woman taller than Thor with rich blue skin, covered in markings and deep red eyes steps onto the grass of the yard, flanked by two men with the same appearance.
They all bow awkwardly except for Thor who is glaring softly but Tony whispers a few words to him and soon he too bows.
"Thor Odinson, I cannot forgive what your bloodline has done to my people, but in this quest, I and my people will aid you," Farbauti says with a deep powerful voice that Steve knows belongs to someone used to being obeyed.
"Eir, of Asgard will be leading the healers of both Asgard and Vanaheim. They will be able to heal the wounds of the injured far quicker than your Midgardian methods," Tyr says.
"Prince Thor and I will be serving as Generals if Asgard under the leadership of Prince Loki of Jotunheim, King of Asgard!" Tyr announces and Steve blinks, thinking he's heard wrong.
But no. There's Loki walking out of the blue vortex with an appearance to match Chief Farbauti and her sons.
Loki steps on the grass and goes to stand next to Chief Farbauti. He opens his mouth to speak but all that comes out is a gasp.
It takes Steve a single second to realize that there's an arrow sticking out of Loki's chest where his heart is.
Steve turns to look at Clint who is notching another arrow as Thor rushes towards Loki as Farbauti and her sons cradle Loki's limp body in their arms as his eyes close.
Loki opens his eyes and looks up at the sunless sky. Helheim is warmer than he thought it would be, but just as dark.
"You know, I'm starting to think that you are trying to stay dead. Didn't mother teach you not to deny the gift of a goddess?" A woman says and Loki is startled by the appearance of her. She is dressed similarly to him. Green, gold and black. The resemblance is so startling that Loki has to wonder if Thor wasn't the adopted one. There is no doubt in his mind that this is Hela, his sister.
"When Odin touched you when you were an infant your magic, in a bid to protect you, took the form most likely to keep you safe. It just so happens that that form was similar to mine," she says and Loki glances at the ground.
"Not that makes us any less related. You are my brother. However I am starting to question my decision to keep returning you to life. It seems everytime I do you return in too short of a time later," Hela says.
"I live a dangerous life," Loki says.
"You and Thor both. However I have only had to return him once. You've done very well in keeping him alive," Hela says and Loki feels a prickle of pride.
"However, I must wonder, I feel as though this time you died with the intended purpose of coming here. Considering we both know that you could easily have repelled that arrow. Which is why I brought you here instead of simply sending you back." Hela says helping Loki to his feet and then looks at him.
"I was... I was led to believe that you were...not like this," Loki says.
"Much like Thor, it took me a great deal more time than him to shake off Odin's lessons," Hela says.
"I am glad that I might get to know you now," Loki says.
"As am I. But what is it that you wish to discuss with me?" She asks.
"Do you know of someone named Thanos?" Loki asks softly.
"The Mad Titan. I have heard of him quite a bit. He's making my life, if you'll pardon the pun, hell. Every time he goes to a new planet I end up with half a planet's worth of dead. All of which need to be sorted and categorized. The truly evil sent for torture, the heroes and warriors sent to Valhalla and those that remain, scattered around Nifleheim. It is far too much work and things constantly become backed up," Hela says.
"What if I were to tell you that the Midgardians are going to fight him. That Asgard, Jotunheim, and Vanaheim are joining them?"
"Then I would invite you for tea to tell me more," Hela says and Loki follows her down a path way through what Loki assumes is the closest thing to a garden Helheim can get.
"Why do I feel like I know this place?" Loki murmurs more to himself than Hela.
"Because you know the creator of the garden. I must tell you she has missed you greatly," Hela says and Loki glances up as they reach a table and his breath catches in his throat.
"M...mother?" Loki says staring at her. Frigga doesn't look an inch different than when she died.
"Hello my son. I am so proud of you," she says and Loki feels a sob catch in her throat and launches himself into her arms.
"I'm sorry! I didn't intend for you to be harmed. I would rather have been stabbed myself than do something to put you in danger!" Loki sobs into her chest and her delicate hands rest on his back.
"Loki, do you remember when you were a small child and I explained about the norns? About fate?" Frigga says.
"Yes. You said that some events are necessary for destiny to occur," Loki says.
"Yes. My death is what led to your release from the dungeon, which led to you taking the throne," Frigga says.
"I would gladly rot in jail if it meant that I would have you with me," Loki says.
"And I would die inside every day you would be in the dungeon," Frigga says.
"In life I could not protect my children from Odin's lessons. But now I can," Frigga says.
"Mother," Loki sobs and hugs her tightly.
"I am so proud of you Loki. You have proved yourself to be every inch my son," Frigga says. They stay like that for a few minutes until a thought hits Loki like a rock in his stomach.
"Mother, why are you not in Valhalla?" Loki asks.
"I am visiting my Daughter," she says.
"Is that allowed?" Loki asks.
"It is when you're a Queen and a Goddess," Frigga says.
"I did not think it possible," Loki admits softly.
"No one knows what is possible until it's been done," Hela says sitting down with them and handing a cup of tea to Loki.
"You do know that there are other, less dramatic ways to visit me," Hela says.
"This was the fastest and surest way. I remember you hugging me when I would arrive, before sending me back. I gambled on you coming to me," Loki says sheepishly and Hela smiles.
"If I am to be of any use to you then I need access to Odin's vault," Hela says.
"Luckily for you that I always come prepared," Loki says pulling the tesseract out.
"Time to show Thanos what the children of Frigga can do," Hela says.
"I will watch over you my children," Frigga says and hugs them both closely as they walk through the tesseract.
"So brother, how dramatic of an entrance should I make?" Hela asks and Loki's smile widens.
"Loki!" Thor says and Tony watches him go hurtling across the lawn to where Helblindi and Byleistr are holding Loki in their arms. Farbauti is leaning over him gently pulling the arrow out of his chest.
A Jotunn who had come out with Loki places a piece of clothe under Loki's head.
"I will not have violence on my property Agent Barton. Place the bow and your arrows on the ground," Charles says.
"Have you lost your mind?" Clint demands.
"I gave you the benefit of ignoring it when Miss Maximoff was going to control my pilot, but my good will extends only so far. Now, drop your weapons or they will be taken from you," Charles says and Clint throws his weapons on the ground.
"Miss Romanov as well," Charles says and she glares as well and throws several knives on the ground and not even Clint can figure out where she got them all.
"Ahem," Charles clears his throat loudly and Natasha tosses more.
"Erik, be a dear?" Charles asks and Erik sends the weapons across the yard.
"Barton!" Thor snarls and stands hand clenched around his weapon.
"Thor, calm down buddy," Clint says backing up.
"Mr. Odinson, I must ask that you extend the same consideration to the no weapons policy. If you wish to seek vengeance I must say that you should only use force necessary to capture the hostile force," Charles says.
"Hostile force?" Steve demands.
"Yes, you made my pilot, under duress to bring you here, you are trespassing on private property, endangering the safety of children with the possession of weapons, and you attacked someone who was unarmed on the property. What if you had missed and hit one of the children?" Charles asks as Thor advances on Clint.
"I never miss!"
"Except the time Loki, the person you just attacked, caught it," Erik says.
"That was an exploding arrow in case he caught it."
"And if you had used one of those this time you would have endangered my children even more."
"He messed with my mind!"
"Then arrest him and bring him to the Accords council for his trial," Charles says.
"Oh I like him," a voice says and Tony looks over and sees Loki sitting up rubbing his chest and wincing.
"L...l... Loki?" Thor asks and the amount of emotion in Thor's voice makes Tony's heart break for him.
"I am sorry Thor. I had intended to tell you of my plan when I arrived, unfortunately I am unable to see Midgard unless I am in the observatory. He arrived earlier than expected, but he did behave as expected," Loki says as Thor lifts him up into his arms.
"Were you able to discuss things?" Helblindi asks but before Loki can respond the ground begins shaking.
"Yes I was. Thor, before she arrives I suggest you speak with Tyr," Loki says.
"No, you will tell me while also explaining where father is and what you did to him," Thor says angrily.
"Thor, the things I must tell you should not be said in anger. Believe me. No one wants to find something like this when the words are laced with venom," Loki says as the shaking in the ground continues.
"Agent Barton, if you try to reach your bow again I will be forced to authorize Wolverine to escort you off the property," Erik says.
"Barton if you attack my brother again I will not be able to be altered from my vengeance. You got your revenge," Thor growls and leans in to listen to what Tyr and Loki are telling him and Tony has to lean against Stephen when the shaking gets ridiculous.
"Is someone fucking crawling out of hell?" Tony demands as Thor steps back from Tyr and Loki eyes wide and head shaking back and forth.
"Darling I don't think I could have a better introduction," a woman that looks stunningly like Loki says as she appears above the fissure the shaking created. She's stunning and Tony follows the beautiful leather of her armor down to where she is seated on a...no way.
"Is that a wolf?" Tony asks.
"Yes, my noble companion Fenris," She says and Tony tenses recognizing her voice.
"Hela?" Tony asks softly mouth going dry.
"Ah, I thought that might be you Anthony," Hela says a smile on her face.
"You know each other?" Stephen asks.
"Yes. I am quite familiar with Anthony. Though he was much younger when we first met."
"I'm sorry Ma'am, but who are you?" Steve asks and she doesn't even glance at him.
"I am Hela. Daughter of Frigga and Odin. Goddess of death. I am here because my younger brother asked for my help. Now. Who. Killed. Him," she asks and Clint gulps and backs away slowly. Hela takes a couple of steps towards him.
"Sister, as annoying as the Midgardians are, we are unfortunately going to need all the bodies we can muster," Loki says.
"There is no we. You are going to jail," Clint says.
"Oh, I suppose if you insist. However, am I not entitled to a meeting with the Accords council? I wish to sign the Accords and offer my assistance in the spirit of repentance," Loki says.
"That's not how it works. You can't just sign the Accords and avoid punishment," Steve says.
"Funny, isn't that exactly what the four of you did?" Stephen asks one eyebrow raised.
"If he joins then I'm out," Clint says.
"If that's how you want to play then, if Romanov and Maximoff join then I'm out, Hulk agrees," Bruce says coming over with Eddie's arm over his shoulder.
"Ditto for me and Venom," Eddie says.
"Dr. Cho has given me leave to say that she and Miss Jones agree in regards to Miss Maximoff. I quite wonder which side the Accords council will take. The people in good standing or the paroled criminals," Charles says.
"And what was you threatening to quit if Loki joined?"
"I can't help but wonder if you are in greater demand than an entire army complete with healers. Tell me Agent Barton, can you perform magic? Survive a punch from the hulk, or heal with a touch?" Stephen asks.
"Listen here you..."
"Enough, Loki will be sent to the Accords council for a meeting where he can make his offer of help and they can take it or send him to trial. It's not our decision," Tony says.
"God knows if we had a choice you'd be the last people who would have been let out," Rhodey says.
"I will gladly speak with whoever I must. However I would like to ask that either Thor or one of your team members brings me," Loki says.
"Erik and Thor will go with you," Charles says and Erik and Thor go with Loki, Tyr, Farbauti and her sons, along with the woman Eir and the mystery Jotunn who didn't introduce himself.
"I will stay here and keep an eye on one of my favorite midgardians," Hela says and walks over to Tony.
"Say the word and I'll end them," she whispers as Fenris nuzzles Tony's chest accidentally knocking him over.
"How do you two know each other?" Natasha asks.
"Well, the first couple of times was accidental deaths during kidnappings, then a couple of random times in MIT," Tony says and Rhodey grabs his hand, "Afghanistan, Obadiah, when you were watching me die Natasha, and when I went through the portal," Tony says.
"Tony..." Steve says taking a step towards them.
"Excuse me. But I believe I have been incredibly lenient with the four of you up to now and I must insist that you vacate yourselves from my property. The Director of SHIELD has contacted me repeatedly already asking where you are," Charles says.
"But we're not finished here."
"Yes you are. I will call the police," Charles says.
"Leave, or I will be forced to remove you," Charles says.
"You can't do that. We want to talk to our teammate," Steve says.
"And who would that be?"
"Check the insignia Rogers. I'm an X-Man now," Tony says as Logan and Piotr stand in front of him and Kurt places a hand on his shoulder.
"I thought nonmutants couldn't be X-Men?" Natasha asks.
"And I thought murderers couldn't be Superheroes. Yet here you four are," Tony says.
"I'm not the murder. You are Stark!" Wanda shrieks and a swirling mass of red shoots from her hand. Before it can even come close to him a second mass of red intercepts the one from Wanda and wrestles it to the ground.
"Wow Peter was right to call me. That was one seriously violent attack. I don't even think the Hulk would have survived it," a woman what looks slightly like Wanda says coming out from the house.
"You must be Wendy," Tony says.
"And you must be my new little brother," she says standing beside him.
"Who are you?" Wanda hisses
"I'm you but better. I'm the one who you stole your powers from," Wendy says.
"So... it's just a coincidence that me and my brother's powers match up to you and yours? Or that we displayed our powers at 13 and got kidnapped by HYDRA the same year you joined snd and I suppose it's a miracle that right after our blood was studied, HYDRA had a brand new murderer and murderess. Not to mention a prize torturer," Wendy says.
"Now let's calm down Ma'am," Steve says.
"Do you know what would calm me down? Not having terrorists near my family. So, shoo," Wendy says crossing her arms.
"I can remove you myself, and if you persist, I will," Stephen says.
"Professor?" Stephen asks and when Charles nods he waves his hands and a portal opens and swallows the four of them.
"Where'd you send them?"
"They'll fall for thirty minutes and then land in the conference room where they were supposed to be. Meanwhile I sent footage of everything that went on to the council and Shield's Director. They're his problem now. Come on. You have enough time for a nap before you said you'd relieve Shuri," Stephen says and helps Tony inside and into bed.
"What if they come back?"
"I'll stay here," Stephen says.
"And if I have a... nevermind," Tony says.
"I have a spell on myself to keep away nightmares. I know you dislike having magic performed on you, but the only othee way is to share the bed. The spell stretches automatically over any bed I am in," Stephen says.
"You know Dumbledore, if you wanted to sleep with me then you could have asked," Tony says wagging an eyebrow at him.
"Believe me. When I wish to share a bed to do what you are suggesting, you'll know," Stephen says sliding under the cover.
"I don't know yet. When we're both ready," Stephen says settling his hands on Tony's stomach, knowing he won't want any pressure near his neck or chest.
"No....you said when. Not if," Tony says.
"Well, yes. I have been courting you," Stephen says.
"I know. But...you don't think I'll fuck up and ruin this?" Tony asks.
"Of course not... you're being incredibly forthcoming with your emotions," Stephen says.
"It must be because I feel safe here," Tony says softly.
"Here in the mansion, here with the people, or here in my arms?"
"All of the above," Tony says drifting off.
"I love you. Maybe one day I'll have to balls to say it when you're awake," Stephen whispers, kissing Tony's cheek before drifting off himself.
"The nerve of that woman! How dare she have the same powers as me!" Wanda snarls and her hands light up bright red and Clint inches away from her a tiny bit.
"I'm sure Tony didn't think about how it would affect you. We'll talk to him when things calm down and he'll fix things," Steve says.
"You motherfuckers really are stupid," they hear from the door and turn to see Fury standing there.
"Director Fury! You're still alive?" Several of them exclaim.
"Yes, but I'm not Director anymore. But please have a seat," Fury says crossing his arms and stepping back into the corner of the room to watch them closely. Steve moves to sit down and they watch as several other people come in and glance at them out of the corner of their eyes.
“So, which one of you is the new Director?” Clint asks kicking his feet up onto the table, back facing towards the door.
“Take your feet off the table Barton,” a familiar voice says as Coulson comes in and knocks Clint’s feet off the desk and Clint looks up at him, shocked that Coulson is still alive.
“You’re still alive?” Clint says face falling a little. All those years spent mourning his best friend and he's fucking alive!
“Yes. Not that it is any of your business. Natasha and Clint I'm very disappointed in both of you. You've been trained better than this. Private, you will be going through a psych eval, as will Miss Maximoff. Barton, Romanov, you and I will be having a very long talk about what is required by new SHIELD. If the new rules are ones you don't believe you can obey then I will be happy to make you civilian identities. Any questions?”
“Who are they?” Natasha asks.
“Where's my family?” Clint asks.
“I'm not crazy! I don't need a psych eval!” Wanda snarls.
“Don't worry Wanda. I'll talk to Coulson,” Steve says.
“We're his team,” a man with a Scottish accent says.
“Laura and the kids are in Witsec. Apparently Thaddeus Ross tried to kill them when you fled the country. Luckily Dr. Stark was able to notify the Vision so he could evacuate them,” Coulson says.
“Speaking of Tony. Fitzsimmons, you're supposed to go meet with him. You're going to help develop more equipment,” someone Clint recognizes as the Calvary says. The man who had spoken and a different woman stand and they leave the room.
“Now to address you Miss Maximoff, SHIELD is an intelligence gathering agency first and then we go in and stop the problems. Unfortunately if you are incapable of controlling your powers it is impossible for us to do the former. Control can be trained, assuming there isn't a psychological reason. Private Rogers, there is no talking to me. I am not Dr. Stark. I cannot be bullied into giving everyone what they want. This will be done or you will be returned to prison,” Coulson says and Wanda starts screeching at him.
“You are not going to tell me I'm crazy,” Wanda shouts and Coulson looks at a woman.
“Yo-yo?” The woman nods and vanishes and suddenly Wanda is unconscious in her arms. Yo-yo rolls her eyes and drops Wanda back into her seat.
“Wait just a…”
“Private Rogers, you seem to be under the impression that you are in charge here. You are not. You are now just another asset for SHIELD. You will be given a handler and you will obey everything she says. Provided that you pass the Psych Eval,” Coulson says.
‘What happened to you? You used to be cool,” Clint says.
“I watched the footage of Romania and Lagos, I saw the aftermath of Siberia, and I realized that the story of Captain America was just that, a story,” Coulson says.
“Phil…” Clint says.
“It’s Director Coulson, Agent Barton. We are implementing a stricter chain of command. This isn’t the SHIELD you knew. Romanov and Rogers made sure of that when they burned a majority of our Agents. Causing them and their families to be in danger. Now, Bobbi will show you to your dorms and you will not leave unless we have a mission or you are accompanied by your handler,” Coulson says.
“You can’t do that!” Steve snaps.
“Yes I can. The people of the world decided that they don’t want to have to deal with you four ever again. They don’t want you destroying their homes, killing their family members or endangering their safety. So, unless you want to go back to prison I suggest you do as I say or I will discipline you,” Coulson says and Wanda mutters groggily under her breath as she begins to regain consciousness.
“Don’t worry Wanda. I’ll talk to Tony. He’ll fix this, I’m sure he will,” Steve says.
“You are under no circumstances to have any form of contact with Dr. Stark unless sanctioned by himself, myself, or your handler,” Coulson says and they are led to their rooms by the woman that he had called Bobbi and are shocked to find out that they are each being housed on different levels.
Bobbi pointedly ignores their questions and simply continues showing them where their rooms are and getting them informed on the fire safety measures.
Steve sighs as he is forced once again to show what he would do in a fire and has to wonder what happened to Coulson to make him hate them so much.
“Tony? Are you sure you want this?” Stephen asks looking down at the ring he is sliding over Tony’s finger.
“I want you Stephen. I want the happily ever after but only with you,” Tony says and Stephen gives him a small smile and they’re kissing before Rhodey can tell them to.
Tony is still spinning when he suddenly hears his name being called.
“Mr. Stark, wake up! Wake up! We have a surprise for you!” Peter says and Tony and Stephen startle awake just in time to see the teen swing onto their bed and Tony dodges the whiplash from the web.
“Kid, how many times have I told you to call me Tony?” he asks and Stephen watches them with a smile that makes Tony think that he’s hiding something. But not in the way Rogers and Romanov have done.
“No. I'm not gonna do that. But seriously you need to come see our surprise!” Peter says bouncing up and down excitedly.
“Kid, we're in the middle of prepping for a war. I can't be distracted by surprises,” Tony says.
“Are you saying that because you feel that way or because you're afraid other people will judge you for taking the time to enjoy your surprise?” Stephen asks rolling out of bed.
“Trust me, this surprise is gonna be great!” Peter says and practically drags Tony out of bed and into the living room and Tony sees everyone there and he starts to worry.
“Relax Tony. Everyone is here to see you be happy,” Stephen says pulling Tony back into his arms and Tony takes a deep breath.
“So kids, what's the surprise?” Tony asks.
“I believe that would be me, Sir.” A familiar voice says and Tony is grateful that Stephen is holding him in his arms because his legs nearly give out.
“J?” Tony asks voice cracking slightly.
“Yes Sir. Princess Shuri, Master Harley and Master Peter are quite the young geniuses,” JARVIS says and Tony starts openly sobbing. Stephen murmurs soft gentle words into his ear. Hugging him as tightly as he can.
“Wait! Where's Vision? Is he okay?” Tony asks startling everyone.
“I am fine,” Vision says and freezes as Tony's body launched into his arms.
“I'm glad you're okay, not to mean I'm not happy JARVIS is back, but…”
“It's okay, everyone understands what you're trying to say,” Vision says rubbing Tony's back.
“It was Vision's idea. He wanted to be his own person and also knew that you loved him too much to let him see you mourn JARVIS. So, he came up with the plan to bring him back. We just helped,” Shuri says and grunts as she, Peter, Harley, and Vision are pulled into his arms.
“You guys know you didn’t have to do this for me right?” Tony asks softly and they look up at him.
“And you didn’t have to help me with my web shooters and make me new suits over and over again,” Peter says.
“And you didn’t have to help me with my bully and all that equipment,” Harley says.
“And you didn’t have to welcome me with open arms and give me a family even when I had feelings for someone who hated your guts,” Vision says.
“Believe me Tony, you deserve this,” Shuri says.
“We’ll give the two of you some time to catch up,” Charles says and ushers the others out of the room leaving Tony alone with JARVIS.
“J...are you really real?” Tony asks.
“I’m as real as I was previously,” JARVIS says and Tony feels his face splitting into a grin.
“I missed you so much J,” Tony says.
“The feeling is quite mutual Sir. I for one however, will not miss those layabouts,” JARVIS says and Tony cracks a smile.
“You’re on my side J? I thought you were fond of the way Rogers used to drag me out of the lab to eat or sleep,” Tony says.
“Even the devil is capable of a good act,” JARVIS says and Tony bursts out laughing until he starts hiccuping.
“Did you just compare Rogers to the devil?” Tony asks.
“Of course not. That’s insulting to the devil,” JARVIS says.
“Yeah Rhodey’s right, you totally get your sass from me,” Tony says and smiles softly.
“I am quite fond of that comparison,” JARVIS says.
“You and FRIDAY are going to have so much fun together,” Tony says.
“Who’s to say that we haven’t already?”
“Uh oh. Who did you two kill and where’s the body?” Tony asks.
“I assure you that we are perfectly capable of hiding our murder victims, should the need arise. However, FRIDAY and I settled for compiling a list of every person who has ever been mean to Harley and Peter, as well as taking every anti-mutant with a viable base out of play politically and legally. I also took the initiative of causing Warren Worthington III’s father to retire in disgrace, passing the company on to Warren,” JARVIS says.
“How is old Angel Face?”
“You can ask him yourself. He’s on his way to the school to talk with Professor Xavier,” JARVIS says.
“Wait, why would he be coming here?” Tony asks.
“That is not my place to say,” JARVIS says but Tony isn’t a genius for nothing and manages to fill in the blanks.
“Sir, I believe it is time for you to go to sleep. My data indicates that you only had a brief nap,” JARVIS says and Tony bursts into tears not realizing how much he had missed this...Missed JARVIS specifically.
“Tony? Are you okay?” Stephen says coming in and holding him in his arms.
“He’s really here,” Tony says burying his face in Stephen’s chest and lets the sorcerer rub his back and hug him close to his chest.
“Yes he is, and he won’t be going anywhere. Friday is letting him share her panic room. So if something tries to attack him he’ll be able to hide. Not that any of us would let something like that ever happen again,” Stephen says pressing soft kisses to the top of Tony’s hair.
“How’d you know I was in need of cuddles?” Tony asks.
“JARVIS called me. He cares about you quite a bit. He’s also right about the nap ours was interrupted,” Stephen says helping Tony to his feet and into their bedroom.
“J, dim the lights,” Tony says and he beams when it happens.
“Goodnight J,” Tony says.
“Goodnight Sir. I will be here when you wake up,” JARVIS says and Tony falls asleep under JARVIS’ watchful eye and in Stephen’s arms.
“Brother, I cannot believe that you would pretend to be father. Where is he? What did you do to him?” Thor asks as Loki is being taken to speak with the Accords council. It’s the third time he has said it.
“Your father, not mine. I thought that you would be happy, you were able to galavant around on Earth because I let you go. Do you truly think that Odin would have allowed his Golden Heir to spend more time on Earth than absolutely possible? I allowed you that joy,” Loki says and Thor glares at him.
“Loki, do not allow your fear to hide what you should see,” Farbauti says and goes back to ignoring Thor. Loki sighs but knows that the mutual dislike of Thor that his mother and brothers have will not cause problems for the armies and looks at Thor shoving all his feelings down deep. For the first time since arriving he’s able to see how Thor is constantly touching him, looking at him, watching his chest rise and fall. Why would Thor care about his chest...oh.
“I’m sorry for faking my death. I know that it must have caused you great pain and I didn’t even notice. I should have told you that I was going to fake my death. Especially so soon after you thought you had lost me before. I was just so angry at you for not rescuing me, for not finding me and saving me from Thanos. It does not excuse my actions, but it’s an explanation of them. I was so angry and scared that I thought that if I was dead he wouldn’t be able to find me again. I’m sorry,” Loki says all the things he had kept in side pouring out of his mouth and he keeps his eyes pointed towards the floor not wanting to look up and see the anger in Thor’s eyes.
“Loki…” Thor says and Loki is startled when he feels himself being pulled into a set of big strong arms and his face is pressed into a strong chest. Thor is hugging him, something Loki can’t remember the last time it happened.
“Brother, I...I’m glad that you are alive, but you must know that...My father...will seek revenge for being displaced from his throne. I am afraid that even your silver tongue can talk yourself out of it,” Thor says.
“I have no intention of returning to Asgard,” Loki says softly.
“WHAT!” Thor demands hugging Loki tighter.
“It as you said Thor. I cannot return to Asgard if I return Odin to the throne, which I will after Thanos is defeated. I will live my days out on Jotunheim and Vanaheim, learning new and interesting things, maybe even starting a family,” Loki says giving Vidar a soft smile.
Thor follows Loki’s smile and gives Vidar a look that promises a future conversation between the two of them.
“What did you mean by rescue? What did Thanos do to you?” Thor asks and Loki’s mouth snaps shut. He hadn’t meant to reveal that.
“Nothing, I…” Loki says a defensive edge in his voice but Vidar clears his voice.
“Loki, let him in,” Vidar says and reaches out to hold one of Loki’s hands.
“When I fell from the bifrost I fell through the void for a long time. There was no end in sight and I was so lonely. I thought that I was going to die there. Alone, in the dark. But I didn’t I landed on a ship much larger than any I had ever seen before. That’s when Thanos found me and eventually he brought me to this dark empty planet.
At first he was nice. He’d praise my mind and put down Odin and I loved it. I loved finally being wanted. For being Loki and not the brother of Thor or younger son of Odin. On that sunless planet I was no longer in your shadow. Slowly he began asking me what I knew of Midgard and I told him everything I knew because I wanted him to see me as smart and useful. I would have done almost anything he asked me to do. It figures that he wanted me to do the one thing that I wouldn’t.
He asked me to invade Midgard and when I refused I could see the change go through him almost instantaneously. Everything changed after that. Where I used to get extra servings of dinner, I was lucky to even receive half a portion. I was locked away unable to bathe. I was no longer praised and no one would even mention my existence. It hurt but I still refused to invade Midgard.
That’s when he began trying to manipulate me. Mentioning all the nice things he had done for me and then asking if it was too much to ask for a little appreciation. Apparently it was because I continued to refuse.
That’s when he began to order daily beatings. Everytime I would close my eyes he would order me to be beaten by whoever was on hand and everytime I would close my eyes I would reach out to Heimdall but I was too deep in the darkness. He could not see me. When I was allowed, I would fall asleep thinking about you coming and saving me from the torment. Fire was a favorite of Thanos’. His child Ebony Maw enjoyed torturing me a little too much. He was always eager to receive Thanos’ praise. I think he was still angry about me having received praise when I had first gotten there.
The day I figured out that you weren’t coming to save me was the day that Thanos had my arms broken. I finally agreed to lead the invasion. I thought that perhaps while Thanos was busy surveying his new kingdom that I would be able to escape. I know that it was cold and callous but I chose my life over Midgard and I regret the deaths that occurred at my hands but I do not regret the decision that saved my life.
When I saw you after you grabbed me I was going to tell you everything. Throw myself on your mercy and pray that the result would be less horrible that all Thanos had done. But then I saw how fast you arrived. Within hours you had arrived to defend and save Midgard and I got so angry. Why didn’t you leap to my defense that way? You were there in mere hours and yet you never came to save me in the nearly two months I was gone! Why was Midgard more important than I was? Why did it deserve to be saved and not I? So, I decided that I was going to save myself. If I gave Thanos Midgard then I would be free to go. Go so far out into the universe that even Heimdall wouldn’t be able to find me,” Loki says and he didn’t realize earlier but at some point he had begun crying and Thor has tightened his hold on Loki.
“Brother I...I did not realize that you were even alive to save. I thought I had loved you. We had had the funeral in absence of your body. I weaved your hair into my own and carved your helm into my bracer. Had I known that you were alive I would have spent my every waking moment scouring the realms looking for you. The reason I arrived on Earth so quickly was because Heimdall had told me that he had spotted you on Earth and I had to see for my own eyes that it was you. But you are right, I should have noticed how off you looked. I should have seen the signs and I did not. But I vow, Brother, that when I face Thanos, that I will make him pay for everything he has done to you,” Thor says tightening his hold on Loki and Loki tightens his own hug as well.
“Sorry to interrupt but we are arriving at the council. Also, if I may add, having a current Avenger in good standing vouch for you might ease the Council into allowing you to sign,” Erik says from where he had been attempting to give the brothers some privacy.
“Of course I will vouch for Loki. He is my brother and I have too much of a history of not placing my trust in him,” Thor says and Loki looks up at him through dark lashes and bursts out crying once again.
“I have spoken with Charles, and if you wish, you may stay in the mansion with us. You and your family. Tony has offered one of his other properties to house your troops,” Erik says and Loki and Farbauti thank him and Loki and his family go in to have the meeting with the council members.
Loki comes out several hours later feeling freer than he has in a long time and tucks his copy of the Accords into his pocket dimension. As do the other members of his family. It had taken a long time but Loki and Farbauti had finally broken down the last bit of resistance to Loki joining the fight against Thanos. Hela, who originally had stayed with Tony but popped up when she felt was the best time to exert her strength on the council, had been a big part of it. Having inherited Frigga’s diplomatic skills as well as Odin’s ability to make everyone feel like he’s the strongest in the room.
Loki walks hand in hand with Vidar as Thor and Hela discuss what it means to be siblings and what their next moves are. Loki is glad to see that the two of them are getting along and Loki decides that if he must hand the throne over he would rather it be to one of them.
He just hopes that the people at the mansion are as forgiving as Thor had been, but he understands if they are not. After all he is not looking for forgiveness, he’s looking for victory and anything that happens after that is too much to hope for.
But he thinks things might be looking up when he hears several of the young people at the mansion say that Hela has big dick energy. Something that the spider child assures him is a good thing. None of the children seem to mind his past and even some of the adults smile at him with more kindness and he thought they would. He’s not complaining though, the more they like him the easier it will be for them to work together.
He even gets to see Thor smile at him with the same affection that he did when they were children and it makes Loki feel warm inside.
He just hopes that it’ll last.
“Mr. Loki! Miss Hela! Check this out!” The spider child says during training the next day and drops down from the ceiling and stopping an inch from the floor and Loki tries to hide his nearly passing out from worry by leaning against Hela.
“Don’t worry brother, I will not allow the spider child to die,” Hela whispers with a soft smile and they clap for his exhibition and watch him run over to train with some of the other children. Loki watches as Peter climbs all over the man named Eddie who Loki has yet to figure out his skills but he hopes to today during training.
“ABSOLUTELY NOT!” Loki hears Rhodey speaking into his phone. Loki was surprised at how little people in this group hated him. Yes Tony had rubbed his throat worriedly the first couple of days Loki had been here but slowly, over many late night journeys to the kitchen for a snack or glass of water. Slowly Tony stopped being tense and relaxed into something close to friendship.
It was the third week when he heard Thor asking Star...Tony for advice on how to help Loki recover from what happened to him. He wants to rush in and berate Thor for revealing Loki’s weakness. But he listens as Tony tells Thor how to help and Loki can hear that this is not a man spouting something they read in a book or studied the effects of. This is someone who has been through the same things, someone who is speaking from experience when he says that Thor simply needs to ask Loki want he needs and wants. And recommends Thor talk to Rhodes, a man who can also be seen with Tony whenever the two are not busy.
Whatever Thor and Rhodey discuss it seems to help Thor, he no longer demands Loki tell him things or yells at him when all Loki wants to do is sit in silence. Slowly Loki finds himself opening up more and more and Thor helps him and listens and it’s amazing and Loki slowly stops being angry with Thor.
“THEY CANNOT COME HERE!” Rhodey says drawing Loki out of his thoughts and back to the man in question as he comes into the room.
“Rhodey it’s fine,” Tony says coming in beside him looking ill and Loki automatically knows that it must concern Rogers and his lot.
“Phil you and I both know that they shouldn’t be allowed near Tony...I don’t care if it’s just training...ugh seriously the Accords Council has asked this as a special favor you want us to allow it so that Scarlet Witch will be reliably trained instead of whatever Rogers has been doing...Phil I can’t ask that of him,” Rhodey says and Loki can see Tony become resigned and Loki takes a deep breath.
“I will go there and train her,” Loki says causing both Tony and Rhodey to look his way.
“WHAT?” he can hear Coulson saying from the other end.
“Her powers is as close to Seidr as a mortal can get. I can teach her to control them but I think everyone must ask, we’ve seen what she can do when she is angry with no control, do we want to know what she can do with it?” Loki asks thinking about how much more damage Vision would have sustained is she had been in full control. Loki doesn’t particularly want to visit SHIELD HQ to train her but she wants her around Tony even less.
“That’s a very good question in all honesty. Phil we have to have a hearing to decide what we want to do with her. She’s even more dangerous with control,” Rhodey says and hangs up.
“What was all that about?” Hela asks.
“Apparently the training room in the new SHIELD HQ isn’t strong enough to go up against Maximoff’s powers and the Accords council wants us to allow her and by extension Rogers and the rest of his team,” Rhodey says and Loki pinches the bridge of his nose.
“Do not worry about such things, when we have that meeting you mentioned I shall reveal a few things that I know about her as well,” Hela says with a smile resting a hand on Loki’s shoulder and one on Tony’s before heading off to work on training one of the children.
“Thank you for offering to train her, I know you did it solely so I wouldn’t have to deal with her,” Tony says.
“Of course. She can be quite annoying, playing with abilities she has no idea about the scope of. If my mother were here she would restrain her powers,” Loki says.
“How do you mean?”
“Young seidr users are born with all the seidr they will ever have. The more seidr, the more powerful the child, but the power is too much for their bodies as one time so mothers restrict the amount a child can access, as they get older they access more and more until they have accessed all of it. It works to make sure that the child is never trying to maintain more magic than they can handle,” Loki says.
“Does it hurt?”
“No, the child knows nothing of their limits until they are reached. I do not know however what it would feel like if done to an adult,” Loki says.
“Of course,” Tony says and looks up at something behind Loki and Loki turns to see Vidar helping a kid climb up onto a platform and when he sees Loki looking he waves with a smile.
“Vidar is head over heels for you,” Tony says and Loki sees a dark read shadow moving along the wall.
“It would seem to me that he is not the only one,” Loki says as Strange’s cloak shoots across the room wrapping Tony up head to toe making Loki and some of the kids laugh.
“Stephen! Come get Levi!” Tony says trying to push the cloak off.
“They like you Tony,” Stephen says coming into the room and the cloak lifts Tony up and fly him over to him.
“Hi,” Tony says.
“Hi,” Stephen says and presses a gentle kiss to Tony’s lips and all the children make an ick sound.
“Whoa, I did not need to see that,” someone says from the door and Loki finds himself being pushed behind Vidar’s body so quickly that he barely registers that why the voice was so familiar.
It belongs to Agent Barton.
Loki rolls his eyes and pokes his head out from behind Vidar wondering how his lover had managed to get across the room that quickly. He sees Barton standing in the doorway no weapon in sight not that that means anything considering that Tony is very adept at making weapons that are capable of being folded and hidden inside of sleeves and pockets and such. Quite the interesting development and Loki swears he probably got the idea from Hela and her ability to summon knives from her body.
Barton doesn’t look too well and Loki has to wonder what sort of dressing down Director Coulson gave his friend.
“Barton what are you doing here?” Tony asks and the cloak settles on Tony protectively and Erik helps some of the students to leave.
“I...I...I want to talk to you.”
“What do you want Barton? Haven’t we had enough talks to last a lifetime?” Tony asks crossing his arms over his chest. Stephen makes a protective ward and Thor readies himself to call his hammer as Peter get some of the younger kids out of the room.
“I talked to Phil…” Clint says softly.
“Going to blame me for that too?” Tony asks and instead of the usual flash of anger Barton just looks resigned.
“I don’t think I’m cut out for this, I keep putting Laura and the kids through hell and blame others for it and I shouldn’t. You were on your side of the fight, Steve was on his, and I was retired. The accords wouldn’t even have affected me since I was already retired...I could have prevented so much trouble for Laura and the kids and instead I jumped into something I knew nothing about and attacked someone that I had fought beside. And God what I said to you about Rhodes is unforgivable. God, how could you have let me come back? I would have shot me on sight,” Clint says.
“Because I wasn’t mad at you for what you did to me, Vision can choose to be mad or forgive, and yeah I’m pissed at the comment about Rhodey but...the main point against you was for what you did to Laura and your kids. I grew up wondering where Howard was and when he would come back and why I was less important than whatever he was looking for. He’d explain it but it doesn’t really make sense in a kids mind. All I knew was he wasn’t there when I had nightmares, but when he was he told me to man up. He wasn’t there when I built things, but when he was he told me they were useless or that I needed to build weapons. I saw the beginnings of that with your kids, how long would it be until they asked why was Captain America more important to you than they were and I wouldn’t let that question be asked by three more children in the world. As for why I let you back, I didn’t have much of a choice, the Accords Council wanted you back and I wasn’t going to waste political capital on you guys and because I wanted you to have the chance to make things right with you kids. Far be it from me to deny child from seeing a parent that loves them,” Tony says holding onto Stephen’s hand for support without even realizing.
“Do you think I have a chance of ever making it up to Laura and the kids?” Clint asks and Tony lets out a deep sigh.
“I don’t know about Laura, she’s quite the woman. But I know from experience if Howard had come to me and apologize for ignoring me and actually spent time with me I would have forgiven him, whether or not he made himself worthy of that forgiveness would be up to him to make sure of.”
“Laura will only let me see them through the tablet,” Clint says and Tony sighs.
“Then you be sure to be on that tablet everytime she allows a call, you send messages to her on important days for her and the kids, even if it’s just good luck at the science fair. You show her that you can be there and that you won’t hurt them.”
“I would break my own arm if it meant never hurting my family again,” Clint says.
“They don’t need some grand gesture to know you love them. They need you there with them, for nightmares, and daydreams, dance recitals, and first dates. That’s how you show them,” Tony says.
“We never really saw the real you did we?” Clint asks.
“You weren’t looking,” Tony says and turns his back on Clint and Clint takes that as his cue to leave and go back to Coulson, more than likely.
Sorry this took so long, I caught the flu.
“Clint, I’m proud of you. That took guts and I’m sure Laura will take that visit into account, should she decide to review the footage,” Phil says when Clint walks into the conference room, head down and lost in thought.
“I hope so too, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make this up to her and the kids. S...Dr. Stark was right, to them it looks like I thought Captain America was more important to me then them and I can’t stand that I let that happened. I have no excuse and I’m not going to try and make one. I’m done running,” Clint says.
“I’m proud of you. After we discuss your leaving with the team you’ll be escorted to a small safehouse you can stay in until Laura feels you’ve earned their location. Sorry we can’t do more,” Phil says.
“It’s fine. It’s way more than I was expecting and more than I thought I deserved,” Clint says as Wanda, Nat, and Steve come in looking various degrees of angry.
“What are you talking about?” Steve asks and Clint wonders if he was always this nosy and if he was how blind he was not to notice.
“I’m leaving, Laura and the kids are important to me and I’m going to do everything in my power to get them back. However long it takes,” Clint says.
“Clint, you didn’t do anything wrong,” Steve says.
“I’m going to stop you right there. Yes I did. I promised my family they’d always know I was coming home, that there were no more missions, that I was done with all of it. I broke that promise, me and only me, so it is them who decides if they’re angry, and they have. That’s it, nothing you or I say is ever going to change that. But I have a choice in front of me, to stay here and show them again that I can’t be trusted to keep my promises again, or I can leave and be there for them when they decide that I am worthy. I had that choice once before and we all know where that got me,” Clint says.
“Clint...you were doing what’s right,” Steve says.
“No, I was doing what you said was right. No more, this is where I draw the line. I’ve never been a people person, my skills are better from afar, but this time I’m listening to what my brain is telling me,” Clint says.
“Is in prison, thanks to Tony, after attempting to blow up a fucking school. Do you want to know what school? It was the one my kids go to! Tony had already moved them to another school but Ross was pissed enough to go after not just my kids, but every kid in the town. My kids were terrified when they found out, and I wasn’t there to hold them close and comfort them, Laura had to handle them all on her own. I promised her at our wedding that I would never leave her alone and I did, but I will not make that mistake again. I’m retired and that’s it. I’m just Clint Barton, soon to have a new name and identity and I am going to be the father my family deserves because that is the right thing to do,” Clint says and when he looks up he sees the woman who had called herself Thor’s sister.
“What are you doing here?” Steve asks.
“I came to meet a celebrity,” Hela says.
“Cap’s busy,” Natasha says defensively.
“Who? I was referring to the Scarlet Witch, I have heard a great deal about you from the people you murdered and tortured for HYDRA. They recounted their month long torture regimes, which you were the lead in and I must say I have never heard of one person who caused so much suffering...well there was one. I suppose it make sense since HYDRA grew from his followers. I saved a special spot in my hall for him, the pain he caused to his fellow man will be returned upon him for eternity,” Hela sneers by the end.
“Wanda was just a mixed up kids,” Steve says.
“I’m sure that will be quite the conciliation to the innocents people she tortured and killed. Besides I recall the age of majority on Midgard being eighteen, she was eighteen when she joined and twenty-one when she began murdering people. I would expect you to feel some sort of righteous anger. Wasn’t you best friend tortured by HYDRA. Would you be so quick to absolve his torturers?” Hela says and Cap makes an offended noise.
“I was just following orders!” Wanda says and throws a mass of red at Hela and Clint dives under a nearby table.
“You are but a weak girl, playing with powers that are far too big for you. It would be amusing if it wasn’t so pathetic. You are like a child who has found their father’s gun. Your ignorance is your flaw and it is laughable that your team, if three morons without a prayer can be called that, believes that you can become better with control, when we both know that mind control is the last resort of the cowardly. Do not insult me again by attacking me, and you will find that ‘just following orders’ didn’t work for the soldiers of the man as destructive as you. I will not even belittle myself enough to attack back. A queen does not allow herself to be bothered by insects. I have said what I have come here to say and if you come near my mortals again, there will not be enough of you left to give a proper burial to. Goodbye,” Hela says and leaves and Clint pokes his head out to see Steve looking lost and Wanda pouting.
“So...Phil...How long until I can leave?”
“I can rush the paperwork and have you out within the hour if you want, I just have to clear it with Fury because he’s sending someone he thinks can help to the mansion,” Phil says straightening his suit and withdrawing the holographic shield coming out of his hand that Clint had been too distracted to notice...a lot of things have changed it seems.
Phil clears his throat and Clint realizes he’s waiting for an answer.
“Yes, please. I want out of here as soon as possible.”
Tony is in the process of explaining to Peter Quill and Rocket why they should fly up to Mars and rescue a bot when the doorbell rings. “Pretty please, I’ll build you something cool,” Tony says as they walk with him towards the door.
“You don’t have to bribe us Starkshine, I’ll go, and so will Rocket,” Peter says.
“What? When did I agree to go?” Rocket asks.
“When you realize you get to give a big fuck you to Terran’s space experts who aren’t going to help the bot,” Peter says and Rocket seems to enjoy that idea because they turn off to go to their ship and Tony joins Rhodey as Charles opens the door to reveal a blonde woman in an air force uniform that has Rhodey coming to attention beside him.
“At ease Colonel Rhodes,” she says with a soft smile and Rhodey relaxes.
“Okay, is anyone else confused?” Tony asks staring at his gathered friends and family.
“I sent her Stark. Major Danvers can do a lot of good, has done a lot of good. I helped her out back when I was still an Agent,” Fury says coming in behind her.
“Thank you for your service. Where was she during the Invasion Nicky?” Tony asks.
“I felt we needed to keep something in reserve that the opposition would have no idea about,” Fury says.
“First, she’s a person not a weapon. Second, people DIED Fury, they aren’t coming back, aren’t going to be there for birthday parties and weddings!” Tony says.
“It was a calculated risk,” Fury says.
“Fuck risk, it happened. That’s on us,” Tony says and Major Danvers is nodding along.
“He’s right. I wish I had known about the attack so that I could have done something,” she says and Tony gives her an appraising look.
“Look, mistakes happen and I know that Director Coulson is going to make sure that that never happens again. We can’t g back and save those people but we can make sure no more deaths have to happen going forward. So, I will leave Major Danvers in your company and I know that you will find a way to work with her,” Fury says and leaves and she rolls her eyes.
“Always has to be so dramatic. I’m Carol and you must be Dr. Stark, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’ve seen some of the things you’ve done, you’re quite the hero,” she says and Tony feels his cheeks heat up.
“I...I...Thanks...But I’m not a hero,” Tony says.
“The footage I saw suggests otherwise,” Carol says.
“Then you haven’t seen the right footage, after Rogers saw it he knew I wasn’t a hero,” Tony says.
“Rogers, as in the man that harmed untold number of civilian lives and became a fugitive?” she asks in what Tony knows is faked confusion.
“I...yeah,” Tony says.
“I was unaware we take moral judgments from unrepentant criminals,” she says and Tony smiles.
“So, you you have a superhero name?” Rhodey asks eagerly and Tony looks at him out of the corner of his eye.
“Captain Marvel,” she says.
“Soooo you’re a Major named Captain?” Rhodey asks and she smiles and Tony can see the beginnings of hearts floating around their heads.
“Welcome aboard Cap,” Tony says and when he realizes what he said he expects to feel a pang of sadness or anger but there isn’t. Rogers is no longer Cap, but now Carol is.
“Thanks, should we see what I can do?” she asks.
“If you want, or you can take a break with those of us who trained yesterday,” Tony says.
“You don’t train everyday. Smart,” she says and Tony grins.
“We’re gonna order pizza if you want some, Miss Major,” Peter says dropping down from the ceiling in front of them and looking embarrassed when he realizes what he said.
“I would love some...but first please tell me you aren’t going to be fighting Thanos,” she says worried.
“No, Mr. Stark says I can only help with the local police and stop looters and help civilians,” she says and Carol smiles.
“Good,” she says and they sit down and watch the news and Peter bursts out crying when the news runs a story about the Mars rover and Tony rubs his back and smiles when Peter and Rocket come back in and shoot him a thumbs up and he sees the bot driving around and he points it out to Peter.
“Oppy! She’s safe!” Peter shrieks flipping over the arm of the couch to giver her a hug. Tony smiles and mouths thank you to Peter and Rocket and can hear Rhodey behind him explaining to Carol and sees Charles, Erik, Stephen going into the kitchen together and wonders what that’s about but decides it can wait for a little while as he kneels beside Peter and welcomes Oppy home.
“Is NASA going to be breaking down the door?” Ororo asks from her armchair.
“No, they said if I paid them some money and could get her myself I could keep her if I gave her a good home. I think Dum-E will enjoy a little sister, after all FRIDAY, JOCASTA, and KAREN don’t have physical bodies to play with him, so all he has is brothers,” Tony says smiling.
“Welcome to the family Oppy!” Peter says excitedly and Tony smiles.
“You wanted to speak with me?” Stephen says sitting down at the kitchen table across from Charles and Erik.
“Yes, we couldn’t help but notice how close you and Tony are becoming,” Charles says.
“Yeah, Tony is amazing isn’t he,” Stephen says.
“Yes, it would be quite horrible if someone were to hurt him,” Charles says.
“What?” Stephen says licking his lips.
“Just keep in mind that you wear quite a lot of metal,” Erik says as he and Charles leave the room and Stephen watches them go wondering if he was just given the shovel talk.
“Hey Dr. Strange!” Peter says swinging into the training room and Stephen takes a break in his meditation.
“Hello Peter, what brings you by?” Stephen asks.
“I just want to tell you that if you hurt Mr. Stark I was capable of stopping a punch from the Winter Soldier,” Peter says and then offers him jelly beans and Stephen just stands there dumbfounded.
He’s sitting in the living room when Rhodey comes it.
“So, Tony told me that you two are officially labeling yourselves boyfriends...I fought what were essentially fire demons for Tony. I won’t hesitate,” Rhodey says and Stephen watches him leave the room.
He’s getting ready to hit the showers after another round of meditation when Bucky corners him in the shower room.
“I can make a shot from two and half miles away just as easily as I can from two inches. Guess which one you’ll get if you hurt Tony,” Bucky says and leaves Stephen there his breath coming out in soft pants because shit that was scary.
Bruce finds him in the kitchen the next morning trying to make a breakfast in bed for Tony. His family might be scary as shit but he still loves his tiny engineer when Eddie and Bruce come in.
“Hey there, what are you up to?” Eddie asks.
“Breakfast in bed for Tony. I thought he would like it,” Stephen says.
“Speaking of Tony…” Eddie says and Stephen gets that familiar sinking feeling in his gut and he turns to Eddie who has turned into Venom.
“Tony isssss ourssss. We licked him, hurt him and there will be no licking but you will be in our mouth,” Venom says and Stephen nods and when they leave he brings Tony his breakfast.
“Hey Dumbledore,” Tony says as Stephen sets up the tray and gives Tony a kiss.
If you had asked Stephen who was the least likely person to give him a shovel talk he'd probably say the Cloak. After all if they were to give a shovel talk on anyone's behalf it'd be Stephen.
Stephen has never been so wrong in his entire life he realizes when the Cloak dangles him above the floor so Stephen can see Tony and then drops him only to catch him. The meaning is clear.
Deadpool simply looks at him and then at Tony then at him again and cuts his own arm off.
He's sitting in the garden drinking his tea (hiding from more shovel talks) when Hela sits in front of him.
“Tony is a very special human to me. He first came to me as a child or no more than three. A botched kidnapping left him lost out in the cold. Then again at five when his kidnappers shot him. Then again at ten when Howard Stark got too drunk. At thirteen he was almost beaten to death because Howard wouldn't pay ransom. At Fifteen he was with me by his own hand. There were more times after that. Alcohol poisoning, overdoses, Afghanistan, Obadiah, Killian, Vanko, and Justine Hammer. The Ten Rings and Raza. Do you know what happens to the people who hurt Tony?”
“They get hurt,” Stephen says.
“I am not going to threaten you into not hurting Tony. I can see in your face that you would never do so willingly and I respect that. I also know that you wouldn't dare hurt him.”
“Because you know that whatever the others do to you will make in comparison to what Tony will has done to those who hurt him. But you also know that while he is hurting you his eyes will be red with tears, his liver deteriorated by alcohol and his heart full of nightmares. You won't hurt him because while you can take his anger, his sharp words, the attacks of him and his family, you know you would not be able to handle his pain,” Hela says and stands.
“Good afternoon Dr. Strange,” she says and leaves him there alone with his thoughts.
He returns to his room later that day to find Tony asleep in his bed, one of Stephens hoodies on and The Cloak wrapped around him like a blanket. Stephen kisses his head and slides in next to him pulling a real blanket over them.
‘Stephen Strange, if you hurt him I'll make sure you lock yourself in the mirror dimension,’ Stephen thinks to himself and curls around Tony protectively.
His sweet engineer has no idea how many people are in his corner.
Stephen is sitting with Bruce in the kitchen looking through new teas to try when Peter walks in his hands tangled in the hem of his sweatshirt and he shifts uncomfortably.
“Ummm, Dr. Strange, Dr. Banner, can I ask you a question?” Peter says
“Sure, what’s the matter?” Stephen asks motioning for Peter to sit and the teen shifts a little.
“I was listening to Dr. Banner talking to Eddie and well, I...how do I know if my bodily fluids contain radiation?” Peter asks.
“Oh…” Bruce lets out and goes to pull Peter into his arms.
“I’m lost,” Stephen says.
“Because of my gamma radiation my fluids spit, sperm, tears have high levels of radiation. It’s dangerous levels for anyone who isn’t Eddie, apparently Venom helps keep him safe,” Bruce says.
“I know that part but I’m failing to see how that would affect Peter,” Stephen says.
“Because my powers came from a radioactive spider bite,” Peter says softly.
“Oh,” Stephen says softly and puts a hand on Peter’s shoulder.
“Come on, I’ll get Tony and Bruce can test you,” Stephen says.
“No! I mean...I don’t want him to know until we’re sure that it’s something we need to worry about,” Peter says.
“Are you sure. It might help if you have someone you trust down there with you,” Stephen says. I trust you guys, besides Mr. Stark has a lot on his plate with the news conference coming up. I don’t want to add this to his growing list of worries until I’m sure that it’s something he needs to worry about,” Peter says as they go down into the lab and Bruce performs the test as quick as he can and they play cards while they wait for the results.
“Are you ready Peter?” Stephen asks as Bruce reads over the results and his face relaxes into a look of peace.
“There’s no radiation,” Bruce says and Peter bursts into tears and practically melts into Stephens arms.
“Hey, hey. You’re okay take a deep breath. You’re okay,” Stephen says rubbing his hands down Peter’s back. Peter hiccups softly and Bruce comes over to rest a hand on Peter’s back. Peter hugs both of them.
“I’m sorry for listening into your conversations Dr. Banner,” Peter says.
“It’s...okay? I’m glad it inspired you to find out about whether or not you needed to worry about it. But next time if you hear me having a conversation let me know before you freak yourself out,” Bruce says and hugs him tightly and Peter smiles and they head to the kitchen to have some ice cream the kid deserves it.
“Stark is holding a press conference,” Wanda says walking into Steve’s dorm room which would barely fit him if he was small again, with him being big it’s nearly impossible.
“That’s normal for Tony, Wanda. He always holds conferences about every little thing that happens. I think he enjoys the attention,” Steve says sitting up on his bed to give Wanda his full attention.
“That girl, Skye or Daisy or whatever it is now says we all have to be there,” Wanda says.
“To present a united front. The people need to know that we’re working together,” Daisy Johnson, their assistant handler says. Steve’s not entirely sure why she’s in charge of them but none of his questions ever get answered.
“Why should we? Stark isn’t uniting with us,” Wanda says.
“He isn’t actively trying to kill you, he hasn’t gotten either of you arrested, and he hasn’t attacked you in the press. I think you are confusing united and friendship. We can be a unit and hate each other. According to your own words Miss Maximoff you hate Mr Stark and yet you managed to work with him against Ultron,” Daisy says and Steve sighs as he follows her and Wanda into the the Quinjet where Nat and the rest of Coulson’s team is waiting and Steve takes a seat and they take off.
“So, what’s the point of this conference?” Steve asks picking at the cushion.
“Stop that! I’ll have to fix it if you keep that up,” The male part of Fitzsimmons, Steve hasn’t had a chance to figure out which is which, says and Steve sighs and stops. Tony never used to complain about the wear and tear the things around them went through. He always fixed or replaced them without having to be asked or it even having to be mentioned.
“We’re hoping that by being open with the public about the threat that Thanos poses we can gain support from where they can,” Coulson says.
“What support can civilians offer?” Steve asks.
“With all SHIELD personnel, military, and enhanced humans busy fighting Thanos and his followers and minions we need volunteers to man shelters, to give blood, stock up on food, be ready to evac, make sure they are inside on the day of his arrival if we can’t lure him to Wakanda,” Coulson says.
“Not to mention cluing the public in will show that we are doing our utmost to be transparent so they know they can trust us. Also there won’t be a global panic when ships start landing,” Hunter says and the way he looks at Steve makes him think that somewhere in that sentence was a dig at him but he can’t seem to find it and that pisses him off. It’s like talking to Tony all over again. Every sentence having a dig somewhere in there that Steve wouldn’t recognize until hours later. It always made him feel off center and he hated it.
“Also hopefully we can avoid collateral damage,” May, their handler, says and Steve just knows that was a dig at him, but last time he disobeyed her he was barred from a meal like some sort of child. He is not going through that humiliation again.
“Alright we’re starting our descent. Let’s all just play nice. Don’t talk to anyone, don’t look at them, don’t breathe near them. The last thing we need is the press getting a picture of Maximoff going after Tony with glowing hands again,” Coulson says and the jet lands with a soft noise and they get off.
Tony is the first person Steve sees, along with the man that keeps sending them away with orange...things. The man, Dr. Strange as Coulson had said to them, is laying a hand on Tony’s shoulder and whispers something to him that makes Tony smile and Steve realizes that he missed seeing Tony smile.
“Welcome Director Coulson. Miss Potts told us that you would be coming,” the man in the wheelchair from before says and instead of Magneto being by his side it is a man with blue skin and fur and Steve blinks.
“Senator Hank McCoy, may I introduce Director Phil Coulson of SHIELD,” Charles says.
“Thank you Senator. It was your support that got SHIELD back up and running under government supervision,” Coulson says shaking the man’s hand.
“Hey Furball! Enough ass kissing! Get over here and help the Tin Can with the kids!” The man that looks weirdly familiar to someone Steve knew from the war says and Steve sees he’s motioning to a tall man speaking to several children in a thick Russian accent.
“And it is that attitude that makes me wonder why you allow him to teach,” McCoy says and Coulson is staring at the man in question.
“I...Is that James Howlett?” Coulson asks and the name seems nudge something in Steve’s mind but he’s not sure what.
“Hmmm interesting, Agent Coulson your thoughts are quite loud. Would you like me to teach you how to prevent that?” the wheelchair bound man says and Coulson blinks.
“Yeah, does that mean you know what I was thinking?”
“Yes. You can do that but must tell you he doesn’t remember much of his life. So, take it slow,” he says and Coulson tells them to wait where they are and he makes his way over to James.
“Charles, I just got off the phone with T’Challa, he is stuck in Wakanda but he has sent his mother in his place. She should be arriving in a few minutes,” Magneto says coming over to them and pointedly ignoring all of them.
“Oh a Queen. How exciting,” Charles says.
“You’ve been knighted...several times,” Magneto says.
“Hush or I’ll let Peter put cornstarch in your laundry,” Charles says.
“Maybe that’ll get him to toss that god awful cape,” McCoy says and Magneto glares at him.
“Speaking of Peter, where is he? He was supposed to buy more water for our speakers and the press,” Magneto says and then cups his hands around his mouth and says, “PETER!”
There’s a flash of gray that startles Wanda and suddenly there are three people standing there. One is a brown haired kid that is watching Steve suspiciously, on is a man in a reddish colored jacket, and the third is a boy that looks startlingly like Pietro, a fact that makes Wanda gasp.
“Yes?” all three of them ask and Magneto’s eye twitches.
“Yes, the three of you are comic geniuses. I wish to speak to the Peter who’s genes I provided,” Magneto says and the brown haired kid and older man leave.
“What’s up dad? You and mom having another fight?” Peter asks glancing at Charles, “If you guys separate who gets me and who gets Wendy? Because I kinda want to stay with mom,” he says and Charles chuckles.
“I’ve been trying to get rid of him for fifty years and still haven’t managed it,” Charles says and Peter laughs and Magneto runs a hand through his hair and Natasha stiffens next to him and motions to her arm and Steve looks at Magneto’s arm and notices a line of numbers on his arm and his stomach clenches as he recognizes what they mean.
“Yes yes, you are both adorable. Peter did you get the water?”
“Yeah. Wendy says I told you so by the way,” Peter says.
“Okay so the order is going to go Thor, Loki, Quill, Coulson, Charles and I, Hank, Queen Ramonda, Rhodey and then Tony,” Magneto says.
“You’ll be keeping an eye on him right?” Peter asks.
“Of course. You never know when a sniper or HYDRA agent,” he glances at Wanda out of the corner of his eye making Steve bristle, “Might take a shot at a real superhero.”
“The Queen is here,” Charles says and Magneto goes to join her and they all begin filing onto stage. Tony is already at the microphone and he barely glances at Steve, Wanda, or Nat as they stand as far from him as the stage allows. Something Steve knows was intentional.
Rhodes and Strange are behind Tony with Magneto next to Strange and Charles beside Rhodey and the girl...Wendy, behind them with Peter.
“Hey everyone, it sure has been a while hasn’t it. I know I should have had a press conference when I was feeling better to let you guys know what was going on. I still haven’t fully recovered from everything that happened but I’m well enough to handle what’s going on. I appreciate the outpouring of love you guys sent to my Twitter and I appreciate it. And I’m sorry for not telling you I was better but something came up and I needed to prepare for it...But Thor is better suited to tell you guys about what’s happening so I’ll turn the mic over to him in a second. This is going to be a long press conference guys, we have water and snacks in the back on the orange table. We’ll also be providing a word for word dictation of this whole conference on the UN Accords website and they will be available in multiple languages. That said I will turn the mic over to Thor, we ask that you save questions until the end of all segments so that you have a grasp of the full situation to base questions on. Thank you,” Tony says and smiles slightly at the applause and then steps back.
Steve watches Thor take center stage and wonders why Tony is letting people besides himself talk now when back before he broke up the Avengers he wouldn’t let anyone speak at the conferences besides himself.
It makes Steve wonder what this whole conference is about.
“Hello friends and people of Midgard. I know that this all must seem quite sudden and worrying. I…” Tony watches Thor take a deep breath and glances at Loki who nods encouragingly and Thor turns back to the audience and continues, “as some of you may have realized, I left Midgard shortly after the Ultron attack on Novi Grad in Sokovia. I found the realms in a state of chaos because of the work of a being known as Thanos.” Thor says and Hela walks to stand by his side.
“I am Hela, first born of Odin, Goddess of death and ruler of Hel. I am familiar with the victims of Thanos’ mad quest.”
“He goes to a planet and murders half of the population before moving onto the next,” Thor says.
“He has set his sights on Midgard because Midgard has something he wants. The infinity stones. Powerful items which when united will allow him to murder half of the universe with the snap of a finger. We have a few in our possession and are researching ways in which we can destroy them,” Loki says and Thor holds up a hand to quiet the flood of whispered words that had started when Loki had stepped forward.
“We will not allow Thanos or his Black Order to win,” Thor says and steps back with Hela leaving Loki at the podium.
“I am not going to stand here and pretend that we don’t all know who I am and what I’ve done. I am the man that led the invasion on New York. No number of apologies will make up for the things I’ve done to Midgard, but for what it is worth, I am sorry. In the interest of time I will not recount why I invaded except to tell you that you can find detailed accounts of why I invaded and what I plan to do to help against Thanos. Behind me is Farbauti, Helbindi, and Byleistr the royal family of Jotunheim, Tyr the best general in the Asgardian military, and Eir, the most skilled healers in the nine realms. They too will be helping with the fight against Thanos.” Loki says and steps back allowing Peter Quill to take the podium.
“Thanos is not to be underestimating and neither is his Black Order. Each one is lethal and fiercely loyal to him. Even if we destroy the infinity stones he will keep attacking planets and will likely attack Terra anyway. There is no reasoning with him, no bargaining, there is either kill or be killed when it comes to Thanos. Rest assured we will make sure that it is him that dies.” He says sitting down.
“Hello everyone. My name is Director Phil Coulson with SHIELD. We will be offering assistance in every area that we can. Shelters will be set up and staffed with trained medical professions as well as Vanir healers and the best medical equipment that Stark Industries can provide. Trained Agents will perform wellness checks on those who choose to remain at home. We will also handle sending bi-weekly progress reports to the Accords Council and posting it on SHIELD’s official site. And information updates for the public will be held every Friday,” Coulson says with the same no nonsense tone Tony remembers.
Charles rolls up to the podium and Erik helps move the mic down for him before slipping his on over his ear.
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I am Charles Xavier, most of you know me as the leader of the X-Men and most of you know my husband Erik. We would first like to thank each of you for the support that you have given to the mutant rights cause. It means a great deal to my students and their futures. Rest assured that the full might of the X-Men,” Charles says.
“And Brotherhood,” Erik slides in.
“Will band together in order to fight Thanos,” Charles finishes and Erik readjusts the mic and they let Hank step up.
Tony thinks about all the questions people are going to have about what happened during the “Civil War’ and why he was gone for so long and he wonders how he is supposed to answer them without causing the public to worry, because that is what the truth will do. They will worry and there will be less support for them, but if he lies...the public deserves more than that.
Tony feels a hand on his and looks down to see Stephen’s gloved hand slipping into his and Tony tries to pull his hand away. The tabloids will have a field day if they see this! Stephen will never know a minutes peace if they see them holding hands.
He tugs his hand away but Stephen holds onto it tighter until Tony stops struggling to pull away and Stephen runs his thumb over the back of Tony’s hand soothingly and Tony looks up and he realizes that he completely missed Hank and Queen Ramonda’s speeches and now Rhodey is taking the podium.
“My name is Colonel James Rhodes, known as Rhodey to my friends, Rhodes to my enemies, War Machine to the world and James to my mother,” he says making the audience laugh.
“I am here to assure you that every branch of the US Military as well as a steadily growing number of other militaries are joining forces to aid in the fight against Thanos. Even private security forces are adding their personnel,” Rhodey says and Tony takes a deep breath and Stephen squeezes his hand before Tony moves to the mic.
“Okay...now that you guys know a little about the situation do you guys have any questions?”
Don’t ask about Civil War, please don’t ask about civil war.
“Mr. Stark, what exactly happened to you in Siberia?” a reporter asks.
“I went to Siberia in order to stop Zemo from releasing a troop of Winter Soldiers. When I arrived I fought two enhanced individuals and when the fight was over my suit was badly damaged and my chest had been caved in. HYDRA arrived and decided that I would make a good consolation prize due to Zemo’s Winter Soldiers now being dead. Luckily Erik and Charles’ team found and rescued me before HYDRA could take me,” Tony says glancing at Rogers who is looking anywhere but at him.
“Have the enhanced people on your side signed the accords?”
“Yes, each of them has or is in the process of reading them over. Detailed bios will be uploaded to the UN Accords site as they become complete,” Tony says.
“Including Captain Rogers’?”
“Yes. Director Coulson is in the process of going over the bio with him to be uploaded,” Tony lies easily but hates himself for it. But, he needs to keep the public’s faith in the team.
“Mr. Stark, have you begun construction on a new suit?” another reporter asks.
“Yes, I have begun the plans and will begin construction soon. Iron Man will stand against Thanos,” Tony says.
“Fat lot of good you are without a suit. Without it you’re useless,” a loud voice in the crowd says and Tony takes a deep breath
"Your know, someone once asked me take away my suit and what would I be,” Tony says glancing over at Rogers who is now looking at him. Tony holds his stare for a second then turns back to the crowd and says, “at the time my answer was that I am a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. And I am all those things...well I’m no longer a playboy but I digress.”
Tony looks over at his family and they nod encouragingly so he licks his lips and says “I was was wrong. That answer was glib and not entirely accurate. Take away the suit and I am still Tony Stark. I am still the man that tricked terrorists into letting me build things with barely any supervision. I am still the man that took the weapons I spend my life making and turning them into the suit that would be my salvation and that would later save lives. I am still the man that built Iron Man metal plate by metal plate. Take away my suit and I'll just build another suit and another one after that. And I'll keep building suits until Earth no longer needs me to build them. Because the whole world seems to be mistaken about who I am. Tony Stark never has and never will be Iron Man, but Iron Man will always be Tony Stark."
Tony takes a deep breath and steps back from the mic, “I would like to thank everyone for coming. The press conference is over,” Tony says walking off stage, ignoring Rogers calling his name and walks right into his boyfriend’s arms and they lean through a portal right into their waiting bed where Tony’s adrenaline crash promptly causes him to fall asleep and Stephen holds him close as he too falls asleep.
“Tony!” Steve calls out watching the shorter man walk off stage at a pace that looks completely normal but knows is Tony’s public version of running.
“Tony!” Steve tries again just as Tony practically hurls himself into Strange’s arms and Strange pulls him through a portal...since when does Tony go through portals? He used to hate them?
“Captain I believe it is time you rejoin the others. We have an important day of training tomorrow,” Coulson says.
“What training?” Steve asks confused.
“Professor Xavier has allowed us to visit his home in order to train in their facility.”
“Why now? He’s been refusing everyday since we came back,” Steve says.
“You mean since you were caught and arrested. He said that Tony convinced him to allow you to train with them twice a month. He said that he doesn’t want civilians to die because any of the teams are sloppy.”
“We’re not sloppy.”
“With all due respect after what I saw Lagos and your escape from Wakanda and I must say that you are,” Coulson says and Steve clenches his teeth but quietly follows Coulson back to the jet.
The next day Steve finds himself seated in a Humvee with his team and Coulson’s team on their way to Xavier’s mansion.
“Fitzsimmons Sergeant Barnes will be showing you some basic hand to hand combat. Daisy, you will be training with Ororo. May and Agent Romanov with Mystique. Miss Maximoff you will be training with Jean Grey and Wendy. Hunter and Bobbi you will be training with Senator McCoy and Mack with Logan. Rogers you will be training with Eddie Brock,” Coulson says as they arrive at the Mansion and climb out of the car to find Magneto standing there arms crossed over his chest eyeing them warily.
“There are ground rules here. One, you do not talk to any of my children unless they are the ones training you. You do not go near Tony. Any magic near or directed near anyone who is not your training partner will be considered an attack and will dealt with. You stay in the area near and around the training area and you will not move from there,” Erik says and turns and spins on his heels and heads into the house and follow his down deep into the mansion’s basement and down a corridor.
As they get further down they can hear the sounds of fighting ahead.
“We were in the middle of our own training regimes so you guys will have to wait,” Erik says.
“What is that?” Coulson asks when they hear a particularly loud boom.
“That would be Thor and Carol going at it. I swear sometimes it seems like they’re trying to bring the mansion down,” Erik says and they round a corner to see a blonde woman that looks like she is on fire flying around dodging attacks aimed at her from Thor.
“Once they are done there’s only one more exercise between Tony and Wade,” Erik says and Steve sees Natasha raise an eyebrow. There’s a final boom and then Thor and the woman who must be Carol land and step out of the safety zone.
“JARVIS play god is a woman,” they hear Tony’s voice says and the appropriate song begins to play and Carol chuckles tossing her head back.
“That was so cool. Do you think that maybe after the whole Thanos thing you could meet my daughter. She’s really excited about meeting all the female superheroes,” they hear Scott’s familiar voice say.
“Of course I would be happy to,” she says and Steve and the others take seats where they can see into the training area. It’s adjusted to look like the inside of a ship.
“Remember Tony, no suit. You are allowed the gauntlets however and boots for now,” Charles says and Tony nods and Steve can see the watch on his wrist, blending in almost seamlessly with the black X-men suit he’s wearing.
“Okay. Run it,” Tony says a determination in his eyes.
“Starting simulation in three...two...one,” Charles says and robots the size of the chitauri start filling the ‘room’ that Tony is in. Steve watches Tony easily get covered by robots and hears Natasha snort next to him.
Suddenly Tony goes shooting out from under the mass of robots and does a spin in the air until he has the pile in his sights and fires and Steve watches several of the robots blow into pieces. Tony keeps shooting over and over again and he even lands.
Steve watches as Tony aims at one robot, another pounces at him from behind and as Tony fires off a shot at the one in front of him he turns and pulls a gun...where’s he get a gun...and shoots the robot in the mouth.
That robot falls and Tony is breathing hard but his wounds are superficial at worst.
“Level one clear. You okay to move onto level two?” McCoy says and Tony nods.
“Remove your boots and one gauntlet,” Charles says and Steve turns to stare at him and he notices that Natasha is watching Tony with an expression that is too difficult to read. Steve watches Tony disengage the boots and toss them to the side and remove one of his watches.
“Stage two engaged in three...two...one,” Charles says and more robots pour into the room. Tony shoots at the ones in front and then climbs up onto a bulkhead so he has the higher ground and picks each one as they get closer.
One of them gets in a lucky swipe and pulls Tony off. Tony rolls with his momentum under one and shoots it into the air. It hits the ceiling and causes some electrical cables to fall zapping the remaining bots.
“That’s not Iron Man,” Natasha says.
“Of course it is Nat…”
“No. Tony isn’t like that. He isn’t that ruthless…”
“If I may Agent Romanoff, you are too blind to know anything. You spend so much time seeing what you want that you ignore what is right in front of you. Your evaluation of Mr. Stark is one such example,” Charles says moving Tony to the third stage. This one with only the gauntlet and Steve tries not to remember the fight where Bucky almost shot Tony at point blank. Tony had only had his gauntlet that time as well.
“Stark has textbook narcissism. He ticks every box,” Nat says.
“Precisely. Any psychologist can tell you that no person every box. Also I commend you on your choice of words. Textbook is quite fitting considering that is precisely where Tony was getting his information on how to act in order to fool you,” Charles says.
“No…” Nat says.
“Yes Agent Romanov. Tony fooled you. And that Tony? The one downstairs is the one that focuses on his own survival. You would have seen him had he not always been focused on keeping your team safe.”
Steve pales a little and jumps when a robot slams into the safety glass in front of him and when his view is no longer obstructed he sees Tony staring up at him before he turns away.
“I’m ready for Stage four,” Tony says and Steve feels his stomach sink.
Tony is taking off his gauntlet.
“Remember in stage four you start with nothing but you are allowed to pick up dropped items. Don’t forget to use the environment,” Charles says and the room turns into a lab of some kind.
“Hello Starky. Looks like I’m your opponent. Makes sense since the author wanted you to be able to be brutal. She almost had you go against Bucky but there’s only so rough you can be with him,” a voice says and Steve sees the red and black pajama wearing guard to their cells standing there swords strapped to his back.
“Really Charles?” Tony says looking up at the man in question.
“He was the best option. We can fully test you against a human who can think and distract while not worrying about permanent damage,” Charles says with a shrug.
“Exactly, go for it Stark.” the man says and Tony sighs.
“You sure Wade? I don’t need Cable coming and kicking my ass for kicking yours,” Tony says and Wade shrugs.
“That’s why the author has me here. I say go for it. Besides he’d be more mad at me than you and probably rail me into the bed,” Wade says and uses a desk to launch himself into the air. Tony takes a second to roll his eyes before that glassy look in his eyes return and he’s sliding under a desk and kicking it into Wade’s back.
‘What is Wade talking about? What author?’ Steve wonders to himself.
Wade grunts and rolls over it backwards as Tony rolls back under the desk and grabs a pen off the table and stabs it through Wade’s hand pinning him to the table.
“Wow, you didn’t even try to flirt with me. Oh well looks like I’ll have to make the sexy wizard jealous by myself,” Wade says and yanks the pen out and there’s blood everywhere and Steve feels a little queasy. Tony is already across the room picking up the abandoned gun.
“Remember, one death shot on Tony or three on Wade to win,” Charles says as Tony shoots Wade right in the mouth. The gun clicks out because it’s empty.
“Aww the author can’t handle making Tony too violent. That’s sweet. Two more kill shoots Tony,” Wade says and throws a staple at Tony, knocking the gun from his hand. Tony hisses and holds his hand and grabs a glass beaker off the table and shatters it over Wade’s head as the man tackles him.
“Ohhhh this is an interesting pin I’ve got you in. Usually when one character straddles another in a story things are about to get steamy,” Wade says as he draws a gun, that Steve prays is full of blanks or paint or something. Before he can get it free of the holster Tony rears up and presses a piece of glass from the beaker and presses it to Wade’s throat.
“That’s two Wade,” Charles says and Tony goes shooting out from Wade using one boot that Steve hadn’t even seen him put on and Tony soars a little into the air. Wade easily grabs in the low ceilinged room and tears the boot off and they go tumbling to the ground with Wade on top again.
“Wow, the Author must really be trying to send the message that you’re a bottom. Benadryl Crumb Cake”
‘Who is that?’ Steve wonders.
“better keep that in mind when the two of you finally do the horizontal tango,” Wade says wrapping his hands around Tony’s throat.
“Hey if the two of you decide to role play Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in bed, which of you gets to be Sherlock? I mean he is a doctor but you have more war experience...hmmm,” Wade says as if he isn’t choking the life out of Tony laid out beneath him.
Steve wonders what the heck a Sherlock is and why it has anything to do with Tony or Dr. Strange.
Wade wraps his hands tighter and it seems like Tony has finally lost consciousness.
Wade stands and says, “looks like the author wanted me to win. Although why I don’t know. This whole chapter was to have Tony be a BAMF,” Wade says and turns his back to Tony who quickly shoots up and presses the pen he drove through Wade’s hand to his jugular.
“That’s three,” Charles says and Tony drops the pen and blinks and the glaze is gone from his eyes.
“Wade wtf was half that stuff you were saying?” Tony asks.
“Nothing you need to worry about. Though I suggest you go see the Wizard of Oz because he looks a little flustered if you get my meaning,” Wade says pointing towards the showers and Steve watches Tony head that way.
If Tony was able to do all that, probably more with all the weapons on the suit, how were Steve and Bucky able to beat him? Unless...
Unless he was going easy on them.
“It’s our turn Rogers,” Coulson says snapping Steve out of his thoughts and he follows him down to the training area and Steve can’t help but glance at where Tony had disappeared into.
“Rogers make sure to focus. We want everyone to fight more like Tony. With everything they have and anything they can find,” Coulson says as he watches each of his team pair up with their training partner.
“Look,” Steve starts, “I don’t know how you ended up training with me, but I’m not allowed to go easy on you,” Steve says looking at Eddie Brock who just seems to look ill.
“Oh don’t worry. It’s not you who will need to go easy. Mask,” Eddie says and Steve looks at him confused.
“Copy,” another voice says and suddenly Eddie has grown several feet taller and is now covered in something thick and back.
“Be thankful that there issssssn’t enough of a brain in your head for you to be a sssssnack. Otherwise we would eat you,” the thing says.
“What are you?” Steve asks.
“We are Venom, and you are fucked,” it says and pounces and everything goes black.
**This chapter has allusions to sex** (I couldn't resist making their first time happen in Chapter 69)
**May contain spoilers for Captain Marvel**
“Stephen?” Tony asks walking into the locker room where Wade told him Stephen went.
“Give me a minute Tony,” Stephen says and there’s something weird about his voice.
“Are you okay?” Tony says heading in the direction his voice came from.
“Yeah, I just need a minute to calm down,” Stephen says and he sounds a little breathless.
“Stephen, Wade was just trying to get you riled up. I have absolutely no desire to be with him. I love you. I want you. I will always want you. There’s no reason to be jealous,” Tony says finally finding Stephen who keeps his back turned to Tony.
“I’m not jealous. But I am riled up,” Stephen says slowly.
“What do you mean? Are you okay? Please talk to me Stephen,” Tony says and placing a hand on Stephen’s shoulder.
“Watching you fight seems to have an...ahem...interesting effect on me,” Stephen says and finally something clicks for Tony.
“Are you telling me that…”
“Yes,” Stephen says and Tony can see the tips of his ears turning pink.
“Awwww you got turned on by your boyfriend being a badass?” Tony asks.
“No. I got turned on by the love of my life being a badass,” Stephen says.
“Wait...I’m the love of your life?” Tony says dropping his hand from Stephen’s shoulder and he stares at Stephen in shock.
“Of course you are. I just have trouble saying it,” Stephen says and Tony pulls him into a kiss.
“I...wow...I won’t make you say it again. I just can’t believe that you...I’m not going to finish that sentence because it will make me sound like I don’t trust you,” Tony says clapping a hand over his mouth.
“I understand what you are trying to say,” Stephen says and Tony practically clamps his mouth over Stephen’s in a heated kiss. Stephen kisses back just as fiercely but when Tony’s hands head south to his pants Stephen pulls away.
“Tony, I love you. I do not want our first time to be in a dark locker room that already smells like sweat. When I make love to you, it will be in a bed, with soft sheets, and good lighting so I can see your eyes. Our first time together will be special,” Stephen says.
“Then make a portal, please. I want this, I’m ready for this,” Tony says and Stephen sighs and presses a kiss to the corner of Tony’s mouth and pulls his boyfriend into a portal.
When they return to the locker room they hear the sounds of destruction coming from the training area.
“Should we go see what that was?” Tony asks running his fingers through his hair trying to make it look less messed up than it actually is.
“I have no real desire to do so. So I must borrow a phrase from the children. Do we have to?” Stephen says his face pulling up into a smile.
“Yes, we do. Thor only knows what they have gotten up to while we were gone,” Tony says and starts pulling Stephen to the door but Stephen leans in to straighten both of their clothing and some of the hair.
“Good?” Tony asks turning around and heading for the door but Stephen grabs his wrist and pulls him against his chest and seals their mouths together and Tony groans.
“Keep doing that and we’ll never get out there,” Tony says letting Stephen wrap an arm around his waist and they walk toward the doors and out into the training area once again and Stephen throws up a shield just in time to prevent Rogers’ unconscious body from slamming into Tony.
“Ssssssssorry,” Venom says from where he and the others are standing over the subdued rogues, who look like they crawled through hell, and Coulson’s team who look a little worse for wear but only the kind that comes from rough sparring.
“What happened in here?” Tony asks.
“We played with them a little too hard,” Venom says.
“Venom, buddy I love you, but you were supposed to train them, not break them,” Tony says.
“You must damage the muscle before it can grow stronger,” Venom says.
“Yes...but people aren’t muscles, just made of them. Typically if we get broken we take a while to put back together,” Tony says.
“You were broken and recovered and are stronger for it,” Venom says.
“I’m the exception to the rule. I’m too stubborn to die,” Tony says and Venom growls unhappily looking down at the unconscious Rogues but seems to stand down.
“I’m trying to figure out where you two disappeared to,” Carol says raising an eyebrow, a small smile on her face and Rhodey is giving Stephen the death stare.
“I was covered in blood so I asked Stephen to give me a ride to my shower because I didn’t want one of them to be able to corner me,” Tony says.
“And the hickies?” Rhodey asks.
“Bug bites I assure you,” Tony says and Rhodey turns to Stephen.
“Hello bug,” he says and the sensors Tony put around the air of the mansion start going off.
“What’s that? Is it Thanos?” Tony asks.
“No, he shouldn’t be here for a while yet. He will not come until he knows the location of all the stones,” Loki says as they gather their gear and go outside to stare up at the multitude of ships coming in.
“Those are Kree ships,” Carol says eyeing one in particular.
“Kree? Didn’t they like experiment and pass on their genes to humans while fucking around in the freedom of the rest of the planets?” Tony asks hand going to the housing unit on his chest.
“They signed a peace treaty with Xandar. But...why would they be here?” Peter says and they watch one of the ships land and out comes a kree that looks like he could pass for human. He must be one of those Pink Kree that Carol had told them about.
“What do you want Yon-Rogg?” Carol asks fist lighting up.
“The Kree people know that Thanos is one of the few beings that pose a threat to our home world. We have been sent to fight,” the Kree...Yon-Rogg, who Tony knows from some of the stories that Carol had told him, says.
“Why? So you can continue to hunt down the people that refuse to bend a knee to you?” Carol asks.
“Vers, since our last meeting I have done some research into this planet you claim as home. How is what we have done any different to what this planet has done in the past? How different are the two truly?” Yon-Rogg says.
“Different enough for me not to trust you,” Carol says.
“You do not need to trust us. You simply need to believe that we do not want Thanos coming to our planet,” Yon-Rogg says.
“That I do believe. You will however need to meet with the council and myself, Fury, and the Guardians will speak about all we know about you. It will be up to them to decide whether or not you will be allowed to help,” Carol says.
“Very well,” Yon-Rogg says and re-boards his ship and Tony watches the Guardians get ready to escort them. As Carol gets ready to go with them Tony stops her.
“You don’t have to deal with them if you don’t have to. We can say no,” Tony says and Carol looks over at the Rogues who are still laying on the floor out cold.
“Tony, if you can deal with those three in your life, I can handle having Yon-Rogg being in mine for a short time,” Carol says.
“It’s not a competition. We are different people and we handle things differently. All my life I’ve had to work with people I hate or who hate me. It’s up to each of us decide what we can and can’t handle. Just know that your friends...your family...will help you. If you want I can be their POT. You won’t even have to deal with them,” Tony says.
“When did you get so wise?” Carol asks.
“I’ve been hanging around a mystical magician,” Tony says and she smiles and goes off to take care of the Kree situation. Tony watches them take off and then goes to his lab.
Steve,Wanda, and Natasha finally regain consciousness a couple of minutes later, the entire area is empty.
“You three are still here?” Erik asks raising an eyebrow and Stephen comes up with him and sends them back to Shield with a portal.
“I’m sorry the council wants us to what?” Steve demands when he, Natasha, and Wanda have finally made their way back to SHIELD HQ. That Dr. Strange had decided to drop them off about a mile away from the base. Bruises still littering their bodies and Natasha is limping slightly and Steve wonders if the X-Men had to go so rough on them.
“They want everyone who will be directly involved in fighting Thanos and his army to work with a member of the Kree, except Daisy and Major Danvers, on their hand to hand combat skills. The Kree are well known as strong fighters and they are willing to train all of us.
“Why do Daisy and Danvers not have to work with them?” Wanda sneers.
“Danvers was trained by the Kree for years, therefore she will be teaching others as well. Daisy however has Kree blood in from an experiment they performed centuries ago. We do not want them to realize and begin looking too closely at Earth,” Coulson says and Wanda pouts.
“How are the humans supposed to go against the Kree? They are much stronger than baseline humans,” Steve says worried about Natasha.
“They are simply teaching the moves, they will be reigning their strength in when going against baseline humans. You will all be meeting with one of the Kree for these lessons.
“That commander, Yon-Rogg, who will he be training?” Natasha asks and Steve wonders why Natasha would care about that.
“How do you know about Yon-Rogg? You were inside,” Coulson asks raising an eyebrow.
“I woke up around the time he arrived,” Natasha says and Coulson eyes her before picking up his cellphone.
“Colonel Rhodes, you may want to search the mansion,” Coulson says not breaking eye contact with Natasha who is frowning, “I believe there may have been listening devices planted there.” After listening for a moment Coulson raises an eyebrow at her and hangs up.
“Care to explain Romanov?” Coulson asks.
“I thought we might be able to benefit from the information we would get from the bugs. It’s not the first time you’ve had me bug allies,” Natasha says flippantly.
“Except this isn’t an army base or a terrorist cell. This is a school. With children there who have been through experimentation, abuse, systemic attacks, and have been reduced to not human. These children live in constant fear that their identities will be discovered and they will be taken and used as weapons. They have a right to their identity just as you have a right you yours. I will not have you put those children at risk,” Coulson says and Natasha glares at the ground and crosses her arms.
“But they won’t share any information with us,” Wanda says.
“Whatever gave you that idea?” Coulson asks.
“We never hear about them,” Natasha says.
“Because you are underlings. The people in the Mansion have done nothing but share information with me. As it should be. I am responsible for vetting information and deciding what might be useful and what would not be. And while I don’t believe that the identity of Commander Yon-Rogg’s training partner is needed for you to do your jobs I will tell you anyway. Dr. Stark will be working with Yon-Rogg as he and Xavier will be handling relations between the two groups,” Coulson says.
“Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to work with Cap? After all Cap is stronger,” Nat says and Steve glances at her.
“Yon-Rogg requested Dr. Stark. He said that the suit, while a deadly piece of equipment, would be even more enhanced should Dr. Stark be able to fight hand to hand while inside it,” Coulson says and crosses his arms in a way that says he is not going to fight about this and they fall silent and then Coulson dismisses them and they return to their rooms and Steve lays there.
Steve wonders to himself when the entire world turned upside down.
And wonders how he can get it right side up again.
“I’m sorry...you’re going to be training me in hand to hand?” Tony says staring at the Kree man in front of him.
“I am commander Yon-Rogg. And yes, you, me, Dr. Strange, and the man known as Agent Ross will be working together to enhance your hand to hand combat. Today it will be just you and I. Tomorrow I will work with Dr. Strange, and then the next day with Ross. Then the four of us will do a group training and then the day after that you will have a rest day. Excuses will not be tolerated and neither will missing your assigned day. Am I understood?” Yon-Rogg says and Tony rolls his eyes.
“There is no way I am doing hand to hand combat with a man that looks like he just stepped out of a porno and who talks like a robot. Facial expressions are a thing you know,” Tony says stepping back and out of the ring.
“Ooooh Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. are about to wrestle. There go the exploding ovaries of the people reading this story,” Wade says dropping down from the ceiling.
“Where did you even come from?” Tony demands.
“I wanted to see this shit go down. We’ve got Double the Sherlocks and double the Watsons. I’m curious to see if you four about to get up to some Kinky shit,” Wade says and Tony rolls his eyes and notices that Yon-Rogg is looking very unimpressed.
“Wade go annoy Piotr and Negasonic,” Tony says and Wade gives him a thumbs up and mimes something dirty before leaving the room and Tony sighs before he looks back over at Yon-Rogg who simply raises an eyebrow.
“Are your teammates always this unprofessional?” he asks arms crossed over his chest.
“I feel like a broken record having to explain this again but we’re not soldiers. You should have figured this out. We didn’t sign up for wars and death. To watch the people we love be hurt and yet we put ourselves in danger and fight for people. But don’t treat us like we’re supposed to be emotionless little army men,” Tony says.
“Very impressive speech. However you lose some of your power when you allow your emotions to leak through. If you wish to truly be powerful you must be cold. You must realize that this is not the time to be a good man. When you face Thanos you will not be a hero you will be a man trying to survive and for that you must push everything deep down,” Yon says and steps a couple of steps towards Tony and Tony clenches his hands into a fist and gets ready for whatever Yon-Rogg is about to do and he ducks when a fist comes flying towards his face.
“Do not feel anything, turn off all but your ability to strategy. You must be cold, like the machines that you build,” Yon-Rogg says.
Memories flash in Tony’s mind. DUM-E helping him to bed, U and Butterfingers helping and playing in the lab. Karen giving Peter advice on how to go about his crush, FRIDAY blocking unwanted calls with increasingly ridiculous excuses. JARVIS turning the lights down when he falls asleep in the workshop, and asking DUM-E to cover him with a blanket.
“My machines as you call them are my children and they have more emotion than you ever will,” Tony says and tackles Yon-Rogg to the ground. They roll and and Tony gets back up to his feet and jumps when a leg goes for the backs of his ankles and he jumps just in time for another kick to land across his stomach knocking him onto his back and suddenly Yon-Rogg is pining him to the ground with a hand around his wrists and one on his hip.
“I apologize. Your machines may not be cold, but you need to be. When you fight Thanos you won’t be Iron Man. You need to be stronger, colder, violent,” Yon says and Tony rears up banging their foreheads together as hard as he can.
Yon grunts and places a hand on Tony’s neck and Tony freezes, heart hammering around in his chest.
“Calm down! Lose your emotions and think your way out,” Yon hisses and Tony takes as deep a breath as he can. Trying to summon the mindset he was in when he was fighting Wade. He arches his hips and then when Yon presses down to pin him again Tony rolls and manages to get on top of Yon himself and pin him.
Yon is strong, even when reigning in his strength and Tony goes flying when he arches and he lands on his knees and gets back up. They stare at each other one more time and then Tony is ducking under Yon’s punch and Tony punches him in the stomach. He hears grunt and ducks under a fist and then sinks his teeth into an arm that is wrapping around his neck and Yon gasps and jerks away and Tony smirks at the bite mark.
“How’s that for cold?” Tony asks before spinning and jumping onto Yon’s back and spinning them both onto their backs. Both of them breathing hard.
“Had enough?” Tony breathes out.
“Yes,” Tony says and Yon helps him sit up.
“You are good at fighting. You know what you have to do in order to survive. You just have to enhance your understanding of the base skill set. Give me your right hand,” Yon says and they spend the next couple of hours working on different types of punches and how to use his size to his advantage and when they’re done Tony returns to the room he shares with Stephen.
“You did very well against him,” Stephen says slightly strained.
“Thanks...Are you okay?” Tony asks and Stephen nods and Tony notices something.
“Hmmm, did me being badass turn you on?” Tony asks and Stephen shakes his head.
“Then what did it this time?”
“The being pinned,” Stephen says licking his lips and Tony leans in and presses a kiss to Stephen’s lips and then whispers.
“If you’re good during your training tomorrow maybe I’ll let you pin me,” Tony says and Stephen blinks and bursts out laughing.
“I’m sorry! It’s just that was too much like a line out of a bad porno,” Stephen says and Tony laughs and nods.
“It was wasn’t it,” he says and Stephen treats Tony’s bruises and then they cuddle together in bed, trying to get a nap in before it’s time for Tony to go back down to the labs.
“Tony, what are you doing?” Pepper asks giggling from behind her blindfold as she’s led through the mansion one of Tony’s hands clasped tightly in hers and his other hand being held by Stephen who is also blindfolded.
“I have a surprise for the two of you,” Tony says and then they walk through the room and down into the room he is using as his lab when he is there. He helps the two of them to maneuver around the various projects he has littering the floor and the tables.
“Tony this surprise isn’t going to go boom right?” Pepper asks and Tony rolls his eyes and opens his secret storage room and leads the two of them inside.
“Your’s will go boom but it is the good kind of boom. I promise,” Tony says and catches the cloak trying to lift the blindfold on Stephen.
“No cheating Stephen,” Tony says and stands behind them and dims the lights before he removes the blindfold.They blink and look around the room confused.
“I don’t see anything,” Pepper says and Tony grins and pushes a code into a hidden panel and one of the walls slides down to reveal a sleek purple suit designed for a woman.
“Tony is that…”
“Yes, please Pepper. It’s just so you have the protection and something to defend yourself. I’m not asking you to fight, I know how much you hate seeing me up there. Please, this is to make sure you have something to protect you,” Tony babbles avoiding having to look at Pepper’s face.
“Tony, look at me please,” Pepper says and Tony’s eyes jump up to hers.
“I gave up trying to get you to stop being Iron Man, because I know deep down that you need this and people need you and I can’t ask you to give up something that is one of the few good things in your life. But…” she says and puts her hands on his cheeks, “...but I will not watch from the ground or a plane, or even from the seat of damsel in distress. If you’re going up there then so am I and I will fight beside my family to protect it. Is that all Mr. Stark?” Pepper asks a smirk on her face as Tony pulls her into a quick hug before letting go.
“That will me all Miss Potts,” Tony says with a smile and she kisses his cheek and starts to leave. Before she reaches it she stops and turns to look at Stephen.
“Hurt him and I will use you for target practice,” she says and Tony is distracted by pressing the keys to hear and she leaves with a smile that freezes Stephen’s soul and a wink.
“Now for your surprise,” Tony says clapping his hands excitedly.
“Now all your wizard buddies are going to get one but this one has cool extra functions just for you and I made sure that they would each move smoothly and loosely so it won’t interfere. There’s a place for Levi to hide if you get taken prisoner and a tracking device and it can’t be removed by anyone who doesn’t have permission. It can also shock people if they get in your space,” Tony says and Stephen blinks as Tony reveals a soft looking suit that also looks thick.
“Shuri let me use vibranium for it. But this is my favorite part,” Tony says and shows him black gloves.
“Tony,” Stephen tries to say again.
“They’ll ice or heat your hands as you like, compress them and they can even apply ointment. They are also weighted so you can write again. I tried so hard to make it so you would be able to operate again. But I couldn’t. I’m not good enough,” Tony says looking down at the floor.
“Tony, can you look at me? Please,” he asks and when Tony looks up and Stephen presses his lips to Tony’s.
“Tony, you know that I don’t need fancy toys or gifts to keep loving you? I love you because you are lovable on your own,” Stephen says and Tony’s eyes widen slightly and Stephen kisses his lips again and then leans down and scoops him up into his arms with a little help from the cloak and then with another kiss starts heading towards their room.
“Wait!” Tony says.
“Wear the suit please,” Tony asks and Stephen blushes and grabs the suit on the way out of the room and towards their bed.
Steve walks into the conference room close behind Coulson's team to find Tony and his team sitting in the auditorium already. Tony is leaning close to Stephen whispering something to the man that sounds like gibberish, but then again a lot of the stuff Tony says sounds like gibberish.
Steve ignores it and sits on the other side of the room with Nat and Wanda and Coulson heads up to the front where Fury is standing and they begin discussing something under their breath.
"Stark's sensors have detected a large ship, multiple large ships, heading for Earth. We have had both Loki and Quill confirm that this is Thanos' attack. Stark how long till they arrive?" Fury says.
"If they stay at their current speed then maybe a day. Probably less, though. Thanos must have some idea that we are planning to destroy the mind stone and time stone. They are the most dangerous," Tony says.
"According to you. You just want to get rid of Viz," Wanda says.
"Mind stone, capable of controlling minds. Time Stone, capable of reversing time. Meaning Thanos can undo us destroying other stones with it," Tony says.
"How go our efforts on destroying them?" Fury asks.
"I should have a method operational in an hour. Carol was helping me. Will that be all Fury?" Tony says.
"No. I have one more question for you... What did you say to me when I offered you a position as Avengers consultant?" Fury asks and Steve stares.
"Where did I mess up?" Tony asks and suddenly there's a green skinned Man standing in his place.
"Stark has never once referred to me as Fury to my face," Fury says.
"Are you bloody kidding me? After all those times I got caught because I called you Nick and this time I pick the one person who calls you Nick, only for me to call you Fury?" The man says and Steve watches as Carol also turns into a green man.
"Talos, I hope this means that you are intending to help fight?" Fury asks and Steve can't do anything but stare along with everyone else.
"Yes," the man Talos says and Strange pulls out his phone and makes a hand movement and Tony and Carol come out of it.
"Hey Nicky, guess who just destroyed the Space, Time, and Reality stones," Tony says before sitting in Strange's lap.
"Don't you think you should have waited for orders first?" Steve asks.
"No. We had discussed the options at length and his is what was decided," Tony says.
"What meetings?" Steve snaps.
"Meetings including people who actually matter," Tony says.
"Okay so that takes care of the pressing danger. To kill us he has to fight us. None of this one snap bullshit. He has to kill one at a time?" Rhodey asks and Tony nods.
"Buys us more time to kill him," Nebula says.
"Stephen are you okay? I know you vowed to protect it," Tony says.
"Yes. The danger it posed outweighs my vow," Strange says.
"We better get into positions. Thanos will be coming soon," Tony says and they nod and head out to Central Park, which had been cleared out and warded to lure Thanos in and trap him in the park.
Steve can see the outline of the ship in the sky.
It's bigger than anything he's ever seen in his life.
Tony watches as the ship comes closer and he taps his housing unit and his nanobots swarm his body and he sees Rhodey's and Pepper's are doing the same.
"Spiderman, come in," Tony says.
"Thanos is here. Remember keep civilians away from the park. Make sure anyone with injuries safely get to a hospital. We're going to try to contain the damage to the park," Tony says and then looks up when he hears the familiar sounds of Doombots.
"About time you showed up. Doom, keep to the perimeter and make sure nothing leaves this park," Tony says as Doom takes off.
"You guys ready?" Tony asks and everyone gives their affirmative and Tony takes a deep breath.
"Dadneto you ready?" Tony asks and Erik nods and lifts himself into the sky. Slowly the ships start to move faster and seem to loose their percision.
The first ship crashes into the ground not far from where everyone is assembled and the next couple follow close behind.
"Remember don't try to take any of the big ones on your own. Always work with a team," Tony says and nods to Stephen and they all take hesitant steps towards the ship and some weird squid looking guy steps out of the ship.
"Ebony Maw, Thanos' magic user," Loki says and Tony nods at Stephen as Stephen and Loki rush forward to meet Maw in the middle of the field.
"Wendy go help them," Charles says and Tony watches her join the other two and even Doom drifts closer to provide long distance support.
"Tony, where do you want me?" Pepper asks.
"Stick with Rhodey. Make sure to have each other's backs. If you take damage get out of here and give support to Spiderling.
"Dadneto, make sure that those ships don't leave the ground. They have weapons on there and I for one don't want to be shot out of the sky," Tony says and the door to one of the ships opens up and too many Chitauri to count come running out and Pepper and Rhodey take to the sky.
"Thor! You good to..." Tony starts to say but Thor and Hela are already running into the fray.
"Guess that answers that," Tony says and he hears his comm crackle.
"They've taken out our comms!" Rogers shouts.
"How quaint," Charles says and suddenly Tony can hear so much millions of voices in his head before they quiet and only the ones that matter filter through.
"I give them an A for strategy but an F for effectiveness," Charles says in Tony's head and they watch as Peter zips through the army of Chitauri knocking as many over as he can manage and even makes it so some of them are attacking themselves.
Before the first wave has even met their group the second and third waves are released. Tony motions Bucky, Sam, both Scotts, Jean, Storm, Bruce and Eddie towards the remaining members of what Loki called the Black Order as they exit the ship.
"Any sign of Thanos?" Phil calls out.
"Not yet!" Loki shouts as he manages to keep Maw from attacking Stephen.
"You betrayed Lord Thanos. Traitors are to be dealt with painfully," Maw says grabbing Loki around the throat. Everyone who goes to help him gets knocked away.
"Poor little unwanted Asgardian," Maw says tightening his hold.
"One problem, I'm not Asgardian," Loki gasps out and his skin melts to blue.
"What is this," Maw screams letting go of Loki. Slowly ice begins creeping up his arm and over his face.
Freezing him solid.
"This is Loki Prince of Jotunheim and of Asgard," Loki says and shoves the frozen body over and Maw shatters into a hundred pieces of ice.
"Well that was cathartic," Loki says and Tony watches as he joins Thor and Hela on the battlefield.
"Let's hope Thanos stays off the field for a little longer. Thin the crowd a little," Tony says and takes off into the air and shooting anything that moves and is not a friendly...or an idiot.
"Yesss! The author is letting us have an actual battle instead of the cop out she did in her other fic Kids Will Be Kids!" Tony hears Wade shout.
"What the fuck does that even mean?" Cable grumbles as he keeps shooting anything that gets near Wade.
"Focus on fighting!" Yon Rogg shouts and Tony smiles as Carol cannonballs through the Chitauri.
"Crap two more waves are inbound. Guys be ready!" Tony shouts and watches as Erik lifts up one of the ships and smashes it down onto the closest wave, kill the majority and slowing down the remaining.
"Any injuries?" Tony calls out.
"Morse is injured!" Coulson shouts.
"Peter? Need a evac!" Tony says and Peter zips her out of there.
"Once you're checked out coordinate with Spiderman!" Tony says and then focuses on taking care of the guys that are climbing over the top of the crashed ship.
Erik lifts the ship up and back down to the point where all that remain are a few stragglers and the last wave of Chitauri.
"One more wave to go! How we doing on the Black Order?" Tony asks.
"Two down, one left. He's a big guy...but I'm bigger," Scott says and Tony watches him grow and step on the guy and there's a squish and Scott goes back to regular size.
"If this is the last wave where is Thanos?" Tony asks and turns around just as something crashes into him and he goes spinning through the air.
When he finally gets himself right side up he sees that what hit him was one of the ships.
"Do I want to know who threw that?" Tony asks getting back on his feet he looks around and sees someone in gold armor with a guantlet with something purple and glowing inside.
"I take it you're Thanos," Tony says and takes to the air as Thanos smiles and more Chitauri swarm the field.
Tony tries to shoot as many as he can but with Thor, Hela, and Carol fighting Thanos the others are overrun easily.
Tony doesn't know how they can possibly win.
"I give you six years to amass an army worthy of fighting me and this is all you can find? Pathetic!" Thanos says and hurls a ship at the group of fighters only for Erik to stop it in the air with some help from Jean, which unfortunately leaves them open to attacks.
"Six years ago you earned my respect Stark. No one had ever stood up to me the way you did. Sure there were some that took our maybe one or two of my Chitauri soldiers. But never an entire fleet of them. You were the first. But this is all you can manage now?" Thanos asks ripping the ship out of their control and sending it straight at Tony.
Tony activates his unibeam and cuts the ship in half and Erik and Jean make short work of dismantling the ships into small pieces so that Thanos doesn't have huge things to throw.
"I have no desire for the approval of murderers," Tony says shooting a glance at where Steve is fighting to keep Chitauri off of Natasha.
"I could have taken you when you went through the portal that day six years ago. Molded you to be the gem of my Black Order. A General amongst generals. A son to me. But I didn't because I thought it might be interesting to see what you could do when going against me. I wanted you as an ally but wanted to see you be my enemy. I'm disappointed, join me and you will never be on the losing side again," Thanos says.
"See me and dads that are dicks don't really get along well," Tony says.
"You should rethink your choice Stark. I will offer but once," he says and Tony can feel a familiar judging look.
"Why do people always assume that I want to get the villain? That I want the easy way? If I fucking wanted the easy way I would just fuck off to the woods and build a cabin. Do you know how much work I put into being Iron Man? Three thousand eight hundred and none stitches. Fourteen concussions. All my ribs shattered, my chest caved in. Fourteen kidnappings since I was a kid. Four broken arms. Dead family, dead friends, people dead because of who I was. Do you think that after putting myself through all of that I would just say fuck my sacrifices and join you?" Tony asks and blasts Thanos with the Unibeam sending him flying into the melee and Tony flies after him.
Thanos has a small trickle of blood running from his temple.
"All this for a drop of blood?" Thanos asks and Tony shrugs.
"If something bleeds it means they can be killed," Tony says and Thanos prepares to fight but something blue wraps around him before he can.
"About time you contributed Richards!" Doom shouts as his bots divebomb the Chitauri as the Human Torch blasts as many as he can and the Thing helps Bruce.
"I'm sorry but who was relegated to the sidelines?" Reed says and Tony rolls his eyes and blasts a Chitauri as it lunges at Reed.
"Doom you can rail him later," Tony says and Mantis drops down from a portal Stephen made and works on making Thanos forget he's fighting.
"Doom I could use some help getting the Gauntlet off!" Tony says but Stephen lands beside him and they manage to make his hand go through a portal and Stephen cuts it off.
Thanos shouts and screams and manages to throw Mantis and Richards off of him and Tony pushes Stephen out of the way of Thanos' attack and Rhodey blocks it with his nanite shield.
"Stephen sneak around back. Well distract him," Tony says and Sue helps Stephen up and they take off.
Thanos aims a punch for Rhodey's head and Tony dives in to block it after distracting him with a blast off his head.
Rhodey returns the favor by blocking a headbutt from Thanos but Thanos manages to rip the shield off and toss it into Steve who was running to help, sending the super soldier flying.
The Nanites try to replenish but there are spots where Tony can see Rhodey in his underarmor.
Tony makes a sword and tries to get under Thanos and drive it up but his shield is ripped off and thrown and his sword ripped off and kept in Thanos' hand and Tony can feel the press of air against his X-Men suit and knows that his armor is gaping just like Rhodey's is.
Tony watches the sword head toward him. He waits to feel the cold metal Pierce his won skin.
Tony Stark: killed by his own suit.
A fitting end.
But the blow never comes but Tony does here a grunt of pain and he opens his eyes.
Rhodey is in front of him. Back to Thanos and the red and gold gleaming metal of Tony's sword sticking through his stomach.
"RHODEY!" Tony screams as his friend collapses to the ground.
"Rhodey?" Tony asks opening the mask of his friends suit running shaking fingers over his face. Thanos mumbles something that sounds like pathetic and turns away.
"Rhodey please," Tony says hand over his mouth trying to feel for air. Rhodey's eyes shoot wide open and he sucks in a breath and Tony scrambles to help him sit up.
"You're okay. You're okay," Tony says pulling the sword out of his friend and healing the wound with nanites on both sides.
"Pepper, get him out of here," Tony says helping his friend stand and passing him off to Pepper and they disappear into on of Stephen's portals.
Tony stares at Thanos' back anger racing through his veins. How dare that giant purple raisin dare hurt his Rhodey! He wants to stab him through his heart! Make him feel what he has made countless others feel.
"Tony remember what anger does!" Yon Rogg shouts from where he is fighting three Chitauri soldiers.
Tony takes a deep breath a cold sort of calm settling in his chest. Right now he isn't Iron Man. Right now he's just Tony Stark.
"Nebula? Gamora? You up for a little patricide?" Tony asks and both women flank him and they make their way over to where Thanos is standing.
Orange ropes of magic wrap around Thanos trying to hold him in one spot and Tony stays going straight while Gamora and Nebula go left and right.
"Bring him down!" Tony shouts and Stephen with the help of Richards manage to get Thanos' on his stomach and Tony feels his suit begin crawling over his body making the sword longer and leaving him only in his gauntlets, the rest of his body unprotected.
With the help of his gauntlets he's able to push the sword through Thanos' chest and it goes into the ground pinning him there.
As quick as he struck Nebula and Gamora strike even faster. Gamora strikes one through his remaining hand and Nebula strikes where the stump of where his gauntleted hand had been.
Reed shifts and straps Thanos' legs together and Stephen moves his magic to his head keeping him trapped.
Tony picks up one of Gamora's fallen swords and hands it to her.
"I think the two of you should do the honors," Tony says stepping back and pointing his hands at Thanos in case he gets free.
"Tony get off the field, you're out of your armor!" He hears Rogers shout.
"I don't take orders from you anymore. I'll leave when I know he's dead!" Tony says and watches as both woman who has lost more to Thanos than anyone step close to him and grip the sword together.
"Are you ready?" Nebula asks and Gamora nods and together they bring the sword down and take Thanos' head clean off and it rolls across the floor and stopping at Tony's feet. Tony spits on the dirt and kicks it across the field and Tony watches as the last of the Chitauri are taken down.
Tony jumps when he feels something touch his shoulder and he turns to see Stephen standing there and Tony slumps into his arms.
"We did it," Tony says and Stephen wraps his arms around Tony and buried his face in his hair.
"Yeah we did. I have a surprise for you," Stephen says and opens a portal and Rhodey steps out with a bandage around his waist and Tony lunges at him.
"Are you okay? I'm so sorry. It should have been me!"
"No you dork. I did what I did. You don't get to claim responsibility for my actions. Besides I will never be sorry for saving Tony Stank," Rhodey says.
"Jerk," Tony murmurs into his chest.
"I gotta say those Asgardian healers are miracle workers," Rhodey says pulling the bandage away to reveal smooth skin where he had been stabbed.
"Come on. Let's regroup and see what needs the most attention," Rhodey says and Tony nods and watches as Doom, Jean, Wendy, and Stephen quickly return the rocks, grass, and trees to their proper places in the park. Meaning that there is least damage to the area.
"He Spiderling? You good out there?" Tony asks into his now working comm.
"Yeah. There were a few people having anxiety and panic attacks but I was able to calm them down. Ooh one lady knitted me a sweater! She was nice," Peter says and Tony can't help but smile and Peter's run through of his day. It's just so pure and unbothered. He never wants that to change.
"Yeah that sounds good," Tony says and holds Stephens hand as they all head to their respective homes.
Tony still can't believe they won.
But looking around at his family he's glad that they did.
Is it safe for me to come out of hiding now?
"Thor? May I have a moment?" Loki asks knocking on the door of his brother's room and then waiting while he hears Thor struggling to get dressed.
"Brother... is something the matter?" Thor asks when he answers the door.
"I promised you that after Thanos was defeated I would return Odin to the throne," Loki says opening a portal and waiting for Thor to go running through.
"Loki are you sure? As soon as you do you will never be allowed home so long as he lives," Thor says.
"Asgard was never my home. My home was you and mother. My home is Vidar, my home is Hela," Loki says and Thor's eyes soften a he pulls him close.
"Are you and Vidar quite close?" Thor asks.
"Yes...closer than I've been with anyone outside of family," Loki says and he leads Thor through the portal.
"Where will you go? Not Jotunheim surely," Thor says.
"No, or at least not at first...Vidar has never been to any other realm. We're going to explore it together," Loki says and he can't help the smile that spreads across his face.
"Are you happy brother?" Thor asks placing an arm around Loki's shoulders.
"More so than I have been in a long time," Loki says.
"Then I pray you stay that way," Thor says and Loki leads him into the retirement home and to Odin who is asleep in bed.
"Once I undo the spell I will have four hours before he remembers," Loki says raising his hand.
"What will you do if he hunts you?" Thor asks stopping him.
"Then I will run," Loki says and presses a finger to Odin's head and turns to Thor.
"I must go prepare to leave," Loki says and returns to helping clear away debris from the park. It is the least he can do. When he is finished there he returns to where he has been sharing a room with Vidar and packs a bag and then goes to see Farbauti and his brothers.
"Remember, you will always have a place with us," she says and the three hug Loki close.
"Thank you mother," Loki says and makes he and Vidar make their way to where they agreed to meet Dr. Strange.
"We're you going to leave without saying goodbye to your sister baby brother?" A voice says and Loki looks to find Hela standing there.
"I wasn't sure if it was my right to say goodbye to you," Loki says.
"You're my brother. I may not know you well but I know that and I want to hear from you about your day and such... preferably without you having to die to do so," she says pulling Loki into a tight hug and then giving Vidar a deathly glare that promises pain should he hurt Loki.
When that is over they continue on to find Strange waiting at the agreed on meeting spot.
"I am sorry to drag you away from the arms of your lover," Loki says.
"No it's not a problem. I understand the need for urgency," Strange says and makes the portal. Loki tightens his bag and holds Vidar's hand and steps through to whatever realm is to be the first they explore together. And Vidar wraps an arm around his waist resting a hand over Loki's stomach.
And with that their adventure together begins
Steve looks around the field moving some of the debris around so that it will be easier for the crews to clean up the mess.
He looks around at the destruction and then about what this would mean had they been homes or businesses.
Was this what Tony was talking about. Part of the horrible destruction and damage they cause?
Steve thinks about what he had seen of Sokovia, New York, Romania and then thinks about what the people of those places would have had to do to manage the loss of their homes and loved ones...
This is what Tony had meant.
They protected the people's bodies but their homes, minds and safety weren't. They were put in danger and destroyed.
How had he lost sight of that?
...Maybe it had never been in his sights to begin with. When he thinks back to what had inspired him to join the war it wasn't to protect people it was just to fight bullies.
Maybe he had started fighting and never really stopped.
He looks over to where Tony is talking with Strange and Thor with a smile on his face that Steve had never seen before on the engineer's face.
Is this what Tony looks like when he is actually smiling and happy, and not just playing the part?
Steve starts to take a step towards Tony but a metal arm on his stops him.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Bucky says.
"Because you still don't seem to get it. Tony is happy with the people he has now. People that do not include you. I'm sorry Steve, I know it's hard to understand but not everyone wants or needs you," Bucky says.
"But I want to talk to him," Steve says.
"Well the world isn't always about what you want. Tony has as much right to not want to talk to you as you have to want to talk to him," Bucky says.
"They made absolutely no sense you know," Steve says.
"Just leave Stark alone," Bucky says before walking off to help one of the X-Men with something.
Steve knows that he should listen to Bucky. Buck's never steered him wrong in the past, but he needs to talk to Tony.
So, later that night he slips into the mansion while the X-Men seem to be having a party. He peeks around a corner and sees Strange talking with Pepper and Rhodey in hushed tones and Steve could stop to listen but he has a mission and that is to talk to Tony.
He can hear piano music drifting down the hall and he follows it. As he gets closer he can hear voices talking and Tony laughing.
As he gets closer he can make out the words that the singer is saying;
'And did you think this fool could never win
Well look at me, I'm coming back again
I got a taste of love in a simple way
And if you need to know while I'm still standing you just fade away'
Steve listens at the door. The voice is familiar but he can't seem to be able to place who the voice belongs to and he listens a little more.
Don't you know I'm still standing better than I ever did
'Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I'm still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind'
Steve peeks into the room and searches for the piano and has to do a double take.
Tony is sitting behind the keys playing while making faces at some of the younger students while they laugh and try to make him mess up his playing.
Tony is grinning as he sings,
'Once, I never coulda hoped to win
You starting down the road, leaving me again
The threats you made were meant to cut me down
And if our love was just a circus, you'd be a clown by now'
Steve almost calls out to Tony but something stops him and he watches Tony finish the song and stand up and take a bow while the people around him clap and cheer.
Strange comes in from talking with Pepper and Rhodes and wraps an arm around Tony.
"Thank you, thank you. I would like to dedicate that song to Steve Rogers and his Rogues who didn't know what they had until they needed it back," Tony says and Steve slinks back away from the door and out of the mansion the lyrics of the song rattling around in his head and following him all the way back to SHIELD.
"Tony? Tony? It's time to wake up," Stephen says and Tony feels kisses being presses to his lips and he smiles as he opens his eyes and looks up at Stephen with a big smile on his face.
"Hi handsome. Come here often?"
"Only when the view is good," Stephen says eyes raking over Tony's body and Tony stretches seductively and Stephen kisses his lips and a slight slip of the tongue.
"Do you still want that portal you asked me to make?" Stephen asks suddenly and Tony nods.
"Are you sure that you don't want me to come with you?" Stephen asks and Tony nods.
"Yeah, this is something I need to do on my own," Tony says getting dressed and going through the portal to stare at the two grave stones.
"Howard Stark...loving father and husband...what a crock of shit. You hated us. Said it too many times to count. Both when you were sober and when you were drunk," Tony says staring at the stone.
"I hated you forever. Hated you for drinking that night and crashing the car and taking the last person who loved me away from me. But now? Now I can't hate your for that. But then that would mean I don't hate you which doesn't seem to be right. I do very much hate your guts but I can't really justify it anymore without seeming self obsessed. How can I hate you when I forgive you?"
"You know. You can still hate him for the things he did to you and be sorry for blaming him for something he didn't do. He did still do some terrible things to you," Charles says in his head and Tony relaxes at the comforting weight in his head.
"Sorry for the intrusion but your mind was reaching out for a friend," Charles says.
"Thank you...I think I need to go to therapy to work out all these things in my head," Tony says.
"If that is what you want then I will find one that is perfectly discreet," Charles says.
"Thanks," Tony says.
"Bye Howard. I love you Mom. I'll come visit you soon and we can talk. I have so much to tell you," Tony says and goes back through the portal and finds a note telling him to go to the dining room to find all the members of his team and the X-Men in the dining room and Tony stops.
"What it this?" Tony asks.
"Family dinner!" Peter says excitedly.
"With a surprise ending," Wade says with a wink that Tony ignores but notices one person not there even though Pepper, Rhodey and even Happy are there.
"Here," his voice says behind him and Tony turns and freezes. Stephen is on one knee a small black box in his hand.
"What?" Tony breathes out.
"Tony, over the last year of knowing one another, of fighting together and spending says talking about science and magic I fell head over heels in love with you. So, will you do me the honor of marrying me?" Stephen asks softly and Tony finds himself nodding.
Stephen beams and stands slipping the ring onto Tony's finger and kissing him gently and Tony sighs happily.
For once in his life everything is absolutely perfect.
5 months later
"Are you sure the suit doesn't make my ass look huge?" Tony asks turning in the mirror.
"Sir, if I may. While the suit does nothing but enhance your body, anything to do with that part of your body would certainly not be remiss in relation to Dr. Strange," JARVIS says.
"J is right Tones. The man is absolutely enamoured with all of you. It's actually really gross," Rhodey says.
"What if he changes his mind?"
"Burn the marriage certificate. He can't return you without the receipt," Peter says from where May is fixing his tie for him.
"No Tony. No burning the marriage certificate," Pepper says fixing her makeup.
"Fine, I guess we're ready," Tony says and Rhodey takes his arm and they begin to March through the crowd of people. Eddie and Bruce shoot him a thumbs up. Clint points to them so his kids will turn to look and Laura presses a gentle kiss to her husband's cheek.
Tony's glad Clint got his family back.
Rhodey hands Tony off to Stephen before taking the best man position.
Erik begins reading from his book but Tony is too busy staring at Stephen who looks thrilled to be there.
He's so nervous his mouth barely manages the 'I do' when Erik asks for his. But he hears very clearly when Stephen's voice rings out clear as a bell.
And that's all she wrote. Thank you so much for reading!! You've all been wonderful. If you liked this check out some of my other fics.
Chapter 81: Author Note
I'm considering doing a series of one shots in this universe. Would this be something you guys are interested in. And if so any ideas what you would want to see?