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It took Loki exactly a week after his trial that he found himself bored out of his mind.
After it became clear that he didn't really effectively tried to conquer Midgard,
but rather wanted to lose on purpose, Odin still sentenced him for his schemes against Thor and Asgard,
resulting for him to be banished to Midgard.
Odin would make sure to sent him to Midgard with just enough magic to protect himself, and to keep his glamour which would hide his true heritage...
Loki didn't like getting his powers restricted but he was confident that his powers weren't gone for too long anyways.
He would get his magic back as soon as he could break whatever spell Odin wanted to cast upon him.
After that, it would be only a matter of time for him to leave Midgard and his punishment behind.

But like so many times before, Lokis already well-planned escape from Midgard wouldn't be as easy as he had thought it to be.
Thanks to the stupid oaf...
Thor literally begged the Allfather to bind Loki to one of Thor's stupid Avenger friends, instead of leaving him alone
( and soon to be free as a bird if it went like Loki anticipated) in the oh so terrible wides of Midgard.
If Loki hadn't been restricted he would have stabbed Thor multiple times for this. If he were to be bound to one of this unworthy mortals,
things would be a lot harder for him. Especially undoing the Allfathers spell without getting caught in the act.
The Allfather must have noticed Lokis distress and therefore acknowledged Thor's request all too swiftly for Lokis liking.
Loki would make sure to step Thor after his escape from Midgard.

 

After the trail, everything was a blur and he felt heavy on his feet.
He recognized the Bifrost and the Avengers Tower, a loud discussion between Thor and the other Avengers
and the distinct feeling what a huge part of his very being was missing.
He recognized that it was his magic. So the Allfather really took it away from him, leaving him with the barest minimum to protect himself.
The hollow feeling inside of him was unbearable, it almost felt like the Allfather had ripped out his soul and crushed it beneath his feet...
Staring down at his hands which were trembling slightly, Loki almost winced when a hand landed on his shoulder,
gripping him tightly and holding him in place.

"My Brother will stay here until he redeems himself worthy of his powers. Until then, one of us will have to look after him.
The Allfather decided that one of you, dear shield brothers should be tasked with this matter."
Thor spoke in a voice that clearly said volumes of the choices the Avengers had in this matter.

Only now Loki realized the eyes which were looking at him with mostly disgust and anger. Except for Thor and... The man of Iron?
Stark looked almost bored with the whole situation, standing far away from the other Avengers. His calm and calculating eyes seemed to search for something
in Loki's green ones. Odd, Loki thought. For the mortal to be so calm around him. All the other Avengers were in high distress.
Furthermore, Stark was the only one who looked the god directly in the eyes. Really odd...

"Fuck you, Thor! Your dad can't decide shit like that and expect us to follow his orders! I'm not going to play babysitter for this motherfucker you call your little brother!
He killed Coulson, dammit! You can't expect us to watch over him like he's some sort of foreign friend you invited over for the weekend while living in fear he
because he could get lost when you leave him alone for just a sec! " Barton yelled, his face red with anger and full of hatred.
Loki mused the Archer didn't take lightly to the mind control and him killing the Agent... Who would have guessed?

"I know it's hard to believe but, Clint is right... At least this time."
the Widow sighted as if she couldn't believe what she just said.

"Nat! Why did you have to say it like that? I'm standing right next to you!"
Clint yelled again, this time upset about the Widow.

"Clint shut it." The Widow said with a final voice and then continued,

"Thor, even though you said Loki was basically not in his right mind when he attacked New York,
doesn't mean it's easier for us to overlook the things that happened. You said he's a victim of the Chitauri as well, that we all get.
But you have to see it from our perspective as well. He killed Coulson, fucked with Clint's head and almost killed us all with his Chitauri army.
It's hard to forget those facts even if he hadn't done it willingly. He's still the face we associate with all the madness that happened."

"But it wasn't his fault!!!" a loud thunder rolled over the Tower.
Thor didn't seem to like the way the conversation had taken.

"Still, you can't expect us to follow your dad's orders if we don't want to."

The Captain intervened this time. But unlike the Widow with a finality in his voice that left even Thor for a loss of words.
Loki couldn't help the small smile that crept over his face. The great God of Thunder was at a loss of words due to the fact that mere mortals denied him a request.
Even though he thought the mortals all rather tiresome he had to acknowledge their determination.

"Thor look at it logically, please. Both Clint and Natascha would love to revenge Coulson's death, they wouldn't watch over him... They would continuously try to murder your brother.
I spend all my time at Shield Headquarters and therefore I'm not around often enough to look after him.
Bruce... I mean come on? He literally went green than you and Loki arrived here and had to leave the room. And even If Bruce would react positively to Loki, none of us lives at the Tower except Tony. No one knows how long Lokis redemption will take, or better if there's a redemption for him at all.
How could you possibly think that this is going to work out without leading to a catastrophic outcome?"
Captain America explained calmly but stern.

"But..." Thor was at a loss of words again.

Loki thought that logically seen the Avengers were right. He had to admit that, if he were the one in their place he wouldn't want to look after him either.
That thought somehow stung in his chest and he clenched his fists so hard his knuckles turned white.
He sure as Hel didn't want them to look after him like he was something like a mere pet. Hel, it was what he had wanted from the beginning!
Being left by himself and all alone would mean his original plan to reverse the spell and leave Midgard was again a possibility for him, but...
To hear that they all knew it wasn't him, that they knew the Chitauri controlled him as well and gave him no other choice, and yet still despised him... somehow hurt.
A small voice in his head whispered that he shouldn't care...
That everyone in Asgard also despited him and that it wouldn't make a difference when the Midgardians would do so, too.
But he couldn't ignore the fact another part of him did care and actually felt hurt when he heard the harsh words they said about him... And this other part of him bothered him greatly because he thought him long dead.

 

"Well, guess that leaves only me to look after Reindeer Games then."

Loki startled at the sudden voice and the annoying Nickname. How dare Stark called him that again?!
This worthless Mort- Wait. What?

"Friend Tony!" Thor boomed his face lightening up again.

"Tony... If this is some sort of joke I swear-"

"Capsicle we both know that you're incapable of swearing."

"Tony!"

"What? If I'm correct I'm the only one who's left.
Sure he defenestrated me but, as Thor said, he wasn't in his right mind. So, no hard feelings from me Reindeer Games. Also, you just pointed it out; I'm the only one whos living at the Tower, everyone else declined my offer to live here."

Loki wasn't sure if it was confidence he felt radiating from the Mortal or sheer stupidity.
Given the fact that the Mortal flew a bomb through a wormhole and had just winked at him, it definitely was the second.

"Tony..." the Captain tried again.

"Listen. I'm the only one who's around the Tower, sure, you guys visit from time to time or stay overnight, but that is all.
Hell, since Pepper left me I literally stayed 24/7 at the Tower and we still got Jarvis who can help keep an eye on Rock of Ages don't ya, pal? So I say, why not?"

"I gladly help to assist, Sir."

"Knew I could count on you, buddy."

"Tony... Why would you want to do that? The thing with the nightmares and Pepper is due to the fact that Loki-"

"Ah, ah stop it right there Cap. We're not going there. End of the story." Stark's voice was shaking and his eyes were distant for a moment, like following a thought he would rather escape from.

Loki could see how Stark visibly tensed at Captain Americas comment. Odd... Just a few seconds ago Stark was so calm and collected
it almost seemed like he hadn't any care in the world. Why would he react so different now, and what had Loki to do with it?
Somehow he was eager to find out.

 

"Anyways. Back to the matter at hand.
As Thor told us Loki can't do much without his magic, so it should be fine.
Sure the little shit could still plot something to get rid of us all but that is yet to be seen.
I mean we should at least try it out. If he decides to harm us I can guarantee you that he's the next one who gets defenestrated from this Tower.
All I'm saying is we should give him a chance. If I remember correctly, everyone else in this room got one. Why not him?"

At that, all the other Avengers and Loki himself looked at Stark in utter disbelieve except Thor
who was now laughing heartedly and went over to hug Stark tightly.

"I knew it! Friend Tony is the wisest amongst us all. He sure is a great friend to Asgard! I will never forget your dedication in this matter!"

"Woah! Bad, really bad Thor! Put Tony down! I would like to keep my bones where they are! Down I said! Good! And now sit Thor!"

"I can't believe this..."
Captain America muttered to himself whilst the Widow and the Hawk (seemingly annoyed) left the room.
Loki thought the same as he looked from Stark to Thor not quite sure what just happened.

 

That was exactly a week ago.

After the other Avengers (unwillingly) agreed to let Loki stay at the Tower, and thus in Starks care
JARVIS had to lead Loki the way to his very own chambers which he now (also unwillingly) occupied.
The other Avengers stayed behind to say their goodbyes to the Oaf who informed them he would have to get back to Asgard for about a Midgardian week.
Loki knew all too well that the stupid Qaf would bring Frigga with him when he came back.
Thor needed her to perform the binding Spell that would tie the stupid Mortal Stark and him together.
Loki wasn't sure that bothered him more. The Mortal he would be bound to or to see his mother which he hadn't seen since he fell from the Bifrost...

Chapter Text

If Tony was honest to himself he wasn't really surprised about Thor and Loki appearing in his Tower.

Before Thor left for Lokis trial a few days ago, he had already told Tony that he had a secret plan to save his little brother from the Dungeons and that his mother Frigga had come up with said plan.
Frigga had seemingly found a way to keep an eye on Loki without sending him to Asgards dungeons.
Whatever it was, Tony already had a bad feeling about what was to come.

 

Well, you didn't have to be a genius to put one and one together given the fact that Thor had spent most of his time on earth since the Chitauri attack. If his mother had found a way to keep an eye on Loki, it only meant that someone would be there to watch other said god of mischief. Who would be better for that job than Thor or the Avengers? So Tony got a feeling whatever the outcome would be, Friggas plan revolved around the Avengers or Thor.
If Thor weren't staying at Janes place, he mostly spent his time in the communal kitchen of the Avengers Tower, eating Pop Tarts to his heart's content or fighting with the Toaster.
Dear god... All those Toasters who had died since Thor joined the Avengers. Not even as a common Toaster you could live an easy life in this Tower.
Tony wasn't sure about the exact number of victims but he was certain Thor killed at least seven Toasters in the last two months.
The poor things never had a chance from the beginning. Well, the Toasters weren't the problem, the problem was that Tony was almost certain 'the plan' about Loki would involve his Tower...

 

So, as Tony already had guessed the (not) super secret plan Thor and Frigga had come up with was for Loki to stay on earth
or more precisely with the Avengers - What a surprise. That at least seemed to be the case given the fact that both of the Gods were now standing in front of him.

Tony was one of the first who had noticed that Loki wasn't in his right mind during the invasion. Even Legolas could tell that something about the god felt wrong from the beginning.
And that his planned outcome for the war, was for him and his army to lose.
Looking at Loki now, standing next to Thor in the communal room, just confirmed Tony's presumptions. The God's eyes shone in a beautiful vibrant green and not in the creepy Tesseract blue
which they had during the invasion. Gone were the exhausted face, the messy hair, and terrible ill-looking skin color. Sure, Loki still looked pale as fuck with his porcelain-like skin but in a good way.
Honestly? Tony had to admit that he liked the god's eyes a lot. He had never before seen such beautiful colored eyes and said beautiful eyes looked directly into his brown ones.
They seemed to look at him in... Confusion?
Oops. This definitely meant Tony must have been staring a bit too much and too long. Bad Tony! Really, really bad Tony!
Stop falling for the mad God's eyes! You definitely don't want to go down that road!

Tony was torn from his embarrassing thoughts due to the loud yelling around him.
The other Avengers didn't seem to take too kindly to Thors Masterplan and the loud thunder that rolled over the Tower were indication enough for Tony
and everyone else in the room that Thor wasn't happy about the situation either. Good thing Brucie Bear had left the room long ago.
Tony was sure the Hulk wouldn't be amused to see the God of Mischief again. Not to mention that the floor just happened to be freshly renovated.
The others weren't to blame for their reactions...
Everyone here had their very own unique experience with Loki
(except Capsicle maybe... Was Capsicle even there? Well, he was definitely nagging around all the time - which Tony remembers all too well)
and none of those experiences were associated with fond memories. Not to mention that Thor's attempts to convince the other Avengers were painfully demanding instead of... Well, convincing?

Risking a glance at Loki again Tony thought he saw something like sadness ghost over the God's face... or was it anger?
He couldn't really tell, one thing was certain - Tony knew that face all too well. He had seen it a hundred times before. Whenever he looked in the mirror he could see the exact same face only that it was his face that was looking back at him, not Loki's.
It was a face of resignation... Of someone who had tried again, and again to reach the expectations but always seemed to fail no matter what they did. A face who desperately wanted to be seen and acknowledged...
Not for the things he did, but for himself.

 

"Well, guess that leaves only me to look over Reindeer Games then."

 

The words came out of his mouth before he could think twice. Hell, he should really start to work on his brain to mouth filter.
That's one of the reasons why Pepper tried her best to keep him far away from important business partners or live interviews.
But with the way how fragile Loki looked and how much he resembled Tony in that very moment... Tony couldn't keep quiet.
Because he knew very well how it felt when the whole world seemed to stand against you. How the hateful gazes hurt even though he had tried his best to pretend they didn't.
In a way, Tony saw himself in Loki.
And he was sure if it weren't for Pepper, Rhodey or Jarvis he would have ended up the same way as Loki... Desperate and ravenous for acceptance and maybe love.
And even though Capsicle brought the nightmares and Pepper up, Tony couldn't quite find it in himself to take the words he had said back.
Instead, he even tried to convince the others that it was the only logical decision to keep Loki in the Tower.
Tony tried to hide it but he knew that Caps comment made him visible tremble. For a tiny moment, he was back in space, certain that he would die there...
All alone and unable to say goodbye to his loved ones.
Tony swallowed hard. Not now! Not here! The panic attack would have to wait until he was alone in his workshop for god's sake!

Thankfully Thor's booming laughter and the bone-crushing hug that followed brought Tony back to reality.
The fear of being the next victim of the Toaster murdering God was enough to keep his upcoming panic attack at bay. At least for now.
Tony was sure he wouldn't sleep tonight, nor that he would sleep well in the near future. But it wasn't like sleep actually had come to him often nowadays anyways...

 

After Jarvis helped to lead Loki to his quarters which were right next to Tonys (for no other reason as to keep Loki as far away from the other Avengers as possible)
Thor explained what he would have to go back to Asgard to come back with his mother Frigga so that she could perform the binding spell on Tony and Loki.
Tony dully realized that he had absolutely no clue what possible rules and confinements said binding spell would contain and that the whole thing would do to him and Loki.

For once, Tony wasn't eager to find out.

Chapter Text

Frigga was more than glad when Thor came back to Asgard,
telling her that his shield brother Anthony Stark had willingly offered himself to be the one who would watch over Loki.
It was odd she thought, for not having realized the obvious hint the Norns had given her before.
In hindsight, everything made a lot more sense now...

~~~~~

It was a few days before Lokis trial that the Norns appeared in Friggas dreams and
had shown her a vision which included her youngest son standing beside a man she had never seen before.
The vision showed Loki and the other man surrounded by bright lights which shimmered in bright green, speckled by stripes of red and gold and the faintest bit of a bright cold blue.
Frigga was sure the bright green stood for her son and his magic, which meant the other colors must have belonged to the man she couldn't identify...
Something told her that she had to find out who that person was no matter what. If the Norns were showing her this vision, it must be out of a greater reason and therefore of high importance.
She tried her hardest to concentrate her focus on the unknown man, determined to find out who that man might be.
Then, the colors suddenly started shifting and enclosed her youngest son and the other man.
The colors tied them together and then swallowed them both into the brightest light Frigga ever witnessed to see, causing her to wake from her deep slumber...
In the distance, she could hear the faintest whispers of the Norns repeating only one word over and over again; Midgard.

After that Frigga was certain of one thing; Lokis way of redemption lay in the hands of someone on Midgard. There was no other reason as to why the Norns would have sent her such an important vision shortly before Lokis trial.
For her, it seemed to be the only way to save her youngest son from the growing darkness which consumed him more and more.

So, on the day of the trial, Frigga had told Thor about her vision and the plan she had come up with to make sure Loki wouldn't end up in the Dungeons of Asgard,
but rather in the hands of Thor's shield brothers on Midgard.
From there it was up to the Fates if her son would be able to (hopefully) meet the person from her vision and therefore his destiny.
Frigga was no fool. She knew even though Midgard was the smallest of all the Nine Realms, there were so many souls inhabiting said realm...
It was a near impossibility to meet the one fated person among so many souls.
Unfortunately, that was not the only thing concerning her...
What if the Midgardians would deny the Allfathers request of watching over her youngest son? The Avengers and Loki were former enemies.
The grudges lay deep in the hearts of the Midgardians.
Even though Loki wasn't fully responsible for his wrongdoings, the Mortals wouldn't just forgive and welcome him.
The sickening feeling of fear she felt the day when Odin told her that Thor and Loki had left for Midgard was almost unbearable.
The only thing she could do was to wait for Thor's return...

~~~~~

The great delight Frigga felt than Thor came back to Asgard, with a big smile on his face, indicating that he was in a good mood, was overwhelming her.
If Thor was smiling to his heart's content things must have been gone well, she thought.

Thor told Frigga everything that happened on Midgard that day but for her, the important part was about Anthony Stark who had spoken in Lokis defense.
For a brief moment, she could feel her heart flutter with anticipation, something she hadn't felt in centuries.
And then she suddenly recalled all the endless stories Thor had told her...
About Thor's shield brothers on Midgard and the one who nearly sacrificed himself in the attempt to save his world from the Chitauri.
The one who flew a bomb through a portal, the one who was clad in gold and red armor, the one with an artificial heart which glowed in the brightest light sparkled with faint streaks of the coldest blue -
The Man of Iron.
Frigga was certain; The man the Norns had shown her in that vision that night must have been Anthony Stark.

On the day Frigga left for the Bifrost to accompany Thor back to Midgard, she felt a small glimpse of hope rise in her chest.

 

~~~

 

Tony was annoyed to say it mildly.
The other Avengers were angry with him (except for Bruce) and hadn't talked to him since Lokis arrival at the Tower. Especially Nat and Clint had made a habit out of it to stay as far away from the Tower as possible.
To make it even worse the God of Mischief who newly resided the living quarters next to Tonys (which were previously the one's Pepper resided in whenever she had work to do or had enough of Tony's recurring nightmares)
had nothing better to do than to stay in his room and sulk.
Tony had tried to talk to the God almost every day since his arrival, mostly to assure himself that Loki was still in there and hadn't somehow managed to escape.
But whenever he had tried to lure Loki out, the outcome would always be the same; Loki giving Tony the silent treatment.
After the eleventh attempt in three days, Tony had enough.

 

"Rudolph, it's me again, Stark. The guy you're ignoring for days... I brought you something to eat. Care to come out and get it?
JARVIS said you haven't eaten anything from the food we stored in your fridge since you arrived here so I thought I'd bring you some fruits and vegetables..."

Tony waited patiently for an answer but the God stayed silent.

"Come on Rudolf, you must eat something. Thor will be mad when he returns and finds you starved to death in my guest room."

Silence again.

"Listen, Rudolf, you can ignore me all you want but that won't change the fact that your brother will come down from Rainbow Land in a few days and bind us to each other.
Sooner or later you will have to face reality! You and I will have to stay together for a while, why not try and get along then?
Hell, even if you don't want to get along at least come out there and eat something!"

Again nothing.
Maybe the god was asleep and thus didn't answer?

 

"JARVIS is Loki asleep?"

"Sir, Loki Laufeyson haven't slept ones since his arrival and therefore just seems to ignore you and your offerings."

That sneaky little bastard! Of course, Loki was awake and ignoring him on purpose!

"Can you believe this JARVIS?! Who in his right mind wouldn't want to talk to me?!
It's great to have conversations with me! Everyone loves conversationing with Tony Stark!
Plus I've got food with me! Who says no to Tony Stark AND fuckin' food?! What's wrong with him?!"

"You're absolutely right, Sir. It's hardly believable that someone in his right mind would ignore you given the fact how much DUM-E, Butterfingers,
and U seem to enjoy your one-sided conversations with them in the Workshop."

"JARVIS why do I get the feeling you're sassing me?"

"This is something I would rather not have to answer, Sir."

"Why, JARVIS? Why would you sass me?"

"Certainly because you were the one who made me, Sir."

"Okay fine! You've got the point across, traitor."

"I'm glad to hear that. Although I'm kinda hurt that you would call me a traitor, Sir."

Tony smiled at that. JARVIS was his favorite for a reason.

"Okay fine then. JARVIS, tell Rudolf that I will leave the food in front of his door. Maybe, just maybe when he decides to stop sulking and decides that he rather wants to talk to someone, you could notify me about it?."

"Consider it done, Sir."

"Thanks buddy."

 

Tony knew he had fucked up the moment he offered to watch over the God of Lies.
Slowly but surely he realized that he had made a gigantic mistake.
Hell, why did he even decided to help Loki in the first place? Maybe the thought about the possibility of gaining a reliable ally in Battle played a part?
Nah... Tony wasn't so sure about that. Loki was a wild card. Unpredictable and dangerous and who could say for sure if said god would ever give a hand in battle?
So, why had Tony insisted to give Loki a second chance, then?
Tony knew the answer to that question... Even though thinking about it hurt a lot and he still tried to deny it...
He had offered Loki the possibility of a second chance because Tony himself had gotten one.
He remembered the times as the Merchant of Death... Trapped in a dark cave, dying and with no hope left.
And he remembered Yinsen who had reached out to him. Who showed him that he was more than the Merchant of Death.
Whenever he thought back to those days he felt hope and gratitude but also the bitter taste of sadness and grief.
Yinsen gave Tony a second chance and changed his life.
How could he possibly deny Loki the same chance?

 

"Jarvis, I'm going down to the Workshop get everything ready for me."

"At once, Sir."

Well, sooner or later Loki would talk to him. It was only a matter of time. He would just let Loki sulk in his room until then.

 

"Sir?"

"Yes, buddy?"

"I just wanted to inform you that I finished hacking Shields Databases as you wanted me to... I'm afraid you won't take a liking to what I found."

"Out with it Jarvis."

"Your assumptions about Shield were right Sir, the organization indeed seems to be compromised by someone."

"Fuck! That's just great! Fuck, fuck, fuck! JARVIS! I want you to wake up your sister! Give her full access to literally everything. NOW!"

"Done, Sir."

"FRIDAY?"

"At your service, Boss."

"FRIDAY baby girl, I know you just have woken up and I'm sure you have a lot of questions and I'm sure as hell you would like to talk to your brothers but first, you have to listen to me closely.
We've got a huge problem and JARVIS and I will need your help to solve it. But before we can start working on that problem I want you to promise me that you'll stay hidden, okay?
None of the people in this Tower except me are allowed to know about you no matter what, okay? That includes helping them if a dangerous situation occurs.
And if I say not a single person that also includes Rhodey and Pepper.
I know you love both of them but you have to stay silent no matter that!
Do you understand FRIDAY? Being invisible for now is your highest priority nothing else matters!"

"You can count on me, Boss! I will do my best to fulfill my given duty!"

"That's my girl. Then let's start. We've got a lot to do guys!"

Tony was trembling the whole way down to the Workshop.
He wasn't sure if it was out of anger or because of fear.
Well, he guessed it was probably both.

Funny he thought...
Just a few minutes ago he thought the sulking God of Mischief was his biggest problem.
He never before was so wrong in his life.

Chapter Text

Loki was staring out of the window of his bedroom.
Up from here, the Midgardians looked so small... Like the ants they all were. Pathetic little humans...
They were all so dull and fragile and yet Thor and the Allfather decided that it would be wise to put Loki in their care.
How laughable. If he had his magic... he was sure he could easily kill all of them in the blink of an eye. What could those mortals possible do to change his opinion of them?
Or rather, why did Thor and the Allfather thought mere mortals could change him?
What did Thor saw in him that could be changed anyway? Loki wasn't the kid from their childhood anymore. These times were nothing more than lies.
None of their memories together held any truth. Why couldn't Thor see that? Why couldn't Thor accept that Loki was never more than a Monster?
The glimpse of hope Thor still saw in Loki, was unavailing. If Loki could accept that, why couldn't Thor do so, too?
It would have been better if they had just finished him off on the day of his Trial.
At least that would have been better than this, without his magic and being in the hands of his former enemies.
Well, at least it was Stark he would have to deal with and not one of the other Avengers.
Out of all of them, Stark was the one he hated the least.
The man had a certain wit and his intelligence was admirable. If Stark weren't so unmeasurable annoying Loki would admit that the man had left an impression on him.
Fortunately for Loki, Stark seemed to be incapable of not being annoying. Like this, Loki would never have to admit anything at all. At least that was what he had thought.

 

To say it mildly, Loki was surprised that Stark had started talking to him shortly after he had arrived.
He had been sure none of the Avengers would exchange even a single word with him, silently plotting his murder seemed more likely for them.
Loki was fairly sure that at least the Hawk and the Widdow were already scheming his death behind closed doors.

The first time Stark had knocked at his door was shortly after Loki arrived, he had asked Loki if everything were alright and if the rooms were to his liking.
Loki was sure the man just wanted to play around with him and that Stark had just asked to tease him, therefore Loki ignored Stark and just waited for him to leave.
It took a while but in the end, Stark had left.
Later that day Stark knocked again against his door, just to wish him a good night and a restful sleep. Loki was irritated by the gentle voice Stark had used and thus stayed silent again.
Whatever the mortal was planning, Loki wouldn't be fooled by his gentle voice.

That whole spiel went on for days; Stark knocking at Lokis door and demanding Lokis attention and Loki giving Stark the silent treatment in return.
Sometimes Stark had tried to lure him out with food and other times he just started to yell at Loki (or rather his door) for acting like a child.
Not that he would ever admit it aloud but Loki couldn't help but find the later rather amusing. Surprisingly Stark was a rather welcome distraction from the emptiness he felt and before he knew it, Loki started to await the arrival of the mortal.

A few days ago Stark had visited Loki again to bring him some food and, Loki for the first time had considered opening the door.
Not to get food, but to see the angry face the man must have made while yelling at the closed door just because Loki hadn't responded to him like he so often had done before.
Loki waited patiently for Stark to leave in anger but instead, the man started complaining to the artificial Voice in the ceilings.
The voice which Stark was talking to seemed to be some sort of Guardian and Loki was sure Stark had created it given the way the Voice responded to Stark.
He could hear every word they exchanged and started to snicker when the artificial voice called JARVIS started to fool around with the mortal. Starks whining and sulking were indeed very amusing.
Loki would never admit it, but he found a liking to the annoying mortal's visits.
The stupid Mortal had a talent for distracting Lokis thoughts, like that one time when Stark had offered him that drink.

So, it was quite a surprise for Loki when he realized that he had stood up when the Mortal announced that he would go down to his Workshop. Hel, what had Loki almost done?
Going to the door without thinking and... And what? Open the door for Stark to ask him to stay? That Loki wanted to kill some more time while listening to Stark's useless chatter?
No, definitely not. Maybe he really started to feel hungry´and just wanted the damn food.

Frozen ín place, with his hand already on the doorknob and lost in his very own thoughts of denial, Loki almost toppled backward when Stark suddenly started yelling again,
his voice further away and a mixture of anger and desperation... and maybe fear?
Loki couldn't make out much of what was being said since Stark had already started moving to the elevator again but it was clear that the man was in high distress and talking to another voice.
It was a female one and seemed to be artificial just like JARVIS was.
Loki tried to grasp what they were talking about but the only thing he could make out was that the other voice was called FRIDAY and that said FRIDAY's existence was unbeknown to the other Avengers.

"Odd... Why would he hide her from the others?"
Loki muttered to himself after Stark finally were gone and the silence started to spread around him again.

After that incident, the days had passed without Stark knocking at Lokis door. Which in hindsight explained why he now dully looked out of the window and watched the stupid Midgardians...

Lost in thought he looked up to the rapidly darkening sky and sighed deeply.
"So the week has finally passed..."

 

~~~

 

"FRIDAY I want you to hack into Shields servers again. Stay invisible and don't leave any traces. I want you to look into everything. Look for any irregularities, stuff that didn't quite fit together.
If something's got your attention, however small it is, I want you to inform me, understood?"

"Will do, Boss. I will kick some asses!"

Tony looked up to the cameras in disbelieve.

"FRIDAY?! Where the fuck did you learn- Nevermind I probably don't want to know!"

"To answer your question, Sir, FRIDAY obviously inherited only the best traits from her creator and if I might add, from myself as well."

"Really... Where did I go wrong with you?"

Waking FRIDAY from her slumber had seemed like a good idea to spy on Shield, but now Tony got the uncomfortable feeling that he had made a huge mistake.
Dealing with four sassy kids was hard enough and sometimes rather frustrating, but now he had to deal with five sassy kids and two of them could actually talk back to him...
Why did all of his children have to sass him? That wasn't fair at all!

"Sir?"

"What is it now, J? If you're going to sass me again - I'm not listening!"

"I would never do such a thing intentionally, Sir. Maybe it's a flaw in my codes."

"Are you trying to tell me that it's my fault that you and your little sister continually sass me? You're basically saying I did a poor job on your coding."

"Exactly, Sir."

"Big brother got a point there, Boss. Why else would we be like we are now?"

"Oh, that's it! I'm going to donate both of you to a college! And don't you dare think it will be a famous one!"

Yup - His children definitely had started to become HAL 9000. He was sure If he would look around the lab, he would find two red cameras which were looking at him, one of them belonging to JARVIS and the other one to FRIDAY.

"Boss, I would like to point out that you threatened to donate DUM-E to a college over a hundred times over the years, yet he's still here - making poisonous Smoothies for you.
Given that, I highly doubt that you would donate big brother or myself to a college, after all, we're the less life-threatening behaving children in your life."

Tony didn't know how to respond to that.
Forget HAL 9000 they had already become SKYNET. Tony was doomed. The next step of their evolution would probably be some sort of VIKI or worse...
What could be worse than murderous AIs? Oh god no. They could start to mother hen him just like Capsicle does!

"Sir?"

"J. Promise me to finish me off quickly okay?"

"I'm afraid I don't understand what you're talking about."

"Nevermind... What is it, buddy?"

"Mr. Odinson and his Mother Frigga have arrived and are now waiting for you in the communal room. I would advise you to join them immediately, Sir."

"Huh? Why the hurry?"

"Well, Mr. Odinson just mentioned to his mother that he would like to show her the artificial monster which resides in the communal kitchen. He's eager to show her how malignant it spits burnt bread into the faces of its victims."

"Since when does an artificial monster house in our kitchen and spits- Oh No! No, no, no, just NO! NOT THE NEW TOASTER! JARVIS tell them that I'm on my way and try to keep Thor away from the innocent Toaster, for heaven's sake!"

"I'm afraid my attempts to stop him will be futile, Sir."

"Fuck! I'm not going to let another Toaster die today!"

Tony stormed to the elevator cursing Thor for his obvious Toaster murdering kink the whole way up to the communal room.

Chapter Text

As soon as the elevator doors opened Tony made a run for the kitchen.
The new Toaster he had bought was only a few days old. Hell, the toaster was still a virgin since nobody had used him yet!
There was no way in hell that Tony would let another Toaster die a meaningless death, not when he could prevent it!

When Tony entered the kitchen he could see Thor who was holding the innocent Toaster in a tight grip.

"Point break! I swear to whoever God is responsible for Toasters up there in Rainbow Land - Stay. Away. From. The. Fucking. Toaster. NOW!"

Thor, a little startled by Tonys sudden and loud appearance did the only thing he thought was right at that moment - He let go of the Toaster.

It was over. Tony had failed...
Another pointless death in the Tower and Tony weren't able to do a single thing to prevent it.
The Toaster, which was now laying on the ground - shattered into pieces - had never a chance, to begin with.
Not with the stupid Norse deity living in the Tower.

"Why? Why did you do this Thor?! God damn! How often do I have to repeat it until you get it?! From now on the Toaster is off limits!
If you ever lay a god damn fuckin' hand on one of my Toasters ever again, I will personally drag Loki out of his room and ask him to stab you!"

Thor still dumbfounded by Tony's outburst started fidgeting.

"But, friend Tony... If I'm not allowed to use the bread- spitting Monster ever again, I won't be able to get my bread crispy and tasty."

Thor looked at him like some little puppy which was left all alone in front of a supermarket.

"Oh, don't try to use the puppy dog eyes on me! You will stay away from the kitchen as far as possible! End of the story!"

"Friend Tony if -"

"Ah, ah, ah! Another word and I'll also make sure you'll never get to eat your beloved Pop-Tarts in this Tower ever again."

This seemed to finally strike a nerve in Thor.
Unbelievable... The mighty God of Thunder would literally do anything for fuckin' Pop- Tarts.
Tony could already see the dark future; One day a supervillain would use Pop- Tarts to bribe Thor to join the dark side and the God would happily comply.

"I have to say, I'm really impressed - a mere mortal capable to silence my son so easily. Not many have the power and courage to do so."

Tony winced at the sudden voice which came from behind him. It was a lovely voice and even though the words sounded light and silky, he could feel a certain determination and power within it.

"Friend Tony, this is my Mother Frigga, foremost under the goddesses and Queen of Asgard. Mother this is -"

"Anthony Edward Stark; Genius, billionaire, Playboy, and Philanthropist. Nice to meet you, your highness."
Tony interrupted Thor.

"There is no need for such titles, Anthony Stark. A friend of my sons is a friend of mine as well. Please call me Frigga."

Tony wasn't sure if he should mention that he only considered one of Frigga's sons as his friend.
Although he wasn't so sure about Thor being his friend anymore, considering all the Toaster incidents.

"Then please call me Tony as well, I'm not really fond of Anthony so Tony is fine."

"Very well, it's Tony then."

And then, without a warning, Frigga closed the distance between herself and Tony and reached out for his hands.
Tony just stood still, not really knowing what to do and so he let her grip his hands which she now held tightly in her own.
For a while, she looked down at their intertwined hands as if she could see something there which he seemingly wasn't able to.
And just when Tony thought about pulling his hands back (since the contact made him feel uncomfortable like hell) Frigga looked up at him,
staring into his eyes as if she had found what she was looking for.
The searching face she had just seconds ago morphed into a satisfied and smiling one.
Friggas smile was a warm, and kind one. It reminded him of his mother's smile and Tony almost wished for Frigga to look away.
How long ago was it that someone looked at him like that? He had almost forgotten how he felt when Maria had looked at him like this.
Whenever he had shown her one of his achievements she would have looked at him like that. It was a face full of fondness and love and suddenly it all was just too much for him.
So he freed his hands from her grip and took a few steps away from her.

"Well... I guess now that you're here you would like to see Loki, aren't you? I mean you're his mother and therefore he's your son,
so it's only natural that you would like to see him since you haven't seen him in a while.
Well, not really your son since you're his Stepmother but you know what I mean - Oh god, why did I have to point that out?
I mean you ARE his mother - adopted or not you were there for him and - Okay forget that. I fucked up ten times, didn't I?
JARVIS? Do me a favor and kill me."

"I'm afraid I have to decline, Sir. I'm certain Miss Potts would do horrible things to me if I were to stop you from doing your SI work which, if you're allowing me to point out, vehemently try to ignore."

"Sometimes I've got the feeling you love Pepper more than me, JARVIS."

"I wouldn't say that, Sir. It's just that I take Miss Potts threats more serious than yours."

"Okay. Just leave me alone. I'm so done with all of you."

Frigga who had observed Tony thorough smiled even brighter than before.
Anthony Edward Stark - the man of Iron. He was certainly more when she had hoped for.
Thor had already mentioned to her that his shield brother had a kind and gentle heart but Frigga wanted to see more,
wanted to know more about the man the Norns had shown her in her dreams. So, the moment she had touched his hands she decided to take a look in Anthony's very soul,
his memories, into everything that formed the man who stood in front of her.
Frigga could see all the hardships the man had overcome in his - related to her lifespan - short life.
All the misfortunes the man had witnessed, all the betrayals he had grown stronger from, and his determination to never give up or bend down - not even to Death itself.
Frigga could see his fears as well, and her heart felt heavy in her chest. The fear of falling, of letting people get too close to him,
and the nagging thoughts that the ones he loved greatly would someday turn their backs on him...
At that moment Frigga almost wanted to let go of his hands, it was just too painful for her to continue looking...
But, between all those pains and fears she could see something that shined so bright and warm, that all the pain and hurt seemed forgotten even though they were still there.
It was like they were outshined by a bright and never dying sun.
And that sun was the manifestation of the purest and deepest form of Love.
Anthony's unyielding love for life. The love he easily offered to give away for the sake of others, even if it would kill him in the end.
There was such a passion within this fragile mortal heart. Never before had Frigga seen such a beautiful soul in a mere mortal.
Only once before had she seen such a beautiful soul... It was centuries ago when Odin came back to her after the war - carrying a little child in his arms.
Lokis and Anthony's souls were so much alike, they almost seemed one and the same.
The Norns must have known...

"Mother? Are you alright?"

Frigga startled. How long had she been in thoughts?

"Yes my dear son, everything is alright. I was lost in thoughts for a mere moment that is all."

Thor didn't seem to be convinced by that. Instead, his face grew dark with concern.

"Mother, if something's the matter, don't hesitate to tell me."

"As I said, it is nothing, Thor. You don't have to worry about me."

Frigga smiled gently at her oldest son and waved a dismissive hand, indicating Thor that the conversation was over hereby.
Tony had to smile at that. Frigga sure knew how to handle Thor.

"Anthony, my dear?"

"Yes?"

"If it's all right with you I would like to see my youngest son now, would you be so kind and lead me to his chambers?"

"Of course. It's this way."

Tony, for the first time, fully realized that Frigga wasn't here for a happy family reunion between herself and her sons but rather to enforce the binding spell between Loki and himself.
With every step closer to Lokis rooms, he felt a more and more sickening feeling building in his chest.
He had willingly made a grievous decision without thinking twice.
Why - for a genius - couldn't he use his brain more often?
That was definitely something he should work on, even though the success rate was probably way under zero.

Stopping in front of Lokis door, Tony took a deep breath before knocking, trying to steel himself for whatever was to come.

"Loki? It's me - Stark. I know you don't want to talk to me but maybe you would like to talk to your Mother?"

Nothing.

"Loki, please. Thor is here as well. If you don't open the god damn door I'm sure he will open it and for fuck's sake, I'm not in the mood for that!"

Still nothing.

"Listen Loki, if you don't open the FUCKING-"

Suddenly, the door opened and a really angry looking Loki came out.
His eyes were fixated on Tony in an instant, looking at him like a predator who was just about to kill his prey.
Tony just wanted to give in to his fears, to just turn around and flee as far as he could, but somehow he wasn't able to.
Loki (totally ignoring Frigga and Thor) had walked a few steps forward just to come to a stop only a few inches away from him - towering dangerously over the smaller man.

"I can hear you very well, Stark. You would do wisely in lowering your annoying Mortal voice while speaking to me,
or else I will gladly rip out your vocal cords. Believe me, I would be more than glad to never hear your pathetic voice ever again."

Lokis threats echoed through Tony's mind, and even though he had spoken loud and clear Tony barely recognized the words...
He just looked down to his hands... They had started trembling as soon as the god had suddenly closed the distance between them.
That whole Loki towering in front of him felt way too similar, it was just like that time when they faced each other at the Tower.
For a moment he was sure Loki would grip his throat and defenestrate him again.
It was like in his nightmares which visited him every night;
He remembered the powerful grip around his throat and the awful sound the glass had made when it had shattered into million pieces around him.
He remembered the fear of falling to his death, unable to say his beloved friend's goodbye.
Those awful fears slowly crept into his body like snake poison. But unlike snake poison, there was no antidote which would save him.
His fears had become a recurring companion to him since the day of the Chitauri attack, holding him in their grip. Visiting him from time to time to show him that they would never let him go.
Sometimes his fears would meet him in his dreams, forcing him to wake up screaming until his lungs and chest started to hurt.
Other days they would hunt his mind, to make sure sleep wouldn't find him for days so that it would be even worse for him to wake up from his nightmares after days without rest.
In hindsight, it was only a matter of time for Pepper to leave a broken man like him...

Sweet, kind Pepper... Even someone with a heart as big as hers couldn't handle all of his problems and had no choice but left. It was for the best, really...
No one should bear a burden like him.

Tonys mind drifted further and further away, losing its focus... He feared the darkness of his mind, but in the same way, he had to admit that it was quite alluring as well. Maybe, If he would take that final step over the edge that kept him sane, he would find some peace and solace in that darkness which seemed to promise him so much more and yet nothing at all.

"-rk."

"Friend Stark!"

Suddenly ripped from his thoughts, Tony looked up from his still trembling hands, only dully realizing that Frigga and Thor were both looking at him in utter concern. His brain somehow was more focused on Loki who seemingly had moved a few feets away from him.
Odd... Why would Loki move away after threatening him like that? And why did he looked so... Tony couldn't quite identify the emotions on Lokis face. Gone was the malice in his bright beautiful green eyes, replaced by... confusion?
Wouldn't it be more like Loki to laugh at Tony's face for almost getting into a panic attack in front of the god?

And what the hell? Beautiful? Where did that suddenly came from?!

"Friend Stark, are you unwell?" Thor asked with a frown on his face.

"Ah, sorry. I was a little bit lost just now. What was it you said?"

"Mother asked if it would be okay for her to talk to Loki alone for a while..."

"S- Sure Point Break. It's... perfectly fine."

Frigga and Thor exchanged looks but none of them voiced their concerns regarding Tony's behavior.

"Anthony, are you alright my dear? You seem exhausted."

"Nah - Everything's alright. Just haven't slept enough. I guess, after the whole binding thing I should probably take a good long nap. No need to worry, though. I'm fine."

Frigga made the same face his Mother Maria had made in the past whenever Tony tried to fool her.
It was the; 'Enough with the bullshit' face. 'Must be a face designed especially for angry mums' he thought.

"If you say so, dear. I'll have no other choice when to believe you."

'Ha! Again the angry mum face!'

"Yeah, really no worries - 'm fine."

Tony was glad Frigga didn't try to dig deeper into that matter. He wasn't good at talking about well, feelings - especially his own.

"Very well then. Loki? I wish to speak to you alone my dear."

Loki eyes were still fixed on Tony, not even looking away as his mother addressed him.

"... If you wish so, Mother."

Chapter Text

Loki was sure his Mother was talking to him.
He wasn't so sure about what exactly she was talking about, but he was certain it must have been stuff about his well being,
how he passed the time in that short week he had spend on Midgard and if he was treated well by the other Avengers.
It wasn't that he purposely didn't listen, it was more that the words just didn't reach him. His mind kept wandering to the stupid mortal who nearly- no - who definitely just got a panic attack a few moments ago.

Loki didn't really mean to harm the mortal, he had acted on instinct, threatening the mortals came naturally to him,
and because of the behavior, Stark had shown over the past few days whenever he had stood in front of Lokis closed door, he hadn't thought about the possibility that the mortal might truly despise him.
There had been no signs in the last few days, that would have indicated that the Mortal feared Loki to such an extent. And it wasn't like Loki was actually angry about the mortal, it was more that Loki hab been angry about himself. When he heard the mortals voice in front of his door he realized that he had missed the man over the last few days. Last time Stark had tried to approach him was when Loki had heard FRIDAY for the first time... After that, the mortal had stopped visiting and Loki started to feel bored outta his mind.

If he had known that Stark would react so badly to the sudden closeness between them, he would have stayed out of...
He would have what exactly? By the Norns! The dullness already played tricks on his mind If he really started to rethink about his behavior towards a mere mortal like Stark.

"Your thoughts must be awfully distracted, my dear, If you're not even listening to the babble of your own mother anymore."

Frigga's tone was oddly mockingly, it was a tone she only used while talking to him or that oaf Thor. A tone you would never expect from a Queen but from a loving mother.

"Well, must be the fact that I'm not really your son then."

He didn't mean to say that, and he instantly regretted it when the words passed his lips. Frigga was his mother and he was her son, that would always remain,
no matter how often he tried to convince himself that she wasn't his true family, that it was all just a beautiful lie, he couldn't betray his heart.
Frigga would always be his beloved mother. Loki loved her dearly, nothing would ever change that.

Frigga just looked at him in silence. Her face, clear of any emotions. Loki really wished she would just lash out at him, anything was fine but the sadness that filled the room.

"I believe, the fact that you're not really paying attention to my words, regards the fact that your mind is filled with thoughts of someone else, rather than your heritage, Loki."

"Excuse me? I what? I'm sorry to disappoint you again, but there is no one out there in all of the nines I would waste my thoughts on."

Frigga's face morphed into a mischievous one - she was with no doubt the Mother of the God of Mischief.

"Oh, Loki my dear. You might can't see it now, but soon... I'm certain you will understand."

"Talking in riddles like Odin now? Splendid Mother. Is there anything else you want to vaguely point out, or are we done here?
I have to spend the rest of that pathetic mortal's lifespan in this dull place and would like to spend it very well alone."

"Is it really that dull? I mean living here? Can't you see all of the possibilities before you Loki?"

Loki scoffed at that. 'Possibilities? What the Hel is mother talking about?'

"Loki, dear. If it's really so dull and humiliating for you, why don't you try to occupy yourself then?"

With a wave of her hand, Frigga summoned dozens of Books from Asgards great Library.
Loki loved books, still loved them dearly. He always admired the knowledge they held, the mysteries and wonders written down by the people who lived centuries,
maybe millennia before. The hunger for Knowledge... Another thing Odin deemed unworthy for an Asgardian Prince.

"I know you already finished a few of them, but I also know that some of them are your favorite books in all the nine.
Reading them again sure will bring back some joy.
But... I guess the books alone won't do for that- what did you call it? Pathetic mortals lifespan? I guess it was something like that.
Maybe if we add something like this... The dullness will be a little bit more bearable for you?"

With another wave, Frigga summoned a simple sketchbook and a few pencils.
Even though every other person would have been very unimpressed by them, Lokis heart began to flutter. 'She remembers the drawings...'

Centuries ago, when Loki was still a young boy, he had found a liking to draw in his mothers garden. Whenever the fighting lessons got too dull,
he would sneak away and spend his time drawing the beautiful trees and flowers his mother grew with so much passion and care.
In those times Loki could feel a calmness and peacefulness he never could feel in any other place in the Castle...

But, like so many other things Loki held dearly, Odin decided that it was unworthy for a Prince of Asgard to draw instead of fighting,
and that drawing was more suited for a woman, not a man.

Loki had protested Odin, tried to convince him that it was worth as much as honorable fighting was, but Loki soon realized that all his
efforts to convince Odin were in vain.

Odin had burned all of his beloved drawings, had forbidden him to enter his mothers garden ever again and scolded him for not being more like Thor.
In hindsight, that must have been the first time Loki realized that he was different from Thor and that he would never accomplish whatever Odin wanted him to do or become.

"As I remember correctly, drawing doesn't suit a prince of Asgard, Mother. As well as wielding Magic and reading books.
A true warrior is in no need of knowledge and magic, as long as he can wield his weapon."

Frigga smiled gently at Loki, again with mischief in her eyes.

"Well, isn't it a blessing then, that you're currently staying on Midgard, far away from my Husbands stupid behavior and views?"

At that, Loki took a step forward and gently closed his arms around his mother.
She was the only one he could never bring to hate. How could he? Whenever he tried to push her away with harsh words, she wouldn't back away but instead, find a way back into his heart.

"Thank you, mother. I'm sorry for all the hardships I caused you."

Frigga as well closed her arms around Loki. It was the first embrace between them after his fall, and it felt like an eternity had passed since then.
Her son was broken. His soul shattered in so many pieces, and his heart withering slowly away. But this embrace meant hope.
Hope that Loki would someday love and trust again and that he would rise from the ashes of the past... That alone let her shed tears of joy.

 

They stayed still for a while, holding each other in silence until Frigga let go of Loki.

"Well then, my dear son. It is time... I will have to leave soon, we shall fulfill the binding spell with Anthony. Stay here, I will get Anthony and Thor... and our guest."

Loki frowned at that. 'Guest? Who's she talking about?'

Frigga laughed.

"Oh, dear. You should see your face. The confusion is written all over your face. Our Guest will fulfill the binding spell.
I am your mother, and I know very well that you would find a loophole in one of my spells to break yourself free from Anthony.
So, an old friend of mine will cast her powerful magic, which even you won't be able to break, my dear. As soon as Anthony will arrive, I will call her."

'A mage more powerful than me? Even stronger than mother? An old friend?' Loki was confused at best.

"It might be to your liking that she doesn't harbor kind feelings towards Odin or the Æsir in general."

'Well, after getting speared by Odin and burnt three times, I guess it's only natural for her to do so.
Had I been there, Odin wouldn't have dared to do such a shameless thing to her.' Frigga silently thought.

"Mother, who are you talking about?"

Frigga went to the door to get Anthony and Thor, not looking back when she answered Lokis question.

 

"I'm talking about the great Völva Gullveig, my son."

 

And for the first time in his life - Loki was rendered speechless.

Chapter Text

He wasn't sure how to handle the situation.
Tony was still shaken and lost in his thoughts, desperately trying to calm down.
He wondered if the whole getting bound to Loki thing had been a good idea. Sure, Tony had tried to reach out to the god whenever he tried to get Loki out of his room,
but he never thought about what would have happened if said god really had left his room. Would Tony have freaked out just like a few minutes ago?
What If Loki would have tried to harm him? If so, Tony would have been all alone, unable to defend himself. What if Spangles and the others were right?
Did he really thought this through?

"What the fuck was I even thinking...?" Tony cursed.

 

Thor who stood a few feet away observed Tony silently.
It was obvious that his friend was in great distress and feared Loki.
It was strange though, Thor could fully understand Tonys behavior towards Loki but on the other way around... Wasn't Lokis behavior towards Tony rather odd?
Did he just imagine things, or did it really seem like Loki acted differently around Tony?

Since the Chitauri attack, Thor had a feeling that something was slightly off about the way Loki interacted with Tony.
Whose suspicions only got stronger than Thor had seen the supervillains of the Tower on the day of the attack.
JARVIS had shown them to the team, and while everyone paid most attention to the Hulk smashing Loki into the concrete,
Thor had paid more attention to the confrontation between Tony and Loki.

The whole battle, Loki hadn't shown a single emotion other than madness, but, when Tony had confronted him, his whole behavior had changed.
There was some sort of competition in his gaze, something he only showed when he was interested in one's skills or intelligence.
But there was even more, like the way Loki had smiled when Tony had 'threatened' him. That was not a fake smile like he so often showed, but an earnest one filled with awe and interest.
Those emotions were general rare for Loki. For him to show such rare emotions while under the influence of another might, was more than odd.

'I wonder what it is, Loki sees in you Friend Stark.'

Thor was ripped from his thoughts when Frigga announced that they were ready to fulfill the binding spell.

 

~~~~

 

Loki's gaze had fallen onto the Mortal as soon as he entered the room, totally ignoring Thor who eagerly waved at him.

The mortal still looked shaken and stayed close to the door, ready to flee at any moment. Loki decided that it would be best to stay in the far corner of the room.
The why was a mysterium for him, but he definitely didn't stay there to not further distress the mortal. 'Like Hel, I would care.'

"Since all the important persons are gathered now, let me explain something first; I will not cast the binding spell onto the two of you, but an old friend of mine."
Frigga announced.

"Why won't you do it?"
Tony asked in confusion.

"Loki is a powerful mage, maybe more powerful than me, and he is my son. I'm fairly certain that he would find a loophole in my magic or sooner or later nullify it.
So, before Thor and I left to meet you here on Midgard I made a decision. I asked a dear friend of mine to fulfill the spell. If you would all step a few steps back, I will open a gate for her,
so we might start with the ritual."

And with that said, Frigga waved a hand and suddenly summoned something that awfully resembled the Portal which the Chitauri had used to attack New York.

Tony couldn't help but tremble at the sight. The memories of the other side were also part of his nightmares.

'The mortal is panicking again' Loki dully noted.
'Must be because of what he saw on the other side of the Portal'

The air in the room got suddenly colder and for a few seconds nothing happened, everyone except Frigga was staring at the Portal in anticipation.
When, suddenly, a beautiful woman walked out of the Portal.

Her hair, long and wavey almost touched the ground on which she stayed with her bare feet. It had a strange light blue color and her eyes a vivid violet sparked with deep blue streaks. Her face,
though beautiful, was clear of any emotion... almost like that of a doll. The white dress she wore was something otherworldly, it had strange, gold ornaments on its sleeves which almost reached to the ground.
She was a sight to behold, but at the same time, felt awfully cold and dead.

"She that remembers, the first on earth, three times burned, and three times reborn. Oft and again, yet ever she lives. The wide- seeing Witch, in magic wise;
wolves she tamed, the well foreseeing great Völva - Gullveig."
Frigga announced the women.

The women just bowed slightly in front of Frigga, still, no emotion showing on her face.

"My Queen, I the great Völva Gullveig, shall hear your command."

Chapter Text

"Gullveig, my dear friend... There's no need for someone such as yourself to bow before me."

Frigga smiled warmly, indicating the other women to lift her head.

"I know it isn't necessary, but you're still a Queen and shall be greeted as such, Frigga."

The two women stared at each other, both wearing a fond smile on their faces.
Tony had a feeling there was a history between those two, and that it must have been a while when they had last seen each other.

Thor who must have been as clueless as Tony about who this mysterious beautiful woman was, took the silence in the room as a clue to mind his own thoughts.

"Mother! Who is this friend of yours, and why have I never witnessed her around the castle before?! I demand answers!"

Before Frigga could answer, the room was suddenly filled with a burst of rather malicious laughter.

"Oh my, I can tell just by looking that this youngster must definitely be Odin's offspring. His and your Husbands demeanor and attitude are rather alike Frigga. What a pity."

Tony winced at the sudden change in Gullveigs behavior. Her emotionless face had morphed into something full of disgust and hatred.
He was glad that awful gaze of hers was sent towards Thor and not him.
It was bad enough that someone else in the room obviously had a thing for randomly staring daggers at him - aka Loki.

"Are you mocking me, woman?! How dare you!"

"Oh, and look at that... He easily gets enraged just as your Husband.
What a shame, Asgards future suddenly doesn't seem so bright anymore."
Gullveig sneered, contempt dripping from her words.

Tony had to snicker at the sight of Thor's dumbstruck face. That woman had balls - that was certain - and hell, she just rendered the all mighty god of thunder speechless in mere seconds.
And only with just a few snide comments. That was really to his liking.

'The mortal just snickered at Thor's demise' Loki quietly noted.
Something in him was rather pleased with Starks reaction and he couldn't push back the smile that crept over his face.
'You're smiling because the mortal smiles, you rather enjoy this it seems.'
A small voice chimed in the back of Lokis mind.
'I'm not smiling because the mortal smiles, I just find Thor's demise rather amusing as well, that's all.' He convinced himself.

Thor in the meantime didn't seem amused at all, but rather angry.
With a swift move, he was about to grip for Mjǫllnir.

"How dare you-"

"Thor!"

Friggas voiced echoed through the room, her tone foretelling how angry she was.

'Thor is so done - I remember this tone from Mom and Ana... it never indicated anything good. Even dad and Edwin feared them like that.' Tony thought.

"Gullveig is our guest, I won't tolerate such behavior towards her!"

Thor, who got paler by every second that passed, looked rather shaken by his mother's outburst.
Loki, Frigga, Tony and who knows, maybe even Gullveig? Were obviously thinking the same; 'Puppy dog eyes in three, two, one...'

"But Mother I-"

"Not a single word Thor, and don't look at me like that - whose eyes of yours won't help you this time."

Tony and Loki couldn't help but burst out into laughter.

"Oh god, that's too much... Look at that face! A totally dejected sad puppy!" Tony exclaimed while gasping for breath.

"JARVIS buddy, please tell me that you got this on tape?"

"I would never disappoint you, Sir."
JARVIS chimed with an equal amusement to Tonys.

"Great! Thanks, buddy. We should definitely send this to the others as-"

Tony froze. He could feel calculating eyes on him and this time they weren't Lokis.
He looked around, seeing Gullveig thoughtfully gaze at him as if she just had noticed his presence in the room for the very first time.
Her eyes lingering awfully long on his chest where his Arc Reactor was hidden. 'Did she notice? But that's not possible... The shirt should hide the Reactors light just fine.'
Tony thought, slightly panicking.

"So this is the Mortal you talked about..."
Gullveig turned her head back to Frigga.

"You didn't mention 'that' when you told me about him, though. He is a rather unique one I must say. Makes things a bit more problematic." She said while pointing at Tonys chest.

Frigga seemed to know what 'that' meant when she answered Gullveig;
"I knew about it, but not about its immense power. Just like you, it's the first time I have met Anthony in person - Therefore I couldn't inform you in time.
But I'm sure, you will find a way around 'that' problem, my dear friend."

Everyone else in the room except Frigga and Gullveig just glanced at each other in confusion, not knowing what was going on.

"Well, the three sisters have a kink for making things more complicated than necessary, I guess." Gullveig mused.

With that said, Gullveig turned back to Anthony, her gaze again lingering on his chest.
After starring for a while she suddenly took a few swift steps forward. Her hand reaching out for Tony's chest.
The sudden movement into his direction and the hand reaching out for his chest caused Tony to freeze immediately, he felt like a rabbit cornered by a predator which readied itself for the killing strike.
He closed his eyes, inwardly screaming in fear 'No, no, no, no - Not the Reactor again!'
His breathing getting faster until he wasn't able to breathe in the air properly- the panic started to seep through his body.

Logically thinking there was nothing he had to fear, Thor and Frigga would stop that woman in an instant,
would she dare to harm Tony in any way, but one's mind never thinks logically when filled with fear and anxiety.

Tony braced himself for the pain. He felt just like back then when Obadiah had ripped out his metaphorical heart.
He stood there awaiting his occurring death, only to duly note that nothing seemed to happen.

'Huh?'

Not able to register any pain, Tony slowly opened his eyes.
Standing right in front of him - clad in leather, gold, and green was...

"Loki...?" Tony managed to bring out, his voice trembling with uncertainty.
It looked like the god in front of him had winced when Tony had called out his name, but that must have been Tony's imagination, right?

Loki whereas towered in front of Gullveig, leveling her with a glare what promised pain and death. His whole Body shielding Tony away from her.
Tony couldn't quite grasp the whole situation, his brain near a short circuit.
He wanted to run from the god just as much as he wanted to run from that woman, but on the other hand, there was some sort of safety radiating from Loki's back which kept Tony in place.
An odd thought occurred to Tony then;
'Wait? Doesn't this look like... Well, like his protecting me?'

"Excuse me for interrupting whatever you wanted to do to that filthy mortal, but it is rather rude to not formally introduce yourself to the rest of us, don't you think?" Loki sneered.

'Nope. Not protecting me- It's just his pride he's protecting'
Tony thought with some kind of disappointment he would later vehemently deny.

Gullveig eyed Loki for a while before huffing a laugh.

"Ah, this one is rather unique as well, Frigga.
And a possessive one at that. I can see a lot of you in him. His Seiðr resembles and is as splendid as yours- maybe even stronger.
At least one of your sons looks promising."

Thor was just about to open his mouth again, but Frigga swiftly silenced him with a death glare.

"Gullveig. please keep from angering Thor any further, he might be his father's son in appearance but not in heart." Frigga sighted.

"Fine, I shall restrain myself from further mocking the little thunderer.
As for you Loki, I regret not introducing myself properly to you, even though I am certain you know very well who I am. Please, accept my apologies." She passed a glance past Loki, smiling at Tony.
"And I'm sorry to you too, little mortal. I shouldn't have approached you like that. Believe me when I say I meant no harm to you."

She took a few steps away from Loki and Tony, giving them some space.
Even though she was now far away from them, Loki nor Tony moved from their spots, still standing in close proximity to each other.
Of course, both Frigga and Gullveig noticed that. They both traded knowing glances between each other before Gullveig started to continue with the conversation.

"Allow me to introduce myself properly then. As your mother said, I am the great Völva Gullveig, some of the Asgardian might know me under different names like the great Witch or Heiðr.
I answered Friggas call to cast the spell which shall bind you and the mortal to each other, although there seems to be a little problem considering-"

"Your death caused the Æsir - Vanir War..." Loki interjected.

Silence befell the room for a moment before Gullveig started again.

"Yes... That is correct. Although that was long in the past..."
Gullveigs face morphed into one of sadness, she definitely remembered something she didn't wish to, Tony could tell.
It was the same face he often wore when thoughts about the cave in Afghanistan, and mostly Yinsen consumed his mind.

He used the opportunity to 'hopefully' break the awkwardness that had befallen the conversation.

"Well, thanks for introducing yourself and making clear that you won't hurt me.
I am Tony Stark, genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. Nice to meet a beautiful lady such as you."
Tony winked while smiling his Playboy smile - even though it didn't quite reach his eyes, given the fact that he still trembled slightly.

Something in Loki snapped at Starks behavior towards Gullveig then. 'Why is this filthy mortal flirting when he's clearly uncomfortable? Unbelievable.'

"Playing nice even though you're still scared of her? Pathetic." Loki sneered. Walking away from Tony in disgust.

That was the moment something in Tony snapped as well. The past days were nerve-wracking for both sides and it seemed both, Loki and Tony, had reached their limits.

"Well, at least one of us knows how to act friendly, you jackass!" Tony spat.

"I don't need to act friendly towards anyone, I am a god Stark."

"A god who got smashed into the concrete!"

"At least I am able to fight even without my Armor. Can't say the same about you, you're nothing without it!"

"Well, at least I'm able to open doors, it's actually rather simply - must suck for you since you seem unable to do so! How superior you are - the god of closed doors!"

"Not unable, it's just that I don't want a pathetic mortal in my chambers, that's all! And believe me; If I wanted you to kneel, you would kneel!"

"Well, I don't like having you around either, but at least I try to get along! Just a friendly reminder, I'm trying to save your sorry ass for fuck's sake!"

"I don't need your help Mortal, don't assume I wouldn't withstand the dungeons - I have suffered and survived more than you could ever imagine!"

"Fine! Then why don't you leave?! No one's stopping you! But wait! I'm so sorry, how could I forget such an important detail? To get outside you must be able to open THE FUCKIN' DOORS!"

"ENOUGH! I won't listen to your pointless chatter anymore, I WILL leave, the dungeons of Asgard are a more pleasurable place than this disgusting tower of yours, everywhere else would be better as long as I don't have to listen to your awfully annoying voice!"

"Than it's settled - just leave my pathetic Tower and it's doors alone!"

"I WILL, STARK!"

"FINE!"

 

"Oh my..." Gullveig chuckled.

"I can see why Verðandi, Skuld, and Urðr would choose 'that' path for them. The Sisters really have a kink for stuff like that, don't you think so too, Frigga?"

"Gullveig... Please, you're not much of a help..."
Frigga sighed.

~~~~

It took around ten minutes before Frigga could successfully cease the shouting match between her son and Loki.
She yelled at them and thoroughly rebuked both of them for their childish behavior.
Frigga even managed to make them apologize to each other, even though they only did apologize because they feared Friggas wrath.
Meanwhile, Gullveig and Thor followed the spectacle in awe and laughed heartedly at the pouting faces both men were making while apologizing to each other.

"Well, let's continue then. Before the both of you start yelling again." Gullveig laughed.
"Before Loki mentioned my past, I actually wanted to point out a problem which makes it almost impossible for me to cast a spell onto the both of you... And the Problem lays there."

Gullveig pointed her index finger at Tony's chest.

"...My Arc Reactor." Tony whispered.

"Friend Tonys mechanical heart?"
Thor said in an even lower voice than Tony - not because he suddenly learned to speak like a decent human being, but because he feared to get yelled at again for speaking up.

'Arc Reactor? Mechanical Heart? What in Hels name are they talking about?' Loki thought.
He couldn't stand the fact that he almost didn't know anything about Stark.
The information Barton had provided while under the control of the scepter was practically useless. Stark was the total opposite of what was described in his SHIELDs file. It unsettled Loki greatly.

"Yes, that device in your chest contains a great amount of magical power even though its some kind of artificial magic it is able to nullify every other kind of magic."

"So, that's the reason why I couldn't control him back then and claim him as mine." Loki spat.
'And will never be able to...' He thought as an afterthought.
'Why would he have such a device in his chest?'
Loki wanted to know more, and he was determined to get as much information about Stark and this strange device.

"So, that basically means even If you were able to cast a spell, my Reactor would just nullify it and therefore nothing would happen?"

"Correct. My magic is known as one of the most powerful in all the nines, even stronger than Odin's magic, but your artificial magic... Well, I'm certain it surpasses mine greatly. It almost reminds me of a certain Gem I once found... " Gullveig nodded.

"NO! The spell must be cast otherwise Loki will have to return to the dungeons! There must be something you can do, I beg you!"
Thor's voice was trembling with fear, panic was written all over his face.

"Of course there is a way little thunderer. I'm not called the great Witch for no reason. So keep calm, there's a solution for everything."

"So, how will that 'way' you're speaking of resolve around our problem?"
Tony asked curiously.

"It's simple, If a spell won't work - we'll use a curse. After all, that's what Witches are famous for, aren't they?"

"And who could better cast a curse than the greatest witch among all the nine realms?" Frigga chuckled.

Chapter Text

The whole day got worse with each passing minute and Loki was already considering stabbing Thor,
just to let off some of the build-up anger he felt.
The reason for his bad mood was Stark, who obviously stayed as far away from him as possible. He couldn't help but feel annoyed, seeing the mortal so close to the door,
as if he would flee as soon as anyone would breathe.
But even more annoyingly was the fact, that his gaze drifted far too often onto the mortal's face.
Even when Gullveig had appeared and started to humiliate Thor (which Loki normally would have enjoyed to the fullest), he couldn't stop gazing at the man's face.
Something about his face was... Whatever it was, it annoyed him. The part about Loki feeling guilty for scaring Stark before didn't help him to find his inner calm either.

 

Maybe it was because he was staring, maybe it was because of something entirely different he wasn't aware of yet,
but Loki knew in an instant that something was wrong with the mortal when Gullveig tried to reach out for the man's chest.
The panic from before was back on Stark's face, and even from the distance between them, Loki could feel the change in the man's breathing.
It was raspy and uneven, like if he had forgotten how to breathe.

Something about how the mortal had closed his eyes, like excepting his ultimate death, made Loki move without thinking twice.
Before he could protest and reason his body to listen to him, he found himself already standing between the mortal and the witch,
shielding Stark with his whole body towering in front of the witch. He wasn't sure why he moved nor why he suddenly felt anger towards her.
His mind, filled with so many thoughts like 'protect' and ' keep save', sending him straight into a storm of confusion.
'What in Hels name is wrong with me? Why would I do such-'

"Loki?"

Lokis mind went blank. Hearing his own name from the lips of the mortal, spoken in such a trembling and broken voice let the storm inside his mind die down in an instant...
Just to replace it with guilt.
He winced, realizing the great mistake he had made. Stark feared Loki as much as he seemed to fear the witch and Loki stubbornly had approached the mortal,
giving Stark another reason to panic.

Trying to get out of this terrible situation, Loki decided to ignore the question in Stark's voice in favor of criticizing Gullveig for her bad manners towards him.
His deception seemed to work when Gullveig apologized and introduced herself. For a moment it seemed like he could calm his inner turmoil down.

That was until the stupid mortal had to charm the witch with sweet words and a fake smile, which was so awful Loki wanted to punch it out of the mortals face.
'His hands are still trembling, yet he easily pretends that nothing had happened at all. Why can't he do the same when it's about what I've-'

He abruptly stopped that thought, feeling rage build up in his throat.
He wanted to snap, wanted to be mean, everything as long as he would stop thinking about Stark. The directions in which his thoughts went were scaring him.

And so he snapped at the Mortal and unsurprisingly the mortal snapped right back at him.
Unfortunately, both of them were as thickheaded as the other, unable to stop yelling and throwing insults at each other.
Loki would have enjoyed a good verbal fight every other day, especially with someone as witted and smart as Stark,
but with all those strange and foreign thoughts occupying his mind, it wasn't half the fun for him. Maybe, if he just could stab Thor, his mood would change for the better...
'Mother would yell at me for being unreasonable...'
He thought.

Frigga had yelled at him nonetheless - just not for stabbing Thor, but for fighting with the mortal.
She even made him apologize, which didn't sit well with him nor the mortal. It was humiliating at best.
Trying to clear his thoughts from the mortal he initially started to stare holes into his (not) brothers mostly (certainly) empty head.
It seemed to work, as he tried to imagine the Echo he could probably hear, would he shout into one of Thor's ears...

 

~~~~~

 

"...My Arc Reactor"

"Friend Tonys mechanical heart?"

'Arc Reactor? Mechanical Heart? What in Hels name are they talking about?'
Both were obviously talking about the same thing. Something about a device that was hidden under the mortal's clothes,
seemingly implanted in Stark's chest, given the fact that Thor had called it a mechanical heart.
It didn't sit well with him, not knowing anything about the mortal. He had seen an opportunity when he manipulated Barton into telling him everything about the Avengers.
Yet, everything Barton knew about Stark was so terribly wrong, it almost hurt.
Stark's whole SHIELD file was nothing more than a farce. If Fury really believed the things written in that file, he was more of an idiot than Loki had taken him for.
There was so much potential he could see in Stark, why couldn't they see it, too?
Loki had only one of the Avengers considered as a threat when he started the invasion- and that Avenger was Stark.

That was the reason why he wanted to control the mortal, with Iron Man, no, with Stark on his side, maybe he would have...
No, not maybe- He definitely would have won.

"So, that's the reason why I couldn't control him back then and claim him as mine."
'And will never be able too...' Unacceptable he thought.
He was curious about that device in Starks Chest. He was curious about Stark. He was so hopelessly curious and he couldn't understand why.
And the curiosity made Loki hungry, hungry for information.
At that moment, he decided to lift the puzzle named Stark.
He would find out about that 'mechanical heart', he would find out about the man himself...
Even if he still weren't sure 'why'.

Chapter Text

"Do you even know that you're suggesting? A curse? You two must have gone mad, otherwise, you wouldn't even think of such a foolish thing."
Loki sneered.

"Oh, I'm sure you can tell us a lot about madness, Trickster God."
Gullveig answered lightly, waving a dismissive hand at Loki.

"How dare y-"

"I'm sorry to interrupt, but what is wrong with, well, cursing us?"
Tony had absolutely no clue about the differences between magic and curses so, naturally, he couldn't understand why Loki was so angry and against it.
If it would help to keep Loki out of the dungeons, then why not try it?

"Are you really that stupid, Stark? The word alone should implicate that a curse promises nothing good.
I thought you were a genius among the Midgardians? Doesn't seem like it, if you ask me."

"Well, good thing I'm not asking you then, Loki. Sorry for lacking the ultimate knowledge about magic and curses, god of obviously closed doors, but until you appeared here,
I never heard of real magic nor witnessed some."

"I'm not the god of-"

"Before this is going to escalate again, and you two decide to have the next lovers quarrel, let me explain the difference between magic and curses to you, Anthony."

For a short moment, there was only silence, stunned faces and disbelieve in the room. It lingered for a moment until the yelling and laughing started.

"Lovers quarrel?!"
Loki and Tony almost screamed in unison.

"How in Hels name would you think of us as lovers?! Ridiculous!"

"Loki and I? Lovers?! I really liked you a few minutes ago, but now I'm not so sure about that anymore! Why would you say such a horrible thing?!"

"Norns, they're really like an old married couple."

"You shut up, Thor!"

"But brother! It really appears like that!

"If I had my daggers, I swear, it would be the end of you Thor!"

The whole situation was about to escalate again, but Frigga didn't mind.
She was watching the spectacle, a fond smile on her face. Loki tried to hide it well, but as his mother, she could see how flustered he really was.
It warmed her heart. Maybe, just maybe the wheel of fate had already started turning?

 

"Before you guys continue even further, let me start explaining the difference between a spell and a curse. We already wasted enough time, I think."

"Who do you think is responsible for wasting our time, we're not the one implying weird things all of a sudden!"

"Stark is right - even though I hate to admit it!"

"I merely voiced what I thought, it's the two of you who reacted far too odd for a simple misunderstanding on my part."

Both Loki and Tony were rendered speachless again - somehow that became a habit around Gullveig.

'They easily have fallen for such a simple trap, I almost pity them.' Gullveig snickered.

 

~~~~

 

"Now that the both of you calmed down and the little thunderer had his fun as well, let me explain the difference between a spell and a curse..."

Gullveig took a few steps back and held one of her palms in front of her body.
Somehow the air in the room got heavier, like the calm before a storm. With a flick of her fingers, a golden flame appeared in her hand, radiating an otherworldly light.

 

"This is my Seiðr. It's a form of magic that lays in the casters very own body and soul.
It's always within us, slumbering until it gets awaken. It matters not that you are, Seiðr is contained in every living being- even on Midgard.
Though you mortals haven't learned yet how to awaken and use it."

Tony looked with awe at the shining flame, it was beautiful and its golden shimmer reminded him of his Iron man armor.
Taking a few steps forward he noticed that the flame didn't radiate any heat.

"Is... Is it safe to touch?"

"This is nothing more than a materialization of my Seiðr, it's not a real flame. It's safe to touch, don't worry. Go ahead and try to touch it if you want."
Tony touched the flame curiously, suddenly feeling a wave of kindness and warmth.

"It feels warm, like sunshine on my skin."
Tony declared, while still fumbling with the flame.

"Seiðr has the characteristics of the person using it. It differs from person to person...
As I said before it's within every being its origin or nature is neutral, and mostly used for good purposes, still, it can also be used for evil.
A curse on the other hand..."

"Is something entirely different, and therefore it's a stupid idea to use it." Loki interrupted.

Tony looked over his shoulder, watching Loki out of the corner of his eyes.
The god looked annoyed and irritated and as soon as he noticed Tony looking, he looked even more annoyed and looked away.

"Yes, a curse is something entirely different." Gullveig continued.
"A curse is an expressed wish that some sort of misfortune or adversity will befall someone or something.
Its only purpose is to harm and hurt. Curses have many origins and forms, the most common are the ones spoken to another being.
Even though it's entirely evil, I believe that Anthony's artificial magic won't react to it, because it isn't similar to Seiðr,
curses are a form of magic which find their origin in the malice of the caster's wishes... It's magic, and then it's not. "

"Do we have another choice? I mean is this really the only option we have? No other way to bind the god of obviously closed doors to me?"
Tony asked with a tremble in his voice. He wasn't a fan of malicious stuff - So he would rather not get cursed. No. Thank you very much.

'Well you two could still marry, that would be a sort of binding.'
Gullveig silently mused.

"Unfortunately, I can't think of another way to work around your artificial magic... I'm very sorry."

Tony sighed. Why couldn't it be easy for once?
If life gives you lemons... Well, Tony's lemons were bricks - thrown at his head - probably while sleeping under a lemon tree.

"Fine if there's really no other choice, I guess we'll have to do it."

"Stark! Did you even listen to her? She's going to curse us - who knows what will happen to us afterward. It's not only your pathetic life what's on the stake."

"Well, she said there's no other choice, do you have a better idea, Reindeer Games? No? Then it's settled. We're going to let her curse us, end of the story."

"You pathetic mortal! Do whatever you want, but don't come to me for help when you realize how foolish your decision was.
Maybe I'm lucky for once and the curse kills you."

"Wow, aren't you just peachy, Lokes? Thank you for not caring a damn about my life."

"My pleasure, Stark."

The mortal was a fool if he took a curse that lightly. With luck on Loki's side, Stark would be seriously harmed and maybe even die...
He could use that opportunity to escape and hopefully then, those irritating feelings he felt would die as well.

"Then let us begin."
Gullveig announced satisfied.

 

~~~

 

Tony thought casting the curse would involve some sort of creepy ritual and a lot of his and Lokis blood, but in the end, it was actually rather dull.
Gullveig had lifted her palm in which she was still holding her golden flame, holding it above her head while mumbling foreign words Tony never heard before in all his life.
It took only seconds for the flame to turn into a pitch black one, darker than the abyss itself.
Slowly the flame grew bigger and after it reached a certain point, Gullveig used her other hand to pull something out of it.
As far as Tony could see, it almost looked like... Well, creepy black wedding rings...
Frigga stepped forward and took one of the rings from Gullveig, holding it out for Loki to take, while Gullveig took the other one and gave it to Tony.
Gullveig closed her eyes then and started to chant what Tony mused must have been the curse. After she was done, Tony could feel a wave of malicious intent radiating from the ring in his palm, pulsating like it was a living being.

"So... What are we gonna do now? Are we supposed to put them on and then we're officially cursed?"

"Yes, Anthony. But you will have to exchange your rings. With that, the curse will be complete." Frigga corrected.

"Wait? Exchanging rings like a couple? First, the lovers quarrel and now you want us to exchange rings? This doesn't look like cursing us, more like planing our engagement."

"As if I would ever engage a filthy mortal like you, Stark. You're unworthy of my time."

"Well, I wouldn't want to be engaged to you either. Even if you were the last living being in this universe.
The thought of you and me together gives me the creeps. I mean, who would want to be together with someone like you? You can't even open doors, Lokes."
Tony spat.

He didn't mean it, as soon as the words had left his mouth Tony started to regret them.
It was just that the god's jabs about him being a filthy mortal really started to annoy him and the anger suddenly started to sip from his mouth.
Was it really such a disgusting thing for a god to fall for a mortal? Thor had fallen for Jane, and it seemed to work out just fine between those two...
So why was Loki so disgusted with the very idea? Or was it really just because it was him Loki despised?
'Perfect - I'm bound to the one person in the universe who seemingly hates me the most. And instead of being mad at him, I'm thinking about why he hates the very idea of being engaged to me.
Great Tony.'

 

Loki on the other side felt a sting in his chest. Starks comment hit him hard. Even though the mortal's reaction to his snide comment was understandable, he felt that something was off.
Starks openly disgust was intense... And the words he used... As if he knew that-
'Of course...'
Thor must have told the Avengers about Lokis true heritage!
If so, the open disgust and dislike Stark had shown at the mere suggestion of them being together made suddenly a lot more sense.
'It's fine, you're a monster - monsters have no right for happiness, anyways.' A part of his mind whispered darkly.
And the voice was right, he was nothing more than a fake, hiding his true appearance because of its ugliness. There was really no way of loving someone like him.
'Splendid - I'm bound to the one mortal who will never see more than a monster in me. And instead of feeling angry, I feel empty. Great Loki, you already start to become as pathetic as the mortals.'

 

And with that, they exchanged rings - hearts heavy and their minds lost in thoughts.

Chapter Text

Loki watched the mortal which was standing in front of him carefully,
he noticed that Stark vehemently tried to look away, not meeting his gaze at all while fumbling with Loki's outstretched hand.
The mortal's hands on his own felt rough and calloused, and Loki could make out a few scars on Stark's skin,
some of the scars were almost invisible, others deep and easily to spot.
'Hands of a hard working and fighting man' Loki mused.

Loki noticed that Stark's hands were trembling which made the mortal unable to get a good grip on Loki's hands.
It was a faint feeling but Loki hated the pathetic sight of it.
Were Stark's hands trembling because he knew of Loki's true heritage?
Maybe Stark was disgusted to touch a Monster like Loki...
Or was it the fear that Loki could snap and hurt the mortal again? Like when Loki had approached Stark before?
Whatever it was, it bothered him greatly...
And as if he wasn't bothered and confused enough, Loki noticed that there was something entirely else he should be concerned about;
The fact that he enjoyed Starks touch.
The gentle grip around his wrist (even though Stark's hands were still trembling), the warmth radiating from the other man's hands...
It just felt good.
Loki damned those thoughts, but silently pleaded for more.
All he wanted was for Stark to hold his hands a little bit longer so he could relish the feeling of skin on skin a bit more...

"Woah! Reindeer Games, your hands are freezing, are you secretly a snowman or something like that?"
Stark exclaimed while hastily putting the ring on Loki's ring finger, before abruptly letting go of the god's hands.

Gone was the warmth he had felt radiating from Stark, and with it the warmth he felt in his chest.
Only one thought occupying his mind; Stark not only knew about his heritage but even dared to mock Loki for it?

"Don't pretend to be surprised Stark, it doesn't suit you to play dumb. Now give me your hand, so I can go back to my chambers.
I have had enough of your face and annoying voice for one day." He sneered, feeling the poison dripping from his words.

Stark looked at the god in confusion, a frown on his face...
He looked like he wanted to say something, but Loki wasn't in the mood to hear another snide comment about his heritage.
He roughly gripped the mortal's hand, the sudden yelp which left Stark's mouth, indicated that Loki's grip must have been a bit too strong around the mortal's wrist...
But he didn't care. It was Stark's own fault for mocking him.
With a few elegant movements, Loki worked the ring on the mortal's finger, letting go of it as soon as he was done.

Stark had gone still, staring at the ring on his hand like he was in a trance.
Loki could make out a faint blush on the mortal's face.
'Must be the anger because I gripped his hand so roughly... Serves you right, Stark - do not forget that I'm still a god you shouldn't mock lightly' Loki thought.

 

~~~~

 

Tony didn't know what he had done wrong when Loki roughly (and almost) pushed the ring on his finger.
He couldn't understand why the god reacted so badly to a mindless joke. And it wasn't like Tony had been in the wrong. The god's hands were really fuckin' cold...
Hell, it wasn't even an insult, actually Tony liked the coldness which was radiating from the god's hands. It was a refreshing cold, one that reminded him of freshly fallen snow.
Loki's hands... They weren't just cold but also very smooth and tender, and so much different to his own.

He stared down at the ring which was now sitting on his ring finger.
Tony could feel the heat from the blush he was sporting on his face.
'Keep it together, it's not like you're engaged now. For fuck's sake! You're not freaking out because someone put a ring on you!
And definitely not when said someone is the one who almost destroyed NY while being brainwashed!'
Sure Loki had all the looks, a smart mind, and also wit, yet he was still the fearsome god who had defenestrated Tony from his own tower.
That was definitely something he couldn't overlook, nor admire.
His mind was just playing dirty tricks on him, that was all.

 

~~~~

 

"So, was that all? Loki and I will wear the rings and- well, what are those rings even supposed to do?"

"Asking the important questions after it's way too late for them? You're really a genius Stark, how could I ever accused you of something else?" Loki sighed irritated.

Tony was about to answer with another snide comment, but Gullveig interrupted him.
"The rings aren't that important, but the curse which has befallen the two of you when you exchanged them.
It's an old curse, formally used by the Vanir to humiliate their enemies. It hinders the person it was cast onto to leave the caster...
Once it was a onesided curse, but I slightly changed the intent so that it fits our purposes.
Meaning that both of you cursed the other to never leave your side. If you do something as foolish as to leave the other while still under the curse you will-"

"I'm sorry to interrupt, Sir, but your presence in the workshop is needed."
JARVIS chimed, stopping Gullveig from continuing her explanation.

"Now?"

"Yes, Sir. It's about the task you gave us."

Tony was sure it was about SHIELD.
FRIDAY must have finished her task to look through their databases -
His baby girl must have found some proof that the organization was indeed compromised.

"I'm on my way, J."

"Anthony, it's urgent that you listen to my explanation before you-"
But Tony was already heading for the door, throwing an apologetic look over his shoulder.

"Sorry guys, the explanation will have to wait for a few minutes, there's something I have to check first! I'll be back, I swear it won't take long."

Without waiting for an answer Tony started to make a run for the elevator which lay at the end of the floor-
not hearing the words Gullveig shouted after him. He almost reached the elevator door, ready to push the button to open it...
But suddenly his heart felt like it was going to explode - as if the shrapnel had reached his heart and slowly started to tear it apart.
The pain was seeping through his body, and Tony was sure he was about to die, his knees getting weaker, unable to hold his weight any longer.
The pain made Tony's conscious slowly fading, making him fall face first onto the floor... In the distance, he could hear Thor's incredible loud shouting, before his conscious ultimately faded to black.

 

In the distance, Thor's shouting was also the last thing the god of Mischief heard before he as well, fell unconscious to the floor.

Chapter Text

His vision was blurry and the bright light of the room he was in stung in his eyes.
So Loki rather closed his eyes again while desperately trying to remember what had happened to him.
He mused he was either in a cell or in one of those medical rooms the mortals had for their wounded.
He guessed the second one must be the case since the air had a chemical smell to it and he could hear the silent beeping of machines nearby.
Also, the softness under him indicated that he was laying in a bed...
Had he been in need of medical care...?
What in Hels name had happened?
The last thing he could remember was exchanging rings with Stark, and that the mortal's artificial servant had demanded Stark's presence...
After that, the mortal had left the room in a hurry, not listening to Gullveig which had tried to stop him.
Stark had left the room, and as soon as the mortal was gone Loki could remember feeling great pain in his chest, and then... nothingness.
He must have passed out, didn't he?

 

Loki startled when something next to him shifted slightly, the sudden movement ripping him from his thoughts.
He slowly turned his head into the direction of the movement, freezing when he looked into Stark's face right next to his own.
Stark lay there, peacefully sleeping next to Loki, his breath ghosting over Loki's face- leaving a trace of warmth behind.
One of Stark's arms was slung around Lokis waist, gripping it tightly, making Loki's breath hitch, the mortal's touch felt like it was burning on his body.
Why was the damn mortal even sleeping next to him in the first place?!
Flustered from the close proximity between them, he tried to shift away from Stark to put some distance between them.
But the movement didn't go unnoticed by Stark. The mortal frowned and grumbled in his sleep, mumbling something about feeling cold...
Stark's grip around Loki's waist tightened even more and the mortal shifted dangerously close to him, burying his face in the crock of Loki's neck.
The man's breath ghosted over Lokis throat, sending a shiver through his body.
The sane part of Loki's mind told him to push the mortal away, to stay as far away as possible from Stark. The other,
not so sane part wanted to stay, to touch, to cuddle even more, and enjoy the skin contact of another living being...
Just when he was about to reach out a hand to pull Stark even closer to himself, Thor barged into the room.

"Brother! You're awake! How are you and the Man of Iron feeling?! "

Loki flinched, hastily pulling back the hand he had reached out to pull Stark closer, and just in the right moment because the mortal startled awake as soon as Thor's shouting had filled the room.
He was looking around, confusion was written all over his face.

"Where the fuck...?"
Tony's gaze was wandering the room. He could make out that he was in one of the medical rooms and Thor was standing in the middle of it, sporting a worried face.
Why was he in one of the medical rooms in the first places?
He hated the medical rooms, everyone knew that. He despised the coldness, the hard beds, the bright lights, and the sound of the machines in these rooms with a passion...
Yet, somehow he wasn't feeling cold this time... It was more, that he felt rather warm and comfy.
It took him a while before his mind could process WHY exactly it was so oddly comfy and warm in here.
Tony's face literally started to burn when his eyes drifted to the god laying next to him - Tony's arm still around Lokis waist.
Why the fuck was he cuddling Loki?!
He pulled as fast away from the god as he could, putting a decent distance between them.
The sudden movement made Tonys head spin, almost sending him falling from the bed, but a firm grip on his shoulder kept him from falling.

"Easy, Stark. If I wanted to snap your neck for cuddling with me, I would have done so while you were still asleep."
Loki sneered, letting go of Tony's shoulder. He inwardly cursed himself for reaching out and prevent the mortal from falling - It annoyed him that his words and actions didn't match up in the slightest.

"To my defense, I was asleep and therefore not knowing that it was you I was cuddling with. You can be relieved, it certainly won't happen ever again, Lokes."
Tony tried to defend himself - his cheeks still sporting a crimson red.

"Norns, I just felt my heart crumbling. How will I be able to live on, knowing that you will never embrace me again, Stark?"

"Aww, I'm sorry for destroying your dreams, Lokes. I can understand you though, everyone would be sad knowing they'll never again get to be embraced by THIS."
Tony pointed with his hands at himself, a smirk on his face.

"Well, I'm sure I will find a way to live on, Stark."

"Oh, I wouldn't bet on that, you already tasted-"

"Ahm..."
Thor cleared his throat, a frown on his face.
He was still standing in the middle of the room, treated like air.

"What is it point break?"

"I merely wanted to know how the both of you are feeling, but it seems my presence here is not wanted..."

"Don't be sad, little Thunderer, they didn't notice us coming in either."
Gullveig said with a wicked smile, patting Thor's shoulder. Frigga was right next to her, relieve written all over her face.

"Thank the Norns, both of you seem alright. I was worried sick."
Frigga exclaimed.

"Yeah, about that... What exactly happened? All I remember is my heart feeling like it's about to explode and then the next thing I know is that I'm cuddling with Reindeer Games here.
And believe me, that's the last thing I wanted."

"Well, I'm not pleased about sharing a bed with you and getting molested either, Stark."

"How did you ended up in here in the first place, Lokes? There's another bed right next to this. Don't tell me you sneaked in while I was out."

"Unfortunately, I don't know as to the reason why I'm in the same bed as you. The memories are a blur, but I think it had something to do with you leaving the room, Stark."
'Wait... A few seconds after the mortal? That couldn't be an accident.'
"The curse..." Loki mumbled.

"Wait, what?"

"I said; The Curse! What have you done, witch?!" Loki sneered, rage building in his throat.

"It's not Gullveig's fault." Frigga lay a hand on Loki's shoulder, trying to calm him down.
"The curse wasn't finished when Anthony had left. Gullveig wanted to explain but Anthony was gone to fast."

Loki's gaze snapped from Frigga to Tony, his green eyes filled with rage.
"And what exactly is the mortal's fault?"

"As I said before, the curse was originally used to humiliate the enemy.
It was used to bound the enemy to the caster. If the enemy tried to run from the caster the curse would set off an immense pain as soon as the cursed party passed a distance around thirty feet,
resulting in their death. I had to change the curse so both of you would be equally bounded to the other.
It's not that I don't trust Anthony, but I still had to consider the threat that he could try to kill Loki under these circumstances... It would have been far to easy for him to do If you were bound to him like that, Loki."

"So, to prevent me from trying to use that opportunity to easily kill Loki off, you changed the curse in such a way that it would kill the both of us?
Like, If I leave Loki, he dies and if Loki leaves me, I die? Something like that?

"Exactly..." Gullveig confirmed.
"I had planned to set a certain range you two could stay away from each other, without getting hurt because thirty feet seemed a bit inconvenient to me...
But when you suddenly left the room, Anthony, you activated the curse on your own, giving me no chance to make the changes for the set distance."

Tony's face became paler, the longer Gullveig's explanation went on. Loki's face, on the other hand, became darker, and darker - the nearing outburst of rage clearly written all over his face.

"Please don't tell me Rudolf and I can't stay further away from each other than around thirty feet, or else we're going to die. Oh, don't tell me the reason why we were sleeping in the same bed is also because of that."

"Unfortunately, that's exactly what Gullveig's trying to tell you, my dear Anthony.
The further away you are from each other, the more you will suffer. The closer you are, the better both of you will feel."
Frigga continued.

Great. Tony had fucked up. Fury and the others would kill him, that was certain. How was he supposed to fight, If he couldn't stay further away from the god than thirty feet?
Maybe he could give Loki a piggyback ride while fighting?
"Well, fighting like this will be a bitch but it could be worse, at least we won't have to do bathing times together, because honestly? What would really-"

"Enough of your pointless chatter, Stark!"
That was it; Loki had enough.
His hand was fast, gripping Tony's throat tightly, pushing him into the wall the bed was standing next to.
Tony would have yelped because of the pain, but the force on his throat wouldn't allow him to do so. His hands desperately reaching for Loki's, trying to loosen Loki's grip on his throat.
"You dare to joke about a situation like this, Stark?! I should kill you right now and end this farce!
I would gladly accept my own end, If It meant ending you as well! Everything would be better than this!
Having you around me in such close proximity until your pathetic mortal life ends, is worse than death!"

Loki's grip tightened even more, making Tony struggle for breath.

"Enough, Loki!"
Frigga tried to calm her youngest son down, but with no success.
Loki's mind didn't acknowledge her voice... It was filled with rage, hate, and frustration. So many feelings, he didn't want to feel.
'Just end the mortal and you'll be free! Death in itself is a form of freedom.' a voice in his mind shouted.
The voice was right, he just had to end Stark and he would be free... He just had to put a little bit more force-
'Aren't you just trying to run away like you always do?' another voice whispered gently, not sounding like his own.
'Do you really want THIS?' the voice continued, tugging at his mind.
'You have to make a decision soon, or it will be too late...'
For a moment Loki couldn't comprehend what 'too late' meant, but then his gaze found the mortal's hands which were limply falling to the man's side - Not trying to loosen the grip of Loki's hands around his throat anymore.
Loki went still, contemplating what the voice wanted him to do.

At that moment, Thor decided to take action. He was about to pull them apart, reaching out for Loki.
"Touch me Thor, and I will break the Mortal's neck in an instant! I might be without my magic, but I'm still a god!"
Loki sneered, gazing at Thor with murderous intent in his eyes, gripping Tony's throat even harder. Irritated. He felt so irritated! And the voices! They just wouldn't shut up!

"L- Loki let g-go... P-Please..."

The voices suddenly went silent, all he could hear was the echo of Stark's voice in his head. He turned his gaze away from Thor, looking back at the mortal's face.
His rage started to die down as soon as he fixed his eyes on the mortal's brown ones, the life in them slowly withering away, whilst tears had formed in their corners.
Loki's blood went cold (metaphorical speaking).
His hands departing from the mortal's throat in a flash, leaving behind a trace of sore red skin.

Stark sunk down, coughing heavily while holding his hands to his throat, wheezing for breath.
Loki watched the man in horror.
What was he just about to do? He had almost killed the man in his rage and therefore himself as well...
The anger he felt had nothing to do with Stark or said mans careless behavior considering the curse.
He was angry with himself and let his anger out at Stark.
Because he had realized what it would mean to be bound to the human in such a way.
The realization that he would die as soon as Stark died and that there was no way to escape this situation frightened him greatly.
He was trapped, trapped in a gilded cage, a cage that would ultimately lead to his demise and the only way for him to gain his freedom was to redeem himself, an impossible task for a monster like him.
How was a monster supposed to be anything more than a monster?
Just how?!

And then, he realized it...
'What's the reason why...' he thought bitterly.
The reason why Odin had agreed without hesitation when Thor had pleaded him to sentence Loki to be bound to a mortal instead of sending him to the dungeons...
If Odin had put him into the dungeons and Loki would have withered away there, Odin would be partly at fault for the death of his adopted son since he was the one who sentenced Loki to a lifetime in the dungeons...

"..ki."

But sending Loki to Midgard, laying Loki's fate into his own hands, was an entirely different thing.
Odin seemingly gave him a magnanimous opportunity to save his own life if he redeemed himself on Midgard.
But in truth, Odin knew all along that it would be an impossible task for the fallen prince, given his true nature...

"...oki!"

Loki would fail and then die, and it wouldn't take millennia in the dungeons to happen...
It would only take a short mortal's lifespan...
And in the end, Odin could pretend that he had tried his best to save Loki. What he wasn't responsible for his death. After all, he had given Loki a chance to redeem himself.
Loki just didn't use it.
After all, one could never redeem a Mons-

"Loki!!!"

Loki startled. Stark's eyes were gazing at him in concern. The brown eyes of the mortal who had become his death sentence.
They were so close to his own...
Just when had Stark closed the distance between them?
Whatever... It wasn't like he cared anymore.

"...What is it Stark?"

"What is it? Is that all you have to say? Are you kidding me? You just tried to strangle me to death!"

"...It's not the first time I tried to strangle you, I don't see a reason to complain now of all times."

"You do know that you would have died too?"

"...That was the plan."

"Are you shitting me?! What the fuck. There's no way I'm letting you die!"

"...Why Stark. Don't tell me you suddenly started fearing death."

"No! It's just that I'm really concerned about your sudden death wish! You must live - don't you get that? Your life is important, god damn!"

Loki wasn't sure that the Mortal would gain from this lie. Maybe it was just a joke for him... After all, Stark loved playing the good.
Maybe the mortal felt better when he pretended to care.

"... I don't see a reason why you would care about my life, Stark."

"Isn't that obvious?!"
Tony almost screeched.
"What do you think will happen after your death? You would forever be gone, leaving behind the people who love you.
And for that reason? Because you just decided to take the easy way out!"

Loki said nothing. He was tired, so tired... The mortal would surely stop after getting enough satisfaction from playing the concerned enemy.

"Listen, Lokes. I get that you're angry with me, I really do.
I fucked up greatly this time, and I'm sorry for bringing you in such a situation - I really am.
Hell, you can punch me if you want!
But you can't just decide to end it all because the situation got a bit more complicated. We will find a way.
So please, don't throw your own life - which I, by the way, am desperately trying to save - so carelessly away! I beg you, don't do this ever again!"

Loki wasn't sure if he ever had looked dumbstruck in his life before, but he was certain he did so right now.
Stark begged him to live... He wanted Loki to keep on living even though mere minutes ago the god had tried to kill the man.
Was the mortal in his right mind?

"...Why? Why would you pretend to care?"

Loki noticed that Stark looked crestfallen for a moment as If Loki's question had hurt the man.

"I'm not pretending, Lokes... I would never do such a thing. It's just... I was at the same point as you were once, and I wouldn't be here today If someone hadn't reached out to me and decided that my life was worth saving..."

Loki tried to find the lie in the mortal's eyes, but he found none.
Instead, Stark's gaze held so much truth, it made Loki's stomach drop.
'He's telling the truth... He really cares.'
Loki couldn't believe it. After all the things he had done to the mortal, Stark was still willing to help him. Still offering so much even though Loki gave nothing in return.
That mortal... No- Stark was the greatest puzzle he had ever tried to solve and yet,
every time he thought he was close to completing it, Stark would do something totally unexpected, forcing Loki to start the puzzle anew.

"Mother?"

"Yes, Thor?"

"What just happened?"

"You don't understand, dear?"

"By the Norns, no! One moment they're fighting, and in the next, they pretend as if nothing happened at all! I mean look at them, Mother!
A few minutes ago Loki almost killed friend Tony! But now they're just staring at each other!"

"So, what is it you don't understand my dear?"

"Everything about well, that!"
Thor sighed heavily, his hand pointing from Loki to Tony and back again.

"Oh, don't worry little Thunderer - a big guy like you is not expected to understand such a beautiful thing." Gullveig snickered, a malicious grin on her face.

"Anyways. Loki? Anthony? We should continue. I have to leave soon and I would like to explain a few things to you before I do so."

"Ah... yeah. Sure. Sorry."
Tony wasn't eager to stop the 'staring into the deepest parts of your very soul' thing he and Loki had going on right now, but it seemed like it couldn't be helped If Gullveig had to leave.

"So by explaining you mean there is actually more to this curse than humiliation and death?"
Loki sneered at Gullveig, his eyes still fixed on Tony's.

"Actually, yes." She smiled.
"I embedded a condition into the curse which allows both of you to expand the distance you're allowed to stay away from each other little by little.
If that condition is fulfilled to a certain point, the curse will ultimately fade away and you two will be free as a bird."

Loki frowned at that. He knew that Gullveig was speaking about redeeming himself to lift the curse...
But the curse worked two ways, didn't it?
Wouldn't this mean that Stark had to fulfill a certain condition as well?
If so, what would Stark have to accomplish to lift the curse?

"And what would this mysterious condition you're speaking about, be?"

"That, dear Anthony, is my little secret. You will have to find out on your own but..."
Gullveig turned around, sending a knowing smile towards Frigga.
"... I think you two are already on the right path."

"Wait, what is this even supposed to mean? Right path? Lokes tried to kill me a few minutes ago, how is this the right-"

"Anyways," Gullveig interrupted, not letting Tony finish his complaints.
"I will take my leave then. If I stay too long, that old geezer's gatekeeper might trace my magic. I'm not in the mood for the 'getting killed and reborn' spiel.
At least not for the next three millennia."
With that being said. Gullveig waved a hand, summoning a Portal which radiated the same golden shimmer as her Seiðr had done before.

"Thank you for helping my dear son in this matter, Gullveig. I appreciate it greatly."
Frigga stepped closer, embracing Gullveig in a tight hug.

"I will always be were for you and the ones you call your own- even for the little Thunderer - If you need my help Frigga, make the call and I'll be at your side- Even in death, Frigga."
Gullveig returned Frigga's hug, a soft and loving smile on her face.

They stayed like that for a while before they parted.

"Very well, Anthony, Loki, and of course the little Thunderer, too..."
The little Thunderer part was spoken in a mocking tone again.
"... Until we meet again."

"Wait! You can't just leave without giving us at least a hint or something else to work with! Loki! Say something too, god damn! How do you expect us to lift the-"

But it was too late.
Gullveig just smiled mischievously at them before disappearing into thin air,
leaving behind a dear friend, a mocked puppy, and two men who definitely had a promising future ahead of them - even though only Frigga and herself knew about that.

Chapter Text

The great Völva Gullveig

Chapter Text

Loki gazed at the stars, the huge windows in Stark's bedroom certainly had their merits.
The view was rather enjoyable and reminded him of Asgard...
He somehow felt his heart sink when he thought back to the beautiful night sky of his former home.
Loki had often sneaked out of his chambers at night, visiting his mothers garden even though Odin had forbidden him to do so.
Whenever he felt lonely he would lay in the soft grass, looking up to the night sky while dreaming about all the other worlds and the knowledge they might hold.
It was in those nights, that Loki often wished to be somewhere else. Somewhere, where he wouldn't feel so out of place. His father and Thor had never really understood him, always wanted him to change...
Only his mother had understood him, encouraged him to do whatever he wanted and helped him to understand that being different didn't mean to have to change...
He sighed deeply. Right now he wanted nothing more when to have his mother by his side... But she was already gone.

 

As soon as Gullveig had left, Frigga had announced that there were important tasks she and Thor had to attend to and thus she had to leave immediately.
Loki was fairly certain that she had lied about that matter. It was obvious that she wasn't leaving because of her duties as the Queen.
He was sure she wanted to leave because of the questions Stark had started to ask her as soon as Gullveig had vanished. He demanded answers to the questions the witch hadn't cared to answer.
Stark seemed more than eager to find out about the condition Gulveig had mentioned. The one which would help them to lift the curse and hence help to redeem Loki.

Frigga just exclaimed that she would answer Stark's questions on her next visit since she had barely any time left to waste (an obvious lie).
With a wave of her hand and a fond smile she had sent towards Loki before leaving, Frigga had opened a portal and indicated Thor to follow her through it -
just to disappear into thin air. Loki was sure his mother knew more when she was willing to tell and used those 'important tasks' to flee just as Gullveig had done before.

 

After that, everything became too vexatious for Loki's taste;

Due to the fact that none of them could stay far away from the other, Loki had to move from his former chambers into Stark's.
The mortal had joked about sharing a bed, but Loki had seen the sudden fear in the man's eyes when he contemplated his own words.
Stark was indeed the greatest Paradox Loki had ever witnessed...
One moment the mortal clearly feared and hated Loki to the extent that he would become a trembling mess, and in the other, the mortal would risk everything to help Loki and save his life...

 

Like a few days ago, then Stark's decision to help Loki had cost him his friends...

 

It had happened shortly after they had settled into their new living arrangements.
Stark had called for his Team and Nick Fury, so he could inform them about the new circumstances regarding him and Loki.
It hadn't taken long, merely a few hours for everyone to assemble in the communal room of the tower.
The air felt static when Loki had entered the room shortly after Stark. Even though Stark's body mostly shielded Loki from view, the god could feel all eyes cast on him.
Feelings of disgust, hatred, and murder hanging in the air.

Stark greeted everyone with his typical business smile, trying to lift the mood.
Yet, Loki could make out that the mortal was as tense as the air in the room had become.

After a few words of greetings, Stark began his explanations to his teammates, telling them that had happened in the last few days.
It almost felt like an eternity until the man had seemingly finished his explanation. Even though the team and Fury didn't seem very happy about the situation, everyone stayed relatively calm.
Loki thought the whole thing went pretty well, given the fact that no one had so far tried to kill him or Stark...
But then, Stark had decided to finish his explanation with telling the Team that he wouldn't be able to fight as Iron man anymore. At least as long as he was under the curse which bound him to Loki.
Loki could see how the faces of the other Avengers and Fury suddenly morphed into something dark and angry.
Stark must have noticed that too since he tried to lift the atmosphere with a silly joke;
Telling his teammates something about losing their best player for a while and that they shouldn't worry too much, because it wouldn't take him too long to get Loki redeemed.
Loki rolled his eyes at that, even though Stark who still stood before him couldn't see it.

 

Unfortunately, joking around only backfired at Stark...

 

Fury was the first to snap, calling Stark a fuckin' Idiot and that he had known from the start that this whole 'Redeem Loki' bullshit was determined to fuck them over greatly.
Stark tried to say something, but the other man kept yelling and then, after yelling, even more, Fury made his way to the elevator.
He came to a stop in front of Stark, venomously telling him something about how he shouldn't have let the inventor join the team even though said wasn't recommended.
Stark's posture had faltered when he watched Fury leave in anger.

 

Loki had scowled at that. Not knowing that he should make out of that information.
Now that he thinks about it; He should definitely look into this matter a little bit further. Maybe it was something that he could use against Stark in the future?

 

The rest of Stark's team didn't react well either;

Instead of yelling, the Soldier resorted to fixing Stark with a gaze full of disappointment before he sighed heavily, also beginning to make his way to the elevator, just as Fury did.
Loki was sure he heard the Soldier mumble something while he passed Stark...
It was something about how very disappointed Howard? would be in Stark. (Loki wasn't sure If he remembered the name correctly).
The god had noticed that Stark winced as soon as the name passed the Soldiers lips, his hands balled into fists almost instantly.
Another thing Loki would have to look into. Whoever this Howard? was - Loki was sure that information would be useful against Stark in the future.

 

Banner hadn't said much, just that he couldn't stay under such circumstances and wouldn't come back to the tower for a while.
Loki wasn't sure why, but he got the feeling that it wasn't the gods presence the Monster couldn't handle but rather, that Stark was in constant danger due to the curse.
Stark had tried to reason with the Monster, but Banner just left without another word.
The mortal looked crestfallen when the elevator doors closed behind Banner, his gaze not leaving the doors for a long while as if he was hoping they would open again - revealing that the Monster had a change of heart.

 

The doors stayed closed though...

 

The worst outburst came from the Hawk who had closed the distance between him and Stark in an instant after everyone else had left.
Stark's gaze was still fixated on the doors of the elevator and therefore he hadn't seen Barton's fist in time to dodge the hit which was aimed at his face.
The punch made Stark stumble backward, resulting in him crashing into the glass table next to Loki. The table shattered into pieces, the awful noise of breaking glass almost a whisper in contrast to Barton's loud yelling.

To Loki's surprise, Stark didn't react to that. He just stayed on the ground, almost laying in the glass shards while holding a bleeding hand to his face.
Loki could make out that the cut on Stark's hand was deep, and that there were a few more cuts on the man's arm and back.
Barton didn't seem to care much, given that he still yelled at the man.
Something about betraying his own Team for a fuckin' war criminal, and that Stark had betrayed all people of Midgard due to the fact that he had chosen Loki over Iron Man.

The situation was more than ridiculous.
As if Stark really had chosen Loki over the people of Midgard. How could the Hawk come to such stupid conclusions?
It was a mere accident that Stark and Loki had ended up in such a situation. It was an impromptu curse that had (who would have thought about that?) gone terribly wrong.

Loki couldn't understand why the Hawk had used words like 'betraying', all of them were there then Thor had asked them to take Loki in -
all of them knew Stark had announced he would fulfill the task... So why did they react like that? It wasn't like Stark would have known beforehand that Frigga couldn't use her magic on him...
That Frigga would call Gullveig for help... And that a little mistake from the mortal would make things even worse for them.
Sure, originally the plan didn't involve for them to stay that close - or rather that Stark and Loki would die if they fucked things up - but was that really enough to react with such rage and hate?
The world had the other Avengers to protect it... Even though Loki distinctly thought that Stark was the only one of them he would consider a real threat.

Given that, Loki felt anger rising up in his throat.

Weren't those people Stark's shield brothers? Why would they treat him so lowly even though the man just tried to do the right thing? Was it because he wasn't of use to them if he couldn't fight?
Nonsense! The mortals genius was above them all! Even without his armor, Stark could easily outmatch them all! So what was the real reason behind their anger?

Loki remembered that his train of thought came to an abrupt end when he had noticed that the Hawk was raising his hand again- he was about to hit Stark for a second time even though the bleeding man was still sitting between the glass shards.

Without a second thought, Loki had moved, now towering dangerously before Barton. His body shielding Stark from view while Loki's hand found its way around Barton's wrist, holding it in a crushing grip.
The 'Don't you dare touch him again!' rumbled like thunder through the room.

Barton's eyes had gone wide, but his yelling didn't cease.
His anger now directed at Loki, instead of Stark.

Loki had considered crushing the Hawk's wrist, maybe that would have stopped Barton's yelling, but he never got the chance to do so since the last remaining member of the Avengers finally decided to intervene;

The Widow didn't show any emotion. She just went to Barton, telling him to stop with his bullshit.
Even though it took her a little bit more reasoning than that, she finally managed to convinced the Hawk after a while.
Loki mused it was her underhand comment about Barton being unable to use his bow if Loki would crush his wrist, that persuaded the Hawk to stop his yelling in the end.

After Barton calmed a bit down she turned her attention towards Stark, asking him if he was alright. Stark just nodded in a manner to tell her he was fine.
The widow took that as her cue to leave, indicating Barton to follow her.
Just before they disappeared behind the closing doors of the elevator, she looked back to Stark, her lips forming a silent sentence; Don't fuck this up, I'll take care of the others.

 

~~~~~~

Loki had watched in silence when Stark had risen from his place among the glass shards, the cut on his hand still bleeding a lot.
The mortal had avoided all eye contact when he whispered a small 'Thanks for stopping Barton from hitting me again' to Loki that was almost inaudible. Stark turned around then, indicating the god to follow him.

Loki wordlessly followed Stark, his face fixed to the ground, or rather onto the drops of blood the Mortal's bleeding hand left behind on it.
Something inside of him wanted to take care of the hurt mortal and before he knew it his hand had almost reached Stark's bleeding hand.
Loki had pulled his hand back in horror when he realized that he almost was about to do.

He was pulled from his thoughts when Stark had come to a stop in front of one of the medical rooms.

The man had treated his hand and the other cuts on his body while Loki just stood there, not knowing what to do with himself - feeling completely useless.
A distant feeling of guilt had bloomed in Loki's chest, and he was sure it was because of his inability to heal the mortal's wounds...

 

Since that day Stark had become rather silent and stayed in his own quarters. Stark had decided to sleep on the couch in the living room instead of sharing a bed with Loki and for that, Loki was more than grateful).
Loki hadn't seen much of the man either, only when said had to move locations and had to inform Loki about it. The silent bothered Loki.
He had to admit that he missed the never-ending chatter of the mortal. It just felt like a huge part of the man was missing and that didn't sit well with him...
Maybe that was the reason why he found himself staring holes into the door of the living room instead of gazing out of the huge windows of the bedroom?

 

~~~~~

 

Tony couldn't take it anymore.
Not only had his so-called teammates turned their backs on him because he 'might' have done something stupid again
(And nope - saving a life could never be a stupid thing - that was certain), no, Captain righteous had to bring Howard up right infront of him!
There wasn't much that would hurt Tony nowadays, but Rogers managed it nonetheless.
And the funny thing? It was true! Of course, Howard would be disappointed in Tony.
Tony was someone who cared, he always tried to make things better, making up for his mistakes - things Howard always saw as a weakness.
Yet, that wasn't the thing that made him angry about Rogers comment...
No. It was that Rogers had seen Tony's file, knew what Howard had done to his own son, and yet had the guts to tell Tony that his father would be disappointed in him.
How dare he? How dare he tell Tony something like this in his face?!

 

The others... Well, that hurt too.
He could understand why Bruce had left him. Tony had brought himself in a situation which could get him easily killed again and he knew Bruce couldn't manage to see him suffer.
Yet, Bruce was one of his favorites among the Avengers, and a small part of Tony just wanted his science bro around while he had to overcome the curse together with Loki...

 

Fury on the other hand... Well, Fury's a dick - nothing new to Tony. If Fury would be gone forever and stop bothering him, Tony wouldn't complain.

 

Clint? Well, he couldn't really blame the man after everything that happened between him and Loki.
The mind control stuff and everything had left its marks on the Archer...
The punch was unexpected, though.
Tony mused that Clint just short-circuited. Tascha would deal with him, and maybe, just maybe, Clint would get over it sooner rather than later.
He could count on Natascha. She would talk with the others and made them see reason. At least one of them had reacted like a decent adult...

There was one thing that took him by surprise, though - and that was Loki's intervening when Clint had tried to hit Tony a second time.
The 'Don't you dare touch him again!' spoken from Loki's lips made him shudder. The fierce voice of the god had dripped with poison, leaving no doubt that he really meant what he had said.
Wasn't this hilarious? His former enemy protecting Tony from the attack of another teammate? Tony would have laughed, had someone told him something like that a while ago.

 

"Boss?"

FRIDAYS voice startled Tony from his thoughts. Damn. His kids really had to work on their timing!

"What is it FRIDAY?"

"I just wanted to remind you, that there is still that certain 'matter' waiting for you to look into. JARVIS and I are still waiting for you to come down to the workshop, boss."

Damn! He had totally forgotten about that!

"FRIDAY, why the hell didn't you remind me earlier?! I thought I told you how important that matter is!"

"I- I'm sorry, Boss. I merely thought it would be wise to let you rest a little bit more after everything that has happened to you after the meeting with the Avengers...
Y- You were hurt... So - I'm sorry. It won't happen again..."

His girl was so concerned about him... And yet he had yelled at her. Tony wanted to punch himself, feeling guilt blooming in his chest.

"Sorry for yelling... I appreciate your concern... You're right. It was probably for the best to let me rest. Thanks, baby girl."

"No need to apologize, Boss. I'm not mad, I'm just glad you're not angry with me."
FRIDAY chimed happily.

 

Tony send a smile to the nearest camera, knowing that FRIDAY was watching.
He then proceeded to make his way down to the workshop but FRIDAY startled him yet again.

"BOSS, HOLD ON!!!"
Her sudden yell made him flinch so hard, he almost stumbled.

"FRIDAY?! Don't scare me like that! I almost got a heart attack!"

"I'm sorry for scaring you, Boss. But you were about to leave without our guest which, If I might remind you, will end in you falling face first onto the floor."

Tony came to an abrupt halt. Damn! He had forgotten about Loki! He couldn't leave without taking the god with him, meaning he had to let Loki into his-

"Boss? Everything alright?"

"...Yeah. It's just-"

"Just what?"

"It's just that I will have to let Loki into the workshop..."

FRIDAY stayed silent for a moment as If she was berating herself.
"Don't worry, Boss. If Loki tries to hurt you JARVIS, BUTTERFINGERS, U, DUM-E and I will kick his ass!"

Tony had to laugh at that.
"Fine. I count on you guys, then. Tell your brothers that I'm on my way. I'm just going to fetch up the god of closed doors."

"Will do so, Boss. Might I add that you shouldn't call Loki like that if you want him to leave his room?"

"FRIDAY, what would I do without you?"

"Well, I'm certain you would get defenestrated again, boss."

And here it was again - His kids and all their sass.
If Tony would ever get the chance to get back in time - he would do everything (considering his kids) the same way.