Loki has never really been fond of doing what he’s told.
That had always been a rather significant part of his character, ever since he was small. Perhaps a result of growing up a prince, of being a person who people should listen to but receiving more scorn than anyone else. Or perhaps it had something to do with the way he had always been expected to follow the lines of duty and the whims of his father and brother. After all, a prince is never truly free to do as he wants.
Loki just doesn’t like being told what to do.
Whenever anyone presumed to give him an order, it always grated against him and made him want to do the exact opposite. In his youth, he had always taken great joy in subverting an order, by either following instructions annoyingly to the letter or looking for a loophole which would allow him to cause trouble without getting in trouble.
Moving to Midgard made no difference– in fact, they only grated at his nerves all the more. After all, they saw him as lesser than them, either because of things he had done in the past or because they did not like the way he did things now.
Well, all of them except Anthony, of course.
Anthony had been the only one to find Loki’s antics fun, the only one who laughed rather than cursed at his tricks. He only seemed to enjoy them further when they began working together, becoming the perfect team in more ways than one.
Anthony made staying with mortals worth it, and Loki didn’t want to risk putting his place on Midgard at risk. That, unfortunately, meant he had to listen to them and play by the rules, but… it certainly didn’t mean that he had to play nice.
So when Ms Potts sent a message through JARVIS one morning, telling Loki that he needed to make sure Anthony woke up and made it to the board meeting being held a few floors below the penthouse, Loki could only grit his teeth. He waited in the kitchen just long enough for the coffee to brew before walking back to the bedroom with both Anthony’s mug and his own – which had been ready before the coffee was done – sure that lingering was not what Ms Potts intended. Although, the thought made Loki realise that she hadn’t actually given him a timeframe.
“How long until Ms Potts needs him at the meeting, JARVIS?” Loki asked as he nudged the bedroom door open with his hip– and when his eyes landed on Anthony, Loki was not able to curb his smile. Anthony was just as sound asleep as he had been when Loki had left him, though he had spread himself more over the bed, reaching out across to where Loki had been earlier as if he missed the feel of another body entangled with his own.
“She wants him to arrive as soon as—”
“You misunderstand,” Loki said. “When does she need him there?”
JARVIS paused for a moment before responding, as if he knew and didn’t quite approve of what Loki was doing. “He must be in attendance for the presentation, and he must then participate in the voting for the meeting to constitute a quorum,” JARVIS said.
“Very well,” Loki said. “And when is the presentation?”
“…it will be in approximately twelve minutes, Mr Liesmith.”
“Very well,” Loki replied. “Then Anthony shall be ready in twelve minutes.”
JARVIS’ silence felt loud, but Loki had the impression that the AI was at least partially amused. He smiled as he slid back onto the bed, placing both of the mugs upon the side-table so that he could run a hand through Anthony’s hair. Even asleep Anthony leaned into his touch, and Loki’s smile deepened as he stroked his other hand over Anthony’s arm.
Anthony woke slowly, but Loki didn’t mind. He enjoyed the whine that Anthony made when his eyes opened to light, and the way that he buried himself close into Loki’s side when he realised that it was morning.
“You need to wake up, Anthony,” Loki said gently, still slowly stroking his lover’s warm skin. “You have a meeting.”
“I don’t want to,” Anthony whined, his nose pressing into the side of Loki’s thigh. Loki breathed a quiet laugh, unable to help himself.
“Ms Potts insisted that this meeting was important,” Loki said.
“Pepper’ll be fine. Lie down, Lo’,” he whispered. “Stay.”
Oh, it was tempting, and Loki wanted nothing more. He cupped Anthony’s cheek to make him look up a little, and then ran his thumb over Anthony’s lips, using the tiniest amount of his seiðr to give Anthony that taste of mint that his mortal preferred in the morning. Then he touched their lips together again, and they kissed slowly, languidly, Loki leaning down over Anthony as he pressed him back into the pillows. When the kiss ended, Loki shifted to the side and leaned against the headboard beside his lover, his smile widening again when Anthony groaned and tried to pull him back closer. But Loki merely reached over to the side-table and picked up Anthony’s favourite Iron Man mug.
“Here,” Loki said, handing him the coffee.
“I would rather keep kissing you,” Tony complained, though he took the mug regardless.
“My, that is a compliment,” Loki replied. “I was under the impression that you held coffee above all things, especially so soon after waking up.”
Anthony rolled his eyes, but he was grinning as he took a long swig of his drink. Loki picked up his own mug – tea, not coffee – and warmed it back to scalding with a simple spell. As he drank, he glanced to the clock JARVIS always projected on the window in the mornings.
Four more minutes.
Anthony finished his coffee long before Loki was done, and he curled back into Loki’s side again, his head on Loki’s shoulder, his eyes falling closed once more.
Loki sighed and placed his mug back down, preparing for a fight.
“You’re not going to have time for a shower,” he said teasingly, wrapping an arm around Anthony’s shoulders and leaning down to kiss his temple.
“Don’t need one if I stay here with you,” Anthony mumbled.
Again, it was tempting. But Loki did not want to make Ms Potts upset, because even though he didn’t think she would try to remove him from the tower, she could certainly make his (and Anthony’s) life a little more miserable. And even if that weren’t the case, he could hardly back out now– he couldn’t allow himself to be defeated by Anthony’s stubbornness.
Loki tightened his arm around Anthony for moment– and then paused as the movement tugged a little at the sheet that had become wrapped around Anthony almost like a cocoon.
Anthony never stayed still when he slept, and unless he was tucked into Loki’s embrace, he tossed and turned until he was completely tangled in whatever bedding he was sleeping under. Even in just the time it had taken for Loki to get their drinks, it had wrapped around him enough that if Loki were to just—
Loki had planned to just make Anthony show up at the last possible moment, but…
“Very well,” Loki said firmly. “If you shall not come willingly, then I will just have to take you by force.”
Anthony’s eyes widened, but he didn’t have time for anything other than a yelp before Loki stood and swept him into his arms, lifting with the arm already under Anthony’s shoulders and hooking the other below his knees. Anthony was squirming, though Loki didn’t pay much attention to that, since Anthony was easily light enough for him to hold on to. The sheet was still wrapped around Loki’s prize rather firmly, but he still spent half a moment making sure that it covered everything important. After all, he might be up for a little fun but he wasn’t about to let the whole Stark Industries’ board see what was his.
That done, Loki used his seiðr to clothe himself in his black Midgardian suit, which he understood to be suitable attire for a business meeting, certainly better at least than the cotton pants he had worn down to the kitchen. Then he stepped through the space between worlds and into the middle of the boardroom table, causing all conversation to halt midsentence.
“Good morning,” Loki said brightly, panning his gaze over the crowd of greying men. Ms Potts was seated at the head of the table, looking entirely unimpressed– and her glare only deepened when Loki walked the length of the table and then stepped gracefully off the edge.
Once they were on the ground, Anthony only held on tighter– but Loki turned toward the empty chair at Ms Potts’ right and deposited Anthony and his sheet into it with very little ceremony.
“There you are, Ms Potts. Just as you requested.”
Anthony huffed and held the sheet tightly in place with a hand at his chest, but he wasn’t making any complaints, and he didn’t appear uncomfortable.
Besides, Loki knew that glint in his eye.
Despite the initial shock, Anthony was enjoying this.
Several of the board members looked like they had the exact opposite opinion on the matter, however. Most of them were red, though a few were purple, and Loki guessed that for most their colouring was more due to anger than embarrassment– or perhaps, more likely, it was a mixture of both. Not one of them was looking directly at Anthony, all choosing to stare at Ms Potts with the kind of focus Loki knew from his experience with council meetings could not be normal.
None of them asked Loki to leave, either, so he decided to remain in the room, whether he was meant to be there or not. He stood behind Anthony’s chair with his hands on his shoulders. Anthony leaned into his touch, almost purring as Loki rubbed firmly with his thumbs– and Loki took almost equal pride in Anthony’s reaction as he did in that of the board member who was sitting beside them. Loki’s lips curled into a smirk, and if any even glanced in their direction he would make sure to catch their gaze and run his hands over Anthony’s shoulders in a movement that was a little more suggestive.
Anthony managed to remain entirely professional throughout the whole thing– though of course, Loki put that down to the fact that he wasn’t really trying to elicit anything else. After all, Ms Potts wanted Anthony to listen and to vote. Loki was merely keeping his lover awake and focused.
The presentation did not last very long, and then the vote was near unanimous to include the project in the next quarter’s budget. Ms Potts went over a few other short items and then the board dispersed, all of them rushing out, some still stuffing papers into their briefcases as if they couldn’t leave fast enough.
“That was rather quick,” Loki said brightly as he stepped around Anthony to sit in the recently vacated seat beside him. His hands never left his lover, sliding first over his shoulders and then down to his sheet-covered thigh.
“I think that was a new record,” Anthony snorted. He turned slightly in his chair, still holding the sheet at his chest with one hand but lifting the other to entwine his fingers with Loki’s. “Maybe I should show up without clothes more often. This has to be the least painful meeting that I have ever—”
“Don’t you dare,” Ms Potts hissed. Loki glanced over to see that she hadn’t left with the others– she had stood from her chair and gathered her things, but she was glaring at Anthony and his sheet with enough force that it almost made Loki want to take up a protective stance.
“Pep, it’s fine,” Tony said. “None of them cared—”
“Are you kidding me?” Ms Potts asked bluntly. “They couldn’t even look at you—”
“Well, their loss,” Anthony shrugged, and Loki snorted. Unfortunately, the sound brought Loki back to Ms Potts’ attention.
“And you,” she snapped, rounding on him. “I know you know that this wasn’t the right thing to do—”
“I did as you ordered, Ms Potts,” Loki said sharply. “Or would you rather that I had ignored you entirely, as I had every right to do?”
Ms Potts’ expression pinched at that, though she must have known that she had no room to argue. After all, Loki had done as she had asked. Anthony had attended the important part of the meeting and participated in the final vote. What he had been wearing – or rather, what he hadn’t – at the time was entirely irrelevant, in Loki’s opinion.
“You two are definitely perfect for each other,” she groaned, lifting her eyes to the ceiling– though she seemed amused, now, as if she had given up on trying to wrangle them into line.
Probably a wise choice, really.
“I know,” Anthony replied, glancing back up and catching Loki’s eye. “Even if he does drag me down here without any clothes on.”
Loki scoffed. “Had you simply woken the first time I told you, then you would have had time to get dressed—”
“Don’t pretend like this wasn’t the most fun you’ve had in days—”
“I was merely trying to spare your feelings, my dear,” Loki said lightly. “It is indeed the most fun I have had in a while, but considering our actives last night I thought it tactless to say so.”
“Oh, shut up,” Anthony snorted, whacking Loki lightly on the arm.
Ms Potts exhaled in exasperation, and they both glanced up to find her watching them almost fondly.
“Just, please,” she asked. “At least promise me that you won’t ever do this again?”
Anthony sighed as if it pained him, but Loki knew it was in jest. “Fine,” Anthony drawled. “I suppose I shan’t be attending any more meetings in my sheet. What a shame.”
Ms Potts rolled her eyes at that, her lips tugging into a smile. “Good.”
“If that is all, we will be going,” Loki said, getting to his feet and smoothing down his jacket. “We have things to attend to.”
“Yes,” Ms Potts said, her smile turning wicked as she let her gaze pan over Anthony’s form. “I believe you do.”
Anthony grinned at that, and he didn’t notice Loki bending down until it was too late. He yelped once again when Loki once again pulled him into his arms in the style Midgardians referred to as ‘bridal’, but this time he was laughing by the time they made it back to their bedroom. But rather than placing Anthony back down on the mattress, Loki held him close for a moment longer, and leaned down to brush their lips together.
“I can’t believe you did that,” Anthony said as they broke apart. “No, wait, never mind. It’s you, of course I believe you did that.”
“I am sorry for taking you to the meeting like that without asking you first,” Loki said gently, lowering Anthony until his feet touched the floor. “I should have—”
He was cut off when Anthony tugged him down by his tie and pressed their lips together again, kissing far more enthusiastically than the gentle kiss a few moments before.
“Are you kidding, Loki?” Anthony said brightly when they broke apart. “That was hilarious. It’s a shame Pep made us promise not to do it again.”
Loki matched his smile, glad that he hadn’t overstepped any bounds– and grinned further when he realised the truth of what Anthony had said. Ms Potts had made them promise not to do it again, but… Loki was rather good at finding loopholes.
And as he slid his hands under Anthony’s sheet and leaned down to kiss him again, he knew that they would have a lot of fun exploiting this one.