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What would Loki do? - Act 2

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They were going home. Finally. They were finally going home. Home. Earth was his home now. Tony was his home. Oh, how he’d missed Tony. When they touched down, he felt dizzy. ‘Ground. Come on, Thor, put me down.’ He did not. 

“I’ll alert J.A.R.V.I.S. and figure out where Tony is”, Jane said, before running off. 

Thor carried him inside. How long had they been gone? 

“Mister Odinson, would you please follow my directions? Sir has been alerted and I believe Loki needs to lay down again, to eat or drink something.” 

“Yes. He is very weak. Jane has told me about you, man in the wall.” Loki smirked. Modern technology and Thor. He honestly couldn’t think they’d understand each other. 

When he finally sat on an armchair, he felt safe. Cautious he felt over his belly. He must be at least in his 5th or 6th month. ‘Hello, little one, are you going to come out to play, show me that you’re there?’

A soft touch on his knee alerted him to Jane. “Hey, Loki. Tony is on his way. Apparently, his last weeks have not been that good, but aside from that, not much happened. Umm, we’ve been gone over seven months. You look good, by the way. I mean, the pregnant part, you look happy.” 

With a smile, Loki took her hand and laid it on the place, where his infant was kicking him. The sound she made was lovely. He could almost see the expression that had to follow it. “Oh, Loki, this is so beautiful.” She took his hand and laid something in it. “Had to get this for you, Mister Stark.” Loki’s grin was wide as he took the ring between his fingers and slipped it on. It was a little too big and he sighed at the thought of how much weight he had lost. 

“Brother, I bring cut fruit for you to consume. The man in the wall showed me where to get them.” 

“The ‘man in the wall’ is an Artificial Intelligence and his name is J.A.R.V.I.S.”, Jane corrected him, and Loki heard a platter being put down next to the armchair, apparently there was a table. 

Carefully Loki let his hand go to the direction of the platter. By the shifting of Thor’s heavy feet, he knew his brother had to keep himself from handing him the fruit. Finally, he had found some and took a handful, before pulling the hand back over his belly and using his other hand to guide the pieces to his mouth. 

“Lokes!” Loki’s heart jumped and he stopped for a moment, before continuing to feed himself. His smile was bright, when Tony fell to his knees in front of him. “Hey, gorgeous.” With his free hand he reached out to Tony. 

“He’s blind and mute”, Jane told Tony. 

“But he will heal”, Thor added. 

“Hey, husband”, Tony whispered, and Loki swallowed his fruit. 

‘Hey, husband’, Loki formed with his lips while caressing Tony’s rough face. 

“I missed you.” 

Loki put the rest of the fruit back on the platter, when Tony slowly got up. The kiss was gentle, gentler than anything Loki ever felt. When Loki pushed both of his index and ring fingers against Tony’s temples, he stopped kissing him. 

“Do not move, Stark, he means only to bond with you.” 

“Uhm, could you kindly tell me what that means?” 

“It means that whenever you call for him, even if he is not near or even in your dreams, he will hear you. And when he calls for you, you will know as well.” 

“Oh. Cool. But isn’t he very low on magic?” 

“I believe, he is using a bit of mother’s lingering Seiðr to perform this spell, yes.” 

“Okay then, hit it, Lokes.” Loki smirked and pressed his thumbs against his own temples. 

‘With this bond, you will hear me, when I need you and I shall hear you, when you need me. With this bond, you will find me through space and time, and I will find you through it as well. I trust you to protect me and I shall protect you as well.’ He let go of Tony and kissed him again, before he could move away. ‘I love you.’

“Love you, too, gorgeous.” Loki moved away from him. Could he hear him? Tony snickered. “Yes, you’re still gorgeous with your lovely, big, pregnant belly. Darcy told me two months ago.” Apparently not. 

“Darcy knew?”, Jane’s voice reached a higher octave and Tony chuckled. 

“She told me, that she knew, ever since my birthday, but he’d sworn her to secrecy.” 

“If Loki had sworn her, she would not have been able to say a word about it. What you must speak of is a simple ask to not tell. It is possible he knew she would tell after a while, but not before he had left”, Thor explained. 

“When did you find out, Jane?” 

“A few hours after we got to Asgard.” 

“See, out of all the people that found out, I, his husband, the father of his child, was probably the last one to know.” The chuckle that left Loki was no more than a huff, but he could feel Tony’s joy, as he slinked his arms around him. “Oh, Lokes, I’ve missed you so much. And now that you have no way of disrupting me, with your own annoying stories, I can finally take you home and tell you everything.” 

“Sir, I would suggest keeping your husband in the tower for another week and having a check-up with Doctor Grey, before you move him to your permanent housing. I am sure, the team and your friends would also love to see him and congratulate both of you on the pregnancy.” 

Tony sighed and Loki smiled at J.A.R.V.I.S. objection. He had built him a home. “Alright, J, alert everyone and ask Jean and Kurt to tell you what equipment we might need. And tell all of them not to rush, just to try to make it within the week, if they plan on coming by.” 

“All done, Sir, now, I would suggest getting Loki a nice long bath, but I am afraid, that Mister Odinson can carry him better, to make sure, he doesn’t get hurt.” 

“Fine.” Tony sighed again and before Loki could protest, he was lifted up again. So annoying. “J, let in some warm water in the tub in my bathroom, you remember he likes it, when it’s not too hot, right? Just warm enough, so he will clean nicely.” 

“On it, Sir.” 

The elevator scared Loki for a second. Well, more than all the other unknowing things that were happening around him. When he was stripped and laid in the water, he was shaking more than ever. He was safe. He was safe. Thor and Tony would keep him safe. Nobody would hurt him here. Thor and Tony talked while they washed him. At the beginning Loki had ignored it. He was far too concentrated on keeping him and his child safe. He knew Frigga’s spell was still on the babe. She had made sure Loki could protect himself. The amount, he guessed, could only give him enough power for a handful simple spells, maybe every few days, but that was enough for him. He would not need it anyway, not while he was here with them. 

“So, you married?” 

“Yeah. It was kind of sudden, but we got properly married. I love your brother, more than I have ever loved anyone. I can show you the video of the ceremony later.” 

“I would like to see that very much. My brother seems very fond of you as well.” 

“You told me to keep him safe and I married him, strange how things work out, right?” 

“If I would not know that he had been very weak, I would believe that he had already chosen you at that point.” 

“Oh, he had chosen me three years earlier. But we had to convince each other, that we truly wanted that.” 

“Really? I thought you’d just been friends.” 

“Well, I knew that I wanted him, and he probably knew as well, otherwise he would not have told me in his letter. Even if it had been in code.” 

A small smile hushed over Loki’s face. How simple things had been back then. Now he was pregnant, blind and mute. He should have just made him stay back then. Maybe they would have had each other then. But this was not the time for ‘What if’s’. This would be the time, that he followed his heart and did exactly what he wanted. 

“Uhm, Loki, darling, you’re glowing.” 

Loki straightened, before closing his eyes. If was already dark, but he needed to concentrate. He needed to fix his vocal cords. When the tingling sensation subsided, he opened his eyes again. “Better, love?”, he hushed, fearing his voice might break. 

Tony snickered and he felt a soft kiss on his washed cheek. “Yes, darling.” 

“I missed you too, by the way.” 

“I know. And I love you.” 

“And I you. I’m home now, husband.” 

“Well home, kind of is at the house I built.” 

“Home is with you.” 

“Charmer.” 

“Yours.” They snickered. “Now, husband, brother, can we get done her, so the both of you can watch the wedding video?” 

“Do you want to help?” Tony handed him a sponge and quickly Loki cleaned his lower body, before getting exhausted of the leaning forward. 

“You have to do my lower legs. Can’t reach them.” 

“Alright. Thor, see that blue bottle over there, that’s shampoo, get it in Loki’s hair and massage his head, please.” 

“I shall do just that, like mother used to do.” 

They both seemed to move, and Loki quickly felt his lovers’ hands around his legs. “Now. I won’t massage you right this second, Lokes, because otherwise you might pass out on us.” 

“Come on, I am not that weak.” 

“You were just a day ago, brother.” Thor’s hands on Loki’s sculp were hard, but pleasant, nonetheless. 

“I meant to thank you for that safe, brother. I had almost forgotten about your kindness.” 

“I am always kind.” 

“Not when you and your shield-brothers insult my use of sorcery.” 

“Of which I now have one less. That bastard Fandral, he will pay for what he has done.” 

“What did he do?” Tony was carefully rubbing at his feet. 

“Torture me and uhm... rape me.” 

“What?! That guy was your shield-brother?!”, Tony shouted and let go of Loki’s toes for a moment. 

“Calm yourself, love. Fandral will pay for what he’s done. Even if I still cannot believe Odin just let me go.” 

“Mother had her hand in it; she told him of your child.” 

“I showed him all my pain.” 

“Then after that he did not really have a choice, right, brother? He has become gentler after the Odinsleep, he wanted to make up, before he had no time left.” 

“I guess I was too harsh then.” 

“I hear, you called me petty and a moron.” 

Loki snickered. “I did, yes.” 

“And you called me your brother.” 

“Not to Odin.” They both chuckled and Thor started to rinse his hair, while Tony was being thorough between his toes. “You really are nicer than you have to be, both of you.” 

“You are my husband and I knocked you up, Lokes. I am not nicer than I have to be, I have seven months of mothering to catch up on.” 

“And I am your brother. Family should be nice.” 

Loki sighed as Thor heaved him out. Tony went to fetch clothes while Loki and Thor dried Loki. 

“Your skin looks very interesting, by the way, Loki. I know I used to call them monsters, but you do not look like one to me.” 

“We all called them monsters. The people here taught me, there is no shame in different features. All that counts, is what kind of person they are.” 

“Have you always been this wise, brother?” 

Loki chuckled. “Not that you ever asked for my opinion, brother.” 

 

Laying on Tony’s oh so fluffy bed was something he had missed too. Thor had taken a seat in one of the armchairs in the room, while Loki had curled up, with his head on Tony’s lap. He had missed all of this. Tony’s hand on his head, his small twitches, when he forgot he was safe for a moment, his delicate touches on Loki’s lines, especially his horns and every now and then the flick against his nose or ear, so that Loki stayed awake. It was important he stayed awake; Loki knew that. He had not eaten enough yet and if he still could, he should. 

J.A.R.V.I.S. had played the wedding video twice now. Loki had felt uneasy with the fact that for him it felt like it only happened a week or two ago. The torture had taken a lot of time from him. Every time he felt the kicks of the babe, he noticed it again. The child was almost as annoying as Tony with his flicking. Loki had emptied the platter Thor had made for him, when they first came and also drunken juice out of a plastic container, so he would not accidentally spill it. 

A loud sigh escaped him, as he turned and silently cursed. “I have to take a walk. This child of yours is relentless, love.” 

He heard Tony laugh. “Let’s take a walk then, up, down?” 

“Stairs will probably be the death of me.” 

“We have a few elevators. Thor, you can find your way to your quarters, right?” 

“Mister Jarvis will tell me, if I am taking the wrong turn, I believe.” 

“Yeah, he probably will.” Tony got up and Thor apparently, went out. Tony stepped in front of Loki and helped him on his feet. “J wasn’t kidding with your weight.” 

“Most of it is the babe.” 

“I hope not! I don’t need a 20-kilo kid. That will break my poor back, right from the start.” 

Loki chuckled. “The weight-disposition is just... not anything I have experienced.” 

“Never get yourself a beer-belly.” 

“Only if you promise to do the same. If you take care of your body, love, so shall I.” 

“Damn, I missed that cute and demanding side.” 

“You just missed me.” Loki was a bit uneasy on his feet, when they first moved around, but he vehemently refused to wear shoes or socks. Right now, he needed his feet to feel the ground. Tony just had to make sure, he would not walk into any shards of glass. “Now, J.A.R.V.I.S., my friend, can you tell me if there is someone else in the facility and awake, beside Jane, Thor, Tony and me?” 

“Actually, Natasha and Clint have arrived little over an hour ago and are chatting in the Avengers kitchen, with Bruce who had woken when you arrived from Asgard.” 

“What time is it anyway, J.A.R.V.I.S.?” 

“It is 8:30 in the morning, you arrived shortly after 6 o’clock.” 

“Thank you J.A.R.V.I.S., greatly appreciated. Well then, husband of mine, shall we go and visit them?” 

“I’d love to, husband.” 

They moved slowly, but surely. It was a little difficult, but in the end, Loki held onto his upper arm for guidance. After a while, Loki got frustrated. “You have to walk, Tony, I have to follow, so walk, darling.” When they got to the elevator, they were both frustrated enough to just turn around and head back to bed, but Loki pulled him close. “I love you, darling. We will figure this out. It will get easier. As long as we don’t give up and stay together.” 

“Okay, Lokes. It’s just hard, y’ know, I wish I had been there to protect you.” 

“We are here now. I will heal. Just tell me when I start glowing again and I’ll lead it to my eyes next time.” 

“I love you so, so much, Loki.” 

“And I love you eternally, Tony.” Their kiss was long and slow as they descended. The kick inside of him, made Loki groan. “I believe our child does not like it, when we don’t get along.” 

“Well, I definitely like our little rascal.” Tony knelt and placed a kiss on Loki’s belly. 

“Yeah, me too. Kept me sane long enough.” Tony got up again and kissed Loki’s cheek. 

“You ready for this?” 

“As ready as I’ll ever be”, Loki answered when the elevator pinged. 

Chapter Text

“How are my favourite two spies and my lovely science-bro?” 

Loki felt giddy, as he followed Tony inside the room. It was silent and they were probably staring at his swollen belly. 

“Wow.” Clint finally broke the silence. 

“How far along are you, Loki?” 

“Uhm, J.A.R.V.I.S. how many weeks was I on Asgard?” 

“Thirty-two weeks and two days, Mister Stark.” 

“Well, then I guess, I’m in my Thirty-third week, Miss Romanoff.” 

A few relieved sighs came out of their general direction. 

“Also, Lokes is blind right now, so, umm, be a bit more careful, don’t start throwing things at him, looking at you, Barton.” 

“I would never!” 

Loki chuckled. “How have all of you been?” 

“Well out of all the humans in this room, Clint and I probably had the dullest holidays.” 

“Oh really?” Loki turned in the general direction of his lover. “Tony, what did you do?” 

“Why can’t it be Banner?” Tony protested. 

“Because I’d suspect Bruce here, tried to enjoy the turn of the year without turning in the Hulk at random times, because of an unexpected explosion. Probably somewhere far away from New York, very remote, am I right, my friend?” 

“With Steve, yeah, we both aren’t really up for random explosions. Stayed up high in the North, curtesy of S.H.I.E.L.D. having a safehouse there.” 

“So, darling? What did you do?” 

“Let’s sit first.” 

“It is serious then”, Loki remarked, as he was sat down on a sofa. Tony sat next to him and sighed, leaning his head against Loki’s arm. 

“The house in Malibu is in ruins. Happy, Pepper and Rhodey all got hurt, an old friend got killed, had to keep a kid out of harm’s way, Pep got infected with a virus, I thought she died. Rhodey was there though, helped me, even risked his life. We defeated them all, but I kind of had to promise Pepper to not risk my life again, so I, umm, destroyed all my suits.” 

“You did what?”, Loki shrieked, quickly grasping at his throat, before growling: “And how are you supposed to protect our family if you can’t suit up?” 

“Alright, alright, I’ll get on it. And umm, I got the shrapnel taken out, with that, also the arc-reactor.” 

“Thank the Nines. Now I won’t have to worry about that anymore.” 

“You could have probably taken it out, too, right?” 

“It takes a lot of precision, gathering something so small and lethal, I could do it on a good day, but right now, I would not have been able to. And repairing tissue on your heart, before it gives out, might be too great of a risk for a simple sorcerer.” 

Simple sorcerer”, Tony scoffed, “Darling, you are not simple in any way.” 

“But I am not a trained healer, such tasks are too delicate for me.” 

“Alright. But never call yourself simple again. You know she doesn’t like us fighting.” 

“And you’ve decided, the babe is a female now?” 

“I am sure.” 

Loki groaned and then heard a chuckle from the side. “If that’s how all your fights are going to go from now on, I find it very amusing”, Clint said. 

“Why don’t you be a darling and get me a drink, Barton?” 

“You will not drink! Your body is already broken enough.” Now Tony groaned. “Your health is very important to me, love, especially when it is impossible for me to heal you.” Loki huffed while folding his arms in front of his chest. 

The laugh leaving Tony, was silent at first, but grow louder over time, before he eventually started to cough. “Don’t pout, Lokes, you’ll only get cuter!” 

Loki pressed his lips together and breathed in sharply. Then he abruptly changed his sitting position, to lay on the sofa, kicking Tony off, while he was at it. The child weighed heavily on him. With a grunt, he tried to find a comfortable position, eventually laying sideways with his legs over the side of the sofa. 

“You good, Loki?”, asked Clint after a while. 

“Yes. Frustrated, but better. My back hurts.” 

“Do you need me to.” 

“No, go away”, Loki almost spat at Tony, then he realised what he had said. Tears built up and he started sobbing. “No. Please, don’t leave me, not again, not again, I’m sorry, I’ll never say such words, I did not mean, I am sorry, forgive me, please.” 

A hand caressed his face, wiping away his tears. “It’s alright, I’m not leaving. What makes you think I would?”, Tony sounded concerned. 

“You did. Back then. I told you to go and you did. You knew my heart had not wanted that, but you left anyway.” Tears rolled down his face and he felt Tony kissing his face. Loki was out of his mind; he knew he was. He was going mad. Tony would not leave him, never ever. “I’m sorry”, he whimpered, but Tony softly shushed him. 

“It’s okay, you faltered, it happens.” 

“Not to me. I was always so... poised. I cannot falter. I should not. Everybody leaves, nobody ever stays. Not Mother, not Thor, please forgive me for thinking the same of you.” 

Tony shushed him again and held him close. 

“Hey J.A.R.V.I.S., where is the nearest room with spare cushions and blankets, anything soft for that matter?” 

“Two stories down, Agent Barton, do you want me to guide you?” 

“Yeah, you both coming, give the couple a bit of room?” 

Loki got weary, not knowing who was in the room and where they were. 

“T-Tony?” 

“Yes, sweetheart?” 

“I’m scared”, Loki whispered. 

“What of?” 

“Everything. The future, the present... even the past sometimes. I have no plans left, no idea, what will happen.” 

“I know you’re a planner, darling, but right now, you have to trust me. I will make sure everything is alright. I will plan for us. And J.A.R.V.I.S. will make sure that everything I plan doesn’t end up being crap.” 

Loki started to sob again, not knowing how to stop it. When Tony wriggled under his head, he felt slightly better. “It’s just... all happening at once.” 

“Yeah. You being home, pregnant, safe.” 

“I could not really feel the babe before today, mother hid it for my protection.” 

“And I’m glad she did, I could not live with myself, if anything happened to the both of you.” 

“It’s all crashing down.” 

“And I’m right here to catch you.” 

“I love you”, Loki murmured, the exhaustion slowly taking him. 

“And I love you, husband.” Tony cradled his head and his hands moved over Loki’s body. Soft hums made Loki droopy. Just when he was about to fall asleep, a kick shook him awake. 

“Bloody hell!”, he hissed, grabbing his stomach. 

“Come on, girl, let your mum sleep.” 

“I’m not a mum.” 

“You’re pregnant, Lokes.” 

“Mum sounds... formal, weak. I am a proud mama.” 

“Okay. Mama then.” Tony carefully got up and a moment later, he laid his hands onto Loki’s. “Baby-girl, let mama sleep, please? He needs his sleep, please, he is already freaking out and he probably hasn’t slept comfortably in weeks. Please, baby-girl, I love you so much. And I’d love you even more, if you’d let mama sleep.” 

A couple wet kisses on his swollen belly made Loki giggle, before an eventual kick made him groan. “More”, he hushed, and Tony’s hands moved around his curve, before kissing his body again. He snickered again, before feeling for Tony’s hand. “Here”, he whispered and laid the hand on his stomach, where the baby was moving. 

“Wow. Hey little one.” With soft rubs, he kneaded his stomach. Loki smiled fondly, enjoying the little cold his uncovered stomach brought. 

“Pillow-delivery!”, Clint’s shout is not exactly loud, but to be clearly heard, as Frigga used to do, to give Loki a chance to hide his secrets. 

“Oh Clint, you are an angel”, Loki answered with a little sarcasm. 

“Nat and Bruce are with me. Have to keep you updated who is in the room, right?” 

“I’d prefer that, yes.” 

“Alright then, guys, give them here, I know where you need those, baby blue.” 

Loki chuckled at the comment and then let Clint work on him. “Better now?” 

“Yes, Angel.” 

“That one wasn’t sarcastic”, Clint stated, seemingly a bit surprised. 

“You deserve the nickname.” 

“Really, Barton gets Angel?” Tony seemed upset. 

“Don’t fret, love, you’re still my favourite.” 

“Good. Now, do you need anything, Lokes?” 

“Just keep doing what you were doing down there, and I’ll love you even more.” 

“Great. Now guys, Romanoff, gather around and tell us, or rather Loki, what’s been going on.” 

“Well, uhm for one”, Natasha started, having sat down somewhere near Loki’s head, “Fury wanted to speak to Loki, didn’t say about what, I’d guess, there are new developments in the case. He was pretty upset, that he only heard about you, Loki, leaving for Asgard, after you were already gone. So, Clint and I decided not to tell him about the wedding.” 

“I guess that is a topic for another time then. Perhaps I could see him again.” 

“Like this? Or after the birth of your child?” 

“Did it seem urgent?” 

“I think so. He’s been asking for updates on you every second week.” 

“Then you should best call him as soon as possible, but not too early, we wouldn’t want to rid the good man of his sleep, would we?” 

“I’ll do it later then. Clint?” 

“Yeah, uhm, I did a few jobs at S.H.I.E.L.D., keep busy, y’ know, keep moving.” 

“Keep training, so not even an alien sorcerer can catch your arrows?” 

“I’ll have you know, it did exactly what it was supposed to.” 

Loki chuckled. “If you say so, Angel.” 

“It got you off the flying-thing.” 

“True, and you, dear Bruce?” 

“Well, I’ve stopped by the University I used to teach at, Darcy is learning there, she seemed so excited when I showed her the labs, although, we had to hide a bit, last time I was there, I destroyed some stuff. Fury probably won’t like to hear that, but I wanted to put in a good word for dear Darcy and she interned for me, while Jane was gone, so she wouldn’t lose any college credit. Other than that, it was a pretty calm year.” 

“I am sure Darcy will be excited to have Jane back, but you were surely an equally good teacher and friend to her.” 

“Yeah, she was very interested, especially in all the things I was doing with the Avengers. I think we got ourselves an honorary member on our hands. She studies Political Science, by the way.” 

“What’s that?” 

“I’m not really sure, but as she put it, ‘finding the right wording to be as vague or as clear as possible’. They study a lot of history and laws, if I’m correct.” 

“Is Jane not an astrophysicist? What does political science have to do with that?” 

“I guess, you have to ask Jane about the story there.” 

“I shall. But you’ve been well, friend, nothing unusual?” 

“I have been well, yes, Loki.” 

“That is good, everyone well.” 

“And you, the baby?” 

“My mother said the babe was well, I would not know, the kicks have only been overly present, ever since we have arrived. I was very thankful for that, though I could feel it, when they left me alone in the dungeons.” 

“Dungeons?” Tony’s voice sounded worried, he already knew about the torture and rape, but apparently Thor and he had not told his lover, where it happened. 

“Yeah, dungeons. I had done terrible crimes and the All-Father had to keep me from the other prisoners. Even without my magic, I could have still done mischief.” 

“But dungeons, seriously?” 

“Had it only been the stay there, I would not have minded, Bruce. It was cold and wet. It may not have been as comfortable as a bed, but the cold has always been a comfort. When Thor and I used to be children and I wanted to escape him in a cold winter night, I’d run out and climb from tree to tree. Frigga would find me, always and make me come back home. I was not skilled in teleportation yet, I feared not being able to make it back.” 

“You were an odd kid”, Clint remarked, “What did Thor do?” 

“We weren’t always friends, Clint. Thor and I both had a short temper and we grew to find each other's weaknesses and find use of them. At the best times of our friendship, he dragged me around with his friends, at our worst we tried to kill each other in training. The calmest time was, when he and his friends left me alone to my studies.” 

“His asshole friends?” Tony seemed begrudged and Loki did not want to answer right away. 

“What asshole friends?”, Natasha wanted to know. 

“The lady that showed up here, Sif and that bastard Fandral.” 

“Yes, those asshole friends. Together with Volstagg and later on Hogun. His shield-brothers.” 

“What did they do to become assholes?” 

“They...”, Tony wanted to start, however Loki snarled at him: “Could you not, love, this has nothing to do with any of them. This is only of concern to Asgardians, the royal family and anyone directly affiliated with them.” 

“But...” 

“And it is my story to share.” 

Tony sighed, laying his head against Loki’s stomach. “Please.” 

“All the team needs to know, is, that Fandral has crossed the All-Father and Thor, by taking it onto himself to decide my punishment. Volstagg would do no such thing, he has family and Hogun is far too gentle for that. I always liked him most. He spoke the least.” 

“And Sif?”, Natasha asked, curious. 

“She is a warrior as well, hateful to me, loyal to Thor. Perhaps I played one too many tricks on her in my youth.” 

Natasha snickered. “So, the story about you cutting her hair?” 

“True, oh how she loved her hair. But it was difficult to deal with on an adventure. None of them use magic, so I had to carry all of it, food and materials, to summon whenever they needed them. One of the few reasons I was always kept around.” 

“They seem like brats.” 

Loki laughed. “The Warriors Three and Sif got accustomed to the royal treatment, as soon as they became associated with Thor.” 

“We will never use you like that, Lokes, I promise.” 

“Do you think, I would fight with you, Tony?” 

“Well, one day, perhaps.” 

“And who would care for our child, protect it, while we’re both out?” 

“Pepper, Happy, Jane, Darcy?” 

“If I am correct, only Happy has learned to fight, as your bodyguard. There are worse people out there, who would want to harm our child, even if nobody knows it is yours yet.” 

“What about Rhodey? He is in the Air Force.” 

“Only if he has the time and you desperately need me. And even then, I will have at least one of my illusions at home.” 

Tony sighed. “Alright.” 

“Do you want our child protected or not?” 

“Yes. Of course.” 

“Right answer”, Clint chimed in and Loki smiled. 

“Truly the right answer.” 

“But if I need you, you will come?” 

“You know I will, dearest, we have bonded, and I could not stand your screams in my head.” 

“Uhm, screams in your head?”, Bruce asked. 

“I used my mother’s Seiðr to bind myself to Tony, so whenever one of us is in danger and calling out for the other, that will get sent to the other and a... feeling where the other is, not just when awake, but in dreams too.” 

“Knowing where you are, too? Pretty cool.” 

“Well, that way, I could teleport to you, once I can see again and have recovered my Seiðr, you’d basically allow me to see through your eyes.” 

“So, with being allowed to see through someone's eyes, you could teleport there?”, Natasha asked. 

“I need to have some connection to them, but yes, theoretically it is possible for any of you to call me on a phone or whatever, when you need my help, and tell me it’s okay to look through your eyes, and I could look and a moment later stand in front of you, from anywhere in the Galaxy. Of course, phones from Earth are incapable of transmitting or receiving calls to or from anywhere but Earth. With a bond, I could be worlds away and still hear you, love.” 

“Useful.” 

“That way, I won’t have to force myself in your head, like I did when Tony was in Afghanistan. It takes way too much time and concentration. Especially when I’m not prepared enough, like I was back then.” 

“Sounds... illegal”, said Bruce. 

“I got Pepper’s permission. But yes, it isn’t something one should do and not something I like to do.” 

“I would have wanted you to, by the way.” 

“Doesn’t matter now, love, I would not have known at the moment, took me at least a month to force myself through. By that time, you could have already escaped or been on the brink of death.” 

“Would you have saved me?” 

“I... At the time... I don’t know.” 

“Oh.” 

“It would have been something impossible to hide. I had not the resources to cover it up, especially when connected to way too many cables and no time at hand.” 

“Shit.” 

“I was a different person, love. I may still have my wit and my quick tongue, but I was weak and focused on repercussions.” 

“I guess.” 

“Heimdall might not have let me get away with it. Frigga might, if I would have proclaimed my love, but Heimdall would have had a mess to clean up.” 

“Well, I’m glad that I wasn’t on the brink of death then.” 

“Now, I would not even think about that. For any of my friends, my extended family, I would jump through to safe all of you, even if I had ripped out all of the cables in my body and landed bloody in front of you.” 

“Thanks for that picture, Lokes, I’d rather have you in one piece.” 

“I will not even try to explain how it would be impossible for me to be one piece, to then get a stink-eye for clear humour.” 

“You are so cute”, Tony whispered in his ear, before kissing his cheek. 

“Aww”, came from Clint, before he grunted, after apparently getting hit. 

“You baby”, Natasha said, “Let’s get to breakfast, guys.” 

Loki moved and Tony pulled him up. 

“You really want more?” 

“Well, yeah, I have to gain some weight.” 

“But if it’s too much?” 

“I’ll tell you, love.” He pulled Tony’s hands to his mouth and kissed them. “I’ll be an open book, darling.” 

“Please keep some mysteries about yourself.” 

“Done.” Loki smirked and then let Tony lead him to the dinner table. 

“Wait, wait, wait”, Clint said, before Loki could sit down, “Now. Cushioned ass and back.” 

Loki smiled when sitting down. “Thank you, Angel. Now umm, only finger-food for me, for now. And drinks in containers, until I get used to it or can see again.” 

“On it, gorgeous.” 

Tony walked away and it was silent for a while, until Clint cleared his throat. “So, to paint a picture for you, you’re sitting at the rear end of the table, I’m sitting on your left side, as you can probably tell, your right is still empty, for Tony. Next to me is Nat and across from her is Bruce, both are getting food with Tony.” 

“Thank you, how do you know all that? That I need to know?” 

“Well, I’ve worked with blind people before, you remember, I’m deaf, right?” 

“Yes. You have hearing aids though.” 

“Right. Tony has been working on better ones ever since he found out, we’d be working together permanently.” 

“He needs you on your so-called a-game.” 

“Yes. Now I have three extra pairs in my suit, for whenever I might need them.” 

“Looks like he was bored.” 

“Yeah, he’s been working on electronics for everyone on the team.” 

“And rids himself of all his suits.” 

“We were a bit irritated, too, but he promised to keep working on the Iron Legion and now, with you being back, you can keep him in line.” 

Loki laughed. “I can try, but I am sure rather than us both walking the straight line, you will all suffer a little on tricks and pranks.” 

“Yeah, I can see that happening.” 

“He makes me feel young, Clint.” 

“Not like the old man that you are?” 

“I feel like I am back in my youth.” 

“How long does that last on Asgard anyway?” 

“Although after just twenty years Asgardians are considered adults and allowed to leave the golden realm on adventures and such, only after a century, Asgardians are considered mature. While I’m not Asgardian, I was considered as one and many of the other realms have similarly long lifespans. Earth actually has the shortest one.” 

“Oh shit.” 

“Yet, I have always considered humans as slightly superior, especially in the last few centuries, where you’ve grown so much in so considerably little time. I used to have to hold back, when discussing topics like electronics and I still sometimes have to, but there are much fewer universal secrets to keep.” 

“And thanks to that, you’re allowed to stay here?” 

“No. Not because of that. Because I am safer here. There will come a time, when I will have to travel back to Asgard, but I have never shared or intended to share any crucial technology and I won’t in the future, I suspect.” 

“And Thor?” 

“Thor and technology? He was more into bashing somebody’s head in with his hammer. I seriously doubt he has ever learned anything aside from the few spells Frigga shared with him, when my tricks went too far.” 

Clint roared with laughter, which made Tony shout: “What are you two doing out there?” 

“Nothing, darling, or is planning ways to make your days horrible something you’d like to know?” 

“Nah, gorgeous, carry on.” 

Clint laughed. “You’re horrible, Loki.” 

“Oh, well.” Loki shrugged. “I heard that one before.” 

 

The morning was pleasant, Kurt and Jean came to visit, as well as Steve, who quickly decided to offer to care for the child if they needed a night off, to make sure it would get proper manners. By midday even Darcy had called in, a little more excited to hear about Jane than Loki or Thor, but that was predictable. After all of that, Loki let Thor carry him back to bed, to sleep on a mountain of cushions. Loki had not had dreams for some time now, but this one, he knew instantly, was important. 

Jane was screaming, something red streaming out of her. The sky was dark and the people they were surrounded by, were those Loki had only heard about in stories. Dark Elves. He took a closer look at Jane. The Aether? How? It was locked away in a place, no one knew about. Loki suspected, not even Odin knew where, as his father was the one to hide it. The dream was slowly fading, so he had to be quick. Thor was on the ground, but that was not what he was looking for. What had freed the Aether? Why were there still Dark Elves? He could not see. 

When he woke, Loki was drenched in sweat. “Shit”, he whispered, before softly feeling over his stomach, “Sweetheart, I think we’re in trouble.” 

The Aether. Another one. First the Sceptre, then the Tesseract, even though, he hadn’t recognised the name at first, after seeing it in his memories he knew. He knew that it could not be coincidence. He had to find the Aether and protect it from ever leaving the place it was hiding in. The question right now was only, where it was hidden and how it would infiltrate Jane. If she had been infiltrated already, surely mother would have noticed. 

And Dark Elves, where were they? Loki had only seen one in the collection of Taneleer Tivan, who had been very keen to keeping Loki as a collectable as well. At the time, Loki would not have minded, but then Thor had needed his help in defeating a demon and they had to part. But that Dark Elf was supposed to be one of the last surviving ones. The Elves Loki had seen, were definitely not just a few, especially with the spaceship behind them. No, something was wrong. 

The Dark Elves had always wanted the Aether, to plunge all of the realms into darkness. But that was only possible, when... the Convergence. No, no, no... Five millennia it had been. Suddenly Loki knew how Bor had hidden the Aether. He had hidden it somewhere, that could only be reached while Yggdrasil was most vulnerable. 

“No, no, no... Shit, shit, fuck”, he cursed. 

“Hey Lokes, everything okay?” Tony grabbed his hands, while sitting down in front of the bed. 

“Yes, no, probably not.” 

“What’s going on?” 

“I dreamt. Of the future.” 

“Oh, and it ain’t good? Can I help?” 

“Darling, as much as I would want you to, the future is not something for you to take care of.” 

“Do you need anything?” 

“Books. From Asgard, but I cannot read, darling, and I cannot let Thor read them.” 

“Shit.” 

“So, for now, let us hope, we still have time. And hold me, darling, I need to have you near me.” 

“Your wish is my command.” Tony kissed him and then went to his backside, to hold him tight. 

“I love you, darling”, Loki mused, letting Tony’s hand slip under his top. 

“And I love you, Lokes. I’ll make sure you’re fine.” Tony’s hand went up and down his spine, before coming around and curling around Loki’s navel. When Tony nibbled on Loki’s ear, he moaned slightly. 

“Tony...” 

“I’ve been without you for seven months.” 

“And I without you, but please be gentle.” 

Loki really wanted it, wanted Tony, but when his hand slipped into his pants, he suddenly stiffed and started gasping. Tears started to form, and he shook Tony from him. In his mind he was back in the dungeons, Fandral was on him, in him, touching him. He didn’t want this, this scared feeling. 

“Shit, Lokes.” 

Whimpering, Loki tried to curl up, but the belly prevented most of that. “Don’t go, please, don’t go.” 

“No, I won’t go. Everything okay?” 

Loki shook his head. “No. No. It’s like back then. I’m sorry, I can’t. Not when I can’t see you. I need to see you.” 

“Shit, okay, Lokes, right here, Lokes, not leaving you.” He nuzzled into Loki’s neck. “I am your husband; I love you and I’ll do anything to keep you safe, you got that?” 

“Yes”, Loki whimpered, and Tony hugged him close, to calm his shaking body. 

“We are one, Lokes. You are Loki Stark, right?” 

“Yes.” Loki felt a bit better. “Loki Stark, I like that.” 

“And you are. We’re Mister and Mister Stark, got that? I had to shut down all the rumours about potential girlfriends, I think they believe the ring is a class-ring or something like that. Or maybe, it opens to an Iron Man suit. That would be neat, right? Twirl the ring and suddenly I’m wearing armour, right?” 

Loki chuckled. “Could you make one for me?” 

“A ring that transforms? Got to figure that out for me first. But if you want a suit, Lokes, gladly.” 

“I’d like a suit then, Mister Stark.” 

“I’ll make you one. Gold, green and shining. I’m just not sure J.A.R.V.I.S. would let you fly while pregnant.” 

“I’m sure, he could be convinced.” 

“He would probably refuse to build a suit for a pregnant person.” 

“You should not have made him that smart.” 

“Well, then I would have to think through everything and not have time with taking care of you, darling.” 

“Thank you.” 

Chapter Text

Director Fury came to the tower the next afternoon. After he talked with Thor and Jane, and got stalled by Natasha and Clint, he finally ended up in Tony’s office, where Loki and Tony were waiting for him. 

“Stark. Loki.” 

“We’ve been waiting for you, Fury”, Tony answered and laid his arm around Loki’s waist; they were sitting on the couch at the side of his office. “Please, take a seat.” 

“How are you?”, Fury asked out of niceness. 

“Well, saving the president normally gets you a medal, but Rhodey will take that, I’d guess.” 

“And Asgard was not a particularly fun holiday destination.” 

“I talked to Thor and Doctor Foster already, although they did not mention your pregnancy.” 

“I hope it won’t distract you, Director Fury.” 

“They did tell me about your blindness. And Barton clued me in on all the necessities that entails, but you are probably aware that I am half blind.” 

“It would surely be fun to see you talking to the All-Father and call it a conversation between two eyes.” 

Tony chuckled next to Loki. “So, Fury, what can we do for you?” 

“Actually, I’m just looking for a talk with Loki, but I’d suspect your A.I. is probably watching everything.” 

“He already told you everything back then, while on trips with your helicopter.” 

“Loki, would you take a trip with me? I promise to take good care of your boyfriend, Stark.” 

“Husband”, Loki answered. 

“What?” 

“I’m Tony’s husband, Fury. We thought it better to not invite S.H.I.E.L.D. to our wedding.” 

“Al-right, so, question still remains.” 

Loki turned to Tony. “Darling, you trusted Fury back then, too, I’m sure he wouldn’t do anything to harm me.” 

“As long as he gets his foods. And no helicopters.” 

“Darling, I am no baby.” Loki rolled his eyes in the direction of his lover. 

“Yes, I know, but you are carrying mine!” 

Fury spluttered, before coughing. “Too much information.” 

Loki smiled towards him. “For a spy? Well, that is something even I did not see coming.” 

“Umm, I’ll go and umm, get a car, so that Loki and I can talk.” He left quickly and Loki burst out in laughter. 

“I think you shocked him, love”, Loki said with a grin. 

“Well, being honest and open is probably not something he expected.” 

“Out of either of us, surely.” 

“And you’re really okay, with going with him?” 

“I trust him. More than I probably should, but he has an honest heart, he has never harmed me before and I don’t believe, he’ll start now. Besides, if I’m in danger, I can just call you.” 

“Yeah okay. But I’ll make you a huge picnic box with all your favourites. J, call Steve, he likes cooking right?” 

“I believe Captain Rogers is fond of being able to create his own food, rather than buying it from other people”, answered J.A.R.V.I.S. from the ceiling. 

“Great, Lokes, you coming?” 

Loki nodded and got up, clenching the cane in his hand, before slowly relaxing and making his way out of Tony’s office behind his husband. Walking with a cane, was a lot more comfortable then clenching to someone's arm. It made Loki feel more confident and not as aware of his weakness, that everybody else saw. He still had to get used to certain things but was carefully getting used to the new situation. 

 

“Loki, Tony, what is this about, are you two going out on a date?” 

“No, Cap. Fury is taking Loki out for a ride.” 

“Fury?” 

“I would probably call it a reassessment. He seemed to want to exchange information.” 

“Are you two besties keeping secrets from us?” 

“I would not call it that. I would say, that he is entrusted himself with information I gave, that he finds too vital to share with the team. Now, you two should get to making food for me and possibly Director Fury, he sounded exhausted, like he had worked all day and had not the time for a simple sandwich. Chop-chop, honeys.” Loki clapped his hands and grinned. 

“Okay, okay”, Tony answered and kissed Loki on the cheek, “Love you.” 

Softly Loki grabbed him, before he ran away again. He let his hand trail down Tony’s arm, before pulling Tony’s hand to his mouth and kissing it. “And I love you.” He let him go with a smile and waited to hear him walking away to break into a smile.  ‘I wish I could see you.’  

Softly Loki caressed his belly.‘Not worrying him will be hard, sweetheart. And I can’t take you back to Asgard.’ Loki sighed, while leaning against a wall. This sucks.’ Steve and Tony were talking in the kitchen and a small smile broke from Loki’s lips. ‘Why does it always have to be so hard? Everything is so complicated. And I can’t tell anyone. Just you, little one.’ He pressed against the points the baby was kicking at. ‘Are you ready for the world yet, little prince or princess? I’d be delighted to hold you in my arms.’ Like an answer the baby kicked him. ‘I see. Can’t get you out of there a little sooner?’

 

“Brother.” Loki shook, normally Thor could not sneak up on him. “Are you talking with the babe?” A heavy hand landed on his shoulder. 

“I am. Brother”, he said in a hushed tone. 

“This delights me, brother, you becoming a father again.” 

“A mother. Again”, he grunted and felt Thor shake a little through the hand on his shoulder. 

“But you are a man, brother, surely you are a father.” 

“I will be the mother; I am carrying the child.” 

“Must we fight, brother?” 

“No.” Loki sighed. “Must you always call me your brother?” 

“But you are and will always be.” 

“It makes me think you are bewitched. I hate taking curses from you.” 

Thor laughed and settled next to Loki on the wall, wrapping the hand around his shoulder. “What will you do today, Loki?” 

“I have to talk with Director Fury, supposedly, we have things to discuss. He is getting a car now.” 

“I do not like the motorised vehicles very much, I cannot find myself able to control them, too many buttons.” 

“Worse than spaceships?” 

“Definitely. Why can Midgardians not build vehicles, that are easy to understand?” 

“Or move back in time to travel on horses?” 

“Yes, you understand me, brother.” 

Loki laughed loudly. “Could you see Anthony or Steven riding around on horses? I could not. Not even in carriages.” 

“But I will possibly never learn to steer such a beast.” 

“You can learn. As much as I call you dim-witted, you are still teachable.” 

“Brother, sometimes even you can be generous.” 

Loki rolled his eyes and then hit Thor, straight in the chest. “Call yourself lucky, that I can’t summon my blades.” 

Loki could almost feel the smile on Thor’s face, as the bulky man pulled him into a hug. “Oh, how I’ve missed you, brother.” A small smile spread on his own face. “Do you remember all the mischief you used to get up to?” 

“Certainly, brother, the times I could have killed you, still lays in the thousands.” 

“Oh, then you forget a few. I wonder why you never did.” 

“To find you died by the only person that loved you unconditionally, now, wouldn’t that be cruel, brother?” 

For a moment, he imagined Thor laughing at him, but then he only pulled him closer. No words were exchanged, as Thor pressed his head onto Loki’s shoulder. The hand in his hair was soft, at least he tried to be. 

“You did your best”, Thor hushed, “You did your best to obey the All-Father’s wishes.” 

A whine escaped Loki’s lips. Nobody would ever understand, that nothing he had done back then was entirely up to him. After all, whatever Thor did wrong, Loki had to have a hand in. But whatever he used to do, every big decision, was at least somehow controlled by Odin himself. Odin had cast out Thor to be unworthy, the realms, the title, but most importantly for Loki, he was unworthy of the ‘loved ones’ he had betrayed. 

Loki and Frigga obeyed, yet nobody else did. Sif, the Warriors Three, even Heimdall. And there, Loki had been, on the throne, that Thor was supposed to sit on, as he battled with the new information about his heritage, knowing that he was not worthy to sit there, yet, he was the only one that could. And then, he had to watch as all of Thor’s friends betrayed Odin and he tried to get them back in line, before the man himself woke. He tried, he really did, to get everything in order, for the time, that Odin eventually woke again. 

And then Thor came back, all shiny, clearly not having learnt his lesson, a breath away from the throne and declaring war upon Jotunheim. It was hasty, Loki could not deny that, the action to destroy Jotunheim, but would it have been better for thousands of Asgardians dead at the hands of the Frost Giants? Certainly not. 

“Have you learnt your lesson, brother?”, he whispered. 

“I hope so. Next time, I’ll listen, when you tell me not to do something.” 

Loki smiled at him. “There is one thing I have yet to admit to.” 

“Oh really?” 

“I was the one to let the Frost Giants into Odin’s vault.” 

Thor laughed loudly, before grabbing Loki’s head and pressing his own forehead against the other’s. “What is it you tried to accomplish?” 

“It was a test. For you. When we were children, you claimed, you’d slay them all.” 

“And I fell for it, brother. I failed your test.” 

“You did exactly what Odin had not wanted you to do. You sought out war.” 

“And then you, mind-controlled as you were, sought out war on Midgard.” 

“That was quite frankly the first sign, that I was not in my right mind, brother. If I had been, I would have just taken the Tesseract and run away. I mean, that’s what I came here for, right?” 

Thor stepped away and Loki could feel the stare. “The Tesseract, the Sceptre. Brother, what are you hiding?” 

With a pained smile, Loki laid his hand on Thor’s shoulder. “The man, who seeks them is determined.” 

“Determined to get them all?”, Thor breathed. 

“I was never told, but I suspect”, Loki answered, just as quietly. 

“Why did you not warn them?” 

“The humans? Are you insane? I have changed, yes. I am sharing bits that could be necessary, but this information, it would only cause fear. They would not think they could win. And we need them, all that can fight, we need them to win this war.” 

“Always ready for it. But what of the All-Father?” 

“He must know, if you were able to figure it out. I have shown him that, too. He should know the threat, but whether he takes it serious or not, I cannot determine.” 

“Curse him and his stubbornness.” 

Loki laughed at that and grinned. “Truly, brother, for you to say such a thing. Even I could not have foreseen that.” 

“You must be losing your touch then.” 

“That not, not just yet. Just my sight.” 

 For a moment they were silently standing in front of each other, till Thor stated: “Mother gave us a basket of Iðunn’s apples.” 

“But you do not know, how it will affect the babe.” 

“Mother might not want you to eat one, while with child.” 

“Iðunn never gave them to pregnant women; we would not know what could happen to me or the babe.” 

“But as soon as you’ve birthed...” 

“Only if necessary, brother, if I don’t recover as I should.” 

“Yes, we should not waste them”, he agreed, before asking: “You would not possibly know, how to care for a tree?” 

“Of the apples? Brother, we would not even know, if they bring the same reaction, as the original.” 

“But would you know how to care for it?” 

Loki rolled his eyes. “Obviously.” 

“Even on Midgard?” 

“I’d have to find good ground. Safe ground, special ground, but yes. What did you think I was doing all those decades in the library?” 

Thor laughed wholeheartedly. “Then we shall plant a tree.” 

“Once I am well, brother. And only if the team deems it okay. Bringing items from other realms is not something to be taken lightly. We would not know the full effects it might have on the realm.” 

 

Thor did not really like the idea of Fury being alone with Loki, but he had assured him, that Fury had not harmed him in any way when he could see, and he would not harm him now. Thor couldn’t help but not trust S.H.I.E.L.D. especially after they mishandled Loki. Only when Loki told him, that Fury actually was the one to tell Tony, that he should still watch over him, after their attack, Thor was satisfied, that Loki was safe, for now. 

Tony naturally wanted to come with, even though the point of the ride was to be in private, without Tony, Thor or especially J.A.R.V.I.S. watching. “But you promise you call out, if you ever have a bad feeling about the situation?” 

“Yes, love. But you know, I am not helpless. And I will protect our babe with all my might. He will not touch me; he knows you and my brother would never make him forget.” 

Tony kissed him softly and Loki blushed a little. He knew they were not alone; all the Avengers had assembled in the parking garage of the tower; they were waiting for Fury to finally show up. 

“What about Romanoff and Barton? If this is a S.H.I.E.L.D. thing...” 

“If it were something, he’d want us included in, he’d have said so”, Clint commented, sounding slightly annoyed. 

Loki smiled and pulled Tony into a hug. “Love, I’ll be fine, you can go on and think of a way to celebrate my coming home.” 

“A baby shower?”, Natasha suggested. 

“Uhm...” Loki was confused. 

“I do not know such a custom, what is it?”, Thor asked and somehow Loki was glad, that he was not the only outer-worldly creature in the room. 

“Oh, baby showers are where you give gifts to couples expecting a new-born”, Natasha quickly explained. 

“I’ll let you figure that out, love”, Loki said, a grin on his face, before he stepped away, so he stood next to his lover, the warm arm around his waist, making him feel safe. 

“I’ll do whatever you want, Lokes.” 

“And I just want to be among friends. My own big happy family. You, Thor, the Avengers and the attachments.” 

“Attachments?” Tony chuckled. 

“Well, naming them all individually would take too damn long.” 

Tony snickered and pulled Loki close. “I’ll totally tell Rhodey, Pepper and Happy, that they are ‘attachments’ in your eyes.” 

“Oh, please do, love, I’m sure they will all understand.” 

“I know”, Tony whispered as they heard a car come near. “Nice ride, Fury”, he said after the director had apparently gotten out of the car, “Where did you get that? 1973?” 

“I think it’s 1962, borrowed it from a friend.” 

“A dead friend?”, Clint asked, with hints of spite. 

“Can we go, Loki?”, Fury pressed. 

Loki sighed. “There should be a picnic basket somewhere.” 

“Yep, got it.” Loki heard a car door open, while he slowly tapped his way to the car. Before he reached it, he heard a shuffle and a slightly nervous: “Uhm, here” from Fury, opening a door and Loki sat down. It was much more difficult than he had wanted to believe. After he finally got himself strapped in, Fury started the car. 

 

Before they apparently left the garage, Fury told him to pick up something in front of him. Irritated Loki felt over the fabric. “What is it?” 

“It’s a mask. Put it on. That way, everyone thinks you’re a cosplayer or something and not an evil alien. Although I made sure, Hill gets us out of town the safest way possible.” 

“It’s just for the eyes.” 

“Yeah, put it on.” 

Sighing, Loki did as he was told. “I cannot see anyway.” 

“Yeah, but almost everybody else can. And your last trip via car wasn’t all that nice.” 

“And yet you put me in an open two-seater, with obviously no tinted glass. I see, why Tony did not want to trust you with my safety.” 

“I assure you, no harm will come to you, or your baby.” 

“I’ve heard that one before.” 

They drove in silence for a while, till Fury told him, that they were out of the inner city. “Do you like music?” 

“Sometimes. Depends on the music”, Loki answered, “The car, it is of the agent I supposedly killed, yes?” 

“I have it for safekeeping. And yes. You killed him.” 

“But he is alive.” 

“How are you so sure?” 

“Let’s say, I can feel his presence.” 

“He’s not well.” 

“I imagine not. He wants to die. It’s inhumane to bring someone back to life, when Lady Death has already claimed them.” 

Fury chuckled. “Lady Death? She one of your friends?” 

“Not friends, but I’ve met her.” 

“Oh sure. Isn’t she one of your kids?” 

“You speak of Hela. No, Hela only controls Hel, while Lady Death is the embodiment of death itself. And Hela isn’t  my  daughter. Of a past... incarnation, maybe.” 

“Oh, and Asgardians can do that sort of thing?” 

“Incarnation and resurrection are not the same. But I rather call the former being my  ancestor . We are not the same, he and I. If I were an incarnation, there would be the possibility of me regaining memories of the former being, but that has not happened. We are two very separate entities.” 

“And the other Loki, he’s dead?” 

“From what I know, yes. But that always depends on what the history-books say, if they tell the truth. Even in Asgard’s libraries, there are stories misplaced, missing, destroyed.” 

“And you’ve read all the stories?” 

“Not all. Many, but I never had the time to read all the stories. There were always adventures to have, spells to learn, fights to win.” 

“Children to have?” 

“I have three. I mean, I had three.  Narfi  and  Váli  were twins, and before they were even adults, I was forced to bear  Sleipnir . But I hope we can stop the conversation there. This child will be one, I will be able to cherish and love.”

“Alright then.” 

“How is the search for the Sceptre going?” 

Fury groaned at the mention of the lost item. “Not well.” 

“I’m sure, it will turn up, sooner or later.” 

“You can’t track it?” 

“With my Seiðr you mean? No, even if I could use it well at this time, objects cannot be  tracked  like beings.” 

“Too bad.” 

 

They were silent for a while and Fury turned on the radio, it played familiar tunes Loki must’ve heard in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s. Loki felt himself swaying with the music and mumbling the lyrics. He could have sworn, that he heard the normally so serious Director chuckling, while Loki broke out in song, when a chorus of a title by Nirvana played. 

“So, you do know songs.” 

“Never said I didn’t”, Loki answered, huffing slightly, but grinning widely. 

“You seem to have been to Earth often. Why have we never heard about that?” 

“I usually tend not to draw attention to myself, like my brother.” 

“You know, I saw you when you were still white as porcelain. That face gets noticed.” 

“Oh yes, I could tell, when Tony and I first met. But you forget that that I’m a skilled sorcerer, shapeshifting is one of my most appreciated skills.” 

“Really? Then why didn’t you use it, when you did all your crimes? In Germany?” 

“Makes you think, right? I wouldn’t have needed to kill him, that guy, I would have just needed to get close to him, to take his form, but I let myself get caught. I could have teleported away in an instant, but I let Steve and Tony take me. I could have escaped easily, but I didn’t.” 

“Maybe you had a bit of control over your own body.” 

“Or they just didn’t have enough.” 

“Or maybe you needed time.” 

“To get the army there? Possible. Maybe we shouldn’t make it out, that all of you just played into my, or their, hands.” 

“But in the end, we won.” 

“True, but did I fight with all my might?” 

Fury chuckled. “Could have been worse, you mean?” 

“Truly. If it would have been my idea, if I had wanted Earth as my own, by force, you would not have been able to stop me, not even with a nuke.” 

“We should be glad then.” 

Loki grinned. “I would never take Earth. I mean, it’s great, but with all the different cultures the most I would have been able to do, from New York anyway, was take over the USA. Earth cannot possibly be ruled by a single person.” 

“A handful then?” 

Loki laughed at that. “No, Fury, I would say, it was impossible to rule Earth at all. You could decide things for certain parts of the world, but in the end, everyone will still blame each other, when the common goal is not achieved. America is not the centre of the world, many people speak English, yes, but only because it’s sometimes the only language people in places like America understand. Mandarin Chinese is much more common, even Spanish at times. What I mean to ask you with that, is: how could Earth be ruled by one person, if the people of Earth cannot even decide on a language to speak?” 

Fury sighed. “You got a point.” 

“English is the most common language to learn though, if one is not a native speaker. And still, only about Fourteen percent of the entire population speak it.” 

“Got it, Loki, America is not the dominant part of the world.” 

Loki smirked. “Now, Fury, when will we reach our destination?” 

“We could just park anywhere, sit down, talk, you could eat.” 

“I’d like that, we have to get to the serious topics eventually. But are you sure an open space is a good place for that kind of conversation?” 

“Alright, alright, we’ll be there in 10 minutes.” 

“Anyone there I should be worried about?” 

“Nah, just a safehouse, just you and me.” 

That was a relief for Loki. He hated not seeing, but more than that, he hated not knowing about the factors around him. While Clint was around, the man had made sure, that Loki knew what was going on, but without him, he still felt a little helpless. He hated being dependent on anyone, but the situation with Clint was more intimate than that. He had controlled Clint and now, he seemed to be absolutely fine, helping him again. 

But Clint wasn’t the only person Loki was wary of. He might not want to think bad of Thor, but the thought of him actually being cursed came to mind. He wanted to believe all of this was real and was treating it, like it was. But somehow, he couldn’t help but be cautious. Maybe he was not even pregnant, maybe he had lost the babe months ago. Maybe this was the actual torture, making him believe, everything was fine. If only he had a way of knowing. 

 

“Loki?” 

His head shot up; the vehicle had come to a stop. “Yes, sorry, Sir.” 

“We’re there.” 

“I’ve noticed that we stopped moving, yes.” Loki unbuckled and somehow actually figured out how to get out of the vehicle. 

“Uhm, just follow me.” 

Loki chuckled. “You thought this to be much easier, correct?” 

“Yeah.” 

The house was easily reached within a few strides and thankfully it was only three steps to reach the doorway. Fury directed him to an armchair, before opening the picnic basket. 

“Are you really going to eat all that?” 

“No, you can have a few items, I told them to make extra.” 

“Gee, thanks, now I feel bad.” 

Loki smiled. “You mind handing me a sandwich?” 

“Yeah, let me just find, hah.” Clearly successful, Fury laid a package in Loki’s lap. “And one for me.” 

They ate for a while, Fury was extremely happy about the expensive coffee in the basket, just for him, Loki had his Sippy-cup with juice. 

“Has my sentence been decided?”, Loki finally asked. 

Fury sighed. “Not yet. It all got more difficult, after you disappeared, the team was never very clear about the circumstances of your disappearance, just that you told them someone from Asgard would come and take you away. Barton, Romanoff and Rogers just kept on telling me, that you didn’t want to go, that it wasn’t your decision and you’d come back. But taking Doctor Foster with you, it just didn’t make any sense to anyone.” 

“Well, she was our best bet to be known among Thor’s friends.” 

“Yeah, I can see that. Still, I had to keep their stories straight, not knowing which parts were lies and which the truth.” 

“The truth is, that on Tony’s birthday, I got a message from  Asgard  telling me that the Bifrost was almost completed and Thor was locked away. It was Jane’s idea to come with me to  Asgard , to make sure that Thor and I would both come back here. I guess I had a mental breakdown, with knowing I was pregnant and not knowing how everything would turn out, which somehow resulted in me needing conformation that I had a future here, with Tony, what in turn resulted in an impromptu proposal and a wedding the next day, which was barely enough time, before Lady Sif came and took me to Asgard.” 

“Well, now I know why the stories all didn’t match, because not everybody knew everything, I’d guess, the only thing all knew, was that nobody could know about Tony marrying you.” 

“Marrying the man who almost destroyed New York might take a little while to be okay with S.H.I.E.L.D. or the public.” 

“And with that we’re at the actual thing, I needed to talk to you about, too, Loki.” 

“The agents?” 

“Yes. I think S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated.” 

“And if they think you suspect...” 

“I would love to clean house, but right now, things are... to say the least... It’s not a great time.” 

“I assure you; I feel the same.” 

“Why do you say that?” 

“I have already one bad future to worry about, a second one, combined with possibly up to two months pregnancy left, is not really something I can take on.” 

“What do you mean, bad future?” 

“Oh, had I forgotten to tell you? I can dream of future, past and present. Future and past dreams are mostly my own, present dreams are of close ones.” 

“And you dreamt of the future?” 

“Yes, though I cannot tell you what it contains. The more people know, the more unpredictable it gets.” 

“Alright, but that doesn’t help us with the HYDRA problem.” 

“You’re worried that you won’t be able to trust the team?” 

“The only two people I can trust on the team are Thor and Steve. Thor because he’s an alien, and Steve, because he fought against them back in World War Two. Although, that could have all been a front, he could’ve been turned.” 

“So, you’re left with trusting my overly clingy brother.” 

Fury chuckled. “I was wondering if you could help me with that.” 

“What do you want me to do?” 

“Two things. First, become a member of the Avengers and second, figure out who I can trust.” 

Loki stopped for a second. He had not expected Fury to be so bold. He wanted to trust him, wanted to trust his words, but it all seemed a little off. He took a deep breath, before he spoke: “To be quite honest with you, right now I don’t even know if this is real or not. I’ve been able to break through many mind-games, but I was able to see at the time and this way...” 

“You’re not sure if someone’s messing with your brain again?” 

“I just want to be certain.” 

“Alright, but when you eventually figure out, that this is as real as the stupid mask you still got on, know that I meant it. I want you to become a member of the Avengers, I’m not really sure, of all you can do, but I might just trust you even more than Thor with not being a member of HYDRA, mostly because they hurt you.” 

“Alright.” 

“I could even try and make it your reparation, to compensate for the bad you’ve done against New York.” 

“You think they would go for that?” 

“The team or the others?” 

“The ones deciding on my sentence.” 

“I can try.” 

“I’d like that. Although I don’t think Tony will.” 

“Why not?” 

“Who would protect our child if we’re both out fighting? And don’t say S.H.I.E.L.D., I want them to have absolutely nothing to do with our child’s life. Even when all of that is done and S.H.I.E.L.D. has been cleansed.” 

“We’ll figure it out.” 

“Next time we talk, I want a clearer answer than that.” 

“Well, first we have to know if the team will accept you.” 

“And before that, we have to know if it will be my compensation. That is your task, Fury. Mine is, to get the team to warm up to the idea.” 

“And to figure out who to trust.” 

“Yes, that too. But on that note, we had one conversation in the tower. It contained information about the agents. If someone from HYDRA would get their hands on that, we would both be in danger.” 

“Shit, you think you can get rid of it?” 

“I might be able to. But I’d have to trust my husband.” 

“Why?” 

“If I would try to delete it myself, J.A.R.V.I.S. would probably let me, as Tony’s husband, but it would probably get flagged and Tony would look anyway.” 

“So, you have to trust Stark to delete it?” 

“I could just ask him.” 

“And if he doesn’t?” 

“There are many possibilities. First and foremost, he doesn’t trust me. Second, he might be working for HYDRA, but then he would probably delete it, as they would already have that information. I am certain he will delete it, but whatever that means can only be determined after a few days. If he is HYDRA, if he’s deep in it, they might take you out soon, so be prepared for that. But they could also prepare themselves for our actions. If he’s not in it, we got lucky.” 

“And if he’s a member, he’s probably already looked at it.” 

“Yes.” 

“So rapid action might actually be bad on his part.” 

“And if there is just that, it could have been another team-member, who was looking at the file, who was looking for us to finally take action.” 

“So, whatever happens, we really don’t know more.” 

“But at least, we possibly get rid of the video.” 

“Alright. So, you’re going to ask him?” 

“And I’ll tell you, who I suspect to be cleared.” 

“Hopefully all.” 

“That would be the best outcome, yes.” 

“Alright, in how many weeks do you want to meet again?” 

“I was thinking once a month, otherwise they might get suspicious, especially if we don’t really have anything to talk about. But if anything happens, you can always call to meet.” 

“And if you need my help, you can ask for me.” 

“Good.” 

“Fine.” 

Loki smiled. “Now, do you possibly see any cake in the basket?”

Chapter Text

The week went over faster than Loki expected. Tony was working through nights most times nowadays, at least he told Loki that. Loki had a sneaking suspicion, that he was actually sleeping in a different bedroom. Loki had not had the time to talk to him yet, every time they talked, at least one other person was within earshot. Even when they had their appointment with Jean and found out that they were in fact having a little girl, Tony had gone off afterwards and Loki was left with explaining that things were just a hint more difficult. 

Tony had also quickly decided that Thor and Jane could live in the house, pretending that he did that for his benefit. So, the only time he was alone with someone, was usually with said brother, Clint or occasionally Steve. Tonight, was going to be the last night they slept in the tower. And tonight, Loki was finally going to talk to Tony, alone. 

So, when he excused himself from dinner, he didn’t, like he usually did, go up to their room, but asked J.A.R.V.I.S. where Tony was. 

“In his lab, do you want me to alert him, that you are seeking his presence?” 

“Is he alone?” 

“Yes.” 

“Can you lead me to him? And to answer your question, J.A.R.V.I.S., if you think a one on one with his husband needs alerting, sure, go ahead. I just want to talk to him.” 

A sigh escaped him, but J.A.R.V.I.S. seemed to understand. When he finally stood in front of the door, he had teared up. He knew some of it had to do with the pregnancy, but all of it was truly him. With a deep breath he opened the door and closed it behind him. Tony’s soft murmur, while he worked, was so familiar. He seemed not to have noticed him yet. For a moment he thought about what to say, he was a bit of a planner after all. 

“You said we were the same. That was the moment I knew that you loved me. That it wasn’t just a crush or lust for me. That you didn’t just see me as a body or a name.” 

“Loki.” 

He heard Tony sigh and his heart went down. He stepped back and leaned against the wall. “Is it over?”, he whispered, “Are you just doing this, because you committed? Do you need me to slow down? Do you need me to do this on my own?” He didn’t want to cry, but the tears were stinging in his eyes. He should have decided on something different. This was not the outcome he wanted. 

“Lokes?” 

“No. Sorry, forget it. I need some time with you. Just you, nobody else, not even J.A.R.V.I.S., no offense.” 

He heard Tony rushing over and suddenly got pulled into his arms. “I am not leaving. I am not growing tired of you, darling, I’m just... I’m working on something.” 

“Day and night?” 

“That’s just how I get, when working. I stop doing everything else.” 

“I need you”, Loki breathed. 

“I know. I’m sorry.” 

“I wanted to talk to you all week.” 

Tony sighed again and laid his head against Loki’s chest. “I don’t want to fight.” 

“Me neither. I just... am I bothering you?” 

“No. No, never, no.” 

“You can’t sleep?” 

Tony sighed and moved his head on Loki’s body in a nodding motion, before answering: “Yes.” 

“And you have to keep working, to forget what worries you?” 

“Yes.” 

“Well, then work with me. I have problems too, I have huge parts, that could come crashing down at any time. We’re the same, you and I. If I stay still for too long, I’ll go mad.” 

“Thank you.” 

“I haven’t done anything.” 

“You’re here, Lokes, that is everything.” 

“What are you working on?” 

“Different suits for different purposes. And making the holograms less... hollow, more gram.” Loki chuckled and Tony seemed to calm a little. “What did you want to talk about?” 

“Something serious, but it can wait.” 

“No, I can take a breather. Do you want to stand or sit?” 

“Standing isn’t fun, my knees start hurting.” 

“Appreciate the honesty.” 

“For you, always.” 

Tony gave him a soft kiss on the cheek, before showing him to the sofa, that, Loki remembered, was in the lab. It was filled with cushions that Loki swiftly assorted around his aching body. Tony leaned onto him, his head on Loki’s legs. 

“So, what can I help my lovable husband with?”, he asked, probably with a smirk on his smug face. 

Loki sighed as he cradled his loved one’s head. “Fury and I had one conversation in this building.” 

“I... guess so... what about it?” 

“I need you to delete it and every copy or backup you have of it.” 

“Uhm, sure. Can I ask why?” 

“Just... Not something anyone should ever get their hands on. My sessions with Fury weren’t recorded, of course everyone knows that I had those sessions, but...” 

“Stop-stop-stop.” 

“What?” 

“He didn’t record them?” Somehow that information surprised Tony. 

“No. We always were in a different place, he made notes, but I know he didn’t write down everything, that’s why I was writing my journal. Mostly”, Loki explained. 

“You talked about everything in your journal?” 

“No.” Loki laughed. “We didn’t talk about anything but before I came to. Maybe about normal everyday things or explaining what little I know about the Frost Giants. We never ever discussed the details about my relationships with the team, he may have asked if I was getting along with everyone and I didn’t mind answering. I didn’t need to, he told me right from the beginning, anything that didn’t have something to do with the actual case, I didn’t have to answer.” 

“Nice. Didn’t think he could be nice.” 

“I think I grew on him.” 

“Or he played you.” 

“But this won’t benefit him at all.” 

“How do you know?” 

“Because there is nothing in there, that could hurt me. I had not remembered much from the actual battle and by then it was already established that I was mind-controlled.” 

“Okay. And you’re sure you want it gone?” 

“The conversation. Yes.” 

“So, from when he went into the room, until he got out?” 

“Yes.” 

“Alright. J, which day did Loki and Fury talk together in the tower, alone?” 

“May 9, Sir.” 

“J, delete everything from the room they were in and adjoining ones, if there could be heard so much as a whisper from the room they were in, for the time Fury was in the room with Loki. Delete it permanently and make sure, there are no back-ups, copies, anything of the same.” 

“Done, Sir.” 

“And now do the same with the time Loki and I spent on this sofa today.” 

“Will be done, as soon as you get off the sofa.” 

Loki grinned and Tony helped him up. “Do you want me to show you, what I’ve been working on?” 

“The less hollow hologram?” 

“Yeah, come over here. I’ll get you a chair.” 

With a bright smile, Loki followed Tony around his workshop, before sitting down on an office chair, that Tony brought. 

“Alright, here, let me just take your hands...” Tony dragged Loki forward and then let him sit there for a moment. “Now, feel.” 

Cautious Loki put his hands forward until he felt a slight pushback. “Wow.” 

“For you.” 

“What?” Surprised, Loki teared up. 

“I did this for you. So, you can know what I am working on, so you can almost see it.” 

Loki reached out to Tony and pulled him close. “Thank you”, he whispered, “Thank you so much.” 

Tony chuckled, while pushing away Loki’s tears. “Darling, really, I just... I probably would have done that anyway. But this, this is just for you. Actually, the project you were touching was for you, too.” 

“A suit?”, Loki guessed, before getting up and reaching out again to feel it. “A suit”, he stated, while feeling over what seemed to be the right arm. 

“Yep, working with your measurements we took on my birthday though, J.A.R.V.I.S. wouldn’t let me otherwise. Endangering an unborn child is on a ‘don’t do it’-list, I guess.” 

“So, what can it do?” 

“Right now, nothing. Just a plain suit to walk around in.” 

“So, armour.” 

“Exactly.” 

“It can’t be too heavy.” 

“Making demands already?” 

Loki grinned. “Do you want me to wear it someday?” 

“Of course.” 

“Well, then it’s got to be light. I need to be able to move freely. Or I’ll just use my own armour again.” 

“Well, that is still within S.H.I.E.L.D., just like your helmet, after Romanoff and Barton sneaked it back.” 

“I’ll get it back, one day. Or Thor will demand it, probably, claiming it is the property of Asgard.” 

“He’d fight for it?” 

“For his brother?” 

“True. He seems to be trying to kiss up your ass.” 

“Urgh.” Loki pulled a face. “That is just disgusting.” 

Tony started laughing. “It’s cute.” 

“But the thought of... It’s just...” Loki shook his own body, before giggling. Tony grabbed him and they snickered together. 

“Now I’m thinking that, too, goddamn, that’s creepy”, Tony said while chuckling. 

“I’d rather have you kiss my ass”, Loki answered seductively, while letting his hands run down Tony’s side. 

Tony almost choked on his laughter and pulled him in for a kiss. “Damn you sweet talker, that filthy mouth of yours should be chained.” 

“Oh really? Chained?”, Loki hushed, knowing he was already bright red, “I think we left that back on Asgard. And I think you should wait with the bondage, till the baby is born.” 

“Damn... Yes.” Tony’s breath was hot on Loki’s skin and Loki smiled before softly kissing him. 

“I am yours.” 

“And I’m yours.” Tony pressed his lips against Loki’s neck, before letting go and settling his head on Loki’s shoulder. “Do you want to help me?” 

“Help you work?” 

“Yeah. And after that, we can go to bed. I’ll hold you, till you fall asleep.” 

“I’d love that, Tony.” 

“Alright then, sit back down, darling, you’ll be my rational, experienced voice this time.” 

Loki smiled, as he leaned back on the chair. “Experienced I can do, rational not so much, what do you need me for?” 

“You’re a warrior, right?” 

“I wouldn’t really call myself a warrior.” 

“Well, in this scenario you are.” 

“So, I’m my brainless brother.” 

“No, darling, I need your brain, gosh, I need your brain more than anything.” 

“More than... I’ll stop. Okay, what’s the scenario? Paint me a picture.” 

“Imagine you are fighting.” 

“Well, set the scene, love. Where? Whom? That sort of stuff.” 

“Uhm... what about New York, a mind-controlled Loki?” 

“Goodness gracious, send the Hulk on him.” 

“There’s no talking him out of it?” 

“Maybe try making him fight the control, by showing him what to fight for.” 

“I tried talking him down.” 

“Kiss him.” 

“That would work?” 

“You’ve got to try.” 

“But what if it isn’t me? What if I were home, protecting our baby-girl?” 

“Call on him. Mind-controlled Loki shouldn’t be able to get through, plead for him to stop.” 

“What if we weren’t bonded anymore?” 

“Send the Hulk on him.” 

Tony chuckled. “Round and round in circles we go.” 

“You’re looking for a permanent solution to contain anyone that is in mind-control, from a Barton to a Loki?” 

“You telling me, Barton’s easy?” 

“Then a, what’s his name, Selvig... to a Loki? Or well, a few-year-old Human to a millennia-old Asgardian?” 

“You’re not an Asgardian.” 

“That would be worse. Maybe we shouldn’t exclude the Hulk, though.” 

“Shit, that would be bad. Who could knock out the Hulk?” 

“Me? Thor?” 

“Let’s say you’re both contained.” 

“So, are we still in the contain phase or knock out phase?” 

“Let’s figure out safe containment first.” 

“And probably a safer location, than the middle of New York, so transportation, I’d guess.” 

“Man, this might be harder than I thought.” 

“And all without using my Seiðr I guess. Yeah, that might take a while.” 

“But thankfully we have two geniuses to figure it out.” 

“I thought we were alone, where is dear Bruce?” 

“Lokes!” 

Loki grinned. “His help would actually not be such a bad idea. For transparency.” 

“And because he might know a way to stop the Hulk.” 

“True.” 

In the end, even with Bruce’s help they couldn’t really come up with one idea that would fit for every person. Loki would need restrictions with enchantments so he couldn’t teleport out, Hulk would need a big cage to keep him contained and all of that still didn’t help with getting them any closer to a location, or even the size of the location they would need to knock them out of it. 

Loki had brought up trigger words, but that was a gamble, wishful thinking, the safe way was knocking them out. For certain people that could be done with an electric jolt, but all of the hurtful ideas could always be problems. It could misfire and seriously hurt people, not to mention that some people probably wouldn’t like the idea of the Avengers building something that could hurt someone, even if it would be for good reasons. 

So, by the end of the evening, the only thing they were sure about, was the fact that they needed to prevent anyone from ever getting mind-controlled again, and not just by the Sceptre, that they all still weren’t told had gone missing. 

After Bruce had left them with a long yawn, Loki and Tony decided to depart as well and make their way upstairs to their bed, while Loki silently wished for this pregnancy to be over soon. Yes, it felt awesome, sometimes, but the constant strains on his body was not something he wanted to endure longer than he had to, especially with all the things he needed to do. 

That he truly hated, he couldn’t make himself think of the child, always thought of the future. He had wanted this child. He still wanted this child, his first daughter, but he had honestly no idea how to concentrate on her. He had not truly wanted the twins; it had been expected of them to have offspring and Sleipnir was a whole different thing. He had at least always thought of the twins as his, the horse, he had tried to ignore over most of its life, only acknowledged it in the last century. Sometimes he still found himself saying, that he wasn’t his, other times he had been sure, that he was and that he was a shapeshifter, like him, even though he had no proof of any of that. 

This child he was supposed to give everything to, this child he had wanted, this child was made with love at heart. Loki knew Tony had already drifted off, when he found himself shedding tears. Why did it all have to be so complicated? And why, even after Odin had wanted his safety and acknowledged it to be safest for him on earth, did he still fear that what happened to the twins might happen again? 

Hypocrite! 

Loki whimpered. He knew it was true. He was a hypocrite. He pretended he did everything right, that he had no choice, when things went wrong. But he had, he could have done things differently so many times. He could have saved his children, he could have been patient, he could have stayed home and been the good son, the loyal son, the loyal soldier, he could have learned the longsword and stopped with spells. On the other hand, he should have fought for his children, he should have never let Odin near any of them. He should have protected his family long before now. 

That is what made him a true hypocrite, that he pushed all the wrong into someone else’s lap. Odin was always the bad guy; he never considered his side. Loki might be weak now, but he hadn’t always been. He had let his family get murdered, when he was at his best, and now that he was at his weakest, he was going to protect them? 

Hypocrite. 

The last tears left Loki. He didn’t deserve this. A happy family was not something he should have. After all he had done, after he had failed them all so many times. He didn’t deserve this love he was getting. He knew he shouldn’t feel that way. Oh, how deeply he knew that. Nobody seemed to care what he had done over the last centuries, it only mattered that he was good now. 

He was going mad. Loki giggled silently. In all the centuries, in all the things he’d done and been through, was now really the time to truly go mad? He guessed so. He had once felt himself go mad, when he’d been fighting Thor. But this, this was questioning his own existence. 

He had heard of the madness of sorcerers before. But this was a madness unlike anything he knew. It was not failing spells, it was not loss of power, no, none of that had brought him into madness before. He trusted his skills. This was a madness he didn’t know how to catch and stabilise. Nothing like this had ever been reported back, maybe, nothing like this had ever been cured. 

Was it madness? Or was it just him trying to explain all what he was feeling? Trying to make himself the victim again? He truly was a hypocrite. 

Chapter Text

By the time morning came, Loki had fallen half asleep a dozen times, only to shoot awake at any sound, even the ones he made himself. He did not want to think anymore. About anything, at all. But he did not know how to distract himself. Whatever he did, he came back to one word. ‘Hypocrite’. He hated the word, but he knew that it described him perfectly. 

When Tony spoke to him, he did not answer, he could not find himself able to, exhaustion had already taken too much of him. His eyelids were closing slowly now, sometimes he did not even bother to open them again, why should he, when he could not even see. Tony was shaking his body, but he didn’t stir. He heard him scream and then he felt him pressing his fingers against his neck, looking for a pulse, Loki guessed. 

It did not take long for Thor to get there, grab him, force his eyes open, speak into his ears. When that did not make Loki react, he grabbed him. ‘Take action brother’, Loki thought, as Thor picked him up and took him into the bathroom. The cold water did not hurt Loki, but it made him move. For a moment he thought about letting go of this life, then he remembered the promise he made. A small smile hushed over his face. ‘Tony.’ He loved him, more than anything. Tony was important. Tony meant everything to him. With that thought, he finally could drift off. 

His sleep was dreamless and somehow Loki was thankful for that. At least he did not have any future dreams. Past were mostly horrible too and present Loki truly despised. The vast darkness calmed him, let him drift as if he was in a vessel. Maybe he was, maybe he was just a passenger in his own body. Was that how it had been, when Thanos controlled him? 

 

Loki shot awake screaming. ‘Not again, not again.’ It took him a moment, before he looked around irritated. Mostly, because he could look. He looked down and sighed with relief at the sight of his big, blue belly. Then he saw the light gold colour around himself, around the room as well. Irritated he got up from the bed. 

“J.A.R.V.I.S.?”, he asked after a little while. 

“Yes, Mister Stark?” 

“Where is my mother?” 

Somehow J.A.R.V.I.S. did not answer right away. “She is at the Avengers Tower right now. Thor and Tony are on the way to you, I informed them that you woke.” 

“And where exactly am I?” 

“You are in the newly built Stark Mansion, the place Sir designed to be your permanent home.” 

Loki touched the wall. A protection spell covered it. She could have hidden it from his view but decided not to. “And where in the home am I?” 

“It is a medical room, for healing and recovering purposes.” 

“And in Tony’s case surely a room to occupy after a long day of drinking his sorrows away?” 

“That could be the case.” If J.A.R.V.I.S. could smirk, Loki imagined he’d do it now. 

“Is there the possibility of finding clothing that might fit me? I don’t mind walking around in underwear only, but it might distract anyone visiting.” 

“There is a closet in the next room, Queen Frigga has stored with various pregnancy attire, most in your favourite colour green, but also many in white and blue to compliment your Frost Giant form.” 

Loki was surprised he hadn’t noticed that he had shapeshifted and was wearing his Asgardian guise again. “Huh”, he said and walked into the next room. The soft fabric he felt as his fingers moved over the clothes, delighted him, and he went for a green piece with golden accents. Then he put on a black pair of flexible Sweatpants. “How do I look J.A.R.V.I.S.?” 

“Ready to receive guests, I would say.” 

Loki grinned and he left the walk-in closet and the medical room. A big living area spread out in front of him, with a dining area attached, it seemed. From the window of the living room Loki could see a big garden completed with a pond that had a stonewall around it, possibly to keep children from crawling into it. 

When Iron Man and Thor landed on the terrace, Loki took a step back, before smiling at them through the window. The glass-door quickly opened, and Thor ran in, ready to embrace his brother. Loki laughed at him, as he almost tripped over his own feet. 

“Brother”, Loki said and swung his arms around Thor. 

“Brother”, Thor answered in his sweet, deep voice. 

Loki let him go and looked around him to look at Tony, who had opened the faceplate. A smile washed over Loki and he opened his arms. He could see the relief on Tony’s face, as the man softly embraced him, still in his armour. 

“Husband”, Loki whispered in his ear and received a quick kiss on the cheek for that. 

“Husband.” 

“How long was I out?” 

“Around three weeks. You’re white.” 

“It surprised me as well.” 

“So, you didn’t want to change?” 

“I am not sure, I don’t care as much, do you?” 

“Well you’re super-hot in either form.” 

Loki laughed at that. “Do you have to go back, or do you mind staying for a while?” 

“I kind of want to take you back, Lokes, not leaving you alone, as you could burst any moment now.” 

“I am not flying.” 

“And I bet, J.A.R.V.I.S. would curse my name for weeks if I tried. No, come, I’ll take the suit off and then I’ll drive you there.” 

“And see mother. I guess she is staying until the babe is born?”, Loki asked towards his brother. 

“When I went to see her, she insisted.” 

“Of course, mother would. Return to the tower, brother, Tony and I will soon follow.” 

“I will tell them, that you are on your way.” 

The brothers nodded at each other and Thor went on the terrace again and swung Mjølnir to fly away. 

“You know, Lokes, if I wouldn’t know any better, I’d say you have a tick for the dramatic.” 

Loki laughed and slowly kissed Tony. “It is good to be back.” 

“It is so good to have you back.” They smiled fondly at each other, before Loki laid his hand on Tony’s cheek. 

“Now, love, let’s get you out of your suit, so I can really hold you.” 

With a grin Tony took Loki’s hand in his, still metal one and made him follow him to an elevator. While he stood still so J.A.R.V.I.S. could take of the suit, he watched Loki. “Are you okay, gorgeous?” 

“Right now, yes. Tomorrow will be another day.” 

“So, we’ll take it a day at a time?” 

“Can’t do anything else, love.” Loki sighed deeply and looked at Tony apologetic. “Has Frigga have given you an explanation?” 

“Sort of, she said something about a curse.” 

“A curse?” That irritated Loki. “Was she able to lift it?” 

“Partly.” 

“Goodness. This makes everything much more complicated.” 

Tony chuckled slightly, before stepping out of his boots and hugging Loki tightly. “You are perfectly British again.” 

“It won’t hold long, love.” 

“Well, I’ll enjoy it as long as it’ll last. Now, I’ll get you some socks and shoes and then we’ll drive to the tower, okay?” 

“Alright. Since when has it been called the Avengers Tower though?” 

“Uhm, basically since it became our base of operations.” 

“So, you were homeless after your other place was destroyed?” 

“I still own the tower. And all the mansion still needed was furniture.” 

“Good. Now, go fetch me socks and shoes, while I look at your work and then find my way to the garage.” 

Quickly Tony kissed him and then ran off. Slowly Loki moved through Tony’s workshop. It was different from the lab in the tower, this one had a lot of space to tinker, while the other seemed actually more like a laboratory to figure things out. Maybe that’s why this seemed like a workshop and the other was declared as a lab. Surprisingly there were only three suits here. Two seemed to be typical Iron Man colours while one is green, gold and black. 

“J.A.R.V.I.S., is this one for me?” 

“Yes, Mister Stark, Sir made the green one for you, although it is still a prototype, he tried lighter materials, but wanted to make it similar to his own suits, making sure that both of you would be recognised as partners.” 

“Does he know, he doesn’t have to make my suit like his, to show that I’m a Stark? He should make it functional, for Loki, me, and then, maybe, he can write his name all across the outfit.” 

“I’ll safe it as a note for when Sir works on it again.” 

“Oh, and it should still be able to move, when I’m frozen, he has to make sure, it works for my temperatures.” 

“Thank you for the input, Mister Stark.” 

“I do hope that you don’t hate my contributions, J.A.R.V.I.S., wouldn’t want our friendship to waver.” 

“On the contrary, Mister Stark, you are providing valuable information, that you possibly have through years and years of experience.” 

“More like decades and centuries. And I didn’t figure out, why I was always more used to the cold, until almost three years ago now.” 

“Then your armour is probably perfected.” 

“I don’t mind getting a new one, the one I had, will forever be in my mind as the one that ruined New York.” 

Loki stepped forward to the glass case with his suit inside and it opened for him. Softly he laid his hand on it. It was hard. This wouldn’t do. Tony had a clear vision, but this really wouldn’t do. He was better off with making his own, but he knew Tony would love to do this for him. Maybe later on, he could help, but right now, he had to let him work. 

“Like it?”, Tony asked as he walked towards him, Loki hadn’t even heard the elevator opening. 

“Let’s call it a work in progress, love. And you don’t have to shower me with green, don’t want to be recognised as Hulk out there.” 

Tony laughed. “Any pointers then?”, he asked as he knelt in front of Loki and waited for him to lift his feet. 

As he did so, Loki answered: “I already gave J.A.R.V.I.S. a few things to work with, but you’re free to experiment, as long as it’s getting lighter than this.” 

“Alright then.” Tony helped him into colourful socks and a pair of comfy sneakers. “Now you look perfect and ready to go.” 

Loki smiled fondly at him and then took his hand. “I love you, Anthony Edward Stark.” 

Tony looked at him in awe and tears gathered in his eyes. Loki let his hands run up Tony’s arms, before softly caressing his face. “Eternally?”, Tony asked with a sob. Loki laughed lightly. 

“Yes, love, eternally.” Their kiss was soft, almost too soft for Loki’s liking, but something told him, Tony needed soft right now. 

Tony wiped away his tears and grunted. “I’m such a... I don’t even know.” 

“You’re such a lovely Tony Stark, my husband and the father of my child.” 

“That I am. I love you so much, Loki.” 

“I know.” Loki kissed him again and smiled at him. “Shall we go?” 

“Yes!” Tony grabbed Loki’s hand and pulled him to the elevator. “Everyone’s gonna be so happy to see you.” 

 

Apparently, that statement wasn’t a lie. There were a lot of people at the tower. Thor, Bruce, Steve, Natasha, Clint, Rhodey... Even Fury was there and those were only the official and unofficial members of the team. Happy and Pepper were around too, he’d guessed, Jane seemed to be occupied by Frigga, who he still hadn’t seen. He had missed his mother, their time on Asgard had been short and he always loved to talk to here, even if not about any of his trips. Tony had been the first person he told her about, nobody had ever come before that. 

The first order of business however when reaching the tower, was to get Loki into the Avengers-meeting, which had been apparently put on an indefinite hold, until Loki and Tony were there. Of course, Thor beamed when they came into the room. 

“You took too long!”, he basically cried out and it felt like he was a whimpering baby. 

“Behave yourself, brother or do you wish to ruin the way they look at all Asgardians? We live for thousands of years and you can’t even sit still for an hour.” 

Clint grinned at that. “Got you a mountain of cushions.” 

“Thank you, Angel. I must say, I am happy to see that all of you are well. Even you, Director Fury.” 

The man chuckled. “Glad to see you on your feet as well, Loki.” 

Clint and Natasha stared at each other and then from Loki to Fury and back. 

“What have you done to Fury?”, Clint whispered loud enough so everyone could hear it, which defeated the purpose of whispering at all. 

“I’ll let you figure that one out yourself, Hawk. Now, if this is an Avengers meeting, then, glad you’re on the team, Rhodey, but I should not be here and if it isn’t an Avengers meeting, why are there no cakes and cookies?” 

Bruce grinned and Steve nodded his head to the statement. “Director?”, the latter then asked. 

“Please sit, Loki, this concerns you as well.” 

“Oh really, what would you have done, if I had not woken?” 

“Then I would have waited for the next Avengers meeting.” 

Now Loki was intrigued, and he sat down on the chair full of cushions, between Clint and a now sitting down Tony. Thor was in front of him and still had a bright grin on his face. Natasha, next to the bulky guy, pushed a bowl of chips across the table and he smiled at her thankfully, before turning his head to the front of the table. 

“Now, Director, what could this possibly be about?” 

“Your sentence.” 

That didn’t just get a groan out of Loki, but a surprise out of everyone except the agents, who seemed genuinely interested, Natasha more than Clint. 

“Wasn’t that a done deal already, Fury?” Tony seemed irritated that they were talking about a month-old topic again. 

“It was. Until someone from Asgard decided to come down and snatch Loki away, before he could do his penance. And none of you here, excluding Thor and Rhodey, decided to let anyone at S.H.I.E.L.D. know of the happenings.” 

“Hey! We were too busy trying to figure out a way to make sure both Thor  and  Loki made it back from that golden fuckplanet.” 

“Love.” Loki gave Tony a scolding look. “I know you are protective, but Director Fury and I have talked about it already, we both know that the circumstances of the little more than 24 hours were not ideal and we also know that we can’t go back in time to change it. Even if I could, darling, I’d let it happen the same all over again.” 

Tony hummed gleeful at him. “I would too, gorgeous.” 

Loki coughed, before grinning. “So, Director, about that sentence?” 

“Well, I got lucky. Didn’t tell them about the whole marriage thing, don’t think that would’ve helped. They don’t want you actively on missions only passive as a backup and when going out with at least two other Avengers around and only able to walk freely within approved buildings, I told them Stark’s mansion was an offsite Avengers facility and they think it’s better that you don’t stay in the middle of the city you destroyed.” 

“That all sounds fantastic”, Loki answered and ate a handful of chips. 

The others looked at Fury strangely. “Wait, did I get this right?”, Rhodey finally asked, “Loki’s sentence is being an Avenger?” 

“Yes.” 

Everybody started talking above each other and Loki grinned, absolutely, stunningly proud of himself. Thor straightened himself across the table. “We shall be shield-brothers again. I had hoped the day would come, when you and I shall walk into battle side by side again.” 

“No way am I going to let my baby-mama walk into battle. No way!”, screeched Tony and Loki took his hand carefully, placing a chaste kiss on his knuckles. 

“I will not be on the battle-field, love.” 

“But you won’t be safe either.” 

“What makes you think that?” 

“Being an Avenger is dangerous. At any time, some alien could swoop down and...” 

“And try to take over the world? Darling, I am not born to sit on the side-lines. To just watch and hope everything will be okay.” 

“What about our baby?” 

“Our baby will be fine.” 

“I don’t want to lose you!” 

“And I don’t want to lose you! Do you see me complaining to you, how every time you put on the suit could be your last? No! I want you to put on the suit! I want you to safe people! I want you to be out there and become who you are meant to be! Maybe you were meant to be a dad, but first and foremost, you are Iron Man! And I am Loki, the trickster and greatest fucking sorcerer this damn planet has ever been graced with, so shut the hell up and deal with the fact, that your fucking husband is going to be a fucking Avenger and keep all of you alive, god-damnit!” 

It was dead silent in the room. Loki could see the tears in Tony’s eyes and sighed loudly. “I love you, Tony. This... chance that we have here, that is the greatest luck we will ever have. The sentence I’m given does not require me to go away, be in a prison. I can be home. I can be with you. I can be around our little happy family. And when the time comes and there is a mission and I worry anyway, because I will, when I am not out there. Then I can be calm in the fact, that if something  were  to happen, I would be allowed to help you.” 

Tony sucked in a breath of air and then nodded. “Okay.” 

“I love you, Tony”, Loki said with a smile and tugged at Tony’s hand. 

“I know, I love you, too, Lokes.” 

Loki sighed again. “Sorry for screaming.” 

“Is she kicking?” 

“Not yet, give her a minute.” 

“I’m already sorry for you.” 

“Yeah. me too.” 

Fury coughed. “Lover’s quarrel done?” Loki and Tony nodded in unison. “Aright then, boys, Romanoff, yes, Loki will be joining the team. No, he won’t be on the field. He is only a backup for when things that could go south eventually do go south. Someday in the future, if the council trusts him enough, he can go into the field, but I’m pretty sure that his family is more important than his ability to kick some ass out there.” 

“Yes.” Loki grabbed Tony’s hand. “Always.” 

“See? But I’m putting you on maternity leave, Loki, for the time being, so get outta here, find your ma, enjoy cuddles or whatever.” 

“Thank you, Fury.” Loki pushed his chair back. “I’ll see you all later for some cake and cookies?” 

“And cuddles, from me”, Tony added, and Loki smiled at him. 

“Any day, love, any day.” Loki nodded to the rest of the team and stopped Thor from getting up with a quick hand-motion. “I think I can find mother on my own, brother.” 

“Yes, brother.” Thor grimaced and the look of Thor’s grin crumbling made Loki smirk. 

“Worry not, not much bad could befall me within the walls of the tower.” 

Thor’s face went pale and Loki snickered on his way out of the room. He was still grinning by the time he reached Thor’s and Jane’s quarters. Frigga opened with a bright smile. 

“What has you in such a good mood, my dear?” 

“Nothing a mother would want to know.” 

“What did you do?” 

“I swear that I did not harm anyone.” 

Frigga chuckled and pulled him into her arms. “Oh dear, how I’ve missed you happy.” 

“Has it really been that long?” 

“Long enough for a mother.” 

Loki sighed loudly and let himself get pulled into the room and put onto the comfortable sofa. With a smile he greeted Jane who was deep into some Asgardian books and only nodded to his presence. 

“Tony said it was a curse?” 

“It was, but the curse itself could not hurt you. Drink, Loki, you need your strength, childbirth will be rough.” 

Grateful he took the drink from his mother and hummed at the sweetness of it. “What was it then?” 

“Can’t you enjoy your simple life for one moment, dear and just ignore the circumstances upon which I came here?” 

“If you really believe this is simple, you are greatly mistaken, mother. Now, what is it, what did the curse do?” 

“It wrapped itself around your mind and spoke words of doubt to you.” 

“Well, that is really specific.” Loki actually was surprised. 

“It was used centuries ago to drive sorcerers into madness.” 

Loki breathed deeply. That sounded about right. “Sorcerers’ madness.” 

“It can’t create it itself.” 

“For that such madness would have to already be.” Loki nodded in acceptance. “How long do I have?” 

Frigga seemed surprised at the question. “Oh, Loki, you do not truly believe that it will take you right?” 

“Every sorcerer who went mad, eventually died of it.” 

“That is not true, my son. There are some who have lived millennia without the strain.” 

“But have they really lived? I am not ready to give up on the life I have.” 

“And that is the first step to cure yourself, dear. But first we have to figure out which kind of madness it is.” 

“Existence or power, right?” 

“Yes dear. Were you having power problems?” 

“Well, I knew I couldn’t use them, so, but no, spells haven’t failed me. They haven’t for centuries and if they did, you know that I would try again. You have taught me not to give up, mother.” 

“And yet you were so quick to, just a moment ago.” 

Loki laughed. “Yes. Although, I thought, I was being realistic.” 

“Power does not seem likely for you anyway. You have idly trained and waited to get all your spells just right.” 

“Existence then? Looking back, I might have had some problems with that, when I realised that Tony would die, before I do.” 

“Yes, Tony told me, that it did not go all that smooth. That you had bumps in the road, but you learned right?” 

“Sometimes it still scares me.” 

“But that we all do, that even humans do, when they realise that the elder generation will not be forever.” 

“But if it’s not power, it has to be existence.” 

“Well those are the main reasons sorcerers fail themselves. That they cannot safe everyone or that they cannot be everywhere at the same time. But you have come to terms with that right from the start.” 

“I had Thor.” 

“Yes, you did, dear, you never went mad, because he kept you upright, even when you were apart, just the thought of him, would have kept you sane.” 

Loki smiled. “But then, why do I have madness if he kept me from being befallen by it?” 

Frigga took a sip from her porcelain cup and thought long and hard. “What made the madness come out?” 

“A word. ‘Hypocrite’. At least that’s the only thing I can think of.” 

“And what were you hypocritical about?” 

“Everything. My whole life.” Ashamed Loki looked to the ground. “How I could not safe my family. How I just followed orders or pretended it was in everyone’s best interest.” 

“Goodness. That is deeply rooted in yourself.” 

“I could have saved so many lives and I just, I didn’t. Why didn’t I? Is that because he never did? Is that engrained in me?” 

“Loki, dear, Loki, stop.” 

Hypocrite. 

Loki knew he was shaking. No, no, no. He had to focus. Thor? But he, no, Thor wasn’t his closest friend anymore. Tony then. Tony with his big eyes and a grin that had ‘mischief’ written all over his face. Oh Tony. 

The kick in his stomach was hard and he flinched inside and out. “Alright, baby-girl, no reason to kick mama, for not thinking of you first.” He rubbed over his belly. 

Frigga chuckled relieved. “I was getting worried there for a moment.” 

“I should have taken precautions.” 

“You need an anchor.” 

“Uhm, a literal anchor?” 

“No dear, someone to keep close by, someone to keep you grounded. While having a babe to kick you out of it might be good in theory, you’re not pregnant forever and last time that did not work.” 

“I am already bonded with Tony.” 

“And he would be the logical choice, dear.” 

“I never make illogical choices, mother.” 

“Sure, you do. The logical choice after falling in love would be to woo that person. You decided it was better if you left without even trying, dear.” 

“Mother!” 

“I am right, dear.” 

“And how do I umm, anchor him to myself?” 

“You have to bind yourself, not just mind, but body too.” 

“That sounds... weirdly intimate.” For the first time since Loki had entered the room, Jane had said something. 

“It does. Mother, care to elaborate?” 

“It is not unlike binding life sources to one another.” 

“No.” Loki shook his head. “No. I will not have his life bound to mine.” 

“Loki, listen for a moment.” 

“I will not!” 

“It is not like that!” 

“But you just said that it was!” 

“It is similar.” 

“No!” 

Jane stood up from her chair and rushed over. “Loki, it’s alright, you don’t have to, not now. We can figure that out, when everything has calmed down.” 

“It will never calm. Life goes on and on and on and then it suddenly ends. Everyone dies.” 

“Shh. Remember what Tony told you before Asgard? Everything will be alright.” 

Loki sighed and nodded, as he let her embrace him. “I need reading materials. I will not do this without proper study.” 

“Yes, dear, I shall leave at once.” 

“Now?” Loki was surprised at the rash action. 

“Yes, dear, the sooner, the better.” 

“Can you talk to... father... for me?” 

Frigga watched him surprised and he pulled her away, after getting up. “When I first got back, I dreamt”, he hushed. 

“Of him?”, Frigga whispered, just as silent. 

“A long-forgotten enemy. One that was believed dead by his father. Tell him, he cannot falter. I believe, they seek something they wanted before. And the time will come, when it could be set free. They will go to Asgard, it would only be logical. Tell father to be prepared. Never seek, but always be ready for it.” 

Frigga’s face was pale. “War?” 

“I hope not. I did not see Asgard, but that would be the logical choice.” 

“Ragnarök?” 

“No.” 

Frigga sighed. “Good. I shall tell him.” 

“Be careful, I am already risking everything.” 

“Not everything just one future for another. One that has yet come to pass.” 

Loki sighed and grabbed her shoulders. “I hate uncertainty.” 

Frigga smiled at him and laid her hand on his. “I know dear. But you are not helpless. You will figure it out, you always do.” 

He nodded and let her go. “Be back soon.” 

“I will be back by nightfall, dear.” She gave him a quick kiss, before turning on her heel and leaving. 

Loki sighed again, before letting one of his hands go through his hair while the other stroked his belly. He gave Jane a sweet smile, before walking over and grabbing the book she was reading. 

“Potions, really?” 

“It’s fascinating stuff, chemistry.” 

“You’re an astronomer.” 

“Well yeah, but you shouldn’t focus on one topic alone.” 

“Are you and Bruce getting along well then?” 

“I was really grateful that he and Darcy got along so well.” 

“And now you’re repaying him by figuring out Asgardian chemistry.” 

“It’s still hard to read, Thor is of no help at all, but with Frigga here…” 

“You know, Lady Jane, all you would have to do was ask. But no one ever asks the trickster.” 

“You were unconscious.” 

“And blind before that.” 

“And Thor doesn’t seem to like my friendship with Bruce.” 

“And I have always done what my brother wanted.” 

Jane smirked. “Dear Loki, if I were to come with you with any book in Asgardian, could you please help me translate its contents to a human language?” 

“So, Dutch?” 

That made her laugh. “To one, I can understand.” 

“It would be my upmost honour, Lady Jane. Although it would be much more fun seeing you write down wrong formula’s and turning Thor’s hair pink.” 

Her happiness did not falter, it turned into a grin instead. “With great pleasure.” 

Loki held out his hand with a smirk. “To a fun working relationship, Doctor Foster.” 

She shook it enthusiastically. “And to all the secrets Asgardian books hold, Mister Stark.” 

“Only Asgardian? Well, then we won’t have much to do at all.” 

“Well, then books from the Asgardian libraries.” 

“Much better, Doctor Foster.” 

“Forward thinking, Mister Stark.” 

They chuckled and when the door opened and Thor gave them a questioning look, they laughed again. 

Chapter Text

Loki and Tony were sitting on the sofa in the common area. Clint and Natasha had excused themselves, as they no longer lived in the tower all the time. Steve had joined S.H.I.E.L.D. shortly after everything cooled down, as he needed work to do. That had moved him to Washington D.C. permanently, but they all still had floors in the tower. Natasha and Clint shared one, as they were close friends, even if everyone seemed to think more between the two. 

Loki sighed silently, as Tony massaged his skull, while he was trying to keep up with the banter between Thor and Steve, and keeping an eye on Bruce and Jane who were at the kitchen table, studying the books from Asgard and Bruce taking notes. 

Steve seemed up to almost any challenge from Thor thrown at him. Every now and then Loki could see a telling smirk on the man’s face. When talking with the much older man, Steve seemed to forget, that he himself had been thrown out of his own time. 

“Thinking again?”, Tony whispered in his ear and the air tickled Loki. He grinned. 

“As always, dear.” 

“Don’t think too hard. Want you to relax.” 

“I am relaxing, dear. As long as you stop worrying, I will too.” Loki curled his head back and looked up at his husband, a soft smirk on his face. 

Gently Tony pressed his lips in Loki’s hair. “Where did Frigga go off to anyway?” 

“Asgard. I needed some reading materials.” 

“As long as you don’t travel yourself.” Tony sighed and pulled Loki back against his chest. “God, you’re heavy.” 

“No god.” Loki smirked. 

Tony groaned and pressed his head against Loki’s shoulder blade. “I love you”, he murmured. 

“As I do you. Eternally.” He took Tony’s hands and laid them on his belly. 

When the babe started kicking, he winced a little, while Tony hummed and kissed his neck. The chuckle from Tony after that irritated him a bit and he opened his eyes again. Thor and Steve had both stopped talking and stared at him, Thor a bit shocked, Steve more pleasantly surprised. Loki looked down his body and grunted. 

“I’m blue again.” 

Tony giggled and kissed his neck once more. “My sweet blue alien baby mother.” 

“I could freeze you.” Thor shook a bit, but Loki tried to ignore it, focusing more on Steve who had gotten out a sketchbook. 

“If you don’t mind”, Steve said and pointed at them. 

Loki looked up at Tony and then shook his head. “Not at all, Captain. How do you want us?” 

“Normal.” 

“But I have to get rid of this dress, it clashes with my skin tone.” 

“If you get your shirt off, Lokes, I have to, too.” 

Loki blushed a little, having not seen Tony’s chest since the surgery. 

“Only if you want.” 

“I want.” 

Tony grinned at Loki and he let him help him out of the dress, before Tony took of his T-Shirt. For a moment it was unusual laying against Tony’s chest without feeling the arc-reactor against his back, but he calmed soon after. Tony looped his arms around Loki’s body again and laid his head on the shoulder away from Steve. Loki watched as Thor decided to walk away from then and join the scientists at the table, possibly helping with translations. 

“Are we good like this, Rogers?”, Tony asked the man. 

“Yeah, you look fine. As long as you don’t move too much, it’ll be fine.” 

“Do you like sketching live models?”, Loki asked curious. 

“Well, I like more cartoons, but yeah, sometimes. I’ll make it bigger, maybe.” 

“With colour?” 

“J could help you with that”, Tony suggested. 

“Indeed, Sir. I will provide stills from the evening for Captain Rogers’ project.” 

“Thank you, J.A.R.V.I.S., I really appreciate that.” 

“Anything for you, Captain Rogers.” 

“Not literally”, Tony cut in and Loki chuckled a bit, before yawning and letting Tony’s hands roam across his belly. 

“Thank you”, he breathed and was answered with a soft kiss on his shoulder. Whenever the baby kicked, Loki got rewarded with another kiss and he let his eyes flutter closed. Softly he sniffed and smelled Tony’s excellent scent with his arms around him and a smile spread on Loki’s face. He was home. He was safe. How good it was to be home again. 

“What are you thinking about?”, Tony whispered. 

“The night I first met you.” 

“Oh really? I was a dick.” 

“That you were. And yet, here we are.” 

“I regret that night.” 

“I don’t. I love you and our child and our life.” 

“I wasn’t Iron Man yet.” 

“Yes, but I still don’t regret knowing who you were before Afghanistan.” 

“A prick?” 

“A snarky man, very much like me.” 

“Well, you were well behaved, and I was not.” 

Loki smiled, opening his eyes and stealing a glance at Tony’s brooding face. “And yet I fell in love with the man you could be that night.” 

“Oh really, not the man I was?” 

“A drunk billionaire? Bitch, please, I wanted the genius intellect in you.” 

That comment made Tony laugh loudly and then he hummed in content, before showering him with kisses. When he stilled, Loki already knew the question on his mind would be more serious. “Did you really fall in love with me that night?” 

“I knew you’d be important to me.” It was as close to the truth as he could bear. 

“I’m glad you took me back.” 

“Couldn’t do anything else. But you forget that it was me asking.” 

“It should have been me.” 

“I don’t think you’d beg.” 

“Someday, when I screw up again, I’ll beg.” 

Loki laid his hand upon Tony’s and intertwined their fingers, before closing his eyes again. “You won’t screw up.” 

“99 percent sure I will.” 

“And I am one hundred percent sure, that I will as well.” 

Tony kissed his neck. “We will work through it.” 

“Or hug it out. I’ve come to like hugs. Especially yours.” 

“Great, cause I like yours too.” 

Loki hummed and his thumb brushed over Tony’s hand. The next kick from the babe only made him grunt a little, before Tony brushed the pain away. 

 

Loki hadn’t even realised he’d fallen asleep until he woke on a battlefield in his white form, noticeably not pregnant. Slowly he got up. Dark Elves. Apparently, they were in the middle of the battle, frozen in time. Carefully he walked over to Thor, ignoring Jane laying at the side. 

“Brother.” He let his hand brush over Thor’s arm. 

“I can’t destroy it. We’ll fail again.” 

Thor stopped moving when Loki let him go and he walked to Jane. When he touched her shoulder, she cried: “I don’t want to die!” 

“Hush, Lady Jane, you know Thor would never let that happen”, he tried to convince her, but she had already said everything she could. 

Loki raked his hands through his hair. Then he searched his body for a phone. Of course, there was none to tell him the earthly date. Carefully he patted down Jane’s sides and was successful. With a grin he turned it on. No signal, of course. But he couldn’t see anything else on the screen. Apparently, he would know she had a phone and know, that she had no signal, but he would not know what day it is, or if the day was even shown on Jane’s phone, which was ridiculous. He grabbed her shoulder again. 

“What day is it?”, he tried to force out of her. She just blinked at him confused and he shoved the phone in her face. “What day is it?! Tell me!” 

“Why didn’t you stay home with Tony? You should have stayed home with Tony. How can you protect him from here?” 

“That, that doesn’t matter right now, Jane, you just need to tell me what  day  it is.” 

“The day after yesterday. He’s all alone with your babe, why would you go away? Do you not care for him? What will happen if you die? What will happen if he does? Who will protect your babe?” 

“Jane, please, can you read this?” 

“I can, it is my phone, you shouldn’t touch my phone.” The phone burned up and Loki let it fall with a yelp. “Tony is in danger, Loki, whenever you close your eyes. Whenever you leave the room. You can’t leave him, Loki, who will protect him, Loki? Will you let it happen again, you hypocrite?” Loki stared at his hands, he wasn’t touching Jane anymore, she shouldn’t be able to speak. Quickly he rushed over to Thor, while Jane continued to speak: “Hypocrite”, slowly getting louder. 

“Thor, what day is it?” 

“The day you die.” 

Loki stared at him, before trying to shake it off. “I am not dead yet, what day is it?” 

“The day you decided the universe was more important than your family. Why would you leave them, Loki? Have you forgotten what happened to Sigyn? You left her and she was poisoned. Anthony will be poisoned, too.” 

“Tony wouldn’t let that happen!” 

“No? Then he will get turn into a wolf and eat your only daughter. He will kill himself, because he cannot face you. How could you let this happen? You bring disaster. Every time you are involved people die. You let Yinsen die. You killed Coulson. And Fandral is dead too, because you could not keep your mouth shut, you hypocrite.” 

Loki started to walk away from Thor backwards. His breath hitching, shortening, while he stared at Thor and Jane, who walked after him, shouting: “Hypocrite!” in unison. Sweat rolled down his face. 

“Tony?”, he breathed, not really able to catch his breath. “Tony?!”, he started screaming as they began running. Suddenly Tony appeared. 

“Lokes?” 

The world around them disappeared, but Thor and Jane were still running at them, screaming: “Hypocrite!” 

Out of nowhere, Tony’s suit appeared, and he blasted them out of the dream. 

“Tony, I’m so sorry.” 

“Shh, it’s alright, Lokes.” He kneeled in front on Loki and gathered him in his arms, the Iron Man armour magically disappeared. 

“I, I left you and her. I left you. Hypocrite, hypocrite, hypocrite.” 

“You didn’t leave us. Hey, you’re still here. She’s still in there.” 

“But I will! Hypocrite, hypocrite, hypocrite.” 

“Uhm, Lokes... You... you need to breathe darling. Breathe.” 

“Hypocrite.” 

“Lokes!” Tony grabbed his head and showed him how to breathe. “Remember? Like Bruce showed you.” 

Tears streamed down Loki’s face, but he tried to follow Tony’s instructions. His breath was still hitching, but he was slowly getting back control. Tony kissed Loki’s tears off his face and slowly the trickster let himself slip into Tony’s arms. 

“I got you. I got you.” 

Loki nodded silently. Tony gathered him in his arms and rocked him back and forth. After a while Loki felt droopy again and his hand went up to touch Tony’s face. 

“My hero.” 

Tony smiled at him. “So, what is this place?” 

“Dreamworld. Well, not really world. Place? Uhm... Yes.” 

Tony chuckled. “And what were Thor and Jane doing here?” 

“Bad dream.” 

“The future one?” 

Loki nodded. “You can’t tell them. It went bad, with the madness.” 

“What madness?” 

“The curse. It, uhm, it triggered my sorcerers’ madness.” 

“And what does that do?” 

“Make me mad?” Loki tried to laugh, but he started to sob instead. “It’s... it’s total shit. It might kill me. That’s why Frigga’s back on Asgard.” 

“A cure?” 

“Reading material. She heard of something. An anchor. But the way she described it... It was binding your life to mine. I’d never do that. It would leave our child without any parent if one of us were to die. If you’d even be my anchor.” 

“Fuck.” 

“Yeah. But... I need an anchor, darling, if there is nothing else.” 

Of course, I’d be your anchor. Well, if we figure out, that it won’t kill the other, when one of us dies.” 

“Thank you.” 

“So, we have that to worry about and then the bad future and all that Avengers shit and Fury wants to talk to you soon, but he said it could wait a few weeks after the baby was born.” 

“Everything will be alright?” 

“Everything will be alright.” 

Loki sighed and smiled at him. “Eternally.” 

Tony grinned. “Forever.” 

“So, what kind of shit were evil Thor and evil Jane saying?” 

“That I would let you get killed. Let it happen all over again.” 

“You won’t. Yes, if you’re here, there, you probably left momentarily. But only because you needed to safe them.” 

“Thor said... Thor said it was the day I died.” 

“You won’t.” 

“I will try.” 

“And you know we’ll be safe, right? Were Rhodey or the Hulk there?” 

“No.” 

“See? And Rhodey and Banner are already protective of the baby. The agents and Cap might not be in New York all the time, but if anything were to happen, Xavier’s would protect our little baby-girl.” 

“Really?” 

“You really think Kurt would let anyone so much as touch our baby? He married us!” 

Loki laughed loudly. “Thank you.” 

“Thank him.” 

“Can’t right now, can only stare at my amazingly wonderful husband.” 

Tony blushed, before adding confidently: “Don’t forget hot.” 

“Oh yes, I only married you for your looks. Not your charm, not your brain, not because I loved you.” 

“Not because you were pregnant.” 

“That was never a reason to marry you, love. You wanting to have kids as well, that was the reason I kept it.” 

“You think we’ll be good parents?” 

“Well, I don’t have the best streak, but you might be able to do it.” 

“December, there was a kid involved.” 

“Oh?” 

Tony smiled brightly. “Yeah. Smart one, made a potato gun, helped me. Gotta keep an eye on him.” 

“And did you fail him?” 

“Dunno, he was great though. If I wouldn’t know for a fact, that I have not fathered any children, I’d think he’d be mine.” 

“A mini you?” Loki laughed. “I’d love to meet him sometime.” 

“Well, first we’re gonna have our own kid and love it and then maybe, if his mom allows it, he could come by for the holidays. But he lives all the way over in Tennessee.” 

“It’s not Nepal.” 

“Yeah, yeah.” 

“I’d really love to meet him. He sounds like a great kid.” 

“He is.” 

Loki snuggled close to Tony and gave him a kiss on the nose. “Sleep?” 

“In your dream?” 

“Or wake up? But I really need sleep.” 

“Not for another three weeks.” 

“I don’t think the kid will wait that long.” 

“True.” 

“We have to find a name.” 

“Well, your ma had some suggestions.” 

“Oh goodness.” 

Tony chuckled. “It wasn’t all bad.” 

“We can choose any name, not an old Asgardian one.” 

“I had kinda thought of naming her after your first wife in her memory.” 

“Sigyn Stark? Do you really want a child to grow up with that kind of a name?” 

“Alright, big no there.” 

“And it would be weird for me.” 

“Yeah, that too.” 

“Hmm... Almina?”, asked Loki. 

“Janina?” 

“Ferun?” 

“Ferun, really?” 

“I think it means something like ‘the one that grants happiness’.” 

“Goodness, then she could never be pissed at anyone.” 

“Alright, not Ferun.” 

“Your ma thought Jorun was a great idea.” 

“No.” 

“So?” 

“Runa?”, Loki wondered. 

“Runa?” 

“Maybe?” 

“Hmm, I like it. Runa Stark.” 

“Runa Stark.” Loki smiled at Tony. “You sure?” 

“Yeah. Let’s sleep on it and when your ma is back, we’ll see if she approves.” 

“Alright, love, let us sleep.” They cuddled together and Loki shifted the dream, so they were laying in an open field, a clear night sky over their heads. 

Chapter Text

Three days later, Runa Stark was born. Blue skin like her mother and copper eyes like her father. Frigga had called her the most beautiful baby she had ever delivered. Thor scoffed at that, but quickly got an eye-roll from an exhausted Loki, explaining to him, that she had not delivered him herself. Thor murmured something under his breath, before leaving the delivery room. Jane later told Loki that Thor was sad, that Loki called Thor dumb. Loki laughed at that. 

Tony was cooing at Runa in his arms. She did not sleep much and was fussing all the time. Loki already told J.A.R.V.I.S. to keep the lights a little lower and more on the ‘cold light’ side. Now he finally understood, why his twin boys had needed some time to get accustomed to the bright lights. Runa’s room at home was beautiful, a rainbow seemingly spinning around it. For a moment Loki had forgotten all the bad that was going on. 

With a heartful sigh, he sat down on one of the armchairs in the room, smiling as Tony rocked their little baby. Frigga stood in the doorway and had a similar smile on her face. When Runa finally fell asleep, Tony stood still. 

“Do you want to put her in her bed, dear?” 

“No. Wanna keep her close.” 

Loki giggled a little. He ushered Tony to the sofa and gratefully took the serving tray from Frigga. “You’re doing great, love.” 

Tony looked up to him, his eyes filled with tears. “She’s so precious.” 

Softly Loki caressed Tony’s face, before placing a kiss on his husband and his baby girl. Then he held out a sandwich to Tony. With a sly smirk, Tony opened his mouth and Loki grinned back, pushing it carefully near his lips. Frigga must have left, while he fed Tony and himself, as she was gone, when Tony finally allowed him to lay Runa in her bed. 

“We can stay here all night, love. You do remember that J.A.R.V.I.S. number one mission is to protect our youngsters.” 

“All children personally known to us. So that Harley qualifies.” 

Loki chuckled silently and pressed his lips against Tony’s temple. “Let us be on watch then.” 

“I should also call DUM-E and U, they probably want to meet her.” 

“Ah, yes, your robots. I did not see them in your workshop last time, but Pepper had mentioned them over the last few days.” 

“Yeah, they were in Malibu, but I moved them here, as soon as the workshop was complete. Didn’t want to scare you though.” 

“Not while pregnant.” 

“Not while all that shit is going on and you’re clearly not okay, even though you claim to be.” 

“Tony. No cursing when a child is in the room.” 

Tony groaned and rolled his eyes. “Yes, Ma.” 

Loki handed him a soda and opened his own. “In the morning your robots can come by and meet the child.” 

Our child. Runa.” 

Loki nodded. “Yes. Sometimes... some... I just... it all happened so fast.” He was tearing up and quickly Tony put his arms around him. Loki eased into the embrace. “I know, I shouldn’t say this, dear, but I’m sorry.” 

“I know.” Tony kissed his cheek. “Loki, are you happy?” 

Loki perked up. “Yes”, he was quick to answer. Tony smiled. “I am happy here, love, I am happy that I have a family once more, that I have... a support system... Pepper called it that. You are here, Thor is, well, he’s in the tower, thank the norns, Mother is here, for the time being. Having Bruce around is nice too, a resident Doctor is very important, especially after mother leaves and he has been so kind.” 

“Yeah, Banner’s been great.” Tony nodded towards a small device, that spread some kind of chemical around the room, that apparently mildly calmed the nerves. Tony had helped design the outer package while Bruce and Frigga worked on the scent, so it would not knock someone out after prolonged inhalation, especially that of a small child. 

“I have done almost nothing in caring for this child. You have built this home, while I was away, I was awake for round-about a week before the child was born. That Runa is well, is all because of Frigga and you, I had nothing to do with it.” 

“You carried our child, Lokes.” 

“And I could have been here much sooner, if I had not been so arrogant around the Allfather. I’m such a...” 

“Don’t”, Tony quickly stopped him. Softly he pulled him for a kiss, before moving onto Loki’s lap. “I love you. And Runa. You have done nothing wrong. The past is the past, we can’t change it. If we could, we both probably would have never met.” 

Loki sighed and hummed when Tony buried his hands in Loki’s slowly growing hair. A small moan escaped him, while Tony massaged him, and the man smiled at him. Loki gathered him in his arms and buried his nose in Tony’s shirt, before closing his eyes. 

“Home”, he murmured, while Tony continued drawing circles on his scalp, further curling his locks, that he always used to straighten. 

“Yeah? Home?” 

“Yeah. I like your smell.” 

“I’m glad.” 

“Like you with it even more.” 

“That’s great.” 

“And I love you. You’re amazing, fantastic, wonderful. The English language is not vast enough to describe how much I feel for you and what you mean for me.” 

“You know, now you’re almost losing your mischief.” 

“I’d turn all your enemies’ hair the colour they hate most, just to make you happy.” 

“That’s more like it.” 

Loki smiled and softly kissed Tony’s chest. “Is it bad, that I miss my nightlight?” 

“Your... Oh. You mean the only device that kept me from dying?” 

“Yes.” Loki’s tongue darted out and he licked over the scar across Tony’s half-covered chest. Tony shivered underneath the touch and slowly Loki looked up to him in awe. “Eternally.” 

“Yeah”, Tony breathed, his eyes blown wide and he latched onto Loki’s lips. 

 

Tony and Loki both prided themselves upon the fact, that they did not need much sleep. Tony could go days without sleep in his lab or workshop on sufficient amount of coffee and Loki had learned to give himself a small boost with a fifteen-minute nap, which was really helpful during prolonged battles. With their combined lack of real sleep though and a nagging baby, they were really glad that Bruce was not squeamish around babies and had offered to stay with them, as long as they might need him. 

Loki suspected it also had something to do with Thor’s ever-growing glare towards him because of his and Jane’s friendship. Jane herself was too deep into the books to notice the glares. She might have noticed Bruce’s uncomfortableness though. 

When Loki and Tony brought Runa to the workshop the next morning, after her feeding, the robots both beeped curiously. 

“Look DUM-E, U, I know I’ve kind of abandoned you both, we all know, I could have done better, but J.A.R.V.I.S. must have told you that I’ve gotten married.” 

“Does the concept of marriage mean anything to them?”, Loki asked Tony. 

“Probably not. So, DUM-E, U, these are Loki and Runa. Loki is my husband. I love him, you’ll like him too.” 

The robot equipped with the camera, which apparently was U, cautiously came closer and eyed first Loki and then Runa. 

“Hello, U. This is Runa. Runa is Tony’s and my baby.” 

U beeped confused and Loki thought for a while. 

“She is similar to you and DUM-E. Tony created her too. But she will take a lot longer to be able to walk and communicate like you both. So, while J.A.R.V.I.S. is Tony’s creation equipped with the most speech, Tony still loves you both, as if you were a part of him. He would never abandon you two. Do you get that?” 

U chirped and DUM-E came rolling over. Carefully DUM-E pulled down the blanket to reveal more of Runa. She giggled at them. 

“See, she likes you both already. You’re her older siblings now. You’ll protect her, right?” 

DUM-E let Runa touch him and U chirped again. Slowly Loki held up his hand and patted U on the top of the camera. 

“You are amazing. And you’re family. Just like J.A.R.V.I.S. and Pepper and Happy and Rhodey. One family.” 

They both beeped happily and turned to Tony who looked at them with tears in his eyes. 

“J, you recorded that, right?” 

“Indeed, Sir.” 

“Save it in my personal favourites.” 

“Will do, Sir.” 

Tony walked over to them and kissed Loki softly. “You are fantastic, Lokes.” 

“I am just wondering why U is running around with a camera.” 

“Oh, because I never gave it to DUM-E. DUM-E has a fire extinguisher.” 

“So... those are their... plushies?” 

The robots beeped in protest and Tony laughed. “Their possessions. U, you can bring your camera back to where you got it from. Loki can tell you apart.” 

U drove away and Loki looked down to Runa, who seemed to be thrilled and giggled when DUM-E still touched her. When a call sound came through the room, Loki and Tony both looked up, before Tony ran off. Irritated Loki followed him to the end of the room and behind a table. 

“Kid”, Tony spoke with a grin. 

Loki wondered only for a moment, who he was speaking to, then he remembered that Tony had mentioned a child, that he had met in December. 

“Mechanic.” The voice was young, but determined, Loki liked the little snarky voice instantly. 

“How’s it going? Which Mark are you on?” 

“Uhm, I think it’s Mark V now.” 

“Awesome.” 

“So, that’s your home?” 

“Oh yeah, the mansion, hey, Lokes, come over here, introduce yourself.”

Tony waved to Loki and with a smile he walked nearer and behind Tony. A picture showed on the screen and the boy with dark blond hair waved. 

“Hello, I am Loki. It is very nice to meet you. This is Runa.” 

The kid gaped as Loki showed Runa to the camera. “No way! That’s your baby? You better protect her, Tony, else I’ll be pissed, then I gotta look after another little sister, Abby is annoyin’ enough.” 

“Watch your mouth, kid, you love your little sister.” 

“Yeah, yeah. Don’t die again though.” 

“I agree with you there, youngling, he should not go looking for trouble, so to say.” 

The kid laughed, throwing back his longer hair, that reminded Loki of a young Thor. “You speak weird.” 

Loki grinned. “You as well, country-boy.” 

“It’s Harley.” 

“Not country-boy?” 

“Gimme another nickname, darlin’, before I come up with one for you.” 

Loki chuckled, trying not to laugh to loudly for Runa’s sake. 

“Hey, don’t call him darling, he’s my darling!” 

“Yeah sure, Mechanic.” 

“So, Harley, why potato gun?” 

“Have to protect my family.” 

“I thought Americans are born with guns.” 

“And I thought Brits hate givin’ kids real guns.” 

“I’m not a Brit.” 

“And not all Americans are given guns at birth, Lokes.” 

Loki looked at Tony with a raised eyebrow. “So that does happen? Are your people insane?” 

“When did you get your first set of knifes, love? Thor wanted to gift Runa some.” 

“Knives and Guns are not the same.” 

“She could hurt herself.” 

“They aren’t sharpened. She couldn’t hurt anyone with that, let alone herself.” 

“But they are still knives!” 

“Stop fightin’ you fuckin’ dumbasses”, Harley interrupted their quarrel. 

“Watch your mouth!”, Loki and Tony said in unison and Harley giggled so hard, he almost fell off his chair. 

“So...”, Harley inhaled heavily, trying to catch his breath, “Y’all got that whole dad thing pretty much down.” 

Loki grinned. “Thank you, Harley.” 

“Tell you what though, how ‘bout no knives and no guns till the kid gets like... my age.” 

“Ey, kiddo, we can come to an agreement on our own.” 

Loki gave Tony a smirk. “So?” 

“We can protect her; she doesn’t need that stuff.” 

“Point for Tennessee, solvin’ a martial dispute, keepin’ my dads from killin’ each other”, Harley exclaimed happily. 

“Hey. I’m not your dad, kiddo!” 

Loki eyed Tony. “You gave him a workstation. If you’re not a creepy stranger and child molester, you’re totally the dad. Or the uncle.” 

“A very cool uncle.” 

“And I’m the uncle’s husband that’s going to take our baby daughter upstairs and then read the books to figure out how not to die. Bye, Harley, nice knowing you exist.” 

“Maybe we can talk sometime, Uncle Loki.” 

“I’d love to. I’ll teach you the art of hiding in plain sight, that Tony will never be able to master.” 

“That’s it, I like Loki more.” 

“I gave you stuff.” 

“Yeah and he’s gonna teach me valuable life lessons, keep up, old man.” 

“Hey! Loki’s older than me!” 

“But he’s cooler. Like, he’s literally seen history happen, probably knew some awesome engineers.” 

“True. Bye love, bye honourable son.” 

“Mini-mechanic?” Harley asked hopeful and Loki gave him a smirk, before nodding. 

“Goodbye, mini-mechanic and maxi-mechanic.” 

Harley laughed and Loki gave Tony a kiss on the cheek, before waving Harley goodbye and leaving for the elevator, after petting both DUM-E and U. 

 

Upstairs, Bruce was drinking coffee, while reading some materials. Frigga was sitting next to him and he nodded every now and then about something she was saving. A soft smile spread across Loki’s face, before he slowly pulled his fingers out of Runa’s grasp and gave her a soft kiss. 

“Loki”, Frigga said with a warm smile and set her tea down. 

“Hello, you two.” 

“When have you last slept?” 

“Two days ago, mother, five hours.” 

“Need some coffee?”, Bruce asked, and Loki shook his head, before laying Runa in Frigga’s open arms. 

“Are your studies coming along fine?”, Loki wanted to know, while walking over to the fridge. 

“It’s all very exciting what the people around the realms have come up with.” 

“That I can truly believe.” Loki breathed in the cold air for a moment, before grabbing a sandwich and closing the fridge again. “The universe is a vast place and even though Earth itself has not truly started to explore it; the people here do not need to rely on any materials of other planets to eventually achieve greatness. Earth is an innocent planet far away from other civilisations. It is avoided and called underdeveloped, but it is quickly catching up. Eventually we will not only face enemies that are created here, but ones that come from elsewhere.” 

“I think we understood that, after New York.” 

“Thanos is only the first threat of many. And he is not only a threat to Earth, but the universe itself. He underestimated Earth and its mighty defenders.” 

Bruce stared at him, for a moment Loki wondered why, then he realised that he never openly talked to the team about Thanos. Loki bit into the sandwich, acknowledging that Frigga took Runa and her tea to leave the room. 

“Are you okay?”, Bruce asked quietly. 

“No. He could come any day, take me away, but I don’t worry about him right now. I don’t believe he thinks me smart enough to figure out his plans.” 

“And can you?” 

“I can see what he wants, I don’t know his plans with it, though.” 

“And when were you going to tell us?” 

“When I’ve dealt with the problem at the moment.” 

“And when is that?” 

“I don’t know yet.” 

“And if he comes for you before that?” 

“Thor will figure it out.” With a loud sigh, Loki sat down in front of Bruce. “Bruce. I don’t plan on dying. But I know for a fact, that Thanos does not have what he wants at the moment. And I am very sure he won’t get to me until I've dealt with the problem.” 

Bruce frowned. “How do you know?” 

“Because the problem is something I’ve seen of the future.” Another thing he had not told the team about. “That’s why I don’t know when it is, that I will have dealt with it.” 

“Hold up, you can see the future?” 

“Not intentionally, I’m no witch, but I was raised by one that was raised by witches. I can see it in dreams. The past and present too, I hate it.” 

Bruce chuckled and drank his coffee. “So, what’s it of?” 

“I cannot tell you. But it means I do have a future.” 

“And Thanos hasn’t gotten to you in the meantime.” 

“That is not said, Bruce.” 

“But you are not in his grasp that moment.” 

“It seems that way.” 

“Any indications, when it could be, even just the season?” 

“It’s not on earth.” Loki groaned slightly, before he pulled a book out of his dimensional pocket. “Will you keep your mouth shut?” 

“Of course.” 

“No word to any of the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., Xavier’s or anyone else that may inquire about me or the events, until they are over?” 

“Yes.” 

“Great, and you, J.A.R.V.I.S.?” 

“I will be on privacy mode for the time being. No recordings of any kind, but I will alert you, if you are not alone anymore.” 

“Thank you, J.A.R.V.I.S.” 

Bruce closed his book and drank the last of his coffee. “Why change your mind, Loki?”, he asked while putting the cup in the dishwasher. 

“Because it wouldn’t be bad getting help now, instead of later.” 

“Okay.” 

“And apparently I’ll die, so there’s that.” 

“You’ll die?”, Bruce almost screamed, and Loki sighed at the sight of the scared doctor. 

“Tony knows about that part.” 

“How... are you sure you’re... you can’t die, Loki.” 

“I don’t plan on it. I don’t know how I’ll die. I tried to inquire what day it was and was told, it was the day I was going to die.” 

“You sure that person didn’t want to kill you?” 

“Very sure. And the people I spoke to in my dream could not lie. The truth to them is the truth they speak.” 

“What does this have to do with the book?” 

“This is a book about Yggdrasil, detailing the realms. I believe that the place I was at, was one of them. There are nine realms. It isn’t Asgard and not Midgard either, I know those two like the back of my hand. It did not look like Jotunheim or Nidavellir. Vanaheim is too green, Muspelheim too fiery, for Niflheim it was too dark and for Alfheim too empty. It can only be Svartalfheim.” 

“And what exactly makes Svartalfheim so special?” 

“It is what you would call a dead planet. Nobody lives there anymore. Five millennia ago, Bor, Odin’s father battled the Dark Elves and was thought to have eliminated the race.” 

“Was thought to have, so they are not?” 

“Indeed. The battle I dreamt of, was against them. I believe, I know what they are after, yet I do not know how my side came in possession of it.” 

Bruce chuckled. “You’re keeping this very vague.” 

“Alright. The Dark Elves are after the Aether, a reality-changing material, that, when controlled correctly, can make anything appear like one wants it to.” 

“And you know this how?” 

“Books. And I have handled two similar materials before. I do not know where it is locked away, but the Dark Elves will not be the only ones looking for it.” 

“Who else is?” 

“Thanos.” 

Bruce frowned. “So, you’re going after something Thanos wants, you do know, that will make you look like an ally to him.” 

“I plan on keeping it hidden, wherever it might be.” 

“So, what does Thanos want?” 

“The Infinity Stones. He sent me with one to use another to open the portal, you call wormhole.” 

“The Sceptre and the Tesseract.” 

“Yes. There are six in total. The Aether makes three and I know of the location for another.” 

“Does he know?” 

“No. He never asked, thought me much younger and of not-importance, besides the fact that I had visited Earth before. We never spoke directly though.” 

“Okay, so what do we know? Keep it short, Loki, if you can.” 

Loki grinned and leaned back in his chair. “There are six Infinity Stones, Space and Mind we’ve already encountered, the former is on Asgard, encased in the Tesseract, the later presumably missing on Earth, within the Sceptre. The Aether is the Reality Stone, it was hidden away five millennia ago by Bor, I believe, while the Convergence occurred.” 

Loki pulled another book out of his dimensional pocket and opened it to a colourful picture. “The Convergence is an event in which all realms of Yggdrasil align. In turn it must be hidden on one of the realms. There are three other Infinity Stones.” Another book appeared before him, which he flipped to another page. “Power, Soul and Time”, he pointed to their respective colours. 

“Now, Bruce, this is where it gets tricky. I do not know for certain, that Thanos wants the Stones and if, for what purpose. But to find them all in such a short distance to one another is rather suspicious. For that purpose, I have to keep the Aether locked away, where Bor has hidden it. Only after I have done that, I can travel the universe to find answers to Thanos.” 

“Who will have those answers?” 

“Many beings in the universe have information, the only problem will be finding them without Thanos finding out I’m looking for them.” 

“I think we should put the worry for the other Stones on hold for now. Who has the Aether? You?” 

“Lady Jane”, Loki finally gave up and sighing. 

“Jane? Shit that’s bad.” 

“Exactly. Any mortal should not carry the Aether. Even Asgardians would not be up to that.” 

“And she could have only gotten it within the timespan of the Convergence, right?” 

“Yes.” 

“And when is that?” 

“I have no fucking clue.” 

Bruce groaned as he leaned back. “You don’t have a timer for shit like that?” 

“Five millennia. No more, no less. So, this year.” 

“What will Thanos do, if he can’t find it?” 

“Destroy planets?” 

“So, we could make it worse.” 

“Yes. But once I’ve dealt with the dilemma at hand, I will find him, kill him and anyone that follows him.” 

“How?” 

“I will find worthy followers.” 

“And you’ll leave Runa and Tony?” 

“I will not be gone for long. We will not have forever. We cannot wait forever.” 

“Who will you take with you?” 

“Thor, surely. Even if he is an oaf, I will need to be bonded to someone, to visit Earth when needed and travel back, when called. To teleport that far would be a possible task, yet not something I like to do, especially because I could easily teleport myself into deadly space, if my calculations are wrong.” 

“So... Aside from that. Do Frigga or Odin know, when the Convergence might occur?” 

“I have not asked them yet. I told Frigga to tell Odin to prepare for war. Surely the first place the Dark Elves will be looking for information for, will be on Asgard. But I believe mother has an inkling what it concerns, the reading materials I required the second time around were very specific.” 

“The second time? I didn’t know she went twice.” 

“Yes. The first, I needed books and scrolls on my sickness. The second, I had more information and determination to find out about what we face.” 

“You’re still sick?” 

“Yes. A disease caught easily by those who wield great powers of the mind.” 

“I hope you can recover from it.” 

“I’ll have to manage it. I don’t think I’ll ever truly recover.” 

“And how will you manage it?” 

Loki moved the books away and let a dozen books and two scrolls appear. “That’s what I have these for.” 

“Do you have to get it done before the Convergence?” 

“I plan on it. It would make things easier.” 

“But it will put a strain on your body, human or not.” 

“Yes.” 

“Maybe you should leave Baby Runa to Tony, Frigga and me, get yourself some sleep and then a long and deserving study-session.” 

“But she needs me. Her mother, the first weeks are fatal for a child’s development.” 

“Whoever told you that, clearly had no job. Yeah, you shouldn’t abandon your baby, but you are not, and you will not. Your family is taking care of your baby. You have multiple problems to master, none of which are child’s play and all of which are time sensitive.” 

Loki sighed. Bruce was right. “Alright. I will bring these to my reading room and catch some sleep. J.A.R.V.I.S. lift the privacy settings please.” 

“All done, Mister Stark, welcome back.” 

“Thank you, J.A.R.V.I.S.; I trust you’re okay with helping out my family for the time being, Bruce?” 

“Always.” 

“Thank you as well.” 

With a little work, Loki picked up the materials, which he could just as easily store in his pocket dimension for the few meters. J.A.R.V.I.S. thankfully helped him with the door of his study. There were many books in the small room, all from Earth, most of science, but several of stories he had read before, that he had stored in his dimensional pocket. First editions signed by long-dead authors. Even some of the science journals were written by the scientists themselves. 

Loki always loved to keep just far away from great people. Especially before they become great, before others considered them great. He had taken many forms across his journeys, not rarely that of a woman. Loki had always felt comfortable in his female form, or well the female form he might take. He never truly felt like a woman, and he would never want to be addressed like one, especially when in his male form. As a female, Loki did not mind being addressed that way. But now that Loki was both, Loki still chose to be husband, brother and son. 

He was sure, Tony and Frigga would not mind addressing him differently if he asked them to, but Thor already had a problem with him being Runa’s mother and not father. Thor loved him, no doubt in that, but it would take him some time to get used to the idea of his brother also being his sister sometimes. Possibly in the future with a nice talk with Darcy, Thor would be able to understand, that not everyone born male is at heart male and not everyone born female is at heart female. 

Chapter Text

Tony and Frigga took Loki’s absence the next few days surprisingly well, Bruce even made sure, Tony would go to bed at a reasonable hour and somehow convinced J.A.R.V.I.S. to, in Tony’s words, ‘betray his master’ and keep Tony locked out of the workshop, if he didn’t sleep at least six hours in the last 48. Bruce would have liked 24 hours more, but with Tony’s very successful all-nighters at times, he decided to give him double the time. 

While Bruce cared for Tony the way Loki felt he should, Frigga cared for Loki the same. Every few hours she brought him food and drinks, sometimes even Runa. At times like that, the overworked Loki would fall into a fond smile and cradled the sweet girl in his arms. The girl brought a bright light into both his and Tony’s often dark lives. 

Loki had always understood what sorcerers’ madness was. When a sorcerer’s mind and body did not cooperate correctly. When they were not in sync. His body and his mind weren’t always perfectly in sync, but all sorcerers he had spoken to over the years had that, Humans had that, Asgardians as well, surely Jötnar were not any different. He also knew what initially had made him question himself, the knowledge that he was not Odin’s and Frigga’s son, that he couldn’t be Thor’s brother. That he was a Frost Giant. He was the one thing he was always told to hate, to fear and Odin never had any plans on telling him that. He should have told him, long before he had married Sigyn. If his sons would have been birthed in Frost Giant form, Loki himself would have accused Sigyn of disloyalty. 

There were several ways to treat madness, none actually proven to heal, mostly because said sorcerer was already too far gone and died of self-inflicted injuries later on. The only proven way, sorcerers had lived on for years, after identifying madness, was with an anchor. There were only a handful that had anchored themselves to someone else, one even to a minor sorcerer, that had not fallen into madness. What a lovely tale that must have been. 

As it seemed, the anchored person did not need to be a stable person themselves, but a good relationship between the two seemed for better results, as once stated, when a sorceress and her anchored sister had fallen into disagreement and the sorceress’ health became significantly worse. 

‘Binding mind and body to another’, Frigga had said, and Loki understood how that would be. This would also require for Tony to eat a golden apple, so any injuries that befell Loki would not hurt Tony as much. They could not kill him, that’s why it was just similar to binding life sources together, but any wounds would be seen on the others body and to a certain extent felt from the other. It could make for an interesting experience and for a difficult time on the battlefield. 

The binding itself was different from the mind-binding they’d already done, after all bodies did not only mean the heads. They would not have to be completely naked, but they had to be very close to one another and then Loki had to bind them together with his Seiðr. He would have to wait at the moment, for his Seiðr to recover. That would take at least another month. 

 

With a small smile on his face, he reached the kitchen, having at least solved the puzzle of how to anchor himself. “Hello, love”, he spoke with a bright smile on his face and then took Runa from Frigga’s arms, smacking a loud kiss on the chuckling child’s forehead. 

“Lokes.” A sleep-overdue Tony wrapped his arms around Loki and placed a soft kiss on Loki’s cheek. 

“How have you been?”, Loki asked, slightly concerned. 

“Brucie’s mean to me”, Tony whined. 

Loki smirked and looked to the man, who silently sipped his coffee. “I believe Brucie to be very reasonable.” 

“But he won’t let me work, till I’ve slept. You know how bad I sleep, when you’re not around.” 

“Well, I’ll be around tonight, love. And Runa too.” 

“You’re done?”, Bruce asked from the table. 

“Yep, figured it out, now I’ll just have to wait for my Seiðr to recover and for you, darling, to hopefully eat a golden apple.” 

“You really want to keep my foul mouth around for centuries?” 

“I said eternally, didn’t I?” 

Softly Tony pressed his forehead against Loki’s. “I have to talk to someone before I... I know you want me to...” 

“I would never pressure you. I am fine with a few decades, a few years, a few months, I know the consequences are big, especially for a human. I will spend my life with you, if it’s the last thing I do.” 

Loki pressed his lips against Tony’s forehead and softly smiled at him. Runa gurgled in his arm and Tony grinned back. “Let’s go out.” 

“Us two? Or us three?” 

“Two. I want you to meet someone, I don’t know how well she is.” 

“Do I need to wear a disguise?” 

“For the drive, yes, I’ll tell you when it’s okay.” 

“Who do you want me to be?” 

“How about... Bruce, can he be you for the day?” 

“Wait, what?”, Bruce questioned, obviously confused. Softly Loki kissed Runa and she giggled, when he let a bit of Seiðr flow around. 

“We will soon be back, dearest.” 

“I’m gonna take Loki out for a drive, well, flight, but cause he should be on house arrest and only in Avengers facilities, he needs a disguise. It’s S.H.I.E.L.D. knowledge that you’re bunking with me, so...” 

“Fine, but don’t do anything weird.” 

“Like?”, Loki asked, slightly amused. 

“Like kiss your husband with my face.” 

“Of course. Mother, you’ll look after Runa?” 

“Certainly, dear.” With a soft smile, Frigga took Runa from his arms and Loki walked over to Bruce. 

“Can I take a quick look into your mind, Bruce, so our cover is kept, if we were to run into trouble?” 

“Umm, yeah, doesn’t hurt me, right?” 

“I will only tap into the basic things. If I were to dig into something you don’t want me to know, it would hurt us both. It will also be a two-way street; you’ll be able to see into my mind as well.” 

“Should we sit?” 

“Yes. Tony, will you get everything ready?” 

“Sure.” Tony quickly kissed Runa and then grinned towards Bruce. “Permission to mess with Cap or the others if we walk into them?” 

Bruce seemed not amused, but when Tony gave him big eyes, he agreed with a groan. “Fine. But I get a detailed record.” 

“I could show you later”, Loki offered. 

“That’ll do.” 

“Jay!” Tony walked out of the room and Loki and Bruce sat down opposite of each other. 

“Let’s have a look then.” Loki laid his hand on Bruce’s forehead and peered inside. 

The early years of Robert Bruce Banner, he quickly skipped over, the only important thing there was the memory of his father murdering his mother, which he wouldn’t go into. Then came Harvard, which centred around a beautiful dame named Elizabeth Ross. After that followed Culver University, Loki remembered Doctor Selvig, Jane and Darcy also had ties with the institution. There was Thaddeus Ross and becoming Hulk, which Bruce had unsurprisingly little recollection of, Bruce on the run, staying in different parts of the world, then Harlem with Thaddeus Ross again and lastly getting found by Romanoff and the events of the Attack on New York. Tony’s offer to stay in the tower was weirdly important and the joy he felt while teaching Darcy, especially because she was asking a lot of questions. 

When Loki let go, both men had tears in their eyes. “Shit”, Bruce whispered, and Loki chuckled. 

“Could say the same, Bruce.” 

“Now I feel like my life was easy.” 

“It was not. We just had rapidly different experiences.” 

“Tha...” Loki stopped Bruce with a hand on his mouth. 

“We won’t speak of it openly, Bruce.” 

“Yes, lets.” They nodded at each other and got up, while Loki shapeshifted into Bruce-Loki. Bruce stared at him. “This looks... wrong.” 

“Well, it’s not a mirror-image, Bruce”, he spoke back in Bruce’s voice, which made Bruce cringe more. 

“That’s what I sound like?!” 

Bruce-Loki laughed at him and turned to smile at Tony who was standing in the doorway. 

“This is slightly creepy, I gotta admit.” 

“Let’s go, fellow Doctorate.” 

“Fellow? I graduated from M.I.T. at seventeen, Brucie-bear, don’t start calling me Doctor now, I hate that.” 

“Sure thing, kid genius.” 

Tony grinned. “Let’s go.” 

Tony and Bruce-Loki jogged out of the room, leaving a mind-boggled Bruce behind. 

 

“Alright, M.I.T., why are we going to D.C.?” 

“To see someone. And maybe, while we’re there, we can bug Fury.” 

Bruce-Loki grinned. “Are we going to test if they can find out I’m not Bruce?” 

“Oh yeah, definitely.” 

Bruce-Loki's grin grew even wider and he pushed his glasses back. “I don’t like planes very much.” 

“Yeah, get it, enclosed space.” 

“Actually, it’s the noise and the uncertainty.” 

“Oh.” 

“How long?” 

“We’ll land soon. Happy’s going to drive us.” 

“Does he know? About me?” 

“Haven’t told him yet.” 

“This will be fun.” 

“Definitely.” 

 

“Boss, Doctor Banner.” 

“Mister Hogan.” Bruce-Loki stuck out his hand and shook Happy’s hand with the most earnest expression he could master. 

“Where to, Boss?”, Happy asked Tony, after the two men got into the vehicle. 

“First, gotta pay a visit, while I’m in town, you know where, after that, the Triskelion.” 

“Will Doctor Banner accompany you to both?” 

“Yeah, we’ll stick together on this one, he’s like family.” 

“Aren’t young people ‘shipping’ the ‘science-bros’, Tony?” 

Tony laughed. “Yeah. Weird, you’re not that gay.” 

Bruce-Loki blushed. “I am... Tony!” 

“Straight as an arrow?” 

“That you’ll have to ask Clint. I’m pretty sure even his arrows are slightly bent after all that usage.” 

“Sure, Harvard.” 

“Any problems, M.I.T.?” 

“Y’ know, reminding me how we should both be smarter than comparing Universities, I’ll kill that conversation right now.” 

“How are the upgrades for the team coming along?” 

“Oh, yeah, made Cap a new suit, don’t think he’ll like it though, Barton and Romanoff will totally love their new stuff, when I give it to them, so zip it.” 

“And for me?” 

“Righty, the stretchy pants are coming along quite nicely. I think I’m going to use a similar material on Loki’s new armour. He doesn’t really like the armour I made.” 

“Diva.” 

“Hey, don’t talk about my husband that way.” 

“You’re a diva too.” 

“Is that a compliment I smell, Banner?” 

“Just acknowledging how you’re both very similar: smart, mischievous, diva...” 

“Incredibly good-looking.” 

“You’re on two very, very different levels of two very different scales.” 

“I’ll have you know; the girls fawn over me.” 

“And the media too, diva.” 

“Please, one smile from Loki and the ladies would all fall unconscious.” 

Bruce-Loki gave Tony a side-eye. “And you’re sure he isn’t using any spells for that?” 

“Zip it Brucie-bear, my Lokes is just that handsome, right Happy?” 

“I’m not getting into this.” 

“Is Loki gorgeous, Happy?”, Tony asked again. 

“Can’t say he isn’t good-looking, boss.” 

“Thank you, see, Brucie-bear, even Happy likes Loki.” 

“Didn’t say I didn’t like him. Just don’t find him handsome enough to make people pass out.” 

“He could summon an army with a smile.” 

“Don’t tell that to Fury.” 

“He could summon an army of lookalikes.” 

“Lookalikes or doubles?” 

“Oh, that would be even better. Now you’re giving me kinky ideas, Brucie-bear.” 

Bruce-Loki rolled his eyes. “You have a very short attention span, Tony.” 

“We’re there, boss.” 

“Already?” 

“Traffic’s faster than in N.Y.C.” 

“Sure is. Wait for us, kay?” 

“That’s my job.” 

Tony and Bruce-Loki got out of the car, quickly disappearing into a discreet house. 

 

“Mister Stark, we didn’t know you were coming.” A dark-haired woman scrambled to her feet. 

“How is she?” 

“She’s having one of her better days, Mister Stark.” 

“Fantastic.” 

“Her niece is with her.” 

“Oh, great, haven’t seen her in a while. Will you tell her, that I’m here?” 

“Certainly.” 

Tony nods for Bruce-Loki to follow them and they walk up some stairs and down a hall into a small apartment. The woman goes into another room and talks for another minute, before coming back and nodding to Tony before she left. 

“Okay, turn back.” 

Loki sighed as he finally took his form again. “It is way more difficult to keep a straight face around you, love, especially when you start talking about me.” 

“Hey, I love you, so of course I will talk about you.” 

Loki smiled, before turning to the opening door. “Tony.” 

“Hey Shar, how is she?” 

The blond lady sighed and smiled at him. “Actually, really good. You haven’t come up with any more bright ideas to fix your godmother like you fix your bots, right?” 

“No.” Tony chuckled. “Loki, love, may I introduce to you, Sharon Carter, my somehow, somewhere, cousin maybe? Shar, this is Loki, my husband.” 

Sharon stared at Loki for a while, before hissing: “You actually married him? Congratulations. I heard a lot of stuff about you, Loki, I’m sure only ten percent is true, but that’s enough to know you make him happy.” 

Relieved Loki smiled at her. “Thank you, Miss. It is an honour to be here. I had believed the only family Tony had left, was the one he made himself, but to know he wasn’t fully alone all those years, that calms my heart a little.” 

“No, he always had us, the Carters, at his back. Not in public, though, with the name. I think Rhodey’s the only one that really knows not just about Aunt Peggy, but me too.” 

“Should we go in?” 

“Yeah.” 

Sharon nodded to the door and Loki nervously slipped his hand into Tony’s as they followed her. 

“Hey, Aunt Peg, look who’s here.” 

An old woman with grey hair smiled at them. “Tony, dear, what guilt brings you this time?” 

Tony laughed and left Loki behind to sit down at her side. “They gotta prove my involvement first, Peggy.” 

Peggy didn’t look at Loki, she looked at Tony, while he babbled about a lot of things he’s done, things he’s worked on. 

“What does she have?”, Loki quietly asked Sharon. 

“Alzheimer’s.” 

“On her worst days?” 

“Back in the forties, crying about Steve.” 

“Rogers? That’s why he doesn’t mention it.” 

“He doesn’t want her to worry. She doesn’t even know that he went missing in 2009.” 

“It’s like he turned ten years younger.” 

“She asks about Obadiah sometimes. Tells him he shouldn’t trust him, that Howard shouldn’t either. Sometimes she thinks they are still alive.” 

“Does she think he’s him?” 

“Not when I’m around, but I’m sure it has happened.” 

They look over to the two and Peggy finally noticed someone new in the room. “Now, who is this lovely lady?” 

“Umm.” 

“Loki, Miss Carter. It is lovely to meet you.” He sat down on the other side of the woman and smiled at her. 

“Are you Tony’s new gal?” 

Loki laughed a little. “You could say that, Miss Carter. I’m married to him.” 

“Tony!”, she slapped the man on the arm, “How could you not tell me?” 

“Surprise?” Loki snickered again, before Peggy turned to him. 

“Where did he pick you up anyhow?” 

“Pick me up? Oh Miss Carter, you’re mistaken, I was not easily convinced.” 

“Were you not?” 

“Oh no, took me three years to finally admit that I loved him and then he was constantly flirting, the charmer, of course I was no easy win.” 

Peggy laughed and took his hand. “Where are you from, sweetheart?” 

“Born or raised?” 

“Raised.” 

“Asgard.” 

“Oh, where’s that?” 

“It’s a whole ‘nother planet, Miss Carter.” 

She looked surprised for a moment and then turned to Tony again. “You finally did it? Space-travel?” 

“He found me.” 

“He? Oh, Loki, I’m so sorry.” 

“It is no trouble, Miss Carter, I don’t mind.” 

“I thought aliens would be more... green or blue or something.” 

Loki laughed a little and looked to Tony. “Shall I?” 

“Course, love. We’re all family here.” 

Swiftly Loki let his guise fall and switched his clothes in the same movement. Peggy’s eyes went wide as she smiled brightly. 

“Beautiful.” 

“Thank you, Miss Carter.” Carefully he looked over to Sharon, who had twitched a little at his transformation. 

“Should we show them the video, Lokes?” 

“Which one?” 

“Both.” 

“Are you sure about the first?”, Loki tried to remind him subtly, as Steve was in it. Tony sighed loudly and looked to Sharon. Peggy seemed irritated. “Alright, dear, let’s watch both. Sharon, why don’t you sit down as well, Miss Carter, would you want to hold my hand? I always get nervous watching it, a strong woman like you will surely help me get through it.” 

Sharon nodded and Peggy grabbed his hand tighter. Tony walked over to the television and inserted something, quickly selecting the first video and laying his arm around Sharon as he sat down. 

 

It opens with Rhodey speaking to the camera: “This is crazy. I almost wasn’t invited. The only time I heard of Loki before yesterday was, maybe three years ago? Loki saved Tony. Nobody knew, except Pepper and me.” 

Pepper laughed a little. “Yes, a month ago Tony and I were still going out. It was okay, wasn’t Loki’s fault. Tony and I had grown apart, I hated how he always risked his life. But Loki was like that too, three years back, he risked his life to keep Tony safe. I should have seen it back then, that they loved each other, I guess I was a bit blind, because Tony flirts with anyone and anything that moves. He’s different now. Not Tony, no, Loki. He was so innocent back then; he’s been through a lot.” 

The screen switched to Happy. “Do they love each other? Are you kidding me? Loki would die for Tony. We talked about that back then, love. He told me he would fight it, the love, he didn’t really fight, not back then, but when he came back, when he realised, he had another chance, man did Loki fight. Tony almost gave up in between there. He fucked up, but Loki did that too. Could’ve seen it coming, they are like... two champions. They both want to be the best, both want their own space, want to show that they are the best. They are a power-couple. If they get along, we can have world-peace, if they don’t, oh man, those weeks Tony was always in a shitty attitude and Loki didn’t want to talk to anyone about it. Was like the cold war.” 

There was a small snippet of Darcy standing next to Jane. “I’m not saying Loki is the better looking Odinson, I mean I haven’t seen his body. Thor, man he has muscles, but Loki, Loki got that face.” Jane turned bright red and groaned a little at Darcy. 

Next up were Natasha and Clint. “Loki makes him better, that’s for sure.” 

“I don’t know if better, Nat, more stable, maybe. Don’t know if Tony makes him better, either, but they’re already like mum and dad, I’d rather have them kissing than fighting. It’s gonna be hella more fun with both of them around.” 

“We’re not here to have fun.” 

“I am.” 

When Bruce and Steve showed up on screen together, Loki got a bit worried. “Y’ know that’s the thing I’m really proud of. Back then, if a guy loved another guy... I’m really happy for them. Should have been legal a lot sooner than it was. Love is love.” 

“Yeah. Tony and Loki are made for each other. Wish I had that. Wish I could have that.” 

“Me too, lost everyone because of the ice.” 

“At least you don’t have to share the body with a green rage monster.” 

“That’s what Stark called the Hulk?” 

“Called him enormous too.” 

“Without the Hulk, this wouldn’t have happened.” 

“Without you, this wouldn’t have happened either.” 

“I only talked to him, answered questions.” 

“The man out of time and the man that was already there when all of us were born.” 

“Guess that’s why I’m walking him down the aisle.” 

The screen went dark. 

 

“Steve?”, Peggy finally whispered. 

“Yeah, Peg, Steve. We found him”, Tony softly said. 

“Is he happy?” 

“I think so. He’s slowly facing the reality.” 

“Why hasn’t he come?” 

“I think he still has to figure out, who he is, has to find a stable life. He’ll come, Peg, I’m sure.” 

“Probably doesn’t want to see me all old and wrinkled.” 

“Well”, Loki said, realising Tony had paused the video, “You’re still a young lady compared to me.” 

“Oh really?” 

“Yes. I’m at least ten times older than you.” 

“Oh my.” Peggy chuckled and then Tony showed the actual video of the wedding. 

Somewhere in there, Peggy started to drift, she chuckled a bit, when Tony showed the video of Runa in Tony’s arms as Loki filmed them, while they walked around the mansion. When she was sleeping, Tony and Sharon talked in hushed voices. 

“Can I put a protection spell on her?”, Loki asked after a while, not to Tony, but to Sharon. 

“Why? Is there danger?” 

“No immediate, I don’t think so. I just wish for her to be protected and in no pain.” 

“Could you repair her...” 

“Her brain? As I have said already, love, I’m no healer. I could maybe stop it from progressing more, if you wish.” 

Tony looked to Sharon and she sighed, before nodding. “Do it.” 

“It will not stop her eventual death though.” 

“I know.” 

Loki sighed again and got up, gathering his Seiðr and then pressing his lips against Peggy’s forehead, the protection wrapping himself around her brain, like Frigga had spelled his womb. He tried, but he wouldn’t really know if it could work, the healing. Brains work in mysterious ways. 

He smiled tired, when he turned around. “I will have to transform back now, dear, we should go.” 

“Thank you, Loki.” 

“Always a pleasure, lovely Sharon.” 

He hugged her and then took Tony’s hand after he had given his goodbye as well and collected his things. In the other room, Loki shifted back into Bruce-Loki and they went downstairs. 

 

“I really need a coffee, Tony.” 

“You good otherwise?” 

“Yeah, just didn’t think we’d be there that long.” 

“We can stop for coffee on the way, Doctor Banner.” 

“Thank you, Mister Hogan.” 

“No problem. I doubt S.H.I.E.L.D. has good coffee.” 

Bruce-Loki leaned back in his seat and watched while Tony tapped away on his phone. “You never stop working, do you, not even for a moment.” 

“You know me, Brucie-bear, always working, never stopping.” 

“J.A.R.V.I.S., how long has Tony slept in the last 48 hours?”, Bruce-Loki asked, guessing that the phone was connected to the A.I. 

“Four hours, Doctor Banner”, chimed the A.I. from the phone. 

“And would you consider the work Tony is doing workshop or lab work?” 

“Yes, Doctor Banner.” 

“Then shouldn’t the same rules apply here as well?” 

“Bruce!”, Tony shouted and then groaned as the screen went dark. 

“I will see you at home, Doctor Banner.” 

“Nice doing business with you, J.A.R.V.I.S.”, Bruce-Loki answered with a grin. 

“I shouldn’t have taken you with me, Bruce.” 

“Well who else is going to keep you in line, Tony?” 

“Happy, I need a big coffee as well, Doctor dad and J.A.R.V.I.S. have an alliance.” 

“Doctor dad?”, Bruce-Loki laughed loudly. 

“Wise-ass.” 

“Oh really?” 

“Mama-bear.” 

“Mister Hogan, do we have the shield: ‘baby on board’ at the back of the car?” 

“I can get one while you’re at the Triskelion.” 

“Happy! Everyone’s against me today.” 

“No, you’re just showing that you’re very much acting like you don’t give a shit, not even about yourself.” 

“But I do.” 

“Then get your shit together and straighten up and grow a fucking backbone, Tony.” 

“You’re not Doctor Banner!”, Happy suddenly shouted and Tony grinned. 

“My, Mister Hogan, what makes you think such dubious things?” 

“Banner would never curse.” 

Bruce-Loki rolled his eyes. “True.” 

“And your sass was showing. Doctor Banner is reserved.” 

“Also, true. I will leave the talking to you then, Tony.” 

“Why are you out here anyway?”, Happy asked. 

“Oh, I just followed him.” 

“You do that often?” 

“Quite, the best adventures come from it.” 

 

“Mister Stark, what a surprise.” 

“Fury, man, how are you?” 

“I’m fine. Why are you here?” 

“Surprise inspection, how are the new carriers coming along?” 

“Slowly. And you, Doctor Banner?” 

“Oh, I made the bad decision of following him onto a plane and am just waiting to go back to my lab.” 

Fury smirked a little. Bruce-Loki stayed focused. “Can I see them?” 

“They are non-functional.” 

“Obviously.” Tony rolled his eyes. “So, can I fix that for you?” 

Fury bit back a groan. “Fine. Follow me.” 

They did. Bruce-Loki was looking interested at all the things going on in the lab. No one batted him an eye. It wasn’t only that Bruce would be interested, hands behind his back, leaning in closely, but not touching. No, Loki loved this as well. To him this was seeing how far technology was, how far science had come since he last took close interest in it. 

“Like what you see Doctor Banner?”, Fury asked next to him. 

“I’m just observing, Director Fury.” 

“Stark got you working on something good back in New York?” 

“If that’s your way of saying, I could do so much better work here, I decline.” Bruce-Loki turned to look over Fury’s shoulder. “He won’t like that Tony is working here as well.” 

“What do you mean?” 

“He doesn’t sleep, they both rarely do. We established house rules. More for Tony. He isn’t supposed to work on anything until he’s slept more.” 

“And you-know-who is going to be pissed?” 

“Worried. Someone has to be awake; they trust J.A.R.V.I.S. but it is very rare that nobody is in the room with her, even when asleep.” 

With a bright grin Tony walked over. “Hey Fury, is Spangles here?” 

“Captain Rogers is probably in the gym around this time.” 

Bruce-Loki sighed, before Tony’s next sentence even came out. “Let’s go, Brucie-bear.” 

Fury looked between them as Tony stalked out. “See what I have to deal with? Good day Director Fury.” 

“Have fun. And get some sleep yourself, Banner, you look exhausted.” 

“Will do.” He sighed again, before walking after Tony, a faster stride to catch up with him. 

“Gym, gym, gym”, singsonged Tony before going over to sing: “When Captain America throws his mighty shield.” 

Bruce-Loki grinned. “All those who oppose his shield must yield”, he sang while they drove the elevator. 

Tony laughed. “Howard hated the series they did. Always put him on a pedestal.” 

“Not a shield?” Bruce-Loki snickered, and Tony laughed loudly, before they captured their faces and stepped off the elevator. Tony jogged to the gym. 

“Stars ‘n stripes!”, Bruce-Loki heard Tony shout and a loud groan came out of the room. Bruce-Loki smiled fondly, when he got to the room. 

“What are you doing here, Stark?” 

“Oh, can’t one see their best friend?” 

“I don’t see Rhodey anywhere around here.” 

“Oh, come on, Cap, you know you missed me.” 

“It’s been what, a month?” 

Bruce-Loki sighed silently. “He was worried, Rogers.” 

Only now, Steve noticed him. “Banner! Sure, you want to be here?” 

“Well, I am. And he is. How are you?” 

Steve rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m good. Training, you know.” 

“New York is so boring without you, Spangles!”, Tony expressed, sounding more and more like a child. 

“He took a vacation day”, Bruce-Loki translated. 

“And Rhodey is way too far away.” 

“And would be immensely worried.” The adverb made Steve’s eye twitch, shit. “I think I’m spending too much time with a certain British guest.” 

That calmed Steve. “How are things in New York?” 

“The weatherman hasn’t said anything about it raining aliens, so...”, Tony said. 

“He is still working on an alarm for any threats and minimizing response-time.” 

“How’s Thor?” 

“Last J told me he went on a non-sobriety trip with Doctor Selvig.” 

“The man is a bad influence”, Bruce-Loki stated. 

“Which one?”, Tony asked with a smirk. 

“Oh no... Either answer would get me hate. Forget I said anything. Are you coping, Rogers?” 

“With what?” 

“You still haven’t used the StarkPhone I gave you, Stevie-boy, I feel insulted.” 

“I’m sure you do.” 

“And now don’t say: “It’s not you, it’s me, please, honey, I can’t go through such heart-break again.” 

Steve stared at Bruce-Loki who contained a grin. “I am not, Stark, are you okay?” 

“Another fan-favourite, come on, Stevie you don’t believe in the secret romance between us or that you came through time, after Howard had rejected you, so the young impressionable star-struck son of his would accept your love?” 

“What? Banner what is he talking about?” 

“Fanfiction. The Avengers have fans and people are making up stories about what went on behind the scenes. You don’t want to look into it, it gets sexual really fast.” 

“People are writing about real people? Things that aren’t real? For fun?” 

“We should keep him away from the internet in its entirety.” 

“What?”, Bruce-Loki asked Tony irritated, “Why would we do that?” 

“Because the internet is for porn!” 

Steve turned blood-red and Bruce-Loki laughed out loudly. “Stark!” 

“Cap.” 

“How can you... Please leave.” 

“It’s a video, Rogers, but you wouldn’t understand the reference.” 

“You really need to do a course on the Internet. Where’s Legolas?” 

Tony grabbed his phone and called Clint; it was loud enough for the others to hear. “What’s going on, Stark?” 

“You gotta teach Cap about the internet, Legolas. I thought that would be his first course when joining you and Widow here, but he can’t even use a phone. I mean, Jane’s teaching Thor how to use a phone and he’s what? Ten times older than our fossil here?” 

“Hey!”, Steve protested. 

“Where are you?”, Clint asked, and Tony grinned at Steve. 

“Triskelion, gym.” 

“Be there in five.” Steve groaned as Clint hung up. 

“At least you get a tutor, Rogers.” 

“But it’s Barton!” 

“Would you rather have it be Nat?” 

“I’d rather have you.” 

Bruce-Loki blushed a little. “Well, come back to New York then, I won’t join S.H.I.E.L.D.” 

“I am needed here.” 

“Then deal with it”, Tony exclaimed, “The spies know their stuff.” 

It did not take long for Clint to get there, but while they expected him to come from the door like a normal person, Clint suddenly fell from the ceiling. 

“How are the vents?”, Tony asked. 

“Excellent training courses.” 

“I can truly see the circus in you.” 

“So, Cap needs to learn how to use a phone.” 

“And the internet, Legolas, but we all know what the internet is for right?” 

“For porn!”, Clint singsonged and Steve groaned. 

“Please, Stark, I will only need to know how to use a phone to call someone.” Steve seemed desperate to get out of the deal. 

“Call? Call?!”, Clint almost shrieked and turned to Tony. “I’m gonna get him to text. Don’t worry, I’m on the case now, what do I get for it?” 

“Better arrows? A new suit? Dibs on the next five movie-nights at the tower?” 

“I’ll take the dibs, the others I will get anyway at some point when you get bored. Nice seeing you, Stark, Bruce, I’ll find you later, Cap.” He jumped up and climbed back into the vents. 

Bruce-Loki snickered and then turned to Tony. “Are we done here? We do have to get back to New York.” 

“Yeah, we’re done. Cap, I expect a call by the end of the week.” 

Steve groaned again. “Fine. Get home safe and greet the others.” 

“Will do.” 

Chapter Text

A week later, Fury came to the tower and he and Loki flew away with the Helicopter. Tony and Loki had finally started getting enough sleep and fell into considerably normal sleeping patterns, every now and then. Steve had started texting. Although every time he ended a text with: ‘Sincerely, Captain Rogers’. At least he was texting. 

On the way to their location, Loki had gotten such a text. 

Steve: ‘Hello Loki, I still plan on coming to the tower this weekend. The run this morning was wet. Could we maybe do a movie-night on the weekend? I always liked them. And if we could stock up on eggs and flour so I could make a cake, that would be great too. Have you made cake before? I will send Tony the ingredients later. Barton said he was coming if there was cake. But only if you make sure that I am not poisoning anyone. Sincerely, Captain Rogers’ 

Loki chuckled a bit as he came to the end of the text. 

Loki: ‘Hey Steve, I'm sure everyone would love the idea of a movie-night. If you send Tony the list, we will get everything so you and I can make a mess of the kitchen. If you can get Nat there, we could make it an Avengers weekend. Loki’ 

He tended to copy Steve’s general writing style, so the Captain did not feel bad for it. Once Tony got a private messenger on his server running, he actually planned on making a group chat and then Steve would probably start adapting to the others. 

“We’re not alone today”, Fury said, as they stepped of the Helicopter, leaving behind their stuff. 

“Really? You found someone you trust?” 

“Yes. Though, you can check yourself.” 

They walked through the door and a black-haired woman turned to them. “Nick, Loki.” 

“Hill. Loki, may I introduce Agent Maria Hill?” 

“I think we met. Or well, physically.” 

She grinned. “You gave me quite a chase.” 

“I hope I left no scars, Agent Hill.” 

“Nothing too hard. So, do I get a test?” 

“This one will be quick, give me a moment.” Loki pulled a spell-book from his dimensional pocket and flipped through it quickly. When he found the right page, he grinned. “There we go.” He showed them both quickly, even though they couldn’t understand a word written on there. “A truth-spell. Putting it on someone would be cruel though, so...” He started throwing things out of his dimensional pocket. When he found a black opal in form of a marble he rejoiced. “Perfect.” He quickly cast the spell before clearing out everything else. “Ask me anything, so we know it works.” 

“What is your name?” 

“Loki Stark.” 

Hill seemed a bit irritated by that. “Not Odinson?” 

“No, I was never Odin’s son.” 

“Alright. Umm, do you want to take over the world?” 

“No. But you should be more specific. The world is up to perspective.” 

“Do you want to take over any world?” 

“No.” 

“How old are you?” 

“In Midgardian years, over a thousand years old, I don’t know the exact year and I most certainly don’t know the date.” 

“When did you first visit Earth?” 

“Oh frick, first time? Around 1200, almost met Genghis Khan. Wouldn’t have been a nice meeting. Mother was angry, said I still was young.” 

“How did you get to Earth?” 

“That time? I found a passing between worlds.” 

“How many kids do you have?” 

“At the moment, alive? Two.” 

“How many kids did you have?” 

“In total? Four.” 

“How did the two die?” 

Loki sighed, before giving it up: “Narfi was killed by Váli, after Odin transformed him into a wolf and Váli was killed by Odin, while I was away.” 

“I think that’s enough”, Fury said, and Loki handed Hill the marble. 

“Okay, Agent Hill, may I call you Agent Hill?” 

“Yes. It’s appropriate.” 

“What is your full name Agent Hill?” 

“Maria Hill.” 

“Really, so short?” 

“Yes.” 

“Is Agent Coulson dead, Agent Hill?” 

“No.” 

“Are you HYDRA, Agent Hill?” 

“No.” She looked a bit irritated to Fury. 

“Do you trust Director Fury?” 

“At the moment, yes.” 

Loki nodded. “Unsurprising. Could you ever find yourself trusting me?” 

“I don’t think so.” 

“That’s good. We met under different circumstances, never give anyone your trust easily.” 

He placed the marble from Hill’s hands into Fury’s. “What, me too?” 

“Yes, you too, Director Fury. What is your full name?” 

“Nicholas Joseph Fury.” 

“Finally, a beautifully long name. Do you trust Agent Hill?” 

“Yes.” 

“Do you trust me?” 

“I trust your word. I don’t trust you as a person.” 

Loki chuckled. “Wise. Are you HYDRA?” 

“Hell no.” 

“How did you lose your eye?”, Hill asked, intrigued. 

“Motherfucker, Agent Hill. I got scratched by a space-cat.” 

Loki and Hill both laughed. “A space-cat?”, Loki asked to confirm. 

“A Flerken.” 

“Oh, such magnificent creatures. Highly toxic.” 

“Learned that the hard way.” 

“A good companion. I think that’s why sometimes Earth is avoided. Years ago, a rumour went around that Earth was overrun by Flerken and humans had adapted with an antitoxin. Some people were even collecting armies of Flerken for their own protection and worshipping them.” 

Loki took the marble from Fury and put it back into his pocket dimension. 

“Now dearests, how about we get this over with, I have a very paranoid husband to return to.” 

“So, you and Stark really are married.” 

“Yes, Agent Hill. I’m Tony’s husband. Sometimes it still surprises me.” 

“So, Loki... Any news on the HYDRA front inside the Avengers?” 

“Bruce is clean.” 

“How do you know?” 

“We exchanged memories. I would not have had to, but the opportunity arose.” 

“Why?” 

“Oh, because I went to D.C. with Tony last week.” Loki grinned. “Your systems really cannot detect my magic. It is fantastic.” 

“You... You were Banner last week.” 

“Yes. Bruce is also helping me with my future problem.” 

“How?” 

“We are exchanging ideas. Getting me a phone was one of the first ones.” 

“So, you found a mind to pick.” 

“Yes. I could not worry Tony with it.” 

“And what about our HYDRA problem?” 

“I cannot worry the Avengers about them, especially not the ones working within S.H.I.E.L.D., we will force their hand one day, but at the moment nobody can know I am working with you and what we discovered.” 

“So, we just wait and see?” 

“HYDRA has to believe they are in control. I’m pretty sure that Tony is not, by the way. I have not checked though.” 

“There was a recording.” 

“There isn’t anymore.” 

“Good.” 

“Will we have any further contact, Director Fury?” 

“Once a month, if possible. Otherwise you can contact Agent Hill.” 

“I am sure it will not be necessary.” 

Fury nodded. “Otherwise everything good? We didn’t talk about you being out of commission for three weeks.” 

“All is... as well as it can be at the moment. Health-issues are being dealt with. Runa is fine, our little one. She brings light to our lives. I am very thankful for her.” 

A smile came upon Fury’s face. “I am glad.” 

 

They talked about a few other issues that were occurring at the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, before Fury eventually brought Loki back to the tower. When they got there, it was eerily quiet and J.A.R.V.I.S. informed them, that Tony had gotten an alarm around half an hour after they left. 

“Shit”, Fury murmured under his breath. 

“J.A.R.V.I.S. how bad is it?”, Loki quickly asked, “And who is in the field?” 

“If I can quote Sir, he said it was ‘just a few bastards that got their hands on alien tech’. Mister Odinson is with him in the field, Doctor Banner has decided to quote ‘sit this one out’ and is on comms from the Stark Mansion. Captain Rogers and Agent Barton are on their way and it seems that Agent Romanoff and Colonel Rhodes are on their own missions at the moment.” 

“Goodbye, Director Fury”, Loki said and nodded to him, “I got this under control. J.A.R.V.I.S. where is Jane?” 

“Jane is at the St...”, suddenly J.A.R.V.I.S. stopped talking. 

“I don’t think you got this under control.” 

“Tell the pilot to go. I hope you have your gun.” 

“Always.” 

“You Americans”, Loki said and shook his head, “I will check in at the Stark Mansion, I will be right back, don’t get killed.” 

Fury nodded, before walking back out. Quickly Loki teleported to the Stark Mansion. 

 

“J.A.R.V.I.S. come back, J.A.R.V.I.S.”, Bruce called out, before noticing Loki. 

“I know this must be a terrible time, but mother, did you cast guards around the mansion?” 

“I will now”, Frigga answered, laying Runa back into her bed. Jane was nervously staring between the three. 

“J.A.R.V.I.S. is down”, Bruce told him, and Loki rolled his eyes. 

“I had not noticed, Doctor.” 

He nodded for him to follow him and they took the elevator to the workshop. He jogged over to the platform, before realising it was also not responding. Quickly he opened the case with his suit and switched his clothes to a tight shirt and leggings, before carrying the armour out. 

“We have to do this manually. Do you have any idea how to do this?” 

“No?!”, Bruce shrieked, and Loki rolled his eyes at him again. 

“Calm yourself, Doctor.” Loki opened a few latches and started grinning. “Can you do this?” 

“Sure can.” 

“Alright. I will check in with the bots and then with Fury, good?” 

“Yeah, yeah, fine.” 

Loki quickly walked around the workshop to find the bots in the corner, nervously beeping. At the sight of him, they quickly rushed forward. 

“Hey you two. Do not worry, we will get J.A.R.V.I.S. back. Can you help Doctor Banner out there to open my suit?” 

DUM-E and U beeped shyly, and Loki petted their ‘heads’. 

“Good. I’ll come back in a moment.” 

Loki took a quick breath and teleported back to the tower. Fury stared at him. 

“Wardrobe change?” 

“J.A.R.V.I.S. is down, there, too. We’re manually opening a suit that Tony has built for me, we won’t have any communication with the team, until we’ve gotten J.A.R.V.I.S. back online. I hope he’s in the suit, otherwise I’ll have a whole other problem. Stay put.” 

 

Without waiting for an answer, he teleported back into the workshop and took his phone out of the pocket dimension and he called Steve. 

“Pick up, pick up, pick up”, he murmured as he ran over to Bruce and the bots. 

“Steve Rogers.” 

“Good. J.A.R.V.I.S. is down, are you okay?” 

“We’re still on the Quinjet, what do you mean J.A.R.V.I.S. is down? We lost contact with the team, but Clint decided to stay on course.” 

“Good. I think the tower could be under attack and truly hope that...” 

‘Loki!’, Tony screamed in his head. 

“Shit. Bruce, take the phone!” He handed the sweating man his phone and teleported away, while catching Tony’s vision. Tony was getting attacked from all sides and Thor was fighting somewhere else. “What a bastard”, Loki said, before throwing away the attackers with just the force of his power, grabbing Tony and teleporting him into the workshop. 

“Loki!” Tony’s breath hitched and Loki knew, he was scared. 

“Right here. Please tell me J.A.R.V.I.S. is still in your suit.” 

Tony shook his head. “Complete blackout.” 

“Fuck!”, Loki shouted and curled his hands through his hair. “Fuck.” 

“I can get him back online”, Tony said, while shakily peeling himself out of his armour. 

“Where?”, Loki asked and pressed his hand against Tony’s forehead, extracting the location from his mind, as he thought of it. “Good. Now strip. Bruce, don’t bother with the suit, please handle Runa.” 

“Will do”, the Doctor called back and handed him back his phone. 

“Rogers?” 

“We’re still on our way there.” 

“Thor will need it, I’m sure he has not even noticed, that I took Tony away. Good luck.” 

“You too.” 

Loki hung up, before cursing again. 

“I must say, it’s a huge turn-on, when you’re freaking out and become commanding, love.” 

Loki rolled his eyes at him. “Get out of your suit, Stark.” 

“Already at it, Stark.” 

Loki grinned at him and helped him peel of the boots. “I left Fury on our roof”, Loki suddenly said and snickered. 

Tony laughed at that. “He’s probably freezing.” 

“It’s March, not January.” 

Tony purred. “I know. What did you do anyway, with your hand?” He pointed to his head. 

“I asked you of a location, you thought of it, I pulled the image from your mind.” 

“Nice.” 

“Actually, not very nice. Step out.” 

Loki took Tony’s hands and helped him out, before teleporting them away, into the server-room in the tower. Quickly Loki laid his hand on top of Tony’s mouth. He had concealed them, as soon as they arrived, but sounds would still travel through the air. He laid his other finger on his own lips and Tony nodded. 

Loki let go of Tony and summoned his blades. Tony sighed a bit and then made a few hand movements, which Loki interpreted as: ‘No killing’. Loki rolled his eyes and let his blades disappear again, before laying his hands at the back of the necks of the two men who were standing guard. He held them for a moment, after they fell unconscious and laid them down softly, before checking the rest of the room and returning after subduing another attacker. 

“How long now?” 

“Give me a moment.” 

“I’ll tie them together on the roof then. Make J.A.R.V.I.S. stay quiet.” 

“Here.” Tony fished out a com and handed it to him. 

Loki smiled a little and put it in his ear. “I’ll be back.” 

“Yeah, yeah, terminator.” 

Loki grabbed the two men and teleported them on the roof. 

 

“Hey Fury. How are you? Got a frostbite yet?” 

“Not yet, who are they?” 

“Guards in the sever room, Tony is getting J.A.R.V.I.S. back online. They are only unconscious. Sadly.” 

“I’ll forget the last comment.” 

Loki handed him a rope. “Please watch them.” 

“Oh, he says please.” 

“Fuck off, Fury.” 

Loki teleported away again and brought the last person, dropping the woman next to the other two. 

“Sadly, I have no chains with me, so you’ll have to make do with rope at the moment.” 

“Is it like, special rope?” 

“Nope. Simple rope, climbers gear, I think. So, good rope.” 

“I thought you Asgardians made everything special.” 

Loki rolled his eyes again and teleported back to Tony. 

“How long?” 

“Damn, Loki, calm down.” 

“I will not, someone has conquered the tower. Our home. Runa could have been here. I was away, you were away.” 

“Hello, Mister Stark”, J.A.R.V.I.S. said in his ear, “I am so sorry for worrying you.” Tony grinned at him. 

“Finally. I will seal this room, so it can only be entered by anyone approved.” 

“Not now, later. Workshop.” 

Loki rolled his eyes and grabbed Tony to bring him to the workshop. “I feel like a taxi.” 

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. J, suit me back up.” Tony opened his arms and the suit flew to him. 

“Please tell me my suit can more than just walk now.” 

“It can fly too.” 

“I’ll take it. J.A.R.V.I.S.?” 

“Step onto the platform, Mister Stark.” Loki quickly stepped forward. What else could go wrong today? “I meant to inform you both that Bruce has transformed into the Hulk outside.” 

“Shit”, Loki murmured. He had not interacted with the Hulk since the battle of New York. “I’ll be right back.” He teleported into the living room. Outside Hulk was throwing things around and Runa was crying. “Here goes nothing.” Loki grabbed Runa from Jane’s helpless arms and rocked her, while walking outside. 

“Puny God”, Hulk said, as he stared at him. Loki felt a shiver run down his back. 

“Hello Hulk.” 

“Where am I?” 

“The Stark Mansion.” 

“Where’s battle? You battle? You don’t look like battle. You look like mother.” 

“This is Runa. Tony’s and my daughter, do you know who Tony is?” 

“Tin man.” 

Loki smiled. “Yes, tin man.” 

“Tin man make tinier tin man?” 

“Yes. Last time we met, Hulk, I was controlled. Someone had taken over my body and made me say things I did not mean and do things I did not want.” 

“Puny Banner trust you. Banner like you and tin man child.” 

“You know things he knows?” 

“Yes. We share, sometime. He not like me much, he wanted to get rid of me.” 

“Are you angry at him?” 

“No. He thought it better, but then was danger. He trust me, I trust him.” 

“Okay. So, we’re good?” 

“Where real battle?” 

“I can bring you there if you’d like.” 

“Yes.” 

“Okay. Runa darling, see, everything’s good now, sweetheart.” He kissed her forehead and brought her back inside to lay her in Jane’s arms. “You’re doing great, Jane.” Then he walked outside and offered Hulk his hand. 

“You better than last time?” 

“I am a little better.” 

“Me hurt you much?” 

“You freed me.” 

“Am glad then.” 

“I am Loki, by the way.” 

“Loki. Hulk like Loki”, Hulk decided, and he took Loki’s hand softly. Loki teleported him to Thor’s battlefield. “Hammer man!”, Hulk shouted, and Thor howled loudly back. Hulk ran to him and Loki sighed a little, before teleporting back into the workshop onto the platform. 

 

“J.A.R.V.I.S., suit me up, please.” 

“You talked to Hulk?”, Tony asked surprised. 

“Yes. He and Banner talk. I brought him to Thor”, Loki answered, as the suit assembled around him. 

“I got scared for a moment there.” 

“Sweetheart, you have no reason to be.” The faceplate fell closed and Loki walked over to Tony. “I really don’t like this suit, but I rather have this armour then none. I hope this works.” He laid his arm around Tony’s waist and pressed him close, before teleporting them into the server room at the tower. 

“You are so sexy right now, Lokes.” 

Loki grinned under his faceplate. In the corner of the HUD, Tony smiled back at him. “Lead the way, Iron Man.” 

“Oh right, what would be your secret identity?” 

“Nothing with iron in it, please.” 

“Well, Rhodey got War Machine. They tried renaming him Iron Patriot, but I refuse.” 

“And this is just a temporary suit, let’s go.” 

“Alright, Boss.” 

Iron Man walked out of the server room, directing J.A.R.V.I.S. to tell them exactly were the attackers are and if anyone was in danger. Apparently, they were still trying to break into the lab, which is always in total lockdown and was withstanding their weaponry pretty well, as it was made to be stable with the frequent occurrence of things blowing up inside. It was even Hulk secure. 

“I don’t think I invited guests. Hello there.” Tony had a smug look on his face as he fired off his repulsors at the tech they were using. Loki teleported behind the men and took off his gauntlet, before subduing them one by one with his grab on their necks. “Man, that was really... Sad, don’t you think?” 

“You did not want me to kill them. Humans have very weak minds.” 

“Hey!” 

“I like a good fight as well, Iron Man, so, I’m pretty bummed out too. Normally in a good fight, one can’t get a hold of the bare neck out people. It takes a bit longer through more layers. And even holding on for three seconds could cost you your life. At least in a good firefight. Now you know why it’s considered cheating as a warrior.” 

“J, inform Fury, that he should get someone to arrest these people and ask what we should do with the tech. I’d prefer to analyse it. But he would probably not like us getting our hands on it.” 

“J.A.R.V.I.S. please tell Director Fury I’d prefer to keep them in-house as well.” 

It was silent for a moment and Loki put the gauntlet back on. 

“Director Fury said you should secure them here.” 

“Nice!” Tony grabbed the tech and took it into the lab, spreading them out in the middle of the room. “Analyse them while we’re taking care of the rest, will you?” 

“Certainly, Sir.” 

Loki looked to Tony. 

“I can’t go into battle”, he said after long silence. 

“Okay. You stay here then.” 

“I can bring you there.” 

“We’ll do that.” 

Iron Man stalked over to him and Loki laid his arms around him. “Ready when you are.” 

Tony smirked. “I still love the suit on you.” 

“I still don’t.” 

“Come on, it ain’t that bad.” 

“I miss my cape.” 

“Aww, boohoo.” 

Loki grunted and teleported them away. “I also miss my face getting hit with air.” 

“You’d be unprotected.” 

“We’ll talk later, go, fight.” 

“Your gorgeous face, Lokes.” 

Loki rolled his eyes as they stepped apart. “Of course, you’d be the one not wanting to share with the world.” 

“Secret identities!”, Tony shouted as he flew away and Loki returned to the tower. 

“Masks”, Loki answered and let J.A.R.V.I.S. disassemble the suit, before switching into a casual suit. 

“Now I feel like I’m fighting with myself”, Tony spoke in his ear. 

“Dear, you always are. J.A.R.V.I.S. do we have handcuffs?” 

A cabinet opened. “Here you go, Mister Stark.” 

Loki grabbed half a dozen handcuffs and walked out of the lab, finally being able to take his time, as he cuffed them and brought them to the roof one by one, before cuffing the other three there and taking away his rope. 

“Crisis averted, how are things going, Director Fury?” 

“They are on their way. But they won’t come by helicopter.” 

Loki groaned. “Cars then?” Fury nodded. “J.A.R.V.I.S. bring up the elevator.” Annoyed, Loki took two at once, dragging them to the elevator only to return to Fury and doing it twice more. He dumped them into the elevator and turned to Fury. “After you, Sir.” 

Fury stepped in and stood at the side of the elevator, right next to the buttons and Loki followed him, before pressing that of the garage. “You don’t like this very much, do you?” 

“Not in the slightest.” 

“Why did you want me to wait on the roof?” 

“They weren’t going to escape from the roof. I did not know if I could bring J.A.R.V.I.S. back online and without him I would have problems with finding them. I could have needed you as back-up, but I’m pretty sure, you would not have wanted me to hurt them either.” 

“Quite the opposite.” 

Loki raised his eyebrows at him. “Care to elaborate?” 

“I would have wanted quick results. If that meant a knife in each of them, sure.” 

A smirk graced Loki’s face. “Can’t believe Tony’s the reasonable today. You would probably hear a lesson about unnecessary injured from Rogers or something.” 

“No, you would, Loki.” 

Loki nodded at that. “True. Nobody would believe I’d actually follow orders, Fury.” 

The doors slid open and Loki shoved the people out, that were all still unconscious. “How long’s the spell?” 

“Fifteen minutes. The first should wake up soon.” 

“Do you use it often?” 

“Aside from battles I find too boring to actually fight in?” 

“Yeah.” 

“No. It is not an equivalent to sleep. Of course, if one’s exhausted and gives into it, it can result in sleep, but usually one is still very aware. Not that they know what’s going on, but that they know, that they are not conscious and know, that they are not sleeping either.” 

“How do you know?” 

“Tried to make myself sleep with it.” 

“Oh.” 

“Also tried it in various bad situations. Like stabbing myself and then using it.” 

“You’re suicidal?” 

“Was. Unlike some other members of the team that pick fights they can barely win, apply to go into war, when they can’t even really run, only to drop themselves onto the first grenade while everybody runs to safety and enter into an experimental procedure that could have easily killed him.” 

Fury bellowed with laughter. “Yep, seems about accurate.” 

“I should start calling him ‘suicidal Steve’, but I don’t think anyone would like that.” 

“Banner did an experimental procedure on himself.” 

“With having been the person that invented it.” 

“Stark made a suit that could have ripped him apart.” 

“Also being the one who invented it and I’m sure he tested every individual movement and had J.A.R.V.I.S. there to help him, if he were to overlook something.” 

“He dove into a wormhole with a nuke.” 

“After you could not prevent it being sent.” 

“There was no good outcome with it.” 

“Yet he would have been hailed a hero, whether he made it back or not. Rogers would have been called a stupid kid, if he would have not made it out alive. Or an untrained soldier, if he would not have survived while rescuing the soldiers.” 

“You really don’t like him much, do you?” 

“Oh, is that how I make it seem?” 

“Yes.” 

“I will constantly worry about the mental health of any and all of my comrades. I might not always look like I care, but I do.” 

Before them two men in the circle they’d created, started stirring. 

“Hello there, sweethearts. Got anything to say?”, Loki asked while laying his hands on his back, curling his left hand around his right wrist. One of the men spat at him. “How intriguing. You got this?” 

“Yeah. You go back up.” 

A little nervous, Loki called the elevator and stepped inside. When the elevator was closed, Loki teleported into the server room and started sealing it. Tony would take care of the online side later on. 

“J.A.R.V.I.S., honey, do we know how they overpowered you?” 

“They used back-up protocols and stairways I have no eyes in.” 

“Who knows of those protocols?” 

“Employees. But they were not in my database of any of those.” 

“So, they got their information from any of them. Fuck.” 

“I will recommend consequences to Sir, when he is back. For now, I advise not letting any employees on the upper levels and creating access card for level access that only activate with a retinal scan or a fingerprint.” 

“Both of that could easily be defeated by me, I would pick those as back-ups, but the stride of a person should be the identifiable test.” 

“Thank you for your input, Master Stark.” 

“Master?”, Loki asked and gave a small chuckle, before finally getting up from the ground, “I am honoured, J.A.R.V.I.S.” 

“It is only fitting. Without your help today, I would have been helpless. DUM-E and U were very glad that they could be of help, they were pretty scared when I disconnected.” 

“Is there still something I can do for you, J.A.R.V.I.S.?” 

“It appears that Harley Keener is slightly worried. He was unable to connect to our servers while I was affected.” 

“Right.” Loki closed all doors of the server room before teleporting into the lab. “Connect me to him, will you?” 

Loki knelt and studied the machines the people had used. 

“Mechanic?” 

“Hello Junior-Mechanic. Did we have you worried?” 

“Trickster. Yeah, what were y’all doin’?” 

“Well, Avengers mission and someone broke into the tower.” 

“Oh shit, y’all need my help?” 

Loki laughed. “J-M, you got bullies to take care of and have to protect your sister.” 

“But if I’m needed, you’ll get me, right? I’ll learn to fight. And I’ll protect Runa. You can go out fightin’ and I’ll protect her, I swear, I’ll protect her good.” 

“I believe you.” 

“So, anythin’ I can do from here?” 

“Stay safe, text when you get into trouble, stay in school and show them all how great an honorary Stark can be.” 

“Man, you want me to be a valedictorian?” 

Loki chuckled. “I never said you’d have to be nice. And I did not say ‘if you get in trouble’, I said ‘when’, so deal with it.” 

“I wish the Mechanic would let me make my own suit.” 

“First of all, those are way too dangerous, youngling, second, I am sure he doesn’t want to have to adjust it every time you hit another growth spurt.” 

“Oh, come on, darlin’, if I can use a flash grenade, I can use repulsors!” 

“Then build them yourself, without any help from J.A.R.V.I.S.” 

“I’ll figure it out, I tell ya.” And with that, Harley hung up. 

Loki snickered. “J.A.R.V.I.S., make sure he doesn’t blow his garage up. And don’t give him any ideas.” 

“Will do, Master Stark.” 

“Any idea what these are?” Loki pointed to the three weapons on the ground. 

“It seems to be some kind of alien technology combined with the technology on earth.” 

“From the New York attack?” 

“Yes. A lot of stuff went missing after the attack, before the government clean-up crew could get to it, at least, it is believed so. There are no actual statistics on how many ships and creatures there should have been.” 

“All in all, it was kind of a mess.” 

“Yes. Agent Barton is still missing some of his arrows, it is believed people took them home to possibly sell them for a lot of money or as collectibles. Tony has a tracker on the online market for any suspicious dealings.” 

“Of course, he has.” Loki knelt down next to the devices and carefully laid his hand on the violet device. It was hot, unbearably hot. He flinched back and hissed. Quickly he used his Seiðr to analyse it. Pure power. “Oh shit. J.A.R.V.I.S. please tell me this has already been documented.” 

“The United States Department of Damage Control has not shared their outcomes of potential tests; they mainly just store anything that is not from Earth.” 

“The what now?” 

“The D.O.D.C. was originally a S.H.I.E.L.D. organisation and is now in the hands of Stark Industries and the United States Government.” 

“And they just store that stuff somewhere?” 

“Yes. Is anything the matter Master Stark?” 

“These... devices, weapons, whatever, are powered by the cores of Chitauri vessels. They are also highly unstable, at least I believe so.” 

“Putting them in containment now.” The ground under the devices shifted and Loki noticed it was made out of multiple layers and J.A.R.V.I.S. planned on dropping them onto a different layer to contain them. 

“No!”, Loki screamed and rushed forward, but one of the devices was already dropping. 

Chapter Text

Loki coughed as he stepped out into the garage. Grunting he put out little violet fires on his suit. “Man, I liked this one, J.A.R.V.I.S., how’s it looking?” 

“The explosion seems to have been contained in the lab, Master Stark. I am very sorry”, J.A.R.V.I.S. answered in his ear. 

“Don’t worry about it. It’s a bit harder to kill me.” He grinned as Fury eyed him curiously. “Oh, one of the weapons exploded. Highly unstable, guys!”, he shouted the last part towards the van. “J.A.R.V.I.S. would you please tell the team about the cores?” 

“Will do, Master Stark.” 

“You okay, Loki?”, Fury asked. Loki smiled brightly. 

“Oh sure. Not my first rodeo getting almost blown up. I should go and put out the fire. And then I’ll take a long bath.” 

“You go do that.” Loki stepped into the elevator again and actually rode it this time. 

“Master Stark, I am patching you in with the Avengers.” 

“Sure, sure, whatever.” 

“Lokes?! Did you seriously blow up the lab in the barely five minutes I was gone?” 

“Technically J.A.R.V.I.S. did, I had nothing to do with the explosion.” 

“Brother, will you come and battle with us now?” 

“I have to put out a possible fire first.” 

“And you won’t come here, Lokes!” 

“As if I haven’t been there three times today. Don’t touch the violet energy core, though, guys. Not nice results, especially to the non-enhanced.” 

“But I love violet!”, Clint cried, and Loki laughed loudly, while walking down the hall and grabbing a fire extinguisher. 

“Barton your next line of arrows will be violet, happy?”, asked Tony. 

“Yeah. So how about we watch Lion King this weekend?” 

“Hawkeye, we’re right in the middle of a mission”, reminded Steve. 

“What is this King of the Lions? I would like to see it as well.” 

“And we will, cause I got dibs, remember, Stark?” 

“Yeah, we remember”, Loki answered and opened the door of the lab. 

“Okay, so Lion King this weekend, gotta plan this out right. Maybe Titanic once.” 

“Because you’re a sap?”, Tony asked back, while Loki put out little violet fires, while silently cursing. 

“Guys, head in the game, Tony, on your six.” 

“Oh, you mean that guy, Cap?” 

“Yeah, I meant that guy. Less talking, more fighting, take an example from Hulk over there.” 

It was quiet on the comms for a while and Loki noted that the other devices had blown up as well. 

“J.A.R.V.I.S., assessment please.” 

“It seems we were lucky to have put the devices inside the lab, which is able to withstand the Hulk. Otherwise it would have went horribly wrong, cutting through walls like it was paper.” 

“Oh, nice.” 

“That is not nice, Loki”, Steve reminded over the comms. 

“Fascinating? Tony, love, you should probably not get anywhere near such a blast, it fucked up the suit you gave me.” 

“That’s a different material.” 

“Could you just be careful?” 

“I’m always, fuck!” 

Loki rolled his eyes. “Yeah. Exactly. And brother dear, please no lightning against the weapons.” 

“We have already seen the results of that, it was quite exhilarating.” 

“You dumbasses. Tony, get the D.O.D.C. for clean-up, please and inform them that they are highly unstable. If they don’t want to take them, it would be better if Thor blew them up in a controlled space.” 

“But, my weapons.” 

“They are not yours, love. Trust me, please.” 

“I always do.” 

“Alright, what to do now?”, Loki murmured, more to himself than anyone else and started to clean the lab, throwing everything that was severely damaged onto a pile in the middle of the room. “Hey, Tony, how do you feel about incinerating stuff later?” 

“Not very good for the environment, but extremely fun otherwise.” 

“Alrighty then, J.A.R.V.I.S. you’ll inform me when I’m needed, yes?” 

“Yes, Master Stark.” 

“Hear and maybe see y’all later then.” Swiftly Loki stepped from the middle of the lab into the bedroom at the mansion and took out the comm, laying it on the nightstand. “J.A.R.V.I.S. could you kindly let in a bath, maybe a little hotter than usually?” 

“Will do, Master Stark.” 

 

Loki sighed a little, before stepping into the bathroom, watching the tub fill up and adding some bath oils. Then he stared at himself in the mirror. He looked slightly ashy at the moment, and a little like a homeless guy, because of the ruined clothing, that he slowly took off and neatly laid on a stool. His hair had grown longer in the little more than two months he had been back on Earth, but it was not even as long as it had been at Thor’s coronation. 

Hard to believe it would be three years in June. That also meant he knew Tony now for more than four years. A small smile formed on his lips at the thought. Sometimes he wanted to flirt like they did back then, but he felt not as pure as back then, although, he had never been pure, had he? Four years ago, he had been child-like himself, even though he was already a grown man. He knew that some would say that comparing their different life-expectancy, Loki and Thor would compare to a young adult of maybe seventeen or eighteen years. To Thor and him though, it did not really matter that much. Comparing lifespans was a silly thing to do, when they varied greatly. 

Loki hissed a little as he stepped into the bath, but quickly adapted to the heat. He laid in the bath for a few minutes, even closing his eyes and starting to relax, before he cleaned himself carefully from head to toe and softly shampooing his hair. He stirred in the water for another couple minutes, before getting out and drying himself off, before getting out of the bathroom and dressing himself in the walk-in closet. 

 

“J.A.R.V.I.S.? How is the team?” 

“They are on their way back to the tower.” 

“Any of them hurt?” 

“Not to a meaningful extent.” 

Loki raised an eyebrow at the nearest camera and then walked downstairs, where Jane was getting done with feeding Runa. 

“How are you?” 

“Me?” Jane laughed a bit and Loki nodded towards her. “Oh, I’m... fine. Didn’t hear you come back.” 

Runa stopped drinking and started grabbing upwards. Loki stepped nearer and offered his arms for Jane to put Runa in. With a slightly exhausted sigh, Jane gave Runa up and put the bottle away. Loki smiled down at Runa who gurgled and grabbed the hand Loki laid on top of her. “Hello dear. Have you been taking all your naps?” He stroked her tummy a little, before looking up to Jane. “I had to take a bath before coming down. Where’s Frigga?” 

“She’s standing guard at the front door. Why’d you need to take a bath?” 

“Oh, something exploded in Tony’s lab”, Loki answered, cooing at Runa again and pressing a soft kiss on her blue head. “So, Mama had to get cleaned up, right, little one? Don’t want to smell bad, when your sweet little head is looking at me, yes?” Runa gurgled. 

“An explosion?” 

“Yes. But I teleported out in time.” 

“Holy... Should I be concerned?” 

Loki chuckled slightly, which made Runa smile up at him. “No need, nobody was hurt. And the team is on their way back.” 

“Good.” Jane sounded exhausted and Loki stepped at her side to softly press a kiss against her temple. 

“Go to sleep, Jane, I know it’s not even six, but you are done for the day.” 

Jane sighed again and then nodded. “Thanks. Wouldn’t know how much longer I could handle.” She walked off with a yawn hidden behind her wrist. 

Loki walked into the baby room and put Runa in a sling to carry her at his front, carefully making sure her head was supported. Then he stepped outside, laying his arm on Frigga’s shoulder. “Your watch is over, thank you, mother.” 

“My child, my watch is never over.” 

“We have dealt with the issue, you can return home, you will not need to worry. Heimdall will have an eye on us, and you surely will as well, but a king without his queen will not be seen as a steady reign.” 

Frigga softly kissed her youngest on each cheek, before placing a kiss on her grandchild as well. “I shall return then. Good luck, dear.” 

They pressed their heads together and parted thereafter. Loki walked back inside, softly running a hand down Runa’s back. 

“Master Stark? Colonel Rhodes seems to be on his way towards the tower. Apparently, there is a picture circling online, where the explosion inside the lab could be seen as a bright violet light.” 

“Alright, when will he arrive?” 

“I would estimate a minute, the team is still fifteen minutes out. Their take-off took longer because of Doctor Banner’s transformation.” 

“Please ask the team, if they want a bath or something to eat when they get back and inform Doctor Banner, I will bring a change of clothes to the tower.” 

“Will do. Anything else?” 

“Make sure Jane is protected while we are at the tower.” 

 

He quickly walked into Bruce’s room, disregarding the things that were laying around and picked out a pair of sweatpants and other light clothing, before teleporting into the common room of the tower and laying it down, smiling down at Runa as she seemed excited from traveling like this. Then he went up to the balcony where he saw War-Machine setting down and Rhodey stepping out. 

“Where’s that idiot?”, he asked towards Loki, who raised his eyebrows. 

“I have no idea who you could be talking about, Rhodey.” 

“Blowing up his lab, again? Did he get hurt?” 

“He did no such thing, Colonel, he was not even near the tower at the time of the explosion.” 

“But there was one, right? Twitter wasn’t lying then. That bastard, when I get him.” 

Loki chuckled a bit. “The only person that was inside the lab was me, Colonel.” 

The dark-skinned man went pale and his expression went first to blank and then to worried. “Are you... are you okay?” 

“I teleported away, Rhodey. I have survived for centuries; an unstable core can’t kill me that easily.” 

Rhodey sighed and then hugged Loki. “Sorry man, just... Tony used to pull things like that at M.I.T., did that even after he met you, dumb stuff, unnecessary risks.” 

“And I will always safe him, if something like that should happen. I am delighted that you are concerned for him, yet Tony is his own man and probably does not need a reminder that you thought that everything that explodes in his premises is ultimately his fault. Now, would you like a shower and something to eat?” 

Rhodey sighed loudly and petted Runa’s head. “Food, definitely. J, I’ll take a bacon and cheese wrap.” 

“I’ll add it to the list, Colonel. Anything for you, Master Stark?” 

Rhodey raised both eyebrows at the comment. “I’ll umm, take a pizza, triple cheese with ham, champignons and pepper.” 

“It’s added. The team is ten minutes out.” 

“Thank you, J.A.R.V.I.S.” 

“Always a pleasure, Master Stark.” 

Rhodey looked at Loki questioning again, before finally speaking out: “What the hell did you do to J.A.R.V.I.S.?” 

“He was shut down, I brought Tony to him, honestly, it surprised me, too. I feel unworthy of such title.” 

“And Prince suits you or what?”, Rhodey joked and Loki smiled back at him, caressing Runa’s sleepy back. 

“I was never really a prince. Yes, I stood next to the royal family, but everybody treated me like I was second rate. They didn’t respect me and in the brief time I had to rule Asgard, none ever treated me like the king I was. Yet I  am  a prince of  Asgard,  and I  am  the rightful ruler of Jotunheim.” 

“And that means a lot to you?” 

“It is important to describe me as a person. It is important enough to mention. It is also important to mention, that I am a mother to Runa, a husband to Tony, a brother to Thor and a son to Frigga. I am Loki Stark, mother, father, husband, son, brother, prince and king, honestly why would I not be ‘Master Stark’, it only adds to the titles I already wear.” 

“You’re just Loki.” 

“Yes. Honestly, I am only that. The trickster god, Loki. But that’s a title again, isn’t it?” 

“It is.” Rhodey laid his arm around Loki’s shoulder and looked down at Runa. “How is she?” 

“She should be sleeping in about an hour, Jane’s exhausted, I sent her to bed. She’s lovely like this, don’t you think?” 

“Yeah, she is. She’ll be crying and fighting soon enough.” 

“Oh, latter especially, she is our daughter, remember? Tony started to build at what, a few months? Well, I only hope she doesn’t start copying my teleportation or spells. Telekinesis would be interesting. Specifically, when she won’t get everything she wants. Oh, she will be so demanding, once she realises that she can just force people to do it. On the other hand, though, she’ll probably develop trust issues, not knowing they love her truly or are just pretending because she is powerful.” 

“And now you’re worrying.” 

“Yes. She is the reason I wish to live at the moment. I don’t want anything bad to happen to her. Gosh, if she were to die...” 

“Loki... Do you need to sit down? You don’t look too good.” 

Loki hadn’t even noticed how sweat had started to gather on his forehead. His breath started to go quicker, and Runa had begun to cry. “Y-yes.” 

Rhodey laid one hand on his back and pushed him into the direction of the couch, before laying his other hand on Loki’s hand, that was on Runa’s back. Loki was shaking a little and his breath was stuttering, as Rhodey tried to direct him to better breathing patterns. 

 

Loki didn’t even notice when the Quinjet landed, Rhodey did though and Tony started running towards them, when he noticed what was happening. 

“Lokes! Lokes? Everything’s okay, Loki-love.” 

Loki’s eyes were sorrowful, when they found Tony. “Tony? Tones?” He gathered a small smile and closed his eyes, as Tony pressed his lips on Loki’s forehead, before carefully pulling Loki and Runa down to the ground and sitting on his knees in front of them. 

“Breathe with me, gorgeous.” 

Loki opened his eyes as Tony cupped his face. Tony breathed slowly but surely, and Loki’s eyes fluttered around, seeing Steve lead Bruce away and Clint trying to pull at Thor’s arm, who was staring right at him, in full-on battle-mode, willing to squash anyone who meant him harm. Rhodey still had his hand on Loki’s back, saying something to Steve, who just nodded. 

“Hey-hey-hey, focus on me, Lokes, otherwise I might think you like one of them more than me.” 

Loki chuckled at that, it sounded broken, and followed Tony’s breathing exercise, feeling Runa calm down with him. When he calmed enough, he laid his arms around Runa and started to mumble in a soft voice. 

“Everything’s alright, little one, Daddy said everything would be alright and here we are, and everything will be alright.” 

“Yeah, baby-girl, you and Mama and Papa will all be alright, at the end of the day, everything will be alright. We’ll cuddle in bed and kiss and hold each other.” 

Runa still fuzzed a little and Loki softly kissed her and washed her tears away. “I am so sorry, dear.” 

“We’re okay, love. Did you change? You smell...” Tony sniffed at Loki’s hair. “You smell clean. Utterly clean, did you shower?” 

Loki chuckled. “Bathe actually. I had to teleport out of an explosion.” 

“You were in the... Loki, you could have... Lokes.” 

Loki softly kissed him. “It is all fine, sweetheart, I was not hurt. But I smelled like I had been covered in a carcass.” 

“Where is mother?”, Thor suddenly asked. Apparently, Clint had given up on pulling him out of the room and left by himself. 

“I asked her to go back to Asgard. The kingdom needs her more than I, we, do.” 

“Then who will protect your child?” 

Loki looked at Thor accusing. “I will. Tony will, Bruce will, hell, even Harley offered.” 

“And what if you all have to fight, where is this Harley then?” 

“If something like this happens again and I am needed, while Tony is fighting, too, Bruce will help. Or Jane, she wanted lessons in self-protection anyways.” 

“And what if Bruce transforms? You will not seriously leave her in the hands of a feeble woman, will you?” 

Loki breathed heavily and looked to Tony. “Would you take Runa for a moment?” 

Tony nodded an held his hands out and Loki gave him the sling, before getting up and stepping in front of Thor, pushing him a few steps back to the window, before stopping. “Feeble woman you say?”, he asked slow and loud. “Feeble woman? A lady who cannot fight her own fights? Thor, are you serious right now?” 

“I did not say anything about her mind, she has a very beautiful mind.” 

“Would you say that about Anthony? About Bruce? About me?” 

“You have years of fighting experience, she has none.” 

“But she is willing to learn.” 

“But she will never be...” 

“Because she’s a woman?!”, Loki screamed at him, transforming into his female form. “Am I now, in this form no more the warrior I had been before? Am I now still your brother and not your sister?” 

“You will always be my brother.” 

“Yet I am your sister; I am a mother; I am a lady; I am a woman. I might be a man as well, when I wear my other guise, yet in this form I am not that, do you understand? A woman who is willing to learn is more worthy than a man, who is not. Her heart could be made of gold, for all the shit she has to put up with. She cares for Runa, as much, if not more than anyone on this team and she would not tire to make sure she is safe and alright. Even J.A.R.V.I.S. has a bigger heart than you, brother, and he does not physically have one. He would not differentiate between Jane or Harley or Bruce as the person who was protecting  Runa. He would care that she is protected, that she is cared for. You are a disgrace, brother.” 

“Brother...” Thor tried to argue, but Loki snarled at him. 

“I wish for you to leave. Heimdall will inform you, if you’re needed, I would guess.” Loki turned on her heel and was met with shocked looks from both Rhodey and Tony. Quickly she walked to them, with a concerned look on her face. 

“Wow”, Tony whispered, “I love you so much right now.” 

Behind herself Loki heard a groan and Rhodey’s eye twitched a little, as if waiting for something. That something came, when they heard the boom of the opening of the Bifrost on the roof. “Is this okay?”, Loki shyly asked. 

“Of course, sweetheart, getting a husband and a wife, all at the same time in a monogamous relationship?” 

Loki teared up and Tony quickly kissed her on the cheek, before putting the sling around Loki’s body again. “Thank you.” 

“Any time. Just gotta ask, are you always a woman? Do you wanna be addressed as one?” 

“Normally... Normally I wouldn’t shift to prove a point. Actually, right now, I feel more like a man, but if you don’t mind...” 

“Of course, I don’t mind. Love you in all forms, blue, white, man, woman, whatever else you come up with. As long as you’re still you... Not like when you’re Bruce, y’ know?” 

“Okay.” Loki sighed deeply. “And yes, if I shift into a woman, I would love getting addressed as one, I know he and she might not come naturally, but husband and wife, you know? Brother and sister, that matters.” 

Tony kissed her softly. “Okay. Now, you said you felt more like a man...” 

Loki nodded and shifted back into her male form. “You won’t hate me for that?” 

“I could never hate you. Especially not for being yourself and comfortable in your body.” 

“You know, Loki, the only one you’re really gonna shock with that, is probably Cap. But he’ll try to hide it and secretly fight in his head, till Clint or Nat or anyone really, gets to explain it to him.” 

Loki laughed at Rhodey’s comment. “Yeah, he probably will. Tony, you should shower. Rhodey and I will set up everything on the common floor for our meals.” 

“Okay then.” Tony kissed Loki’s cheek again and jogged off. 

“You good?”, asked Rhodey, as they walked to the elevator. Loki took a heavy breath. 

“I knew he wouldn’t be able to get behind the idea, Rhodey. I knew it and yet... I had hoped, that he understood, at least a little.” They stepped into the elevator and J.A.R.V.I.S. sent them on their way to the common floor. Runa seemed a bit agitated on the ride. 

“A thousand years of ‘brother Loki’ is probably hard to break.” 

“Sometimes I truly believe that he is the dumb oaf, I always make him out to be, when I talk about him. That he had not the same education as me, that we did not start out the same, that he was not as modern thinking as mother schooled us.” 

“He’ll come around. Hopefully.” 

They stepped out on the common floor and Loki nodded absently, before smiling at Steve, who was already setting the table, having obviously quickly changed. Loki laid his hand on Runa’s back again. She seemed exhausted and needed a diaper-change. 

“I will bring Runa to the mansion and come back once she’s fallen asleep, alright?” 

“Take your time”, Rhodey said and patted him on the shoulder. Steve nodded, before jogging over and giving Runa a kiss, that made both Loki and Rhodey chuckle. 

“Sleep tight, little Avenger.” 

“Thank you, Steve.” Steve grinned and Loki took a step away from them, before teleporting into the baby room. 

 

Swiftly he changed Runa and rocked her, while softly singing an Asgardian lullaby. She fussed for a little while longer, before giving in and Loki almost fell asleep as well, the exhaustion of the afternoon making itself more known. He laid her in her bed and waited for a couple minutes to make sure she would not wake again. When he was sure that she was fine, he stepped out of the room. 

“J.A.R.V.I.S.?”, he softly spoke after closing the door, “Please keep an eye on Runa and inform us, if she seems to wake again.” 

“Will do, Master Stark.” 

“If Jane is already up and about, you can inform her as well, but if she still needs sleep, please let her sleep.” 

“Certainly.” 

Loki teleported back into the common room, where everyone had already gathered around the table, Bruce, as always, the quietest. He quickly sat on the chair between him and Tony, where his pizza box already stood. 

“You spoke to the Hulk?”, Bruce asked quietly, while everybody just glanced and nodded with a smile or two on their respective faces, as Loki sat down. 

“Yes. He tells me you share.” 

“And he did not try anything?” 

“He seems more like a big man, who cares a lot. He recognised me and I told him what had happened, when I was in New York. I also told him, that he brought my mind back. He seemed quite content about that.” 

“Really?” 

“Yeah. I think he knows you don’t want anyone to get hurt and he’ll protect anyone, that you would want to as well.” 

“That actually somehow makes sense.” 

Loki smiled at him and opened his pizza-box, to find one of the eight pieces already missing. “Clint?” He shot a knowing look to the man, who had already eaten his food. 

“I knew he could tell; I knew.” Clint said, sounding happy with himself. 

“Nobody else would”, Tony answered, and Loki nodded before taking a piece. 

“That really should eradicate your dibs.” 

“How do you know about that anyway?”, Steve asked, a bit suspicious. 

“He was me last week”, Bruce answered, while Loki quickly devoured his piece, desperate for more. 

“He was... as you mean, in the time you and Tony came to the Triskelion?”, asked Clint. 

Rhodey laughed. “Typical Stark move.” 

“Which one?”, Tony asked back. 

“Both.” Rhodey grinned at his best friend. 

Loki spoke after his second piece: “Fury knows now, anyway, so you don’t have to worry about keeping anything from him.” 

“But you walked into the Triskelion, looking like Bruce and nobody noticed at the time?” 

“You almost did, Cap. It was quite exciting, especially, knowing I could be surrounded in seconds.” 

“And risking... I’ll never understand this generation.” 

Loki laughed a little. “I am not this generation, Steve. I’m pretty sure that Clint isn’t either. The other three however... You can’t identify someone by their generation.” 

“I mean, I feel much older than all of you.” 

“Steve, you are what... 29 years now? 28? Maybe? In total? You’re probably the youngest at the table.” 

“I am 94.” 

“And you stopped aging in the ice, from what, early 1945 to late 2011? That’s 66 years, man, 66 and a half. That's more than two thirds of your supposed age. I say 28. You’re 28 years old, you would have turned 27 in 1945, but instead, you did in 2012, but with the whole, not waking up on the same day as you went into the ice, your ‘aging up’ shifted to, maybe beginning of March, so you already kind of had your birthday this year and are 28.” 

Everybody stared at Loki, who just bit into his next pizza piece. 

“Fine”, Steve said after a while, “But we’re not gonna start celebrating my fake birthday and my mental age.” 

“Good. That would make things a whole lot more confusing, to be honest, and I’d have to make actual calculations with figuring out, when your body actually stopped aging and started aging again. Also, happy belated aging-up day, or something.” 

Loki grinned at Steve and everyone started laughing. Somehow, with everything that made Loki happy. This was his family, every single one of them. With a soft smile Loki took Tony’s hand and kissed it. 

“I love you”, he spoke quietly, and Tony smiled at him. 

“Eternally.” Loki smiled brightly at that and bit down into his pizza-piece, while the discussions started on again. 

Chapter Text

With a snicker, Tony let himself be led through the house by Loki, with a blindfold over his eyes. “Y’ know, Loki, I’m actually kinda happy that Thor’s back on Asgard. Bruce did not really feel all that well, I could tell. He and Jane hit it off, y’ know and Thor he was constantly butting in.” 

“Oh, I know, darling. They had this sweet friendship going and Thor thought him to be a rival.” Loki teleported them back into the main area of the house and started another path. 

“It feels like we’ve been walking forever, where the hell are we?” 

Loki grinned and softly kissed his neck. “Just trust me, love.” 

“I always do, but this whole, not being able to see a thing...” 

“Bruce and Jane are taking care of Runa for the whole day, while they work. Pepper and Happy have been invited too, Rhodey wanted to come, but work held him back.” 

“Oh, and what are we doing today? I’m pretty sure we can come up with a lot.” 

“Oh, we could, darling.” 

Loki led him to an already opened door. He had made sure, that J.A.R.V.I.S. would keep quiet about what he was planning. The room was laid out with several soft mattresses, cushions and blankets, while being on the top level of the mansion and in doing so having a wonderful view of the garden. 

Softly he kissed Tony behind his ears, before removing the blindfold and putting it aside. Tony stared at the room for a moment, before stepping out of his slippers and into the room. Loki followed his lead, closing the door behind them, waiting nervously for his reaction. 

“I could fall asleep here”, Tony whispered and shook a little as Loki wrapped his arms around him and leaned onto his back. 

“I had hoped we could have a room to calm ourselves, to be together in a sense more than work, more than making love.” 

“I love the, the whole seeing the garden thing... gives a sense of security, that we’re not missing out, that we’re not cut off, but just in the background.” 

“I asked J.A.R.V.I.S. to give us privacy in here, to only alert us to emergencies.” 

“Love that, too.” Tony turned around to Loki and they kissed softly, slowly, carefully. Not with any want or any lust, just with the love. When they parted, Tony laid his head down onto Loki’s chest. “A calm room, I didn’t even know how much I needed that.” 

“There are sweatpants in the chest over there, if you feel your pants are too hard.” 

“Oh, yes, please.” Tony stumbled over the room to the chest and swiftly changed into sweatpants and a hoodie. Loki was already wearing a long shirt, that could count as a dress and leggings. He made himself comfortable near a window and looked outside. 

They were pretty much alone out here, there was even a small landing strip nearby for a Quinjet or a helicopter, if any of the two ever needed to land here. Loki loved the garden. It centred around a beautifully designed fountain and was a bit further from the ‘fun’ part of the garden, where a pool and a pavilion resided. A cover could be spread from the patio to the pavilion that would cover the entire pool. 

Loki chuckled slightly as Tony laid down next to him and snuggled close. “This was an awesome present, thank you, Lokes.” 

Loki pulled Tony close. “I’m glad you like it.” 

“So, you wanna talk or just cuddle?” 

“Up to you.” Loki smiled softly at him. 

“So, is this a date?” Tony curled up at his side and Loki wrapped a blanket around them. 

“I hope so.” 

“Is this our first date?” 

“Could be.” 

Tony snickered into Loki’s side. “I married you, before we even went on a proper date.” 

“I just hope dating me, won’t make you dislike me.” 

“You know, I could never do that.” 

“I should have brought you flowers.” 

“I love this a lot more than flowers.” 

“I should have wooed you”, Loki hushed, before kissing Tony’s face softly. 

“You wanna do that now?” 

“Can’t go out and bring you flowers home.” 

“If I would, that would totally land in the tabloids.” 

They both snickered. “You know what, Tony, on some days I wouldn’t mind landing in the tabloids. I want to show the whole world how much I love you. On others I know it’s too risky.” 

“I’d love to show you off, but let’s wait with that till Runa is out of her diapers, good?” 

“Very good”, Loki whispered into Tony’s ear. 

 

They held each other close for a while, Tony sometimes pressing a kiss to Loki’s nearest body parts and Loki humming contently when that happened. After a while, Loki softly began to sing Asgardian songs and Tony pulled him closer. 

“Are those love-songs?”, he asked, when Loki was finished with another one. 

“Some. Others are lullabies. I don’t know many others.” 

“Do you sing that to Runa?” 

“The lullabies, yes.” 

“And the love songs?” 

“Tried it once or twice with other people, sang some to Sigyn, especially when she was pregnant.” 

“You were a great husband to her, I’m sure.” 

Loki teared up a little. “Thank you...” 

Tony pressed his lips on Loki’s high cheekbones. “I know you were. She would be so proud of you.” 

“She would be, yes. And she would have loved to get to know you as well.” 

“She wouldn’t have liked me.” 

“No, she would have. She would have said, that you’d be perfect for me. Biggest reason being, you make me happy.” 

“Really?” 

“Really. You do. Watching you work, watching how passionate you are. When you figure out something, it’s like you turn into a little kid. Bruce has seen it, too, I don’t think you even realise it, you’re more self-conscious about it when it’s around someone who isn’t a constant in your lab. I’m really glad I get to see that. To see you so care-free.” 

“I’m 42 years old, I am the face of a huge company, I am Iron Man, the investors freak out every time that anything happens with me.” 

“You mean, when the tabloids say, that you’ve taken another woman to bed?” 

Tony chuckled, but then got a bit more serious. “No, when I flew into a hole in the sky. Pepper is the C.E.O. and that means I won’t have to worry about the company, but the board freaked out, Pepper was pissed and all I could think about was you, how everyone would have thought it was because of you that New York got blown to bits by its own government. Or well, not the government, the World Security Council, fucking politicians...” 

Loki stilled him with a kiss. “It’s fine, love. You saved them.” 

“But I still get nightmares from it. And your nightmares are shitty scary as well, especially knowing that some of that stuff actually happened like that.” 

“Nobody would have blamed you, sweetheart.” 

“Oh, everyone always ends up blaming me.” 

“But they shouldn’t. You are trying so very hard.” 

Tony hummed a bit, sliding a little down to press his head into Loki’s chest. “Can we stay here, till we fall asleep?” 

“Sure, love.” Loki started quietly humming again, till Tony interrupted him. 

“Lokes... Do you know what my favourite memory of you is, I mean, before all the New York stuff?” 

“In 2009? Not really. I was in the hospital; it wasn’t exactly a great time for me.” 

“Every time you blushed. I could make you blush with one word. I was a player back then, but I didn’t even know I affected you that way, till you blushed. You were so beautifully open with me, and I didn’t mind. Sure, I had guys hit on me, but they all knew who I was, they weren’t into me because I was flirting back, no they were always into the money I had. But you, you blushed because of me. Not because of the money, no, you talked back to me, like Pepper, Happy and Rhodey. You didn’t pretend to like me, you just did. To you I was nobody. You wanted nothing to do with me, once you found out about the money, about the fame. But you still didn’t send me away because of that. You sent me away, because I was a jerk, an arse, someone who didn’t seem to care.” 

“You know, Tony, if you’d been a nobody, I probably would have come back.” 

Tony laughed loudly. “Damn the Stark name.” 

“And if you’d been a nobody, you’d never gotten abducted, because you’d never been the one to produce the weapons. I would’ve also not been at your New Year’s Eve party and probably would have ended up in some gutter somewhere.” 

“Oh, and I would have never had those oh so lovely sex-dreams out you posing for me.” 

Loki grinned and blushed hard. “Maybe I’ll make you some wonderful pictures, but I don’t think any of them will contain guns.” 

“I should really get you your stuff back from S.H.I.E.L.D., convince Fury that you’ve done a fantastic job with arresting the people.” 

“Somewhere in there, Fury could mention mistreatment of prisoners.” 

“You kept the tower safe.” 

“That I shouldn’t have been in.” 

“Actually, you should have been, Fury brought you there, right?” 

“Maybe.” Loki curled up and pressed against Tony. “Tony?” 

“Yeah?” 

“Will something like Tuesday happen again?” 

Quickly Tony grasped him and gathered him in his arms. Loki silently cried. “I’ll make sure something like that never happens again. Never. It can’t ever happen again.” 

“I... I don’t... I never wanna do that again.” Loki sobbed into Tony’s body. 

“Stress, right?” 

“J.A.R.V.I.S. is our bodyguard. J.A.R.V.I.S. is keeping us safe. To hear him gone, to fear that our family was in danger, to worry about you dying, I don’t ever want to do that again. I love you; I love that you’re fighting, but you have to make sure that our home is protected first, that nobody can hurt us.” 

“I will. I am.” 

“I just... I hate doing this, I don’t want to put this weight on you.” 

Tony softly kissed him. “I know, I know. I’ll work on it with J.A.R.V.I.S., everything else will come to a stop. No upgrades.” 

“But make sure to take your time, to do it right.” 

“Of course.” Tony pulled him close and kissed his temple. Loki shuddered under him, his breath hitching. “Can you do something for me, though?” 

“Whatever it is, I’ll do it.” 

“Don’t use your powers for anything unnecessary, like teleporting just because it saves time.” 

Loki sniffed and nodded quickly. “Deal.” 

 

Tony caressed Loki, as the man fell apart next to him. He didn’t try to make him happy; he knew that wasn’t something Loki needed right now. He let him cry, knowing that Tony was right there, caring for him. Loki sobbed and cried and yelled a little, which made Tony slightly concerned, but he just held on tighter. After what felt like at least half an hour, Loki’s sobs died down and the exhaustion took him into sleep. 

When Loki was gone for a few minutes, Tony started propping him up, a pillow-fort around him, to make him feel secure. Loki hadn’t awoken screaming like Tony did sometimes, but he sometimes had sweated when he awoke, stared with open eyes onto the ceiling for minutes, before he started to look confused and asked for J.A.R.V.I.S., not really asking him anything, just if he was there. J.A.R.V.I.S. always answered and Loki relaxed afterwards and fell asleep for another few minutes. 

They talked about it once and Loki had tried to laugh it off. Tony had asked Frigga, while Loki had been working. She told him about the enclosed space. Loki didn’t necessarily need to feel like he was abandoned, but the feeling of an armour around himself was important. Tony knew that Loki had noticed, but he also knew that Loki had slept better since. 

Sometimes Tony would fall asleep before Loki, especially after they were intimate, which happened rarely. Tony didn’t mind that. He wanted to hold Loki, know that they were together. After the scare, where Loki had laid unconscious for three weeks, all he really wanted was feeling Loki respond, even if they were laying at their sides of the bed and Loki just grabbed his hand a bit, while they were both reading. 

He had to tread carefully around him at times, Loki was the one who often started the touches, Tony knew that unexpected touches could trigger flashbacks, hell, it happened to him for a very long time, still did at times. Nobody was touching Loki with gloves, god knows, Loki would hate that, but other than that, they tried to keep it at a minimum. Tony was actually really glad, that Loki had been fine with Rhodey touching his back. That could have gone a lot worse. Of course, Tony had an inkling, that it had something to do with Runa being right there, keeping him grounded, letting him know, he couldn’t have been there. 

Tony didn’t want to tell Loki to go to therapy. For one, he himself didn’t go, for another, Loki physically couldn’t leave this house and telling a therapist about everything he was experiencing would make him seem like a crazy person. Then again, Fury would probably recommend someone from S.H.I.E.L.D., if Loki or he asked, but he didn’t want him talking to someone from S.H.I.E.L.D. either, he didn’t trust them. He would want someone independent, someone who knew all about that secret spy stuff, or who could, but at the same time wasn’t encased in it. 

Tony sighed a little as he laid close to Loki’s fort and closed his eyes. He’d have to talk to Pepper about it, she could figure that out. She may not be his assistant anymore, but she was good at that stuff. She’d help him, hopefully. 

Chapter Text

Loki didn’t dream. He was grateful about that. Other than that, he woke with a slight headache, probably from crying so much. He groaned a little when he got up, leaning over to a sleeping Tony and kissing his temple, before somehow getting out of the nest of at least two dozen pillows. After a quick detour to the bathroom, Loki made his way downstairs to the living room where the four invited adults were huddled in a circle around Runa, while talking about politics. 

“Good evening, darlings”, Loki announced himself, as he leaned against the wall watching them. 

“Evening, Loki. You and Tony have a nice day?”, asked Pepper, while Happy next to her was playing with Runa. 

“Cuddle-party”, Loki said and grinned, “I think he liked it.” 

“Fell asleep?” 

“We did, Pep. Have a little headache, cause of that.” 

Pepper nodded and got up. “Wait here, I’ll get you something.” 

Loki sat down in the circle between Jane and where Pepper had just gotten up. 

Bruce smiled at him. “So, Tony slept, too?” 

“Still asleep, I believe.” 

“Well that sounds promising.” 

“It is. What are you reading, Jane?” 

“Oh, Frigga gave this to me, said you might want to read it sometime, but not at the moment. It’s about the history of Asgardian royalty, especially the women.” 

Loki gave a small chuckle. “How much of that do you understand?” 

Jane laughed. “Like half of it, there are a lot of words that don’t make sense to me, so I read the sentence over and over again and it still doesn’t make sense.” 

Loki nodded and accepted the glass and pill that Pepper handed him, before she sat down again. Quickly he swallowed the pill and chucked the water to keep it down. 

“It is a whole different thing to learn a language that does not even have the same basis as the one that we’re used to. It took me years to actually learn English, Russian, Mandarin and a lot more of Earth’s languages and not rely on the Allspeak.” 

“That must be a neat thing”, Bruce commented. 

“Oh yeah, it is, for sure, but I don’t always wanna sound strung up, right?” Bruce laughed. “There are some people that have Translator Implants, which are pretty neat things considering there are thousands of different languages recorded around the galaxy, but for some languages, reliant on facial expression and gesticulation, even that doesn’t help.” 

“How many are there?”, Bruce asked out of curiosity. 

“Oh, maybe a few handful. You have many different sign languages here on Earth.” 

“Yeah, but I meant whole societies only communicating like that.” 

“Only is probably a wrong word. Most times it goes with grunts, words, growls, that sound very similar, but have various different meanings with expressions.” 

“Aliens are fascinating”, Jane stated, and Loki laughed lowly at that. 

“Yes, we are. To any that is not us. Where we are not expected.” 

His heart was beating so loud, Loki expected them to hear it clearly, as he picked up Runa to keep her close. His breathing slowed a little, as he tried to forget the punishments of the dungeon and focused on Runa. Every time he was taken aback, every time he would get nervous and could somehow be with Runa without risking her, he was. 

He rocked with her, as he felt the stares and then an almost intelligible curse from Jane, followed by a slap of her hand onto her mouth. When Pepper wanted to lay her hand on Loki’s back, he flinched, focusing on Runa again, before getting up and walking away from them, almost not knowing where he was going as he started silently singing. When he opened the door, he stood there for a while, as if he didn’t know how he got there. He didn’t stop singing though and Runa gurgled happily in his arms. 

Tony stared at them for a while, before getting up and standing in front of them. “Lokes?”, he asked quietly. 

Loki looked up to him, a worried expression on his face. “Love.” 

Tony smiled a little and laid his arms around them. “You’re okay, you’re home. Nobody will hurt you here.” Relief washed over his back, as he bared his true skin and Tony softly kissed his neck. “What brought this on?” 

“She didn’t mean to”, Loki quickly said, “She didn’t mean to remind me, mean to tell me, that I am not an equal. I am... I never was... I was always different.” 

“You’re my equal. Got it? We’re the same, you and I.” Tony winked at him and Loki smiled carefully. 

“Is that why you build nests around me at night? Because I’m your equal?” 

Tony blushed. “I thought it was more like a fortress to keep you safe from anything that could happen at night.” 

Loki giggled and Tony sighed with relief. “Then I will build a nest for you too, a nest around us both, a nest for our family.” 

“Because we’re equals?” 

“Because we’re equals.” Loki took a breath. “So, you’ll let me help with my armour?” 

“Will you help me with mine?” 

“It would be an honour.” 

Tony and Loki chuckled slightly, and they sat down on the mattress both giggling a little and cooing at Runa, who was laying on Loki’s chest, moving her arms and legs, which made Loki snicker every now and then. For a brief moment he looked up at the ceiling. 

“J.A.R.V.I.S. would you please inform our guests that we are fine?” 

A confirming beep sounded, and Runa looked up interested. Loki chuckled again. 

“I should have the future dream soon”, Loki informed Tony absently, before explaining: “It happened the first time, when I got back first and then after the whole mess with me basically being in a coma, so kinda like every four weeks now, it’s already overdue.” 

“Maybe the first time it was late.” 

“That it definitely was. The dreams usually start after certain events, like meeting people for the first time. Sometimes dreams overlap, which might cause a lot more confusion. Especially for me, I am not equipped to see so far into the future. It usually throws me into a spiral.” 

“Don’t want any of that now, do we?” Tony kissed Loki’s cheek and they watched Runa again, who had begun drumming softly on Loki’s chest. Loki grinned down at her. 

“She’s beautiful, isn’t she?” 

“As beautiful as her mama.” 

“Aww”, Loki cooed and smiled at Tony. 

“Are you okay, though?” 

“Are you?”, Loki quickly questioned back, both eyebrows raised. 

“I’m dealing.” 

“Cave? Wormhole?” 

“Both? And you? Thanos? Fandral?” 

“Not just, but most times. Nightmares?” 

“Getting less and less, you obviously still have them.” 

“Yeah, but dreams and resulting nightmares have never been unusual for me. That was actually the nice thing about not having magic, I knew those couldn’t talk back.” 

“You were having... I know there was one, but you had those all the time?” 

“Basically, every other day. Stopped on Asgard, the days were horrible enough, sometimes I missed whole weeks.” 

“I am such a horrible person.” 

Loki laughed loudly and Runa seemed to enjoy that as well. “You are not, darling. It happens a lot less, when you are next to me, near me. At least the nightmares. The memories I could stop, but that would also stop the other time-sensitive dreams from occurring, so...” 

“So, you can’t stop that.” 

“Would be pretty shitty, I need all the time I can get.” 

“What do you plan on doing, once you’re there again?” 

“Checking the date on my phone. I should at least know that, right? I’ve been keeping it in my dimensional pocket, just in case.” 

“And if it doesn’t work? If you can’t do any spells?” 

“Then I’ll just have to try again.” 

Tony laughed, heartful, warm and Loki tugged him close. “So, what do you want to do now?” 

“Lay around here? You want to work, right?” 

“Yeah”, Tony whispered, seemingly ashamed. 

“Alright, love, then let’s go. You have a couch in the workshop, right?” 

Tony lit up and then quickly nodded. “Yeah, yeah, let’s go.” 

 

They put Runa in the cradle in the workshop, that had a bunch of different symbols over it, some Asgardian runes, some symbols of the Avengers and of course the typical numbers and letters. Runa giggled when Loki and Tony came into view. With a smile Tony asked J.A.R.V.I.S. to put on his kid-friendly playlist, before walking to his table. 

“I got this material, love. I’ve been working on Cap’s suit with it, with a few layers, it won’t be what I would want to use for you, probably not something to put on in like ten seconds, but at least it’s lighter than the armour was.” 

“Sounds amazing. Do I get a cape?” 

“No capes!”, Tony shouted and then giggled, before waving Loki’s irritated face off. “We gotta watch ‘The Incredibles’. No capes, Lokes, you’re not gonna fly, so you don’t need it to give you a bit of pullback. I hate Thor’s cape and you’re definitely not getting one.” 

“But I’ll look amazing?” 

“Yeah, you will, just gotta know one thing first...” Loki waited expectedly, raising his brows in the process. “Are you gonna be blue or white in the outfit? Because I’d hate to clash the colours.” 

Loki laughed. “I think I’ll go white with the whole thing. And probably male.” 

“Oh yeah, but I can make it adjustable for a smaller waist and bigger chest, do I need to know more in that department? Height difference, shorter feet, anything?” 

“Bigger butt? Maybe? But not much.” 

Tony grinned and showed Loki a file. “So, this is your original, yes?” Loki nodded from the steps, while Tony got nearer. “Love the whole get up but am gonna strip it down to the basics. Black pants, great boots, this top that looks like a wrap-around and the half-coat. You wanna keep the coat?” 

“Definitely keeping that. It’s amazing.” 

Tony grinned. “Hugs your figure beautifully.” Tony opened a new file for each part of the costume, because right now it felt more like a costume and not much of an armour. Tony dropped down next to Loki and Loki grabbed one of the files. 

“A slight heel for the boots?”, he asked and pulled on the edges of the boot to show Tony. 

“Oh yes, definitely, a hard one. Coat only for cold weather or for always?” 

“Cold and maybe press?” 

“Oh, I love the way you’re thinking. Black outside, green inside?” 

“Yeah, pants and shoes black too, pants maybe something on the sides to give it depths?” 

“Can do that. Does your top have sleeves?” 

“Yeah, maybe with take-off?” 

“Can do that. Are the plates important?” 

“On my forearms yeah, shoulders are less important and the chest, well...” 

“I’ll use harder materials there then, still hugging though, love your figure.” 

Loki gave a quick peck on Tony’s cheek. “Love yours too.” 

“Helmet or no helmet? It kinda grew on me.” 

“Oh hell, as a decorative thing? I don’t really need it, but maybe when my hair’s longer a clip to keep that back.” 

“I’ll think about it. You wanna have a go at the top, let me have fun with those pants?” 

“Yeah, here.” Tony and Loki switched, and Loki stood up and gave a little two-step, before twirling the top and decorating the backside. After a while, Tony laughed, when he saw Loki swaying to the music. Loki grinned at him. “How elastic is the material?” 

“Oh, a little, not really much. The waist could be done with a belt or another hook though.” 

“Love how you think, darling.” Loki added a few things and looked over to Tony, who was going into some details with the pants. With a smirk, Loki dropped off his shirt, shifted into his white form and propped the top on himself. “What do you think, love?”, he asked, incredibly grateful for the push-back holograms Tony had invented at the beginning of the year, that now also gave a feel for artificial gravity, the way it was falling down his body, while he moved. 

Tony looked up and broke out into laughter, before stepping closer and softly kissing Loki. “You look amazing.” He stepped back a bit, appreciating him from all angles, before brushing over a few things. “Oh, I love how the sleeves come off.” Tony ran his hands not directly across Loki’s body, but he felt the soft prickle anyway. “And I definitely love how those lines here...” He tugged on the hologram, before speaking further: “tone your body. Oh... that definitely does things for your body.” 

Loki grinned and softly grabbed Tony’s chin, before leaning down to kiss him. “You are fantastic, dear. How do you like the horns on the back?” 

“Oh definitely. They are great. Not for stealth missions though and maybe a bit cheesy, I might get rid of them later and just print shirts with the horns on them for all of us.” 

“Cheesy, you say?” 

“Yeah, tactical clothing dear. J, put it on a shirt for Loki and take it off his back.” 

Tony shrieked, when Loki grabbed him and hauled him so far up, that Loki could kiss right onto the scar on his chest, his knees under Loki’s armpits and Loki’s hands fixed on his ankles. “Tactical clothing?”, Loki asked with a grin. 

“Yes? I mean showing off is nice and all, but you ain’t gonna wear your own merch, if I got something to say against it.” Tony was bright red as he looked down onto Loki, breathing heavily, before relaxing into the way Loki was holding him and softly combing through Loki’s hair. “How did I get so lucky?” 

“You didn’t. Horrible taste, dear. I got lucky to find someone, who would see through my bullshit. Well, most of my bullshit.” 

“You can fucking hold me up, without breaking a sweat. If I wouldn’t know that you’re an alien, I’d say you’re a super-soldier and we don’t need two of those.” 

“Darling, language.” Loki leaned his head back and waited expectantly for Tony to finally lean down and kiss him. When he did, Loki grinned and then let Tony down again, who protested a little. “Dinner?” 

“Oh yes, dinner!” Tony grabbed Runa and gave her a loud smack on her head, before following Loki upstairs. 

Chapter Text

It took another two weeks for Loki to dream again. Loki felt like he couldn’t breathe when he woke on the battlefield. His tongue felt ashen, as he shook his head to focus, looking around, to find Jane suspended in air, the Aether pouring out of her into a Dark Elf’s hand. Thor was laying on the ground with... just one hand? No, that had to be a trick, the way he was holding it. Loki snickered a little, before focusing again. 

The dimensional pocket responded, and Loki did a little twirl, that was probably inappropriate for the events around him. ‘November 14, 2013’ his phone said, and Loki laughed, only a little mischievous. Hah. He outsmarted the system. He can’t know what time it is, but he knows the timespan, roughly. He had time. He had months. Laughing he did another twirl and went to give Jane a kiss on the cheek. 

“I’ll save you; you’ll see.” 

Then he sat down in front of his brother. His stomach twisted. This man who couldn’t even bother to use the appropriate pronouns from time to time, he was still going to join Jane and him on this adventure. He probably insisted. He probably had no answers at all, ignorant as he is. He probably walked over the greatest find in all the realms and disregard it as just another ‘thing’, because his brain had pushed the information back. Loki flicked his finger against the immobile Thor. 

“Start thinking, dumbass.” 

He walked back to Jane, her eyes open and black, softly he took her hand in his. “Hello dear.” 

“He’s going to darken all of Yggdrasil.” 

“I know, dear.” 

“Then why did you not stop him?” 

“This was just our first try, dear Jane, how did you find the Aether?” 

“It found me. I was... pulled to it.” 

“Interesting. Did you touch anything you weren’t supposed to?” 

Hey”, the brunette protested, “I’m a scientist.” 

“Doesn’t mean you should touch everything. That’s how people die.” 

“Don’t judge me, you’re not even really here.” 

Loki laughed. “Am I not? How am I standing in front of you if I am not here?” 

“You said it was our first try. That means you’re not here but somewhere in the past.” 

“And I’ll stop you from making stupid mistakes.” 

“You can’t.” 

“We’ll see, won’t we?” 

“You never win. You never succeed.” 

“Like I said, we’ll see.” 

“Knowing when, won’t help you at all. It will just drive you insane.” 

“Am I not that already?” 

He screamed as a spear was driven through him, his mouth now tasting less ashen and more iron, as he turned around, looking at the white mask of a Dark Elf. 

“You bastard.” 

Blade by blade he was pierced, and he fell to the ground. 

“November 14. You can’t make me forget, you little shits”, he cursed as he pulled swords and knives from his body, while getting hit by others again and again. 

“You can’t win, Loki”, Jane said from above him. “They will always win.” 

“That may be true, but I can at least try.” 

He threw his hands on the ground and the telekinetic push made the dream disappear. Irritated, Loki looked down his body, still seeing blood flow, which made him wake. 

 

Loki woke screaming, ripping off his blood-soaked shirt. Tony stared at him, before running out the door and shouting for Bruce, while Loki panted. 

“November 14, November 14, don’t forget, J.A.R.V.I.S., November 14.” He rolled out of bed, still dripping blood. “Oh, fucking, bloody hell!”, he screamed and slammed his fist into the wall nearest to him. 

Tony stared at him, his lips trembling, before his eyes rolled back into his head and Loki barely caught him, before he hit the ground. 

Bruce was in nightclothes when he came to the room and saw Loki covered in blood. “J.A.R.V.I.S., wake Jane as well and get Pepper and Happy here, pronto. Loki, sit.” He ran from the room to get supplies. 

Loki sat back on the bed, after laying Tony down on the same. “J.A.R.V.I.S., call Jean.” 

The line pinged for a while, before a grunting answer came. “Jean Grey.” 

“Hello Jean, this is Loki, I am in need of your assistance.” 

A groan could be heard from the other side. “What did you do?” 

“I got stabbed. In a dream, multiple times, it was a very special dream, now I’m stabbed in reality.” 

“Where are you?” 

“The mansion.” 

“We haven’t been there yet.” 

“J.A.R.V.I.S., redirect Happy to pick up Miss Grey and whomever she might need.” 

“Will do, Happy has not yet been informed what happened, shall I do that as well?” 

“Yes, please. And Miss Grey, Tony asked me not to use my Seiðr for anything that could be done normally, so I’ll just get myself out of the critical state and will rely on my advanced healing from there, good?” 

“Yeah, yeah, I need to get my med bag, hanging up now.” 

“See you soon, J.A.R.V.I.S. will text you, when the driver is outside.” 

Loki cursed silently and leaned back, before closing his eyes, letting the Seiðr flow through himself, slowly repairing organs. He should have really focused more on the healing magic instead of the powerful spells. Organs were fickle things. Loki cursed again and slowly moved his stomach, which only seemed to make it worse. Carefully he slowed his breathing, before trying again to repair his organs. 

Bruce was getting a worryingly green tint, as he stepped back into the room and just started putting pressure on the wounds and wrapping them. “J.A.R.V.I.S. told me, y-you got Doctor Grey on the line.” 

“I did, Bruce.” 

“Who did this?” 

“People in a dream.” Bruce stared at him, going pale and his eyes flashed green for a moment. “I should have been more careful, they shouldn’t be able to touch me, I didn’t know they could hurt me. Guess one can still learn after a thousand years.” 

“I... I uhh, need to go outside.” Bruce fled the room and almost ran into Jane, who came into the room, the worry in her eyes turning into fear. She looked to Tony. 

“He passed out”, Loki informed her. “Could you stay with him?” 

She nodded quickly, checking Tony’s pulse and grabbing a wet towel from the bathroom. When she put it on his head, he came back to consciousness, screaming. Quickly Loki ripped the towel from her grasp and threw it to the bathroom. He should have seen this coming, he silently cursed himself, while Jane apologised over and over again, before he abruptly stopped her and told her to watch over Runa instead. Tony sobbed into his shoulder as soon as he pulled him up. 

“Shh, darling, everything’s okay.” 

“No, no, no. It’s not. Nothing’s okay.” 

“It was my fault. I got cocky.” 

“I can’t even protect you in our own home!” 

Calm yourself, darling.” 

“And then I...” 

“You felt like you were back in Afghanistan, didn’t you? Back in the cave?” 

Tony nodded and Loki pressed a kiss on his brow. “It’s like a nightmare, but it isn’t a dream.” 

Loki coughed a little and could feel the blood flowing in his mouth. His view got droopy and he got up slowly, tumbling into the bathroom, before hurling into the toilet. 

“Loki!” 

It was all blood, maybe some food in between there. “M-medical.” 

Even though Tony himself was shaky on his feet, he helped him up and had his arm under Loki’s as they walked out of their room and then down the stairs to the medical room, where Loki vomited once more into the nearest sink. Tony was crying next to him; more than Loki had ever thought he could cry. 

“’M gonna lose ya now, ain’t I? ‘M always gonna lose ya.” Suddenly the New Yorker in him, he always tried, learned to suppress was showing hard. 

“Now, love, you’re not going to lose me. I’m just sick. Remember 2009? I was sick then, too.” 

“Just wish, ya ma was here.” 

“If I can’t make it without her for a little while, how could I ever survive on my own? How could I ever survive on Earth, with you? Come on, darling, all I need is for you to keep me sane and a few doctors to keep me alive, okay?” 

“Keeping you sane? Are you crazy?” 

“Yes, actually, crazy for you.” 

That made Tony laugh hard and Loki smiled sweetly, which must look horrible with all the blood coming out of him. 

“Where’s Bruce?”, Tony asked after a while. 

“Probably Hulking outside, or close to it.” 

“Shit.” 

“Jean is on her way.” 

“Good, good. We ain’t that far from the school.” 

Softly Loki took Tony’s hand. “You wanna wait till she gets here, to go talk to him?” 

“I do, but I also don’t. Seeing you like this is making me very... anxious.” 

“Then go on, love, J.A.R.V.I.S. will inform you of any changes.” 

“But I can’t leave you.” 

“I’ll be fine, dear.” 

“I love you so much right now.” 

“Eternally. Now go. Play a bit with Hulk, maybe calm him down, get your frustrations out, whatever.” 

Tony kissed Loki on his temple, before bolting out of the room and leaving Loki to lean back and sighing as his head hit the wall. Shit. Stupid, fucking shit. He knew he had to send Tony away. If the man could turn green and transform into Hulk, he would have. Not because he was angry, but because he was scared. This, Loki bleeding out in his own home, with nobody to blame,  nobody to hurt in turn,  this was his nightmare. One of his nightmares, a version of it. Loki dying  wa s not something he want ed  to see. And Loki was really trying hard not to die right now. 

He propped himself up on the wall, slowly climbing to a standing position, before walking from the recovery-room to the surgery-room, where he sat on the table, leaning back a little so his hands could grab the edge behind him and keep him mostly upright. 

“J.A.R.V.I.S., what day did I tell you to remember?” 

“November 14. Master Stark, can I ask, why is that day significant?” 

“It’s the day my nightmares happen. It’s as far in the future as I can see right now. Till then, I should be safe.” 

“Should be?”, J.A.R.V.I.S. inquired. 

“Normally I would be sure, but this is an injury, well, these are multiple injuries I required through the same dream, so it could still be, that it kills me. Also, anything I do to prevent the events of November 14 could inevitably kill me.” 

“Then why try to prevent it at all?” 

“Because otherwise I’ll die that day.” 

“Can I do anything to help you with this threat, Master Stark?” 

“Unless you can see into the future and tell me where certain people are that day, I think not.” 

“It seems, you have a lot more things to figure out then.” 

Loki laughed and then winced in pain. “You could keep a pattern of the dreams though, tell me, if it gets significantly quicker.” 

“You have a lot of nightmares, Master Stark, could you tell me the times that you had such a nightmare?” 

“Future dreams, J.A.R.V.I.S., umm the day I first got back, and the day Tony and I fell asleep on the couch in the common area.” 

“Alright, January 9, February 10 and now March 21. It appears to be getting longer, rather than shorter, the first interval being four weeks and four days, this time five weeks and four days.” 

“Yes, normally the dreams would have started the day I met Jane; I presume. But as my magic was low until Frigga had given a little of hers, they only started after I came back. The other option would be, that taking her to Asgard has sent her down that path.” 

“What has this to do with Doctor Foster?” 

“She is vital in that dream, but I wish for you not to alert her or anyone else about her presence in that dream. It will only cause a disturbance and could possibly make the actors in the dream rely on me to give them answers instead of giving me the answers.” 

“Alright, Master Stark, I shall keep my virtual mouth shut.” 

Loki smiled to the nearest camera, before letting the happiness fall from his face once more. His head fell forward, his chin resting on his body, before he shot up and took a raspy breath. ‘Not throwing up, don’t want to, not right now, please don’t make me...’ 

Loki?!” Happy sounded worried and Loki had to smile at that and at the man, as he ran into the room. 

“Steady me, Hap?”, he asked and Happy quickly rounded the table, before putting his hands on Loki’s shoulder blades. Loki could barely keep his eyes open long enough to shoot a smirk at Jean and Kurt. “Can’t give out now, right?” 

Jean nodded and then looked him over. “How bad is it?” 

“Multiple stab-wounds, like stabbed through my whole body, one guy had a staff, another few swords.” 

“How does that happen anyway?” 

Loki wanted to laugh, but instead tears fell down his face and then he couldn’t stop crying. Through the misty outlook his eyes were giving him, he could see Jean and Kurt exchanging a look. 

“Have you been throwing up, Loki?” 

“Yeah”, he answered, his voice breaking, “Been throwing up blood, mostly, ain’t cool.” Jean walked around him, and Loki quickly noticed himself losing consciousness, as his look followed her. “Shit.” 

 

Loki didn’t really know when he’d come back to full consciousness, he had woken up some time in between, still on the table, while Jean cursed above him, but he’d quickly fallen asleep again. Tony wasn’t in the room when he woke up. Happy was though, absentmindedly playing a game on his phone, at least that’s what Loki assumed. 

“Did you bring soup again?”, Loki asked, with a raspy voice, and added a small smirk at the end of his sentence. 

Happy looked up and grinned at him. “No. Didn’t want to go home. Had to keep an eye on the mysterious stranger that my boss has fallen for.” 

“Isn’t Pep your boss now?” 

“Yeah. Right, try to make one joke and you ruin it with your accuracy.” 

“You like it, reminds you of him.” 

“Yeah, you’re right.” Happy smiled fondly. 

“How’s he?” 

“Not good, Banner has lifted some ban, because he was freaking out about you and he needed something to do.” 

“How long have I been out?” 

“Umm, I think about seven hours.” 

“I feel like crap.” 

Happy laughed loudly. “Yeah? Imagine me, weak old me, standing behind you, when you pass out. I almost passed out too.” 

Loki smiled weakly and carefully patted on the bed. Happy walked over and sighed a little as he sat down. “You’ll take care of him for me, if I don’t...” 

“Fuck you”, Happy interrupted him and Loki broke out into laughter, only to wheeze and then wince as he rolled onto his side. “No, seriously, Loki, you can’t die. You can’t do that to him, can’t do that to us,  you  trickery bastard. You got yourself in this mess with messing with the timeline or something that I don’t really understand, but you most certainly are not taking the easy way out.” 

Loki laughed again, only to convulse, cry out and inevitably wince again. “Alrighty, Hap, got it, can’t die. Universe won’t let me.” Grunting he grabbed a walking stick, that was propped against the wall and got out of the bed. 

“What are you doing?” 

“What do you think I’m doing? Going to see my freaking husband and making him go to bed. Be a dear and make us some food warm from the leftovers.” 

“Alright, Sir.” 

Loki stuck out his tongue to Happy and grinned after that. With a bit of wincing, he made his way to the elevator and J.A.R.V.I.S. brought him down into the workshop. 

 

“No, Brucie-bear, I won’t go to bed, no matter how often you ask me. Find me some coffee and then leave me the fuck alone.” 

“I hope that you don’t use that language around our kid, dear.” 

Tony flung around, turning pale and eyes open with shock. “Loki, I thought... You were out for hours.” 

“I was, dear. What are you working on?” 

“Shouldn’t you be resting?”, Tony asked, concerned. 

“Probably.” Loki swayed his head a little and stepped closer. “What are you working on?” 

“Uhm, Avengers-stuff. Brucie got new pants, Hawk got a whole line of violet arrows with trackers, cause his get lost and stuff. Nat got a whole new array of weapons and I got you a prototype of your suit, looks great, by the way, gave it a little of that lovely forest green and a hint of gold along some lines.” 

Loki nodded absently. “And for you, love?”, he asked as he slowly came to a stop in front of him. 

“F-For me? Uhm, I have like six new suits in the work already, working off of old ideas at the time and...” Sighing he leaned forward and slightly against Loki, careful not to hurt him. “I need to work, you know?” 

“I know. You could work on the access cards for the tower, maybe a lockdown mode that can only be overwritten by you or something and emergency evacuation only one-way, that nobody can use that to get access.” 

“Oh, yeah, yeah, I can do that. You smell horrible, by the way.” 

“I know.” 

“Then why are you here and not in a shower or something?” 

“Because I wanted you more than a shower.” 

Tony grinned and Loki gave him a chaste kiss on the cheek. “Can you even shower with the bandages and all?” 

“I don’t know, J.A.R.V.I.S.?” 

“Doctor Grey asked me to tell you, that you should not shower right at this moment, but give yourself a wash with a cloth, as to be careful with your stitches and they need to be covered directly after the wash. You are allowed to rinse yourself down, but the hard spray of a shower could tear the stitches open. She recommended a bath, as long as you don’t let your hurt body parts soak in the water and open your stitches.” 

Loki groaned a little, before wincing and looking to Tony. “You work, I watch and possibly fall asleep on the couch so that you and Happy have to carry me upstairs without rupturing my stitches?” 

“Always.” 

Loki kissed Tony on his brow and winced as he turned to walk back to the couch and sinking down. He fell asleep quickly, not realising when Happy brought the food, only rousing when the two men woke him to bring him back up to the room. 

“I’ll eat tomorrow, promise. I just, so fucking exhausted, no, no cursing, Loki, you dumb shit. Oh, fuck, no, stop...” He stopped talking when they helped him onto the bed and Loki winced again. 

“Tones, can you seriously not buy a softer mattress and maybe make the bed lower? I want you to sit with me all the time and I don’t want you to feel like a child with your short legs. Damn, I love your short legs, love that you’re shorter than me and so damn hot as well. Why is it so dark? Oh, I closed my eyes.” Loki giggled as he opened his eyes again. 

“Love you so damn much, sweetheart. Wanna be with you forever. And not human forever, no, Asgard forever, but don’t wanna force you, I hate that. People say that about me, you know? They say I put spells on people to keep them around. Don’t  wanna  spell you, sweetie, you’re perfect already. So good to me, always so good to me. I want you to  give me shit , want you to be angry with me if I ever hurt you, you got that? Wanna feel it, if I hurt you, okay? Was I drugged?” 

Happy smiled down at him. “Had to give you a sedative.” 

“You magnificent bastard, Happy, you drugged me. See, darling, now I’m talking too much. And you probably don’t like that, why are you crying? Did I hurt you? Did someone else hurt you? Would kill whoever hurt you. No, bad Loki, that’s not what heroes do. I gotta be good, for Tony. Tony’s  gotta  be happy,  hav’ta  make Tony happy. Not into Happy, that would be weird. Could do that too, but Tony said, I should not use that much magic anymore, so I  ain’t gonna do that. Don’t wanna dream. Please don’t let me dream, I dream bad stuff. And then I wake up and hurt more... Don’t cry, Tony.” Loki waved for Tony’s hand and the man took it without thinking twice. Softly Loki kissed it a couple times. 

“See, this time you took my hand. Don’t cry, love ya so much, sweetheart. You gonna be here, when I wake up?” 

“Yeah, I’ll be here. And I’ll get you a softer mattress. I’ll get you anything you want.” 

“Only want you. Only you, never loved anyone else, you’re the first. Wanna show you how much I love you, wanna care for you, wanna kiss your whole body, wanna make you...” 

Tony slapped his hand on Loki’s mouth and blushed. “Alright, that’s enough. Thank you, Mister Hogan for your service today, if you need to sleep just find yourself a not-yet-assigned room.” 

“Will do, boss.” 

“He ain’t your boss anymore”, Loki cried out through Tony’s fingers before smirking up at Tony after Happy left the room. “Wanna do so much stuff with you, to you, you know that, right? You always top, but one day, if you’ll allow me, I’m gonna make you feel so good.” 

“I’d love that, darling, but first... Please recover well.” 

“Have you ever thought of getting yourself a vibrator? Would love to see you squirm. But maybe you’re not ready for that. You could get me one. Tell me where to put it and then get me ready before you’re even in the room. I’d be so ready for you.” 

Tony turned an even brighter shade of red. “Please sleep, sweetheart.” 

“You’ll sing me to sleep? Can I have cake tomorrow? And soup, remember Mama Hogan’s soup? It was amazing, shoulda gotten the recipe, basically cured me all on its own.” 

“If you’ll be a good little boy, I’ll sing for you.” 

Loki snickered. “Alright... Love ya, Tony.” 

“Love you too, darling.” 

Tony stroked through Loki’s hair and kissed his cheekbones, one after the other, before silently humming a lullaby and then softly singing in Italian, making Loki’s smile brighter and brighter, before he eventually closed his eyes and fell asleep again. 

Chapter Text

When Loki woke again, it was already midday. And somehow, he had changed into a more comfortable pyjama. For a moment he had considered that Frigga had come back, but when he had asked J.A.R.V.I.S., it had in fact been a combined effort of Happy, Bruce and Tony to switch out the mattress and, while they were at it, also Loki’s clothes. J.A.R.V.I.S. also informed him that he had been asleep for more than a day, which made Loki angrier than it probably should.

He didn’t want to lose precious time with his lovely partner. He had to remind himself that he himself was hurt and that only frustrated him more. Fighting in his head he was used to, but not being able to take a side... He groaned loudly and then fingered at the controls of his bed to make the head part stand in a 60-degree angle.

“J.A.R.V.I.S., I require sustenance.”

“I shall inform the others, Master Stark.”

It took only two minutes of Loki cursing, at all the things that, probably Jean or Bruce had put on him and now made him very uncomfortable, for a giggling Tony to enter.

“Sus...”, he giggled again, before putting down a bowl of applesauce on the bedside table, “Sustenance?” He laughed loudly, curling in on himself and Loki pouted a little, before falling into a grin at the sight of his amused husband.

“Nourishment, nurture, ailment.”

Tony was holding onto the rails of the bed to keep himself from falling. When he finally caught his breath, Loki was smiling at him happily.

“How do you fare, darling?”

“Fare”, Tony grinned and then gulped, “I fare good. You just made my day.”

“I am glad my speech has delighted you.”

Tony sighed happily and then approached Loki again, with a bright smile on his face. “Eat your sustenance.” He played the bowl and spoon, he had sat down, into Loki’s hands, before kissing him on his forehead and retreating to the back of the bed and sitting down expectantly.

Quickly Loki devoured the barely-there meal and held out the two items to Tony. “More.”

Tony smiled fondly at him and took them. “Don’t overeat yourself.”

“Never. Now go, before hell comes raining down on you.”

“Oh, you’d never...” Loki raised his glowing finger and Tony shrieked with excitement. “I’ll be right back. Sweet, sour or spicy?”

“Anything and everything.”

Tony rolled his eyes with a grin and almost seemed to be skipping out of the room.

“J.A.R.V.I.S., does he seem more cheerful to you?”

“Sir has been in an elevated mood ever since I told him that you’d awoken. To be honest, Master Stark, Sir has always been in a better mood when you’ve been actively participating in his life.”

“Why did it take him half an hour to get here, if he’d been so excited?”

“He had been in an important meeting concerning the tower’s security. I assured him that you were fine and assessed that you would be disappointed if he would cut such a meeting short. Did I overstep?”

“I will decide that later on. You were right though; it would be a bad meeting for him to miss.”

It did not take long for Tony to come back, humming a song and handing him a bowl filled with macaroni and cheese. “Your highness.”

“Thank you dear, did you cook this?”

Tony’s eyes went wide as he shook his head. “No way, Jane has been stress cooking the last few days.”

“Then I will have to thank her. How was your meeting?”, Loki asked before he started eating and moaning at the taste of wonderful cheddar cheese.

Tony took his place at the end of the bed again. “J clued you in? Well, it didn’t go over to great having to tell people, that without them even really noticing, the tower had been infiltrated. And then having to tell them, the only reason we got out of this mess unharmed, was because of an alien.”

“Do they know what I did?”

“No. S.H.I.E.L.D.’s been very quiet about the individual, except telling them, that the person was as much a victim of mind-control as two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and a scientist were. They do know however, that all those people are recovering on Earth within S.H.I.E.L.D.-, Avengers- or government-sanctioned facilities.”

“So, what are they doing regarding the security?”

“Well, I didn’t want to destroy jobs, as much as I would love to make the tower purely an Avengers Tower and not combined with Stark Industries, but we are moving departments around and I’m thinking about only having R&D at the tower, because they work pretty closely with the Avengers stuff and then we’ll renovate and reopen an old facility, right here in New York to move everybody else out.”

“That still doesn’t say anything about security.”

“Yep. I know, I’m making sure J.A.R.V.I.S. will be more secure, we are working on better security measurements, like visitors and worker passes. And by we, I mean a very, very select group of people, actually I’m thinking about reducing it to Pep, J and me, she gives the input, J looks it over and I do stuff with it.”

“So, how much time will you be away?”

“As little as I need to. Nobody’s gonna keep me away from my blueberries, I love myself some blueberries.”

Loki raised an eyebrow and gave a smirk, which should have been a warning to Tony. “Love to eat your blueberries, love to suck on ‘em?”

Tony turned bright red, before countering with: “Only on the real big ones, let them fill out my mouth.”

Loki laughed. “Gonna get you a whole bunch ‘a big blueberries for our anniversary, gonna fill ya from top to bottom with ‘em.”

Tony crumbled, before whispering: “Would love that. Be filled with blueberries. But not like that kid from Willy Wonka.”

“I truly have to catch up with the movies.”

“Oh yeah, totally.” Tony looked down into Loki’s bowl to see it empty already. “Need more?”

“Not at the moment, you wanna help with cleaning me? I stink.”

“Uhm... gotta get Banner to unhook you and everything.”

“Do that. And then, a bath, please.”

“Yeah, yeah, can do, no problem.”

“Love you, dear.”

“Love you, too, sweetheart.”

 

Tony left again and came back with Bruce a short while later who seemed to be extremely relieved, that Loki had woken up.

“Got worried for a second there, Lo, thankfully we decided to go easy on your body, give you 72 hours before we put the heavy stuff in, now that we don’t have Frigga around.”

Loki smiled at him, as Bruce cut of everything and checked him through, having him pull up his shirt and move his body a bit, so that Bruce could see that none of the stitches had opened.

“Alright. Looks like you’re good. I’ll text Doctor Grey with the updates. Go get yourself that bath.”

Tony helped Loki out of bed, and they walked past the walk-in-closet into the bathroom, where Loki stripped, while Tony let in water, only to be able to go over Loki’s legs, as his stitches started pretty far down.

“So, how are we going to do this?”

“I sit in the tub and you scrub my back?”

“Gonna wash your hair too, sweetheart.”

“See, you already got a plan.”

Tony turned, when he had let the water in and blushed a little at Loki’s naked sight. “Man, did I get lucky.” He let his hands run down Loki’s arms, not wanting to touch the sides just yet.

“I got lucky as well, dear.”

Loki pulled Tony close, his mouth naturally lingering at the beginning of Tony’s hair. Tony tilted his head up and Loki leaned down to give him a long and soft kiss. Naturally Tony took the opportunity to grab Loki’s behind and press it to him, making Loki flush.

“We should probably get the bandage off you, Lokes.”

“Oh, yes.” Loki leaned down for another kiss and grabbed Tony’s neck. “Should totally get that bandage off and wash me, cause you’ll have to take a shower yourself after, if we don’t stop.”

Tony grinned, before he patted Loki’s ass softly. “Off, no distracting easily distracted husbands.”

Loki smirked and let go of Tony, to start removing parts of the bandage at his front, while Tony did the same at the back. Loki’s hands lingered for a while over the meticulous dressings underneath. He winced a little when Tony got to a part right next to his spine and Tony quickly apologised. He wanted to tell him, that it was nothing but braced himself instead on the wall next to the tub.

“Shh, shh, hey, it’s just me.”

“I know, love, I know. It just... fuck it hurts.”

“Hope you don’t kiss our baby with that mouth.”

“No, just the father.”

Tony giggled and wrapped the last of the bandage of, softly running his hands around the dressings, Loki stopped counting after a dozen different ones. They were both silent as Tony came to his front and they locked eyes.

“I should get into the tub.”

“Yeah, you should”, Tony breathed, before getting on his toes and kissing Loki. “I’m glad you’re still alive.”

“I’m glad you still keep me around”, Loki answered, and his smile got a little sad, before he shook it off and took a breath. “Let’s get this done.”

He sat down in the tub and moved his back to one end so Tony could work on his back. He was quick to clean his legs and privates first, before carefully cleaning his body around the several dressings, stretching his body a little, before breathing heavily as he closed his eyes, while he washed his face. Tony’s fingers massaging his sculp did not really make it any better, only made him moan and groan every now and then, although he was trying very hard not to do that.

“Oh yes, right there”, he murmured and flushed a little, when Tony got back behind his ears, being extra thorough with them and Loki almost leaned back, before he realised that he should not do that. “Your hands, Tones, they are... wow, really... utopia.”

Tony chuckled. “Yeah, I can see how you think that’s utopia.”

“Oh, dear. We can’t.” Loki felt blood rush into two different directions, before Tony got up and grabbed the shower head and rinsed him off.

“Get out. You can’t, but I can.”

Loki went an even brighter red as he stood up and Tony directed him to sit on a stool before drying him off. Loki looked at Tony lustfully, as the man carefully rubbed his horns clean, before dabbing the dressings.

“Now, can I do that or not?”, Tony asked as he knelt between Loki’s legs.

“Y-yes, please”, Loki hushed, and Tony’s face lit up.

“Alright then.”

 

Loki was still a little flushed, when Tony eventually came back from his own shower and gave Loki a soft kiss on the cheek.

“Love you, sweetheart.”

“I know, dear.”

“Can you tell how much?”

“Yes, dear, very much.”

Tony grinned at him. “Need some refreshments?”

“You probably more than me.”

“I’ll get us something.”

“I could...”

“Rest, Lokes, I got this.” With another peck on the cheek, Tony had left the room and Loki leaned back against the pillow with a sigh.

Tony did not take long to come back with two plates filled with rice and some kind of sauce, that had Loki mouth-watering instantly. Tony grinned at him and they ate in silence, Tony giving Loki the last of his food, because it was too much for him.

“You know what, Tony? I liked today. I know the day isn’t over yet, but I like it.”

“I like it too”, Tony answered, taking Loki’s hand in his and running his hand over Loki’s wedding ring. Loki scooted to one side of the bed to let Tony sit next to him.

“Does the team know?”

“What? Hell no. How would we explain that? I don’t even really know how to explain it to Jane, because she’ll start asking questions. Jean and Kurt might not ask much, just accept it, Happy and Pepper as well, but the team? Bruce freaked out, when you told him.”

Loki sighed and laid his arm around Tony. “Bruce probably freaked out, because he’s been helping me with the dreams.”

Tony stared a bit irritated. “You and Bruce are working together?”

“He was my safest bet. Not too close to family, but I needed someone to throw ideas around with. Someone who could keep his mouth shut. And now he probably thinks I got hurt because of it.”

“Alright. So, I don’t have to worry about the dreams anymore?”

“No, you got Bruce for that. You just have to do one thing for me.”

“What? Anything.”

“Don’t ever be angry with him, for anything that happens. I’m my own man, I am an adult, a full-grown person.”

Tony laughed at that. “Okay sweetheart. Just make sure, you make it out alive.”

“Out of the dreams or the nightmare yet to come?”

“Both? Please?”

“The latter I can’t promise. But I will not be careless again and let them touch me.”

Tony’s face froze. “I can’t do this alone. I know you said you’d die, but... Please Loki, I can’t. Not again. I’m not losing you again.”

Softly, Loki pressed his lips to Tony’s temple. “Is that why you don’t wish to eat a golden apple? Because there is the possibility that I might die before the year is up?”

Tears slipped down Tony’s face and he buried it in Loki’s shoulder. “I can’t live without you.”

“And I’ll make sure to make it back to you.” Loki gracefully took Tony’s chin in his hand and made the hazel-eyed man look into his own ruby-coloured eyes.

“I will promise you, I’ll try my absolute hardest to get back home, to lay in the bed with my most handsome of lovers and hold my most charming of daughters in my arms again. Nothing, not even Lady Death, will keep me from returning here. Wherever I end up, can’t keep me from running home. You get that? I’d do necromancy to hold you again. Though doing that on one’s own body would prove quite difficult.”

Tony teared up again and Loki leaned in to softly kiss him again. He let his other hand slip down to sit on the small of Tony’s back and he carefully pulled him into his lab. “Nothing will keep me from you”, he breathed, when they parted to gather air, “I will get my happy ending. I will make my happy ending. If I have to make alliances with people I personally despise, I will, because I want this, us, our happy ending. And our happy ending won’t end by the end of this year. Do you trust my word?”

“Yes. I do. We’ll have years, decades, centuries.” Tony lunged at him and swallowed Loki’s surprise with a groan. “Maybe even a millennium or two. We’ll go till the end of time.”

Tony sprung up from the bed and ran out of the room only to get back with a golden apple a minute later and sitting back on Loki’s lap. Loki carefully wrapped his arms around Tony. “Are you sure?”

“Never been surer about anything”, Tony said and bit into the raw apple, chewing it and gulping. “How much of this do I have to eat anyway?”

Loki chuckled with a blush, before pulling Tony in for another kiss. “As much as you can. Till you’re full.”

“I thought I was already... whoa.” Tony stared at his stomach that started to glow.

“Eat, dear. You’ll need a lot more food when you’re done with that.”

“This is so cool and also so weird.” Tony grabbed the apple with both hands and ate all but the apple core. Juice was running down the sides of his mouth and Loki leaned in and licked it off his face.

“Oh, yes. Really.” The juice ran down inside him and made Loki lean his head back in satisfaction. “Ohh... I’ve missed this so badly.”

Tony chuckled in front of him and they kissed again, with Loki licking in Tony’s mouth for a last bit of juice, which made them both groan.

“I love you, Tony. Forever and ever. Eternally.”

Blissed, Tony looked back at him. “And I love you, Loki, ever and ever, eternally.” He leaned forward, careful not to put too much pressure against Loki’s wounds and settling his head next to Loki’s.

Loki took the apple core from Tony and nibbled at it till only the inedible parts were left and he put them to the side, before taking Tony’s fingers in his mouth and sucking. “Not wasting anything, dear, healing properties, right?”

“They’ve got healing properties? Then why won’t you just eat one?”

“Like I said”, Loki answered, grasping Tony’s other hand, “Not wasting anything. They are for other people. But this, right here, this is either you or me and you’ll let me have this, right?”

“Suck as much as you want”, Tony said with a grin and purred in Loki’s lap.

Loki wrapped his tongue around Tony’s knuckles and swiped it between the finger, sucking the last bits of juice from the fingers, smirking when Tony’s breathing turned hot against his ear and Tony slowly rocked against Loki. When Tony moaned after another long suck on Loki’s part, the latter broke out into laughter.

“Sorry, dear. It seems like we’re going in circles today.”

Tony laid his head against Loki’s. “I don’t really mind, do you?”

“Not in the slightest”, Loki answered, taking Tony’s fingers in his mouth again, peeking at Tony, before sucking, only to smile, when Tony rocked up again and his head dropped back to the nape of his neck. “You are so beautiful, my mechanic, my love, my life.”

“Yes? You... you too”, Tony breathed, dropping his head forward again.

Loki wrapped his free arm around Tony and pulled him so close, that he was close enough, so Loki slightly felt the pressure and sting at his own body. He sucked the last few fingers in and smiled than at the satisfied look on Tony’s face.

“Do you know how cute you look when you let me take control like this?”

Tony flushed and smiled. “You like?”

“Oh, I love that. Pleasuring you will always be a goal of mine.”

Tony grinned and leaned his forehead against Loki’s head, gently slowing his breathing. “Good goal. Actually, great goal, fantastic goal, love that, want that as well.”

“To be pleasured or to pleasure?”

“Both. Of course, I enjoy getting pleasured, but both ways. Give and take.”

“Great. Me too.” Loki smiled at Tony and they kissed slowly, rocking back and forth, only splitting to slow their breathing, before connecting again.

They were fine, Loki decided. They were going to be fine. He’d heal and Tony would be there, every step of the way, maybe somewhere in there they’d actually become a normal couple with normal dreams and normal days. They may not be all that ordinary, but they can have a normal relationship and a family just like everybody else. Was it optimism or was Loki just hopeful? He didn’t really know, and he didn’t really care. He liked today. And he was sure he’d like most coming days.

Loki was home, here, in Tony’s embrace, being loved by this wonderful man he had met a little more than four years ago on New Year’s Eve. That night he had dreamt being loved and cared for, feeling safe. He didn’t know, if this was how it was supposed to happen, but he loved it.

Chapter Text

A few days later there was a new mission, Rhodey and Tony didn’t tell them why their Thunderer wasn’t joining them, at least not on the field, and Tony and Bruce didn’t say anything about Loki not being able to step in. Bruce was also on stand-by, they often tried to avoid code green, as the big guy most times made a bigger mess.

Cap was commanding over the comms and both Rhodey and Tony were rolling his eyes to Bruce’s and Loki’s amusement, because the view from inside the helmet was only seen by the two outsiders checking for things the others had missed. Thankfully the mission went off without a hitch and Tony had to stay for their celebratory dinner. Of course, the Avengers all invited Bruce, Loki and naturally, Jane to eat, but Tony had given the excuse, that Loki was being conserving his magic at the moment to be able to do a big spell, which only brought a lot more questions from the S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives, that Bruce and Loki decided they did not want to hear and in turn joined Jane and Runa in the kitchen for dinner.

Loki actually preferred food prepared at home, though he had not yet told Tony. After all, he heard from Pepper that Tony was not the best cook and didn’t want to pressure Tony into trying to provide for him. No, he planned on utilising having Jane there and helping her prepare dinner, so he could carefully test out which foods Tony liked and which ones he didn’t like, without him actually feeling like he has to pretend to like it so that Loki is happy. Jane had actually told them, if nothing really bad was going to happen, she would probably leave by the end of April and get back to work, or as Loki and her now tended to joke: ‘Midgardian studies’.

 

Loki was slowly getting better, although the most exciting part nowadays was seeing how much Tony could and would eat. At first he’d been ashamed, that he was still hungry, but then he realised that, not only did he feel a lot better when actually eating till fullness, but he had more energy, which resulted in him nowadays casually taking care of Runa, while working straight from one meal to another and only every once a while drinking coffee, because he was still very much addicted to it.

Bruce had also noted that the apple had aged his appearance down a little and repaired damage done by his former constant drinking and, in his younger days excessive smoking.

Because Tony was always keeping Runa around the workshop, slipping fully into awesome-dad-mode and handling both feeding and changing, Loki was left with only making her fall asleep, which most evenings also made Tony fall asleep to Loki’s amusement. Thankfully there was a bed near the children’s room in which Loki could lay Tony. In the early days of his recovery this had still been done by Bruce, who most times woke Tony halfway, but they hadn’t wanted to risk the stitches.

After two weeks most of the injuries were healed and Jean had cleared him for work again. Although she made a point in telling him not to go overboard and not too put continuous stress on his body. Which in turn still meant he was not actually cleared for active Avengers work.

But the missions did only come once a week at best. Tony had said in the wake of the attack on New York, superpowered crime had gone down for a while leaving them to have maybe one or two jobs a month, but they had a lot of work to do with the clean-up of New York. There were still facades damaged, roads that needed new tarmac and a whole lot of traumatised civilians. Well, not as much as probably any other city would have, in percentages. New Yorkers were tough. They’d lived through disaster before, they couldn't be kept down.

After one particular difficult mission the Avengers made use of the parking space at the mansion and Steve had carried an already asleep Bruce Banner to his room, while Tony, Loki quickly realised, basically on an immortality high, went to grab Loki and twirl him around, which surprised all the other Avengers present at that moment, especially Tony’s best friend, Rhodey. Loki suspected none of them knew of Tony eating the apple they had hopefully been thoroughly briefed on. On the other hand, they also didn’t know Loki had gotten hurt and he had flinched quite hard, when Tony had pulled him close, before the same person had started to apologise and kiss Loki’s cheeks. Loki had quickly invited the rest of the people in and then dragged Tony off to sleep of his high in the bedroom next to Runa’s room.

By the time Tony had fallen asleep, the still awake team had made good use of all the leftovers they had, thanks to Jane’s and Loki’s overcooking. When Loki had sat down with a slight wince, Rhodey was the first to ask questions.

“Did Tony hurt you?”

“What? No. You know that man couldn’t hurt a fly if he wanted to.”

“Then why are you in pain, Lo?”

Loki sighed and looked at the four people that had gathered around. Rolling his eyes, he lifted his shirt, still showing at least a dozen or so stitches.

“What the actually fuck?”, Clint almost shouted.

“It’s not as bad as it looks...”, Loki tried to calm them, before slowly moving his head with a frown on his face, “well it is, but it was way worse at the beginning.”

“Who did this to you?”, Rhodey questioned and Loki wished he could see if Rhodey really thought that bad about Tony or rather had Thor in mind.

“Short story, my own demons.”

“And long story?”, Nat asked seemingly counting the stitches and scars that had yet to fade fully.

“Long story, I have really fucked up nightmares which I didn’t realise could actually hurt my physical body.”

Although Rhodey still looked extremely stressed, he seemed to calm with knowing that it had not been Tony’s doing.

“When did this happen?”, Steve finally spoke.

“Umm, around three weeks ago, I believe.”

Now Rhodey stared at him in anger. “Three weeks you've been keeping this from us?”

Loki smirked a little. “Oh, there’s a lot more to hide from all of your judging eyes. I share with people but I don’t share with everybody to the same amount some things Tony knows, some things Fury knows, then there are parts that I’ve shared with Bruce as well and Rhodey, you and I have secrets too, don’t we? Well, those all aren’t really secrets, but information only disclosed at a later time. Feel yourself thoroughly briefed.”

“What do you know, Colonel?”, Steve asked the man.

“Nothing of value to you, Spangles”, Loki answered the man, “at least at this moment, I believe.”

“Well then, I got a question for you, when is Thor coming back?”

Loki laughed. “Do you see me dragging him behind myself on a chain? I’m not keeping the golden Prince. You can try cursing his name three times in a row in front of a mirror, but if you really do miss him that much you could either shout for the gate keeper Heimdall or send him a prayer. Very old mechanism, but should still work properly, although I could never attest to it, nobody has prayed to me, believing I was a higher being. You’d probably flatter the old fool and he’d never make you forget that you prayed to him.”

“Normally I’d say, you and big brother got into an argument and you have dibs on Earth to cool down”, Clint quipped.

“Maybe… maybe he’s just a mama’s boy and maybe Asgard needs its prince just like it needs its queen.”

Clint narrowed his eyes at him, but when he couldn’t find anything he sighed and threw his hands up. “Kay, what do we do now?”

“Sleep, angel?”

“I’m not sleepy.”

“We are definitely not throwing a party.”

“Wasn’t suggesting that either”, Clint murmured.

“Then, what are you suggesting, Agent Barton?”

“Scrabble?”

Natasha rolled her eyes and Rhodey groaned a little.

“You mean, only with English words?”

“Well, if you’re gonna start with Asgardian, we’ll never know if those are true words.”

Loki yawned, quickly holding his hand in front of his mouth. “Actually, I’m out for the night, any mess you make, you gotta clean yourself and please use the guesthouse to catch some sleep, if you don’t have a room like Rhodey does. J.A.R.V.I.S., keep an eye on the kids.”

“Of course, Master Stark, should I enact the ‘Watchdog’ protocol?”

“I’d prefer that. Night, kids, Mama’s going to bed.” Loki stood up and winked at them, before walking down the hall into the recovery room.

“What the fuck is the ‘Watchdog’ protocol?”, he heard Clint ask to the rest of the team and Loki snickered, before dimming the lights, changing his clothes and eventually laying down in the bed.

 

Loki didn’t wake because of J.A.R.V.I.S. or Tony the next morning, no, this time it was because of Rhodey entering the room already carrying croissants as a peace offering.

“Good morning, Colonel.”

“Morning, Trickster, you sleep okay?”

Loki nodded. “Yeah, J tends to wake me if I fall into nightmares, to keep me from ending up in a dream like that again, before I’m up on my feet again.”

Loki made grabby hands to the food and Rhodey handed it over with a grin. “How long is the recovery?”

“We’re thinking two, maybe three weeks more, by the time the remembrance event rolls around, I should be back up on my feet.”

“That’s good, real good.”

“Why, do you need me in the field?”

“Need? Nah, and you know as well as I do, that I don’t say who goes and who doesn’t go into the field. That’s up to Fury and Rogers.”

“Actually, I think it’s more up to who’s available and then who should and shouldn’t be in the field. I’m sure, if you guys would encounter aliens or magical problems, you’d call me in, regardless of my recovery-status.”

“Regarding aliens…”

Loki rolled his eyes. “What?”

Rhodey sat down on the side of the bed. “Why did you not tell them what I know?”

Loki sighed, putting the croissant down. “As much as I despise my brother at times, it would not show a good light on him or Asgard, if people would find out he thought lesser of women and could not accept the gender a person feels comfortable with. If it were to reach the public, it would be a PR nightmare. Thor will come around, I am very hopeful, even though we’re both a thousand years old, we can still change our views and accept that something we thought for years, is wrong nowadays. We might not grow physically, but mentally we are not set in our ways completely.”

Rhodey sighed and then nodded. “So, you don’t hate him?”

“I really couldn’t. But sometimes, oh sometimes, he pisses me off. He’s the reason they call me the trickster god. It would be too easy to just tell him what he did wrong, wouldn’t it? Let him suffer for a few weeks and then wait for him to come begging for my forgiveness.”

Rhodey laughed and then laid his hand on Loki’s shoulder. “Tony got really lucky with you. You’re both so similar and yet so different.”

“He got really lucky to have a friend like you, too. You look out for him.”

“Hey, don’t paint me as the responsible adult in this relationship, I did some shit in the past, too.”

Loki smiled fondly at him. “Now, will you let me eat breakfast in peace?”

“Yeah, yeah, team’s leaving anyway once the Hawk has fallen out of his bed and got filled up. I think Rogers is on his fifth run around the house, he apparently wakes up at 5 o’clock sharp, regardless of when he fell asleep.”

“Fun”, Loki answered with another roll of his eyes, “Get outta here, I’ll eat, freshen up and then make a big breakfast and food for on the road. Are you taking the suit back home or are they bringing you?”

“Actually, it’s in repair, Tony said he had some upgrades and if he can’t work them on, I’ll get a new suit.”

Rhodey nodded to Loki once more and Loki responded with biting into the croissant.

 

The smell of omelettes woke the rest of the main house, Tony walking into the kitchen in a resemblance of a zombie and snickered when Loki told him that.

“Brains!”, he exclaimed and proceeded to walk towards Loki like he wanted to eat him.

Loki snickered and held out a plate of omelettes to him. “No brains, but you’ll like it anyway, hopefully.”

Quickly Tony took a bite and moaned. “You really did good with all those trips to Earth that you didn’t do because of me.”

Loki turned Tony around and softly pushed him towards the table, only to smile at the two Doctors that trailed down the stairs.

“Bruce, for you, a vegetarian one and Jane, was I wrong, or did you say you liked champignons the other day?” He held out two plates to the now slightly dopey smiling guests.

“You are a godsend, Lo”, Jane answered and gave him a peck on the cheek.

“Hey”, Tony protested from the table, “kiss your own man, this one’s mine.”

Loki chuckled and turned back to the stove to get the next three omelettes ready. It didn’t take long for Nat to get hers with a smile only meant for Loki. Rhodey had said he was already full, and Tony gladly took his off his hands. When Steve came in, he told them that he was done with his eighth round and asked for two extras, that Loki had already mentally prepared for and had almost ready, when Steve came back, behind him trailing a sleepy Clint that took two sniffs in the air and started to drool.

“Loki, love of my life, water to my fire, arrow in my quiver, devil to my angel…”, he trailed off, as he slung his arms around Loki and taking another deep breath. “Can I take you with me?”

“Sorry, angel, I’m already taken. But you can have an omelette.” He somehow wrung Clint loose and distracted him with the smell of the meal on his plate.

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll take that.”

Loki walked to the table and took Tony’s plate. “More?”

“Mooore.”

Loki chuckled at the answer and gave him a quick kiss. “More it is then.”

“You sure you won’t get fat, Tony?”, Steve asked, a bit concerned.

“Hey. You’re not the only one at this table that uses the running track around here. And I can eat as much as I want. This is Stark castle, only those with the name Stark have anything to say around here.”

“House Stark it is? Tell me, is winter coming?”, Nat asked with a smirk.

“It sure as hell is.”

“What?” Steve looked irritated between the two and then shook his head. “Doesn’t matter, Stark, Tony, I just want to make sure you stay healthy enough to perform.”

“I am more than healthy, right, love?”, Tony shouted for Loki who was on his way back with two more omelettes on the plate for Loki.

“Always, dear. Eat till you’re full, I’ll eat the rest.”

“He’s eating more than me, that can’t be healthy”, Steve tried to explain.

“Do you wish for more then, Steve?”

Steve shook his head. “I’m full, thanks.”

“Loki and Thor both eat more than you, too. Loki just eats like at least five times a day, while Thor eats all that in two meals.”

“But they are Asgardians, you’re not.”

“Well…”, Tony said, swaying his head from one side to the other, “I’m definitely not a normal human anymore.”

All the people at the table, except Bruce, Jane and Loki stared at him in disbelief, before Rhodey started laughing. “You ate the apple, you sneaky bastard.”

“What can I say, I’d rather be healthy for the next hundred years instead of crumbling and growing grey.”

“And besides”, Loki said, “he has the best thousand-year-old outcast to guide him.”

‘Can’t believe you are so selfish to make him immortal’, growled Steve at him. Loki looked at Steve and blinked.

“What? Sorry, I blacked out, can you please repeat?”

“I asked, what you’ll be doing the next thousand years.”

Loki smiled sheepishly. “Yeah, uhm, no idea. First, still staying here, I think, right?”

Loki looked to Tony for help, who frowned at him. “Yeah, that’s the plan, if there is one, are you okay?”

Loki shook his head, before getting up and dizzily running back to the room and into the bathroom there to throw up. Both Bruce and Tony were right on his heels. Bruce sat himself next to the toilet, while Tony kneeled behind him, running a hand down his back.

“Talk to me, Loki, what’s going on?”, Bruce asked.

“Hallucinations.”

“Shit”, Tony cursed.

“That got to do with the madness stuff?”

Loki nodded and flushed the toilet, before cowering on the other side of it. “I don’t have enough yet, I can feel it.”

“How’d you know it was a hallucination anyway, sweetheart?”

“It was… out of character.”

Tony chuckled. “What do you mean, out of character?

“Steve would never be angry with me.” Loki laughed while tears streamed down his face. “I hate this.”

“And the day has just begun”, Tony murmured, before closing his arms around Loki and pulling him to his chest, “I’m right here, sweetheart.”

Loki sobbed quietly. “Why can’t it get easier? Why can’t things just be one at a time? Why do the norns pain me like this?”

Tony hummed and pulled him close, before pressing his lips against Loki’s temple. A pain shot through the trickster and he yelled out a few curses none of them would understand.

“Lokes, calm down, calm…”

Loki screamed through Tony’s pleas and shook his head, which only gave him more pain.

“Loki, breathe”, Bruce shouted and grabbed his shoulder.

Loki screamed at Bruce and stared up into the man’s eyes. Only when they flashed green, he stopped into a whimper. Bruce’s eyes didn’t turn back to his natural brown, as they stared at each other. Loki looked up into the eyes, hopeful, wondering if the one person would escape that could knock him out, that could hurt him as much as he needed right now. He didn’t want the drugs and the pain from his abdomen felt more like phantom pain.

Suddenly, Bruce, still green eyed, shoved Tony aside and grabbed Loki’s forearm and pulled him onto his feet. Loki followed him in trance, the heavy grip still on his arm. They walked out of the bathroom, out of the medical room, through the open area, where he could feel the stares of the rest of the team, as Bruce dragged him outside, down the patio and onto the lawn. A few meters away from the house, they stopped, and Bruce turned to him, taking his clothes off, until he only stood in front of him in only the new underpants Tony had designed. Bruce took a heavy breath and then finally slipped into the form of the Hulk.

 

Loki whimpered a little as the green man looked down on him. Then Hulk sat down and they were almost on eye-level. One of his massive hands lifted on Loki’s side and then a finger softly wiped away Loki’s tears. Loki choked on a sob and Hulk laid his other hand protectively on Loki’s back.

“Hulk hug”, he grumbled with his deep voice.

Loki sobbed again, before letting his blue body shift against the green one in front of him.

“No more scared.”

“Hulk let Loki go”, Loki could hear Tony shout from the patio.

“Hulk protect”, the man growled back.

“There’s nothing here to protect him from, he’s not getting hurt.”

“Tin man dumb. God hurt.”

The hand that had been wiping his tears away, settled on the back of his head and softly pushed him towards Hulk’s massive body.

“Hulk protect”, he said in a softer voice, “Loki cry. Hulk protect. Hulk hug.”

Loki let out a sob and let his walls fall, as he cried and shouted and banged his hands against Hulk, who only pulled him closer, while Loki almost fell multiple times, surely only still standing because of the firm hand on his back, his legs had given out long ago. When his sobbing ebbed down, Loki felt like he had let it all out.

The frustration of Thanos and ‘The Other’, the pain he experienced at their hands, being ripped apart and sewn back together, being opened and broken into, all he had pushed down, tried to make himself forget, he had let out and finally, it was not his anymore. The pain of seeing but not being able to act, from being held down, constricted at the hands of HYDRA and finally, after he had almost recovered those almost seven months he had spent in Fandral’s hands, raped, burned, tortured more heavily that could almost live up to all the hurt he’d experienced at Odin’s hands for centuries before that.

Loki curled up in Hulk’s arms, who slowly rubbed his back.

“All out?”, the bigger man asked, and Loki just nodded, not feeling pain anymore, as he moved his head. “Hulk protect”, Hulk said and gave a soft grin, seemingly feeling proud of himself in some way.

“You good, big guy?” Loki’s voice was breaking, but he was able to give a weak smile into the green eyes that looked so like his, in his other form.

“Hulk not smash. Hulk protect.”

“And Hulk hug. You give great hugs, by the way.”

Hulk huffed and then shook with a little bit of laughter, that made Loki smile in earnest now. Hulk lifted him up, into his arms, so that he laid there like a babe, like Loki and Tony carried Runa.

“How did you take over Bruce’s body anyway, without really taking over?”

“Hulk see Loki hurt. Hulk in house. Bruce not like Hulk in House.”

“Oh, so you saw through his eyes and when you noticed that I need you, you decided to take me outside?”

Hulk huffed with a nod. “Loki need Hulk more?”

“I wouldn’t mind having you around every once in a while, but you have to ask Bruce next time, okay?”

“Ask puny Banner so Hulk hug Loki?”

“Yes. It’s not very nice to take over someone’s body. He can’t do that, right?”

“Don’t know.”

“You’ve never let him?”

“Only want Banner. No want Hulk”, Hulk grumbled and shook his head.

“Well, I like you both. I feared you at first, feared you’d hurt me, and I think that’s a bit of how Banner feels too, right?”

“No hurt Loki, no hurt Banner. Only hurt bad people.”

“Alright then. But no taking over Banner’s body without asking anymore, okay? Because Banner won’t like that. Is he scared in there?”

Hulk nodded and pointed to his sternum. “Banner here. Banner not like me.”

“Does he not like you right now or always?”

“Now”, Hulk said in a sad voice, “Scared.”

“Pretty sure he’s wondering how long you could do that, take over.”

Hulk nodded again and Loki softly rubbed his hand against Hulk’s sternum.

“If it would be okay with you, could you let me down and let Bruce take over? As a peace-offering?”

“Peace?”

“Between you and Banner. You’re on the same side, right?”

“Yes. Hulk make peace.” Hulk set Loki down and smiled at the blue alien. “Hulk go now. No cry, Loki. Next time, Hulk ask Banner.”

Loki nodded and took Hulk’s hand. Hulk breathed deeply and then shrank abruptly, faster than any transformation ever happened, to Loki’s knowledge. Loki knelt before Bruce, as the man was sitting on the ground, like Hulk just had. He was still holding his hand.

“He, he didn’t hurt you.”

“No. He said he wouldn’t.” Loki helped Bruce on his feet.

“I, I could see bits and pieces. You talked a lot.”

Loki chuckled. “That we did.” He gathered Bruce’s clothes and gave them to the scientist.

“He didn’t shred them.”

“No.” Loki laughed now. “He didn’t burst out. Really, it was quite fascinating to watch him move in your body.”

“He…” Bruce stopped putting on his trousers and stared at Loki. “He can do that?”

“Yes. And I told him it’s not very nice. He can take over the body, but he can also let you take over. I would guess that you are both not in full control of the body. Calling it your body would not be wise. You are separate entities, sharing the same flesh. I know you might feel that it is yours, because you received Hulk a lot later, he wasn’t there from the beginning, but the truth is, that this is as much his husk, as it is yours.”

Bruce looked a bit worried. “I tried to get rid of him a few years back.”

“And I’m sure that shattered your relationship a bit. He is a sentient being, ridding yourself of him would result in his death. He is not you, at least at the moment, perhaps one day you will both share your thoughts, but till then, you will both recognise each other as not being one being but two.”

“Will he do it again, take over my body?”

“That, you should ask him. For what it’s worth, he could feel you, right here.” Loki tapped on Bruce’s sternum. “He agreed to ask you next time.”

“What for? Why does he want to be out?” Bruce huffed as he did the buttons on his shirt, only for Loki to unbutton it and do it right.

“He wanted to protect me”, Loki said in a soft voice, not willing to meet the scientist’s gaze, “To be honest, I quite needed it, a Hulk hug.”

Bruce stared at him, disbelieving and then slowly a smile fell on his face, before he grabbed Loki and pulled him close. “Alright, if he just wants to hug, every now and then, I think I can let him out for that.”

Loki blushed and nodded. “Thank you.” He straightened the collar of Bruce’s shirt.

“I think I need another omelette now”, Bruce said, and Loki laughed at that.

“Yeah, you might.”

“I don’t feel exhausted, like I normally do, though.”

“Maybe it’s because he really didn’t do much?”

“Yeah, normally I’m out for hours.”

“Or it’s because he didn’t fight you.”

Bruce looked up at him, as they climbed the stairs to the patio. “You think so?”

“It might be. I’ll bet it exhausts the both of you, because you’re fighting each other at those times.”

Bruce nodded as they came to the door. “And how are you?”, he asked finally.

“I wanna fall into bed and sleep for a few days. I don’t think I have any energy left.”

“That’s okay.”

Bruce and Loki stepped inside to see the whole team turn to them, worried expressions on all their faces. Tony handed Runa to Jane and rushed forward, pulling first Loki and then Bruce in a hug.

“You’re okay.”

“Yes. For now.” Loki pulled Tony back into another hug and buried his face into Tony’s neck. He breathed heavily, before letting Tony go and turning his attention to the team. “It’s okay, Hulk just wanted to give me a hug. It’s fine, Bruce is fine, no ripped close, I’m fine, just don’t start asking the next couple days if I truly am. I let my frustration out, got all that bottled up stuff out, you should try it every once a while, Hulk’s a great hugger.”

He waved it off and pressed Tony’s hand for a moment, before walking towards Jane with Runa in her arm. With a soft smile she laid her in his arms and Loki walked away, into the baby’s room, cooing at her, playing with her cute little fingers and toes. Oh, how he loved this baby. He’d never want anything else, just her. Keeping her safe meant everything to him. He had a family. One that Odin wouldn’t get to.

Chapter Text

The next few days, Loki wasn’t really himself. At least not the cheery person, always up for a quip or a flirt, that Tony and the rest of the house had come to know. Loki had curled up in his bed and rarely came out of his room. He still used the bathroom and showered, but when Bruce or Tony came by, he mostly just listened to their words. Occasionally he’d invite them to sit on the bed and Tony was sometimes pulled into an exhausted cuddle-session.

Loki didn’t really feel empty, he felt all the love around himself, but he had nothing left to fill him, it often felt. He really had let out all that pent-up anger, hurt and frustration. He was still exhausted, but lit up, whenever Tony brought Runa by. He didn’t feel sick, he still felt the sting inside his body, his body felt heavy, as if he couldn’t lift it, even though he could. He didn’t really sleep all that well, sometimes for an hour or two, sometimes he passed out of exhaustion. The strange thing about that was that he didn’t actually do much.

He felt the Seiðr coursing through his body and his body slowly healing. He knew other people came by as well, but he couldn’t so much as acknowledge their existence at the moment. When Jane came by to let him know she was leaving, he tried to send her a smile, but only his eyes were able to perform the motion. She stroked through his hair and kissed his brow.

“I hope you’ll feel better soon, Lo.”

Loki was able to take her hand and rasped: “You as well, Lady Jane, safe travels.”

She smiled at him and for a moment he thought he’d burst at the warm feeling in his chest. “I’ll make sure me and Darcy call. Would you like that?”

Loki nodded a bit and Jane kissed his forehead once more. His gaze followed her to the door where Happy was waiting. Happy waved at him for a moment, before leaving. Loki sighed loudly. Jean had taken out the last few stitches a few days ago and only some of those scars still remained. With a grunt, he sat up.

“J.A.R.V.I.S., where is everyone?”

“Do you wish for assistance?”

“I asked where they are, not for help.”

“My apologies, Master Stark, Sir is spending time with Runa in her room, Doctor Banner is in the lab at the tower, Pepper is working at the tower right now as well, anyone else you know of, is not in the two facilities you know about.”

Loki huffed and leaned back in the bed. ‘Come on, you bastard, get up, get out there.’

“Is there anything else I could do for you?”

“No”, Loki groaned and rolled himself out of the bed.

He swayed a little, as he walked to the bathroom. Slowly he undressed himself and stepped into the shower. For a while, he just stood there, letting the warm water run down his body. Then he turned the water to hot, until it was too hot, and he turned it unusually cold. Slowly he breathed, let his eyes fall shut, as he enjoyed the feeling.

On a whim, he asked J.A.R.V.I.S., if the pool was filled. J.A.R.V.I.S. told him, it had been filled a week ago, as it had been surprisingly hot out at the time. Loki didn’t recall that, but quickly dried himself and slipped into a pair of hot-rod-red swim trunks, covered with multiple Iron Man helmets. Swiftly he grabbed a new towel and walked outside, deciding to give it not a second thought and diving into the pool.

When he got up again, he laughed. He felt alive again. He took a few strokes and laid back on the water to stare at the cloudless sky, only filled by the trails of faraway planes.

“Lokes?” Tony came rushing down the stairs with Runa on his arm. Loki grinned at him and heaved himself out of the pool, before walking over and pressing a hard kiss on Tony’s mouth.

“I love life!”

Tony smiled at him and pulled him back for another kiss, before making sure Runa was fine. “Alright, get back in there, we’ll watch you.”

Loki smiled at him and kissed Runa’s head, before running back to the pool and jumping in with a flip. He heard Tony laugh and grinned as the man sat down a few meters from the water away, playing with Runa. Loki swam around and dove in the pool, till his stomach started to growl. Still a fond smile on his face, he lifted himself out of the pool and walked to his husband holding out the towel for him. He gave him a wet kiss on the cheek and Tony laughed it off.

“Lokes! Come on, food.”

Loki towelled himself off and dried his hair, before throwing the towel over his shoulder and taking his husband’s hand.

“Yes, food. Do we have anything left? Doesn’t matter, I’ll make something, anything.”

“Make anything you want”, Tony answered, before kissing Loki’s hand.

“Pasta. I’ll make pasta.” Loki smiled at Tony and they walked into the kitchen.

“Just in your shorts? Don’t mind me.” Tony kissed Loki’s cheek, then grabbed the towel to bring it away and come back with Runa in a sling around his body.

“J.A.R.V.I.S. do we have a happy summer playlist?”, Loki asked and then started to move his hips, when music started playing through the speakers.

When he turned to look at Tony, he found the man fondly smiling at him from the barstools, absentmindedly letting Runa play with his hand. For a moment he felt himself falter and Tony could see it in his eyes, as he perked up.

“I’m alright, love. Just a bit, unstable, so to say.”

“It’s okay. As long as you don’t try to die on me.”

“No worries. You’re not getting rid of me that easily.”

He turned away again to check on the water and, when he found it boiling, put the pasta in, after salting the water.

“J.A.R.V.I.S., put the timer to… eleven minutes.”

“Should I start it as well?”

Tony groaned. “J, you know you should.”

“Alright then Sir.”

Tony shook his head and Loki smiled at him. “I love you”, he whispered. For a moment he held his gaze, before glancing to Runa and sighing deeply. “I’m sorry, for not being able to do much, these last few weeks.”

“Happens”, Tony whispered back, “We knew you weren’t gone like back then; you were still there.”

“Is it weird, that I don’t know who I am, without all the pain of the last three years?”

“It made out a lot in your life.”

“And then there were the two of you. Just a little pain at the beginning, we tripped and fell, didn’t we?”

“Yeah, but then we got up and got right back to it.”

“I am so thankful for you.” Loki sighed again. “You’re the reason I want to live.”

“Not the only reason, I hope.”

Loki shook his head. “No, don’t worry, I also have to save the galaxy from inevitable doom.”

Tony laughed at that and Runa squealed in the sling, making the two parents turn and smile at the soon to be eleven-week-old. “I never knew kids would make me so happy”, Tony murmured, “Don’t think, I’ll ever want anything more than that. Could hang up the hero business for this kid.”

“Are you though?”

“Not likely, my husband might not like that very much.”

“What a weird person to enjoy you risking your life.”

“Yeah, he wants to become the only hero in the family, I think. Saving the galaxy and all that.”

Loki grinned, before turning a bit more serious. “But he’ll always come back home, because family is the most important thing in his life.”

Tony smiled. “I love you, sweetheart.”

“Especially in my trunks?” Loki turned and shook his hips, getting a chuckle out of Tony.

“I love anything you do and do not have on, Lokes, you know that.”

“I hope she doesn’t get our flirtation.”

Tony frowned. “I kind of hope she does but she also doesn’t. As long as we teach her to protect herself early on. Maybe Auntie Nat can teach this little devil something.”

“Do you not trust my own skills?”

“I don’t want her to go on a killing spree by the age of six.”

Loki laughed at that. “First of all, I’m sure we both know Auntie Nat had a very dark past, secondly, by the age of six, I transformed myself into animals and played tricks on Thor, which often resulting him getting stabbed in non-vital parts of his body, because he was too careless to suspect it not be an enemy.”

“All I hear is, you constantly stabbed your brother.”

“And he still loved me, for years to come.”

Tony shrugged and then looked to Runa. “Will she have all your powers?”

Loki smiled and then shrugged. “They are not powers, it’s her Seiðr, her magic, you could call it. Every being has the ability to learn spells, curses, transformations, some more easily than others. There are beings however that have no Seiðr or similar energies running through their bodies. There are also creatures that are filled completely with such energies, it being their body and mind. It’s up to Runa which spells come easy to her, what she wishes to learn and what she’ll do with it. It’s up to us to show her patience that she will never fall into sorcerers’ madness, if she even wishes to become one.”

Tony thought while nodding, before speaking his next words: “So, did I catch this right? Even simple humans like myself can learn magic?”

Loki chuckled, before turning back to the pasta, stirring the pot. “You have shown that you have great control of your inner energies, Tony, when you showed your ability to connect your energy to the bond, I had woven to connect our minds.”

It was quiet for a while, as Tony tried to wrap his mind around Loki’s words. “You mean to tell me; it could have failed?”

“I had no doubt that it would not fail. Your intricate understanding in magic or something scientifically unproven was already shown to me long before the Chitauri attack. Not because of your vile remarks while you were drunk but your unwillingness to give up without a fight and in that, creating something no one had ever done before.”

When Loki turned to check if his words had taken hold, Tony was teary-eyed. “You always see the best in me.”

Loki smirked. “No, love, I see the truth. Not your truth, not my truth, I see things for how they are. I might choose my words carefully, with people I do not know all too well, but you darling, never have to fear that the words I tell are deceit. I might not be able to tell you everything at one time and in turn evade clear answers, but my words to you shall never be filled with lies.”

“Damn that’s so sexy coming from your lips.”

“Show some restraint in front of our daughter, dear, at least until someone else is home to take care of her and you can bring me up to our bedroom to finally strip me of these trunks.”

Tony blushed and Loki snickered, before gathering ingredients to make a sauce and heat it, before J.A.R.V.I.S. finally told him the pasta was done.

 

It was Wednesday, May 1st, when enough friends had time to come by, watch Runa and assist, if either Tony or Loki would have a fallback due to the bonding. It was an intimate setting, seemingly more intimate than their wedding had been. Pepper and Happy were there for assistance with Runa, Rhodey and Bruce were there to oversee everything and Kurt and Jean had been invited for good measure and payback for their continued assistance. It was fronted with being a pool party, which was certainly not the only reason Tony and Loki wore matching swim trunks.

Loki was rechecking the runes on the ground for the twenty-sixth time, Tony had kept count and called him out on it every time, when Rhodey, hardworking soldier, finally arrived. To the two married, the still-denying-they’re-dating couple and the Colonel this date was very special. On May 1st, 2009 Tony had made it out of the cave and on May 1st, 2012 Loki came back to Earth. And now, on May 1st, 2013 they would be bonded to share a physical connection, that could both hurt them and bring them joy.

Loki looked over to Tony, worry and anxiousness written clearly on his face. He had told him in the morning, after Tony had awoken from a nightmare, that they could still blow it off, it would not have to be, they would not need to be bonded, he’d be okay for a while and he’d find another way, after all, what could a great sorcerer like him not do? Now Tony turned to him and let a heavy breath escape, before rolling his shoulders.

“Ready to do this, sweetheart?”

“If you are.”

Tony laughed a little at that and looked over to Rhodey. “Alright, Platypus, don’t ever copy the shit I do ever again.”

Rhodey frowned a little, before letting his face fall into a gentle smile. “You can keep that trick with flying a nuke through a wormhole all to yourself.”

Loki looked on the ground and Tony snickered. “Twenty-seven.”

“Shut up.” He kissed Tony fiercely and pulled him into position. “Arm’s around me”, he demanded, after taking his own place directly in front of Tony’s naked toes.

“Yes, Sir”, Tony answered and straightened, before chuckling at Loki’s crude look. “Yes, love”, he whispered and let his fingertips ghost over Loki’s blue skin as he laid his arms around him.

Loki’s own hands were safely on Tony’s hands and he kissed Tony’s cheek once more. “Thank you for doing this, love.”

“Hey, I told you, eternally.”

“I said it first.”

“You can’t make words only for yourself to use, Lokes.”

Loki chuckled and then straightened, before nodding to the group that was watching them safely from a few meters away. “Close your eyes, dear.”

“Done.”

Loki let his own eyes fall shut, before resting his head on Tony’s shoulder, feeling Tony’s head against his body as well. They actually didn’t need words to perform the spell, the runes and his Seiðr were all they needed, as it weaved around them, connecting to Tony’s own magic, even if it was very little, compared to Loki’s own, but Loki felt nostalgic.

“With this bond, you will not only hear me, when I need you, but feel me as well and I shall not just hear you, when you need me, but feel you the same. With this bond, you will find me through space and time, and I will find you through it as well. This bond will make our bodies one, so that any pain or joy will be felt by the other. I trust you to protect me and I shall protect you as well.”

The bond wove tightly around them, switching between burning hot and freezing cold and Tony stopped a shriek by biting into Loki’s flesh, making the taller man hiss, still he did not let the spell stop, he could not. Instead he pressed his lips to Tony’s neck with the intention of calming him, as the bond flared up once more, before slowly ebbing down. Only now he felt the fingernails buried in his back and he soothingly rubbed his own hands down Tony’s back, while speaking loving remarks.

When the bond was finalised, Tony almost slipped in his grasp and he quickly went down with the man, laying him in his lap, before tending to his own wounds, created by his lover. Tony was breathing heavily and the people around them were speaking quickly and over each other. Softly he took Tony’s face in his hand and stroked his hair back with the other one. Tony’s eyes opened and a bright smile fell across his face, his soft brown eyes now with a tinge of gold in them.

“Wow.” Loki laughed loudly and Tony quickly followed suit. “I’m just crossing my fingers and hope we’ll never have to do that again.”

“If we’re lucky first try does the charm. And with me there’s a high chance you’ll get lucky.”

Tony grinned and Rhodey groaned beside them. “Alright!”, Tony shouted and jumped onto his feet, Loki using a hand to steady him, “Barbecue, let’s go, Happy, where’s my celebratory steak?”

“First one on the grill, boss.”

“Fantastic, Pepper, can I have… No better not, I should probably not hold her right until I’ve eaten. Everybody, pool, drinks, food, enjoy yourselves, shoo, we’re fine.”

“So fine”, Loki breathed into Tony’s ear and Tony giggled at that. He kissed Tony behind his ear and then lifted to carry him bridal style up the patio.

Behind them, they heard a loud splash and a look back confirmed that it was Kurt who had jumped into the pool, splashing water at least a meter at the nearest border and both men chuckled at the sight. Loki and Tony sat down on the two-seater bench and Bruce quickly followed suit, while Rhodey and Jean joined Kurt in the pool and Pepper sat down on a lounger with Runa on her fit stomach. Happy looked very proud at the grill with his ‘Grill-master’-apron. Loki sighed a little. This was family.

“Ugh, I can’t wait till Saturday”, Tony groaned as he leaned back and then turned his head to Bruce, “Are you coming?”

“I’m not one for big events, Tony, you know that. I’ll be taking Runa off your hands for the evening.”

“Oh, come on, I could have Jane and Darcy flown in for that, I need my science-bro.”

“This is not a science event. It’s remembering and honouring all those fallen.”

“Bruce, I can’t believe you, even Rhodey is coming, and he was in Hong Kong at the time.”

“I’m not coming.”

“Publicity, man. Steve’s even giving a speech.”

“Is Thor coming?”

Loki sighed and nodded. “I spoke with Heimdall and told him how important this event is for the Avengers. He vowed to relay the info and got back to me with conformation he’d be attending.”

“Oh, come on, now I don’t have an excuse. Wait… You’re on security watch with Happy, no one will be home with Runa if I come.”

“Kurt?!”, Tony shouted in direction of the pool and the man quickly appeared dripping on the pool.

Ja, Anthony?” [Yes, Anthony]

“Can you watch Runa Saturday while all of us have to be at the event at the Avengers tower?”

“It would be my upmost pleasure. The little half-giant has shown große Freude in my tricks.” [great joy]

“There, it’s settled, thank you, Kurt, we’ll see you Saturday around noon?”

“I will be here not a minute after, Ehepaar Stark.” [literally: married couple Stark; he’s addressing Tony and Loki at the same time]

Kurt teleported back to the pool and Tony turned to Bruce. “See, no excuse left.”

“But… The Hulk could be a danger.”

“And if you feel him coming on, you can get out of there in a second and signal Loki so he can teleport you away, if you can’t calm down.”

Loki smirked. “Of course, the Hulk’s invited as well, Tony already had a suit made for him.”

“How do you even know his size?”

“He did spend some time in the tower and J.A.R.V.I.S. was kind enough to get in all the angles, why do you think your shorts fit so well and don’t even look a tiny bit tight when you expand?”

Bruce groaned as he let his head fall into his hands. “Can I at least approve it first?”

“Sure. I wanted to make it green, but Loki stopped me, even though his favourite colour is green.”

“And I’ll be wearing green Saturday, can’t have Hulk steal my show.”

“It’s not your show and you won’t even be down at the event. You’ll be up in the conference room watching all the screens to spot things J.A.R.V.I.S. might have missed.”

“J.A.R.V.I.S. doesn’t miss anything.”

“Yeah, well, that’s what Fury assigned you, Mister or Miss Scott.”

“Miss. Saturday I’ll be Miss. It’s safer.”

“You’ve been spoken free.”

“I know.”

“I don’t want you to change because you feel like you have to.”

“Well, I’m not changing my dress to a suit last-minute, dear. Lola Scott isn’t a woman you want to anger. You have to at least compliment her three different times on three different things.”

“Easy. Dress, shoes, hair”, listed Tony and grinned at Loki.

Loki scoffed. “I’ll see how well your night will go, Mister Stark.”

“Let’s first see how well this evening goes, Mister Stark.” Tony took Loki’s hand and kissed it gently, before his smile went bright at the sight of the juicy steak Happy was bringing over.

Happy put it down and then turned to Loki pointing his barbecue tong at him. “If I see you slacking of Saturday, Miss Scott or fawning after any of the patrons, including but not only, one Tony Stark, you’ll get fired right on the spot.”

Loki chuckled and nodded then. “Very well, Mister Hogan, I shall keep to myself and not intentionally draw any more attention to my person than any other woman at the event that I will not set foot in. Well, until the event is over, that is, if that is to your liking.”

“Good, now we got that down. Loki, what can I get for you, steak as well? And you, Bruce?”

“I’ll take something a bit lighter, if you have anything vegetarian, that would be great, otherwise, chicken will do”, Bruce answered, and Loki smiled at him.

“I myself take whatever you can give, but if you have a steak, I’ll take it gladly.”

Chapter Text

Kurt appeared on the patio at exactly 12 o’clock with a lot of different baby toys and DVD’s in his bag. Tony was drinking his fifth coffee of the day, after he only slept 4 hours the night before and woke up after a nightmare of falling in space again and not reaching the closing opening. Even though he hadn’t actually been awake at the point, all the Avengers had seen the footage at least two dozen times.

Loki was equally nervous, worrying if Thanos or ‘The Other’ were watching the events and planned on taking him. He himself had taken to eating a whole box of ice-cream while watching Tony run his third round along the patch on their property. And then, Kurt came, and that meant time was slowly running out till the start of the event in the afternoon.

Tony mumbled something about Germans and their punctuality, before walking over to Kurt and pulling him in a hug. “I told you around noon, that doesn’t mean point 12pm, you know that, right?”

“It would have been impolite to be late and unwise to be early, mein Freund.”

Kurt, so lovely that you could make it”, Loki said and pulled the man into an embrace himself.

“Your child is in very caring hands; I will protect her with my life.”

Both Loki and Tony chuckled softly, and Tony stated: “Let’s hope that doesn’t need to happen.”

Tony laid his hands on Kurt’s back and showed him to Runa’s room, while Loki walked upstairs. He could just transform into a woman and be done with it, but he planned on taking an extensive bath with a lot of rose-scented bath salts, body soap and scented shampoo and conditioner. All of those had been approved by Pepper, who had come to the mansion earlier in the day and would make Lola’s make-up, after Loki had confessed to not be particularly skilled in using this centuries make-up.

 

Lola was stunning, at least that could be said, as she walked down the stairs in the elegant long falling green dress, towards a gaping Tony and smiling Kurt. There were gold accents across her body as well, golden high heels, a golden belt along her waist, a golden bracelet on each wrist and a golden necklace that laid over the high neckline of the dress. Her raven hair was in a tight bun, bound by a gold band.

“Wow”, Tony breathed, in a suit that was nowhere near as beautiful as the whole picture Lola made.

“You look like you expected less.”

“You look almost as good as on our wedding day.”

Lola smiled at that. “I do have a pair of flats at the tower, although I love these heels.”

“Now you really make me feel small.”

“And I even took of two inches.”

“But you’re wearing heels!”

“You’re wearing heels too, dear”, Lola reminded him, pointing at the slacks Tony was wearing that only slightly hid, that it gave him a boost of at least an inch.

“I’m insecure.”

Lola chuckled and looked to the door, where Pepper was on a call. Then they could hear a shouted: “I’m here, I’m here, I didn’t fall asleep over equations”, from atop the stairs and all turned to where Bruce was hurrying down the stairs, fiddling with a tie and silently cursing, before stopping before the group of now two, Kurt had disappeared, probably to Runa. Bruce looked up at Lola and took a step back. “You look very beautiful, Lola, I love the green.”

Lola smiled at him and then took his tie into her hands, quickly binding it properly, before adjusting the man’s collar. “Now you look handsome as well, Bruce. Shall we?”

Tony nodded and gave her a hand kiss, noting that she wasn’t wearing the wedding ring and she showed him that it hung around another gold band hidden beneath the neckline.

“I’m still Miss Scott, Mister Stark, my heart might be taken, but my hand is not.”

“I do hope I at least get a dance at the end of the night.”

“When the event is over, maybe, Mister Stark.”

“Can I get in line?”, Bruce asked, seemingly a bit embarrassed by the question a moment after.

“Any gentleman or lady that treats me with respect can ask for a dance, Doctor Banner, so of course I’ll keep a spot open for you.”

She walked towards the door only to smile at Pepper as she hung up. “Is he on his way?”

“Oh, that wasn’t Happy. Rhodey’s having a bit of a delay, told him to just make it there if he can.”

“The dress suits you, Miss Potts, if I may say so.”

“Well, I’d say you look like a goddess, but that would just go to your ego.” Lola laughed at that. “The vest sitting tight, itching?”

“Tight but not itching, Miss Potts. It’s truly marvellous how it looks like it’s not there at all, truly masterful invention, Mister Stark.”

“You’re wearing a vest?”, Tony asked, staring a bit irritated and then poking at her side, before nodding. “She’s wearing a vest.”

“Any bodyguard must wear one. I also have pepper spray and a taser under this lovely gown.”

Pepper chuckled at Tony’s pale face and then opened the door to see Happy arriving with the car.

“Have a nice afternoon and evening, Kurt”, Lola shouted towards the living room and Kurt waved at them happily.

“You as well, have fun.”

Lola walked towards the front of the car and Happy nodded at her. “You look nice, all of you. Here, Miss Scott.”

He handed her a black box that opened to show a security badge, a pair of smart glasses and an earpiece for communication.

“Oh, this will be fun.” Lola grinned and equipped herself.

“Nothing fun about protecting people, Miss Scott, remember your professionalism.”

“Yes, Sir, certainly, Sir.”

“Good.” Happy looked to the back and noted everyone was buckled up, before rolling the divider up and starting the car.

 

At four in the afternoon the first guests finally arrived. S.H.I.E.L.D. was the first to introduce themselves. Lola stood next to Happy with a blank expression on her face as Happy rambled down all the man could and could not do and that they were very happy to host them. Fury introduced co-director Alexander Pierce and they both introduced their individual teams they brought, and Lola studied them all carefully. Some seemed a little more annoyed by the fact that in front of them was standing a Loki that was in control of all of his powers, at least as far as they could tell.

Of course, Pierce still wanted to shake hands with ‘their protectors for the night’ and Happy cited germs as being the reason not to do that. They both knew with the public’s approval of Loki being at a barely Thirty-seven percent, most stemming from people between the ages of younger than twenty-five and over sixty years old, the biggest risk to Loki’s or in today’s case, Lola’s life would come from people in the age-groups right before them.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel took up their posts, at least that’s what it looked like, from the monitor’s Lola was watching them. They certainly didn’t look like they were having fun.

“Fury’s on the way to you, do you need back-up?”, Happy informed her over the comm.

“No, he’s no threat. J.A.R.V.I.S. you remember the protocol about conversations with Director Fury?”

“Privacy mode and storage only on the private server if not requested to be deleted.”

“Thank you, J.A.R.V.I.S.”

“It’s a pleasure, Madam.”

Lola leaned back on the table, stretching her legs a little, before turning her head to the door at the approaching footsteps.

“Director Fury, how can I be of service.”

“It’s been a while”, Fury answered and leaned at the wall in his famous black coat.

“It sure has, One and a half months, if I’m correct.”

“You didn’t call, didn’t text.”

Lola chuckled a little. “Almost sounds like you missed me, Director. I hope I didn’t give you the expression we were going steady.”

Fury nodded a bit. “Last time I saw you, you were covered in the remains of an explosion.”

“I tend to be a bit dramatic. How have you been, Director, besides handsomely distracting?”

That got a chuckle out of the man. “I’ve been well, keeping a close eye on operations.”

“That must mean you haven’t focused on anything else, if you do that with your one good eye. So, why would you be worried about me?”

“Well, you haven’t been on any missions.”

“I’ve been preoccupied.”

“With what?”

“With staying alive, Sir.” Lola rubbed at her temple, willing the sometimes-reoccurring pain away.

Fury looked a bit worried. “Anything I should be concerned about?”

“Most of it has been dealt with, some I’m still dealing with, if we would be in need of your help, we’d inform you, Sir.”

“Are you back on missions then?”

“I’ve been available for back-up since Wednesday.”

“I’m sure we could pump up your approval rating if you’d be active.”

“I’m sure you could, and my suit is already prepared, but I’d rather not make it any civilian missions at the moment.”

“Alright then. Guess I’ll have to make do with that.”

“One question though Sir, if you please.”

“Yeah, go right ahead.”

“Is it wise to put someone in charge that only has a rank in their name so it would look good on posters?”

“Right now, he’s the one with the most experience in leading a team and is constantly available. The other option would be Colonel Rhodes who first and foremost works for the Air Force and not for S.H.I.E.L.D. who the team still works for.”

Lola thought for a moment, her gaze on the monitors, before turning back to Director Fury. “If, and this is a big if, Director Fury, if the Avengers are working for S.H.I.E.L.D. should not all costs fall on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s shoulders, including the upgrades Mister Stark constantly makes and the costs in occupying and feeding the Avengers while they stay at the so-called Avengers tower?”

Fury sucked in a bit of air and stared at her, before answering: “You’re as annoying as Mister Stark and Miss Potts on that point.”

“Then I guess, I am right, and the Avengers are actually working for Stark Industries, so you in turn have no vote.”

“Is this a takeover, Miss Scott?”

“Oh no, I have just begun to think a little for myself. Maybe you should do the same. You can’t always wait for them to make their move but have to move first before they can think of their move. You have to be prepared for everything.”

“What does that mean?”

“It’s just a reminder you should keep a close eye on things tonight. This event is a big red target. Of course, things could happen all over the globe tonight, but there is the possibility of people attacking the Avengers directly, here, tonight. Their approval rating may be at a little over eighty percent, but in New York it has been lower than in all other parts of the U.S.A., Fury.”

“And why would you say is that?”

“They believe the Avengers should have done a lot more to clean up the city. They feel like their heroes didn’t stick around after the destruction that was as much their fault as it was the Chitauri’s. Also, they don’t approve of SHIELD trying to nuke their city, which is why out of all the Avengers in New York, and only in New York both Iron Man and Tony Stark have the highest approval rating. They love their two sons of New York, but Iron Man prevented millions of deaths and Tony Stark gave jobs to many that lost theirs because of those events. The police tonight might love the soldier, but the people love their very own hero. He might be rich and sassy, but he was the one willing and ready to die for them.”

Fury sighed and shook his head. “I think I should get back to party.”

“Please do, Director, and every once in a while, you could thank Mister Stark for all he’s done and is willing to do for the Avengers, even though you don’t actually pay him.”

Fury rolled his eye and left, leaving Lola with a lone smirk on her face, her eyes following the black coat, before she turned back to the monitors watching as the officers with their partners trail in, enjoying the free food that was decked out on the tables. Lola thought it was suspiciously peaceful, but it was her default nature to be paranoid.

“Mister Hogan, does it seem to be going too well at your end?”

“Not yet, Miss Scott, a few people are on edge, a few seem worried, but most seem genuinely calm.”

“Even our S.H.I.E.L.D. friends?”

“They are playing calm so well, that, if one didn’t know what to look for, could think they are actually happy to be here.”

“And Miss Potts and Mister Stark are doing the rounds I see. Even Doctor Banner got into a handful of conversations as it looks.”

“Yes. Agents Barton and Romanoff will be arriving soon, with Captain Rogers in tow. How did your talk with Fury go?”

“Fine, could have gone better, could have definitely gone worse. I think I showed him at whose side I stand, as if he would ever forget it.”

“And otherwise, everything looking well?”

“My paranoid brain says no, but my actual assessment would be that yes, everything seems to be in order.”

“Any sign of our shampoo-model?”

Lola snickered at that; Tony had shown her several pictures of fake modelling pictures with Thor’s face cropped in. “Not yet, haven’t heard the rune-maker either.”

“Alright then, keep your eyes open, Scott.”

“On it, boss.”

Lola walked towards the swivel chair and sat down, languidly twirling in it, every now and then, between keeping her eyes on the monitors. Only those cameras that had shown movements in them were actually displayed, so she most times just focused on the new feeds popping up.

 

“Thank you for coming tonight, we are all so glad you could make it, all your brothers’ and sisters’ on the force that have to work tonight have been sent food to the stations, I hear.”

The laughter was weak, this was not the Captain’s crowd and him being the only one actually suited up, made him stand out as more of an outsider. Even Thor had found the opportunity to dress formal, even though it was Asgard’s version of formal.

Steve mentioned that Seventy-four humans died in the battle, including police officers, how there were combined efforts in still rebuilding New York, that none of them were giving up and the Avengers were making sure that it would never happen again, that they stood united on the front to protect New York, the U.S.A. and the world. Lola shook her head, as the cheers got a little better after that.

Steve wasn’t a good public speaker. The best of the Avengers down there probably would have been Rhodey, again, as Tony usually didn’t hold himself to talking points. But at least he and Bruce could read a crowd as good as both Agents on the team. But the Agents would have never done something like this, they were fine with doing the debriefs after missions. Rhodey couldn’t talk about New York, it wasn’t his place and Bruce wasn’t very good at improvising.

So, it was Steve, Captain America, the righteous hero straight out of World War 2. Lola thought these men, not soldiers, but simple men and women, that fought for their citizens every day, deserved more. Not a man that didn’t live in their midst, didn’t walk the streets they walked, wasn’t constantly confronted with the things that desperately still needed to be done.

After the battle, the man had seemed like an honourable man, one that was there to fight bullies and protect the innocent, now he just looked like a man that didn’t know how to adept. She didn’t hate Steve, goodness, no, but they all didn’t need a person who thought he knew best. She had heard the story of Captain Rogers probably as much as all the kids that had to learn about it in school, learn about how great of a person he was, how he single-handedly defeated HYDRA. If only he knew… If only they knew…

The Avengers took a team photo, Tony between Bruce and Rhodey, Nat and Clint next to Steve and Thor hovering a bit awkwardly between the two almost split groups, looking like he was the glue that kept the group together. Steve looked like he was trying to stand in the middle like the team leader he seemed to be, while Tony and Bruce joked, they weren’t Avengers, but rather consultants, as only their alter egos went to fight. Rhodey joined them and decided that the three of them were going to be the non-Avengers-Avengers in the photo. Lola sighed in the conference room and took out her phone to text Fury.

L: ‘Looks to me like the team needs team building exercises.’

F: ‘Looks to me like you’re not on the team and have no idea how good they work together.’

Lola smirked.

L: ‘Looks to me like a man that only ever performed with girls dancing around him can’t satisfy the people half a century later by himself. Really, did nobody tell him about the dress-code? This wasn’t a propaganda show to boost the Avengers’ rating. And if it was, it’s bad to make him look like someone that isn’t ‘just a Brooklyn boy’.’

F: ‘At least the blond and blue-eyed kid can keep to a script.’

L: ‘I think you need someone to handle the PR, I know a great person.’

F: ‘Someone who’s not an alien with green eyes and black hair?’

Lola snickered. That hadn’t even been the person she had in mind.

L: ‘You always suspect the worst. No, but she’d do a lot better job of appealing to the masses than whoever handles the Avengers’ twitter account now.’

 

“Umm, hello?”

Lola turned in her chair and put down her phone. Thor stood in the doorway. Lola smirked at him and crossed her legs.

“What can I help you with, Mister Odinson?”

“Umm, I wish to acquire the whereabouts of my brother, Loki.”

“I’m sorry, Mister Odinson, I haven’t seen Loki on any of the feeds I have, you’re welcome to take a look.”

“No, Umm, I believe you, Miss…”

“Scott, Lola Scott, Mister Odinson.”

“Lady Lola then. The Man of Iron had told me I could perhaps find him up here.”

“I’m sure you’ll find Loki, if you look hard enough.”

“Perhaps. Thank you for the assistance.”

Thor nodded towards her and then walked out. She snickered when he was on a different level than her own.

“J.A.R.V.I.S., did he seem as dumb to you as he did to me?”

“Calling your own brother dumb is not very nice, Madam.”

“Is it that much of a disguise that he couldn’t see through that?”

“I detected an elevated heart-rate, Madam, maybe that’s why he decided you could not possibly be the person he was searching for.”

Lola frowned for a moment and then laughed loudly. “That makes the game even more fun. If you’d please inform Mister Stark of the occurrence, I wish to see his reaction.”

“Will do, Madam.”

 

Lola was still chuckling when another member of the team found his way to her room.

“Agent Barton, anything I can help you with?”

“A bit of a distraction maybe?”

“Oh, the scene down there is nothing for you?”

“Too strung up. I grew up in a circus.”

“I’m aware. What about Agent Romanoff?”

“She’s figuring out which one of the available men she might get drunk enough and then take away for the night.”

“And that’s not a goal for you?”

“One, nobody wants to be in bed with a five-foot-ten archer, two, I’m not really one for one-night-stands.”

“Need the commitment?”

“You could say that.”

“Did anyone tell Rogers about the dress code?”

Clint rolled his eyes at that. “I’m not sure what he was thinking.”

“It was a very dull show, from what I could see.”

“At least the food’s great.”

“Can’t say I’d know, haven’t had anything yet.”

“What have you done all night?”

“Watch the screens, being bored, talking to people. Is it true S.H.I.E.L.D. wants to double the money raised tonight?”

“Show of good faith. And elections are coming up, so that could be a whole lot of money. Don’t know if you’ve seen, but there are actually news-vans outside, covering to their point the ‘most exclusive event to get into’. Tons of politicians wanted to come, only ones that actually got invited were the president, who decided it to much of a risk and the mayor, who is showing his big support of the N.Y.P.D. down there.”

“Seems very dull.”

“Yeah, to me too.”

“Glad I’m not down there then.”

“Why don’t you go take a walk, piss or something and I watch the screens for a moment, fine with you?”

“Sure, how long?”

“As long as you need, half an hour maybe?”

Lola enabled her comm. “Mister Hogan, I will be leaving my post for half an hour if that’s fine with you, Agent Barton is ready to step in.”

“Sure, Miss Scott, go right ahead.”

She turned back to Clint and smiled. “He said it’s okay, go run yourself dry, Hawk, have fun, don’t cause anything bad though.”

“I’ll keep the pranks at a minimum.”

“And J.A.R.V.I.S., you’ll tell me when my time is up, yes?”

“Certainly, Madam.”

 

After five minutes of walking across the floor and looking out of windows, Lola stretched before making her way into the ladies’ room to relieve herself and freshen up. For a moment she stared into mirror, wondering what Thor had found so intriguing about this form and why he had not thought it be her. She sighed again and washed her hands once more, before applying a bit of lotion to her hands, when a brunette stepped out of the stall and smiled at her in the mirror.

“Nice evening isn’t it?”, the lady asked, and Lola nodded quickly.

“Seems to be, food’s good?”

The lady watched her for a moment, before drying her hands and moving to the lotion as Lola had done. Finally, she spotted the earpiece and nodded in understanding. “You’re working.”

Lola laughed quietly. “Yes. Still, is it good?”

“Excellent. Can they hear you right now?”

“No-no don’t worry. It’s touch-activated.”

“What do you do?”

“Security. Half hour break right now though.”

“Didn’t think a building like the famous Avengers tower needed Security, thought that was mostly done by the A.I.”

“An A.I. is not really capable of apprehending people. It could also mark threats that aren’t threats which we, the personnel then have to investigate.”

“Couldn’t do that myself, way too stressful.”

“I take it, you’re a ‘plus one’ then.”

The woman laughed a little and then nodded. “May Parker, nice to meet you.”

Lola laughed. “Lola Scott, pleased to make your acquaintance.”

May nodded to the door and Lola followed her, pleased to finally meet someone not directly because of Tony or Thor. “So, Miss Scott…”

“Lola, please”, Lola interrupted her and then quietly saying: “Sorry, please go on.”

“Alright, then you can call me May. How long have you worked here?”

“Not long, I had applied last year, after all that went down, but then had to tell them I couldn’t commit, because I was called back home. Came back in January and just started last week.”

“Why wait so long?”, May asked, before looking irritated, “Sorry, I have no idea where I’m going.”

“Don’t worry, I can lead”, Lola quickly put in and led them down another hallway, before clearing her throat. “I gave birth to a little girl in February, it’s been a roller coaster ride.”

“Oh, wow. But you’re happy?”

“Very, she’s the light of my life. A friend is watching her tonight. Boss said I didn’t need to come, because it could go late into the night, but this event is paying extra because of the late hours.”

“Gotta get that extra check in by the end of the month, I get it.”

“So, what do you do, or is it just your partner working.”

“Oh, no-no, in New York with a growing teenager? I’m a nurse. And it would really bother me if I didn’t have anything to do than sit around and cook, which I’m terrible at, I keep trying, but in the end, Ben always saves me from the disaster that is dinner.”

Lola smiled. “My mother made sure all her kids could survive on her own once they got out of the house. I took to the skill of making meals out of scraps easier than my brother, who decided he needed to buy huge proportions which would go bad by the end of the month.”

“Sounds like a skill I’d love to learn.”

Lola blushed. “Oh, umm, I could always try to teach you a few things, if you don’t mind, of course.” She shyly brushed through her hair, that was still harshly pulled back and she blushed even more.

May chuckled. “Sure, I’d love to that, you could come over, bring your daughter, of course. Do you have a partner? That should have been my first question, wouldn’t want to steal you from him… or her.”

The black-haired smiled at that. “I do have a partner, but I’m sure we can come to an agreement, when he needs to spend time alone, that I could call you, if you want to spend time, or well, the other way around.”

May quickly searched for her phone in her handbag and Lola already held hers in hand, when she held it out with an overplayed “Hurray.” With a quick smile Lola held her phone over May’s, which surprised he, but the ‘ding’ informed them both that their numbers had been exchanged.

“You have a StarkPhone, my nephew would be freaking out if he saw one of those, after not even the richest kid in their class was walking around with one, him and his best friend decided they were a myth.”

Lola snickered a little, while naming the new contact as ‘May Parker – nice nurse, who wants to learn cooking’ and said then: “It’s a curtesy of the job I work for. Actually, it’s more of the fact that Mister Hogan couldn’t see me walking around with a breaking down flip phone anymore and basically dragged me to show it to Mister Stark himself, who started to coo at the phone, before looking through a few drawers and handing me this. When I tried to refuse, he said something about protecting a mother-to-be and the horrors of an unusable phone in the times they are most needed.”

“And your partner?”

“Oh, Mister Stark offered to give him one as well, because he didn’t want it to break anything between me and my lover, but he refused, noting his iPhone worked just fine, which Mister Stark scoffed at, which he thankfully couldn’t see, because the conversation was over the phone.”

May laughed a lot, but before she could say more, J.A.R.V.I.S. chimed in: “Miss Scott, your break is almost up, I would recommend leading Mis’ress Parker back to the elevator, before going back to your post.”

“Thank you, J.A.R.V.I.S.” Lola held out a hand to the hallway. “Shall we?”

“We shall.”

 

“Enjoy your walk?”

“It was most delightful, Agent Barton, I believe I made a new friend, all on my own.”

“A, as a good friend of mine would say, fruitful walk then.”

“And you, did you enjoy your time here?”

“It’s almost more exciting as being down there. Thor brought some Asgardian Ale and is getting Rogers drunk. Banner refused, citing the Hulk, as always. J.A.R.V.I.S. has locked Rogers out of the Quinjet, where his shield is, because they started joking about re-enacting something that happened before you arrived on the Helicarrier. Now I’m just waiting for Nat to join the party again, seeing if they can get her to get the shield. I sadly can’t do it, when I told J.A.R.V.I.S. it would be fun to see, he locked me out, too.”

Lola laughed loudly. “Alright, go, but don’t drink too much, if it can get Rogers thoroughly drunk, I’m sure you would pass out.”

“All I see is, that you just challenged my manhood.”

“Sure, go fight back your title as the most feared Avenger, Barton.”

Barton jumped up and bolted from the room with a shouted: “For Honour!”

Lola could almost hear the shout of Thor in her head: ‘For Asgard!’ that would almost sound like an often imagined ‘For Science!’, from Tony.

She sat back down on her swivel chair and glanced at the cameras surrounding where the Avengers had parted from the party, only noting that Rhodey and Tony did not join them, and Bruce seemed to be uncomfortably looking towards the main party. Tony, Rhodey and Pepper seemed pretty comfortable talking with the officers and some of the S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel had drifted off in groups like the Avengers. There were also multiple people dancing on a cleared part of the room, which made Lola smile a bit.

“What did I miss, boss?”

“Not much, Thor and Steve are being unsocial, who could’ve guessed, I thought at least one of them would try to come down from their high horse.”

“And Agent Romanoff is coming back with a slightly creeped out man, it looks, not my problem. Barton’s on his way down, too.”

“Tony and Rhodey are like angels tonight, they got that interlocked friendship going on that apparently goes back to M.I.T. and Pepper…”

“Seems to be in her natural element, I made a friend, or at least an acquaintance.”

“Did you have J.A.R.V.I.S. clear him or her yet?”

“Where would be the fun in that?”

“Security. J.A.R.V.I.S., please check.”

Lola groaned and watched while Fury and Pierce seemed to be in an intense talk over what seemed to be their seventh bottle of beer.

“The friend Miss Scott made, appears to be clean, just like her friends and family. A good choice for some friendly interactions, if I might add, Miss Scott.”

Lola groaned again and rolled her eyes. “See, boss? I’m not making bad choices in friends.”

Chapter Text

It was actually pretty sad how little happened that evening, by 7 o’clock, Lola’s eyes were getting droopy while she watched the Avengers sans Bruce, Tony and Rhodey, playing either ‘Never have I ever’ or ‘Truth or Dare’, it seems to change every other round, depending on the person, Nat always went with ‘Truth or Dare’ and Clint with the other, while still spinning, which made no sense at all. Thor seemed a little confused and always went with what came before, if the bottle had landed on him, while Steve tended to do the exact opposite.

The only thing that drew Lola’s attention was, when Tony almost fell, cracked a joke and then worriedly looked into the nearest camera, before whispering something to Rhodey. After that he sat down with Pepper who was in a conversation that involved Bruce and seemingly a couple scientists that were partners of officers.

“Hey, Lola, Rhodey’s coming up, everything alright there?”

“Y-yeah, why?”, Lola asked back, before twirling with the chair and not seeing anything out of the ordinary.

“He said Tony wasn’t feeling steady, said it wasn’t him.”

“Umm, yeah, he could be right”, Lola said, staring at the still moving room, even though she had stopped the chair and her naked feet were planted on the floor. “Hap?”, she asked, feeling tears pricking her eyes, “I think, I need a doctor.”

“I need to get Tony out of here, gonna send Bruce to the med ward, just wait on Rhodey, okay, Lola, he’s coming to get you.”

“We… we need to… we gotta handle it quietly…”

“Well, the party’s already basically over.”

“Tell Fury, but only if he’s alone.”

“Right, alright, now shut up, Lola, let us handle this.”

“Gotcha, boss.” The room had finally stopped spinning, when Rhodey ran in. “Med ward, now”, she rasped and Rhodey quickly helped her up.

“What’s going on?”, he asked in a small voice, while he almost carried her down the hall.

“Dizzy, don’t know why, not normal dizzy, don’t know why, didn’t touch anything.”

“Shit, J.A.R.V.I.S., can you figure out when this started?”

“Madam has not shown any physical signs of a possible attack, but her body temperature has been steadily dropping since the beginning of the night.”

“So, it’s at the tower? Does anyone else have similar issues, excluding Tony.”

“No all humans have been and are in the same physical health as they’ve been in when they entered the building, minus probably a few liver-issues in the Avengers corner thanks to the alcohol Thor has been giving out. The Asgardian seems to be non-affected as well. Madam, might this have something to do with what you and Fury spoke about at the beginning of the evening? I did not deem it as critical then, but now it seems to me that rather than any of the Avengers that were actively at the party, our very own trickster might have been a target tonight.”

“And it looks like they got her. Just how, J.A.R.V.I.S.?”, Rhodey huffed, when he leaned Lola against the side of the elevator. “Gosh, you’re cold.”

“It would seem, that the only way they would have been able, quote unquote, get her, would have been through the air we all breathe. The Avengers tower has its own ventilation system that has been explored thoroughly by Agent Barton. I would recommend getting him sober and involved in finding the source, after you’ve brought Madam into the airtight chamber, I have already tasked Bruce with assembling. Miss Potts is disbanding the party, using Sir and the drunk Avengers as reasons and is indulging in letting people take home the leftovers.”

Lola took a few breaths and immediately regretted it, smashing her head against the side of the elevator, right before it opened.

“Come on, Lola, just a few more meters, we got this. Bruce?! Mind lending a hand here?”

Bruce quickly rushed over and grabbed her from the other side, together they dragged her over and heaved her onto the bed, Bruce quickly taking blood samples, before they made sure the room was really airtight and J.A.R.V.I.S. exchanged the air to clean one out of stored bottles. Lola slowly stripped herself of all her jewellery, the taser and her pepper spray that landed together with her phone on the table next to her. Then she laid back on the bed and sighed, before she pulled off the glasses and earpiece she’d forgotten, her security badge had come off, when her necklaces did.

Her glance went across the room outside the clear walls that surrounded her and a few appliances, including a little bathroom hidden behind a not full-height wall. Rhodey was pacing around the room, in front of the elevator. When Fury stepped out, they talked muted, before Rhodey stepped into the elevator J.A.R.V.I.S. must have waited with. Fury sighed visibly as he stepped in front of the room Lola was contained in.

“Can’t change your whole genetic code, I see.”

“And here I thought you’d find it amusing that none of the real Avengers were harmed, but the one that predicted the attack.”

“Predicted or foreseen?”

“If I’d foreseen it, Director Fury, I would not have been here tonight.”

“And still you couldn’t predict someone would come after the person that destroyed New York, a year after that event?”

“The public didn’t and still doesn’t know where I’m held. So, do tell, Director, who knows?”

Fury sighed before grabbing a chair and sitting down in front of the clear wall. “Level 7 agents can know who you are and that you’re a part of the Avengers Initiative, Level 8 agents have the information that you’re on Avengers ground, while it isn’t even recorded which other facilities qualify as such. Level 8 agents also knew that you’d be in the tower tonight for extra security.”

“The worm is higher than you thought?”

“Yes. And now I have four drunk and two benched Avengers out of eight, while the other two are working to solve the issue.”

“Guess you have some sobering up to do, how are you not drunk?”

“Made the servers bring me non-alcoholic beer filled into bottles of alcoholic beer.”

Lola smirked and nodded impressed. “Smart.”

“I’ll go and get the team back to full function mode.”

“And I’ll go and change.”

She watched Fury stride back to the elevator, before she made careful steps to the bathroom and switching her clothes to the medical gown and then switching back to Loki. His white form looked a lot bluer in the mirror, as he washed off the make-up, before undoing his hair and only containing it in a loose knot, that barely held all his now original-length hair.

When he sighed heavily, he noticed that he was omitting cold air, which would have been fascinating in any other situation to see small snowflakes falling in front of him. Now it was just weird and the sign of something possibly deadly. He walked back to the bed and quickly pulled the covers up, before grabbing his phone and calling Jane, quickly putting it on speaker, out of fear his skin could freeze the phone.

 

“Jane’s phone”, a charming voice sounded, and Loki smiled a little.

“My, is that the beautiful Darcy I hear?”

“Lo! You never text or call!”

“You’re not the first person to tell me that tonight, Darcy, how are you?”

“I’m great, did you miss me? Oh wait, you called Jane’s phone, how dare you miss her, you saw her last week and she said you were barely moving, so, umm sorry, whenever you wanna call me, I’d love to hear from you.”

Loki chuckled a little. “Listen, Darce, is Jane there? I’d love to stay and chat, but this isn’t actually a social call.”

“Did something happen?”

“Yes, that’s why I need Jane.”

From the background a voice could be heard: “Is that my phone, Darcy? Give that here, right now!”

“Oh, Alright, here you go, but call me, Lo!”

A moment later Jane answered: “Loki, is that you?”

“Yes, my dear. I need your help with something.”

“Do I have to come back to New York?”

“Not at the moment, I just wanted to know, if you indeed learned about Frost Giants on Asgard.”

“What’s going on?”

“I’m back to a medical bed, again. It’s quite annoying, would you please answer my inquiry?”

“Yeah, I learned about Frost Giants, what do you want to know?”

“Cold a severe dip in their already cold temperature hurt them?”

“What have you gotten yourself… Wait, I’ll look in my notes, give me a moment. Was there a battle, shouldn’t there have been some remembrance event today?”

“Aerial attack it seems, didn’t notice until Tony started to feel uneasy, could have been too late, if we wouldn’t have been bonded since Wednesday.”

Oh, great, I mean the bonding thing, not the whole attack thing. Here it is… ‘Frost Giants appear to react with convulsions when their core temperature is raised past’, umm, what would come to 50°C, but that doesn’t matter right now, where, ah, here… ‘They also appear to go into cryogenically induced shock before freezing when their core temperature is dropped below’, yup that sounds right, -50°C. ‘After bringing the Frost Giants back to their normal temperature, the ones whose temperature was raised appeared non-responsive, the ones whose temperature was lowered appeared rather fine, it seems that lowering their temperature can put Frost Giants into forced hibernation, while the other method is a much more…’ you don’t wanna hear the rest, believe me. There were whole sections on torture in that book and I don’t even want to know how they know that stuff, but there was something added about Frost Giants in hibernation being easy to cut up.”

“Fantastic”, Loki murmured before sighing, “J.A.R.V.I.S. you got all that?”

“I am sending the information to Doctor Banner. You have my greatest thanks for learning something important in your time on Asgard, Doctor Foster. I will make you the expert on Frost Giants from here on out.”

“Oh, huh, no worries, just feel better, okay? If there’s anything more you need, maybe just a talk, Darcy and I will always pick up for our favourite alien.”

Loki grinned. “Hah, now I have something to put over Thor’s head. If there are any developments, I’m sure J.A.R.V.I.S. will send you a quick text.”

“Will do indeed.”

“Okay, bye then, Loki.”

“Goodbye, Jane.”

Loki hung up and put the phone away and laying back on the bed. “How’s it looking, J?”

“The cooling has slowed but shows no signs of stopping, it seems that the more you inhaled the faster your temperature dropped, while your own body was battling against it, yet the already inhaled substance has a seemingly long term affect of lowering your temperature at a faster rate your body can battle.”

“So, how bad is it now?”

“It is at -22°C, I am still calculating when the critical temperature will be reached, I don’t have enough points yet to calculate the new curve, at the old rate, you probably would have reached critical rate at around half past eight.”

“On the bright side, I would have been fine once they’d have found a way to increase my temperature, please instruct Doctor Banner to find a way to stop my temperature from decreasing more before attempting a cure. I think the dizziness could be dealt with food and a little to drink.”

“I will find a way to get those to you. At the moment I will have to express by dearest apologies for my late action.”

“Well, we would have noticed once I’d have turned frozen.”

“My primary function is to protect Sir’s family and all those he holds dear, I should have at least informed you of the development, Master Stark once it went over perimeters it had crossed before. I feel that I am in dire need of an update.”

“Well that’s not my function, J.A.R.V.I.S., send your apologies and request to the right Stark.”

A chuckle came from Loki’s side and he looked up to see that Rhodey was back. “You look like you’re feeling a bit better.”

“Good news, Colonel, this infection or whatever you wanna call it, won’t kill me. Well, unless someone starts cutting me up, otherwise I’ll be totally fine. Bad news, temperature is still going down, just slower.”

“Well, I’ll take the good news and see if I can help Banner combat the bad.”

“Nooo… Don’t leave me, sight for sore eyes.”

Rhodey chuckled. “I’m pretty sure that I have no knowledge in anything biological or chemical above high school level, so the most I’ll do would be running things to different places. Pepper and Happy have gone to the mansion, because Tony himself refuses to leave, and while I’m a bit irritated why Fury’s clearing out S.H.I.E.L.D., I’m happy that we’ll handle this on our own. Well, as much on our own as it will be, till Tony decides that we need a few dozen scientists and medical personnel. He’s already constructing a list that will go in effect once Banner says, that he can’t do it on his own. At the same time there will also be sent out a message from the Avengers tower that an attack against a member of the team has happened and they, we, are working to come to a solution.”

Rhodey groaned and then whispered: “I really hate my job sometimes.”

“You could always work for the Avengers fulltime; I’m sure Tony would give you an allowance.”

Rhodey rolled his eyes, before turning to leave. “You Starks really are obnoxious.”

“But you love us anyway”, Loki answered with a grin.

“That, I do”, Rhodey said and started to walk away, murmuring once more: “That, I really do.”

 

True to his word Bruce tried to find a solution for an hour while two not fully sober agents started crawling through the vents at about half that time. Because of their drunkenness they were expectedly slow and had not shown results yet, while Tony had apparently begun building small robots with cameras attached to them, with Rhodey’s help, while Fury started to assist Bruce, who seemed eager to boss him around for a change.

Steve got benched because he was too drunk to function properly, as he had not been drunk since before his transformation, and Thor got benched because he gave out liquor to people who could have quite possibly died from it. Loki instead had started to browse all the books in his dimensional pocket, careful not to touch them and always staying on the cold-resistant blanket. With his Seiðr he flipped the pages and cursed every once a while, when another book had not brought any results, Happy was still not back with the rest of the books out of his library he had requested twenty minutes ago. At least he had been fed, which stilled the dizzy feeling.

And now, Bruce had sunk down on the table Loki could barely make out from his position and said out loud: “J.A.R.V.I.S., I don’t know what to do anymore.”

Loki’s head had shot up and he had looked slightly surprised to the man who always seemed to have all the answers, but now seemed so helpless.

Just a minute later, after J.A.R.V.I.S. had probably already gotten the command out and informed the Avengers not in the room, Bruce got up and turned to Fury. “If you plan on staying here, Sir, mind getting me a coffee? Otherwise, stop hovering around me and start crawling through the vents.”

Fury growled a little as he walked away, and Loki chuckled. “If I didn’t know better, Bruce, I’d say that was the Hulk talking. But he isn’t as well spoken.”

Bruce was about to answer, when J.A.R.V.I.S. announced that one Doctor Elizabeth Ross was calling him. Loki and Bruce stared at each other for a moment, the former recognising the name from Bruce’s memories. “Umm, accept the call.”

It was silent for a moment, before a soothing female voice could be heard: “Bruce, what the hell is this?”

“Umm, Betty? Why, what’s going on?”

“Don’t Betty me. This: ‘Anthony Edward Stark and Doctor Bruce Banner cordially invite you, Doctor Elizabeth Ross, to a night, or more, of science and figuring out how to stop an already naturally cool alien from freezing into hibernation. Starting today, tonight, right now, join us personally or over chat as soon as you can, or decline, your choice, but it could be real fun and is great for new job opportunities, the Avengers can always need more Scientists or actual medical Doctors.’ What the hell did you do this time?”

Bruce groaned. “Damn Tony… So, is that a yes, you’ll join us?”

“Fine, fine. So, you’re okay?”

“I’m not an alien last I checked, so, umm, yes, I’m fine, been fine for a while now. Hulk says hi, by the way, we’re talking nowadays, at least a bit, are you okay?”

“Yeah I’m good. Gonna go down to the lab now and get working, talk later?”

“Yeah, later, that’s good.”

“And say hi back to Hulk.”

Bruce had a fond smile on his face after she hung up, before he saw Loki’s look. “Not. A. Word.”

Loki chuckled. “Fine with me, Bruce.”

When the elevator doors opened again, Loki almost hoped it would finally be Happy, but was pleasantly surprised when Tony walked to them.

“Lokes, turn blue and strike a pose.”

Loki raised his eyebrow, before turning the aforementioned shade and breathed out a kiss with a hand near his chin towards Tony’s raised phone, creating a cloud out snowflakes. Tony snapped a picture and giggled then.

“This is so cool, you know, if it weren’t because of all the not so good, super-bad, people thought they could probably kill you with it. Also, this will be my new phone wallpaper, you, kiss-hand, floating books around you, amazing, shoulda taken that modelling job, love.”

Loki laughed at that. “How are you feeling, dear?”

“Bit of a stomach-ache that I don’t really get, because it’s not hurting you, right? Otherwise, fine.”

“I’m glad.”

“Also, I heard multiple things tonight. You made a friend?” Tony sat down on the ground in front of the clear wall.

“Hope so. She seemed nice. And J.A.R.V.I.S. did clear her.”

“Wouldn’t care if he didn’t, I mean, do you see what kinda friends I make? My husband’s the God of Chaos. Love ya, dear.”

“Love you, too. Just seemed a bit lonely to know, that I know all the people around us purely because I know you. And the only people that I spent time with on Asgard, did so because of Thor or my title. Most of the friends I made on my own are long gone. So…”

“Glad you got to make a new one then. Even though that kind of makes us have to keep up with all the stories you tell her.”

“I’ll probably tell her a rendition of the truth next time I see her. The truth probably being that I work with the Avengers and live at the tower with my little baby girl, that the ‘lover’ I spoke of, is just all the people on the team basically squashed into one. Or maybe even that I’m an alien and the lover and father of my child is someone on the team, however reliable and trustworthy she turns out to be, or well, up to you.”

“I like the first version, only implement the second version if you really trust her.”

“Will do, darling. How’s the search for the source going?”

“Waaay to slow, the tower has way too many levels and the Agents are not really moving much, I think Clint fell asleep again.”

Loki chuckled. “How one can fall asleep in such a tight space is still a mystery to me.”

“And you, coming along?”

“Waiting on Happy and the rest of my books. No luck yet. Your e-mail sounded nice though.”

“Oh really, how’d you get it?”

Loki looked to Bruce who just turned away from them, a blush on his cheeks. “Doctor Ross called.”

“Oooh, right, I added her, hey, she does something biological and already knows an Avenger, of course she’s on the list, Brucie-bear.”

“She didn’t seem very amused.”

“But she accepted, didn’t she, dear?”

“She did. She’s an awesome gal, Bruce.”

“You don’t wanna get to know her father”, Bruce said back to the two.

“Already met him, when I was looking for you. I don’t even want to know who came with the nickname ‘Thunderbolt’, but maybe Thor should show him what real thunder is.”

“Oh, we speaking about General Ross?” They hadn’t even realised Fury had come back, before the man put down a cup on Bruce’s desk. “The man has bothering S.H.I.E.L.D. ever since New York, says we should hand over the Hulk and stuff like that, don’t worry, Doctor, he won’t ever lay a hand on you.”

“Or Hulk, hopefully. That bastard can go rot far away.”

“He seemed to think Hulk and he were overdue for a talk after he had let him get away back when Harlem was happening.”

“And the W.S.C. after that whole event wanted Blonsky on the Avengers like maniacs?”, Tony countered, and Bruce stared between them. It was silent until Bruce finally said something.

“The World Security Council wanted the Abomination on the team? That guy shouldn’t even have been able to pass his psych evaluation. He tried to… He killed a lot more people than Hulk that day. Now the whole sending a nuke on New York makes sense, these people are insane!

“I still gotta go by their rules, they oversee all this shit, especially the Avengers. Man, do I hate them, but I still gotta play nice. Y’ know, they wanted us to stop looking for Rogers and I went against their orders. Only got back into their good graces by helping out Stark here with his little heart problem, stopped the Army from getting you, Banner, making friends with Thor and well, picking up the scraps of the Destroyer, as Thor had called it.”

“What have they got you working on now?”, Loki whispered, just loud enough for them to hear.

“Project Insight.”

Tony thought for a moment and then said. “Well, then, I think I might have a few calculating issues and a few time-conflicts because Miss Potts might need help running the company, don’t you think, Fury?”

Fury gave a half-smile. “That seems to work just fine for me. Not so much for Pierce though, he really loves this project.” He gave a raised eyebrow towards Loki that made understand.

“He on the W.S.C. too?”, Loki asked.

“Incidentally, yes.”

“That means, I could have maybe accidentally deleted all the files that I worked on for the new turbines and maybe had no back-ups and a very bad memory, you know me, forty-two is the new ninety”, answered Tony.

“This hypothetical conversation never happened, right, J.A.R.V.I.S.?”, Loki asked with a sly smile.

“I have no idea what you have all been talking about since Director Fury came back into the room. On another note, Sir, you still wanted to give me an update and a few Doctors and Scientists are en route to the tower, they would surely love to be greeted by one or more Avenger, maybe someone more recognisable than Colonel Rhodes and liked, so I recommend Doctor Banner.”

Loki laughed at that while Tony scowled at the ceiling. “I am liked.”

“But in the scientific field a lot less than Doctor Banner.”

“You know, J, if I didn’t love you so much…”

“You’d finally start working, Sir?”

“Who raised you?”

“You did, Sir.”

Tony groaned and got up. “Let’s go, Brucie-bear.”

After the two left Fury turned to Loki and pointed at the ceiling. “That happen often?”

“I wouldn’t know, he treats me with the necessary respect most times.”

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

 

“So, where’s your resident alien?”

“Upstairs, in his room, pouting, Stevie.”

“Then why are we here, Stark?”

“Because here’s our other resident alien, give a wave, Lokes.”

Loki turned around a bit surprised at the familiarity in Tony’s tone and flipped the page of his book, before giving a wave with his fingers at the cleanshaven man, that looked like he had almost as much money as Tony.

“What is it doing?”

“I believe you humans could call it sorcering”, Loki answered and then made a theatrical expression, before breathing: “Magic.”

“It speaks.”

“Ugh.” Loki wrinkled his nose. “A non-believer.”

“Lokes, be nice, this is a good friend of mine, Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange.”

“Please tell me you’re at least a children’s doctor with that name, how good of a friend?”

“Surgeon actually”, Strange’s eye twitched a little.

“And good enough of a friend that, Stevie, if you dare insult my lover once more, I’ll gladly let him freeze you.”

Strange raised an eyebrow at Tony. “Of course, you’d get in bed with an alien.”

“Jötunn, I’m sure nobody would bat an eye about getting in bed with Thor.”

“Whatever, the first thing you did when getting to Earth was jumping in bed with this dude?”

“For one, dear, lovely Doctor Strange, I’ve visited Earth for several centuries now, secondly, this dude is my dude and he has proven to be an excellent lover.”

“Well he’s got a lot of…” Loki shot a wave through the wall, pushing the Doctor back several meters.

“I don’t even need to get out of here to touch you, Doctor. So, while we could all bicker around for a few more hours with more or less disgust on our individual faces, I believe you should all start figuring out a solution to this problem, before I’m forced to teleport somewhere far more north like Greenland or Norway, because my mere existence here would start to freeze the tower itself.”

“Love ya, sweetheart”, Tony cooed.

Loki smiled at Tony. “Love you too, darling.”

Strange rolled his eyes and Tony led him out.

 

“Happy! Thank the norns, I almost thought you had evaporated.”

“You have a lot of books. Fury’s helping me carry them.”

“How do you find your new helper?”

“He’s cranky. I’d find better ones at the nearest kindergarten, they may only carry one book at a time, but at least they’d be excited to be helping and I could reward them with cookies.”

“You could try that with Fury, I’d be excited to see what would happen.”

“I’m not old enough to die yet.”

“Damn, there go my plans for the regular Sunday necromancy.”

Of course, that’s the moment Fury stepped into the room with a brow raised high, carrying a box full of books.

“Glad I’m fluent in sarcasm, otherwise we’d have a very strong discussion about awakening the dead.”

“Really? You’re one to talk.”

“What is he…”

“Ignore my comment, Hap, it wouldn’t end well for either of us.”

Loki scooted near the clear wall and began opening books behind the wall and looked up expectedly, when he heard a surprised sound coming from Fury.

“What, Director, you didn’t truly think normal walls would hinder my use of magic, did you? There would have to be a force-field around the room.”

“Oh, alright then, yeah, totally logical. Mister Hogan, when has this become our world?”

“It has surely been yours a lot longer than it has been mine.”

“You don’t even know how right you’re about that. Let’s go, there are still five boxes left.”

 

By the time Loki had gone through all boxes and only uncovered two dozen spells or charms that showed barely any kind of promise, it was already 9 o’clock in the morning and he was in dire need of something to drink. Even if it was alcoholic.

“J.A.R.V.I.S.?”

“Yes, Master Stark?”

“Can you show me the list of people Tony contacted?”

J.A.R.V.I.S. quickly showed him a digital list with a few people crossed out to be either ‘too dumb’, ‘too dead’ or ‘too evil’, but even with those names, a few old friends were not on the list.

“Would you mind asking my husband to bring me a change of clothes, a file with everything we have till now, digital or non-digital and a drink? I’m planning to go on a trip, how’s my temperature?”

“At around -30°C, he’s going to bring you your suit.”

“Fantastic. Let’s test how it holds up against very bad temperatures.”

It didn’t take long for a somehow still happily humming Tony Stark to walk through the elevator doors.

“J says you’re going on a trip”, Tony informed Loki, as he put the outfit, a USB-drive with the ‘Stark Industries’ logo and an open bottle of juice into the hand-through chamber.

“Well, I’m not going to Asgard, if that’s what you’re worried about, dear”, Loki answered as he swiftly downed the juice, “And I’m not going anywhere far north or south because of the cold, I’m simply visiting old friends that could possibly help me with this. But if they have come up with nothing, by the time I reach -40°C, so a little under twelve hours, I’ll be back. And I’ll be taking my phone with me, so you can call anytime, just not track.”

He went into the bathroom and changed into the uniform and gave Tony an experimental twirl after turning into his white and green-eyed form again, picking up both the USB-drive and the phone with his Seiðr and putting it in his dimensional pocket.

“Alright, but promise you’ll pick up?”

Loki showed the ring on his finger. “For my husband? Always.”

Chapter Text

Getting to the country was easier than expected, he had honestly thought it would need at least three tries to not accidentally teleport into a wall, a sheep or whatever more. He grinned a little to himself, before he started cursing as he noticed the ground freezing under his shoes. Mental note: ‘Make sure all the cold stays inside the suit.’

He smiled at the oncoming dozen women in red uniforms that raised their spears against him. “Hello there.” Loki crossed his arms across his chest, before lowering them. “I come in peace.”

“Who are you and why are you so cold?”, one of the women asked and Loki chuckled at that, puffing out snowflakes.

“I am Loki, a sorcerer and prince of Asgard and I am so cold, because at the moment my core temperature lays at -30°C, which is why I ask, if Wakanda could help me, I require its assistance and I don’t normally make use of I-owe-u’s, but here we are, thirteen years later. I ask to see T’Chaka, or T’Challa, really, either would do, just, for your own safety, don’t touch me, also, I am very sorry for your grass, once I’m fine again I’ll repair it, promise.”

“Loki?” One of the women seemed to recognise him.

“Yes. Come one, I got picked up in ’99 in Sweden by your people and left early in the new millennium. Really, a white guy in Wakanda, that must have at least left a bitter taste or something on your tongue.”

“Loki?!” The Dora Milaje split, and a dark-skinned man quickly walked down the path from the castle. “You are back!”

Loki quickly backed up and pointed to the grass. “-30°C, T’Challa, I think a hug can wait.”

“Minus…” He stopped right before the white ground that resembled two shoe-imprints. He frowned a little, before crossing his arms, Loki quickly following suit. “But you are back, you said you would never come back.”

“Believe me, I wouldn’t be back if I weren’t desperate and not inclined enough to actually turn to Asgard for help.”

“You are on Earth. Since when?”

“Umm, well, I have been on Earth several times since I left Asgard, I usually just leave my brother behind to not capture anyone’s attention. This time since January. And I actually plan on staying on Earth, but that’s another issue.”

“There were reports last year that a man, claiming to be you, raged on New York.”

Loki coughed a little, puffing out snow again, “Yep, me, mind-controlled, but still me. Sorry you missed the party though, but that’s not Wakanda’s business, is it?”

“No, it is not”, a deeper voice said, and the Dora Milaje quickly greeted their King T’Chaka, Loki followed with a smile. “How have you been, Loki?”

“Well, at the moment, normally, when I’m not slowly going into hibernation, I’m good, happy actually, and you yourself?”

“Troubled by the world around us.”

Loki laughed, before putting a hand on his mouth to stop the snow. “This is really going to bother me”, he said and rolled his eyes.

“You need our help.”

“Straight to the point, love it. Yes, my king.”

“Is your king not Odin? Or is it now Thor?”

“Oh, what a horror, combined with the fact, that I’m not even Asgardian, apparently. I’d rather call you my king, T’Chaka, the nicest one I’ve met that’s still alive.”

“I will take the compliment. Follow us. Everyone, keep a good distance between yourself and our guest.”

 

Loki followed the king and prince with a bright smile and happiness coursing through him as he remarked on all the technological advancements, they had made the last thirteen years. When they reached a lab, Loki was pleasantly surprised at its resemblance of Tony’s own workshop.

“Baba, brother, you bring white people into my sanctuary?”

Loki snickered at the young female voice, before turning to his true form, changing the green colours on his outfit red. “Actually, they are bringing blue people into your sanctuary. I take it you’re the reason Wakanda has made such great jumps in their technology?” He strode over to the window to look down at trains speeding through the tunnels without, seemingly, so much as a sound. Then he turned back to the three people. “Frost Giant”, he explained to the older men with a shrug, “Apparently Odin stole me as a babe and never intended to tell me. Is also the reason why being at -30°C is only a mild discomfort for me.”

“Oh, this is nice, can I keep you?”

“I am very sorry, but I promised my husband I’d come home when, either we have solved this little problem, or I have reached a temperature lower than -40°C.”

“Your husband?”, T’Challa asked a bit irritated, before the girl’s grin showed, that she was definitely up for the challenge.

“Yes, I’m sorry I didn’t invite you to the wedding, would have been a bit awkward regarding our history, wouldn’t you think? Also was a bit last minute, I was about to be dragged back to Asgard and thrown into the dungeons because of things a young princess shouldn’t hear.”

“I am Shuri.”

“Well, I’m Loki, do you wish to get started?”

“Yeah, all ignorant fools out of my sanctuary.” She made a shooing motion towards her brother and father.

T’Chaka chuckled and T’Challa grunted, before they both left, and Loki pulled the two items out of his dimensional pocket and laid them on the table near Shuri.

“You should probably check the drive for a tracker or something, I never know with my husband.”

“Your husband is Tony Stark?”

“Well, that’s a secret not even your brother should learn, I hate to have to introduce him to a few of the interesting spells I’ve learned over the years.”

“He would be jealous?”

“He certainly looked jealous to me.”

“Uh yeah he did. Huh. No malware. Does not seem like he wants to make this hard for me. Now tell me, what is normal for you and what happened?”

“Normal for me is a core temperature at 0°C, when I entered the tower yesterday afternoon, around 3 o’clock local time, there was already a mixture specific to my genetic code shot into the vents, that mixed with the air inside the tower and well, made me slowly lose my temperature, getting faster the more I inhaled, by the time we noticed at around 7 o’clock, my temperature had been at -22°C, it slowed down while I was connected to different air, we found the first containers at 10 o’clock, the last at 3 o’clock, I left at 9 o’clock with -30°C and now I’m here. Several Scientists and doctors have worked on the results on that drive.”

“Well the first thing to do, would be, to reverse-engineer the mixture and stop the effects it’s still causing your body. I am sure they tried that, but if you would have the mixture, our stuff is better.”

“Give me a moment.”

 

Loki teleported back into the tower, in between Scientists and Doctors still discussing things in front of a video conference. “Hello people”, Loki greeted, marching over to the pile of mixtures. “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Bye people.” He picked up a mixture and teleported back.

 

“Here you go, Princess.”

“That is neat.”

“Thanks.” Loki’s phone sounded and Loki walked over. ‘Tony’. “Accept call.”

“Did you just walk through our conference?”

“Did I touch anyone? I made sure not to.”

“No, everyone’s fine, we’re just a bit shocked.”

“It’s more efficient than teleporting back into the medical ward and having to argue with you for half an hour why I should be allowed to take a vile of the mixture that was designed to freeze me.”

“Ugh, Loki, remind me again, why I like you?”

“Because I do stuff like that. Bye now, no cursing or inappropriate comments while a youngling is present.”

He nodded for Shuri to end the call and she grinned brightly while she swiftly did just that. “That was Tony Stark.”

“Yes.”

“I am smarter than him.”

“Oh yes, I’m sure. But I did not fall in love with him because he said he was the smartest guy in the world, which he never… Well he tried to say it once, but I quickly shot him down.”

“How is he in person?”

“Smaller than he looks on TV.”

“I mean, what kind of person is he?”

Loki sighed. “A generous, loving person, that would go to the end of the galaxy to prove he’s right. He cares for his friends and family; has the biggest heart I have ever seen in an orphan that was forced into the spotlight at a very young age. He protects his family more than he protects himself. If it was between him and a friend to don the armour to safe his or her life, he would always choose the other person, as he himself believes their lives are often more worth living in his eyes. But hey, I’m biased.”

“Sounds like a great man to me.”

“He’d be so happy to hear that. Especially from a bright child, like you. Makes him not so concerned about the future.”

“Alright, I am going to work and read, and you can go do all the things a person like you does when bored.”

“Watch people create amazing things?”

“Do not create a snow man in my laboratory.”

“Now that’s just teasing, Shuri, mischief is my first nature.”

“You could create a snow man in T’Challa’s bedroom.”

“That would appear childish and would also require me to go into his room.”

“And you would not do that, because?

“Oh, I see what you’re trying to get at, you want to know what happened, do you?”

“I do love a good story while I work, keeps my mind focused, better than the repetitive sound of music nowadays.”

“Alright. I’ll tell you the story of how I came to meet your brother around fourteen years ago, before you even existed.”

“Fantastic, take a seat, while I start.”

 

“The year was 1999. I didn’t plan to go to Earth that time around. My brother and I were in one of our more friendly moments when he begged me to come to Midgard with him to see the mortals that had built statues of him so long. I, of course, knew that most people even in the once beloved nations in Scandinavia, had not really forgotten the Asgardians as their gods, but rather had come to dislike them, because they ignored their pleas when War threatened to destroy the world. Thor had not even noticed that war had raged, while I did, travelling around the world, unable to really do anything because rules set in place by the All-Mother and Heimdall.”

“So, in 1999, around March, Thor and I arrived somewhere in Sweden. Heimdall had made sure to drop us a little away from the next city and Thor marched his way there, donning his armour, while I tried to make it look like I didn’t even know him, quickly catching up on appropriate attire and changing my outfit accordingly. Thor was upset as he walked into the first bar he saw and demanded to see statues of their gods. By then he had already somehow forgotten that he had brought me with him and when he started a brawl, I decided to make my way back to the site where we dropped.”

“Before I got there however, a plane I had never seen like that on Earth before, landed before me and a man wearing black armour, unlike anything I’d ever seen before, walked out. Your father T’Chaka, still the Black Panther of Wakanda at that point, stood before me. He spoke a few languages to me that I all could understand with and, most times, without the Allspeak. Then we just stared at each and he looked back to check with the people in the ship if they knew any more languages, at which point I started to laugh, honestly laugh, like I had not done the entire century. The whole picture was just so absurd.”

“When I finally calmed down, I apologised at least half a dozen times that I was not laughing at him, but the situation, before I asked what he actually wanted. Turns out, he wanted nothing more than to confirm that me and my brother came from another planet and the site covered with runes was a mark from an inter-galaxy-travelling device. I told him that both of his assumptions were true and asked if that was all he wanted. I guess we both know where this is going.”

“He took you to Wakanda?”

“He took me to Wakanda. What else was he supposed to do? I gave him the answers he sought, and it would only be fair to give me answers to the questions I had yet to ask. I explained to him that he would not need to bother with actually blindfolding me, as I could teleport around the world and had little interest in taking the slower way back. He still blindfolded me, so that I could never tell anyone where Wakanda resided. But because I still was a prince and he did not want war with Asgard, he treated me like a friend, telling me very happily about his son, just eighteen years old and his best friend Nakia, only eight months younger then him and how he talked so much about her.”

“When we got to Wakanda, he let me walk freely, introduced me to his wife Ramonda, his son T’Challa and Wakanda’s customs. He showed me how they survived secluded from the rest of the world. And of course, every step of the way, he asked if it was the same on Asgard. I indulged him for a while, before I told him I could not give him any answers that he sought, that was not how Asgard handled other realms, especially those not yet common to space travel and not at threat from any other beings in the Galaxy. After that, he let T’Challa show me around and try to win even a glimpse of a hint from another, seemingly more technological advanced planet.”

“T’Challa was eager, I’ll tell you that. He’d trick me into watching shows and films from around the world that resulted in us speaking of theories for hours. By the time his birthday came around in August, I told the family that I could no longer wait and would be leaving a few days after the celebrations. Of course, T’Chaka asked me to stay, that Odin could not really be this restless to see is second son again, after all the stories I had shared about the hardship I had at his hand. I told him I had to think about it.”

“That night, T’Challa came to my chambers asking what it would take to make me stay. It had been clear to me, early on, that the boy was taken with me. When I told him that there was nothing, he could give me, he seemed so heartbroken. I gave him a book. I told him he should read it and indulge me in the meaning of it. Eager to please me, he left with it. I thought it would be the end of it, that there was no way he could do his royal duties, prepare for his birthday, keep up with his training and read the book to understand it in a way that would please me.”

“Yet he did. He had actually read it three times; I don’t even know what book it was anymore. But he told me, after the clock showed midnight and his birthday was over, that the story is always a true story to oneself and not everybody knows all aspects of the truth from everybody. In the end, one has to be able to see the story from the other person’s eyes and see if they would have done not exactly the same, before judging them an enemy.”

“And was that the answer you were looking for?”

“I wasn’t looking for any answer, but I told him that clearly he had never been in a true fight.”

Shuri laughed and turned to Loki holding up a flask, asking: “Up for a test?”

“Of course, but I’d recommend letting me do it, if you don’t want to get a frost burn.”

Shuri nodded and laid the device in front of him, where Loki could easily reach it, before sliding back against the nearest wall. He took off his coat and then detaching the sleeve, putting its end between his teeth, before pressing the end of the device against his shoulder and, pressing the trigger, releasing the fluids into his bloodstream. He cursed a little, before apologising for his foul language, while Shuri just laughed.

“Okay, Mister handsome, how do you feel?”

“Well, still normal. And like at home with people throwing nicknames around.”

“Come. We will check.” Loki followed her to the other side of the room. She pressed around a bit with actions that were too fast for Loki to actually get a read on what she was doing. “Well, well, well, would you look at that, I am smarter than all the Scientists and Doctors Tony Stark could gather to help his lover.”

Loki laughed at that. “It worked?”

“Did you really doubt me, blue devil?”

“Never, Shuri, but you have to know that there are people who are just as good as you out there in the galaxy, maybe even better. And that there are people with different strengths, that you will not succeed in everything, but that you don’t have to. This is the only thing I can give you, the knowledge of watching prideful and in every sense clever and crafty men and women fail when they lose sight of the end goal. You might be a young woman yourself, but we are always supposed to leave the world more wonderful and more improved than we have received it. So, while you do all this and do so very good as you have today, just make sure to tell yourself that it really isn’t all about you.”

Shuri laughed. “I am not trying to be selfish, Loki, I just love to help.”

“Well then give my eternal wisdom to your brother, he might need it more.”

She grinned at that. “So, while we are waiting for your body to go back to normal, do you want to tell me the end of the story?”

“After I call Tony and call him to tell him it’s done, okay?”

“Can I tell him that I am smarter than him?”

“If you wish to. But he will probably not stop bugging me who you are.”

“He will not anyway.”

“Well, that is true.”

Shuri practically skipped to the phone only in a much more graceful and not in all childish way and Loki followed her, as she held it out to him. “Call Tony.”

It didn’t even fully ring once, when Tony’s voice could be heard: “Hey Lokes, everything okay?”

“Yes, dear, we are just waiting for my temperature to go back to normal.”

“Can feel that, ache’s going away, miss you.”

Loki smiled fondly and nodded to Shuri.

“Hey Tony Stark, do you want to know what? You got beaten by a twelve-year-old kid, bam, right in your face.”

For a moment it was silent, then Tony could be heard howling with laughter.

“He’s not laughing at you”, Loki assured Shuri.

“No, he is laughing at the situation, just like you did.”

Tony tried to catch his breath, but only started to laugh again, which went on for about three more minutes.

“Alright, alright, I think I… Well, thank you, that is very nice of you. Man, smart kids are the best. Reminds me of Harley, but Harley’s probably not even half as smart as you. Boy… Thank you. Really, kid, I’m grateful that you exist. Probably shouldn’t call you kid, they all hate that. Well, thanks, whoever you are, guess I could learn from you. Would you mind leaving Loki with a way on how to do it again? I’d really appreciate it and if I can ever, ever, help you with anything, just ask, okay? I know smart like you, you probably don’t need someone to watch out for you like Harls, but really, you understand? I don’t know if we could have done it in time and we certainly couldn’t do it as fast as you, so, thank you for saving my world.”

Shuri’s lips trembled a bit, when she smiled. “Umm, no problem, when a friend asks for help, who am I to decline, right?”

“You are way to pure for the world. You’ll be amazing once you reach your full potential, because I’m sure you haven’t reached it yet. World’s safe if people like you stick around.”

“Thank you. But right now, I will just wait for my time and get better, because Iron Man and the Avengers are keeping the world pretty safe, from what I can see.”

“Well… Thank you, means a lot. Take care, I umm, gotta make some Scientists and Doctors skedaddle. They shall fear the fury of not coming up with a solution while claiming to be great, joke aside, gonna keep the best of them on call for future misfires, can’t always rely on twelve-year-old geniuses to save the day, right?”

“Right. We should be allowed to have a childhood before we have to go out to save the world.”

“Alright then, take care, and Lokes? You did great too.”

Loki chuckled. “I’ll be home by nightfall the latest, dear.”

“Good, cause I miss you lots.”

“Eternally, dear.”

“Eternally, sweetheart.”

Tony hung up and Shuri looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Our way of saying that we love each other.”

Shuri didn’t squirm like any other kid would have, she just nodded and handed him the phone, that Loki quickly put away, then she put a few things on the USB-drive, that she handed him as well.

“Food and then you will tell me the end of the story.”

“I shall then.”

 

In the end it took them a little longer to actually get to the story, because T’Challa and T’Chaka had decided to gift Loki with Kimoyo Beads as a sign of friendship. Loki’s decision to stay on Earth had to be explained a bit more and T’Challa still seemed to be vary about that Loki might be lying about anything he was saying while T’Chaka seemed content with the fact that Loki was happy.

“How are your children, Loki?”, he asked while his children had gone off, bickering which kind of beads Loki should get.

“How are yours, T’Chaka?”, the trickster asked back with a smirk, he had turned back to his white and green-eyed form, so it was no wonder Ramonda recognised him, when she walked into the room.

“By Bast, is that you, Loki?”

“As I live and breathe.” He stood and enclosed the queen in his arms, Shuri had told them that his temperature had gone back to normal and not above it, exactly like it was supposed to be.

“You look so much older, have the years pained you?”

Loki hummed a little, before nodding. “A lot has happened over the years, but in the end, I have found love and a home, right back here on Earth.”

“And you have met Shuri?”

“She saved his life today, dear. Came to our doorstep with a decreasing temperature, how low was it again?”

“-30°C, Shuri is a bright child, did I not tell you that your future would not rely on an outsider’s help?”

“You did, Loki.”

“Did you see it coming, Loki?”, Ramonda asked.

“I may or may not have dreamt and caught a glimpse into the future that may or may not have shown me the exact view from Shuri’s lab. So, I may or may not have known I might one day return here.”

“And still you told T’Challa that you would never come back.”

“You knew as well as I did, that I did not love him, King T’Chaka. To me, he was a mere child, bright-eyed and hopeful for the future, his view was unrealistically optimistic and I would have felt that I was disrespecting you or your people if I would have taken your first child’s heart for my own when I could not hand him mine. Never mind the fact that at the time I had yet to be aware that I could actually bear children. No, I don’t believe our story would have had a happy ending.”

T’Chaka hummed and Ramonda stroked her husband’s hand. “So, how are your children, Loki?”, the old king asked again.

“The two still living? I know not of Sleipnir, but my youngest, still just a few months old, sees the world with such bright eyes, that resemble so much her father’s.”

“May Bast watch over you then. With the way the world is looking she will need the strength to make it through.”

“Indeed. Not just the world but the Galaxy as well.”

They sat in silence for a while till the prince and princess came back, she rushing to Loki’s side and assembling the beads around his wrists, quickly explaining what the individual beads were for. Loki barely followed and just nodded as she told him in the end which bead was to call her, but that he could always drop by in her lab. T’Challa smiled fondly at the girl, so similar yet so different from her brother.

When she dragged him off, he could barely excuse themselves, before they were already sitting under the visualisation of Bast, the panther goddess worshiped in Wakanda, that looked protectively over their land from Mount Bashenga.

“So, what is the end of the story?”

“The end of the story? Skipping right over the important parts, are we? I decided to stay to welcome the new millennium with your family, and after I asked for permission, from King T’Chaka, attacked T’Challa every now and then, to better prepare him for battle. And when the millennium turned, I let T’Challa kiss me on the cheek.”

Chapter Text

By the time Loki left Wakanda, the sun had set there, yet it was still sitting high in New York. He stifled a yawn as he walked around in the med ward. What had he for complaints towards the outfit again? Loki stood for a while, a few books in hand, pondering. Ah yes.

“J.A.R.V.I.S., for the next version, make sure that no cold can escape out of the shoes. It is not very nice to leave shoe-shaped frost imprints on every organic surface.”

“I will try to figure out how to do that, Master Stark. I have also alerted the team to your arrival.”

“Duly noted.”

Loki continued with sorting his books. Happy had brought quite a mess, when he had gathered them. Or was it him, when he had not found anything useful in them and had flung them across the room for another person to collect and sat them down near the other books again? No matter, it definitely was a mess.

“Hey Spangles, how’s your head?”, Loki addressed the approaching footsteps.

The man grumbled something only to sigh loudly, take a deep breath and then answer: “Haven’t gotten this drunk since the night before Bucky shipped out.”

Bucky. A name Loki had heard and read about before. Steve’s best friend who grew up with him and protected him when he stupidly got himself into another fight.

“Must feel new then”, Loki offered, before looking up and giving out a kind smile.

“Has been pretty long, do you need help?”

“No, this is my mess, clean up your own”, Loki joked.

“I didn’t make a mess”, Steve protested, apparently not having caught onto the humour in Loki’s voice.

Loki leaned back onto his hands and stared up to Steve. “You look like a mess.”

“I trained.”

“See, you made a mess. I hope you at least left the gym how you found it.” He grabbed the next book and put it on the appropriate stack, not waiting for Steve to leave, who hovered around for another minute and then grunted and left. “Children”, Loki mumbled and rolled his eyes at J.A.R.V.I.S.’ nearest camera.

Thor was the next to find his way to the medical ward. Loki hadn’t even had time to address him, before he was wrapped in the arms of the man who had clearly not showered in a few days.

“Brother, I’ve missed you.”

Annoyed Loki shoved him aside and dangled him in the air. “The feeling isn’t mutual. And the next time you decide to accidentally develop a crush on your brother’s female side, I’ll teleport you somewhere even Mjølnir cannot find you.”

Thor went pale. “I had not meant to; I swear my feelings for Lady Jane are true.”

Loki dropped him a few more meters away from him. “Go shower, you stink. And maybe think of the consequences before bringing Asgardian Ale.”

“Brother”, Thor begged weakly, but Loki pointed towards the elevator. With a hanging head he left.

Natasha and Clint came together, right as Loki was lifting the last books into one of the boxes.

“Are you okay?”, Natasha asked.

“Is that genuine concern or a way to cover your ground with the ‘at least I asked, he could have said no’?”

“Hey, show some respect, without us, you’d still be sitting in there, probably frozen, we got the stuff out of vents.”

“And slept in them, because you got hammered from alcohol that made even Steve drunk. Yes it was a great effort and you helped immensely, but it may have been smarter to just wait for Tony’s robots to find all of them, like they did in the end, so don’t oversell yourself and make it seem like you were the ones that actually found them.”

“Are you done?”, Clint complained, and Loki took a deep breath not to fling him across the room and possibly break a couple of bones.

“You annoyed me the least of the incapable Avengers”, Loki stated and shoved the boxes towards the elevator, “At least before you got drunk yourself. But that was right in your nature. Natasha here should know better.”

“Why do I have to be better than all of them? Because I’m a woman?”

“No”, Loki said in a sharp tone, “They should know better as well, but men tend to follow their first nature, especially when they are not very well educated. You have learned, imbedded professionalism, while there is a soldier, who didn’t even finish basic training, an archer, that probably is only good in maths, and a millennia old prince, that doesn’t care for collateral damage on the team. Out of the four drunk Avengers yesterday, you should have known best, because the others around you are too dull to even think before their actions.”

Loki sat down the last box by the elevator. “Thank you for collecting the mixture, but the next time I’ll rely on Tony and Rhodey locating them and will transform a willing participant into a cat to get it out.”

He stepped into the elevator and sighed after it had closed, telling J.A.R.V.I.S. to bring him to Tony.

 

“Sweetheart, you look exhausted.”

“I feel like I am responsible for children I had not known were mine.” Loki buried his head in Tony’s hair.

“Told’cha”, Tony stage-whispered to the rest of the people in the room, “No approaching my alien husband till he’s done with everything he needs to do.”

“I’m done. I’m so done.” Loki let go of Tony and sat down at the table, conjuring a pillow to lay his head down onto. When Tony snapped a picture, he groaned a little. “Why?”

“Because Fury said something about PR, so, remember the pic I took, when you were in containment? Well, we got about twenty percent haters, but otherwise they loved it, us showing more behind the scenes Avengers stuff. And now, I got another pic to update them, that you are fine and exhausted and need your beauty sleep. Don’t worry, I’m coordinating with Darcy.”

“Darcy would do great with PR.”

“She is great with it. Said something about finally having use of at least a few of her skills.”

“And she’s exactly the person I meant, Fury.” Loki tilted his head to look at the man sitting at the front of the conference table.

“Isn’t she the one that tasered Thor?”

Loki smirked. “Amongst other things. She was also the first person, after me, to notice I was pregnant.”

“She’s observant then. What does she do?”

“She’s an intern for Jane Foster”, Tony informed him, “What does she study, it was something strange, wait, I got it, don’t tell me, J… Political science.”

“What the hell is that?”

“No clue. But she’d do awesome with handling the Avengers’ twitter. Well, if she wouldn’t be preoccupied keeping Jane occupied.”

“Tell her that there’s a job for her here, whenever she wants to take it, even if she plans on graduating and interning for the time being.”

“I’ll tell her.”

“Jane needs her”, Loki mumbled, closing his eyes again.

“What do you mean, ‘Jane needs her’?”, asked Bruce from the other side of the table.

“Jane needs someone to bounce ideas off, someone who’s at least interested in the topic. Selvig is… I don’t even know where and Darcy was the only applicant to the internship. Jane isn’t coming here at the moment, she’s studying and is wherever she needs to be, not contained in a lab, hundreds of miles from action. Jane needs to be out there, and she needs someone to talk to, who is there and interested. You know as well as I do, Bruce, Darcy might not be the brightest in terms of science, but at least she wants to learn and wants to listen and is willing to go that extra step. Jane can have anyone as a science partner, but she definitely needs someone who’s just willing to listen and ask questions that at the first glance might sound dumb.”

It was silent for a while and Loki forced open his eyes to look at the Doctor. He was in deep thought. Tony broke sooner. “So, what do we do?”

“You tell Darcy to hang around Jane as long as she needs to, to not abandon her and you’re going to update her about the things going on with the Avengers and at the tower, friendly asking her for her help, not by telling her that you don’t know what’s ‘hip’ or ‘in’ anymore, maybe just saying that you don’t have the best track record with the media. She’ll laugh at you for five minutes and then tell you that you’re right and probably ask for you to send over everything you have, I would recommend giving her a StarkPhone for easier communication and I would also recommend to make it extra durable, Darcy’s clumsy. And because you don’t want it to seem like you want to buy her, you give Jane the same model. Something about them being part of the Avengers’ family.”

“Alright umm… I’ll go do that and you…”

“Will wait until the other Avengers have made it here, because we gotta have a team meeting.” Loki yawned once more and then laid his head back on the cushion, feeling someone laying a light blanket over his shoulders.

 

Loki hummed as he was awoken with a kiss to his temple, blinking a little as he noticed the people strolling into the room. He stretched a little, before smiling at Tony sitting at his side.

“Nice nap, sleeping beauty?”, Clint asked across the table and Loki grinned a little.

“Why thank you, Agent Barton, that is an utterly nice compliment. And yes, I did have a nice nap, after all, I had not the option of sleep, over the last 24 hours, like you did.”

Clint groaned at that and Fury cleared his throat, drawing the attention to himself.

“Alright, I gotta give out a few compliments and a few complaints here, should I go by person or just the list?”

“I could give visuals with a ‘+’ for something good and a ‘-’ for something bad”, Loki offered.

“On second thought, I’ll just put the cards on the table. The event in total went okay.”

“So, what’s there to complain about?”, Steve asked, sipping on his coffee like a lifeline.

“Well, I got a lot of complaints, not just by Mister Freeze over here. While he did not say it through a flower but with a bulldozer.”

“Love the nickname”, Loki answered with a smirk.

“Yeah, sounds like the name of a villain. Lewis is trying to get them to call you ‘Snowflake’ or ‘Snowstorm’ on Twitter. Anyway… We got complaints. Not just on the event, but I’ll start there.”

A few Avengers nodded and Loki gladly took the bowl of crisps Tony pushed over.

“First order: no more Asgardian Ale at events where the public is present.”

Thor wanted to complain, but both Fury and Loki raised an eyebrow at the man, and he shut his mouth.

“Second order: no mission-armour at events where the public is present.”

“But the public needs…”

“You don’t know what the public needs, Rogers. All of you can wear ties, pins, whatever to the events, as long as it is along the dress code. Tony can wear a suit in the design of the Iron Man armour, but he can’t wear the Iron Man armour itself, capiche? Most people at this table know how bad his 40th birthday went. And all that goes for everyone here. If it’s a formal event, I want formal attire, Rogers, not a propaganda clown. Because that is exactly how you looked. Especially when giving the speech we prepared for you.”

“It was not propaganda…”

“It so was propaganda”, Tony answered with an eyeroll.

“For all future events the speech will still be scripted, all Avengers can add to the pile of things that need to be said, some things might get thrown out and with some help from Rhodes, Loki and maybe Lewis or Potts, if they got time, a speech will be composed and I’d love for Tony to hold them. If you can’t hold yourself to the script, Stark, either Banner or Rhodes will act as back-up.”

“Why not any of us?”, Thor inquired pointing downwards on his side of the table where Steve, Nat and Clint said all with folded arms and grim expressions.

“They are, to a point, relatable. If Rogers can learn how to properly give public speeches without sounding like a recruitment poster and actually does what he’s told in terms of clothing, he might be able to get that spot back. You and Loki are aliens, while one of you acts like that more than the other and actually has a chance at being relatable. Romanoff and Barton are agents, they will still do the briefings, that’s part of their jobs, but they won’t be the people to relate to the masses. Stark has an excellent stage persona, Banner is the shyer scientist, no offense, but could do great at working a room, and Rhodes should be obvious, minority and actual successful guy, that is trained at taking shit and throwing it right back, not literally. Stark and Banner are pretty known, while Rhodes is not in the spotlight that much.”

“And Clint and I wouldn’t wanna do that anyway.”

“Was that everything?”, Steve grumbled.

“That was about it for the complaints for the event. One complaint that slightly tugs into complaints in general, you all need to learn how to prop yourself up for a picture. Otherwise, people loved to talk to the Avengers that engaged in conversations, which was normal for Stark and Rhodes, but I was glad to hear Banner had a few nice conversations as well, and not all of the bad nature. Things like a member getting attacked at an event that has been publicised for weeks, is most times not just a possibility, but a probability, so yes, you can get a little tipsy at those events, but you can’t get full-on drunk, understood?”

“Yes Sir”, sounded to the room, a bit happier from Tony’s and Rhodey’s mouth than from Steve’s and Clint’s.

“Alright.” Fury sighed and leaned back in his chair. “General complaints. Three words: team building exercise. You gotta act like a team. Rhodes how do your next few weeks look?”

“At the moment very empty, Sir.”

“Good, let’s keep it that way, I’ll talk to your commanding officer. You’re all grounded. Well, grounded in New York that is. Stark, you can decide, whether they are going to be staying at your mansion or the tower. Only thing I ask of you, is that all of the people not staying at the tower spend at least six hours there daily. Only reasons to leave New York the next four weeks are the following: family emergencies, which includes royal duties, after confirmed by the other prince; missions; anything job-related that can’t be dealt with over the phone or video call.”

Clint groaned and Nat’s eye twitched a little. “We’re grounded, seriously?”

“Yes, seriously, so Stark, who goes where?”

“I’ll take Lokes, Platypus and Brucie-bear back to the mansion.”

“A question, Director, if I might interject.”

“Oh god, I should have seen this coming”, Fury whispered and then turned to Loki, “Carry on, Snowflake.”

“Who will be paying for the accommodations used by the Avengers?” When Tony opened his mouth, Loki laid his hand on Tony’s arm. “This is important, dear. There are two options, Director. Either S.H.I.E.L.D. does, or the Avengers themselves do.”

Protests came from across the table, while Tony and Rhodey both furrowed their brows.

“As Stark Industries does not own the Avengers, it, and people associated with it, are not required to pay for anything, that any of the Avengers and its consultants are in need of, starting with rather simple things like water and electricity and going up to the more complicated stuff like mission armour or the rooms they use. All of this can be taken away by Stark Industries at any point, am I right, J.A.R.V.I.S.? And could you please check with Miss Potts, I have an inkling she might agree.”

There were again protests, but J.A.R.V.I.S. spoke over them with a clear voice: “You are correct, Master Stark. While the so-called Avengers tower and the Stark mansion are Avengers affiliated buildings, the former belongs to Stark Industries, while the latter is in the hands of one Anthony Edward Stark. While Mister Stark has willingly provided all that the Avengers had needed the past year, I have already composed a sheet with costs that S.H.I.E.L.D. can decide if they will cover them on their own or give up the costs to the individual members.”

J.A.R.V.I.S. continued: “While the costs for both the Iron Man and War Machine armour will be covered by either Stark Industries or Mister Stark himself, all the other armour or equipment is still up for discussion who should own them. As Mister Stark or Doctor Banner designed all of those, they belong to either Mister Stark, Doctor Banner, or Stark Industries, as Doctor Banner had accepted Mister Stark’s job offer shortly after the New York Battle last year. The C.E.O. of Stark Industries, Miss Potts, tells me that she agrees with Master Stark’s words. She has also asked me to tell Director Fury that he can only make the suggestion that the individuals not housed by Mister Stark are housed at the tower owned by Stark Industries, as well as only suggest that they meet at that location for the time of the team building exercises. She also has made an offer name the tower ‘Stark tower’ again, if S.H.I.E.L.D. refuses to pay the bill provided by Stark Industries. In addition, she suggested to Mister Stark and Doctor Banner to keep Loki’s armour and the so-called ‘Hulk pants’ in private hands as well. All the weaponry that both Scientists are building for the Avengers will not be covered by Stark Industries and surely not by the individuals themselves. She also wants to remind everyone that all their weapons, armour and equipment, except Thor’s at the moment, they have used in their last missions belongs to Stark Industries, even if individuals might claim they are theirs, like the shield Mister Rogers uses.”

“That is mine!”

“No, it’s not. It was my father’s, and as much I hate the guy, in turn it belongs to Stark Industries and is not S.H.I.E.L.D.’s property either, even though S.H.I.E.L.D. itself basically belongs to Stark Industries, as my father built S.H.I.E.L.D. from the ground up. I’ll lend you the shield for Avengers missions and if you’re nice enough, I’ll even let you take it home and take it on S.H.I.E.L.D. missions as well, but it’s Stark Industries’.”

“You bastard!”, Steve called out and sprung on his feet, before slamming his fists into the table, all cups, bowls, and whatever else had laid on the table, suspended in air by Loki.

“Language”, the blue man murmured, “Add the costs for the table to Mister Rogers’ personal costs, would you, J.A.R.V.I.S.?”

“Already ahead of you, Master Stark.”

“S.H.I.E.L.D. will cover all costs that are not personal costs like a member destroying property or someone ordering anything that, till now had to have been covered by Stark Industries, I’m sure you can differentiate, J.A.R.V.I.S., right?”

“Yes. All individual bills have been sent to known accounts, I would suggest Mister Rogers’ empty his e-mail account so that he can find it. Thor’s and Loki’s costs will be printed, I would recommend that both princes get an account themselves, I am sure certain individuals are inclined to help. As to how the two will pay for the costs, we only accept currency of Earth.”

Loki snickered. “Good that I got a job then.”

Fury sighed again. “I think right now is the best time to say, that Rogers will have to finish his military training and actually has to work his way to the point that he can actually be called ‘Captain America’ again. I think you’ll corporate, right, Mister Rogers?”

“Why does everyone hate me?”

“Oh, I can…”

“Hush dear, it was rhetorical.”

The two Starks smiled over the table at Steve, who grimaced. “I walked you down the aisle, Loki.”

“Yes, I’ll never forget.”

“I’m the reason you two are married and have a kid.”

“I wouldn’t go that far”, Tony answered with a frown.

“You’ll pay for this.”

“Well no, actually you will. I know you’ve been through a lot, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that you’ve never actually earned the title you so love to pretend is your own and not that of a persona created by the government.”

“I also want to try something else”, Fury announced, stealing back the attention of the Avengers.

“What?”, Steve shot angrily at the man.

“For the next four weeks, Colonel Rhodes will be team-leader, let’s see how it works out.”

Steve stormed out of the room. Nat and Clint shrugged at that and Thor was confused as to why Steve could not accept the change in leadership. On the other side of the table was a smug smiling Loki, a grimacing Tony that handed over a 10$ Bill to Rhodey and a sighing Bruce.

 

In the evening Loki went to the floor Natasha and Clint resided on, with the peace-offering of two beers and a game of UNO. Sighing, Nat let him in and took the beer. “We’re not paying for that, but if you’re gifting it to us, we’ll drink it in thought of you.”

“It’s a gift.”

He strolled in and sat down onto the couch. Clint looked at him angrily, before sighing and taking the offered beer from Natasha. “Man, I can’t stay mad at you, Frosty.”

“I did not actually believe, S.H.I.E.L.D. would make you pay for everything you do just because the Avengers, if that’s a relief.”

“It kinda annoyed me that the fridge was off and empty this morning, to be honest, but I get it, you all don’t live here, why stock a fridge only for everything to go bad?”

“The only point I tried to make was, that you have all been freeloading and using Tony’s generosity without so much as an honest thanks.”

Nat nodded at that, while opening the game box. “You’re right, in that department, we have been taking it for granted. Waterfall showers, jacuzzi bathtubs, free dinner, take-out from whatever place we want, own rooms, and if the mattress is too hard, we can change it for a different one in just a few days. We are living the high life over here. I guess we did get a bit too used to it.”

“So, is Tony covering your bill?”

“No. He offered, of course, but I do have money. Just have to get to a few storage facilities and empty some bank accounts, no biggie, I look after myself. Maybe I’ll do it the other way around, there are some beautiful lost paintings and sculptures in there, I believe. Perks of assisting artists and making the paintings they want gone, disappear in a magical fire.”

Clint laughed aloud. “That sounds so much like you I can’t believe nobody has found out about them till know.”

“Magical locks. They tend to forget that it even is there but would never dare remove it. Ever wonder why some houses never get demolished, even though it would be a lot better for the whole city? Magical locks. Or well, anything magical. Runes are common practice, but too easy to spot and destroy. The All-Father always just hid his things in plain sight, the idiot, especially the most important things, like the Tesseract. Some people can still see through it, but with magical locks they can’t open it, only once the sorcerer or sorceress dies, it can be opened by other people.”

“So, we could just kill you and then raid everything you have?”

“Excuse me, Agent Barton, any threat against any person in this building is thoroughly monitored, it would not be wise to threaten Master Stark, even as a joke.”

“Geez, Hypotheticals here, real hypotheticals, not the totally hypothetical hypotheticals.” Clint threw his hands up and picked up the cards Nat had laid out in front of him.

“That does not look like a good hand, Agent Barton.”

“Yeah, I know, J.A.R.V.I.S., but we’ll see if I can swing it. I missed game-nights.”

Loki smiled at that and started simple, a green zero.

“No!”, Barton exclaimed and drew a card.

 

“So, what’s with the new accessory?”, Tony asked, when they laid next to each other in bed, Loki already half asleep.

“What?”, Loki asked back and Tony pointed towards the beads around his wrist. “Oh, yeah, the kids gave it to me. To keep in touch, now that I’m staying on Earth.”

“Kids? So, the little girl has a sibling?”

“Yeah, well, he isn’t really a kid anymore, but hey, to me…”

“Is he as smart as his sister?”

“As smart as? Definitely not, but he is smart.” Loki cuddled up to Tony. “The beads have a lot of different uses, one is a communication one, one’s for healing.”

“What are they made out of?”

“Take a guess”, Loki said with a smirk and held his arm in front of Tony’s body. Carefully he touched them and then pressed down harder, before shaking his head.

“No idea.”

“Do you wish to take a guess, J.A.R.V.I.S.?”

“It would appear the beads are made out of Vibranium, but I fail to see how there is energy running through it.”

Tony sat up abruptly. “V-Vibranium?”

Loki chuckled at the shocked expression. “Indeed, very good guess, J.A.R.V.I.S.”

“Like the stuff the shield’s made out of?”

“Exactly the same stuff.”

“And they use it to make jewellery?”

“High-tech jewellery.”

“Right, yeah, can I analyse it?”

“No.”

“What? Loki, please.”

“It was a gift.”

“From an apparently highly advanced country.”

“That doesn’t need anyone to know that they are a highly advanced country, they love their seclusion.”

“I’m only saying ‘fine’, because I love you and don’t want them to hate you for breaking their promise. So, fine.”

“I love you.”

“I’ll be grumpy about it for the next month or two.”

“I think I can find a way to make you less grumpy.” Loki kissed Tony’s cheek, before yawning. “Just not today, probably.”

Chapter Text

Loki should have really guessed it was tonight. The dream had been a week overdo. Still he was a bit annoyed, when he woke. Then he was irritated. This was not the same place the dream had taken place before. He blinked a bit, before taking a step aside and turning around. Sure enough, that was the Asgardian palace in the distance. Quickly he pulled out the phone. ‘November 12th, 2013’. Two days before Svartalfheim.

Heimdall stood beside him, exhausted, ready for battle. What the hell was going on? He took a few steps outside the Bifrost only to see a huge black ship a few hundred meters from it. ‘Dark Elves’, it screamed in his head. He looked down at his body, he donned an updated version of the armour Tony had made him, it seemed.

Sighing he looked around, he doubted the dream would let him walk into Asgard, so he walked back into the Bifrost. This could be weird. Heimdall was excellent at dream walking, with his sight, Loki would not know if it could affect the dream. Sure enough, Heimdall did not speak, when Loki grabbed his forearm. He blinked for a moment, like Loki had and then looked around.

“Loki?”, he finally asked.

“What day is it? On Midgard?”

“May 5th, why?”

Loki smiled at him and then showed him his phone. “It’s November 12th right now, dear Heimdall.”

“Your dreams.”

“Yes.”

Heimdall copied Loki’s grip with is own on Loki’s forearm, that for a moment scared Loki, but he calmed quickly, when Heimdall said: “Show me.”

Loki grinned and walked backwards out of the Bifrost onto the Rainbow Bridge, before pointing at the ship. “Dark Elves.”

“How?”

“Five millennia beauty sleep to get the Aether?”

“The Convergence.”

“Correct.”

“This isn’t your first dream.”

“Forth. The last one I got stabbed and almost died, so please don’t use Hofund on me for experiments, it’s really not that fun to wake to your partner bleeding out.”

Heimdall smirked with a look to his sword. “So, what have you dreamt?”

“Thor and I were on Svartalfheim two days from now, there were at least half a dozen surrounding us, more probably in that exact ship. Jane had the Aether inside her, we tried to destroy it but failed and apparently, according to the second time, it was the day I died.”

“Sounds honourable.”

Loki looked at the taller man and rolled his eyes. “I have husband and child, I don’t really want to die at the moment, even if it’s honourable.”

“What do you wish for me to do?”

“I am not your king and even when I was you did not really follow my orders, did you? I’d suggest warning your king and checking out what can be found on a dead planet. It might also be wise to advise the king to help with the alignment, it could cause a lot of trouble for all nine realms, especially with those to you to have experienced it before, we would rather keep creatures in their own realms instead of letting them run around others, I’d hate to have to be the one to clean up that mess.”

“I hear you, Loki, but perhaps you should tell the All-Father himself.”

“I will not come to Asgard for such troubles. If you’re too embarrassed to tell him you talked to me in a dream where you apparently had brought me to Asgard, than, I guess, Asgard will fall.”

“You would not dare put this on my head.”

“I could always tell Thor, oh no, I can’t”, Loki slapped his free hand against his cheek in acted surprise, “he’s in the fucking dream and I can’t tell him because of that.”

“I’m in this dream.”

“I could have either touch you and see if my thoughts were correct, or not touch you and not be able to gather any more knowledge.”

“You did not.”

“Well, it was worth a shot. How’s Asgard?”

“In disarray. Fandral has been stripped of his title and Odin has yet to give a reason why. He is awaiting his punishment, while Lady Sif his shield-brothers are trying to make Odin himself reconsider. Thor has refused to help them make their case and has yet to come back to Asgard.”

“And he won’t, for the next four weeks, the good Director Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. has asked for all members of the Avengers to stay in New York unless any pressing things should come up. They, we, need to learn how to be a team.”

“I see. I saw you in quite a predicament after the event. For a moment I believed we would lose you.”

“I am fine.”

“Yes. I can see.”

Loki quirked his eyebrow and sighed then. “Well, if you need the help of Thor, before the four weeks are up, you have to tell me as well. And I can easily detect lies, Heimdall.”

“I know.”

They stare at each other for a little while longer. “Well, this has been awkward, or fun, however you want to call it, lets never do that again.”

“I concur.”

Loki let go of Heimdall and he let go shortly after, before Loki forced the dream shut.

 

“J.A.R.V.I.S. make a marker, another future dream.”

“Are you sure, Master Stark, you did not wake startled and seemed to not be in any distress.”

“I know what I saw, J, or are you calling me stupid?”

“Never, Master Stark.”

Loki looked over to the still-asleep Tony and then firmly planted a kiss on the covered butt, before getting up and stretching. A quick look to the clock informed him that it was still early enough that he could easily go for a jog along the grounds of the mansion, before Runa would probably wake. He changed and walked out of the bedroom door, noting that Tony had still not fully awoken in the nest of pillows.

When he came downstairs, Loki noted that he was not the only one with the idea for an early morning jog. He nodded to Rhodey, before taking a detour to the kitchen to get a quick drink of water in. Rhodey was still warming up and encouraged him to follow his lead. Somehow Loki noted he liked that, laying a bit of his own responsibility into the hands of someone he trusted. A bit of him wondered if he was a Trainee to Rhodey in this moment or a friend, but he decided that he didn’t necessarily care much, as long as he was making sure Loki was okay and Loki could make sure he was okay.

Rhodey spurred him on during their run, so by the time they made it back to the house, they were both drenched in sweat and headed for their individual showers. When Loki came back downstairs, Bruce was making coffee and Tony was cooing at their little girl. Home. For a moment he just stopped and watched, before he went and made scrambled eggs.

“So, when are we going to the tower so we can come back early enough?”, Rhodey asked, when he joined them.

“Like you said”, grumbled Tony over his food, Runa in Loki’s arms at the moment and being fed, while Bruce stirred the eggs, “Early there, early back, Happy’s coming to drop Lola off at nine anyway.”

Rhodey looked at the clock that showed it was barely eight. “Man, it’s early. I mean, for you, not for me, I usually get up at six. Back in my hindbrain saved somewhere.”

“We usually get up, when she gets up.” Tony points to Runa who gurgled happily and made Loki smile with joy.

“So, Lokes are you or we gonna get the little sweetheart today?”

Loki pouted. “Me?”

Tony laughed at that. “I’m gonna get the carrier. And the stuff for the car. You’re gonna love this Rhodey, we have an Iron Man carrier.”

Rhodey nodded absentmindedly, while holding out his arms for the little girl, when she was done feeding and Loki passed her quickly, before returning to the stove and make the last of the food.

 

When Lola and the guys were waiting on Happy, she finally checked her phone, which she hadn’t done since the party, the three phone-calls certainly didn’t count. “Oh”, she said baffled.

“What?”, Tony quickly asked.

“May wrote. At least a dozen times.”

“May?”

“The woman I met”, Lola answered, checking to see Runa still giggling at Bruce’s antics, before opening the Chat.

 

May: ‘Hey Lola, this is May, just wanted to tell you it was nice meeting you, Ben and I are back home, hope you have a stress less night’

May: ‘Hey, just wanted to tell you that Ben said that you could come over any time, because you sound like a great gal, according to him xD’

May: ‘And Peter really doesn’t believe that you have a StarkPhone, said something about ‘pic or it didn’t happen’ and walked away’

May: ‘Do you still have to work this late? Hope I didn’t scare you off, didn’t want to push you, really’

May: ‘Ben just told me there’s a situation at the tower, are you okay? Write me back, please, I’m worried’

May: ‘Okay, apparently they sent all the last guests out, shortly after Tony Stark seemed to have a bit of a problem walking, thing is, I haven’t seen him take a drink all night, doesn’t seem to be that bad, maybe some PTSD from a year ago or something, I don’t want to assume, seems like a shitty thing to do’

May: ‘Please write me back, I just want to know you’re okay’

May: ‘Alright, I just got a call from a friend from the hospital, asking me if I know what’s going on at the tower, our best doctor just clocked out early, Lola?’

May: ‘Lola, I’m really worried over here, just one word, one letter even…’

May: ‘Okay, apparently it’s a blue alien, Peter showed me the photo from twitter, he, she, it? I can’t tell, but the alien looks pretty cool. Still doesn’t excuse why you haven’t written back though’

May: ‘Are you still at the tower? Are you working to make sure everything’s okay?’

May: ‘I’m gonna go to bed, I’m worried about you, keeping the phone on, so…’

May: ‘No news on the alien, they said they found the cause though, hope it’s going over okay’

May: ‘Still no use and now I haven’t heard from you in almost 20 hours, Ben says I know to little of you to actually go to the police. I don’t even know your boyfriend’s or child’s name’

May: ‘Okay, the alien is okay. And sleepy, seemingly. They should post stuff like that more often, makes them look human, hah, using an alien to look human, ironic. Still worried, write me’

May: ‘I’m coming over to the tower first thing on Monday, I called a friend and she’s going to cover my shift, she’s worried too’

 

“Goodness gracious”, Lola whispered with tears in her eyes.

“What is it?”

“I got someone worried for not texting back.”

She tapped on her phone:
Lola: ‘I’ll be in at 9, sorry I worried you. A lot happened and I forgot to check my phone, I’ll tell you all about it. Wait in the lobby and don’t let them send you away. Lola’

“Tony? How fast can you make Lola and Runa a room at the tower?”

“Well, what do we have the Avengers for? J.A.R.V.I.S. get them on it.”

“Otherwise I can just tell her that I just moved in because my boyfriend threw me out.”

“Great idea, but we are still getting that room ready.”

“I’ll tell her who I am though, not the other name, but that I’m Snowflake, or whatever they are going with.”

“Could be the reason your boyfriend broke up with you.”

“That way she wouldn’t think I got pregnant from an Avenger.”

“Yeah. And it would make her extremely sympathetic. What did she say about the alien?”

“She said, he, she, it looked pretty cool”, Lola answered.

“She sounds amazing.”

 

Lola was worried as she walked down the hallway, with the carrier up front. Runa giggled and tugged at her bracelet that kept her looking human, ever so often.

“Miss Scott? There is someone waiting for you”, the woman from the reception desk told her.

“I am well aware, that’s why I’m here, thank you.”

May was already basically flying towards her, only came to a stop half a meter from her. “You’re okay. Is that your girl? Oh, she’s cute. I’m so glad you’re fine.” Lola smiled and grabbed the visitor’s badge the receptionist held out for her and Lola hung it across May’s neck.

“Come, I don’t want to worry you anymore.”

She led them back to the elevator and J.A.R.V.I.S. brought them up to the floor where her room was on. With a loud sigh, Lola freed Runa and put her on the soft rug in the living area. Then she sat down on the ground and offered her a seat. May smiled fondly and planted herself on the ground, right on the other side of Runa.

“This is Runa. I’m sure you have a couple of questions right about now.”

“Well, you look alright, and she looks alright, where are we?”

“Right now, we’re on a communal floor with two other still empty bedrooms.”

“Doesn’t look like you have a lot of stuff, what about your boyfriend?”

Lola pressed her hand against her hidden necklace with her ring. “We live here now, since today.”

“Why?”

Lola sighed and transformed into her Jötunn self. “That’s why.”

May looked a bit shocked. “Oh my god, you weren’t fine, you were, you got hurt, someone hurt you, someone, and Runa, she’s…”

“She was fine, she was with a friend. When Mister Stark heard I got kicked out…”

“Oh my god, Lola, I’m so sorry. But that’s nice of him, real nice.”

“Yeah, well, he was concerned about me while I was… Mister Hogan, Miss Potts and he knew of course. One of the reasons they accepted me. I got a lot better hearing, quicker reflexes, but more than that, they wanted to protect me from people that would start prodding at me, experimenting like I wasn’t a sentient being.”

“So, you really do work for them?”

Lola laughed, tears pricking her eyes. “Yes. Although I do all kinds of things where I’m needed, not just bodyguarding all day long.”

“And now you live here.”

“Yeah.”

“Are you an Avenger?”

“Not to the public, not yet. And I don’t go into battles and the first thing I do, is make sure that someone’s watching Runa.”

“So, what can you do, besides breathe snowflakes?”

“Can’t do that anymore, was a side-effect of what was used on me, I’m a sorcerer, I can do magic tricks like changing my shape or form, teleport across the planet, conjure things and do a lot of spells.”

“Wow. Sounds like a superhero to me.”

Lola let her hand run through Runa’s short hair, her head swiftly following her hand. “I am also usually in my male form, as I grew up male and still often feel male.”

“So, you’re not a woman?”

“In reality, I’m neither and both. Where I grew up, I never knew my true form and then I found out that I had that form, that I was a whole different species than the people around me. They didn’t even tell me that in that species there are no males of females, not by different body types, and with me being able to become pregnant…”

“It was easier to say you’re a woman?”

“Yes. And I am her mother. Well, her mama. It also gives us another layer of protection. When everyone thinks, the person fighting is a man, at least two inches taller than me, they would never think I was that person. And in turn, Runa is safe as well.”

Lola transformed back into her white self, before laying down beside Runa and handing her a rattle, that she started shaking instantly, making Lola chuckle.

“Hey, baby-girl, see we’re safe here. All safe.”

Runa dropped her rattle and tugged at her bracelet again.

“Okay, okay, guess that’s gonna go.”

Lola opened the child-safety lock and took the bracelet off, immediately turning Runa blue again and she herself slipped back too, before deciding to go with her normal voice as well, turning Lola into Loki.

“If you plan on becoming my friend, May, you must understand that I cannot always tell you everything.”

“That’s okay.”

“I might sometimes even have to lie.”

“As long as you are a nice person and this little girl’s mama, it’s okay.”

“I will tell you the whole truth one day.”

“And I’ll hold your secrets, even from Ben and Peter.”

“I will still teach you how to cook.”

“That sounds fantastic.”

“And I might even let you photograph the StarkPhone.”

May giggled, before laying down on the other side of Runa, who had started playing with the rattle again.

“Do you want to know my real name?”

“I like Lola but go ahead.”

“It’s Loki.”

“I’ll just call you Lo then.”

“That will do just fine.”

 

When Runa was taking her mid-day nap, Happy came by, finding blue Loki and May on the couch.

“She taking her nap?”, he asked, careful not to rouse her.

“Yeah”, Loki answered, a bit smile on his face and Happy came over.

“Happy Hogan, Madam.”

“May Parker, nice to meet you. And nice to hear Stark Industries takes in lost aliens.”

Happy chuckled. “When they are lost and stranded in a world not like their own, who are we to send them away?”

“You taking your break?”, Loki asked him and Happy hummed while nodding.

“You on the other hand have been taking a break all day.”

“You only have to pay me for the hours I actually work.”

“I know. Heard you were gonna cook, I can watch Runa, stuff’s been ordered, they are coming in when she’s awake again.”

“Thank you, boss.”

Loki tapped at May’s arm and they both got up and she followed him to the kitchen that had been fully stocked, while they were chatting.

“So, what are we cooking?”

“Something without cutting.”

May laughed. “Not letting me near those knives?”

“There is a lot one can cook without having to actually cut stuff up. Cutting can always be a risk, having knives near kids, children have a lot of energy, we don’t want them to accidentally get hurt. So today, we are making pasta.”

May smiled at that. “Pasta isn’t that hard.”

“It is not, but the most important thing about cooking is that you don’t get distracted. Ring of the doorbell, a phone, people around you, even the radio. So, we are not trying to cook fast, because all those things could happen, but we are trying to cook safe. It could be that your husband’s coming home, he forgot his keys and you have to go get the door, it could be that in between you get a phone call from a friend and it could be that your nephew is chatting about his day and you actually have to pay attention to two things at once.”

“So?”

“So, what we do is do one thing at a time. Either we start with the sauce or we start with the noodles. I usually start with the noodles, but today we are gonna start with the sauce, because it’s actually just a pure tomato sauce and can sit for a while without needing much attention.”

“Alright.” May nodded, deeply concentrated and Loki got a pot and the ingredients.

“You can just get pre-prepared sauce from the convenience store, but I am using things that hold for a little longer, if not opened. So, I have tomato sauce here and a few spices. Pepper, oregano, basil, you can always use more, but today we’re going with these. Why don’t you open the can and put the sauce into the pot?”

May was very happy to get tasked like that it seemed. Loki told her the importance of rinsing and disposing the can directly after getting everything out and they let it cook while waiting for the water for the pasta to cook as well. When the sauce was warm enough Loki let May taste it and experiment a bit with the three chosen spices. Loki felt like a mentor and he loved it.

The whole meal, they decided turned out nice and Loki prepared a list for May the things she should remember, like putting salt in the water of the pasta and keeping the sauce on a lower level, because the pasta actually needs some time.

 

May left in the afternoon, after taking a picture of Loki’s phone to show to her nephew. After that, the team came in, carrying boxes, unpacking stuff, building furniture, Thor seemed to have a lot of fun to screw and interlock the different parts of the furniture. Steve still seemed to hold a grudge against Loki, but when he saw Runa, his anger faded a bit.

“How is she?”, he asked as he came and sat down, a little away from Loki.

“Healthy. Are you still angry?”

“A bit. I should be better than this.”

“You should.”

“The shield frustrates me.”

“But its true. To Captain America the shield is not just protection, but a weapon as well and all Avengers should give back their weapons after a mission. They can’t take away your strength, as they can’t take away the Hulk, and literally nobody can take away Mjølnir from Thor. But they can take away Clint’s and Nat’s weapons and Tony and Rhodey both leave their armour in the lab or the workshop, or in Rhodey’s case, at the base in a special room. They don’t leave a weapon just laying around, unprotected.”

“Alright, but the training?”

“Steve, you never finished yours. You are Captain America because ‘Soldier America’ would not have sounded patriotic enough, would not have sold enough tickets. You led the Howling Commandos and you led them quite well, but you are not trained to be a leader. The Avengers need someone that doesn’t just magically make the right choices every time, they need someone to lead them, that knows exactly how much they can take and will make the right choices, knows when to bench them and when they’ve done enough. The Avengers won’t win every fight, but a leader will make sure they make it out alive.”

“They have all made it out alive till now.”

Loki scoffed at that. “Remember when the tower got attacked and Iron Man and Thor were somewhere out there fighting? I read the reports, you told them to get there and you’ll join them.”

“Well, they were needed there quickly.”

“The Avengers are a unit. Had I not been connected to Tony, I would have never gotten to him and pulled him out of there, while his suit was down. Thor didn’t notice he was in danger, that’s what a leader should have done. Thor just fights, he trusts in the people around him to do the same, but the leader should have seen that Tony was in danger, should have noticed the exact moment J.A.R.V.I.S. went down, that the Iron Man armour could have fallen out of the sky.”

“And what if it happens again? They are both in armours connected to J.A.R.V.I.S.”

Loki sighed. “If you had paid attention to all the upgrade reports Tony constantly makes, both armours are now equipped with a copy of J.A.R.V.I.S., just like every Stark facility now has its own server. J.A.R.V.I.S. is now not just seemingly everywhere Tony goes, but he is actually there and not reliant on a server several miles away to stay alive. If something happens at the tower, if the A.I. should be cut off there, it will notice and will inform all other facilities the moment it happens.”

Steve groaned a little. “But I still don’t like it.”

“But you’ll have to do it anyway.”

He nodded. “Are we good then?”

“I never meant to throw you specifically under the bus. But I do notice when things don’t add up and while I love to drive it to the edge and see everything crumble and fall apart, I rather think that the Avengers should be one unit and on the same page. There are several things I can dislike about any and all of the Avengers, even Tony, and there are several things any of you can dislike about me. If we know the mistakes, know how far we can go, if every single member of this team knows exactly where to and where not to go with each other, we can grow not to be a great team but an actual family. And you are a family man, right, Steve?”

Steve chuckled. “I am. I have nobody left from back then and when I thought, all the things I had left were taken away…” He went silent.

“You acted out. You were on defence, you didn’t know where home was, you’re probably not even sure who Steven Grant Rogers is in the 21st Century. You can’t run back home into the arms of your friends, because they aren’t there anymore. And when it looked like the people you had considered your new friends betrayed you, you felt like the guns were drawn on you and you had no back-up to safe you. You lashed out. Now you know your trigger, Steve. Or well, what could be your downfall. You need to plant yourself anew, maybe do a little meditation with Bruce, draw, paint and finally become Steve Rogers and not Captain America.”

“Are you wise or are you just pretending?”

“When one starts talking slow and in a calm and soothing voice everything one says sounds wise. But don’t tell Thor that, he’ll start to overthink everything I tell him. And when thinking is not his best suit, overthinking is something I don’t ever want to experience. Well, experience again…”

Chapter Text

The first three days of spending time together, the Avengers themselves mostly didn’t. Nat and Clint were on their floor or in the gym training together. Steve was driven to and from Army training, Thor just walked around the tower, in search of Loki, who always conveniently disappeared before Thor came into the room. Bruce and Tony were in the lab and Rhodey became bored enough to join them or take care of Runa, whenever Lola went to do her job.

May still wrote every day and Lola or Loki always wrote back. By day three, May 9th, Loki noticed that not only Rhodey was bored, but the two agents and the two scientists as well. Thor was getting frustrated and apparently quite sad, if one could tell by the downpour outside the tower. At least Steve had stopped complaining about the training after Rhodey had shot him down.

“Let’s play ‘Never have I ever’”, Loki announced on the evening of the fourth day.

Bruce and Nat were playing with Runa on the ground, Steve had planted himself at Clint’s side, Loki had forced himself between Rhodey and Tony so that Thor had no way of getting to him, who in turn sat grumbling in an armchair.

“The version with or without having to explain?”, Tony asked.

“Up to the person. I’ll start. Never have I ever… stabbed someone that was or would be a good friend of mine.” Loki held up his hand. Nat and Clint looked at each other, as well as Tony and Rhodey.

“Well”, Nat said, “The key word is stabbed.”

“I got it”, Tony said quickly, “Never have I ever physically harmed someone that was or would be a friend of mine.” The four people swiftly raised their hands.

Thor hesitated. “Does training count?”

“Yes”, Tony answered and to their surprise only Bruce was left with not having his hand up.

“What?” He threw up his arms “The Hulk doesn’t count.”

“The Hulk totally counts”, Loki answered, and Bruce’s hand went up as well.

“This is unfair, I don’t know about all the people he hurts.”

“Never have I ever”, Clint said loudly, “left an enemy alive, because I sympathised with them.”

His and Nat’s hands went up in unison, Loki’s joined them, as well as Thor’s. Tony’s hand went up slowly.

“I did kind of sympathise with Vanko. But it also would have been bad PR to kill him. But he’s also dead now…”

“Put your hand down, Tony” Rhodey told him and Tony sighed happily, before letting his hand fall.

“Never have I ever”, Steve started, before thinking, “risked my own live to safe those of many others.”

Tony’s hand went up, accompanied by a bright smile, Steve’s was up naturally, Loki had his hand up as well and Rhodey did too.

“Brother, you, too”, Loki told Thor, who thought for a while and then laughed, before raising his hand.

“Never have I ever”, Natasha chimed, “had sex with someone for money.” She held her hand high.

“On either end?”, Tony asked.

“Directly or in the exchange somehow?”, Loki inquired.

“Not pay for it Tony, no, but Loki, yeah that works.”

With a smirk Loki brought his hand up and his brother gasped. “Loki!”

Loki shrugged. “Money is money.”

“We’re not talking about me, right?”, Tony stage-whispered and Loki shook his head.

“Of course not, love, I don’t sleep with you for money, I sleep with you for pleasure and finally acting out all the kinks I’ve acquired over the last thousand years.”

“Brother!” Loki grinned again.

“Never have I ever”, Bruce said, “hated the family of a partner.”

Bruce and Tony had his hands up first, Loki followed soon after.

“They were dead at that point, it doesn’t count.”

“I’m not thinking of you. Remember, arranged marriage.”

“Oh, yeah”, Tony whispered, nodding.

“Never have I ever”, Thor slowly started, “been jealous of a friend, because he could do something I couldn’t.” He lifted his hand, intensely staring at Loki who didn’t raise his. Only Steve raised his. It was dangerously silent, before Rhodey cleared his throat.

“Never have I ever lied about my age to get what I want.”

“Oh, come on!”, Tony shouted and swung his arm up, joined by Rhodey, Loki, Clint, Nat and Steve.

“I had an excellent disguise as well”, Loki said with a grin and promptly turned into a little boy.

“Aww”, Tony said, cooing and pulling Loki close, “So cute. What did you do?”

“But Sir”, Kid-Loki whined with a high voice, “My ma said to bring five and I only have three units left, please, da will be angry with her if I don’t get what she needs.”

“What are units?”

“Intergalactic currency”, Thor provided.

“Cool, so, like, space-Dollars.”

“Indeed”, the blond man answered, and Loki turned back, snuggling against Tony.

“Never have I ever almost sold myself into slavery, because I was bored.”

“You did what?”, Tony and Thor shouted at Loki at the same time.

“I was bored”, Loki answered, throwing his arms back dramatically.

 

After that evening things went a little better. Rhodey drove Steve to the base and got him back as well. Clint and Nat showed Thor New York and introduced him to a lot more things he should know when being on Earth. Tony got Loki an e-mail account and Loki got Fury’s permission to take a few trips around the world to empty out all his, sometimes century old bank accounts, that all attending personnel were surprised were still active. Then he put all the money in the new bank account Tony made him and surprised the man with the fact that he was almost as rich as the man himself. Thor, of course, didn’t have a penny to his name, but found that people paid greatly to have the thunder-god attend parties or other events.

Loki was sitting in front of Tony smiling up at the other man, admiring him, while the man stared at the letter in his hand. “You want to do what?”

“Make a museum with all the stuff I have. Call it ‘Lost and Magicked away’, proceeds go wherever you want them to go, a fund for the things the Avengers destroy maybe, or a charity.”

“You want us to display all the stolen art pieces you have?”

“Most art is stolen. And the artists wanted them destroyed, if they’d asked if I did not destroy them, I would have told them the truth and given them back.”

Tony sighed. “I’ll ask Pepper. We were already planning an exhibit with all the old Avengers gear, except for Steve’s 40’s stuff, he gets his own down in D.C., this will excite people, I know, but it could also be highly illegal.”

“You should display the villain stuff as well, but make sure it is very well protected. That everything is very well protected.”

“But not the dangerous stuff that could blow us all up.”

“Certainly not those.”

Tony looked at him for a while, before slowly shaking his head. Loki’s smile faded and a worried expression fell on his face.

“You amaze me”, Tony whispered.

“Oh.” Loki’s lip trembled a bit.

“How you even exist…”

Loki felt a pang in his chest, worry that he had done something wrong.

“Your adventures must have been grand.”

“I could show you”, Loki whispered. Then he heard what he said and started shaking his head. “No, no, no.”

He knew he shouldn’t feel worried, feel scared, feel embarrassed, this was Tony, his husband, the love of his life. Showing Bruce had been easy, there weren’t a lot of things to hide, so he just hadn’t, but Tony… To let him see the people he had used to see how he had manipulated them…

“Forget it. The idea was crap anyway, should have burned it all a long time ago, was never fair to them. Bad Loki, bad again, always bad, not good, shit, I’m panicking, not madness, no, just panic, can’t, just…”

Tony cried to grasp him, but Loki teleported away, out of sheer panic.

 

“Shit, shit, shit, should not have done that, not have done that, bad Loki, always bad, always.”

“Loki?”

Loki stumbled backwards. “Sorry, wrong time, bad Loki, gone in a second, just have to…”

“Brother what is… Loki?”

“Loki, calm down, breathe.”

T’Challa grabbed his arms and pushed him to the floor, forcibly. That made Loki scream, which in turn made T’Challa hold his hand over Loki’s mouth, which was not a good combination, T’Challa learned the hard way as Loki bit down and then scrambled to get lose to run down the hall.

‘Out, out, gotta get out, gotta calm, gotta find a place, gotta go’, Loki screamed in his head, as he ran past the two surprised highnesses.

T’Challa apparently recovered fast. And he could run really fast, Loki had never trained and though he wasn’t slow for being brought up Asgardian, he certainly was slower than T’Challa, he noticed as the man jumped him and wrestled him to the ground, grabbing his arms firmly and holding them over his head. Then he turned him over and pressed his hand on Loki’s chest, not hard, but firm.

“Breathe”, he instructed, and Loki shuddered in his grasp, looking up into T’Challa’s eyes, his body trembling as he sobbed. “Breathe”, the man said, a bit warmer this time and softly pressed down, Loki’s breath shaking as he tried to follow the instructions, closing his eyes a little, as he came down the high, or up from the low probably. When he started to wriggle under the dark man’s arms, he slowly let go of him.

“Out, please”, he whispered, and the man helped him up and slowly walked him to the nearest door, even if it just opened to show a balcony.

Loki fell to his knees, grasping the railing. Tears fell from his face. The air wasn’t cold, but it was refreshing. Loki shuddered a little.

“Shit”, he cursed, as he slumped down and pressed his head to the ground.

“What changed in two weeks?”, T’Challa asked.

“Just panic, walls breaking, secrets coming apart, past and present melting together, opening up, the usual.”

“Who did you run from?”

“None of your business, you’d just assume and assume wrong.”

“I am worried for you, Loki, if someone is hurting…”

“Stop being fucking worried, T’Challa”, Loki shouted at him, scrambling to his feet, leaning back into the railing, as he turned to face the man, “Grow up, you’re not a kid anymore. This isn’t ’99 where you can fawn over a god and think you’ll have a chance just because you got a crush.”

“We’re friends, Loki, I can be worried about you.”

“I’m not in an abusive relationship. My whole life has been abusive, he isn’t, so don’t worry your brain about that.”

“Why’d you teleport here then?”

Loki let his head drop. Honestly, he should be embarrassed, that he was here, of all places. “Didn’t want him to find me, last place I felt safe”, he mumbled.

T’Challa sighed.

“Also, don’t ever force me into any positions ever again when I’m in panic. You’re a man, a strong man, don’t make me think this place isn’t safe anymore. Next time I might not even recognise where I am.”

“Sorry.”

“I should get back.”

“You won’t call.”

“My husband is very curious about it, would want to take it apart to figure out how it works, don’t you have a phone?”

You have a phone?”

“It’s quite necessary to tell the date sometimes.”

T’Challa took out a sleek dark smartphone, that probably came out of Shuri’s lab. Loki smiled and took his phone out of the dimensional pocket, handing it over.

“Stark tech? I’m impressed.”

“Thor is on the Avengers, you know…”

“Does Thor have a phone?”

“He has. I don’t think he uses it though.”

“Still, Stark tech, that’s impressive, although I do think the man himself is an immature child.”

“Have you ever met him?”

T’Challa connected the phones, sending over his contact information, while receiving Loki’s. “No, but the media says a lot about him, about his exploits, the speech with ‘I am Iron Man’, for Bast’s sake, how can he think that is a wise choice, of course he’d make himself a target.” He handed back Loki’s phone.

“For your information”, Loki said, as he put the phone away, “I rather hate to choose between friends, so you better not insult any of my friends again, especially those”, he showed T’Challa his left hand with his ring, hot-rod-red and gold with the gleaming blue of the arc reactor, “I’m married to.”

And with that he teleported away.

 

Loki tumbled and held his aching back, before leaning backwards and letting it crack.

“J.A.R.V.I.S., where is he?”, Loki whined.

“If by he you mean, Sir, he will be here in five, four, three, two…”

Tony ran into the room, panting. He had been crying, Loki could tell.

“I’m sorry. I got a… I’m sorry.”

“You’re okay”, Tony whispered, “I almost called Kurt, because I was so worried. Got to Thor, though, he said Heimdall couldn’t see you, but apparently that happens quite often, not just when you’re, you know, lost in space somewhere.”

“Can you forgive me?”

“I’m not angry. I was scared I fucked up, somehow, didn’t know where though, god, Loki, we’re married, we have a kid together and I thought you’d leave me, just like that, without me knowing why, without Runa ever seeing you again. Can you tell me where I fucked up? Because I don’t ever want that to happen again, whatever it is, we can work through this. We’re not broken yet, right?”

Loki chuckled slightly. “I’m a bad person, Tony.”

Tony stopped for a moment, frowning. “Is this about last year? Because we all know you weren’t in full control of what happened.”

“This is about my life. I have hurt, I have deceived, and I have done so deliberately. Not on Midgard, not on people that had no clue who they were facing. I haven’t been a good Loki, not pure, not always, most times I was just mischievous Loki, played around here and there, but I was also evil Loki. There is a reason Odin believed me only when I made myself seem like the person, he thought me to be. I killed, I slaughtered people, just because I felt like it. I am no hero; I don’t know if I ever wanted to be one.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“My past and present are falling together it seems. Me sharing mine with you… I don’t wish for you to see me that ugly, see who I was, even if I don’t ever plan on being like that again.”

“Didn’t you share it with Bruce?”

“Yes, but it might have gotten rushed over in the whole, and even if it wouldn’t have, him hating me, him leaving my side, him calling me all the things that I know are true about me, that wouldn’t have hurt. Hearing it from you would.”

“Well, I’m not gonna say it, I love you, Loki and I’m here to stick around forever. I want to see it, want to see everything, I can take it, can you take mine?” Tony crossed the distance between them and softly kissed him. “Take mine, come on, see everything I am, how I was made, see my parts, everything that put together equals one Anthony Edward fucking Stark, your goddamn husband that will spend the rest of eternity with you and hope it never ends.”

Loki’s lips brushed against Tony’s as he brought them into the master bedroom in the tower, they had been in. He lifted Tony up and laid him out on his bed, before bending down for another kiss. “Okay then”, was all the warning Tony got, before Loki pressed his hand against the man’s forehead.

 

It wasn’t that Tony’s past hurt, or that giving his past and in turn, all his secrets, away, hurt, but the immense strain of using that much Seiðr at once, after performing an already draining spell about two and a half weeks ago and half a week later again using a lot, that hurt. Loki didn’t want to scream, he really didn’t, and he hadn’t wanted to tell Tony how much that could hurt him, he hadn’t even really known how, because usually it was either a specific glance or a rough outline that he was looking for or giving away.

Keeping his body, on the outside, from falling onto Tony was another challenge and when he finally let go of Tony, hours later, he was hurting a lot.

“Move”, he rasped, as the man stared up at him, wanting to say something. Tony looked a little confused. “Move, or I will collapse on top of you.”

“Oh shit”, Tony cursed and immediately wiggled his way out of Loki’s encasing.

Loki was shaking the whole time and when Tony’s feet finally left his view, he let himself fall onto the soft mattress.

“J, how long were we out?”

“I would say, you, Sir, have been out for around seven hours, Master Stark however, I detect, was never fully unconscious, having to rearrange his body several times.”

Loki groaned slightly. “I need at least four days off of work, Tony.” He had wanted to say ‘darling’ but he had yet to know Tony’s stance on his life.

“Was, uhm, was anyone worried?”

“When they asked where you were, I informed them that Loki had come back and you both had been in the master bedroom since shortly after. They have been caring for Runa and the projects you left unattended.”

“I am so sore”, Loki breathed.

“Oh, honey, I shouldn’t have rushed you.”

“Not your fault.” Loki clenched up when he felt a weight on his lower body.

“Shh, sweetheart, I got you.”

Loki whimpered when Tony kissed his neck. “How can you still…”

“You and I, we watch ourselves in the worst lights, don’t we? And yet we see each other in the best.”

“I killed.”

“I did too.”

“People who wanted to kill you.”

“People who would have killed you eventually.”

Tony tugged at Loki’s shirt and pulled it off. Then he slowly began to massage Loki’s back. At first the whimpers intensified, along with a few hisses and silent curses.

“I’m gonna get every last knot out, sweetheart, you can let go now, it’s safe, you’re safe, nobody can get in, right, J.A.R.V.I.S.?”

“Indeed, the penthouse is on lockdown and as far as I can tell, the wards Master Stark has put up are still holding.”

“See, we’re safe. You’re safe. I got you, you can let go.”

And of course, that’s when the alarm blared.

Tony cursed. “Am I…”

“Yes, Colonel Rhodes is requesting your assistance. After reviewing the footage, it is also a code green.”

“Double-shit. Lokes?”

“Let’s go”, the man said, cursing as he got up and put his shirt back on, before grabbing Tony and teleporting themselves into the lab.

“Shit, you two look…”

“Where’s Runa?”, Loki asked.

“In Lola’s apartment. You can’t go out, I’d guess.”

“Only back-up. I need sleep, a massage and… umm… a chocolate cake maybe.”

“Request has been delivered to Mister Hogan, Master Stark, I would ask you to grab a comm and return to Lola’s apartment, if that is within Colonel Rhodes’ orders.”

“Yeah, yeah, grab a comm, go get treated, you need that too, Tony?”

“No, I’m good, just gonna need a power-up here.” Tony softly grabbed Loki’s chin and the man smiled a little before kissing him. “Eternally”, he whispered.

“Eternally, don’t do anything stupid.” Loki winked at him and then grabbed the offered comm, before teleporting into the apartment, where Bruce, Clint and Natasha were hovering. “Good luck, guys, kick their asses”, he told them with a weak smile, before putting in the comm.

Bruce grabbed his arm. “You sure you’re okay with watching her on your own?”

“She’s my kid. Go. And maybe communicate with Hulk a bit, if he lets you see.”

“Alright.”

The three went out and Loki let his disguise fall. He hissed when he felt over his pulsing veins on his natural blue body. He breathed deeply and went to check on Runa who was still sleeping, thank the norns.

“Give me all the cameras on the screen in the office.”

“Certainly, Master Stark”, J.A.R.V.I.S. asked in a muted voice, probably to not wake Runa.

 

Loki walked over to the third room of the floor that had been redesigned by Tony into an office, specifically for this kind of work. The open area provided an area to store books and other things, earlier that day Loki had brought a few dozen boxes there, containing art and other things from an old storage facility he had cleared out. There were three more like that one.

The Avengers were still out, when Happy came by, a cake in hand and Pepper in tow. Loki was offhandedly giving information, mostly to Rhodey, only when it was in immediate range of one of the other Avengers, he told the whole crew. Pepper was studying the screens, before handing Loki a piece of paper.

“I like the proposal”, she said, “The most legal way we can go about it, is sorting it all and contacting ancestors, presenting them with it and you talking to them. We will have to go by their requests of what to do with them. If they want to keep them, you will have to hand them over, but if they are okay with keeping them in an exhibit, with, of course, free passes to all of them, we just have to go by where they want the proceeds to go.”

Loki smiled. “Did I just give you a lot of trouble?”

“Well, it wasn’t really stealing, but preserving.”

“Without their request or knowledge.”

“We can flip it your way. You did the world a favour. You kept businesses running, probably, by storing it in their facilities and sending monthly payments.”

“From the accounts that are now all closed, I have to move out the other things by the end of the month.”

“Do you need help with that?”

Loki looked at his arms. “Yeah, probably. But I need a place to put them first, the library is already full.”

Pepper opened the door to the other room. “I can still walk through here.”

“Is that your way of saying I didn’t steal enough?”

“That’s my way of saying, J.A.R.V.I.S., dim the lights and make sure no natural light comes in. Loki come here and show us one.”

Loki grinned and jumped from the chair. “I’ll be right back, War Machine, hold down the fort for me.”

“Whatever you’re doing, get it done quick, even if it is taking a piss or singing Runa back to sleep.”

“None of that, give me a moment.” Loki walked through the lines of boxes in the adjoining room and then pried open one.

Happy coughed. “What the hell, Loki, why would you show us that?”

“Well, to show you all, that Tony wasn’t the first to ask me to model for him. There are at least a couple handful in total that were meant to stay with me. Don’t I look absolutely beautiful?”

Pepper blushed a little. “It is certainly a good depiction of you.”

“You think Tony would like it? Of course, now he already knows they exist, I should decorate our house with it, those are legally mine, yes?”

“Yep, if they were given to you…”

“Oh great.”

“But I don’t think you should hang them out in the open.”

“Oh, you feeble beings. Thor had statues out in the open, I had drawings in private.”

“I’m sure none of his statues depict him naked.”

“Then you have not done your research well enough.”

“I’m pretty sure none of them show him getting his cock sucked though”, Happy throws back, finally finding his voice again.

Chapter Text

“So”, Tony said, his hand on a glass that was filled with cola, “It says one thing, that I’m celebrating this birthday with a very selective group, it says another that we’re celebrating in the middle of the day. To anyone who hasn’t been paying attention, I got a lover I’m not sharing with the whole world and we have a little baby girl.” Tony sighed and looked over to where Loki was sitting, dressed in a blue and grey suit that complimented his skin nicely. “And well, like my lovely husband, I’ll probably adept to not celebrating my birthday anymore in the future, because the public might find out in a couple years that I don’t have great skin-treatment but rather taken a drug that prevents me from aging like any normal human. So, here’s to me, staying forever 42.”

Chuckles and well-wishes erupted, before the whole party began chattering again and Tony made his way over to where Loki was sitting.

“Nice wording.”

“I used to be better at speeches, but that was around people that didn’t know me.”

“And now here you are, not needing to impress anyone.”

“Well now I know exactly how grateful I can be, that I actually won you over.” He snuggled next to Loki and kissed his jaw. “So damn lucky.”

“All those people… And you turned them all down, the greatest artists, royalty. I mean, I would have slept with some of them, if I had the chance.”

“You slept with anything that wasn’t up on a tree by the count of three.”

“Hey! I slept with any woman that wasn’t up on a tree by the count of three. And I don’t plan on sleeping with any other person than you.”

“Good, because there will be a lot of down-time the next few centuries. Find a hobby.”

“Oh, you’ll leave me alone at home, will you?”

“I will, with our dozens of crying children because they all like mama best.”

“You’d never leave for long.”

“You’re right”, Loki cooed at him, “Otherwise someone might take you away from me. And I don’t like it, when someone takes my toys.”

Tony giggled like a little schoolgirl and quickly coughed, to hide his embarrassment. “You don’t really…”

“No, love, I don’t really think of you like that.” Loki kissed his temple. “Equals. We’d explore the cosmos together, would build a ship faster and sturdier than any other, small enough to be evasive, big enough to carry our family.”

“But first we gotta safe the galaxy”, Tony said, sighing. “Big job that one. But at least now I have a face to that scary voice in my head.”

“He won’t bury us; I won’t let him.”

“You got a lot to protect, don’t you?”

“A husband, a daughter, a family.”

“A planet?”

“Well, I don’t care about every person on this planet.”

“Or any planet.”

“Yup.”

Tony looked across the room, spotting who he was looking for easily, downing his soda and then grabbing Loki’s hand and pulling him along.

“Fury, you came, I’m glad you’re here, I wanted to talk to you, come along.” Tony laid a hand on the back of the man and pushed him towards the stairs, still pulling Loki along, who had fallen into step.

“What is this about?”, Fury asked while climbing the stairs, obviously a bit irritated about them not using the elevator.

“Oh I’ll tell you in a moment, I hear you don’t like J.A.R.V.I.S. much, or well, the constant-record function that isn’t actually constantly recording and mostly crap that was talked about, if I don’t really safe it in a special file called black-mail. Or J does, well, J suggests.”

They went two floors up, before Tony opened the door to a very sleek apartment with extra padding along every side. Then he locked the door behind them.

“So, darling, Fury, this is a safe room, to talk, to not think anyone can hear you, if you pull out your phones, you’ll see we don’t even have signal here, totally not my style, but very important for the whole, saving the world and galaxy while we don’t trust our friends, kinda thing. Two syllables, Fury: Coul-son, or well… HY-DRA, or…”

“You told him?”

“He’s clean. And we exchanged memories, intensely, like I know every little detail of his life, and he knows every little detail of mine. We’re still both sorting through everything though.”

“You know what I remembered when I learned that fucking HYDRA has infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D.? I bugged the Helicarrier. You know, I was only looking for all the Tesseract stuff back then, but I had J.A.R.V.I.S. bring it all up, get it on a server and got the server here, disconnected from anything else.”

“You still got the…”

“You’ll love me for it now.” Tony jogged around the area and to a fully equipped tech-room. “So, it’s not J.A.R.V.I.S., but I ran a few codes, we all remember, I built J by hand? Well, I ran a few codes, first just looking for anything hidden, because, yeah, of course they’d try to hide it from you, but they still keep records, gotta let the minions know what to do right? Alright-alright, rambling again, sorry folks. So, hidden stuff and then stuff that didn’t add up, and stuff that was very out in the open about HYDRA.”

“What did you find?”

“Ooh, now you’re interested. I got a whole list of suspects, and I also found out who or what could have sniped the stuff into my vents before our event.”

“Who?”, Loki asked.

“The Winter Soldier. HYDRA asset for the last 50 years, as far as I can tell, there are some huge gaps in there, looks to me like the soldier isn’t much of a living being, more like it’s a machine, a Russian built machine, but that couldn’t be possible, from what my sources say. They also say that I probably will be the first to build a fully functioning, not failing android that will look at least similar to humans, but that’s mostly flattery.”

“I heard about the Winter Soldier”, Fury said, nodding.

“What I learned is, the people talk a lot more about a ghost that could kill them in their sleep, than an subsection of the Nazis.”

“What else have you found? Besides the fact that they are very high established in S.H.I.E.L.D.?”

“Well, HYDRA at the very bottom of the bunch would be really bad for their business. Of course, my information is old information, I don’t think you’ll let me into the new information anytime soon, right? And they were able to delete stuff quite quick, before I got my hands on it, so I basically just got a sheet that says a few names and well a list of their assets and what they can do. Most of those have not been used in a very long time, except the Winter Soldier.”

“We’d need two people with Level 10 clearance.”

“I’d guess you are one and…”, Loki started.

“Alexander Pierce.”

Loki chuckled. “He really shouldn’t have come to the party. I never forget a face. Not one that has such a blatant dislike for me.”

“We have to do this right, Lokes. No deaths.”

“Yeah, yeah, got it, dear, no deaths, that’s why Bruce and Tony are going to take another trip to D.C. when this whole ‘grounded’ thing is over and the lovely Director Fury will pick them up at the gate and bring them where they need to go.”

“I think the Director’s gonna pick two Avengers up from the tower next week and will then land where he normally lands.”

“And Pierce?”

“I’ll make sure he isn’t there. But not the way he doesn’t know I don’t want him there. I’ll just tell him that Mister Stark plans to come by and talk to him about the World Security Council, what they plan on doing when the public finally knows who really was behind all that disaster that could have killed everyone in New York. He’ll even thank me for warning him and then tells me that he’s probably not gonna be at the Triskelion for a couple weeks till Stark calms down.”

“And what if he doesn’t fall for that?”

“Then Stark talks to Pierce. You can do that, right?”

“Oh yeah, I’d love to”, Tony answered with a grin, “What about Bruce being there?”

“Bruce is your pet, he follows you wherever you tell him to”, Loki said with a shrug, “But don’t tell sweet dear Brucie-bear that, because you forget him in places at least 80 percent of the time.”

“Oh, so I should play I’m gay for the Doc and you play the oblivious Doc that doesn’t really think that I would actually honestly flirt with him?”

“The Doc won’t like the idea.”

“He never has to know, Lokes.”

“He’s a friend, dear, he needs to know.”

“Okay, so he’ll join our even more super-secret boy band?”

“Until we work through all that information and can trust our not so super-secret boy band with all we’ve been doing.”

“Even about the other things?”

“Well, you know I have a few pointers on that, after the trip I’d love to see what has come of it.”

“What do you mean?”, Fury asked.

“I got someone working back on Asgard on my future-problem, even though he’d never admit that he’s working for me, but for the good of all the realms.”

“Should I be worried?”

“Hopefully we can keep a mass-murder from happening.”

Fury shook his head. “Let’s get back to the party. I’ll call you when I’ll come to get the two scientists.”

 

The rest of the early afternoon went over quiet, Loki saw Tony pull Bruce away for a chat and he seemed a bit annoyed afterwards, but it was still okay. He took out his phone and stared at the message that had been there for over a week.

T’Challa: ‘I am sorry, Loki, I did not know he was your husband. I will be better, I will do better, please do not let this be the end.’

Loki hadn’t told Tony about the message, but it still bugged him. ‘please do not let this be the end’, as if they had a promising future. He was still after him. Not to hurt him, not even to touch him, but his heart obviously still beat for Loki. He wanted to look good in Loki’s eyes. Like a child. Loki shook his head at the thought.

“What troubles you, brother?”, Thor asked, and Loki put his phone away, careful not to be too quickly as that would raise suspicion.

“Old friends. I feel like one has imprinted on me like a duck.”

Thor bellowed at that. “Have I not heard that many of the friends you made on Earth admired you?”

“This is different, I think in some capacity he feels like I owe him, even though it was them that owed me long ago.”

“The people whose help you received after the event.” Thor connected the dots quite quickly, but Loki was not making it necessarily hard.

“Indeed. Back in the day I only had business with his father, and I did not think to cause this affection he had. I should have left the moment it occurred to me. He was merely a boy, I thought it would go over well, I was convinced to stay, and his affection grew. I thought it would go over well, returning. After all, I was not looking for his help. He didn’t show me in person, not truly, how much he was still… He didn’t bear his belly, asking me to take care of him and I walked into a carefully laid trap. He knows where I am and sooner or later he will come looking for me.”

“Is he a threat to you or your family?”

“He would not dare make me angry. If I react, if I give him anything, he will use it to drive us apart. At least that is if he caught the worst of it. His father keeps him under control, but the man is not the youngest. And the way the galaxy turns everything might turn on his head and he can’t keep him inland, because the world might need every hero it can get.”

“But he has not threatened you?”

“No.”

“Then I see no need for concern as of yet. If you say he is imprinted on you, he might just want your guidance.”

“I will not give it.”

“And you must not.”

“But what would happen if I don’t?”

“We will not know, but it will not be on your head, but his.”

Loki sighed. “But somehow it will still be on me. If he starts hurting people to get my attention that won’t be good for us. And It won’t be good for me.”

“It will not be good for your conscience either, brother. Treating him like a child might not be the best idea then.”

“Fuck”, Loki cursed, loud enough to draw the attention in the room.

“Everything okay, sweetheart?”

“I gotta go and get someone in line”, Loki answered Tony, walked across the party and hand him the phone with the message. Tony raised his eyebrow, then looked to Thor who was still sitting where Loki had left him. Then he looked back down on the phone, locking it.

“He’s bad for you, he’s messing with your head.”

“And I won’t let it get messed with again.” Loki shoved the phone in his pant-pocket and looked into Tony’s eyes. “You’re in control here”, he whispered.

Tony sighed before looking to Fury, who raised his eyebrow. “Go. Get him in line. But you keep your phone out and answer before the third ring and you get back before the day ends.”

Loki kissed Tony’s cheek. “Eternally.”

“Yeah. Eternally.” Tony nodded and Loki teleported out.

 

“Fuck”, he cursed, rubbing over his arms.

“Lo, to what do I owe this pleasure?”

Loki looked up at Shuri and smiled. She was a nice young woman. “To your brother being an annoying, manipulative brat.”

She laughed at that, before stepping closer and taking his arm into her hands. “You are hurting yourself, Lo.”

“I have used a lot of magic at once before, but yes, it has put a lot of strain on my arms. I have to be careful.”

“And what has my brother done this time?”

“He has texted me.”

Shuri looked at him irritated. “Surely it is more than that.”

“He still loves me.”

“That could be a bit of a problem.”

“He believes we’re friends.”

“Well, you kind of are.”

“He knows who my husband is.”

“Ooh. That could be troublesome, yes.”

“I need to ask for your father’s permission to punch him.”

“That will only make him come after you more.”

“So, what shall I do?”

“You are asking a twelve-year-old for advice on how to handle a man who is helplessly head over heels for you?”

“You are his sister.”

“And you should know him better. You knew him when he first fell in love with you.”

“I will crush him. Hah, I know a way.”

“What?”

“Give me your phone.”

Irritated she handed it over and he connected it to his, transferring the contact information across. “So?”

“Can you make text appear older, like shortly after I came here last?”

“Of course, why?”

“I’ll send it to you.”

Loki opened his phone and sent a series of messages that made it appear like Shuri and him had become quick friends. Swiftly Shuri worked on making them appear older, working her replies in there, so it looked like they had been talking for about a little more than a week now.

“So now, when I come home, I’ll send him this text message. And I’ll send you these two. Good?”

“You really are a mischievous person, Lo.”

“And you are a very good partner in crime. Call me, if you need me.”

“Will do.” She winked at him and Loki disappeared.

 

Loki cursed a little again and then grinned at Tony. “I’m back.”

“And the party is still going.”

“Yeah, just give me a…” Loki sent the three messages, shortly after each other.

[To T’Challa] Loki: ‘Hey, Wakandan#1, was great seeing you today, gonna work on a few creams for my arms, keep me updated if you got any ideas, really hurts to jump, but I’ll make it over again, Tony’s still amazed you even exist.’

[To Shuri] Loki: ‘I messed up, can you delete a message from your brother’s phone?’

[To Shuri] Loki: ‘It just said that it was nice seeing you, and about the hurting arms and all that, no big deal, W#1, still fans over here, gonna go celebrate Tones now, thanks for helping with the gift, you’re a godsend, he’s gonna love it.’

Shuri: ‘On it, send him my best wishes. Health and all that.’

Loki put the phone away and grinned at Tony. “Shuri says ‘Happy Birthday’, also I gotta find you a gift now.”

“What did you do?”

“Planned a little mischief and manipulation on my own?”

“And you pulled a kid in it?”

“It’s nothing bad, nothing that could hurt her.”

“Loki!”

“Yes?”

“Why do you have to find me a gift?”

“Because the message said that she helped me with finding one.”

“Ugh, but she’d help you with something like electronics, a little bot or something.”

“And she wouldn’t use Vibranium, because she can’t give this out to strangers.”

“Come on, I still have the bots from the event laying around, program some messages to it, good to go.”

Loki grinned. “And make it follow you around?”

“Can do.”

“Alright. Love you.”

Tony smiled. “We gotta do it now, before the Avengers are gonna take a picture, Snowstorm’s gotta be in it.”

 

Later that day, in the early evening, the pictures from the party were posted and not fifteen minutes later Loki got a message from May.

May: ‘Peter just showed be the pics, you look sooo cute next to all of them, although you’re probably don’t want to be called cute. And I think that Mister Stark might have a crush on you, but that could just be his natural complexion.’

Loki snickered and showed the message to Tony who groaned. “It’s your fault, you touched my ass.”

“More like your fault for tempting me, love, don’t you think?”

Chapter Text

They really should have seen this coming. Loki groaned when they woke to loud banging at their bedroom door.

Tony checked his phone before shouting: “It’s 4 fucking o’clock in the fucking morning on our fucking wedding day!”

Loki would have snickered, if it weren’t Thor at the door, almost begging: “I must take Loki to Asgard, the trail of Fandral the traitor is to begin, and he is to be present.”

“Heimdall?”, Loki asked to confirm. He speaks the truth. Loki groaned and bent over to Tony to give him a kiss on the cheek, before rummaging around his clothes picking the ones that would least likely clash with his complexion but would still be acceptable in court. “I love you, dear, happy first anniversary”, he said, before kissing Tony on the mouth and walking out.

“Don’t do anything stupid”, Tony called after the two brothers and Loki laughed a little, before wincing when Thor threw his arm around him.

“I shall protect you, the bastard won’t lay a finger on you.”

“Be silent brother, we do not wish to wake the whole mansion.”

“Of course”, Thor whispered and tried his best to walk down the stairs in a silent manner, still waking a yawning Doctor.

“Wha’s goin’ on?”, he mumbled.

“Go back to bed, Bruce”, Loki hushed, “It is nothing, we will be back before you even start to miss us.”

Bruce nodded before going back to his room and Loki ushered Thor out of the house and towards the helicopter landing site.

“How’d you even get into the house?”

“I asked the man, Jarvis, if he could let me in.”

“And he did.”

“I may have threatened to call upon thunder and wake you that way.”

“You sly monstrosity.”

“I learned from the best. Heimdall!”

They were engulfed in light and shot up through the darkness of the galaxy as they climbed Yggdrasil.

 

“My princes, how do you fare?”

“Better than the last time you saw me”, Loki answered with a wink of his eye.

“Very well, this trip was quite refreshing. Being forced to stay in one place was very interesting.”

“Brother you’d be the first to actually enjoy being grounded.”

“Well, I was contained in one city, not one room.”

“I hear you did not only break the rule once, but twice, Loki”, Heimdall mocked.

“What can I say? I don’t abide well to constrictions.”

“We shall fly now.” Thor wrapped his arm around Loki and swung Mjølnir to carry them away.

Loki yelped and clenched up, cursing Thor all the way to the castle. When they landed, he winced and then yelled: “We could have walked! Or taken the horses! Were we in such a hurry that you had to rip me of the calming ground?!”

“Ah, it seems our sons have arrived”, a booming voice said behind the apparently open balcony door.

Thor dragged him through it, by the arm, making Loki hiss and wince, slapping at Thor to let him go. “Father, we have come.”

“I have only lost an eye, Thor, not my ears, let your brother go, he is not your slave or unwilling bed mate.”

Thor turned scarlet at that and let Loki go, who slowly caressed his forearms, before looking up at the All-Father.

“I hear you requested my presence. Here I am.”

“Yes. Thor you may leave, your mother and I will talk with Loki, I hear your shield-brothers have missed you greatly.”

“I will go then, be well, brother.”

The slap on his shoulder had not meant to be harsh, but it made Loki wince anyway, though Thor did not seem to notice as he left. Frigga’s embrace in turn was soft and Loki breathed out a sigh.

“I have missed you greatly, dear.”

“You always do. Odin.” He turned to the man.

“You are hurt.”

“The pain only reminds me that I live.”

“How is your consort?”

“Well. A bit upset as you’ve taking me away from him on our wedding day.”

“We should talk.”

“We already are”, Loki answered with a smirk.

“Of your dreams. Heimdall told me of horror.”

“I wouldn’t call it horror; it did not look like Ragnarök to me.”

“What then?”

“The Convergence is this year. The Dark Elves will awaken and will attempt to destroy Asgard.”

“Awaken?”

“That is only a theory. As we have not heard from them, I assume they are in hibernation, or a similar state, somewhere, maybe hidden, across the galaxy or the realms.”

“Where would you start your search?”

“On Svartalfheim. It was their planet and it was where a battle is to take place two days from their attack on Asgard.”

“And how do you know when it is?”

“Midgardian technology.” Loki got his phone from his dimensional pocket and hissed a little, before he showed it to the All-Father. “It does not only tell the date, but that is what I used it for, when I was there.”

“And when is this to occur?”

“The Attack on Asgard would be November 12th, this year, in Midgardian time.” He stuffed the phone into his trousers.

“And the battle on Svartalfheim two days later?”

“Yes, November 14th. The Aether will be found by a mortal, Lady Jane. It could kill her. It seems that Thor and I travelled with Lady Jane to Svartalfheim, in an attempt to get it out of Lady Jane, to destroy it. We failed. I do not know if they would win in the end and I will never know, because the dream might not take me that far. The second time I dreamt, Jane told me, while I requested the date from her, that it was the day I would die. After that I planned harder to not fail, because I will not leave my family behind. Not again.”

“I am very sorry about that.”

“Too little too late”, Loki hissed at him.

“What?”

“You cannot right the wrong you’ve done”, Loki answered angrily, shoving his forefinger against Odin’s chest, “They are dead, because of you. The wife I was forced to have, that bore two sons I loved and the son I didn’t want to have, you forced me to bear anyway. Your apologies are, as Midgardians say, too little too late!

“Loki, my son.”

“I am not! With all the hurt you’ve given me you are not allowed to call me your son, you could never be my father. A father is somebody that cares. A father is somebody that loves.”

Loki turned on his heel and marched to the door in tears.

“Son!”

“You cannot bring them back! You cannot undo!”, Loki screamed across the room, before opening the door and slamming it behind himself.

Crying, he slumped down beside it, the Einherjar turning away from him to give him a little privacy. He gasped for breath, before standing up again and wiping away his tears. He did not want to feel the hurt for his twins and his wife on the day he wanted to celebrate his husband and daughter. He turned to walk away, when he spotted Hogun and Lady Sif.

“Loki”, the woman hissed.

Loki rolled his eyes, before stepping towards them. “I don’t wish to be here, as much as you do not wish me here, Lady Sif, so let’s get it over with, what will you accuse me of this time? The weather, Thor’s inability to see you as a good partner or is it the trial. It surely is that.”

“Take back your accusations against Fandral.”

“I did not say a word about him. I did not make any accusations and I never spoke of him to Odin.”

“You lie.”

Loki shrugged. “If you say so.”

“Then what did you do?”, Hogun asked, ever so precise.

“I let the All-Father do what he wanted, I let him see my mind. After all, I could barely move and neither speak nor see after what your shield-brother had done. Now, leave me be, I wish to return to Midgard on this day.”

Loki tried to pass them, but Sif’s hand was quick on his front. Quick enough he could stop the hiss as it pressed the clothes against his skin. “You will not get away with this.”

“With telling the truth?”, Loki asked, raising both his eyebrows at her, “I rarely do. Someone might kill be before sundown.” He sidestepped Sif and returned on his path, even if he did not truly know were it was taking him. Heimdall would find him, when he was needed. Or Thor would, maybe even Frigga.

 

He was a bit surprised, when he found that he had ended up at the stables. Well, he should have probably guessed that he would. After the talk with the All-Father about the past, of course he’d come looking for Sleipnir.

He sighed, before slipping through the doors, walking down the pathway towards the very back of the barn, where he stood, big, almost monumental. He was beautiful, his son. A weak smile spread across Loki’s face.

“Hello, son.”

The horse, Sleipnir, his son turned his head to focus one eye on him. So he was sentient, smart.

“I should have come sooner. Here I yelled at the All-Father what a father should be and then I was never one to you. Well, I guess, I’m not your father, but that doesn’t matter much, does it?”, Loki asked. He stared at Sleipnir and then slowly reached out, letting his hand rest on Sleipnir’s neck. “Wasn’t much of a mother either. I birthed you, that’s it. Well, I let you drink the milk the body provided until you didn’t need it anymore. That was a strange experience, tell you what.”

Loki chuckled, before sighing. “I’m married now. Again. I was when I had you. She was killed. As well as the twins. You have a sister. She’s not a horse, but I’m not sure if you are, after all, you are half me. Her name is Runa. She’s still a babe, while you are grown. Váli and Narfi would be grown by now as well. I never saw him, Váli, wasn’t allowed to. Never asked either, though, so that’s on me. Could have come see you before, never did that either, so that’s also on me. I didn’t even want to acknowledge your existence as my son, but well, here we are.”

Loki let his head fall in shame. “Always like to pretend you’re a shapeshifter like me. Who knows though? Who knows if you even knew how to? I can’t check, can’t use my Seiðr at the moment, shouldn’t at least, hurts a lot. Used it too much this month already. Bonded with my husband at the beginning of the month, have been teleporting and shifting like a fool, and then I shared all my memories with my husband. All, until the very last bit, since then, I’ve been hurting at any forceful touch. I don’t even want to be on Asgard, but I was asked here, so I must be here. I’ll go back to Midgard after this. It’s home.”

Loki smiled a little at that. “I think you’d like it there, with my family. But what do I know? I don’t even know you. I just know, that somewhere in there, you are my son, horse or shapeshifter, you are my child, I bore you. And I do believe having my child living in a barn might not be what he deserves.”

Loki chuckled a little, before sighing. “I will have to go again. Maybe I can shame Odin into allowing you to come with me, if you wish to. I wouldn’t mind having you around, as long as you don’t hurt my family. You won’t have to be much better than me, so, till next time.”

Loki wrapped his arms around Sleipnir’s neck and shook a little, as arms wrapped around his waist in turn. “Alright, Ma, I’ll wait.”

Loki stared at Sleipnir, he wasn’t a true copy of his own, especially not now with him being blue. His son’s skin was a little more tanned than his own, green eyes as bright as his, normally and hair that went down to his ankles.

“Sleipnir”, he breathed.

“Hello Ma.”

“You’re a shapeshifter.”

“Of course, like you and Da.”

Loki’s face went pale. “What?”

“Da said you’d join us soon and then we’ll be a real family.”

Loki let go of Sleipnir and stepped back. “No”, he whispered.

“What’s wrong, Ma? Da said…”

Loki didn’t want to hear it, as he teleported away into his room, cursing, wincing and hissing, before falling to the ground and yelling out in pain.

“Brother? What pains you?” Thor burst through the door.

“It will be alright, is it time?”

“Yes, we must go. The trial awaits.” Thor held out his hand to Loki, but he got up on his own, wincing and hissing.

When they got to the door, Loki looked Thor over. “Will you not take Mjølnir?”

“We are not going into battle.”

Reluctantly, Loki opened the door. “Take Mjølnir, Thor, you promised to protect me.”

“If I must.” Thor looked around the room and Loki ran, spurted from the position. He made it to the end of the hall, when he was lifted up into the air and choked. “Oh, Loki, you should have really been more careful with your Seiðr. To have if fail you, when you need it most.” The man who was not Thor but looked like him laughed loudly. “To use it with the man you claim to love, what a pathetic creature you’ve become. Our son must be so utterly sad. When I revealed myself to him, oh he was so excited, being born as a foal, with two shapeshifters as parents, isn’t that truly something? And here you are, in my grasp.”

“If you want to kill me, get on with it, I haven’t gotten all day”, Loki hissed, struggling to escape the grasp made of Seiðr.

“Wouldn’t our son be so utterly heartbroken, after seeing his Mother in so long?”

“You care less for him than I do, Svaðilfari. I should have known you were a sorcerer as he grew in me. So, it was you then? The person who hid me from Heimdall’s sight? What had you planned? Had you planned to take me from Fandral, when I was no more than flesh, no thought left? Had you planned to take me away and heal me so that I would forever be grateful to you?”

Svaðilfari laughed again, still in use of Thor’s body. “You should not be allowed to be this sharp, I might have to cut your tongue after all.” He was coming nearer, and Loki forced his eyes open to look at the man, tanned, blue eyed, black hair. He was tall and broad. “I thought you were a beauty, when I heard of the young sorcerer that was Odin’s own. It was only natural, that I wanted to breed you when you came to distract me from my work. Oh, how you ran, once you saw what I planned. To find out that you are not Asgardian, not pure blood, it truly disgusted me.”

Svaðilfari put his hand on Loki’s throat, but before he could press, a staff pierced through his side. With a shriek, Loki fell from his grasp and saw Lady Sif rip her double-bladed sword out of the man, only to pierce him again, from the front.

“Hogun”, she shouted, and the man came running, carrying both a set of cuffs and a collar. Quickly they put them on the sorcerer.

“T-Take him to the trial, the All-Father will want to know of him”, Loki rasped, wincing as he got up. Hogun held out his hand and for a moment he thought about refusing it, but then he took it anyway. “Thank you.”

“Volstagg, with me”, Sif ordered after giving Loki a once-over. Hogun steadied Loki, as the other two walked away, Loki only for a moment catching Volstagg’s apologetic glance.

“He disguised himself as Thor, where is the oaf?”

“I will check his room, can you stand?”

“I will have to”, Loki answered with a weak smile, holding onto the wall. Hogun nodded and walked away, coming back a little later with a half-conscious Thor at his side.

“Brother”, they both said as they looked each other over. Loki snickered and Thor laughed loudly. Loki winced again and Thor came near, pulling him into a soft embrace.

“You are alright”, Thor whispered.

“Not really, but we can pretend.”

“You are alive”, Thor stated.

“Yes. And I believe we should get to the trial.”

“What of the sorcerer?”

“In Sif’s and Volstagg’s custody.”

“Alright then.”

“Do not dare fly me there again, you will not want to see the outcome of such a thing.”

“Will you cry like a damsel again?”

“I will skin you, brother.”

Thor howled with laughter and slung his arm around him, carefully, before the three warriors began their walk towards the Hall of Asgard.

 

It should be quite satisfying seeing Volstagg’s, Hogun’s and Lady Sif’s eyes widen at the things that Fandral and Svaðilfari had done to him. Loki was standing under Thor, who was standing under Frigga. He was not the first prince, if Odin even still accepted him as prince. On the other side stood Lady Sif, Hogun and at the lowest step Volstagg. Hugin and Munin, Odin’s familiars were sitting on either side of the throne and it reminded Loki a lot of Thor’s coronation, if it weren’t for the two standing prisoners being nowhere near royalty.

After the facts had been listed Odin asked for the defence of the two, two Einherjar holding each prisoner. Fandral’s defence was weak and Svaðilfari refused to speak at all.

“I will take your sight and voice as you’ve taken from my son.”

Gasps could be heard and Fandral visibly paled.

“Father”, Loki said lowly.

Odin looked to him surprised, then nodded for him to speak.

“These men might have taken both and hurt my body to the point I almost died, but they do not deserve this punishment.”

“What would you suggest?”

“Take away the sorcerers Seiðr and the warrior’s weapons. The sorcerer will be thrown into the deepest dungeons where not even light can reach and only feed on fallen water and mushrooms. The warrior…” Loki took a long look at Fandral and then let his glance fall over the warriors across from him, before turning back to Odin. “The warrior is redeemable. He can learn what he did wrong and I believe him to have at least in part been influenced by the sorcerer. Throw him into the prison until you believe the time is right.”

“Is that truly what you seek as punishment, one so harsh, the other so giving.”

“Both violated me, but only one has forced a child upon me. One I hated my whole life since then, the other I had walked into battle with before. Asgard will not need a sorcerer, that has never once stood with Asgard, but it might need a warrior that will battle for it.”

Odin thought for a while, listening to his familiars and then asking Frigga near to talk with her in a hushed voice. Thor laid his hand on Loki’s shoulder and they looked at each other. Thor was proud to be his brother, Loki could tell. Still, he shivered under the touch. When Frigga stepped back, Thor’s hand left him, and he instantly felt a little more unstable.

“It shall be done so.” Odin forced Gungir on the ground, haven given his judgment.

Fandral fell to his knees and Loki swayed, before grabbing onto Thor’s arm. The bigger man quickly held onto him, pressing him close to his chest.

“Can we go now?”, Loki whispered, watching at his side how the prisoners were dragged away.

“Sit, brother, you are not well.” Thor helped him down to sit on the steps, while Frigga stepped away to talked with Odin again. The warriors approached them.

“Thank you”, Volstagg said, “You had not have to do it.”

“Even if I hate him for eternity, he is still a fine warrior.”

“You did not lie”, Sif said.

“I might be skilled with my words, but not everything that leaves my mouth is a lie.”

“He does not deserve your forgiveness”, Hogun stated.

“And I do not forgive him, what he did, I can never forgive, but I can allow him another chance.”

“We shall go back to Midgard now.”

“Actually”, Frigga said, stepping down with Odin at her side, “Loki might need a bit of medical attention before you leave.”

Loki nodded slowly, taking Frigga’s offered hand. “I will meet you later, brother.”

“Don’t take too long, your consort will be angry with me if we don’t make it back in time for the party.”

“Another one? Goodness gracious.” Loki chuckled and then smiled in earnest at his brother.

 

“You have to be real careful with using your Seiðr, Loki, have I not taught you well?”

“Mother, it is fine.”

“It most certainly is not”, the blonde woman answered, still wrapping his forearms after already having wrapped his lower thighs, “I will pack you ointments, tell Tony to rub them in. And you will not use any Seiðr for at least two weeks. Most certainly not for any more big spells. You could have killed yourself, dear and I will not have that.”

Loki sighed and then smiled at her. “You are very caring.”

“Well, I am your mother, even if Odin might only be your father to prove a point.”

Loki smirked. “While you are planning on packing me supplies, would you mind putting a few books on healing in there, I promise not to use them until the swelling has gone down.”

“I will. And one or two on Jötunn, I hear you were in quite a predicament earlier this month.”

“Had Jane not known, we would have only worried more.”

“I heard.”

“He was supposed to die, you know”, Loki spoke with a hushed voice.

“Who?”

“Fandral. The second time I dreamt Thor told me it was my fault he is dead. Maybe I saved him today, maybe I sealed his fate, I will not know.”

“It is out of your hands.”

“He said I should have kept my mouth shut, yet I didn’t.”

“You may have said different things.”

“I’ll never know.”

“Whatever happens, you saved him today.”

“I hope.” Loki watched as Frigga finished the wrappings. When she went away to get all necessities, Odin stepped close.

“I truly did not know he was a shapeshifter”, Odin spoke.

“I don’t think you would have ridden him if he was.”

“Do you wish to take him back with you?”

“I do not know what to think, now that I know that Svaðilfari has been in contact with him.”

“We will take care of him for now then. Answer any questions he has. He is no prince, but he is your son.”

“And Runa?”

“Is a legitimate child of yours. She is a princess.”

“Thank you. Though I hardly think she will be a proper princess.”

“In this day and age, what would we do with a proper princess?”

Loki chuckled a little and then let Odin lead him out.

“You know, Loki, I would have given you his eyes as a gift for your anniversary.”

Loki smirked. “And titled it ‘an eye for an eye’?”

“Had you seen that future as well?”

“No, I’ve just known you for a thousand years and your humour had never been grand.”

“Good that I have not become a comedian then.”

“Bor would have lost his beard.”

“And his horns.”

They both chuckled a bit, as they walked down the hall, Loki still a bit hunched over, from the pain on his body. Frigga joined them soon after, looping her arm around Loki’s elbow.

“I hope to come by soon, to see Runa.”

“After we know where the Elves are?”, Loki suggested to Frigga.

“Yes, of course, that takes precedence.”

“If you wish to see her as well, Odin… I might be able to look aside your wrongdoings for one day. Though I cannot promise the same from Tony.”

“I’d be honoured.”

They join Thor and Frigga hands him a bag. “If you dare let any of it break, I will not speak with you for a whole month.”

“Just a month, mother? How about a year? I could be stuck on Midgard for the entirety of that month.”

“As you will. A year.”

Thor and Loki took the horses to the Bifrost. Heimdall greeted them shortly and then let them travel to Midgard.

 

When they arrived, they saw Tony stomping towards them.

“Uh-oh”, Loki said and grabbed the bag from Thor, stepped away from the confused man, just before Tony got to them and punched him in the nose.

“You let him get choked!”

Loki grinned. “Oh darling, how I’ve missed you.”

“He let you get…”

Loki wrapped his arms around his husband. “He was unconscious.”

“Still, you could have died.”

“And now Frigga forbade me the use of Seiðr for two weeks.”

“I have to call Fury.” Tony sighed, before looking up into Loki’s eyes and pressing a short kiss onto his lips.

“I love you.”

“Eternally.”

Chapter Text

“Oh yes, right there, aah.” Loki moaned as Tony kneaded his back. “You wouldn’t believe how sore I’ve, yes.”

“How sore you’ve been? I best believe, I had this ache, right around…”

“Ooh!”, Loki exclaimed and then hummed into the mattress.

“Why has this whole bond thing hit me harder than you? I’m the one that goes in the field and blows up stuff in the lab.”

“I have gotten your cravings.”

“Is that why there are always two mugs ready?”

“Hmhm”, Loki answered approvingly.

“And I’m here getting your backaches.”

“If you’d get on with it and get the cream in you’d feel better as well.”

“Speaking back to your Master, tss, Lokes what should I ever do with you?”

“J.A.R.V.I.S., remind my dear husband who is Master Stark, please.”

“You are, Master Stark.”

“Well, I am only Sir, no Stark, whatsoever, once J starts calling you Master, I will give up, pack my things and start over somewhere new, let’s see who’ll keep him running if someone breaks him again.”

“Alright, keeper of my heart, could you please safe me from this burning ache through my body?”

“Only if you will be nice to me all day.”

“I’ll promise not to lay any traps for you to walk into.”

“Those would hurt you too.”

“Only if those are physical traps. I can make very humiliating traps that have nothing to do with being physical.”

“You would not dare”, Tony spoke in the voice that made Loki shiver with lust.

Loki hummed in content, even more when he felt wet kisses being pressed down his still slightly aching spine. Relaxing he let himself drift, feeling Tony dribble ointment on his raised teal coloured veins and slowly carefully working it in.

 

It was nice, for once not hurting, not of past pains, not of hurt that happened. It felt like Loki was finally allowed to live. Tony made sure to take care of Loki’s body every evening, before bed, checking it over thoroughly, even if it resulted in them snickering and giggling most of the time, because finding a spot on Loki’s body that made the man himself laugh might not be easy, but finding a spot on Loki’s body that was sensitive on Tony’s, that happened a few times.

Now it seemed like Tony at least sought those spots out when he was done rubbing the balm on Loki’s still raised veins. Most of the inflammation had gone down, but it was still very much visible on Loki’s shoulder blades, arms and his upper back, including the sides of his neck.

Sometimes Loki could hear Tony curse himself how he did not notice it before, that he’d felt it, but he hadn’t seen it, that he’d encouraged Loki’s use of Seiðr. Most of the times Tony spoke those words however came when Loki had been breathing deeply, content, at the verge of slipping into a dream state.

Of course, Tony was concerned when two weeks had passed, and Fury finally wanted to get their plan over with. The sooner the better. The only veins still raised were those across his upper back, closest to his core, Loki had explained to Tony.

Pierce did thank Fury about telling him that Tony was wanting to talk to him, but he did not tell Fury if or that he was going on an extended vacation. That made Loki nervous. But apparently for Bruce flying in a helicopter, that was quite in character.

Loki was right to be worried. Pierce was waiting for them when they landed.

“Mister Stark, I heard you wished to talk.”

Tony smiled and passed Bruce-Loki a metal drive, before he walked over to the other Director.

“That I do, you got time? Heading out, lunch?”

“I could do lunch, what is Doctor Banner doing here?”

“I…”

Tony quickly interrupted him: “Oh, don’t mind Brucie-bear, he’s just tagging along, catching a few breaths, getting away from all the strong masculine people at the tower, I heard he did find a few things interesting here, last time.”

“Yes, I…”

“Fury you’ll take him to that? Great idea, Alex and I gotta talk about a few things, right?”

Fury groaned and Tony stalked into the building closely followed by Pierce who didn’t seem to like Tony running around like he owned the place.

“God, he is obnoxious”, Fury stated and then nodded for Bruce-Loki to follow him.

Even if they were seemingly alone, Loki still spotted all the cameras and had to act the part. “Director Fury, I like me being here as much as the next guy. At least we’re not in the air this time.”

“Then why did he even bring you along?”

“I don’t know. I just mentioned it in passing, in the lab, how interesting your projects were.”

“Flattery doesn’t suit you.”

Loki would have shot something back, but Bruce would not. “That might be true”, he eventually said.

“So, here we are”, Fury opened the door to an office.

“This is not the lab.”

“No. While Stark and Pierce are talking, I thought we could have a chat on our own. It’ll be over in time for your boyfriend to pick you up.”

“He…” Bruce-Loki blushed. “He’s not my boyfriend.”

“Maybe you should tell him that.” Fury led them in a room and Loki quickly noticed how there were no cameras around, as Fury closed the door behind them. “Secure office.”

Suddenly Loki could hear the door lock behind them and see the windows tint. His normal response was fight or flight, but he pushed it down as Fury opened his hand. Bruce-Loki handed him what Tony had given him and the man smiled, before walking over to his desk to plug it in.

“Go ahead”, he then said, and Loki switched his body to Pierce’s. “You look… ugly enough to pass for the man, let’s hope it’s good enough for a close-up.”

“J.A.R.V.I.S., you there?”

“Of course, working the protocol now. Sir would have loved to leave a surprise for S.H.I.E.L.D. but I do not believe it would be wise, knowing how many agents could be HYDRA, especially how many might have enough firepower to kill the man. If you would both step to the front, to disable the encryption.”

Pierce-Loki and Fury stepped to the screen right as Loki felt a tingle in the middle of his right hand. Quickly they got it over with and Loki switched back to Bruce-Loki and grabbed his phone out of his dimensional pocket.

“Downloading now”, J.A.R.V.I.S. said, but Loki ignored him.

“What’s wrong?”

“Tony’s contacting me.” Bruce-Loki held out his hand to show the dark red point forming inside his palm.

“What does that mean?”

Bruce-Loki pulled the phone, already on dial to Clint.

“Hey, blueberry, how are you?”

“Where are you?”, Bruce-Loki asked in Loki’s voice.

“What, no fun today?”

“Tony’s in danger, he’s at the Triskelion, wanted to talk to Pierce.”

“He… alright, don’t worry, blueberry, I’m on it, nobody will hurt your honeybun.”

“Fuck off with the nicknames, Clint, I’m not in the mood.”

“Gone now.” Clint hung up and Loki let the phone vanish again.

Fury was silent for a moment and then went to the screen. He didn’t try to tell him, that Tony would be alright, he knew that would not be wise right now. After all, he surely already noticed how protective Loki was of the man.

“If he screams, I’ll go”, Loki whispered.

“Understood.”

“How can you… You must tell me that an action like that could and probably would ruin the plans we made.”

“You care for him. If he were in mortal danger and I’d prevent you from going, not only would my relationship with you be destroyed, but with the rest of the pack as well.”

“Okay. I cannot stay here, I’ll bring Bruce once the download is done, I’ll take it back.”

“Good with me. You wanna clue Stark in that there’s a switch?”

“Where would be the fun in that?”

“Not a broken marriage?”

“Oh Fury, this will not ruin us. And I’m sure Banner will inform him quite quickly that he is not Loki.”

“If you get hit, you can take that as an ‘I told you so’.”

Bruce-Loki shrugged at that and walked over to the computer. “J, how far along are you?”

“I will be done in a few short moments, I believe.”

“That isn’t even a percentage, J”, Loki answered, a little annoyed by the A.I.

“Percentages are often wrong and misleading.”

Bruce-Loki rolled his eyes. “I know a lot of things that are very wrong and very misleading, dear J.A.R.V.I.S.”

“That in turn is very misleading in itself.”

“I know.”

“And I am done, you can remove the drive and return to the Avengers tower.”

Bruce-Loki pulled the drive from the computer and teleported away, directly in front of Bruce, who shrieked.

“Do you want to see the Triskelion?”

“Uhm, sure?”

“Alright, here.”

Loki pressed his palm against Bruce’s forehead sending over all important memories, before teleporting him into Fury’s office.

“So long, Fury.”

“So long, Loki, let me show you our laboratories, Doctor Banner.”

 

Loki teleported away again, pressing his hand against his head, before making his way to the designated room and putting down the drive on the computer, before going away again and spending some time in Lola’s room, where Happy was waiting with Runa.

“Thought it would take longer.”

“Couldn’t stay any longer, got too worried.” Loki sat down beside Happy and opened his hand so the other man could see.

“Shit, is he alright?”

“Asked Clint for help, he hasn’t called out yet, wouldn’t have to be physical, only mental.”

“You need anything?”

“How ‘bout a friend to watch a cheesy rom-com with to distract me from murderous thoughts?”

“I can do that.”

 

“Tony”, Loki greeted his husband with a dark look.

“Told you he was worried”, Bruce stage-whispered and then quickly made his way into the building.

“Fury.”

“I’ll be on my way, tell me if anything comes up that I should know about.”

Loki gave Tony another look and then scanned him, noting that he was as perfectly fine as Clint had reported. He then turned on his heel and walked into the building.

“Lokes, sweetheart, honey, love, wait.” Tony hurried after him. “Lokes, come on dear, I’m fine.”

“Yes. You’re fine. And I got a hurting hand in the middle of doing the fucking job. I thought he was threatening your life. Not that you’re just lazy and bored. A hurting hand could mean that someone had put a knife or a bullet through it. I had to restrain myself to not go full Mama Stark and race down Pierce to pull his spine from his body!

Loki had tears in his eyes as he got to the bar and made himself the third drink of the afternoon. “I can’t be around Runa, because every time I see her, I see you. I… You… Please don’t ever do that again, if you’re not seriously hurt or in danger. Boredom does not count.”

“I’m sorry”, Tony whispered.

“You better be. I fear losing you over anything. Even over losing Runa. I can’t do that, get over losing another consort. I barely made it through losing Sigyn. You know how close I was to letting go. Don’t ever joke about your life.”

“Yes, dear.”

Loki downed the drink in one go. It wasn’t even warming him. It had as little effect on him as it has on Thor. At least it was sweet. “I can’t fight with you, can’t be angry with you, it would risk our bond, my health. Please don’t… Don’t, okay?”

Loki slumped down onto the couch and Tony quickly followed him, pressing his lips to Loki’s temple. “I’ll never do something as shitty as that again, although it was fun seeing Barton burst through the door, stare at me, then look to Pierce and then shout: ‘Avengers emergency’, before pulling me out of the room. Did he tell you that he slapped me?”

“Felt it. Told me afterwards.”

Loki let himself fall into Tony’s lap and pressed his head to Tony’s stomach. Slowly Tony let his hand skim through Loki’s hair, slightly touching his horns, which Loki hummed at. “Never gonna worry you again, sweetheart.”

“Just wanna be home and be safe and everything will be alright for once.”

“Can I still have a little bit of fun?”

“If I can”, Loki whispered and turned his head up to look at the love of his life. “How long did it take you to figure out Bruce was actually Bruce?”

“After his third insistence.”

Loki giggled a bit and then let his hand ghost over Tony’s jaw. “So, love… Do you want to go analyse the drive now?”

Tony almost moaned at that. “Being allowed to look through S.H.I.E.L.D.’s dirty laundry… Well, that sounds… bad. But yes please, so many secrets.” Tony pushed Loki on his feet and pulled him along, before grabbing a Vodka bottle from the bar. “For my lovely husband.”

“Not a fan, but my nerves aren’t down yet.”

“I have never actually seen you drunk, have I?”

“New Year’s Eve? Well, I guess you were drunk too, and I only was, because I hadn’t eaten much.”

“That totally doesn’t count, I thought you were hitting on Pepper.”

“And it only counts when I’m hitting on you?”

“Yes. On a different note, I want to get high with you one day.”

“That would probably result in some non-harmful mischief done on New York.”

“Oh, when would it turn harmful?”

“If there is a lot of bad sayings about my friends and family out there.”

“Like what?”

“Like all bullies would lose a strip of clothing every time they say a bad word and if they have nothing more to lose, they’ll slowly get dressed into ridiculous costumes.”

“Isn’t that bullying in itself?”

“Well, yes, but I’m willing to take one for the team.”

“So, your spells can affect you.”

“Certainly, dear. Now”, he softly patted Tony on his behind, “don’t you have secrets to snoop at?”

 

“So, Pep, that’s why I can’t work fast on our job with S.H.I.E.L.D. anymore.”

“Because of the World Security Council.”

“They never made a statement.”

“Are you still working on it behind their back?”

“Well, it’s all in my head.”

Pepper looked to Loki. “It’s just about that?”

“They are hiding something; things I wish I could disclose to you at the moment but am not able to.”

“But it isn’t because Tony’s being petty?”

“Hey, I could have died, remember that?”

“I remember. Vividly, Tony. What did you tell Pierce?”

“Told him I had a lot on my mind, there are more missions and now that I’m actually getting paid for the upgrades, there were a few things to keep my attention to keep the world safer now, not in a year, but now.”

“So, you need me to keep you busy.”

“Yep.”

“How about a science program for the summer?”

“What?”

“Science camp in the tower for a dozen or two dozen kids from all around New York. Summer holidays begin in a few days, you and Banner could work out an itinerary, we’d need a female though too.”

“Jane is in the middle of something.”

“Elizabeth Ross?”

That you will have to ask Bruce about, otherwise, I can make you a list.”

“I’ll ask Bruce. And we need to make Snowflake a cool room, I bet the kids would love to meet him. Something high tech, excellent for sub-zero temperatures.”

“I got a job!”, Tony shouted out delighted.

“How did I get pulled into this?” Loki groaned a little.

“Very easy, Lo. You were here and have made my life a little bit harder.”

“It was not my intention.”

“Course not, but you probably won’t even mind spending time with a few handfuls of kids.”

“As long as I don’t have to completely lie all the time.”

“You won’t.”

“Great. Just about recent personal stuff.”

“Just about Tony.”

“Yup.” Loki stood up. “Call me when you need a performance.”

“Does he get paid?”, Tony asked.

Pepper stared at Tony with a look, that spoke death. “As a being that to the public eye lives in the tower? He’ll get paid for by S.H.I.E.L.D. but he doesn’t get paid.”

“I’d rather know who you plan to be taking care of Runa, when you eliminate both Tony and Bruce, while I have to sit in a glorified cell at the Avengers tower.”

“Happy and I can do it.”

“You both work. I’ll call Xavier’s and ask there.”

“Alright. Now that we have this done, I’ll call the New York High and Middle Schools, get a rundown on how many students are interested. Then we’ll see further.”

“And I’ll call Professor Xavier.” Loki groaned at the thought. Yes, the man was nice enough, but he doesn’t like it, when people poke around in other people’s heads without their permission.

Chapter Text

Harley carried a backpack, that was at least two thirds his size. With a bright grin he waited at the gate. It had taken a bit of convincing of J.A.R.V.I.S. and his mom, that he could make this trip. He had tramped a bit, the last few miles and taken an extremely early bus to save money. And now he was standing in front of the gate of the Stark Mansion that not many people even knew existed. He knew Tony wouldn’t go to the door directly, he’d rather let J.A.R.V.I.S. handle it, so he had his suspicions, when Tony answered.

“Hello?”

“Hey, Mechanic.”

It was silent for a while, Harley imagined Tony cursing at J.A.R.V.I.S. and probably calling his mother. Then the machine sounded again.

“Hello?”

Harley laughed loudly. “Heya, darlin’.”

“J-M, you’re here!”

The gate opened a bit and Harley slipped through it. The path was pretty long, and Harley had to say, pretty cool, as in actual temperature-cool, because of all the trees. The mansion itself looked like it was taken from another century. Not the past, no, how could Tony freaking Stark take something from the past.

Loki had opened his arms widely, when he saw Harley jogging down the path and Harley took a grinning sprint and landed himself in the slim man’s arms, who easily swung him around, even with his extra weight. Tony stepped out of the house, his phone to his ear.

“Yeah, he looks fine, Mis’ess Keener, don’t worry, we’ll look after him for the summer, although I’m pretty surprised he’s here at all. You and your daughter make yourself a nice holiday as well. Anything I can do to help, just call.”

Harley grinned up at him, while he hung up. “Heya, dads.”

“Hey, I’m not your...”

“Hey, son”, Loki interrupted Tony and decided to free Harley of his backpack. “Did you bring your entire workshop with you?”

“No! Maybe just a potato gun, or two, protection, y’ know?”

“Smart. Although knives are lighter and don’t run out of ammunition.”

“Lokes! Don’t encourage him.”

Loki hauled the backpack into the house and Harley trailed after him, following him up the stairs, trying not to be too impressed by the house.

“Knives would a’ gotten me arrested, people would a’ found them and they wouldn’t’ve looked like toys”, he mentioned while he looked down into the lobby.

Loki opened a door to a guestroom that was almost as big as all the bedrooms at home combined. “Alright, this will be your room, like it?”

“Yeah, yeah, super cool.”

“Great. Anything you want, ask Tony first, rule of the house: Decorate your door.”

“Decorate? Like a DIY? Glitter and paper constructs?”

“Any way you want, Harls. If you wanna do something big, just ask J.A.R.V.I.S. and he’ll make you a 3D-model that you can work with.”

“This’ll be the best summer ever.”

A loud groan could be heard from downstairs. “Ten weeks. Why, Mecha, why?”

Harley grinned and Loki brushed through his hair, before deciding: “You need a hair-cut.”

“No! You ain’t gonna cut your hair, so I ain’t either.”

“Right then. I’ll teach you how to braid then.”

“Already can. Do my sister’s all the time.”

“I’ll teach you better.”

“Do you have a pool?”

“Course we do.”

“Can we go into the pool?”

“First, you gotta unpack, J-M, then, maybe, if I’m in a good mood, I’ll let you into the pool.”

“You’ll let me.”

“Oh, I don’t know J-M, you haven’t even asked about Runa yet and that is a huge rule in our house. Any member of our friends and family visiting our lovely mansion has to ask about Runa and play with her anytime she wants to.”

“Will do, where’s the little trickster?”

“Unpack.”

“Yes, dad.”

“Do you want juice or waffles?”

“You guys have waffles?” Harley was gaping at Loki.

“I take that as a resounding yes. Unpack, J-M.”

 

Loki walked downstairs and started on the dough. “So, J.A.R.V.I.S., any way you knew Harley was coming to town?”

“I plead the fifth.”

“A warning would have been nice. Next week the program starts. What shall we do then?”

“With a free babysitter that is more trusted than a school of mutants?”

“We are not making him sit around at home for six hours a day, just because we have to be at the tower.”

“We’re gonna take him there with us”, Tony told Loki and gave him a peck on the cheek, before sighing. “I spoke to Pepper, she said it would be fine with him trailing around the tower, we can tell everyone he’s a nephew of someone at the tower. Telling someone he’s the kid would spark outrage. Nephew, godchild, whatever, as long as he isn’t just a random kid and we’re covered.”

“Kurt would be extremely angry if he couldn’t play with Runa and get paid for it.”

Tony chuckled. “I already thought this summer would be full and crazy, now it just got fuller and crazier. Hey Harls!”

“Yeah, Mechanic?”, Harley called from upstairs.

“How’d you like to spend eight weeks at the tower, five days a week from 10 to 4?”

“Why?”

Loki and Tony could hear Harley running down the stairs in what seemed like slippers.

“Because”, Tony started, “around a week ago we got the confirmation that we can do two four-week science programs at the tower and we’d hate to leave you here, bored and alone.”

“Lo’s not a scientist.”

“I could be”, Loki answered, before rolling his eyes, “But no, I’m not, I’ll be at the tower because apparently Snowflake is a twitter sensation.”

“And what am I supposed to do?”

“Join the science program?”

“No way”, Harley answered decidedly, “I’m not hangin’ around with a bunch a’ New Yorkers that keep their noses higher than their heads.”

“They are smart science kids.”

“Still New Yorkers. They don’t like Southerners, darlin’, I ain’t one for stirrin’ in the rich kids pot.”

“The applications weren’t based on any richness. And well, even if you don’t want to join the program, you could still tinker in the lab.”

“Or break out snowflake when you’re bored”, Loki added with an amused grin.

“No breaking out snowflake.”

“Ooh”, Harley and Loki said at the same time and Harley pulled an adorable sad face, that Tony apparently already knew all too well. He bit his lip and Harley snickered.

“Can’t stop me and my apprentice, Tones.”

“Don’t you dare, he’s Junior Mechanic.”

“Dads, dads, don’t worry, I love you both”

“Aww.” This time it was Loki and Tony that looked at Harley with a sweet look.

“Waffles?”

“Waffles. Runa?” Loki got the waffles iron out of a cabinet and greased it.

“Runa”, Tony answered and laid his arm around Harley and led him to the room the girl was in, while Loki started on the waffles.

 

When they got back, Loki already filled two plates with half a dozen waffles.

“Wow”, Harley said, his mouth half full, “These are just… wow!”

“Lokes worked in bakeries, restaurants, diners, so on, over the centuries.”

“You are a god!” Harley got up and hugged Loki tightly. “They are so fluffy. It’s like eatin’ air. Will you tell me your secrets?”

“Never. I’ll tell you what though, you meet the most interesting people in places that provide food. While you also meet just about everyone. You’ll never know when the next big artist or a notorious serial killer will walk through the door.”

“Did that ever happen? Serial killers?”

“Harley, how old are you?”

“Umm, Thirteen?”

“And dear, should a thirteen-year-old person hear stories they are not even allowed to see on the big screen?”

“Hey, I watch horror movies, alright?”

“Pretty sure Mama Keener doesn’t like that”, Tony answered.

“Well, she can’t be there to stop me, can she?”

Loki sighed at that and knelt down in front of Harley. “I know you don’t feel like you’re a kid anymore. Harley, you still are. You have the right to be a child and yes, to act out like a child. But you don’t have to pretend you’re all grown up, you get that?”

Harley nodded slowly and Loki continued: “My mother is a busy woman as well, she couldn’t always be there, when I needed her around. And I did act out similar to you. I may not have watched scary movies, but I had my tricks. Whenever I felt like I did not get enough attention, I had my tricks. With that I always got my parents attention. But it was never in the good kind. Sometimes I wish I would have just gone to my mother, held her tight and told her, that I miss her. You seemingly grew up, right when your bastard father ran away, but you are not alone in the world, Harley Keener. You can just, be a teen now.”

Harley nodded a little, looking onto the ground, sniffing and Loki let a hand run through Harley’s long blond locks. “Didn’t want to be a bother for the summer, one kid is cheaper to feed than two, you know, she can take more time off and take a trip with Abby or something. Abby needs her more than me. And I knew you’d take me in, even if it’s just for the summer.”

“And we’ll make it a great summer, you’ll break me out of the tower, and I’ll show you the world, let Tony say what he wants. Take you to the pyramids or the Eiffel tower. Take you skiing in the alps and snorkelling in the great barrier reef. Or we could just stay at home and we’ll play pranks on the Avengers.”

“Booby-traps!”

Loki grinned. “Pranks it is. Knew you wouldn’t be much for sight-seeing.”

“One day maybe, with Abby and Mom.”

 

The first week with Harley was amazing. They went to the tower on movie-night and Harley met the Avengers. Then they had a barbecue again, because the first one was over a month ago and how dare they not use the good weather. They went to the zoo in disguises, which Tony especially loved, because he could now enjoy a normal day out without getting swarmed by reporters or fans, or, worse, haters.

Harley and Tony spent a lot of time in the workshop, improving Iron Man and War Machine armour, with Rhodey taking a liking to the younger version of Tony, as he claimed. Harley corrected him and said he was a young, broke Tony Stark, to which Rhodey rolled his eyes. Harley seemed otherwise very fond of Tony’s cars and spent an entire evening tearing one of the cars apart, after Tony finally allowed him. It took him two afternoons to put it back together, mostly because he continued to tell everyone that he had photographic memory and required no help of any adult or A.I.

On the last evening before the new week, Loki and Harley convinced J.A.R.V.I.S. to play theme songs whenever an Avenger enters a room in the tower. For Tony that would be ‘Iron Man’ by ‘Black Sabbath’, for Steve his 1966 ‘Captain America Theme Song’, for Thor ‘Thunderstruck’ by ‘AC/DC’, for Bruce ‘Monster’ by ‘Skillet’, for Natasha ‘The Lady In Red’ by ‘Chris de Burgh’, for Clint ‘My Bow & Arrow’ by ‘Ted Nugent’, for Rhodey ‘War Machine’ by ‘AC/DC’ and for Snowflake ‘Cold as Ice’ by ‘Foreigner’.

Most of those songs were found with J.A.R.V.I.S.’s help and they decided to not give it a full go round when the parents would bring by the Middle Schoolers tomorrow, but over the following days, whenever they enter a room, except the bathroom, where other people are present, the theme song shall play. Also, they made sure that only with Snowflake, Loki’s blue version the theme song would play, his other skin, especially his female version was allowed to hide.

Loki and Harley wanted to go easy on them, but they especially wanted to see the different reactions Steve would show when he promised to show on Friday. From what Loki had heard, Steve hated all the shows they’d done about him, but he would deny any of that in front of cameras and strangers. This could and possibly would be a very fun summer, the two pranksters decided, especially because each song had to go at least ten seconds of the chorus and could only be stopped before the end, if J.A.R.V.I.S. was satisfied with the results.

It would go the entire summer, if neither Tony nor Pepper, everybody feared Pepper, decided to put a stop on it. Pepper would have probably gotten a theme song as well, but Loki and Harley feared that would put a quicker stop on things, which is why in business areas they also made sure no songs would play, the people needed to work after all and should not have to be irritated every time Tony walked into the room. His entire existence was distraction enough.

They also had the slight suspicion that Tony, Thor and Rhodey might actually enjoy their theme songs, Loki did not gamble with money, but he had money on Steve getting annoyed and Thor singing along at least once. His older brother had stuck around for a while longer, and when the science programs got announced, he promised to at least be around, especially if the Avengers had to go out and both Bruce and Tony had to stick back.

That was the one condition Pepper had towards the two scientists. No Avenging when the students are at the tower. Only if it should be a world ending event, but even Snowflake would be sent in before them. After all, the two were the poster boys for the science program, which could turn into internships for the older high schoolers.

Pepper had a lot to do with Stark Industries, which is why Loki would be handling the crowd tomorrow. Not Lola, but Loki. Mostly because they would probably reveal that Loki was Snowflake and do not want Lola to go down the drain with it. Loki always loved to put on a good show and tomorrow would hopefully be a masterpiece.

Chapter Text

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, students and parents. My name is Loki, or Lo, if four letters are too much to pronounce. I hear that we are in complete attendance, which makes me incredibly happy. I imagine there are some questions. Yes, grey blazer back there.”

“Will we meet Mister Stark?”

“Are you asking for yourself or for the students? They will, you will probably not.” A few faces darkened. “If you however want to make an appointment with him, feel free to write down what for, I can bring him the letter later. Yes, red blouse?”

“What will our kids learn in the four weeks?”

“Excellent question, ma’am. Your children will learn a lot of different things in the next four weeks. This first week is to determine if they all wish to stay together as one group, focusing on a lot of different topics, or, which the scientists would prefer, they go into specified groups, like biology, chemistry, engineering, physics. I am not personally involved with any of the science programs and it should all be a bit of a surprise for the students, but most of the things are up to the scientists and the students, we will gather ideas later, but if you students already have something you definitely wish to do or see done, you can write that down as well. Yes, blue cap up front?”

“Are we gonna meet the Avengers?”

“Some have announced that they would come by for a visit, yes.”

“Super-cool”, one of the kids whispered and Loki smiled at that.

“Yes, grey sweater?”

“Will we be able to contact any of the scientists personally, if our kids have questions after the science program?”

“All of the scientists have jobs themselves; we were very lucky to get them. They probably cannot always pick up their phones, but I am sure you could try writing an e-mail, see if they can take the time to answer them. Blue T-Shirt?”

“Will the kids get something to eat or should we pack them lunches?”

“Oh, this is actually important. No, you don’t need to pack them anything, the Stark Industries canteen was informed that for the next four weeks there would be two dozen more people to feed and the allergies and preferred foods any of the children have, have been told to them. You will not need to worry that your children could starve, but we would prefer it, if the students themselves told us, if they were hungry, even if they just need a snack, we want to make sure their bodies are and will remain in perfect health, so that their minds can work perfectly as well, thank you.”

It was silent for a while and Loki nodded. “If that would be all, I see a few letters there and a few notes up front, hang onto the science suggestions, students, I will take the letters of your guardians, you can say goodbye to them, they will be leaving us now.”

Loki stepped to the door and opened it. “Loki.” Happy nodded to him.

“Mister Hogan, how lovely.” Loki watched how the guardians hugged their children and then gathered the letters they had. After they were all gone, Loki took a deep breath. “So, are you all excited for science camp?”

The kids cheered and Loki smiled brightly. “Alright then, let’s move, we got a way nicer room for you kids.” Loki led the kids across the floor towards a big bright room with a big part only with couches, armchairs and cushions. “Here we are, take a StarkPad and take a seat, go on, go on, this is supposed to be fun, isn’t it?”

The smiles were bigger than they had been in the other room, as all the kids took a StarkPad from Loki’s box and rushed to sit down. “Good, good, I count twenty-four, didn’t lose anyone, fantastic. Any more questions that I might know the answers to, that you didn’t want to ask in front of your guardians?”

“What do you do in the tower?”, a cheery girl with a yellow blazer asked.

“What do I do? Well, right now I am supposed to motivate you all and make sure that all of you are alright. On other days, I check if the building’s secure. We already have J.A.R.V.I.S., Mister Stark’s personal artificial intelligence, to keep us safe, but two more eyes that have a body that can actually fight back against physical attacks can’t hurt right?”

The girl nodded and one of the boys asked: “Does the tower get attacked often?”

“Well, physical attacks are rare, most things are threats, there are hacking attempts that J.A.R.V.I.S. is already quite protected against, I haven’t been here long enough to experience more than one attack against the tower. There was one against an Avenger, but that I would not qualify as an attack against the tower. Don’t worry, you’re all fine.”

“When was the tower attacked?”

“Umm, March, there was a picture going around on twitter after it, a purple explosion in Mister Stark’s lab. We tried to contain something that was more unstable than we had thought, nobody was hurt thankfully, the Avengers were out fighting and another team from the same group got into the tower. Since then, security has tightened a lot, a whole ‘nother system has been implemented.”

The kids looked to the door when J.A.R.V.I.S. started blasting the chorus of Tony’s theme song and the man himself walked through the door and rolled his eyes at Loki. “Really, Lo? Are you that childish?”

Loki grinned. “Come on, Tony, just a bit of fun. Students, may I present Tony Stark, or, on another day Iron Man.”

“Nice to know, you could all make it. J told me you were slowly going into questionable territory, Lo.”

“Just about security.”

“Mister Loki told us that in March the tower got attack, and something exploded.”

Tony looked at Loki pointedly, before turning back to the kid. “Nobody got hurt.”

“Told them that.”

“All thanks to Loki here though. The Avengers were fighting and Lo made sure we were safe.”

“Please, if you could teleport, Tony.” Loki rolled his eyes and grinned at the gaping looks of the kids.

“If I could teleport, I’d not sit on the side-lines, Lo.” Tony slapped his hand on Loki’s shoulder. “Heard right, Loki here’s an Avenger, too. But you could all probably tell, if he wouldn’t wear this disguise.”

“Fitting in, Tony.” Loki slipped into his Jötunn skin.

“You don’t fit in either way”, Tony answered while rolling his eyes. “Alright, science-campers, say bye to Loki, he’s gonna go back to his climate-controlled room, that is a bit cooler than our usual summer heat up here and keeps him a bit more on the safe side, temperature wise.”

The kids were still gaping, and Loki snickered a little, before bowing deeply. “Have a nice day, if you ever got any problems or question, there’s a chat option just between StarkPads and StarkPhones.” Loki waved his phone. “Love ta hear from you, gonna get out of the light though, come see me anytime.”

Loki grinned and then teleported away, dropping the letters of at Pepper’s office, telling the assistant that they are all probably going to the reject pile anyway, but Pepper should see if there is anything interesting in there. After that, he teleported to his own room.

 

Loki’s, or rather, Snowflake’s room was as modern as Tony could make it. The lights weren’t as bright and had a cold tint in them, there was a big pc station with curved screens at the side, complete with a bunch of older and newer gaming stations, that Tony had eagerly installed. The comm for Snowflake laid in a special case right on the table and the view the windows gave was towards the north, making Loki reliable on artificial lighting and not get hit by the bright light of the sun.

“Lo!”

Loki grinned towards the door where Harley burst in.

“J-M, what up?”

Harley squinted his eye. “What are we doin’ today?”, he asked, deciding to ignore Loki’s comment completely.

“How about playing some games?”

“What do you have?”

Loki walked over to the games and stared at them for a while, knowing only about ten percent of the names. “Umm, how about Mario Party?”

“Wii?”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah! Gimme.”

Loki handed the game over and Harley quickly put the disc into the console and gave Loki a controller, showing him how to do it.

By the time Harley had crossed the card the first time, he was cackling as Loki was scowling, having been thrown back four times already.

“The game is rigged”, Loki decided.

“Come on, Lo, you’re at least survivin’ most minigames.”

“Losing is no fun.”

“You’re not losin’, Lo. You haven’t lost any games and have quite a lot of coins.”

“I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do.”

“Just try to get through it and try winnin’, you’ll notice, when you can actually do somethin’.”

Loki nodded, still questioning what the end result of the game was supposed to be. “Alright. Eat dirt.”

Harley cackled again, as they played the next minigame. In the end when the whole game was over, Harley had won with one more star than Loki. Loki huffed again, putting the game away and looking towards Harley, who watched him expectantly.

“The game is rigged.”

“It’s not.”

“It’s up to chance.”

“That it is.”

“So, it’s rigged.”

“Not by me.”

“Let’s find Thor and see if we can annoy him.”

“Think he’ll believe it, if we tell him, I’m your son?”

“Too blond.”

“Think he’ll believe it, if we tell him, I’m his son?”

Loki thought for a while. “We can try.”

Loki and Harley shut off everything and then travelled to the Avengers floor, where Thor was reading a book.

 

“Brother, I have found a child.”

“A child? Why are you telling me about this? Is it one of the students?”

“No, he is not.”

“Hey dad”, Harley said, and Thor turned quickly, staring at Harley.

“This is not mine; you cannot pin this on me!”, Thor exclaimed.

“Really? He does look rather striking. Blond hair, blue eyes, temper.”

“Hey! Nobody say anything ‘bout my temper!”, Harley shouted towards Loki.

“He cannot be!”

“You are known as the God of Fertility as well, brother.”

“I have not… Brother please, let this mortal go, undo your spell.”

“Undo what spell? The fact that my sister looks nothin’ like me and that’s the reason my mom’s boyfriend left us over six years ago? Mom said, you only touched her and then suddenly she was able to have kids again, she couldn’t before.”

Thor paled and Loki fell over cackling at the sight. Harley grinned and then told Thor: “Don’t worry, darlin’, I ain’t yours, I think. Dad’s gone, but pretty sure it’s not you. Harley Keener. I’m here on vacation from Tennessee.”

Thor breathed heavily. “You could better be Loki’s child, playing tricks on a man like that.”

“Too blond and blue-eyed, don’t’cha think?”

“That is true. You do look more similar to me.”

“So, what’cha readin’?”

“History-books, I have been asked to catch up with the last century of achievements on Earth.”

“Got through the wars yet?”

“The big ones. I do not understand the Cold War. Why it has been called that, when there was no real fighting?”

“Don’t ask me, I always fall asleep durin’ history classes.”

“Then how do you know there were wars?”

“Cause we had to write tests on ‘em.”

“I was never much for history from other realms.”

“He means to say, that’s what he had me for. Every time we were invited to another kingdom, I had to make sure he knew enough to not embarrass Asgard.” Loki had gotten back on his feet and was patting his clothes down.

“You would have been a better king, Loki.”

“It would have bored me to death, Thor. There would have been no challenge left. How would I have entertained myself for daily amusement? Lovers? Adventures? Theatre? Threatening everyone with beheadings that say one wrong word behind my back? Sitting on an uncomfortable golden throne would not be something for me.”

“You would still do great in politics.”

“Your voice of reason?”

Thor laughed at that. “Maybe. Odin has Frigga, why cannot you be mine?”

“For one, I’m already taken, that’s what you will have a consort for. Secondly, I’m not going back to living on Asgard.”

Chapter Text

Two weeks into the science camp, a Thursday, to Thor’s delight, Loki had his first active mission. Or well, Snowflake had. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents had flown to the tower, to pick up the brothers before waiting on Rhodey. Clint was sat down on the highest building in the area and Loki stayed with him, watching his back, as he still had a slight blind spot from his hearing aids at his back. He could hear and see almost everything, and Clint moved quickly after each shot, checking his back as he went on.

Somehow the people were shooting mini portals into the air, that Rhodey and Thor had problems with shutting down, at least until Steve had to protect himself with the shield and the shot of the Chitauri gun went to one of the devices and stopped it. Clint and Nat were both tasked with disarming the group, while Steve and Thor were on collector’s duty, bringing all alien and modified tech into a dome that Loki had created.

It all seemed to be going smoothly. Which is why Loki quickly got more nervous. It was going way too smoothly for his liking. Almost like they were just the distraction. “War Machine, does this seem too easy to you?”

“This is easy, Snowflake?”

“They are not even shooting at any of you, unless you get near. J.A.R.V.I.S., is the tower safe?”

“I have no blind spots in the tower anymore. The tower is as safe as Fort Knox.”

“Snowflake’s right though”, Clint told them, “They aren’t attacking unless attacked first. When we got the alert, they were destroying the town, now it looks like they are just giving up.”

“Giving up?”, huffed Nat over the comms, “They are all running away, I feel like I’m running a marathon over here.”

“I am just saying…” Loki gasped, as a collar pulled at his neck. Loki was drugged and struggled as he saw Clint fall over from a tranquiliser. “Hawkeye down”, Loki rasped as he got pulled away, seeing four huge portals open across the town.

“Someone get…” Rhodey was cut off, even before they pulled out Loki’s comm.

They left Clint there, but dragged Loki away. Loki struggled, pulling at the collar, before it sent shocks through it, making Loki gasp. Someone had gotten his hands on a way to stop the flow of Seiðr in a way that Loki had it right at his grasp, but just out of reach. Loki still didn’t give up. His view was slowly getting blurry, but Loki was still strong. He grasped at the roof, trying to hang onto it, but only cutting off his airflow through it.

‘Come on!’, Loki thought. Right now his Jötunn powers would be really useful. Although he didn’t know if that actually was connected to the Seiðr or to something else. “Come on”, he cursed, before grinning as ice spread over his hands.

“What the fuck, I thought that’s supposed to…”

“Let’s dump the bastard. Boss said so, without his powers he can’t heal.”

Loki’s view got even more blurry and he heard himself whimper as the ice disappeared again, before he felt himself get thrown off the building. Something pierced him, before he hit the ground hard and everything around him went black.

 

“Lo! Lo, can you hear me?”

Loki wanted to curl in on himself but couldn’t.

“Lo, can you open your eyes?”

“Can you stop screaming, Rogers?”, Loki hushed, letting his eyes flutter open, only to press them shut a moment later. “Red, red, everything’s red, no good.” He heard the fizzle of something being cut right at his side and felt someone pressing onto his head. “What’s going on?”

“You got an unwanted piercing through your whole body”, Nat said somewhere from around his feet. “Rhodey’s cutting it off. We don’t know how to get the collar off yet.”

“Is Clint hurt?”

“Not much, a few bruises. You got a concussion, a bad one, almost thought you were dead for a moment there. Thor and Clint and a bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are taking the bastards in.”

“And here I thought my first mission would go over great.”

“I think it was a trap.”

“You might think that, Romanoff, but could you keep it to yourself until we’re all back at the tower?” Rhodey’s voice sounded metal, apparently, he was still in the armour.

“If you’d worn a helmet like me…”, Steve started.

“They’d ripped it off, before they’d thrown me of.”

Something clanked and Rhodey let out a “Hah”, before asking Nat to switch with him.

“Alright, Loki, this will hurt, the boys are going to pull you off the pole and I’ll wrap you up tight. Got it?”

“Yep”, Loki cursed. “Something to bite on?”

“Umm, here.” Steve held something at his lips and Loki opened his jaw far enough so he could push it in. Then Loki clenched up.

“One, two…” Loki screeched as he was pulled off and almost passed out again.

“Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha”, Nat murmured as Loki felt something getting pressed against his abdomen, while they moved.

Loki whimpered, tears flowing freely, from his still closed eyes.

“Barton, you on the Quinjet yet? We’re on our way and need to lift off as soon as we get there. Good. Tell Thor he can fly towards the tower, make sure everybody is in position, we need Tony to get this off of Loki.” Rhodey sounded very worried. “Say that again, J.A.R.V.I.S., fuck. We need… Who else do we have? Loki, Tony can’t get the collar off you, he’s down.”

Nat freed Loki’s mouth of the cloth still in it. “Harley.” Loki coughed. “The kid. He can do it. Tony and J.A.R.V.I.S. will tell him how, he can do it, he’s good.”

“J.A.R.V.I.S., you got that? Alright, yeah, make sure he’s there. Barton, start the Quinjet.”

Loki felt dizzy as they appeared to walk up the ramp of the Quinjet. “Close it up”, Nat shouted, “Let’s go!” Loki was pressed to the ground and they lifted off. The trickster whimpered again.

“Steve?”

“Yeah, right here, at your head.”

“Is my skull split? It feels like it’s split.”

“It is really bad. Tony called in a surgeon friend.”

“Doctor… uhm… Strange?” Loki pried open one eye. The view was still bad, but better than before. Rhodey had opened the helmet and was kneeling beside him, pressing the heavy hand on the wound of Loki’s abdomen.

“Yeah, apparently he’s the best in New York.”

“Couldn’t solve my freezing problem.”

“You’re not teleporting away with a wound this grave”, Rhodey said with a stern voice.

“For one, I couldn’t, because of the collar, for another, I don’t believe my mystery friend has done a lot of surgeries. Would have to make an assessment, which of my friends are still alive.”

“I think, someone figured out Snowflake and Loki are the guy that led an army against New York”, Nat said from the side, staring at her phone.

“That’s bad, I’d guess. How’d they get their hands on the collar?”, Loki asked back.

“Thor says he’s going to Asgard for that. It has Asgardian parts.”

“But we won?”

Steve chuckled behind him. “Yeah, Lo, we won.”

“Did I do good?”, Loki asked towards Rhodey and the guy smiled a little.

“You did.”

“Tony must feel like throwing up at this point.”

“Are you feeling like throwing up?”

“Not too grave yet. If nobody starts shaking me and Steve keeps my head stable, I should be good.”

“Almost there, kids”, Clint shouted from the front, “Just parking now.”

“Oh shit, the kids”, whispered Loki.

“Don’t worry about the campers, Lo, right now you just focus on yourself, alright?”

“No, what they must think, or their parents, Pepper will kill me. We should have never involved me.”

Rhodey snickered. “You just jumped around three corners, Loki. The kids will be fine, the parents might not be. But Pepper knew exactly who you are and how bad it could go. You getting hurt and it all coming out, is not the worst scenario. The worst would have been, that you’re actually bad and tried to hurt the kids.”

“Could still happen”, Loki hushed.

“Not in the near future, Loki. Not if you’re not controlled again.”

“Come on people, we landed. Hey Lo.” Clint came walking from the cockpit, clapping his hands, which led to Rhodey and Steve lifting Loki up again.

“Hey angel, fly us home safe?”

“Always do, Snowflake.” He went to Loki’s side and checked his wound. “Alright, we’re a go. The Doc has already set up with the kid and Tony.”

“I’m the boss”, Rhodey cursed.

“Yeah, but you don’t have any eyes in your back, Nat, lead them please. Lo, what can I do for you?”, Clint asked as they started moving, Loki closed his eyes again.

“Check in at Xavier’s?”

“Will do, I’ll call and if she got any bad vibes, I’m gonna pick her up with Happy, good?”

“Very good. And… can you make sure Tony’s fine?”

“If Runa’s alright, I’ll do that, if she ain’t, it’s up to Rhodes, right, boss?”

“Yeah, I’ll check with him. I got his back, Loki. You just let us handle everything, tell us, if something’s going wrong.”

“Kay, boss”, Loki breathed and opened his eyes, as Clint pressed his hand, giving him a tight smile, before turning away and grabbing his phone as the other four made their way towards the elevator. “Talk to me, J.”

“The students are all worried about Snowflake, Bruce is gathering them all, to let Pepper talk to them about what the public has found out about you. Right now, you’re getting pictured as the adoptive brother of Thor who was mind-controlled into leading an army to New York. Fury and the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. are doing damage control. Many guardians have called, but only a few wanted to get their children for today. Most just wanted to confirm that they were safe and that you were attacked outside the tower. A few actually offered to help, to tell people that their kids all liked Snowflake, but Pepper had told them that it would look like bribes and they don’t need to say anything.”

“Good, good and the weapons?”

“Are all getting locked up, by the D.O.D.C.”

“Lokes, you shouldn’t work!”, Tony called out.

“Sit your ass back down, Mechanic!”, Harley scolded Tony, and Loki chuckled, only to wince at the movement.

He was put down on a table and opened his eyes to see Harley in rolled up scrubs. “Hey, J-M.”

“Hey Trickster. No, Stark, he’s mine now.”

“Oh really? My what gorgeous blue eyes you have.”

“I’ll give ya gorgeous, darlin’. I’ll get this collar off you, while Strange gets started on your stomach. Just keep focused on me.”

“Can do, Mecha. Just don’t disappear on me.”

“Never ever, Trickster.” Harley’s smile was weak and he softly patted Loki’s hair, before leaning down and getting started on the collar.

Doctor Strange worked with music and J.A.R.V.I.S. was tasked with finding music the man had never heard of. Steve was still holding Loki’s head together, as the man’s view slowly clouded, not only because he was weeping.

“There’s fuckin’ spikes”, Harley cursed.

“Language”, Steve said back.

“Yeah, yeah, old man, but look, freakin’ spikes, right into his neck. Now that makes a lot more sense. How ya feelin’, Mechanic?”

“Dizzy.”

“Me too”, Loki breathed.

“Blood loss”, Strange explained from Loki’s waist.

“Alright, Lo, I’m gonna see if I can get the spikes back into the collar somehow, get it to detract.”

“I trust you, Mecha.”

“Yeah, I don’t. We’ll see.” Harley went back to prodding at the collar and after a while let out a cheery “See that, bitch, got ya all figured out.”

“Language”, Steve and Tony cursed at the same time. Harley stuck out his tongue at the blond man and removed the collar from Loki with a bright smile, putting it aside.

“Alright, Loki”, the Doctor started, “if you have your magic again, see if you can help out, got your stomach closed up, but your heads looking worse.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

“Good.” Strange walked around and his assistant checked Loki’s vitals. “If we could have to room now, please? No distractions.”

Loki closed his eyes and concentrated on his Seiðr, letting it flow to the smaller wounds first and then shifted it to sit protectively around his brain. “Got my brain safe, Doc, whatever you want to do there.”

“Good. We will have to shift you, so I got better access, is it permanent, or do you have to stay awake?”

“Can make it permanent and take it away when I wake up again.”

“Good, do that and then we close you up while under, you’re gonna have a hell of a headache, just so you know.”

“Oh well, at least it’ll heal.” Loki whispered a spell under his breath and then smiled. “Good to go, Doc, trusting you here.”

“To say, I’m not at least a bit intrigued what is in an alien head, is an understatement.”

“Just a brain, probably as beautiful as a human one.”

“Ever see a human brain?”

“Sadly, yes. Knew a few Doctors back in the day.”

“You knew a lot of people, right?”

“Yep, and if you want to know if I ever met world leaders and discussed politics, I’m inclined to say, no comment.”

Strange laughed. “Tony got pretty lucky then, that he got you.”

“No. I did. Got pretty lucky with him, Doc. Never felt as lucky around anyone till I met him. Loved, maybe; lusted after, a few times; appreciated, definitely. But I got pretty lucky to be on Earth at the same time as Tony.”

“I’m sure he still feels lucky.”

“Not as lucky as me”, Loki whispered, feeling himself drift off. “I never got this lucky before”, he breathed, before it went dark again.

 

The splitting headache Loki woke up to, was only amplified by the light in his room, he groaned as he turned and pressed his face into the pillow. “Out, lights, J, please”, he whimpered, just loud enough.

“Would you like me to close the blinds, Master Stark?” With a grunt, Loki flipped of the nearest camera. “I take it you are not eager for talkback this morning.”

The blinds closed and Loki let out a sharp yell as he sat up in the bed. He wanted to trash something, wanted to destroy things, as much as he just wanted to be lulled back into sleep. “Morning?”, he asked as the words finally registered in his head. They had come back before the camp was over, but it had already been afternoon, must have been, they left at 1 o’clock, when the students were having lunch.

“Yes. It is Friday, you missed yesterday’s birthday celebrations.”

“Birth… Shit!” Steve’s birthday had been yesterday. Of course, he had forgotten. “Is he still in the tower?”

“After yesterday’s celebrations all Avengers had retired in the tower. For the ones working today less alcohol had been involved.”

“Can you tell him, when he wakes up, that I’m very sorry for forgetting?”

“He is already awake. It is shortly after 10 o’clock. Should I ask him to come down with your breakfast?”

“Yeah, yeah, good, do that. And maybe discreetly tell Tony that I’m awake and… Not really fine, but okay?”

“I am sure the students would love to hear an update as well.”

“But not before any friends and family.”

“Alright. I shall tell them first and will let Sir and Doctor Banner handle however they want to handle it.”

 

Loki pressed his head into the balls of his hand and then kneaded at his temples. The pain would not go away. He winced and whimpered, as he pulled his knees up against his body. He didn’t even hear the door open, he just heard it close and then a warm hand on his back.

“Hey Lo, how are you feeling?”

“Forgot your birthday”, Loki whispered, “Sorry. Happy Birthday.”

“No worries. How are you?”

“Head hurts. Real bad.”

Like a switch flipped in Steve’s head, he put the breakfast aside and then sat down on the bed to pull Loki close.

“J.A.R.V.I.S. is he allowed pain killers?”

“I have already notified Agent Barton to find the ones Doctor Strange prescribed.”

“Good, good. Hey Lo, I’m right here.”

Loki whimpered as he pressed his head against Steve’s stomach and wrapped his arms around the wide man. “Hurts. Tony hurts too.”

“Fuck, Tony!”, Steve shouted out.

“Language”, Loki whispered.

“Colonel Rhodes has already been dispatched to Sir’s location.”

“Thank you, J.A.R.V.I.S.”

“And it has been explained to the students yesterday, that because of Sir’s and Master Stark’s similar characteristics, there is a spell keeping them bonded, to help with a curse put on Master Stark. It was as close enough to the truth as they could go, without revealing what more this means.”

“So they know.”

“They are still very concerned at the moment. It appears that Sir has collapsed in the middle of the lecture. He is trying to explain to them that he is alright, but is failing miserably, none of the students are calming. I have dispatched Miss Potts and Mister Hogan as well, while Mister Keener is on his way towards the both of you.”

“Warmth, cushions.”

“Alright, alright, let’s move you, right? No heat though, not good for our melting Snowflake.”

“Infected?”

“Umm, if you open up for me, I can check.”

Scared Loki let himself be folded open, only to perk his head up, when the Bifrost crashed. “Mommy?”

“It appears Mister Odinson has returned and has brought a man with him.”

“Dad?”

“Lean built, dark hair appears to be of Asian descent. Though if he is an alien, I would say that is wrong.”

“Hogun. Vanir, of Vanaheim.”

“Who’s he?”

“Shield-brother.”

“Nice one?”

“Okay.”

“If you think he’s okay, he must be great.”

Loki snorted and Steve grinned at him, before lifting his shirt.

“Wound’s gone.”

“Seiðr”, Loki explained.

“That why your head’s hurting?”

“Never. Put protection down as soon as I woke.”

“Maybe that is why your head is hurting?”

“Couldn’t be.”

A lot of things happened at once. Steve leaning forward, his fingers ghosting towards Loki’s neck, the door opening to several people streaming in and a stern voice saying: “Do not touch the prince’s neck!”

Steve flinched back and got up, Thor pressed his hand on Steve’s shoulder and Hogun perched on Loki’s bed, while Harley and Clint both stood in the doorway, Clint’s hand in front of Harley, on alert. Hogun grabbed his bag and pulled out another collar, made out of leather.

“Just for protection, I will inspect the other collar soon.”

“O-okay.”

Hogun’s hands were gentle as he laid the collar around Loki’s neck, fastening it, just tight enough to not be restricting. “You are not bound by this, Loki. Heimdall told us the collar had spikes.”

“Infection?”

“I will find out. You, over there, young one, you touched the collar? Took it off him?”

“Yes, sir”, Harley breathed.

“Take this talisman and lead me to it. Thor, round up all the other that have touched the collar or Loki’s neck.”

“I shall.”

“I definitely haven’t”, Clint sounded out, “You guys go, I’ll stay with Loki and treat him for his headache.”

“Yes. That is greatly appreciated.”

“Cool, go people, shoo, Steve, stay with Harley?”

“Yeah, got it.”

 

As quick as they came, they left again and Loki breathed unsteadily, as Clint sat down. “That was… Phew. Here, take this, I’ll get you some water.”

“Kay”, Loki whispered, and Clint smiled at him, before walking away. Loki looked at the pill in his hand and put it in his mouth as Clint came back with an opened water bottle. Quickly he chucked it down and Clint fluffed up the pillows around him. “Cuddles?”, Loki asked quietly, batting his eyelashes at Clint.

Clint snickered, before shrugging. “Why not?”

He sat down beside Loki and slung his arms around Loki’s chest. “Feels like home?”, Loki hushed, laying his arm around the smaller man.

“Never the little spoon at home.”

“Feels nice?”

“Yeah.”

“Aids hurting?”

“I’ll take ‘em out if I get sleepy.”

“If you’re only keeping them in to communicate, I have learned sign language several decades ago. I’m a bit rusty, but I’m still learning.”

“You know A.S.L.?”

“Among others.” Loki blushed in embarrassment.

“That’s amazing.”

“You should also never curse at Tony in A.S.L., he’s far from fluent, but he knows a lot.”

Clint snickered. “Yeah, there was a story of him firing an interpreter on the spot, when he was trying to make a deal and then stepped in himself.”

“So, if you need to…”

“Nah.” Clint buried his head in Loki’s chest. “Don’t want to need to keep my eyes open. And I got the mission ones in, they are comfortable enough.”

Loki hummed at that, eying the in-ear aid near him. “Remarkable. I had a friend that would have loved to have one of those. I spelled him for a day so he could hear through my ears.”

“What happened?”

“A few pleasant and a lot more unpleasant things. People were only nice to him when they knew he could tell. At least he figured out that his neighbour was cursing at anyone who dare said a bad word about him. I think they got married and had a few kids.”

“Didn’t you say you couldn’t change anything?”

“He would have found out eventually. I didn’t truly change his life, not in the way that was ill advised. I did not give him money, I did not safe a life or take one. I only offered something that he could not get anywhere else and could not give away.”

“You know, Loki, that bastard would have had it a lot easier, if he would have had you on his side. A benevolent god could have easily won him Earth.”

Loki hummed a little, letting his hand run through Clint’s hair. “But I would have never assembled the Avengers.”

Clint snickered. “You’re right. And you’d probably come prepared with a basket of muffins.”

Loki rubbed softly at Clint’s forehead. “Are you okay, my archer?”

“Why? Am I giving off bad vibes?”

“I just wish to know if the sceptre did more harm that I have yet to truly see in your eyes.”

“It did a lot worse to you.”

“But I could still steer it into the direction I needed.”

“I think, I just gave in.”

“You’re to smart to just give in. You are observant. You notice things quicker than any of your peers. Maybe it is because you shut out all the chatter and just trust what you see.”

“So, I’m not just good at math?”

“Really good at math, there are many calculations that take place in such a short amount of time to land each shot from an extreme distance. But no, you’re more than an archer. After all, my first words to you said it correctly. You have heart.”

Clint shoved his hand in Loki’s ribs and the taller man giggled immensely.

Chapter Text

By the time Loki’s headache had subsided, Loki felt numb. He mumbled a bit yet didn’t produce much more sounds than probably his own child at the moment. Well, Runa. Loki still didn’t want to hear about Sleipnir, even though Thor told him that he had helped to find out that Svaðilfari had produced the collar. Hogun had yet to figure out what all the runes did. Out of all of Thor’s friends, he seemed to have actually listened and watched what Loki had done over centuries on their adventures.

Clint still cuddled Loki, as did most of the other people that come into Snowflake’s room to Loki spreading his arms out widely. Pepper, Happy, Tony and Bruce were all preoccupied and only cuddled on off-hours. Steve and Thor were big and heavy. Nat only cuddled, when Loki was getting worse, when he choked on his breathing or was close to a panic attack. When that happened, the room would get even colder and ice would spread from the nearest surface Loki’s bare skin was touching. The ice would only make Loki panic more.

As Tony couldn’t always come to calm him down, the other six people tried. Thor and Steve were quickly out for the count. Rhodey and Clint had the Tony vibe, but that made it only worse for Loki, because he realised Tony wasn’t there, Tony couldn’t be there. Nat was good with her fingers, but she wasn’t good with feelings. She could keep Loki distracted, could keep him off the edge, but couldn’t really bring him down. Harley could bring Loki down. He didn’t even have to do anything. If Loki knew Harley was there, he felt a lot better.

“Sorry for ruining your summer”, Loki told Harley, in a time he was mentally more there.

“Not ruined. I get to han’ out with the Avengers and they all teach me cool stuff. I’m gettin’ real good at climbin’ through the vents.”

“Because you’re so tiny.”

“Not true. Because I’m wickedly awesome.”

Loki smiled at that. “Wickedly awesome”, he murmured, before closing his eyes.

 

When he opened them again, Harley was gone. This had happened to him quite often the last two weeks he’d been here. He’d told Thor and Tony, had mentioned the missing time to Clint and Rhodey, Clint because he seemed to understand and Rhodey because he was the team leader. This time was different though. Loki could tell. He was restrained on the bed, for one. He was still in Snowflake’s room, but it was nearly empty.

“J.A.R.V.I.S.?”, he asked, alarmed.

“Welcome back, Master Stark.”

“How long was I gone for?”

“What is the last thing you remember?”

Loki thought. It took him longer. “Wickedly awesome”, he then whispered.

“You have been gone for two entire days.”

“What happened?”

J.A.R.V.I.S. remained silent. It must be bad if even the A.I. considered not telling Loki.

“By the norns”, Loki breathed, “J.A.R.V.I.S., answer me. Who did I kill? Is Harley hurt? Any of the students?”

“You did not kill anyone, to my knowledge.”

“In critical condition? Who did I hurt? J.A.R.V.I.S., please.”

“Both you and Sir are in a bad condition, you tried to kill yourself, Master Stark.”

Loki paled. At least he understood the restraints now. “Is… Please… No…” Loki whimpered and pressed his head into the cushion, tears stinging his eyes. He wanted to run, but he also wanted to stay, because running would only hurt Tony more and he didn’t want Tony to hurt.

“Lo, can you let me in darlin’?” Harley sounded scared and Loki whimpered again, as he saw that the walls were freezing over, the door already had a few centimetres of ice on it.

“Can’t. Hurt Tony. Loki bad”, he said, choking on his words.

“Loki? Come on, please. This isn’t doin’ any good.”

Loki sobbed, knowing he couldn’t stop it, even if he tried. He couldn’t free himself of the chains, but they didn’t keep him locked up. They were Asgardian chains, not taking away his Seiðr, but keeping him in one place and one form. Tears were flowing steadily from Loki’s eyes and the ice was growing thicker and thicker, so much, that he could barely hear Harley’s begging outside the door.

“Dad please!”

“What?”, he whispered, in shock. This time it wasn’t a joke. He knew it. This wasn’t just so he’d listen to him or so he’d smile.

“Lokes?”, Tony’s voice broke over the frozen over speaker in the ceiling.

“I promised”, Loki said, already near tears again, “I promised you!”

“Wasn’t you, Lokes.”

“I still could have died. I promised!

“Yeah, you did.”

Loki whimpered.

“Alright, Lokes, you can listen to me, right?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s okay. We’re okay. You didn’t die, Thor caught you and crashed with you into the ground, because he couldn’t stop fast enough. We are all alive. We are all healing.”

“I’m a risk.”

“Most of us are, Lokes. Doesn’t stop us from being awesome. I’m such a big risk, I’m only a consultant. Bruce is such a big risk, that he wasn’t even considered at first and still benches himself. You’re in great company, Lokes. You’re a calculated risk that all of us took. The team trusted me and Thor, when you came back to us, last year. They could have said no, could have pushed you as far away from them as possible, but they all took that risk, like they take the risk to be around Bruce each day. When all this started, you blacking out, they could have thrown you to the curb and looked for someone to help, but they didn’t want to do that. I didn’t have any say in that, that was all them. You’re a calculated risk, they trusted Thor to figure out what is wrong and how to help, because they all knew they couldn’t. We trust each other here. We might have our differences, but we still trust each other, we still trust you.”

“You shouldn’t.”

“Lokes listen, stop with the bullshit, stop with the loner thing you got going, we’re not leaving you behind. Especially me. I’m in it for the long run. And I mean seriously long run. I demand to have centuries with you, okay? So, fucking warm up to the idea that we’re family and stop with the ice age. I don’t want to blast your beautiful ice, but if you don’t let us in, I will.”

Loki snickered between sobs and smiled, before breathing slowly, calming his senses, hoping the ice would disappear that way. When it came crashing down around him, he felt exhausted. A smile came on his face, when the door opened and Tony jumped onto the bed, wrapping himself around Loki.

“Eager, are you?”

“With you, always.”

“I could hurt you, be careful.”

“Don’t feel hurt yet, sweetheart. Right now, I just feel numb.”

“That’s bad.”

“It’s because of the painkillers you got in.”

“That explains how you can be up and walking.”

“Thor destroyed a sidewalk.”

Loki tried not to laugh, but his smile got brighter and wider, till he let out a snort, making Tony grin. Then he calmed a little. “Is he okay?”

“On Asgard, but I’d guess. Hogun dragged him off. He wanted to stay with you.”

“A bit protective.”

“You like it, come on. You like it when he’s there when you’re sick. You like that he’s paying attention to you.”

“Can you free my arms? I really want to hug you.”

Tony smirked and made a show out of leaning above Loki and reaching for the gauntlets. Grinning, Loki blew a bit of cold air under Tony’s shirt, making the man yelp and jerk.

“Glad you’re feeling better, Loki.”

The gauntlets fell to the ground and Loki wrapped his arms around Tony’s legs, burying his face in Tony’s stomach. He looked up to the man he loved so much and made him slide down onto his own stomach, so that he could grab his neck with ease and pull him down for a kiss.

“I need to go to see a few people.”

“Can I come with?”

“Only if you never speak of it.”

“Good enough for me. And they can fix what’s wrong with you?”

“They might.” Loki pressed his lips against Tony’s cheek. With a hum, he let himself sink into the pillow again and his eyes moved towards the open door. “Get in here, kiddo and give me a hug.”

Harley flushed a little, but quickly darted forward and Tony slipped off Loki, so Harley had better access. “’m sorry for freakin’ out”, Harley said quietly into Loki’s shoulder and Loki softly pressed a kiss onto Harley’s head.

“No need, you did good. Great, actually. I’m proud of you.” Harley’s breath hitched and Loki pulled him closer. “It’s okay. Everything will be alright.”

“I’ll go and… do stuff”, Tony told them and shuffled away, closing the door behind himself.

“You okay?”, Loki whispered.

“Don’t ever do that shit again.”

“Language”, Loki answered with a smirk, “And which part? Trying to kill myself or getting controlled?”

“Leavin’ me”, Harley hushed, and Loki brushed through his hair.

“I’m not leaving you behind, Harley. I promise you, I’ll always be there, if you need me. After all, you’re my kid, aren’t you?”

Harley looked at him, his face red from embarrassment. “You heard that?”

“Very clearly. Made me freeze while freezing. I don’t mind. Actually, makes me happy, you know. Being called that again.”

Loki teared up again and Harley giggled. “Alright, dad, then I won’t stop.”

“Thanks, kiddo.”

“Not that one. And not Mecha either, that’s both reserved for the Mechanic.”

“I guess, I’ll just stick to J-M for now. Maybe Junior.”

“I like Junior.”

“Alright then, Junior.”

“So where are you and the Mechanic goin’?”

“Old friends, you could say.”

“Are they friends?”

“To a point, I don’t know them all.”

“Are they old?”

“Some.” Harley snickered and Loki grinned at him. “Now, Junior, did you have breakfast yet?”

“Rogers made pancakes.”

“Were they better than mine?”

“No, never.”

Loki grinned widely. “Would have been a shame. Can I ask something?”

“Sure, dad, what up?”

“Did I switch in front of you?”

“Kinda. You just stared into the distance and then you fell asleep. But when you woke up after a few hours, Thor said you’d seemed fine, like yourself.”

“It plays me then. Guess I have to be more careful. I’m just glad you didn’t get hurt.”

“You wouldn’t dare lay a finger on me.”

Loki laughed and Harley grinned up at him. “You wanna get off before Tony comes back?”

“I’ll go and work on the suit again, when you’re away.”

“Work, tinker, or mess?”, Loki asked and smirked as Harley snorted, before slipping off the bed.

“We’ll see. DUM-E isn’t here to douse me in foam if I do somethin’ I shouldn’t. And J.A.R.V.I.S. can only complain so much.”

“What’s J gonna complain about?”, Tony asked, as he came into the room.

“Nothin’, darlin’. You two sweethearts have fun and get Lo sorted out.”

“Don’t do anything stupid.”

“Yeah, yeah, not like givin’ the media your home address?”

Tony groaned and rolled his eyes. “One time, kiddo. And it’s not like I had no back-up.”

“Yeah, old man.” Harley patted Tony on his back and escaped before Tony could give a come-back.

“The youth these days”, Tony said, but grinned a little, before unlocking the ankle-bracelets. “Fury said, as long as we’re disguised and I’m always reachable, we can go.”

“Is he our dad now?”

“He’d probably be a better dad than most of us Avengers had.”

“Except us Avengers. I mean, I’m a great dad.”

“You’re a mom.”

“Not to Junior.” Loki stuck out his tongue to Tony, before swinging his legs over the bed. “Let’s see, who did I have? I’ll take Janet, you can take Boris.”

“Boris was not good-looking!”

“Janet was fantastic. And Boris was charming. Just because he had a bad leg…”

“He had a fucking peg leg.”

“He lost it in the war. And you can’t be Janet. You can’t play her flawlessly. I can make Boris modern-day, happy?”

“Do I get a high-tech prosthetic?”

“Yes, dear”, Loki answered, rolling his eyes, transforming them and shoving Boris-Tony to the mirror.

“I look amazing”, Boris-Tony shrieked, his voice quite higher than Tony’s own.

“Yes, darling”, Janet-Loki said with another eye-roll, “This is the twenty-first century after all, Mister McNeel.”

“Oh, are you Mis’ress McNeel?”

“Darling, please, only today. Now. Take my hand.”

“I love this. J, you got a picture, right?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Okay, Janet, let’s go!”

Boris-Tony grabbed Janet-Loki’s hand and they teleported away.

 

Boris-Tony turned a few times, before recognising the place. “Oh! The Sanctum!”

“Dear. Could you keep it together?”

“This makes total sense.”

“Sorcerers make total sense, yes. Excuse me.” Janet-Loki walked to a young man.

“Who the hell are you?”

“Janet. Pleased to make your acquaintance. Is the Ancient One around?”

“The Ancient One is in Kamar Taj.”

“Oh, training again? Interesting. She didn’t do that the last time I went to see her. Boris, love, leave the relics alone, please and come here, we have to leave New York.”

“Come on, this stuff is amazing, I only know what Ninety percent of this does and only if I start thinking.”

“We have a job to do. Excuse my husband, he’s very… Absent-minded.”

“That’s Boris McNeel.”

“Yes. And I’m Janet McNeel, born Holsten, Boris, get your pretty ass down here.”

“She called my ass pretty”, Boris-Tony said gleefully and basically skipped down the stairs.

Janet-Loki groaned and grabbed Boris-Tony’s arm. “Excuse us.” They teleported away again.

 

“Ancient One”, Boris-Tony called out and Janet-Loki clasped her hand onto his mouth.

“Could you be an adult for one moment?”

“I love life, sweetheart.”

“This is serious.”

“What is?”, a female voice asked behind them.

“It’s the Ancient One”, Boris-Tony squealed.

Janet-Loki turned around and took a deep breath. “I’m sick.”

“Have you seen a doctor, Janet?”

“I have. Doctor Strange fixed me up quite well.”

“Strange? Surgeon in New York?”

“Yes. But this isn’t physical. There is something inside my body.”

“And who did you put in Boris’ body?”

“My husband. Say hi, Boris.”

“Hi. You’re awesome, even though it’s really creepy that you’re so old, but you’re awesome.”

“He doesn’t quite fit, it’s his first.”

“I see. You said some-thing is inside your body.”

“Yes.”

“Wong, dear, why don’t you show Mister McNeel around and make sure he doesn’t destroy anything? Janet, dearest, follow me.”

Janet-Loki gave a quick peck on Boris-Tony’s cheek, before turning to the Ancient One. “He has to be able to find me at any point in time. He promised our boss.”

“He’s more like a father-figure at this point.”

Janet-Loki whacked Boris-Tony in the back of the head and smiled at the Ancient One. “Shall we?”

“Tea?”

“I’d love to.”

They walked away, leaving Boris-Tony behind with a student of the Mystic Arts.

“So, what happened, Janet?

“Why I didn’t return to you sooner? You sound like all my old friends.”

“Why are you here and not back home?”

“Home is New York nowadays. If you mean the place I grew up, I avoid it at the moment. And my brother has yet to send someone here.”

“Are you here to stay?”

“Certainly. I love him.”

“I can tell.” The Ancient One smiled at Janet-Loki and handed her tea, before they sat down. “Your brother has been making waves.”

“Not really, he’s been making a lot of thunder.” Janet-Loki answered with a smirk.

“I heard you got hurt. And I heard you tried to kill yourself.”

I wouldn’t.”

“That’s the thing inside you.”

“Yes.”

“And you want me to take it out?”

“It would most certainly help.”

“Only if you promise to never speak to Doctor Strange again.”

Janet-Loki hesitated and looked at the Ancient One irritated. “He’s important”, she then said, intrigued.

“And he will have to stay that way.”

“What does this have to do with me? I can’t just stop talking to him.”

“One day he will seek you out before us, if you become close friends.”

“He’ll get hurt.”

“Yes.”

“And you won’t stop it?”

“He’s important.”

Janet-Loki shook her head. “I will not stop talking to him. But I will not be able to help him when he needs me. Even though I don’t like this the slightest.”

“He has to go down this path.”

“You need him to. You’ve become selfish. Are you dying?” The Ancient One didn’t answer and Janet-Loki scoffed. “You are. Why didn’t you say so?”

“Everything needs to end.”

“Not the good things.”

“If I don’t end, he won’t fight.”

“This is childish.”

“He has potential.”

“To become the greatest of them all? Please.”

“We need him, for what’s to come.”

“Thanos?”

“How do you? Of course, you know.”

“He had me tortured. So, believe me, when I tell you, I got him handled.”

“The other one you have not, that is up to Strange, that is something only he can do.”

Janet-Loki sighed. “Alright. So, you will do this?”

“Help you? Yes, of course. How could I ever deny a friend?”

 

Janet-Loki felt groggy when being led towards the entrance, where Boris-Tony was talking with the student. “You look shitty”, he commented.

“And you are aware, that saying that to your wife might make you sleep on the cold ground tonight?”

“Oh, I love the cold, it’s why I married you in the first place, sweetheart.”

“Thank you, Ancient One, for your help. And thank you, Wong for indulging my husband.”

“Would you want a safe way back?”, the Ancient One asked them.

“I got it”, Janet-Loki answered. “You have my number?”

“A way to reach you, yes. Although I’m not sure I’ll use it.”

“If you ever need help. I am on Earth and half the time, pretty bored, so.”

“We will not need your help.”

“Then I will just drop by unannounced.”

“You’d never.”

“Who out of us is older? I might not be any wiser, but if I promise protection, I enact that. Unless I’m otherwise occupied. I taught you your tricks, dearest, don’t ever forget that.”

The Ancient One smiled at that and Janet-Loki nodded to her and her student, before grabbing Boris-Loki’s wrist and teleporting them back to the tower.

 

“What did you promise her?”, Tony asked, as he checked his body in the mirror, after Loki had dropped their guises. “I thought about it, while Wong showed me around. She didn’t owe you. And you don’t like being indebted.”

Loki sighed, washing his blue hands in the basin, before slapping water in his face. “She didn’t make me swear, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“I wasn’t. I wanted to know what.” Tony laid his hands on Loki’s naked back, softly rubbing at a few hurting bits.

“I promised her to stay out of an event yet to pass. An event I would have most likely not stayed out of otherwise. The common good will favour from it.”

“When?”

“Three years into the future.”

“And what if things change and it never happens?”

“We didn’t talk about that. About me changing our future so far that the event in question might never happen.”

“You’re not changing the future. We’re just living our life.”

“On the contrary. She knew that I was supposed to go back to Asgard after New York. I would have been imprisoned and died at the end of this very year. At the end of the events we both still know that will happen.”

“So, you’re changing things?”

“She said the future started changing at the beginning of 2009. You wouldn’t have died, by the way. I was just not supposed to stay on Earth. I was not supposed to get to know you.”

“Well, I’m glad. This is our life now.”

“It is, yes. She said, Thanos will not be our only threat to life on Earth. But the other will surely be taken care of by the individual whose path I’m supposed to stay out of.”

“Surely?”

“She does not know the end of that journey.”

“She dies?”, Tony asked, surprised, checking Loki’s grief-stricken face in the mirror.

“One of my oldest friends”, Loki whispered, before letting himself sink onto the floor, pulling Tony into his lap. Carefully Tony pushed Loki’s hair back and kissed his forehead, lightly stroking his horns, making Loki whimper.

“I know this isn’t fair to say, especially because I ate a golden apple to escape an early death, but it will be okay. If she’s fine with her death and doesn’t have you prevent it, it will be okay.” Tony leaned back and took something out of his pocket. “Now, gorgeous, will you teach me a little bit?”

“How’d you get that?”

“Boris might not be the most honest person. I mean, it would be great for teleportation.”

“The sling ring doesn’t teleport you, dear.”

“Yeah, but can you teach me?”

Loki sighed deeply. “I shall, you dumbass.”

“You love me”, Tony said while grinning.

“Eternally, you idiot.”

Chapter Text

Loki only got only one more week in New York, before Thor and Hogun came, telling him that Odin wanted to see him. Hogun confiscated the collar and the chains, while Thor was going to stay behind on Earth. A quick conversation with Heimdall told Loki that he’d probably be away for at least two weeks. He hugged Runa close, the little one was growing so fast, that it almost broke his heart not to be able to see her for that time.

Harley, he gifted with an enchanted camera he and Tony had made, for the chance that he might not come back before he left. The camera would allow Loki to see through it, when called, being able to teleport to the place shown to him. Loki wanted to be able to help, if Harley ever needed him and put Harley under his protection. It might only be a prototype, but it would do the job. Tony was already working on a smaller model, mostly making the camera smaller, being able to fit it onto a necklace, bracelet or watch. It just needed a bit of Loki’s Seiðr to function.

Loki pressed his face into Tony’s neck and kissed him softly, before embracing Harley as well, whispering in his ear: “Give him hell.”

Harley grinned at him, before Loki stepped away from his little family, following Hogun towards the Bifrost-site. “Got everything?”, the man asked, and Loki nodded with a sigh.

“Heimdall!”

They were shot up towards Asgard and Loki smiled brokenly at Heimdall. “Welcome back. Loki, you can wait right here, the All-Father will join us shortly with Sleipnir.”

“With or on?”, Loki spat at him.

“With. Hogun, I hear that Lady Sif and Volstagg are waiting for you at the training grounds.”

Hogun nodded shortly, making his way down the rainbow bridge. “How is he?”, Loki asked, quietly.

“Excited to see you. How have your dreams been?”

“Uninformative. More frequent, changing a lot more. That’s why I hate sharing.”

“How often are they now?”

“I’m down to two weeks. By the beginning of October, I expect it to be every third day.”

“Then let’s hope we get it on a straight line till then.”

“Only so that I can curve it again?”

“That you can give us Asgard’s best outcome.”

“I don’t believe mine and Asgard’s best outcome are always aligned.”

“Yes”, Heimdall said pointedly and Loki smirked at that.

“So, do I have to wait for Odin and Sleipnir to get told why I’m here.”

“I detected a disturbance on Svartalfheim.”

“Detected?”

“It seems to be see-through. Air moves around it, as does dirt. I would say, it is the ship we both saw in your dream.”

“The huge one?”

“Yes. The other ships might be contained in it.”

“Might. What is the plan?”

“Destroy it?”

“Of course, you’d leave that to the Jötunn prince that tried to destroy Jotunheim.”

“Well, if it doesn’t work the first time…”

“Try, try, try again?”

Heimdall smiled a little. “First we’ll just see if you can see it.”

“And how do you think that will work?”

“You’re a sorcerer, you can see with more than your eyes, like me.”

“And why is Sleipnir joining us?”

“Because he asked.”

“Do I have to teach him now?”

“Nobody is asking you. Odin is also bringing something from the vault.”

Loki stared toward the golden city, seeing two riders come near. “The Tesseract?”

“No.” Loki’s look towards Heimdall was filled with fear.

“He wants me to fail.”

“I don’t believe anyone has any intention to see you fail to keep yourself composed. It might just help you.”

“Kill it with ice?”

“The casket might help.”

“My own ice is harder than that of the casket.”

“Have you learned to control it yet?”

“No”, Loki grunted, turning to welcome the two men. “Odin. Son.”

“H-hey, Ma.” Sleipnir was quick off his horse and fiddling with his hands, before he pushed them behind his back. He reminded Loki of himself and a small smile escaped him.

“How long will you stay?”, Loki asked towards Odin.

“Till I have proof. The forces are alerted, if we should need them.”

“So, we’re the scouting party?”

“Yes. Do you have everything you need, food, resources, spell books?”

“I don’t think if it should come to battle that looking up spells, I do not know like the back of my hand will help us in any point. But I do have some things that could help if it all came falling down. I can teleport across the realms. It just requires more concentration and isn’t exactly safe.”

“Let’s hope we won’t need it. Heimdall, if you will?”

“I will set you down at a reasonable distance.”

Odin nodded and stepped forward, while Sleipnir appeared more nervous. Sighing, Loki took Sleipnir by his arm. “It will be okay.”

“Okay, Ma.”

“Just stay at my side, okay, son?”

Sleipnir smiled brightly. “Yes, Ma.”

Softly Sleipnir laid his hand into Loki’s and Loki pressed with a soft smile. When he looked up towards Odin, the man practically grinned at him. “So, your first adventure, excited?”, Loki asked, as they stepped next to the All-Father.

“Very. Though calling it my first might not be totally true.”

“Well, our first adventure together. Making a new starting point.”

“I like that.”

Bright light engulfed the three and they were sent onto the dead planet.

 

It was like in his dreams, dark, black and grey. Eerie clouds were in the sky, that made Loki physically shiver, mountains of darkness, no plants anywhere. Sleipnir clung onto his hand and Loki tried to breathe steadily, before letting his Seiðr flow from him, in what he normally used to find hidden pathways.

“He’s right”, Loki whispered, walking blindly into a direction, following and trusting the flow of his Seiðr. The disturbance was massive, it hadn’t seemed so big when Loki had seen it in his dreams. Sleipnir shook on his arm and Loki opened his eyes to look at him questioning.

“I got a bad feeling, Ma.”

Loki looked to Odin and then back towards Sleipnir, laying his hand on Sleipnir’s cheek. “I have a bad feeling too, but sometimes you have to go directly to that bad feeling and punch it in the face.” Sleipnir giggled and Loki grinned at him. “You trust me?”, Loki quietly asked.

“Yes, Ma.”

“Bad decision, but okay. Trust that I’ll keep you safe. You’re my child and I won’t let anything bad ever happen to my family again.”

“Okay, Ma.”

Loki couldn’t resist running his thumb across Sleipnir’s temple, before pressing a kiss on his brow. “Mama will always protect you”, he hushed and Sleipnir nodded.

“Yes, Ma.”

Loki snickered. “So, son, what has Frigga told you about me?”, he asked, while they walked further, Loki following the spreading of his Seiðr, softly pressing Sleipnir’s hand in his.

“Well, she told me about a lot of fun you had growing up. And she told me about Sigyn and your twins. She also told me that I wasn’t initially wanted. That Da forced himself on you.”

“That’s true. But you’re still my kid.”

“Are you scared of him?”

Loki sighed before nodding. “Yes. I wish I could tell you I wasn’t afraid of anything or most things, but no, your father is definitely someone I’m afraid of.”

“Who else?”

“Many dead. There’s Thanos and his disciples. He was the one who had me tortured, and mind-controlled. Did Frigga tell you about that?”

“She said, you were forced to attack the man you love.”

“Not only him, but yes.”

“But you married, yes?”

“Yes.” Loki smiled and showed Sleipnir his ring. “On Midgard, or Earth, as they call it, married couples were rings to show they already have a lover, that they are taken and are, most times, not in search of another. We made them ourselves the night before our wedding. The whole thing was slightly rushed.”

Sleipnir ran his fingers over the ring. “Do, do you think he’ll like me?”

“Tony? He doesn’t judge. He’ll make his own judgment on you, but he doesn’t take in account anything bad or good told to him beforehand. So, if you’re nice, he’ll probably like you. But don’t try to be something you’re not. He doesn’t like pretenders.”

“Sounds complicated.”

“I’m sure he’ll like you. And not just because you look so much like me, when I’m in my other form.”

“I don’t understand why I look like this and not like a frost giant, even slightly.”

“Svaðilfari helped you with the first transformation, didn’t he?”

“Yes.” Sleipnir lowered his head.

“It’s nothing bad. But he might have unconsciously given you a guise that he thought would resemble his and my child. As I was given in the first place. It’s hard to break something like that, especially when it’s not by your own hand.”

“Can you help me break it?”

“I could help you discover your own skin, but I cannot break it for you.”

“Thank you, Ma.”

“Of course.”

“Who do you resemble?”

“I don’t know”, Loki spoke honestly, looking towards Odin, who paled a little. “It doesn’t matter, does it, I had the form for over a millennium now, surely, I can call it mine by now.”

“That’s true”, Sleipnir said, thinking a little.

Loki turned again and closed his eyes, following the path his Seiðr laid out for him. The two other men chatted quietly, Sleipnir grasping his hand tightly, not wanting to let go of him. Loki didn’t mind, it grounded him a little, while following the tingles and quiet sounds. To Tony he would have probably explained it being similar to echolocation. On a tight space it wouldn’t help him, but on a vast place like Svartalfheim, where not much else was, it worked almost perfectly. Odin’s and Sleipnir’s own Seiðr disturbed the signal a bit, but he knew which one to follow.

They trekked for another hour, before they came near enough, that Loki would be able to ingulf it with his Seiðr. He did so, after softly letting Sleipnir’s hand go and pressing his hands to the ground. Odin visibly paled, when Loki’s Seiðr had outlined the spaceship.

“I thought it would be smaller.”

“I thought so too”, Loki answered honestly.

“So, what now?”, Sleipnir questioned.

“Yes, what now, Odin?”

“Now I return to Asgard and see what we can get. Can you freeze it?”

“Something so big? It will take a while. And it might wake them.”

“And with the Casket?”

“You should not give me that”, Loki said, stepping away from Odin, as the man put down a minimised chest, only slightly bigger than Odin’s hand.

“But could you do it faster with it?”

“Probably. It’s pure power. It’s pure coldness. I can’t risk you being near though, either of you. Sleipnir might survive it, because he is half Jötunn, but he might still get a cold burn from it.”

“Heimdall survived it.”

“Yes. Heimdall is a whole different story. But even being in the presence of something so big and frozen. I didn’t mean to kill Heimdall with freezing him, just make him unable to stop me. This, I mean to destroy.”

Loki looked up to the top of the spaceship, where it had a bridge which made it seem like a ‘T’, the energy core surely being in the connecting part, that had glowed red in his dream.

“I shall leave then.”

“Do you wish to leave, too, Sleipnir?”

“I don’t want you to be alone.”

“As soon as it gets bad, I’m teleporting you back to the Bifrost site. Do you want a short trip, All-Father?”

“Well, if you’re offering, I’m not saying no.”

Loki rolled his eyes at Odin and Sleipnir chuckled, before watching Loki step in front of Odin and letting his Seiðr embrace the older king, before sending him away. They saw the bright rainbow light in the distance and Loki shrugged.

“Can I learn that, too?”

“If you’re patient enough. Ask Frigga for spell books, she might find a few ones I used in the beginning. Be patient, son, you can’t expect the hardest spell to work easily for you, when you’ve only ever used your Seiðr for one thing.”

“Okay, Ma.”

“Good. Now. Step away, while I work. I don’t want you to get hurt, son.”

Sleipnir nodded quickly and sprinted around 50 meters into the direction of the Bifrost site, still looking excitedly at Loki, who knelt down and activated the rune on the chest that made it big again. With a long sigh he opened it and stared at the ‘Casket of Ancient Winters’. Quickly he pulled his phone from his dimensional pocket. No signal, of course. He took a photo of the Casket and prepared a message for Tony with the picture attached.

Loki: ‘This might get a bit more difficult. I have to do this. They might kill so many more.’

He took another photo of the spaceship and sent it as well.

Loki: ‘I do hope I make it back safely. If not, this might be delivered via Sleipnir. I love you eternally.’

Loki: ‘Also, I hope I don’t give you a frostbite due to this. Sorry, in advance, or well, to you, in the aftermath of it.’

Loki chuckled a little to himself, before putting the phone away and lifting the Casket out of the chest, making the same disappear. Slowly he breathed.

“So, Heimdall, you watching this?” You? Always. Loki snickered. “Alright then… Are you gonna warn me, if anything happens that I should detect but I’m too detached to see?” Only this once.

Loki sighed and focused the Casket onto the spaceship, forcing the ice to spread over it. He was scared, the more ice spread and he knew by now it wasn’t only the Casket’s ice that was forming around the structure. When the spaceship came to life, Loki freaked a bit and forced the ice to spread faster. If only he was cold enough. But he couldn’t do that with Sleipnir here. He had to focus. Shaking, he tried to focus the Casket onto the energy core, before he saw the ship open and Dark-Elves spreading out. Quickly he shifted his attention towards them and let the spray of ice fall upon them.

They were quick and Loki was distracted. They’re going towards Sleipnir. “Shit”, Loki cursed and let the Casket slip into his dimensional pocket, before teleporting towards Sleipnir, making a shield around them. He shoved his phone into Sleipnir’s hand. “I can only win this one way, son. Take this to Earth. As well as something I’ll give you soon, that you will have to hand a Doctor Banner, do you understand?”

“Yes, Ma”, Sleipnir quickly reassured, before Loki got a vial out of his dimensional pocket, that Bruce and he had worked on as a last resort, to put Loki on ice, so to say.

It would decrease his temperature quicker than the mixture used on him at the remembrance event in May, and with it he could easily freeze all his oncoming enemies and, more importantly, the spaceship, once he teleported back near it.

“He can work on an antidote to unfreeze me”, Loki told Sleipnir, before opening the vial and chugging its contents, before pressing it into Sleipnir’s hand and teleporting him towards the Bifrost site.

Once he was sure Sleipnir was away from Svartalfheim, Loki got out the Casket again and teleported with it next to the spaceship, pressing his back against it, while using the Casket against the Dark Elves.

“I love you, Tony”, he whispered, while crying, his tears cold and no longer water, but ice. “I love you, Runa, Harley, Sleipnir, my children, my family.” With his Seiðr he pushed the Dark Elves away, before focusing on freezing them again. “I’ll try to make it back to you. Please let me make it back to you. Please. Yggdrasil don’t let this be my end. I know I’m doing something unspeakable, again, genocide isn’t looked upon kindly. But Bor had attempted it before. If a king had done it, how bad can it be, right?”

Loki laughed manically, knowing his face only showed fear. They had not feared the Dark Elves as kids, mostly because they thought them all dead, but they had weapons worse than the Jötnar. He had heard of grenades that swallowed everything in its vicinity. When he saw one of those, activated, he teleported away from the ship, from the Dark Elves, but the Elves themselves ran away from them. When it had gone off, Loki focused back on freezing the ship from a distance, before realising he should get rid of the Elves with those grenades before he froze, so he focused on the ground and let his ice freeze all the oncoming enemies.

The spaceship was failing behind them and Loki took the grenades from the frozen Elves and threw them towards the ship and the other Elves. Loki flailed a little and knew his own power was slowly reaching his limits. He couldn’t let me last remaining Dark Elves get to him, while he’d be in hibernation, so he started to form a hard shell, lined with protection spells around himself. With his eye, he quickly found the Bifrost-site, in his back and made sure to leave a hole big enough for an arrow, but too small for a grenade to be thrown through.

“Heimdall, I will need Hawkeye to unfreeze”, Loki spoke to the watchful eye. You did well. Odin is sending special forces once you’re frozen.

Loki put the Casket into his dimensional pocket and spread his arms to his sides, enforcing the walls around him. When he saw that his boots were frozen to the ground, he brought his hands close to his body.

“Let’s hope I don’t die. A too hard shot could kill me.” And a not hard enough, won’t wake you at all. “Hawkeye’s the best there is. He’ll figure it out. I trust him.” Loki thought of Tony, how he might react. “Is my husband okay?” He’s in the medical bay, looked after. “I should have never brought this on him. I should have looked for a different companion, one that can’t be hurt through coldness.” Odin has sent Frigga after Sleipnir. Your son is quite worried. Loki’s gaze slowly went glassy, he let his eyes fall closed. “I hope they’ll be okay”, he breathed out, his mouth freezing over. He didn’t hear Heimdall’s answer.

Chapter Text

Loki didn’t wake for a long time. He knew that, because he felt cold seeping through him, his own mind not willing to respond anymore. But he dreamt. He knew it had to be a dream. And he knew it wasn’t over yet. The Convergence was still going to happen, even if he killed all Dark Elves.

He had to orient himself a bit. He was on a hospital floor, he noted, before grabbing his phone, not even surprised he had it back. ‘November 14, 2013’, it said. He stared through the window in front of him. Jane. Her eyes were dark, the Aether was seeping out of her. Loki pressed his hand against the glass, before he even noticed the movement next to him. He was shoved away from the window.

“You told me, you’d safe us from this, safe her from this!” Panic erupted in Loki, as he stared at Tony. “This was supposed to be a happy ending, look what you’ve done!”

“I’m sorry”, Loki whimpered, escaping Tony’s firm grasp on his arm.

“You were supposed to safe her. She’s dying, can’t you see?”

“When was she brought in?”

“When was she… How would you not know? You brought her here! Two days ago, or are you forgetting that too, like your promise?”

“I’m sorry, love.”

“I am not your love. Not after this. You were supposed to save us from this. You were supposed to safe her from this! She’s dying, do you have any more bright ideas?”

“Tony, please. Give me another chance.”

“You lost that. You’re out. No more chances for you. She had a bright life ahead of her. In the other version she would at least have lived. And you did it for what? For Asgard?! That was Thor’s line, that wasn’t supposed to be yours! You should have done it for us. She’s family! What has Asgard ever done for you?”

“Please, love, I’ll fix it, please, I’ll fix it, I can do it, please!” Loki started crying and the dream broke.

“You can’t fix us”, was the last thing Loki heard from him, before he woke.

Ice was breaking around him, he was wet as he let his hand run to the back of his neck, pulling the arrow out, that was slightly embedded in it. Slowly he turned, pain seeping through him. In the distance he saw Clint, still holding his bow like he’d just drawn it. He tried a weak smile, before he broke his self-made prison and looking around. So many dead Dark Elves surrounded him. He’d done it. He’d done what he had tried before. He had killed the last remaining forces of an entire race. And for what? He’d lose anything anyway.

When he teleported in front of Clint, he could only offer him a weak smile. “How do you like Svartalfheim?”

“Doesn’t look any fun”, Clint answered with a grin.

“Thank you for saving me, friend.”

“Hey, I heard you called me the best archer in the biz. How could I say no?”

Tears breached Loki’s eyes unexpectedly and he fell to his knees.

“Ma? Ma?!” Loki hadn’t even noticed that Sleipnir was there, before the younger one grabbed his arms and helped him up. Weakly Loki handed Clint his arrow.

“Wouldn’t want to lose any more, Angel.”

“You’re not well.”

“No… How long was I…”

“A week.”

“I… Son?”

“Yes, Ma?”

“Need to go get cared for.”

“Your arms, Ma.”

 They were hurting, almost like it had been in May. “I know. I… Frigga.” Loki leaned onto Sleipnir’s side, breathing deeply.

“Odin”, Clint spoke, “We should get back to Asgard.”

“Yes. Give him here.”

“No, I can”, Sleipnir insisted, before transforming into his horse form.

“Son”, Loki whispered. Odin and Clint heaved Loki onto his back. Loki lost consciousness soon after.

 

‘You can’t fix us’, Tony whispered in his ear. Not his Tony, future Tony.

“Please”, Loki hushed, tears blurring his view.

“Loki?”

Clint was quick at his side, helping him up, behind him followed Thor through the door. He grasped towards the bulky man and he rushed forward. He heaved Loki up, but his knees buckled quickly, and he struggled to keep on the table, while burying his head in Thor’s shoulder.

“You’re safe, brother.”

“Home?”

“Once mother has looked you over, you’ve barely been conscious for longer than a few minutes. Didn’t say anything either.”

“Don’t remember.”

“Would have probably felt like dreams.”

“I’m bad.”

“You’re not.”

“I killed them, Thor, I killed them all!” Loki wanted to push himself away from Thor, but he held him close.

“Shh, it’s okay, brother. Father said, they would have done so much worse.”

“Would have. I punished them for things that hadn’t even occurred yet! And for what? For Asgard? Why would I do that? Why?”

“It’s okay. It’s okay, we’ve all done bad things for the greater good.”

“Who am I to judge what’s the greater good? I tried to destroy my birthplace, I tried to conquer Earth.”

“You were misguided and controlled.”

“And doing things for Odin is never misguided? It got my family killed! What’s the price? What is it? Tell me!

“Loki, please, brother, this is madness.”

Loki froze. “It is. It is”, he breathed the second time around, “The bond… It’s breaking. By the norns. What have I done?

“Son, Clint, if you could leave, we shall look at Loki.”

“Yes, mother. We’ll return you home soon, brother, I swear.” Thor ran his hand through Loki’s hair and looked at him, concerned.

“Yes, brother, yes.” Loki nodded and glanced at Clint, before letting his head sink downwards. “I’m sorry.”

“You have nothing to be sorry for”, Thor answered, pressing a kiss onto his head.

“I always have things to be sorry for. Even things yet to pass.”

“Rest, brother.”

Loki nodded weakly, before Thor laid him back down on the table, leaving Frigga and the healers to attend to him.

“Hello, dear.”

“Mother”, he whispered, and she combed through his hair, careful to avoid his horns.

“You said your bond was breaking?”

“I’m going mad. That can only mean…”

“Not necessarily. You’ve always been a tad more mad, than anyone else, seeing things more clearly. Seeing things exactly as they are. You’re not blindly optimistic like your brother. That’s what I always liked about you.”

“Mother, please, don’t encourage this.”

“Dear. A mother will always see the best in her children. Do you not in Sleipnir as well?”

“Then you are blind, mother.”

“Not as blind as your father, dear.”

“My father is dead”, Loki whispered.

“See? He cannot possibly see then.” Frigga smiled at him and Loki chuckled, before watching the healers.

“Mother?”, he asked quietly after a while of them unwrapping, applying ointment and rewrapping his limbs.

“Yes, dear?”

“Was it successful?”

“Yes.”

“Was it worth it?”

“We will see.”

“Still doesn’t prevent what will happen”, Loki murmured.

“And what is that?”, she asked, after the healers were done and had left them.

“The Convergence, the Aether. It might go over more smoothly, but there will be a lot of clean-up, not just for me.”

“And it’s all on your head? Are you truly the only one to carry that burden?”

“Yes. I’ll get blamed if anything bad happens, just because people know I had seen the future.”

“Oh, Loki. You cannot prevent everything.”

“I know, mother, but I must try.” He sat up and Frigga moved to braid his hair.

“You can always try, but it’s not your fault, if it doesn’t go as planned. You can never know exactly how things happen. Even your mere presence might change everything.”

“Not everyone will understand that.”

“Then they are simply dull.”

Loki smiled a little. “How has Sleipnir been?”

“Excited to have seen you in action. He’s very proud to be your son.”

“He did very well.”

“That he did. Did what you told him, too.”

“So, he’s doing well here?”

“Yes. Although he was very happy to have met your husband.”

“Hopefully he was as happy to have met him as well.”

“What makes you think it not to be the case?”

“Just a feeling. I don’t feel okay. Like he’s upset, angry and worried at the same time.”

“You can feel each other’s feelings?”

“Normally not this strong.”

“Oh dear, I’m sorry.”

“Normally it’s enjoyable. Exciting even. To be filled with happiness and anticipation of the other. Especially when its…” Loki flushed at his own words. “When its sexual.”

Frigga snickered. “I hope everything will be alright then.”

“I hope so as well, if our relationship would turn bad…” He thought of the dream, before remembering what had happened to the siblings who had fallen apart and the one befallen with sorcerers’ madness had fallen quite ill. “It wouldn’t go over well for me.”

Frigga pressed a kiss to the side of his face. “Tony would never let that happen.”

 

Thor wasn’t going back to Earth, so it was left to Clint steadying him, after they had done everything Loki had needed to do on Asgard, namely, bringing the Casket back to the vault. “So, how much time has passed now?”, Loki asked, as they touched down.

“It’s early September.”

“Shit.”

Clint sighed and sent Loki a smile. “I’ve been back and forth between Asgard, didn’t want to leave you behind and Tony couldn’t come.”

Loki noted that they were at the tower rather than the mansion. “Thank you.”

“Frigga said you might be weaker.”

“All depends on how well Tony has been coping.”

“You want me to stick around?”

“If you don’t mind. Especially if he hasn’t been well. I’ll try to mend it, but I can’t force him.”

“This has something to do with the bond, right? You said it was broken.”

“Not broken yet, but breaking, yes. From the research, it suggested that when being on good terms the sorcerer would be well, while on bad terms will lead to health difficulties.”

“Shit.”

Loki chuckled weakly. “Yeah. But I will not force him to be happy with me, it would not do well to bury everything.”

“It would only come out later and explode in your face even more.”

“Yes. Thank you for understanding.”

“But if he’s being an arse, I can hit him, right?”

“You’ll be hitting me as well, but sure. Just… don’t get in the middle of this.”

“I’ll try.”

 

They were silent, as they descended in the elevator. When it opened, Clint could barely step away from Loki, to not be in Tony’s path, as the man shoved Loki to the back of the elevator. Hot lips were on Loki’s a moment later, they disappeared, before he could even return the kiss and Tony slapped him, hard. Loki stared shocked at the panting man for a moment, before Tony started shouting.

“How could you?! You could have died! You basically were dead! Did you even think about us?! Did you think about how helpless I felt?! Going colder and colder and colder?! You fucking bastard, you slimy little shit! What were you thinking, leaving us behind?!”

“To…”

“You know what? No! No, you don’t get to explain your fucking self! You sent me a fucking text, that you knew I wouldn’t get until it was too late! Whatever shit could have happened, should not include you having to sacrifice yourself! You cannot do that to me! You could have died! You were fully aware that you could have died! I can’t deal with that! You promised! We talked about it one fucking week before!”

“Love…”

“Don’t ‘love’ me! You don’t get to do that! Not anymore, I’m done with you and the shit you pull! Go fuck off to Nepal or Wakanda or wherever, I don’t care, I don’t want to see you anymore! And you don’t get to see Runa anymore! We can’t deal with this, with you, I can’t have this, you, destroying my life, every second week!”

Loki’s lip was trembling, his face blank as he saw the man march off. A moment later, tears slipped from his eyes and he fell to the floor of the elevator.

“Loki!” Clint rushed to him, grabbing his face into his hands, as the man began shaking, sobbing, crying, and whimpering. “Fuck!”, the archer shouted from the top of his lungs and heaved Loki out of the elevator.

Somehow, he managed to get Loki onto the couch and ran off to get who-knows-what. When he came back, Loki had calmed down and was slowly pulling at his ring. He didn’t hear Clint, but it became apparent he had said something, when Clint shook his shoulder.

“What?”, Loki asked quietly, staring at Clint.

Clint looked from one eye to another. “You’re not. Of course, you’re not.”

“What?”

Clint turned around and his hands went into his hair. “… and if you could stay here, but that’s not happening.”

“Clint?” The man recognised his scared voice and he turned to him. “What… what {did you} say?”, Loki asked, shakily underlying his words with signs.

Clint paled before him. Loki picked at his ring again, pulling it off and laying it on the table next to the couch, then he looked back up to Clint.

“You’re {going} deaf?”, Clint asked and underlined it with signing, which helped piecing the sentence together.

“It {would} appear so”, Loki answered, also using signs.

“You can’t {stay here} on your own, I need to {find you} a new {place to live}. Wait here, I’m calling Nat.” Clint spelled out Natasha’s name, before showing the sign for her and Loki nodded.

“J.A.R.V.I.S.?”, Loki asked, quickly adding: “With umm, {subtitles, pl}ease.”

“What can I do {for} you, Master Stark?”

Loki grimaced. “Who {else is} at the tower?”

“Mister Hogan and Miss Potts are {both} here, {Sir just} left with Doctor Banner, Colonel Rhodes {has been} staying at the…”

“I don’t care about {the mansion}, J.A.R.V.I.S.”

“Do you {wish for} me to send any messages, {Master} Stark?”

“First of all, call {me Loki, you h}eard what To… Anthony said. Second, yes, I {would be grate}ful if you could ask Hap{py or Pepper to pack my th}ings, whoever has time. I will be leaving with Clint, {I believe. If y}ou could also send Agent Bar{ton a message to} find my phone, that would help.”

“Done.”

Loki felt over his ring finger. It felt so strange to go without it. It had been a while, that didn’t even seem that long, when Clint held out Loki’s phone. Loki looked up, after putting his phone to his side onto the couch.

“So, Nat said, we {can’t take} you in, I occupy her {guest} room, when I’m in D.C. {and our} couch is small. Steve said his {couch is} long enough though and can be transformed {into} a bed.”

“Okay.”

“Steve doesn’t know {much} A.S.L. though, so I installed {an app} on your phone that helps {with that}. It’s actually from {S.I.}, but they are just {the best} in the business.”

“Okay.”

Clint smiled. “So, {they both} know about what’s {going on} now, I {explained} to them, why you’re going this route. Do you {want me to} tell the others?”

“If it comes up, but I {just}… I don’t want their {sorry looks}. I just want to go {to bed} and sleep.”

“Well, the Quinjet’s {outside, so you} can go and buckle up in the co-pilot’s {seat} and I’ll be a buffer {between} you, Pepper and Happy. J.A.R.V.I.S. told me {that you asked} them to get your stuff. But you’d {probably fit} in Steve’s stuff, you’re just not as {wide}.”

Loki laughed at that and then nodded, before grabbing his phone. “Thank {you}.”

“{Steve will meet us} at the Triskelion. Are you {excited for} a ride on his bike?”

Loki’s eyes went wide. “Not very”, he said then, a smirk on his face.

“Well, it’s either that or {Nat’s} race car.”

Loki laughed a little, before just shrugging and with a bit of pain in his body making his way outside and into the opening Quinjet.

Chapter Text

Loki sighed a little, as he grabbed one of the two bags that Happy had packed, and went out of the Quinjet to greet Nat and Steve with a rueful smile, before fiddling with his phone. Nat wasn’t big on hugs, but the firm hand on his shoulder spoke worlds. Loki immediately leaned into it, before letting himself get embraced by Steve, who swiftly took the bag, Clint was carrying, after it.

“I’ll be {driving} you and the bags”, Nat said and signed simultaneously, before nodding to Steve. “He’s gonna {take Clint} back on the bike. We’ll all talk in {a few days}. Good?”

“Yes.” Loki nodded.

Steve was looking at him worried, before Clint slung his arm around Loki giving him a bright grin, as they moved to the garage. Clint had not been joking about race car. Nat had a sleek black Chevrolet Corvette, that made Loki’s mouth water. No, he had never ever considered cars attractive before. Tony would love this beast so much. At the thought, be grimaced and put his head down, before smiling at Nat.

“Nice ride.”

“Thanks.”

They put the bags in the back and Loki, long having switched to his Asgardian guise before they landed, slipped in on the passenger’s side. Nat didn’t speak much on the ride, so Loki got out his phone and checked the messages that were now in the couple dozen, mainly by May and a handful by Shuri. He sighed and texted back.

[To May] Lo: ‘Back on Earth, recovering, talk soon, off grid’

He knew May would probably not like that message, but he couldn’t tell her more now.

[To Wakandan#1] Blueberry: ‘Did you miss me that much, W#1? Just got back from freezing myself on a foreign planet, go find yourself a new pet project.’

[To Junior] Trickster: ‘I’m back, Junior. :p’

That should do it, everyone else would find out eventually or were just spamming his phone with well wishes.

 

Clint hugged him tightly, before signing: ‘If you need anything, you’ll text, right?’

Loki nodded and pulled him into another hug, before sending Nat a thankful smile and swung the bag over his shoulder, gripping his phone hard and staring it, while he blindly followed Steve’s shoes.

“{Very sorry} for this. I live at the very {top of the} building.”

The phone vibrated a little and Loki focused on it, before answering: “It’s okay, it’s {not like I’m} recovering, right?”

Steve chuckled at that as they seemed to reach the end of the staircase. “Hey {neighbour}, up so late?”

“Oh, you know, it {gets late some}times. A friend?” A woman spoke.

“Oh, yeah. {Lo, this, is} umm, Kate, right? Kate, this is Lo, a {friend of mine} and partially deaf, he’ll be staying with {me for a} bit, that won’t be a {problem}, right?”

Loki looked up at the woman and was grateful that Steve had turned towards her, because he couldn’t mask his surprise. Sharon Carter was standing in front of them.

“As”, swiftly Loki looked back onto his phone, to read what she spoke further: “long as {he doesn’t turn} the volume up to eleven, {it’ll be fine} with me.”

Loki smiled at Sharon. “Don’t wor{ry Ma’am, I} could never keep {the volume at an odd} number like that, it tends {to irri}tate me.” He winked at her and Steve chuckled.

“Meaning, he won’t {turn it up at odd} times either.”

“No aids?”, Sharon asked, and Loki shrugged.

“Wonky and un{comfortable. App} is from Stark Industries, and almost {real-time. This} big chunk of meat here”, Loki started and slapped Steve on the back, “doesn’t even bother {to learn A.S.L.} for me and my other deaf friend. We just {have to find a third dea}f person to befriend him, because three’s a crowd.”

Sharon smiled at that. “Well, good {luck to the} two of you then.”

Steve stepped around her to get to the door and Loki slightly bowed his head in front of Sharon. “Good {night to you}, Ma’am.”

Steve looked at him strangely after Loki closed the door behind himself. “You approve {of her}?”

“Oh, very {much, she seems quite} intelligent. Only the {best for} you, Steven.”

Steve blushed hard. “I’m not, I’m… Loki!”

“Oh, so you {are interested. Th}is might be more in{teresting, than} I thought.”

“We will {not} talk about this.”

“Oh, we will? Great! I’d re{commend a beer for} it, but it won’t do you {any good, soldier, so} over tea and cookies will do just as well.”

“You’re a menace.”

“Thank {you, dear}est friend.”

 

When Loki woke the next morning, he was a bit confused as to where he was, but it was quickly figured out, when he peeled the post-it note from his vibrating phone.

‘Went to work, will text you, if It’ll be longer, N or C might check in. - S’

Loki sighed and then rubbed his eyes, before picking up his phone. May. He sighed and looked that the App appeared to give subtitles for calls.

“Let me put y{ou on speaker, M}ay. And, urgh, give me a mo{ment, I} just woke up.”

“Oh god, Lo, did I {wake you}? It’s two P.M.!”

“If you couldn’t {tell by my} text, I got in late last night.” To prove his point, Loki yawned loudly, before stretching on the couch. “Now, dearest Par{ker of mine, what} can I do for you?”

“Who’s {taking care of Ru}na if you’re off grid? And how can you {be off grid if you’re} still taking calls?”

Loki sighed and got up to walk into the kitchen. “My hus{band} is.”

“Your… What?”

“You heard me. There was ne{ver a boyfriend, I got} a husband, maybe not a{ny longer, who knows, be}cause I know shit these days, b{ut he and his friends are taking ca}re of her, like they were mostly doing be{fore, because I’m a fuc}king shit mother.” At the last words, Loki broke down crying in front of the freezer. “Shit, May, plea{se}… Please don’t judge me, o{kay? And don’t}… please, I can’t do this. I hate ly{ing, apparently peo}ple think I’m the God of Lies, I need some{thing to drink. A}nd breakfast.”

“Where {are y}ou? I’m coming over.”

“You can’t. A, I’m {not in New Yo}rk anymore, b, I’m off {grid, as in, away fr}om the cameras. C… I’m {not real}ly okay. I… I’m go{ing deaf}.”

“Lo… How can you even {hear my right} now? Do {you have} hearing aids?”

“No. An {app, from S.I.}, it’s helping…”

“And your husband’s {doing no}thing?”

“He doesn’t {know. We had a} fight, because of things I’d ra{ther not get in}to. And hearing aids wouldn’t he{lp, May. It’s like my wh}ole hearing is giving up o{ver time}. I don’t even hear my {own words} at times.”

“Where were you?”

“Asgard, {most of th}e time at least.”

“{Where} Thor’s from?”

“Yes.”

“Is he your…”

Loki laughed loudly… “Goodness, no, {he isn’t my hus}band, gross. He’s my bro{ther though}, although I’m adopted.”

“Oh. {Who’s} your husband then?”

“May, please.”

“I just want to punch {him in the} face.”

“You would{n’t be the first. O}ther people have of{fered. I}… May, I could {have} died. I didn’t know this when {I left, but I} was fully aware before the bat{tle began. I} could have said that {I need more time t}o prepare, but I didn’t. I al{so didn’t go ho}me and speak to him {about it. Which is} why I’m now at the point I am {at. The sickness, it’s a} result of our resentment, well, h{is resentment o}f me. It’s driving a wedge between us, tha{t will hurt me, the dee}per and deeper it goes. Telling {him would only}… It would {do no good}.”

“How bad is it?”

“I {feel}… weak… sick… partly deaf {we already co}vered, it’s gon{na get worse, be}fore it gets better, hope{fully, even}tually. I just wa{nt him to be hap}py.”

“Okay. Look, {Lo, if it gets worse a}nd you need some{one to take care of you, just} call, or text, or what{ever, send a message thr}ough space and time.”

Loki giggled, before sniffling. “Thank {you, M}ay. I will. Text later?”

“Definitely.” She hung up and Loki slunk to the ground.

“J.A.R.V.I.S., dear, a{re you} there?”

‘Always, Loki’, it read, and Loki smiled.

“Would you mi{nd telling Tony, whe}re I am and ask {if he wants total si}lence from me {or won’t mind a} text or two?”

‘I will inquire his thoughts on the later.’

“And mi{nd asking him, wh}en he plans on {divor}cing me?” Loki choked a little on the sentence and cried quietly.

‘I am sure that was just a spur of the moment decision, Loki.’

“Mar{rying me was o}ne too.”

‘Sir did that with all his heart, he has loved you for over 4 years, Loki.’

“I am not ho{peful anymore. Did you} tell him what {is happening to} me?”

‘I respect your wishes for him not to know. I have told him though that you were heartbroken over his statement. He in turn has drunken himself to sleep.’

“I love h{im so much, J.A.R.}V.I.S.”

‘I know, Loki.’

“I will {do, what he wi}shes though and keep a{way from him and h}is family.”

‘It is your family as well, Loki.’

“It was al{ways his first. I’m just} an attachment.”

‘You’re equals, Loki.’

“I don’t feel {much like an equal at} the moment, J.A.R.V.I.S.”

‘I cannot do much about that. Do you wish to tell me, why you did what you did?’

“D{o you not} know?”

‘I know what Sleipnir has told us that happened and what Clint told us about your condition. I do not know why.’

“The ship on Svart{alfheim was big. The last remaining Dark El}ves, that would have {invaded Asgard and sure}ly killed many on No{vember 12, this year, in search} of the Aether, to thr{ow all nine realms into e}ternal darkness. They al{so would have been the ones, probably}, to kill me two da{ys after. Eliminating them beforehand became} a plan I put into Heim{dall’s hands, when he’d joined me in the d}ream on May 5. Thor’s grand{father, Bor, had battled and thought to have eli}minated them five mil{lennia ago. We believe that, when the} Aether had been hid{den by Bor during the Convergence, the re}maining forces had hid{den themselves from view and wai}ted for the next Conver{gence to have the chance at cap}turing the Aether once more a{nd continuing their pl}an.”

Loki sighed, before continuing: “All i{n all, Odin did not want to bring h}is forces with h{im, if I with my ice could freeze} and kill them all. My {ice can burn Asgardians and sure}ly many other {races as well, if I so plan to use it} that way. And using it t{o kill with many allies around, can be ve}ry risky, at least in hea{ted battle, so Odin left me to deal} with it on my own. They were {going after Sleipnir, who had sta}yed behind, and {I knew I couldn’t lose any} more family, so I made sure he {was safe and that they would a}ll die. Because I was al{ready weak, that would have only worked}, if I could make ice much ea{sier, so I used the mixture Bruce and I had} been working on, lea{ving the empty vial with Sleipnir, as} you might know.”

‘So, all in all, you did it to not lose your family, to protect them?’

“Even if it {hadn’t been Tony and Runa at the mo}ment, yes. I could have run, {escaped with Sleipnir, but who knows} how many innocents they mi{ght have killed. I started, because I wan}ted to live and I went a step fur{ther, because I wouldn’t want anybo}dy to suffer from the wrath {I had started}.”

‘To me, it sounded more like you doing it for Odin.’

“To prove my{self to him and Asgard? If I get to live} past this century, I won’t be a{ble to stay on Earth forever. Be}ing in the good light with many nations wou{ld rather come in handy}, yes?”

‘It would.’

“I shou{ldn’t have star}ted it.”

‘Were you not happy with the result?’

“Even on {Asgard, after the battle, I reali}sed I had done something {that was not right, to punish th}em for something yet {to occur, something I had only seen com}ing. I asked Thor, what the {price was, for what I had done. I} now know what it was. I wo{nder, if Odin had planned on it, on Tony rejec}ting me after the fact. I am so{rry, J.A.R.V.I.S., would you tell} him that, and the o{thers, the bots as we}ll?”

‘Certainly, Loki. DUM-E and U are worried about you. You get hurt a lot. And haven’t visited them in quite some time.’

“I will ma{ke up for lost time when} I’m allowed ba{ck. If I’m}… You know… I mi{ss them, J, you too}. And Tony, {oh norns, do I miss To}ny, even more than Ru{na and Harley}.”

Weakly, Loki closed his eyes slightly, but while they fluttered closed, he spotted a shadow under the door. When he concentrated, he could hear knocking and a faint “Lo, are you okay?” from the door.

Aching he got up and stumbled to the door, opening it for Sharon. For a moment she stared at him, before laying the back of her hand against his forehead.

“Can I come in?”, she asked a little slower, after noting that he did not have his phone at hand.

“Y-yes”, Loki breathed, before almost losing his footing. Quickly Sharon grabbed under his arm and brought him into the living room again to sitting him down into an armchair.

“Where’s yo{ur phone}?”, she asked, slowly signing with it.

“Kit{chen floor}.” Sharon looked around and quickly went to get it. “How’d you…”

“J.A.R.V.I.S.”, she answered, and Loki nodded slowly. “Why are {you} here?”

“Steve li{ves here}.”

“I know. But why {aren’t you in New} York?”

Loki lowered his head, not only to look at his phone. “{He doesn’t want t}o see me.”

“He kicked {you out}?”

“Not of{ficially, not in his words. Was my f}ault. Almost died… A{gain}… Pro{mised I wouldn’t kill mys}elf, guess sacrificing oneself {is in the same categ}ory.”

“Why {would you th}en?”

“I… I va{lue other lives more than mi}ne”, Loki breathed, tears falling from his eyes, “It’s not {like I don’t know, that I ha}ve so much to live for, {but I have so much t}o… to make {up for. And I can’t die as quic}kly as others.”

“Does he {know you’re th}is bad?”

Loki shook his head. “He {can’t kn}ow.”

“Why?”

“He’s the rea{son I’m so bad. Our fall}ing out… J.A.R.{V.I.S., I explained it to May l}ike a wedge, could {you please? You he}ard, right?”

“Certainly. Loki said, it {was like a wedge w}as driven between them, th{e deeper it was driven}, the worse Loki would {feel. I take it}, Sir would not get hu{rt from it, only Loki, bec}ause the bond is weakening and lea{ving a gaping wound that is} Loki’s illness, rip{ping them apart will sure}ly do worse, than {had the bond never been} placed in the first {place}.” He didn’t only talk but display what he was saying as well.

“Correct. And ma{king him notice that he is making me wor}se will not resol{ve the issue we have. It will on}ly push it back, be{cause he’ll feel like he has to tr}eat me with gloves and {can’t say what he truly f}eels. I will not let h{im force himself to change f}or me. It would be a t{ime bomb. This might kill m}e eventually {but shoving everything into a box} to come out at a la{ter date, all at once, when he’s} had too mu{ch, it will k}ill me.”

“Shit”, Sharon whispered, and Loki sent her a smile.

“N{ow, I should probably get someth}ing to eat and drink, {mind helping me out, neigh}bour to neighbour?”

“Course, Lo.”

Chapter Text

Steve didn’t come back until eight that day, but he brought Nat and Clint with him. Weakly, Loki pulled first Clint and then Steve into a hug.

“{Bad day?}”, Clint signed and asked, it seemed, but it was completely useless at the moment.

“If I {say it was getting bet}ter, I’d {be lying. Didn’t hear any}thing you ju{st said. Don’t hear much} of my o{wn either}…”

“Fuck”, Clint cursed and Loki grinned.

“Heard {that}.”

Clint chuckled and Loki sighed a little, before looking up to Nat who was pulling out something from her bag. A case for glasses and he opened it, before putting them on and walking to the bathroom to look himself. He looked… okay. He could see the charm in it. He sent Nat a smile as he came back.

“Those are smart glasses, or well…” She rolled her eyes. “StarkGlasses. Clint asked Pepper, if he could test-run a pair.”

Loki’s smile was bright, as the text showed up in front of him, then he looked to Clint. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“Tony would… If he’d know”, Clint said and sighed a little.

“Are you regretting keeping your mouth shut?”

“No, but I regret not punching him back.”

“Back?”, Steve asked, a bit irritated.

“He slapped him.”

“It’s fine”, Loki murmured, “No big deal, it happens.”

“Did this happen before?”, Steve inquired, concerned.

“Unprovoked? No. I provoked it once. Last year, after our trip to Xavier’s.”

“Why?”, Nat asked.

“Was about me living for a lot longer than him, I think.”

“Did he ever apologise?”, Steve asked.

“No”, Loki whispered. “I… I didn’t want him too, though. I provoked it.”

“Don’t put this on yourself, Lo”, Steve insisted, “He should never punch you, unless it’s for training and in a fair fight.”

“Don’t make this something bigger than it is, Steve.”

“I am not, Lo. That’s abuse, plain and simple. He struck you.”

“I still love him though.”

“But it’s not right!”, Clint exclaimed, and Loki shook his head, before grabbing his phone and going to the door.

“I don’t want to hear it, okay? I don’t need your three-person protection group. I’m a thousand-year old Jötunn. I have bigger problems than a hurting cheek.”

He opened the door and went outside. Sharon looked at him from her door, but he just shook his head and then speeded down the stairs. Looking around, he went down the street, to a corner that didn’t have any cameras, but a few people he could blend into, before transforming into Kid-Loki.

He always felt safer in that form. He followed where most of the crowd was going and when it became a too small crowd, split off from the group and looked around, to figure out his way to a public spot again. He considered dumping his phone, but instead just told J.A.R.V.I.S. to make him untraceable.

It took him a while to get to the Lincoln Memorial, and when he sat on the steps in front of it, he was a bit exhausted and his sickness was catching up with him. He almost hurled but caught himself. For a while he stared across the water towards the Washington Monument and let his thoughts drift.

They were right, of course, Tony should have apologised, it should have never happened in the first place. He sighed, as he let his head fall into his propped-up hands. The cold air was refreshing, and Kid-Loki looked around before quietly pulling out a sandwich. He was sweating again, his stomach was hurting, but he knew he had to keep eating, because he had to keep alive. Kid-Loki stared at the night sky and sighed. He wanted to go home. Not Asgard, not Steve’s, no, home.

He stared at his phone, where Clint was calling constantly, and sent him to voicemail. A while he looked at his inbox, before clicking on the chat with Tony.

Lokes: ‘I did something that was not okay. I cannot undo what I’ve done. I cannot ask for your forgiveness this way. And telling you, that I miss you, would not do any good. Please don’t throw me away. If there is any chance to right this, please tell me. I don’t want to spend the next millennia without you. Put if it will take a thousand years for you to forgive me, I’ll wait, or at least, I’ll try.’

Tears escaped him, as he sent the message on his way, before shoving his phone deep into his pocket and finding a bin to throw his sandwich-paper away.

“Hey rich-kid, got some money?”, showed on Kid-Loki’s glasses and he turned around to face the hooded man. He had a knife in his right hand and Kid-Loki just looked at him expectantly.

“No. I got no money. Find another runaway or use that and earn me a bed for the night.”

“Looks like you got some nice glasses and a nice phone, know-it-all.”

“And you will walk away with neither.” The man tried to stab him, but Kid-Loki quickly moved out of the way and unhanded him. “That is why I personally use two. You need a better grip on it. Is this your first mugging, Sir?”

Kid-Loki let his finger run over the blade as he sidestepped the man blindly. “It’s not even really sharp, come on, at least make it a clean wound, please.”

He threw the blade into the air. “And it’s not evenly balanced either, kitchen knives are better balanced.” He looked around and threw the knife into a nearby tree. “Have fun getting that out.”

The man stared at him and Kid-Loki shrugged. “You had a better chance at just stabbing me from behind, couldn’t have heard you coming.” He tapped at the side of his glasses. “Smart glasses. Good for being deaf. Wasn’t born with it, so you might not hear it, but robbing a charity case, Sir, that must even be below you.”

The man was gaping at him and Loki pulled his own hood over his head, before shrugging and walking away, down at the side of the pool, before taking out his phone, and texting Tony.

Lokes: ‘Is it considered normal that people try to mug one in the middle of the night? Very ungentlemanly. Don’t worry. No self-sacrificing.’

“Hey kid!” Kid-Loki turned around, putting his phone away. In the distance he saw the mugger still pulling at the tree, while a dark-skinned man came jogging up to him.

“You don’t look like another mugger”, Kid-Loki remarked, and the man chuckled.

“I hope not. I saw you back there though.”

“Don’t worry, I don’t actually have knives on me”, Kid-Loki said and emptied his pockets for the other man to see.

“Wasn’t gonna ask.”

“So, what do you want, Sir? You also don’t look like a paedophile.”

The man made a show out of wiping his forehead, before saying: “I heard you’re a runaway.”

“I don’t need a home.”

“But maybe a hot chocolate? You don’t look all too good.”

Kid-Loki looked to the ground. “Won’t say no to a hot chocolate. As long as you’re paying.”

“Course.” The man held up his hands in defence. “Didn’t want to pressure you into anything. Lone kid, middle of the night, amazing knife-throwing-skills.”

“Circus-kid?”, Kid-Loki offered as an explanation.

“A deaf circus-kid throwing knifes?”

“Wouldn’t be the first one. Can’t hear the boos and cheers. Can’t get distracted.”

“So, uhm, you read what I say, right?”

“Yes. I can hear it, partly, but it ain’t any good anymore, Sir. So, my response might be a tick off.”

“Or louder.”

“Is it? Family never says anything, friends though, I keep rambling on and get louder and louder.”

“It’s fine at the moment.”

“Good, wouldn’t want to start screaming in the middle of the night.”

The man chuckled again. “I’m Sam, by the way.”

“Oh, umm, Loki. Parents were really into Norse Mythology. So, what I’d do in the circus was already planned at birth. ‘The Trickster’, I’m called, trick shots are everything I do.”

“Where’s the circus now?”

Kid-Loki shrugged. “Somewhere. When I’m needed again, they’ll find and pick me up. Ain’t the first time I’ve taken a breather. And please, Sir, don’t ask how I get my food and bed for the night, I am very good at playing the trickster.”

“Meaning you steal.”

Kid-Loki wrinkled his nose and puffed out some air. “No. I disappear”, he spoke and let his hands shimmer, turning invisible for just a second.

Sam stared at him surprised. “You’re a mutant?”

“Maybe”, Kid-Loki answered and winked at the man, “You got a problem with that? No hot chocolate for me?”

“Got no problem with that, kid. As long as you don’t use it for anything bad.”

“Like kill, or like walking a red light on an empty street?”

Sam laughed loudly. “Shit, the first, of course.”

‘Loki, Colonel Rhodes is calling’, stood on his glasses and Kid-Loki sighed.

“Got a call, give me a second.” Sam nodded and Kid-Loki stepped off to the side, before taking the call.

“Yes?”, he answered into the phone, still using his young voice, to not irritate Sam.

“Loki?”

“Yep.”

“Are you transformed?”

“Yep.”

“Around people?”

“Why else would I…” Kid-Loki rolled his eyes and Sam smirked at him. “Can I help you with something?”

“No, umm, no mission, J said you almost got mugged.”

“I’m fine. You know me, king of knives.”

“Are you gonna come home?”

“And where is that? If you didn’t know, he doesn’t want to see me anymore. So, I’m in D.C. and I’m quite content with being here.”

“Steve said, you ran away.”

“You’ve been talking?”

“He didn’t say much, he thought you might return to New York.”

“Couldn’t even. At least not that fast.”

“You can’t teleport?”

“Shouldn’t. This… thing is already heavy; I’m not using it for anything unnecessary.”

“But you’re okay?”

“As in what?”

“Not in immediate danger?”

“Would I have picked up otherwise?”

“You’re not picking up Clint’s calls.”

“Because they are saying stuff I don’t like.”

“And what’s that?”

“You know… Just ask them yourself, he’s your friend after all.” Kid-Loki hung up and came back to Sam, shrugging. “Sorry ‘bout that.”

“Everything alright?”

“Yeah, worried people. The glasses send worrying encounters to my family.”

“Oh, and they picked up the fight?”

“You’d call that a fight, Sam? I’d call that an immediately failed mugging.”

Sam chuckled. “He was not a lucky man.”

“What would you have done, if I’d been any other kid and couldn’t protect myself?”

“Probably step in.”

“And you could have deflected the knife?”

“Ex Air Force, should be able to deal with a simple knife, shouldn’t I?”

“Thought you were military, got that whole… look down.”

“Oh, do I? Not like the average Afro-American man you encounter?”

Kid-Loki grinned. “You are jogging. In the middle of the night.”

Sam laughed. “Yeah, got me there, normally go at sunrise, guess I got an early start.”

“Or are very, very late. Nightmares?”, Kid-Loki guessed.

“You talking about PTSD, kid?”

“Hey, wouldn’t be the first case. Seen it before. In New York, after the whole battle. Couldn’t do any fire and explosions anymore in the show, because the people would just stare in shock. Got more pay those few months, because knives are relatively harmless.”

“Still not something people love to talk about.”

“Yeah, sorry, I’m a chatter-box.” Kid-Loki turned and nodded towards where they came from, the Triskelion prominently showing behind the Lincoln Memorial. “You like ‘em being here?”

“Who? S.H.I.E.L.D.?” Sam turned as well.

“Yeah. Some people in New York are still pissed at ‘em.”

“They were here for as long as I know.”

“So, you got no thoughts on that whole thing with the nuke?”

“What I think is, they tried their best and did what they thought was right, to prevent an extinction level event that would have spread far beyond New York.”

“So, you think the aliens would have won?”

“Don’t want to think about that. And don’t bother your little head with that, kid. We lived. That’s all that matters.”

“Not to those that still lost.” Loki sighed and then turned to smile at Sam. “Just glad it’s all over. So, how long will we have to walk for a hot chocolate?”

“You tired, kiddo?”

“Nah, but if you’d run and get ‘em ready, I just wanna know if it’s still hot chocolate by the time I make it there.”

Sam laughed and patted Kid-Loki on his shoulder. “You’re funny kid. If I run, you’re not going there, I just know it. You’d leave me there with two hot chocolates and a sad look on my face.”

“Boohoo, I’d say two hot chocolates are better than one, but that’s coming from the mouth of a growing teen.”

“Oh, and my old arse can’t drink two hot chocolates?”

“Oh, Sir, I never indicated such a thing. Let’s just get there, kay? Before they find me, because then I ain’t getting hot chocolate and the number of a new friend.”

“You think I’m gonna give you my number, kiddo?”

Kid-Loki shrugged. “Well you’d have the number of a guy who could flip of the police in sign and they’d start making excuses, because they’d feel bad for looking the wrong way at a disabled kid.”

Sam grinned. “Okay, kid, we’ll make it there and I get your number to learn to flip them off myself.”

“Oh, you get mine? And nobody’s gonna think bad about an old person like you having a teens number?”

Sam chuckled. “I’ll be the guy you can call to show them who’s boss. They won’t mess with you, if I show up.”

“You and your lovely baby face?” Kid-Loki sighed like a fawning girl.

“I got a beard.”

“Oh yeah, the only thing that makes you half decent. And crossing your arms to make ‘em look bigger. Works well around really built guys.”

“Kid!”, Sam exclaimed, throwing his head back and Kid-Loki giggled.

 

“So, why’d you run away?”, Sam asked him as they sat outside a diner after getting hot chocolate.

“Things. They all feel like I’m a baby. I’m not. Think they gotta protect me from the world. And now they’re all getting worried, because my health’s getting real bad. I just want to live, you know?” Kid-Loki teared up and took a deep breath. “Can’t do anything about the health. Can only live while I’m still here.”

“Cancer?”, Sam asked, suddenly more serious.

“Nah, not really. It’s… can’t really explain it right. I got a partner. My life basically depends on him. We’re like… yin and yang, maybe, not really. I need him to live. We got into a fight and he’s really pissed at me ‘bout something I did. First time it happened, actually. Told me he never wanted to see me again. I went to some other friends and the health got real bad. Now they all wanna go to him and tell him what it’s doing, while I just want to talk to him and maybe get better. But he needs his time.”

Kid-Loki sighed and looked to his feet, where bandages peeked out under his jeans. “Forcing him to be happy with me again, wouldn’t do me any good in the long run. And because I didn’t wanna hear all what my friends were saying, I ran from ‘em. I’m texting him, so he knows I still care, but they all say I shouldn’t try to mend bridges, because he’s at fault. But I… I still care about him, you know? I know the shit I did was bad and risky, but I can’t change the past, so I can just apologise for my shit, while they all want him to apologise for the stuff he threw at my head.”

Softly Sam laid his hand on Kid-Loki’s shoulder and Kid-Loki leaned into it. “Sounds alright to me, sounds like you’re already an adult.”

Kid-Loki nodded. “Because I am.”

“What?” Sam took his hand away.

Kid-Loki smiled up at him. “Shapeshifter. That’s why they can’t find me. I just played along. Didn’t think you’d stick around for so long.”

“So, how old are you?”

Kid-Loki chuckled. “Over a thousand years.”

“You’re not a mutant.”

“I said maybe. I never said yes.”

“So, who are you? Wait.” He stared at him with an open mouth. “You are Loki.”

“What took it away? The talk about New York, the knife throwing, the Triskelion?”

“Knife throwing should have probably been a first. You talked shit to the guy trying to stab you. Any normal kid would have been shitting themselves.”

“Language. Circus-kid threw you off course?”

“Yeah. Who’d you talk to on the phone?”

“Not saying.”

“Was it Cap?”

Kid-Loki laughed. “No. He’s looking though.”

“But Loki isn’t deaf.”

“At the moment he is”, Kid-Loki said, letting his face fall, “Health’s getting real bad, that’s the first thing that went poof.” Kid-Loki motioned an explosion with his hands.

“Why aren’t you in the big apple?”

“Like I said. He doesn’t want to see me anymore.”

“So, you actually don’t lie that much?”

“No, common misconception. I can and will lie. But very little out of my mouth is actually a lie.”

“And the thing with you and Stark being bonded is not just a rumour?”

Kid-Loki felt blood rush to his face. How could May not know, if the public knows? “No, umm, that ain’t a rumour. I didn’t know it was public knowledge though.”

“Some kid said something like that on Reddit, got taken down quickly though, a few conspiracy theories were spun around it, but it didn’t go anywhere, mostly because you two are rarely seen together.”

“So, you’ll keep your mouth shut?”

“Yeah, yeah, Loki. No worries.” Sam patted him on his back. “He’s pissed with you?”

“Yeah. I froze myself without an immediate plan to unfreeze me.”

“Why’d you do that?”

“Why do so many people ask me that? Even J.A.R.V.I.S. wanted to know, because I never got to explain it to Anthony. What was it, friends and family, to protect them? Can’t tell you mission details, Sam. But if you wanna be like J.A.R.V.I.S., I did it because Odin asked me to. The worst things in my life happened, because I did what Odin wanted me to. He tried to do better, to apologise for the shit he did to me and because of that, I thought the work would be better.”

“And now you and Stark are on the outs.”

“Yeah. And I feel like shit and every other hour I feel like throwing up, because Stark’s started drinking again.”

“Thought he always did that.”

“Brought him down to an occasional drink. Can’t get him off coffee though.”

“And it effects both of you?”

“At points. When it’s severe. I feel more from him at the moment, I believe. When the bond was stable it was a give and take, equal, you know. Like a lake and with us both standing at two different sides. Now it’s more like a river and I’m standing downstream. This all doesn’t make any sense…” Kid-Loki snickered.

“You feel everything big that he feels and normally he feels your big feelings too, but now only you feel, while he doesn’t?”

“Yeah. I think I could make him feel. Forcing an emotion through, but I think he could tell. Now I can feel even smaller things he feels.” Kid-Loki rubbed his forehead, before frowning at the fear pooling through to him. He jumped to his feet, right before he felt a sharp pain in his abdomen and his legs gave out.

“Loki?!” Sam kneeled in front of him.

Kid-Loki took his phone out. “Call Rhodey”, he told it and put it to his ear.

Chapter Text

“Loki?”, Rhodey asked.

“He’s been shot. Or stabbed.”

Kid-Loki fiddled with his hoodie and Sam looked at his abdomen. “I’d say shot.”

“Who’s that?”

“Friend. Get to Tony, now! J.A.R.V.I.S., locate Tony.” Kid-Loki hung up and started breathing rapidly, while Sam gripped him. “Shit.”

“Hey now, everything’s going to…”

“Don’t you dare”, Kid-Loki hissed. “Sorry, he always says that. I need to… The Triskelion, I need to get there. Now. Or more like already be there. Fuck.”

“Calm down. I’ll get you there.”

‘I have alerted the D.C. Avengers to your plans to get to the Triskelion and that Sir has been hurt. It seems to be a bigger situation, as Sir has called his suit.’

“Fuck”, Kid-Loki whispered as he let himself be put into the car they took to the diner. Sam dropped him off a bit from the Triskelion and left Kid-Loki with a scribbled down number on a business card, something about Veterans Affairs.

“Loki.” Rogers rushed to enclose the now again full-size Loki in his arms. “Are you…”

“Dipshit. Let’s not talk about it, let’s just go.”

Steve dragged him through the Triskelion, back to where they had parked the Quinjet the night before. Loki’s knees gave out again, right before they reached it and Rogers swung him up into his arms and carried him the rest of the way bridal style.

“Close up, Hawk”, Steve shouted and sat down Loki at the side, and buckling him up, before walking off to Nat and talking quickly, as they lifted off. Nat sent him a soft smile, before kneeling in front of him.

“Where?”

Loki lifted his shirt and showed her. She leant close to inspect it.

“You smell like hot chocolate”, she remarked quietly, before getting back up.

“A friend.”

“You got friends in D.C.?”

“I find them easily enough”, he answered with a shrug.

“So, what do you know?”

“’Bout Tony? He was drunk. He’s been drinking all night yesterday and he went out in the evening again, I’d say, because there is little to no alcohol in the mansion. I think he threw up once at least. J.A.R.V.I.S. said, that he’d called the suit after getting shot. I called Rhodey.”

“He didn’t request you.”

“I’m low on magic. Shifting is as much as I can do. Or as much as I should.”

Nat nodded and walked away. When Steve came near with a juice-box, Loki shook his head.

“Couldn’t keep it down right now, been that way all day on and off. I’ve eaten and am thoroughly watered.”

Steve chuckled and put the box away. “So, what are you gonna do?”, he asked, crouching in front of Loki.

Loki ran a hand through Steve’s short hair. “I’ll be wherever Rhodey needs me to be. If that is in the med-bay or at a hospital waiting for Tony’s delivery, I’ll do that. If that is being at the mansion with Bruce and Runa, where Tony wouldn’t want me to be, I’ll still follow what Rhodey orders.”

Steve took Loki’s hand from his head and slowly massaged it. “Everything else go okay today?”

“Slept till two. Couldn’t get breakfast on my own. I think Kate heard me fall and helped with that. Hope that was okay.”

“Oh, yeah, yeah.” Steve blushed. “Guess I gotta thank her for that.”

“Chocolate could come off weird, wine could be seen as you wanting to date her, I’d say flowers, but not roses, but I have no clue what to gift these days.”

“Me neither.” Steve chuckled.

“Maybe ask Nat after the mission, she’ll probably have a list on what means what. Paying her would definitely be a no-go.”

“Asking her to a dance probably as well.”

“Can you even, dance, I mean?”

“No.”

“I can teach you. If I could teach Thor, I can teach you, don’t you think?”

Steve nodded. “Thanks. Regarding Thor… You think he’s coming?”

“Don’t believe so. Wouldn’t want him here either way, I’d bet, he’d be getting real angry with Tony. I hope all of you keep your mouths shut.” He said the last part a bit louder, at least to his knowledge, from what he could tell from the vibrations out of his body.

The Quinjet slowed and Loki looked to the front of it, where Nat came, all geared up and Steve rushed back to get his gear as well, having already switched into his uniform.

“We’ll drop off here”, she told Loki. “Hawk can’t do much in a crowd either way, so you’ll be flying to the tower and wait on Rhodey’s commands, he said we might bring him to a hospital near here, cause it’s closer.”

“Good luck”, Loki answered with a smile, seeing the back open and Nat and Steve walking out. “Out, can close again!”, Loki shouted toward Clint and breathed heavily as they flew to the tower.

He tried to get his panic in check by the time they made it there, but he was still filled with it and surprisingly a lot of adrenalin when they touched down. Clint touched Loki’s arm to wake him out of his daze and Loki quickly unbuckled, holding onto Clint’s shoulder as they left the Quinjet. For a moment, he just stared at the couch and towards the elevator, before catching himself.

“J.A.R.V.I.S., relay the team’s transmissions to my glasses.”

‘Certainly, Loki.’

He noted that the ring still laid untouched on the side table of the couch. Clint quickly walked him away and supplied him with a comm into his ear, before they walked into Pepper, who seemed ready to shout at either of them, until she saw the glasses on Loki.

“Shit”, she said quietly, and Loki sent her a grateful smile. “He doesn’t know, does he?”

“No, Ma’am”, Loki answered, and she nodded.

“And you can’t teleport?”

“No, Ma’am, well, yes, Ma’am, you’re correct, I cannot.”

“Don’t Ma’am me, Lo.” She hit his shoulder playfully, before seeing the ring on the side table. “Everything alright with you two?”

“No, Pep.”

“That why you haven’t been home?”

“Yes.”

She sighed and nodded to the elevator. “Happy’s driving us to Metro-General.”

“Was that where I was in ’09?”

“Different one.”

Loki looked to Clint. “Rhodey, you need us there in uniform or is normal clothes good?”

[Rhodey]: ‘Civilian is alright, we’re getting wrapped up here.’

“We’ll meet you there with Pepper and Happy then. I take it Bruce’s home with the kid?” The three step into the elevator and Loki held onto Clint’s arm.

[Bruce]: ‘Yep, we’re here, she’s fussing, but we’ll be fine.’

“Tell her, her Mama loves her, alright?”, Loki almost whispered after activating the comm.

[Bruce]: ‘Will be done.’

Loki’s heart warmed a little.

[Rhodey]: ‘J.A.R.V.I.S., is he still conscious in there?’

[Tony]: ‘Yeah, Platypus, I’m here.’

[Rhodey]: ‘Throw up in the suit yet?’

[Tony]: ‘I’m more stable, than in our younger days.’

[Rhodey]: ‘I know for a fact you threw up at least once.’

[Tony]: ‘I can hold my liquor.’

[Rhodey]: ‘You still shouldn’t drink and fly.’

[Tony]: ‘J’s doing the flying, Platypus.’

[Rhodey]: ‘Well then, J.A.R.V.I.S., great job protecting Tony tonight.’

[J.A.R.V.I.S.]: ‘Thank you, Colonel.’

Loki sighed a little, earning him a chuckle from Clint as they walked out of the elevator, following Pepper to the waiting car. She got into the front seat, while Loki and Clint jumped into the back and buckled up.

“It’s a mess, when so many people are talking”, Loki informed Clint and the guy nodded.

“Yeah, I can tell by your eyes flying around.”

“So, you didn’t want to test-drive them yourself”, Pepper remarked, and Clint sighed.

“No, but Loki is. My aids are perfect, thank you though, Miss Potts.”

“What’s wrong with your ears, Lo?”

“Bond’s breaking”, he told her, and she turned to him, any happy expression falling. Loki forced a smile on his face. “It’ll get worse before it gets better, I’d bet. But these are great. Well… till there’s a lot of chatter.”

“Your fault for wanting to read the comms”, Clint told him, while Loki was skimming over the Avengers chat.

“Yeah, yeah, but I want to be informed. After all, I’m still a member of the team.”

Clint and Loki both went silent, before Clint pressed onto the comm and spoke angrily: “What, no, Tony, you are going to Metro-General! We don’t have any medical staff on hand and our resident, well, not resident right now, sorcerer can’t heal ya.”

[Tony]: ‘I don’t need healing.’

Quickly Loki pressed onto his own comm: “You got shot. You’re going to the fucking hospital, because the bullet definitely did not come out on the other end. And you’re getting a detox. Please.”

[Tony]: ‘Fuck off, like I…’

“J, be a dear and get him to Metro-General, please.”

[J.A.R.V.I.S.]: ‘Yes, Loki.’

[Tony]: ‘Hey, fuck. Loki, you little shit! Override command.’

[J.A.R.V.I.S.]: ‘This is the best for your health. Override won’t work, when my main function is to keep you safe, Sir.’

Loki let go of the comm and breathed heavily, only faintly feeling Clint’s hand on his shoulder, rubbing in mildly soothing circles.

“It’s gonna be alright, Loki”, he said quietly, and Loki nodded.

“Hope so”, Loki breathed, and started fiddling with his hands.

 

Around twenty minutes later the four got to the hospital and Loki grasped Clint’s wrist as they followed the strong stride of Pepper Potts into the building. They were greeted by Nat who quickly nodded to the nearest nurse who asked them to follow them. Out of the corner of his eye, Loki spotted a familiar face and his head snapped towards May. Quickly he took out his phone and shot her a text.

Lo: ‘talk later’

She looked at her phone and sent him a quick nod, before Loki got dragged further, with a slightly irritated look from Nat.

“I know too many people”, Loki explained to her and her expression eased up and she appeared to even laugh for a moment. They were led to a private waiting area, where Rhodey and Steve went to greet them.

“He’s getting the bullet taken out now.” Rhodey looked around the group and frowned at Loki. “What’s with the glasses, Lo?”

“StarkGlasses”, Clint quickly explained, “Loki’s going deaf, is already mostly deaf. Tony can’t know.”

“Why?”

“It’s because of the bond. They had a… fight, if you want to call it that, Tony’s unhappy with Loki, bond’s breaking, all shit’s falling on Loki.”

“Meaning”, Loki jumped in, and sending a stern look to Clint, “Tony cannot know, because he’d try to fix the problem and try to be okay with me, pushing everything down, which will eventually come out all in one go, probably killing me instantly.”

“It can kill you?”, Steve asked, going pale.

“The illness I had before, why we bonded in the first place, would have eventually killed me. So, while breaking the bond is ripping open every wound I could have and worsening my health significantly, it will progress the illness faster. And the quicker the bond breaks, the greater the wound, the further the illness will progress. So, I will not tell him what it’s doing to me and I ask all of you to not do so either.”

They slowly nodded and Rhodey sighed. “Besides that, we still gotta talk about that whole situation and you running away from the team.”

“If I’d been in any real danger or a danger to anyone else, J.A.R.V.I.S. would have surely told them.”

“That correct, J?”

[J.A.R.V.I.S.]: ‘Correct, I have also looped Sir out of the channel, for Loki’s protection. He’s been protesting a lot and cursing everyone and everything, I’d recommend Miss Potts to handle him.’

Pepper sighed and nodded to go out. Loki sat down on a seat und laid his head into his hands, as he sighed. It didn’t take long for Steve to kneel in front of him and he gave him a weak smile.

“He’s gonna be alright.”

“I’m not worried about that”, Loki spoke quietly.

“What are you worried about then?”

“Couple things. That I can’t see him, even though I want to.”

“He’ll get over that.”

“Over me trying to sacrifice myself? Even I can’t believe I actually followed Odin’s commands again.”

“He’ll let you see him again, Lo.”

“Someday. Hopefully before I go insane.”

Steve chuckled. “Anything else?”

“It could be that people are gonna go after him to hurt me. It got out that Tony and I are bonded. Maybe they don’t get what that means and think killing him will kill me. He’s a much more public figure than I am.”

“It got out?”, Rhodey asked, sitting down next to Loki.

“Yeah. I talked to this person today, nice one, eventually told him who I am, because he’s a nice person. Turns out there was a Reddit thread about Tony and me being bonded, that disappeared pretty quickly and got picked up by conspiracy theorists.”

“Probably one of the students talked about it at home”, Rhodey guessed and Loki nodded.

“I don’t think they’d put it out there, but older siblings or some parents might.”

“I’d put my money on older siblings. Can’t do anything about that. Speaking on it, would only bring more fire to it.”

“I just don’t want Tony to get hurt, because someone wants to hurt me. Especially now.”

“I’m still pissed at him though”, Steve said, and Loki glared at him.

“Zip it, I don’t want to hear it again.”

“It’s abuse, Loki. And you’re crawling back to him and kissing his feet in time for another beating.”

Rhodey frowned and Loki sighed as he asked: “What is he talking about?”

“Tony hit Loki. Well, slapped him. Isn’t the first time either, apparently”, Clint explained.

“J.A.R.V.I.S., can you confirm that?”

[J.A.R.V.I.S.]: ‘Yes. Besides the confrontation on September 7, this year, there had been one on May 8, last year that ended with Sir’s fist in Loki’s face. Though Loki has said multiple times, that the action last year had been provoked, I do not believe the one, now only 30 hours ago, had been, as he did not even get out a word, before Sir slapped Loki’s face.’

“Shit”, Rhodey said and then looked to Loki, who let his head hang. “I’ll talk to him. That has nothing to do with the bond, so you can’t stop me. That’s not okay. I don’t wanna know what kinda kinks either of you might have in your bedroom, but I don’t believe that was planned and approved. Not by your expression.”

“He had a reason”, Loki murmured.

“Your trip to get yourself frozen? That’s something you talk about. Maybe even scream and shout, but if he wants to hit something, he has a home gym.”

“It’s not uncommon on Asgard.”

“Does Odin ever hit Frigga?”

“Maybe in their younger years. Though she probably wouldn’t have stayed.”

“Have you hit your wife?”

“I’d never”, Loki answered disgustedly, “We were both in a bad situation.”

“Then who hits who in Asgard?”

Loki shook his head.  “Making myself look like the victim, bad Loki, bad, bad Loki.”

Clint shoved Steve aside and pulled Loki to the ground into his arms. “You’re not bad. Not anymore. Most bad was because of Odin.”

Loki shook his head. “No, no. Lies. All lies.”

“Odin made you do all that.”

“But I still did it!”, Loki cried out, before shoving his glasses off and burying his head in Clint’s chest. Clint’s hand ran through his hair, while he spoke near his ear, letting warm air brush his outer ear, making Loki slowly drowsy.

He knew, he drifted off for a while, but when he came back, he was still in Clint’s arms, though the man’s hands were now on his back. Loki looked up questioning and Clint sent him a smile, before giving him his glasses back.

“Sorry”, Loki said quietly.

“It’s fine, Loki.”

“Fell asleep on you.”

“I’ll take it as a compliment. And you’ve been only gone for about thirty, forty minutes. A nurse came by, looking for you, by the way, Happy recognised her, your friend?”

“May.” Loki nodded.

“They made Tony stay until he’s sobered up, overnight wouldn’t really be true, if we came here at 3 o’clock in the morning.”

“Okay.”

“Rhodey’s with him, Happy and Pepper have turned in for the night. And well, Steve and Nat are ‘helping out’ with the nurses.” Clint used air quotes and Loki giggled a bit, before righting himself and getting up, stumbling slightly and quickly having to catch himself on a chair. “Whoa, you okay there?”

“I’m probably gonna need a soda or some water.”

“Let’s find that nurse of yours.”

“She isn’t my nurse. She’s my friend.”

Clint got up on his feet. “She nice?”

“Most of my friends are. Others are very annoying.”

With a grin, Clint laid his arm around him. “I’m totally the annoying one, let’s find your nurse.”

 

Clint dragged him through half the hospital, checking in with Steve and Nat in between, who were, the former, carrying stuff, and the latter, entertaining children. When they finally found May, he introduced himself formally as Clint Barton, Loki’s knight, sworn to protect him and slay his enemies. Loki giggled slightly and May smirked at it, in turn introducing herself as Loki’s maiden, as such providing him with knowledge far beyond any books, like 80’s style.

“I like her”, stage-whispered Clint and then told May: “You are approved, fair maiden, I will leave my dear Prince in your care.” He bowed deeply and then went away chuckling.

Loki sighed deeply and took a seat across from May, who gave him some water.

“So… off grid.”

“You probably figured out by now why I’m here.”

“You’re bonded to Mister Stark.”

Loki nodded. “What else that entails…”

“Won’t ever leave my mouth”, May quickly said.

“Thank you”, Loki said.

“Who’s with Runa?”

“Bruce. He’s been there with us, ever since she’s been born.”

“And she’s…”

“Yes. We got married the day I was forced to go back to Asgard.”

“How did that even happen?”

“I was on Earth in ’09, we met, not under the best circumstances. A bit of flirting, before we didn’t talk after a week, he had said something about my dead wife. A sore subject to me, even centuries after, to him at the time seemingly years, they never figured out I was the Loki. I denied it of course, but even if I hadn’t, Pepper and Happy would have never believed such thing. They met me back then as well.”

“And that sparked a long-lasting romance?”

Loki chuckled. “No. When I came to after the battle, he was with Pepper. He flirted, I held back, but I did back then, too. I didn’t even know they were going out until she said it.”

“Goodness.”

“Yes. It was a mess, he broke up with her, after she caught his advances on me, even if they weren’t in critical territory yet. I think I took that worse than she did. To understand that, you must know, that my brother and me had been told for centuries, that we were not to change anything on Earth, because otherwise it had to be righted by another Asgardian. I tried to kill myself, knowing that my being there had driven them apart.”

“Oh, Loki.”

“It was pathetic. He convinced me afterwards that we could be together. It didn’t last very long, though I knew I loved him, and he loved me. Asgardians and surely Jötnar as well, live for five-thousand years and I did not know how to deal with the possibility of him dying before I grew old. That put the whole thing on a two-week hold until I realised, it would not matter if he died before me, because I could only get this one chance with him. We got together and when I heard that I was going to be brought back to Asgard, he asked me to marry him, unknowing I was already pregnant with his child.”

“So, it was all a mess.”

“Yes. The whole thing is making me believe, he only married me, because I needed the confirmation, I had something to come back to and the only reason he stayed, is because of Runa.”

“Shit.”

“I probably shouldn’t think that way.”

“Does he know you think that way?”

“No.”

“You should talk about it.”

“Not right now.”

“And you said something about you and him, maybe not any longer?”

“Yeah. We had an argument, well, he had an argument, I couldn’t really respond, he didn’t let me and now he doesn’t want to see me, and I’m not allowed to see Runa.”

May went to hug Loki. “You’ll see them again. And you’ll figure it out. It’s not gonna end. I just want to know one thing, Loki.”

“What’s that?”

“Do you love him?”

“Still?”, Loki asked, thinking for a while, before shrugging. “I don’t know. It just all hurts right now. He’s the first person I ever loved.”

“But that doesn’t mean you have to love him.”

“I know.”

“Once you know, once you know for sure, that after all this is okay again, that you can still breathe easily and love him, without thinking of Runa or any other person affected by this first, only then you can truly be with him. If you start thinking about anyone or anything else, before thinking about your love, how much you care for him, when you think of him, then you shouldn’t be together.”

Chapter Text

With Rhodey keeping a closer eye on Tony, staying with Steve became significantly easier on the heart and stomach. Steve started waking Loki, before he went to work and they ate breakfast together, going mostly through Steve’s day, because Loki just planned as he went at the moment. He knew he had to go to Jane and stay with her, when October would come around, or when he got a little better.

On the days when Loki could barely get up, Steve stayed home, at least when he could. Lately he’d been becoming more and more occupied and leaving Clint to it, who at least seemed okay with the work. Loki found out he had meant to go back to his family for a week and almost kicked him out, telling him, J.A.R.V.I.S. was a good enough chatting partner.

The dreams were the same as before, now five days apart at the moment. Jane was in the med-bay and Tony was angry with Loki. The only thing changing, was the day. He’d brought her in on November 12, that he knew by now and he wished for so much more information than that. The one time when he could see outside the windows, he could see that the sky wasn’t looking too good, at which point he knew, they couldn’t actually be in New York, but he never figured out where they were.

Going to see Sam, after two weeks of horrible stomach-aches, was a welcome distraction. He stuck to his young form and caught the man at his workplace after a session about PTSD.

“Loki, kid, you look like you’ve been through the gutter.”

Kid-Loki chuckled a bit at that. “Sorry for not texting.”

“No worries, what brings you by?”

“Isn’t wanting to see you a good enough reason?” Kid-Loki asked, letting his hands slip behind his back and leaning to the side a little in accentuation of the question.

Sam let out a bellowing laugh and softly laid his arm around him. “Hot chocolate?”

“I can pay this time.”

“Nonsense.”

“I’m not as broke as my brother.”

“Yeah, you probably put a dollar in a bank when the rates were still great and let it sit for a couple decades to now have a few million.”

Kid-Loki grinned. “Similar, yes.”

“Well, the three-dollar hot chocolate isn’t gonna put a dent into my account, Loki, but if you want to cover my rent, go right ahead.”

“I have been on Earth long enough to detect sarcasm.”

“Your brother would be more receptable, wouldn’t he?”

“But he wouldn’t have the money to cover your rent.”

“But he’d probably pull his big sad eyes on you and you’d flip.”

Kid-Loki sighed and rolled his eyes. “Oh, my biggest weakness, the eyes of my brother. He’s like a puppy. And when anyone says anything bad about me, he suddenly grows into an angry wolf.”

Sam smirked. “That’s what brothers are for.”

“You got one?”

“Yeah, sister too.”

“Middle child?”

“How could you tell?”

“Didn’t. People say a lot of things about middle child’s, but I usually just guess.”

“Good guess.”

“I wouldn’t have put you up to be the oldest though.”

“Why?”

“You just don’t look the part.”

Sam chuckled. “Oh yeah?”

“I usually don’t like the eldest sibling. Feel like either they pretend that their family doesn’t exist, or they pretend like they have to take care of everything. You seem perfectly fine being on your own.”

“Right now, I’m not alone though. Got this side-kick with me.” He shoved Kid-Loki lightly, who grinned brightly. When they sat down in their booth, waiting for the chocolate, Sam grinned at him. “So, what’s been going on? Set any fires lately?”

“I don’t set fires, Sammy, I put ‘em out. Though I have been thinking about turning Rogers’ hair blue. Or red, but red could actually look good on him.”

Sam laughed loudly. “I’d love to see that.”

“Maybe I’ll make it a parting present.”

“Oh, you leaving? Circus catching up?”

“Gotta spend some time with two ladies I know.”

“Ooh, two at once?”

Kid-Loki shoved his hand. “Not like that. Though I have done that before”, he said with an eye-roll, before coughing. “Orgies used to be a lot of fun. At least when you don’t accidentally walk in on your brother satisfying a whole crowd of ladies.”

“Loki!”

Kid-Loki giggled, before catching himself. “Serious now. I can dream of the future, past and present, can’t control it, never tried to learn, have been doing it since I was a little kid. Been dreaming about the same week for the whole year now. I know it has to do with ‘em, but I couldn’t get, where they came into contact with something bad. So now I gotta put myself into the equation to actually see where and maybe exactly when it’s happening.”

“To prevent it?”

“Yeah.” Kid-Loki sent the server a smile that put down the hot chocolates.

They drank for a while, before Sam asked: “It gonna be risky?”

“Very”, Kid-Loki answered with a laugh, “I know nobody else could have gotten in contact with it, before they did, but I don’t know what would happen if I take them out. Others could potentially come in contact with it. So, I have to protect them as well.”

“And not get in contact with it yourself.”

“That might be even harder. It’s a vicious thing. And I’ve been in contact with two of its siblings already. It will want me more than anyone else, but it will also know that I won’t free it, so it will try to take anyone that comes near.”

“Sounds dangerous.”

Kid-Loki sighed. “It’s why shifting is the most I do at the moment, I have to heal and save up my Seiðr, my magic. I only got about seven weeks left, at most. Told Rhodey to only get me in, if totally necessary. Also helps with keeping the deaf thing from Tony.”

“Colonel James Rhodes?”

“Yeah. He’s the team leader at the moment.”

“I thought it was Rogers.”

“He wasn’t really a Captain.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah. Propaganda wouldn’t have sounded half as good with ‘Private America’, would it?”

Sam smiled. “Yeah. But he has the muscles.”

“That he has. Still gonna turn his hair blue.”

“The poor man.”

“He won’t even be angry at me. Lets me do anything I want.”

“Really? I thought he’d be stricter.”

“He has a sweet spot for me. Maybe because I imprinted on him, back after the battle in New York, because from the distance he looked like Thor. Big, blond, blue-eyed.”

“Imprinted, like a duckling?”

Kid-Loki chuckled. “Not truly, I didn’t follow him everywhere, but I did put him on a pedestal, like he was the best person I’d ever met. I wanted to impress him too, for a time. He’s like a good dad.”

“A good dad?”

Kid-Loki shrugged. “I’d say neither Odin nor Laufey did a very good job.”

Sam scratched his head. “Aren’t you Thor’s brother?”

“Adoptive. Though, that’s a very loose term for what actually happened. War price is what I am. Laufey was my birthfather. I was born in the middle of the war between Asgard and Jotunheim and Odin found me after the last battle unattended, so he took me with him.”

Sam stared at him, like he’d grown another head. “That’s fucked up.”

Kid-Loki snickered. “Language. Which part though? Me being unattended or him taking me?”

“More the latter. Maybe someone had left you there on purpose and was just gone for a moment, maybe your mother was killed.”

“That’s the thing. The cold wouldn’t have harmed me in the slightest. My own core temperature is at the temperature that water freezes, 0°C.”

“And your birthfather is dead?”

Kid-Loki scratched his head. “I killed him. For Asgard. More for Odin, but hey, in the end it’s all the same. Been doing stuff for Odin all my life, still don’t get paid well. Killed my twins and my wife, mouth sewn shut, thrown into the dungeons, tortured, having to keep a child after being raped, I mean, the list is fucking long. But still I do all that for him. I killed an entire race for him the other day.”

“An entire race?”

Shit, you shouldn’t know that, take that as me getting comfortable being around you. But yeah. They were gonna hurt Asgard and Odin left me to deal with them, even provided me with an artefact that could burn any Asgardian, because it’s so cold. Not me though. I’m Jötunn, a Frost Giant, cold won’t harm me. Heat will, definitely, but cold won’t.”

“That’s all pretty fucked up.”

“Guess so.” Kid-Loki emptied his cup. “I always think he’s nice now. And he tries, sometimes, tried to apologise for killing my family and forcing me to bear Sleipnir, still fucked up, that he did it in the first place. And I might be a Prince on Asgard, but nobody respects me.”

“That’s just shitty.”

Kid-Loki shrugged again and then gave Sam a smile. “It’s just how it is, how it’s always been for me. I bet there were people who had it worse.”

“Stop saying that”, Sam said, and Kid-Loki sunk down onto the table. “You put your head down, make it all seem like it ain’t bad. It’s your life. You don’t have to live it like everybody else. If you feel like throwing parties every day of the week, go ahead, if you wanna curl up into your bed and lose yourself in the world of the book you’re reading, totally fine. What’s not fine, is people putting other people down, people controlling what you can say, people stopping you from enacting your rights.”

Kid-Loki chuckled, before peeking up at Sam: “You mean the American ones?”

Sam thought for a while. “It still ain’t right, and it’s still fucked up.”

“That’s just Asgard.”

They were silent for a while, until Sam asked: “So, gotta ask, when you’re in this form, do you feel like a kid?”

Kid-Loki blushed, and he ran a hand through his hair. “Most times. Yeah. Unless I transform to prove a point.”

“Oh, so you transform, because you feel more like that person. Not that you transform, and your mindset becomes that of a child.” The accentuated word was underlined on Loki’s glasses.

Kid-Loki nodded. “I’m most comfortable, when I’m in the body, that resembles who I am in my mind at that point.”

“Then, can I ask, why a kid?”

“I feel safe as a kid. And maybe, if I’m overanalysing, because I feel a bit helpless and I have to let others rule my life at the moment.” Kid-Loki started fidgeting with his hands as Sam frowned a little.

“So, your offer to pay, was that from older you or was that from younger-you trying to appear older?”

Kid-Loki chuckled embarrassed. “Probably younger-me wanting to look older, if those are the only two options. It’s more a situation, that you know I’m not this young and I can talk to you like an adult, while still being in my safest form.”

“That’s another thing. Your safest form?”

“When I was this age, I wasn’t getting hit yet. Mother hugged me tightly and Thor still only played with me and did not leave me behind to go and have fun with everybody else.”

“So, nothing bad happened when you were that age?”

“Yeah, kinda.”

“Does the team know you feel safest in this form?”

Kid-Loki shook his head. “Nope.”

Sam looked impressed. “So, I’m the first?”

“Yep.”

Sam cheered a little, getting confused looks from other guests. Blushing he coughed a little, before turning his focus on Kid-Loki again. “So, how old are, err, were you in this form? A handful centuries?”

Kid-Loki giggled. “No, no. Common misconception. Asgardians, and apparently Jötnar as well, grow as fast as humans do, as do several other races. Like this, I must have been around fifteen, sixteen? Asgardians are considered adults, when they turn twenty, and mature when they are around a century old. Humans consider each other legally adults at age eighteen, and mature, probably at twenty-five.”

“Oh wow.”

“But there is the other version, how Asgardians can calculate age, which I personally don’t use much. Life expectancy. Asgardians grow to somewhere around five thousand years old. On good calculations, that would put both Thor and I at around late seventeen, early eighteen. I don’t like to consider it much, as it would make any kind of romantic relationship on short-living planets like Earth hard, where one only has that one chance at a relationship, as trying to actually reach another full ‘year’ would turn into outliving the partner.”

“Yeah. Wouldn’t be fair. So, do you have anyone?”

“Are you asking for yourself?”, Kid-Loki asked with a smirk and Sam paled. “It’s need-to-know. Or classified, if you want to go that way. I have been in a few monogamous partnerships since my late wife, most on Earth, I must say.”

“So, Earth got some great people?”

“I ran to Earth to escape my life on Asgard. Most times I stay no more than five years.”

“A lot can happen in five years”, Sam answered with a wink.

“Are you asking, if I’ve fathered any children out of wedlock?”

“Have you?”

“I was very careful not to. If I even bedded women.”

Sam’s eyebrows shot up and then he seemed to think for a bit. “Yeah, I could see you being gay.”

“I do not care which gender my partner has, I care about what is in their head. It most times comes down to the places I travelled to, where not many women were at the time. If the person has wit and interest, but not obsession, there is a chance of me bedding them. Me not always being a man helped at times.”

Sam blushed again, before disbelievingly shaking his head. “You’re a lot.”

“I have been known to take many shapes and forms.”

“Like a horse?”

Kid-Loki rolled his eyes. “Yes. Like a horse.” Then he frowned as a message appeared on his glasses.

‘Barton incoming.’ He took his phone out, but there was no message or incoming call from Clint.

“Uhm… Sorry, I got a…” Kid-Loki stopped as he saw the door swing open and Agent Clint Barton stalked through the diner. “Oh no”, he whispered, and Sam’s head snapped around, already forming fists to go into battle.

“Scoot over, Loki. Ohh, you’re hot chocolate?”

Kid-Loki rolled his eyes at Sam and then slid to the window, letting Clint sit down.

“Hot chocolate?”

“Nat said, he smelled like hot chocolate, when we went on a trip to N.Y.C.”

“Sam Wilson.”

“Clint Barton, resident protector of our trickster.” They shook hands and Kid-Loki groaned, as Clint waved down the server.

“Clint, what are you doing here?”

Clint rubbed his fist over Loki’s head. “Finding you. I got bored.”

“No new vents to dust off?”

“Talking back now, son?”

Kid-Loki grinned. “Always, dad. So, J.A.R.V.I.S. blabbed?”

“I threatened to pull out all his cables.”

Kid-Loki gave a shock-mock-expression and Clint grinned, before turning to the server. “Hot chocolate for everyone at the table and waffles as well.”

“No hot chocolate for me”, Sam quickly put in, “but I’ll take the waffles.”

“Great. Lo, extra waffles for you?”

“Can I have ice cream with ‘em?”, Kid-Loki asked Clint.

“Do you have ice cream, Miss?”, he sent the question to the young woman.

“Yes. Vanilla or chocolate?”

“Umm, vanilla, going the safe round, thank you, Miss”, Loki answered sweetly.

The server sent him a smile. “So, three waffles, one with vanilla ice cream and two hot chocolates, did I get that right?”

“My waffles with whip cream, please”, Sam told her, and she nodded.

“Alright.” She took the empty cups off the table and went away.

“Your manners are very good today, boy.” Clint squeezed Kid-Loki’s side and the, at the moment smaller one, squirmed in place.

“Please, dad, we’re in public.”

“And I can’t tell everyone that I love my kid. You’re great, kiddo.”

Kid-Loki gave him a weak, but honest smile, while a warmth spread through his chest. “Thanks, dad”, he said quietly, while tucking his head in.

Clint’s smile grew wide. “My kid. If you hurt him…”

“Wasn’t gonna. You’re the real circus-kid then, right?”

“He told you he was a circus-kid? I’m so proud of you, Lo, taking after your dad.” Kid-Loki blushed again. “But yeah, I’m the circus-kid. Wasn’t fun, tell you that. And you’re the…”

“Soldier?”

“That’s Steve, go again.”

“Air Force.”

“Rhodey.”

“Veteran.”

“Would we consider Steve a Veteran?” Clint shrugged. “Doesn’t matter, you’re… No… the… nope… I’m the basically dad, you can be the cool uncle.”

“So, I’m cool?”

“Yes, brother.”

“I already got one of those.”

“Me too, Lo as well.” Clint visibly shoved the thought aside. “You took my kid here, out for hot chocolate and listened to him going on and on and on, I mean the boy can talk. You’re cool.”

“You talk a lot, too.”

“See, runs in the family.”

Kid-Loki groaned and threw his head into his hands. “I could just close my eyes and not listen to you anymore.”

“He even got your deafness.”

“Didn’t think something I got in an accident could be inherited, but here we are.”

“Be careful or he’ll stick with your height as well.”

“I got lucky with my sweetheart. And he got all the good genes, I just know it. My secret height is five inches more and in my mind I’m actually blond.”

“Not another blond idiot, I already know two of those”, Kid-Loki groaned.

“Oh yeah”, Clint said. “Now I know why I’m shorter, but more built and blue-eyed then Bruce and Tony.”

Kid-Loki frowned at him. “Did you just accept being an idiot?”

“Well, otherwise all short people would have to be smart. Bruce, Tony, Jane, me.”

“Me?”

“Yeah right”, Clint glared at him and Sam laughed a bit.

“You two are great together.”

“Are we? See, we Barton’s really have it in us.”

Kid-Loki sighed loudly. “So, Barton approval status?”

“Oh, approved, he can keep up with us, so he’s good.”

Sam raised his fist in the air. “Yes, approved. Don’t know what I just won, but I feel incredibly lucky.”

Chapter Text

Going to stay with Jane and Darcy felt like the start of the end of the world for Loki. It was October 5, when Loki got everything together and approval from all necessary sides to stay with the two. 38 days to figure out how not to die. Or well, how to save Jane. Bruce had given him two of the bracelet cameras Tony had worked on, in the time Loki was on Asgard. Loki had asked for them and gifted them to the Ladies as a sign of friendship and his care for them.

Darcy was especially happy with having him around, they hadn’t seen each other in person since early in the year. It was unnerving to be around people that were so much calmer than everyone in New York. Loki had three panic attacks in the first week alone. He got a dream again on November 14, which didn’t help him at all, but he was not going to give up.

Jane and Darcy knew he was having nightmares. He told them that he did not want to wake around scared boys that would ask too many questions and they thankfully left him be. On the second week, he enchanted the bracelets anew and asked them to never take them off. They didn’t question it and Darcy told him that they were actually very nice bracelets for protection-bracelets.

 

The first dream about November 12, that finally was different, Loki got on October 17.

Loki stared around the room they were in, there were children around, Darcy, Jane and another younger man that was carrying things. There also was a floating truck. Loki chuckled a bit, before turning to Darcy and grabbing her arm.

“Where are we?”

“London, Lo, forgot you wanted to take me inside the Queen’s bedroom yet?”

“I’m sure it’s not very exciting.”

“Don’t say that. It’s the Queen, never wondered if it was really the way film describe it?”

Loki rolled his eyes. “Been there, hit that”, he told her with a wink, before correcting himself. “Not the Queen though, goodness, what would the country think? Do you know the time?”

“Is that really important right now? There’s a floating truck.”

“Yeah, floating truck.”

Loki let go of her and took out his phone, but to no surprise it didn’t show him the time. It seemed the middle of the day though, there was no sunset yet. And that in November. He looked that up specifically, sunup was going to be around 7 o’clock in the morning and sundown around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Those were 9 hours. Better than the 24 he had before.

Alright, he had to try something. He concentrated and let the time flow, seeing the truck turn, on what seemed like an axis.

“Lo you coming?”

“Yeah, yeah”, Loki called after Darcy, “I’m hungry.”

“I told you, you should have had lunch packed up.”

Loki jogged after her, keeping his eye on Jane. “I didn’t want your portions to appear miniaturised next to mine.”

Darcy laughed wholeheartedly.

“So, Darce, any idea how Jane plans on fixing that?”

“Science probably. We sure as hell ain’t getting the assholes from New York in it.”

“They wouldn’t even know what to do with this. This is space-stuff.”

“You know what this is?”

“Never seen it in person. Too young for it.”

“Too young?”, Jane asked, and he smiled at her.

“Side-effects of something called the Convergence. I’ll tell you when we’re back home.”

“You call our shitty room home?”, Darcy questioned, and Loki chuckled.

“Well, it has four walls and is where we’ll return after this, right?”

“Don’t know about that, we should still try to find Eric”, Jane gave in, as they climbed the stairs.

“You think he’s gonna wanna see me?”

“You can clear his mind the easiest.”

“He wouldn’t want me to touch him, trust me.”

Jane and Darcy stopped at that. Time stopped at that and Loki sighed at seeing the dream fade out. It was going to happen sometime after lunch.

 

Loki got more nervous the quicker the days went by. From now having dreams every other day, it went to every day as they reached November, still not in London, but Loki had already gotten permission from Fury, because it might come to be that they would have to leave quickly. Loki was still dreaming of November 12, sometimes a bit before they found the truck, sometimes a bit after, until it was the dream Loki had been wanting, finally, on November 7.

He was standing next to Jane in front of a very deep abyss. It was dark, the only light being the moving Aether, between two stones.

“Hello there”, Loki whispered, kneeling in front of it, quickly leaning back when it lunged for him.

“Oh, you sweet thing, Aether. Seeing no person for five thousand years, don’t worry, it won’t be long now. I’m coming for you, dear. I’m not here yet, but I won’t need long now, you beauty.”

He forced the dream to end, fearing what the Aether might do, if he would deny it to leave with him.

The next few days were interesting enough. On May 9 the two women got a call from Eric Selvig, asking them to come to London. Getting to London meant packing and Loki helped the two with it as quick as he could, nervously tapping with his foot, if he sat still for more than a minute.

When they finally got to London on November 11, Selvig was not, where he was supposed to be, Darcy went her way, while Jane tried to find him her way and Loki went to ‘guard’ the room they were going to sleep in. Pepper had set him up to have a person to talk to at S.I. in London, if he were to need their help, or his glasses were to break. He was already having special ones made for his missions, that Nat had brought, as soon as he had heard of them finally leaving.

 

Loki didn’t sleep the night to Tuesday. He felt strung up and he was pretty sure Tony could feel it too, as he got a few calls from the team, he had all pushed away, after confirming with J.A.R.V.I.S. that nobody was in any danger.

“They worry a lot, don’t they?”, Jane asked, looking over the menu at the restaurant they were having lunch at.

“Must be a special day then.”

“Or they finally realised that you don’t need them, while they need you.”

Loki grinned. “I got you two now”, he said, and Jane smiled back at him. Softly he took her hand noted that she had the bracelet on. “If you’ll let me, I’ll help you with the answers of the universe. Bonus”, he mentioned, chuckling a bit, “I can teleport us out of all boring conversations.”

“Oh, how could I deny such an offer.”

When Darcy walked into the restaurant, very excited, Loki knew it was going to happen now. No looking back. He shot a text to the Avengers group chat.

[To Avengers] Loki: ‘This is it, I have to do this alone, otherwise it won’t happen. @Tony, this is not sacrificing myself, this is saving all others. @Avengers I don’t know when it’s safe to come back, but I might night a boost to make it home. Love y’all.’

He asked J.A.R.V.I.S. to only send Darcy’s last location, if he himself should fall off the grid. When they got downstairs, he was only slightly surprised to find the young man, that had been in the dream with them. Apparently, he was called Ian and was Darcy’s intern.

To pass the time in the back seat, Loki told them a basic tourist London experience, as he told them, they had to take over the next few days, he also told them ‘all’ the secrets no tour guide would ever know, in the mix dropping how he’d been to Buckingham palace when it was still being built and knew every nook and cranny of that place inside and out.

“Are you gonna show me the Queen’s bedroom?”, Darcy asked, and Loki was a bit taken aback by the question, before slipping on his trademark smirk.

“Well, we’ll have to be very silent, but I’ll see what I can do.”

“Hear that, Jane.”

“It’s a joke, Darcy”, she said absentmindedly, “You’d surely get arrested.”

“Not if we’re invisible”, Loki whispered in Darcy’s ear and winked at her.

“But you said no using powers.”

“Yes. So, it’ll have to wait.” Loki softly erased the extra function, he had put on the bracelets of the two ladies, on the one Darcy was wearing, to let him see where they were, if they ever were more than ten kilometres apart.

Loki was a lot more silent, than he’d been in the dream, but the slowly turning truck still awed him. They spoke of Selvig and of space and the kids showed them the portals. The last thing Loki could say to Darcy and Ian was: “Don’t you even think for a moment to drop your keys in there, dearest.” After that, he was standing in the dark cave and was breathing just as hard as Jane was.

 

“Loki? Where are we?” His glasses were a bit slow and Loki took Jane’s shoulder to focus.

“Somewhere I have to get you out of. You’ll have to do me a favour, Jane.”

“This is what you dreamt of.”

“Yes. Please give me your bracelet. I cannot even be allowed to think about going back on my own. Before you’ve fixed all of it.”

“Fix? How?”

“Closing the portals. Thor”, Loki took a breath, peeking at the stone with the eerie red light, before speaking again: “Thor surely knows what this is by now. It’s called the Convergence and that over there, is the Aether. It’s just as bad as the Tesseract and the Sceptre. And I must guard it. To prevent it from getting found.”

“But we just walked in on it, what are you going to do?”

“I will keep all the portals closed from the inside.”

“And you want me to close them from the outside? How are you going to get back? Darcy’s bracelet?”

“It won’t send that far. Only Tony can. Or if I really get lucky to still have power to try a safe jump… But I won’t know when you’ve closed them all.”

“We’ll get you back, I promise. Just like Asgard all over again.” Jane hugged him close, before giving him her bracelet.

Shaking, he pressed a kiss on her brow, before focusing his Seiðr to find a good exit point. “Heimdall will find you quickly. I had to get here.”

“You’ll tell me after it, what was going to happen, when your dreams started.”

“I shall.” Loki led her towards the selected portal Jane would walk through and she smiled at him once more, before stepping through it, trusting Loki, who sat down on the cold ground, turning towards the Aether, and forcing his Seiðr to press all portals shut. “So, dear, I only got this one chance, let’s make it count.”

 

Time was different here, too. It felt different. The Aether was angry, Loki could tell, even if he couldn’t hear it, he could feel its emotions in his head. ‘Bor would have been proud’, Loki told himself. He was keeping the Aether out of the universe for another five-thousand years. Loki tried mind games, to keep himself occupied. Then he tried to play games on his phone, only to get worried, whenever it would tell him it found a signal, even just for the breath of a second.

He tried reading, and the portals were still getting bigger. He told himself he didn’t need food, when even the books got boring. Well, they didn’t get boring, they just… Weren’t what Loki wanted. Loki needed something new, something to keep him interested.

Would Tony even call him, Loki wondered, as he ate a pear from the basket he’d made, when Darcy and Jane had been sleeping on the night he couldn’t.

How long had he been awake? The Aether was betting on his control letting up, when he’d grow tired, so he couldn’t allow himself to.

‘I wonder what Thor’s doing’, Loki thought, as he was playing minesweeper on his phone. It had only been a day, apparently. Well, from the hour at least, it was very early on November 14, at least London time.

‘This is gonna be a shit-show to clean up’, Loki decided, when the portals became lesser, but at the same time, bigger in the afternoon.

“I hate you”, Loki shouted at the Aether, when his phone gave out.

“You know, out of all the things I did in my life, this might be one of the craziest”, he told the Aether, when the portals had stopped opening. “Not the craziest, but one of it.”

“I’m mad, you know”, Loki explained when his food had run out. “Big surprise, right? The god of chaos is mad, how could nobody know?”

He sang the Pokémon theme song on repeat, until he stood up and did jumping jacks. Then he stared at the Aether, before sighing. “I wonder if I actually saved the good people.”

Loki peeked over the edge, before turning to the Aether, a bit sleepily. “I met two other Stones lately as well, one in the Tesseract, the Space Stone, one in a Sceptre, encased in the form of an egg. That’s the Mind Stone. Gotta say they are both not as impressive as you. I mean, the Tesseract made me want to throw up, like hell, when I travelled to it. Hell’s an expression on Earth. It’s also the place were in Christianity all bad people go; I think. I’m getting off topic. The Sceptre was a fucking trap, I looked like I was controlling people, while I was actually being controlled myself. You, Aether, you’re impressive though. Expressive as well. You want something, right? Well, you’re not gonna get it from me. He’s gonna get me out of here.”

Loki shivered a bit, forbidding himself from shifting to his blue form as he pressed his knees to his chest. “He’s not gonna get me. Why would he? I can’t even feel him. He probably thinks I’m dead. Maybe I am. This is a shitty place to spend eternity though.”

“I should have written them letters. In case of death”, Loki breathed, cowering on the floor.

“He probably can’t call out to me, right?”, Loki asked and took his glasses off, staring at them. “{After all, I can’t hear this SHIT.}” He screamed the last word, as he broke the glasses, before gathering the pieces and putting them into his dimensional pocket. “{Sorry about that.}”

“{You know, maybe in another dimension we would have been friends.}” Loki laughed manically at the thought, laying on the ground and looking up into the unlit darkness. “{Maybe in another dimension, I’d actually be evil.}”

“{I want to go home}”, he said with a yawn, before snickering. “{I don’t even know, where home is supposed to be.}”

“{So, dear Aether, how was your day? I know mine was crazy. I mean, I blinked, and I blinked, and I moved my leg, because it fell asleep and I did a handstand, but you saw all that, right? Can you see? Probably not in the traditional sense. Maybe in the way I can see with my eyes closed, right?}”

“{Here lies Loki, born Laufeyson, raised Odinson, married Stark, once upon a time, always considered Friggason. Trickster, sorcerer, madman… Father and mother, husband, son, brother, even not really by blood, but who cares. Prince, King, hey, yeah, I might actually be. Laufey’s dead. If, big if here, because I have actually no fucking clue about the Jötnar, but if I don’t have any siblings or only younger ones, I’m king of Jotunheim. Who’s my birthmother? Did Laufey love her or him? Or is that the reason, why I was unattended? Will anyone ever tell me, if I was wanted or not? I feel unwanted, but sometimes I know that’s just my shit brain going on about shit things.}”

“{Will anyone even miss me? I could think Harley. And maybe Runa when she grows up. Thor probably, for a while, until he finds a new toy to play with. Tony will only… No, can’t think about him. Actually, let’s. Fucking hell, Tony, you’re really gonna make me go deaf and then fucking keep me waiting?}”

“{On another note, Sleipnir would totally miss me.}”

“{And maybe Clint.}”

“{There’s a chance that May will be worried and die of that.}” Loki rolled around, his eyes falling shut every time he stopped. “{That would be bad though. She got a husband and nephew.}”

Loki tilted his head back. “{What do you say, Aether, you and me till the end of time? Yeah, without the touching, I really didn’t think so.}”

“{So, you know what I hate? I already know I don’t have enough power to teleport out of here safely, if Tony doesn’t guide my eyes. Safely means calculating exactly where I am in space and then send a double to another place and if he makes it back, I can go there, no problem. But I’m shooting blind here. Almost literally.}”

‘Loki?’ “{Oh, thank the fucking norns! See you never, Aether!}”, Loki shouted with a breaking voice as a place got into view and he focused all his Seiðr on the trip.