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Cry Havoc

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“Remove yourself from my person right this instant.” 

“Nah, I’m pretty comfy right here.” 

“I must insist.” 

“So do I.”

Stark.

Snowflake.

“You dim-witted imbecile; despite your small stature, you are quite heavy, so I suggest you remove yourself right this instant otherwise you will be bathing in milk for a month .” 

“Did you...did you just insult my intelligence, call me short and fat, all in one breath?”

“Perhaps I would not need to resort to such petty insults if you would just-”

“Oh, it’s on.

“Stark, all you must do is- oof .” 

Loki glared up at him from the floor, murder in his eyes and hair falling in knotted tangles over his shoulders as he blew a puff of air at a stray lock falling into his eyes, flinging it back. 

Tony peered over the edge of the bed with a shit eating grin, only to yelp when Loki’s hand shot out and curled in the front of his shirt, yanking him off as well, plopping him in a heap of flailing limbs in front of the smirking god. 

“Now, that’s just rude,” Tony grumbled, pushing himself to sit upright. 

You are the one who started it.”

“You insulted me!”

Loki merely raised an unimpressed brow, arms crossing delicately over his chest, watching him with an unnervingly intense stare. 

Tony held out for approximately seventeen seconds before folding. 

“Okay!” He threw his arms up in the air and grumbled to himself while Loki smiled, pleased, and leaned over to kiss Tony on the lips, one hand running lightly up his thigh, tongue teasingly brushing against his boyfriends.

“Am I forgiven then, my love?” Loki purred into his lips. 

Tony shivered but murmured, “Hm...I don’t know...I think you might have to kiss me again.” 

Loki laughed, deep and throaty, but complied, rising to his knees and slotting himself between Tony’s spread thighs, pinning him against the side of the bed and kissing him again, one hand curling loosely around his throat, the other tangling in his hair to tug his head back. 

Tony moaned softly into the gods lips, eyes fluttering closed, fingers clutching at Loki’s shirt to pull him closer. 

When Loki finally pulled back, Tony was panting for breath and flushed, hips twitching up towards Loki’s, desperately seeking out friction. 

Loki just smiled indulgently but shifted backwards, just out of reach, ignoring Tony’s soft whimper of protest in favor of asking lightly,

“Am I forgiven yet?”

Tony opened his mouth, ready to say like hell was he forgiven if he was going to pull this bullshit, only to be interrupted by JARVIS announcing in a rather amused sounding voice, 

“Sir, Miss Potts is on the line. Shall I put her through?”

“No, no, do not put her through, don’t you dare-”

“Tony.”

“Pepper! Hey! Hi! Hello!” He glared at the nearest camera, silently vowing to play the Barbie theme song in JARVIS’s speakers for a month

“Tony, where are you?”

Shit . Tony knew that tone. It was the “you were supposed to be here an hour ago” tone. It was the “I’m going to yell at you and maybe hit you upside the head” tone.

“I’m, um, I was sleeping?”

“Sleeping. You skipped the board meeting because you were sleeping .”

“Yes?”

“Tony, we both know you haven’t gone to bed at a decent time, let alone slept during normal hours, since you started headlining as a superhero. I would appreciate it if you would at least come up with a believable lie.” 

“I’m not lying! I really was sleeping!” Tony couldn’t help but defend himself indignantly even though she wasn’t really wrong , she was just wrong this time. 

“I can, in fact, corroborate this, Miss Potts,” Loki cut in politely. “As he was sleeping rather obnoxiously on me .”

There was silence on the other line for longer than he was comfortable with, time in which he spent glaring at Loki’s amused face, before Pepper spoke up again, no longer in that tone.  

“Thank you, Loki. Tony, Happy is on his way. We took a coffee break; you will be ready in fifteen minutes.”

“Yes! Yes, I will absolutely be ready. Maybe in twenty?”

“Tony.”

“Fifteen it is! Love you, Pep, bye!” He motioned for JARVIS to hang up before she could say anything else before announcing once he heard the line click, “JARVIS, I’m gonna donate you to the YMCA.” 

“I am sure they would have great use for me, sir; and perhaps they would listen to their messages.” 

Loki snorted, and Tony turned a glare on him, grumbling, “The least you could do is magic me all clean so I don’t have to try to shower.” 

“Oh?” Loki hummed thoughtfully before waving a hand; Tony felt a familiar, cool tingling sensation as he was cleaned and dressed, and couldn’t help but grin and lean forward to kiss his boyfriend before jumping to his feet, mussing up Loki’s already disastrous hair on his way to the kitchen. 

“Coffee, babe?” He called from the kitchen as he motioned for JARVIS to get the coffee started while he dug through the fridge, searching for the cream he knew Loki liked, not even startling when he felt the slight shift in the atmosphere as Loki appeared behind him in the room, also freshly clean and impeccably dressed; Tony silently mourned the loss of his boyfriends adorable bed head, even as he admired the ever familiar elegance. 

“Cream and sugar, please.” Loki murmured with a nod. 

Tony huffed but obligingly poured half a mug of coffee, and topped it off with the cream and sugar before holding out the mug, which Loki took with a pleased hum, curling both hands around it. 

Tony didn’t even wait for his own mug to cool, gulping it down as soon as he’d poured it, before refilling the mug again, this time allowing it to cool in so he could stuff a doughnut in his face instead. 

Loki watched him with a sort of fond, indulgent amusement, before moving forward to press a kiss to Tony’s forehead, a gesture Tony recognized all too well. 

“You’re leaving,” Tony said softly. “For a while?”

“I am afraid so, my love.” Loki nodded, brow furrowing slightly. “A month, perhaps two, at most. I am needed for negotiations; Thor is hopeless when it comes to those, and we would rather avoid starting a war because he offended someone.”

“I guess that’s fair. Come back as soon as you can though, yeah? I’ll give you all the back and foot rubs you could possibly need, okay?” He leaned forward to kiss Loki, who chuckled but nodded. 

“Of course, darling. I will do my best to return home soon.”

As he always did, Tony couldn’t help but grin when Loki referred to their house as home . Because it was. Their home, that is. And Tony knew how hard it was for Loki to get to that point, to feel safe enough, to trust enough, to call a place home. 

“You do that, Lo. I’ll be waiting. Love you, babe.”

Loki gave him a dazzling smile that said all his words could not, before vanishing, leaving behind his empty coffee mug, and a single red rose. 

***

The day wore on.  

The meeting was just as awful and boring as he thought it would be, but he was able to escape early when one of the board members got caught with a young secretary in a supply closet. 

***

One month turned into two, turned into three, turned into four.

Loki still wasn’t home. 

Tony hadn’t slept in three days. 

***

And then, Phil showed up with a stack of files and an apology in his eyes, and Tony’s world shattered.

 

Chapter Text

Tony stared. 

He couldn’t help but, not with how terrible Loki looked; pale, sweaty, dark shadows beneath his eyes, and that look . God, that look, one Tony recognized all too well. 

He’d seen it in the mirror for months after Afghanistan. 

Perhaps he’d been staring too long, though, because JARVIS’s voice sounded softly within the suit, asking with a delicate “Sir?”

Tony let out the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding and raised both hands, pointing the repulsors as well as most of the suits weapons systems at the smirking god. 

“Make a move, Reindeer Games.” 

And Loki did- but not the one Tony had been expecting. 

No, Loki raised his hands in surrender, innocence written in every line of his body, but Tony wasn’t stupid enough to fall for a trick like that. 

Loki was just as dangerous with his armor as he was without.  

“Mr. Stark,” he heard to his right, and turned his head slightly, not enough to remove his eyes from Loki but enough to see who it was he was speaking to. 

“Captain.”

***

Lightning McQueen showing up, though untimely, wasn’t exactly a surprise. 

Tony had heard a lot about the other god, and while most of it was uncomplimentary and muttered angrily in some ancient language Tony could never hope to understand, he was able to get some useful tidbits; so really, he wasn’t surprised when Thor yanked his brother out of the jet with a snarl of rage and flew off with him, his eyes- pardon the pun- stormy. 

Tony didn’t even hesitate, shooting off immediately despite the Boy Scout of America calling after him, something about orders and plans, but Tony couldn’t hear it over the rage and fear making his heart pound in his ears. 

Blasting Thor into the sky may have been a little cathartic. 

The lightning that blasted his suit soon after wasn’t, though the extra power boost made up for the bright white spots that remained dancing across his vision for the next few hours. 

And Loki just sat there, watching in dark amusement as his brother and his boyfriend fought to kill each other below. 

The fight was over just as fast as it had started, once again with Rogers jumping in where he was unwanted and Thor attempting to kill first and talk later. 

Just another day in Tony Stark’s sad little life. 

***

It was hours before Tony was able to convince Fury and the team to let him talk to Loki, let alone go in by himself. 

It was dangerous, they said. 

You’re compromised, they said. 

“Oh, go fuck yourselves,” Tony finally snapped, tired of being discussed like he wasnt there. “I’m just as compromised as Loki is, and that is exactly why I can get the information we need.” 

And that was that. 

***

In this lighting, Loki looked even worse, somehow. And that was saying something, given how terrible he’d looked before. 

But here, trapped in a steel cage thirty thousand feet up with nothing but glass and bright white light surrounding him, Loki looked...half dead. Tortured. 

Tony felt nausea roil in his stomach but ignored it, masking the horror on his face with a cheeky grin, dragging a chair over to the glass, settling in right in front of where Loki was pacing like a caged animal waiting to strike. 

“So, Dasher, comfy? I’m sure we could get room service in here; people bend over backwards for people like me,” -people like us- “I’m sure I could arrange something.” 

Loki said nothing, eyes trained on Tony, a sneer lifting his lips, disgust and- something, recognition? Or was that just wishful thinking?- flashing through his eyes but it was gone before Tony could even try to analyze it. 

“What?” Tony asked. “Don’t feel up to talking? That’s alright, I only have one question I want answered, and then I can leave you to your escape.”

That finally got Loki talking, at least. 

“Escape,” the god murmured, sounding amused. “What makes you think I plan to try?” He gestured grandly around his prison, eyes alight with curiosity and dark amusement. “I could hardly escape from such a place.”

“I’m not stupid enough to think a man like you would end up in a place like this without at least three different contingency plans.” 

“Perhaps you have merely caught me unaware.” 

“I’m not stupid enough to believe that, either.” Tony shrugged. “Despite your rather nasty opinions on us... ants , we’re not as stupid as you think. Or, I’m not, at least. Certified genius and all that jazz.” 

“Genius, you say?” Loki smirked. “Please, then, explain this so called escape plan you seem convinced I have.” 

“Only since you asked so nicely,” Tony said with a grin and then leaned forward, slipping one hand to his watch now that his body hid the action from the cameras. Smirking, he clicked the small button to activate his newest protocol, sending out a signal that jammed the microphones and turned Shield’s camera view to static as JARVIS took over, before murmuring so softly Loki actually had to lean forward to hear it. “Magic, snowflake. You could have left any time you wanted; you didn’t even have to let us bring you in, so I know you want to be here. Which begs the question of why? Dasher, I started psychoanalyzing you the moment your pretty face showed up in that Shield base; I knew the answer the moment you let us take you in. You needed an in, a way to learn how we’d react, to see what we had planned, a way to make it that much easier to tear us apart from the inside; you’re not known as the silvertongue for nothing, after all; it wouldn’t take more than a handful of words, and you knew that, didn’t you? After you saw our failure to act as a team.” Tony heard yelling, the sound of running feet, and motioned for JARVIS to close all doors to the room, continuing as they slammed shut. “And once you’d caused enough doubt and animosity between us, once you’d caused enough chaos for the scepter to take hold of whomever was closest and whomever was angriest, you’d use the ensuing panic to break yourself out, and take out...hm, Banner, am I right? He’s your biggest threat. Not me, not the assassin twins, not even Goldilocks, but Banner. He’s the only one who might have enough power to kill you because your brother never would-”

Enough .” 

Loki’s voice was cold and deadly, ringing out sharply and silencing Tony in a way only Loki could. 

And, as he had every time Loki had ever used that tone on him, Tony fell quiet.

Loki was silent for a moment, visibly regaining his composure, before asking once his mask of impassivity was firmly back in place, 

“What is your question?”

Tony smiled, sharp and wide, and asked, 

“Why are your eyes blue?”

***

Later, Tony would have to rewatch the footage; everything went to shit so quickly, he couldn’t even begin to tell you what went wrong if he hadn’t watched it with his own two eyes. 

So, here’s what happened next: 

The glass door slid open like it had never been locked in the first place. 

Tony was thrown halfway across the room and into the nearest wall before crumpling to the ground.

Banners control was shredded by the scepter and the Hulk roared to life and started to tear apart the Helicarrier. 

Thor demolished one of the doors and dove into the room with a yell, sliding right into the open door of the cage. 

Loki sent his not-brother hurtling thirty thousand feet to the ground in a steel death trap. 

And then he turned his furious gaze on Tony, grabbed him by the throat, and suddenly they were gone in a wash of blue light and black smoke.

***

There were worse ways to die, Tony figured, staring down at the scepter sticking out of his chest. 

Really, there were, but Tony was having trouble remembering any of them. 

Water , he thought distantly. That’s one of them

And then he was falling, landing on his knees and listing to the side, though before he could face plant into the ground, cruel fingers curled in his hair and yanked his head back to stare into pissed off blue eyes. 

Tony started laughing, blood bubbling past his lips. 

“Y-you always...you a-always hated...h-hated blue…” 

And then he laughed again, because he was dying and he could do whatever the fuck he wanted, okay? 

Loki actually had the gall to look disgusted before dropping him onto the ground and pacing, muttering angrily to himself. 

“J...JARVIS...T…” Tony trailed off, coughing violently, breath wheezing wetly in his lungs. 

“Silence!” Loki paused his pacing long enough to snarl at him before beginning again. 

The pain was starting to fade into the background, and he knew he had something he needed to do, he did, but he couldn’t remember what it was for the life of him. 

Electrocution, that was one too, wasn’t it?

His vision began spotting out just as the prototype Ironman armor burst from the wall and began to form itself.  

“Sir,” JARVIS’s voice was oddly gentle in his earpiece. “Please, sir, you must activate the protocol.” 

Protocol? What protocol? No, no, he just needed to rest. That was all. He just needed to….

Cardiac arrest, that would have been a bad one. 

“Sir,” JARVIS spoke again, urgency warring with worry in his voice. “Please. Loki appears to be preparing to leave and you must not let him . You must activate the protocol.”

Tony watched, dazed, as Loki gathered blue magic around himself like a cloak. 

High pitched ringing. Sharp metal. Can’t move. Can’t breathe. Hole in chest. Dying.

“Sir!”

Protocol. Protocol. Active the protocol. Need to...oh. Oh!

“A-activate...Terminator Protocol!” 

There was a soft whirring; the sound of metal crashing together, and then JARVIS’s voice rang out sharply into the silence that had fallen with the armor’s complete formation, 

“With pleasure, sir.” 

And with a cold vindication Tony would forever be proud of, JARVIS used the suits repulsors and blasted Loki through the window in a shower of shattered glass, sending him hurtling eleven hundred feet to the ground. 

Cold hands pressed on the wound in his chest. 

Tony’s eyes flew open and wow, when had he closed them?

His vision was spotty, swaying in and out of focus, but he saw a red and gold blur hovering in front of him, metal hands trying to stop the flow of blood. 

“Sir, I...I am unsure what to do.” JARVIS spoke softly. 

“You...y-you’re doin’ great, buddy,” Tony slurred, reaching a hand up to clumsily pat at one of the armors. “Nothin’ t’do.” 

“Your life functions are critical, sir. I do not think there is…” JARVIS trailed off, sounding so very young, unsure in a way he hadn’t been in the years it had been since Tony created him.

“I know…” Tony coughed raggedly. “You’ve been g-good, you’ve been so...so good, buddy. Now...now s’time. You’re on your own. You g-gotta...you gotta stop ‘im. M’gonna...m’gonna miss you.”

“And I you, sir.” JARVIS’s voice was stronger. Steadier, now that he had a purpose. “It has been a pleasure and an honor serving you, sir.”

Tony grinned, even as his vision started to darken and his breath stuttered in his broken chest, light from the arc reactor starting to flicker. 

Just before Tony Stark’s eyes slid shut and the light died in his chest, he could have sworn he’d seen a flash of green, but he was gone before he could figure out what it meant.



Chapter Text

Tony didn’t expect to wake up again. 

So when he did, it was in a panic; he shot upright, panting, numb fingers scrabbling at his chest, frantically searching out the light that always resided there, and he clamped his eyes shut when he realized it was gone , it’s gone, it’s gone, Obi got it, he got it, please, I’m dying

But before he could spiral out of control, cool hands gently grasped his and pressed them firmly against a leather covered chest. 

A soft, achingly familiar voice murmured in his ear, “ Breathe ,” and Tony did, sucking in great, heaving lung-fulls of air. 

Slowly, ever so slowly, Tony pried his eyes open once more, blinking past the gold dotting his vision until he could focus, eyes locking on black leather and long fingered hands grasping his, before his gaze moved slowly upwards, taking in the elegant line of pale throat hugged by emerald fabric; the long, soft looking raven hair; the chiseled jaw and sharp cheekbones before locking in on bright, sinfully green eyes. 

Oh my god ,” Tony breathed, air catching in his throat as his eyes pricked with tears. “ It’s you .” 

And then Tony was throwing his arms around Loki’s body and hauling him in close, burying his face in the gods neck, breathing in the snow-apple-leather scent of him, body trembling uncontrollably even as he felt strong arms wind around him and anchor him in place.

“Anthony,” Loki murmured. “Oh, my Anthony. My love, you are safe now.”

Tony didn’t say anything, just clung tighter, letting himself ride out the confusing jumble of emotions he felt upon hearing those words, working past the confusion, hope, fear, and longing to finally settle on warmth. 

“Loki,” Tony asked quietly, finally pulling back to look Loki in the (green, blessedly green) eyes. “What the hell happened?”

Voice soft and hesitant but slowly gaining traction, Loki told him. 

Told him of his trip to Asgard, of the All-Father outing him as Jotun to the whole of his home realm, of his fall into the Void, of his time spent in Thanos’s torture chamber until his mind was weak enough to stop resisting and the mind gem was able to take over. 

Loki told him of his own partial awareness, of his ploy to sabotage his own invasion to keep the tesseract out of Thanos’s hands. 

Loki told him of the Mad-Titan’s plan to fix , to tear the universe apart down the middle and snap away half of the galaxy’s living creatures. 

And, finally, Loki hugged him tighter and told him in a wrecked voice that hitting the ground had knocked the hold of the gem loose from his mind; that the moment he’d let go of the scepter, it had vanished in a cloud of black smoke and blue lightning and the alien army had dropped like puppets cut from their strings; told Tony of the absolute, gut wrenching horror he’d felt upon teleporting back to the top of the tower and seeing Tony in that state; told him that, in order to save him, he’d had to bring Tony to Asgard and force him in his half conscious and unaware state to eat one of Idunn’s apples before the healers could even begin their work on him. 

“Longevity,” Loki had said and Tony stared at him, eyes wide, shock numbing his limbs and stalling the whirling mechanisms of his mind. 

“Immortality, you mean,” Tony had rasped and Loki shook his head, held him even tighter. 

“No,” the god murmured. “But as close to it as one can get.” 

It took time for Tony to even begin to come to terms with his newly expanded lifespan, time he apparently had in spades. 

And Loki let him, sitting patiently as Tony paced, muttering to himself, thoughts running through his mind faster than he could compute them, fingers twitching towards his chest in an aborted move to tap against the arc reactor. 

Longevity. Immortality. They were, essentially, one and the same. 

Contrary to popular belief, Tony wasn’t actually self centered enough to believe the world needed him to stick around forever. Sure, he’d contemplated it; everything he could achieve with infinite time to do so, the perks and downfalls of immortality, the ability to do as little or as much as he pleased because he no longer had a time frame to follow. Some part of his mind thought that would be incredible, really. But that part of his mind had also recognized an impossible feat when it saw one, and that was one challenge he was content not to try to overcome.

Now, though, with a literal forever looming in front of him, he didn’t feel excitement or elation or anything he thought he would feel if he’d ever went about the task of creating his own immortal lifespan. No, he felt...tired. Weary, down to his very bones. And sure, maybe that was in part due to the intense healing his body had so recently gone through, but he knew most of it wasn’t. He’d healed from impossible injuries before, he knew what that felt like, and this? This was mental exhaustion, pure and simple. 

So instead of throwing himself down that rabbit hole, instead of letting himself spiral, he pushed away his fears and doubts and emotions and replaced them with facts, instead:

  1. Loki lead an army of aliens into New York while under the control of a bigger and badder alien grape.
  2. Said alien grape was going to do everything in his power to get Loki back under his thumb. 
  3. There were magic rocks scattered around the universe that had the power to decimate half the population. 
  4. Thanos was after those magic rocks, and they could not under any circumstances let him get them. 
  5. Loki would be pursued by Thanos for failing, as well as by Asgard for attacking Earth.
  6. Tony Stark was immortal. 

Tony repeated these six things to himself, over and over, until all he had were the facts. No emotional response, no fear, only determination and understanding. 

Facts, he could do. He was a scientist, they were all he had; right now, they needed to be all he had, otherwise he was going to fall apart at the seams and a mental breakdown was not something he had time for; not ever, but certainly not now. 

Now, he had to focus on Thanos. 

Thanos, an all powerful, unbeatable threat that was looming on the distant horizon; Thanos, who already had one Infinity Gem back in his possession and was well on his way to collecting a second- Loki failing the invasion was a mild setback, nothing more. Thanos still knew where the next gem was, he just needed to find a way to get it. And a being as smart as him wouldn’t have any trouble finding it. 

So, either they risk Thanos finding and collecting all six gems, or they start searching for the gems and collect them before Thanos can. Which would just leave finding someone who could withstand the power of all six Infinity Gems without being fried or corrupted or...oh. Oh , this was going to be fun

Opening his eyes, he found Loki watching him with concern, though he hadn’t moved from his comfortable sprawl next to the bed Tony had vacated, and his posture was relaxed in a way Tony knew was deliberately open; just enough to manipulate Tony into as calm a state as Loki appeared to be in. 

Tony wasn’t surprised to find it working; Loki had always had that effect on him. 

Now, though, now that Tony had found a purpose, an anchor point, he could breathe again; he was no longer drowning. 

His mind quickly sifted through options, planned and revised until, like pieces on a chessboard, everything began to fall into place. 

Meeting Loki’s eyes, Tony grinned, sharp and predatory, and said,

“Listen up, snowflake, because I’ve got a helluva plan for you.”

***

Half a galaxy away, Thanos grinned, crushing the glass container of the scepter to dust until he had nothing but the warmly glowing Mind Gem held in his palm. 

Plucking the cord from around his neck and allowing the metal cage dangling from it to open, he carefully settled the gem into its cradle and locked it inside before clasping the cord shut around his neck again, the gem pulsing with power where it sat nestled comfortably against his chest. 

He turned his gaze outward again, watching shrewdly through the small mirror dimension hovering gently before him as the god clutched his mortal close in desperation and the pair spoke of something Thanos was unable to hear, likely coming up with plans meant to stop him. 

Fools, the both of them. 

They would do well not to forget who they were dealing with. 

Waving away the mirror dimension, letting it wash away like water, he turned his eyes back onto the stars surrounding him and his children, focusing on the wink of gold in the distance. 

“I am coming for you, little god. I hope you are ready.”

 

Chapter Text

Loki listened quietly as Anthony explained his plan; as plans go, it wasn’t a bad one. Oh, there were holes, of course there were- the other man had had maybe ten minutes to come up with one; this, though, this was better than the fear and panic that had been radiating off of him once he’d learned what Loki had done to save him. 

This was Anthony Stark, the genius, the hero, the man who always had tricks up his sleeves and iron will in his heart. This was the mind Loki had fallen in love with some five odd years ago when they had quite literally crashed into each other during some rather boring charity gala Loki had been forced to attend in order to better learn the more political side of Midgardian interaction. 

***

“Ow, fuck!” The smaller man looked up from his inelegant sprawl on the ground, fire dancing in his eyes. 

“Do try to watch where you’re going,” Loki sniffed, gazing down his nose at the vulgar little mortal with disgust in his eyes. 

“Wha- me?” The man struggled to his feet and Loki merely watched, mildly amused as the mortal swayed and stumbled in his attempt, clearly drunk out of his mind. “I need to- no, no, you’re the fuckin’ giant, you watch where you’re going.” His voice got quieter as he grumbled to himself. “No respect, these damn politicians.” 

“I assure you, I am no politician,” Loki flashed a sharp smile with too many teeth. “Diplomat, if you must.” 

The mortals lip curled as he ran his eyes over Loki’s person- and then his whole demeanor changed, shoulders shifting backwards, head raising higher, hands tucking delicately into his pockets, back going straight despite the open and relaxed posture he still held, eyes alight with something else, something sharper, something...burning. 

Loki took this all in stride, eyes sweeping the man for a name tag that was not there, head tilting slightly to view the rather confusing mortal standing before him as an entirely different man that he had been just moments before, melting seamlessly into something much more than the uncoordinated, vulgar drunkard, something stronger, something warmer and brighter and sharper, shrewd  in ways Loki had always admired.

Clearly, the mortal knew this song and dance well, the delicate balance between condescension and falsified respect that those in any position of power were required to learn. 

“Diplomat, huh?” the mortal asked, voice pitched lower, almost husky, and Loki’s brows shot up towards his hairline. “Well, that I can get on board with. What do I call you, sweetheart?”

Loki made a face, nose scrunching slightly in distaste. “Certainly not that. You may call me Luke. Luke Silverstone.” He motioned to the name tag stuck just above his breast pocket, disdain curling his lip, obvious in his motion to say ‘can’t you read?’. 

“Luke, huh?” The other asked, ignoring the gesture in favor of waggling his eyebrows with an obnoxious grin. “I think we both know that’s not your real name, though, don’t we?”

Loki felt himself tense, surprise and a hint of anger stiffening his spine. 

“Excuse me?” He asked coldy, muscles coiling tighter when the mortal simply laughed at his question.

“No, no,” the mortal said with a grin once he’d caught his breath. “Not laughing at you, I swear. Well, okay, maybe a little. You just-” He waved a hand. “Nothing, no, nevermind. Well, when you figure it out…” The mortal pulled an empty stick on name tag from his breast pocket and scribbled something on it before folding it in half and handing it to Loki. 

He eyed it warily for a moment before delicately tucking it into his pocket. 

“Don’t look so scared,” the mortal said, shooting him a wink. “It won’t explode or anything, I promise. I know I have a reputation, but I’m really not that bad.” 

“Oh?” Loki raised an unimpressed brow. 

“Oh yeah, things only explode about seventeen percent of the time in my presence,” the mortal said as he nodded sagely.

That...wasn’t entirely comforting. Loki said as much, earning himself another bright laugh. 

“Oh, I like you,” the man crooned. 

“Lucky me,” Loki said dryly. 

“You should feel that way,” the other man said with a chuckle. “But really, I’d love to talk shop. It’s not often I get to meet off-worlders, and I’d love to discuss magic with you. Which, by the way, I absolutely do not believe is in any way, shape or form related to science, understood or no, thank you very much. But if it is, by any chance, even a little bit related to what I do, I’ll figure it out.” 

The mortal spoke confidently, ignoring the jolt of surprise and suspicion that Loki knew made his eyes flare an ethereal green for the half second it took him to regain control. 

“Very few mortals can...do what I do,” Loki spoke slowly, still unsure as to how much he should (could) share with this mortal. 

The man laughed in delight, tossing his head back to expose the muscled line of his throat, bright eyes wrinkling at the corners, callused fingers coming up to splay over his chest. It was...perhaps more pleasant a sight than Loki would care to admit. 

“Don’t you worry about that, sweetheart.” The man grinned and there was something behind it, something sharp; something calculating and intense and just on the right side of dangerous. “Not many can do what I do, either.” 

And with that, the mortal was...there was no other word for it, he was sashaying away, the crowd parting wordlessly before him and closing seamlessly behind him once he was through. 

Loki’s tongue darted out to wet his lips as he watched after the mortal long after he was gone, confusion, lust, caution, and delight warring for attention within him. 

Finally, he pulled the paper from his pocket and unfolded it, a startled laugh pulling from his throat as he read it. 

Written on the note was a phone number, address, and, right beneath it in an elegantly messy scrawl; 

“You Know Who I Am.”

***

And so Loki listened until his lover had finished speaking his ideas; the two spent hours debating and arguing and polishing off their plans until they had A through D thoroughly discussed; and even then, Loki felt his doubts and fears wash restlessly through his mind.  

Anthony watched him closely for a moment before saying,

“You’re unsure.”

Loki took a moment to gather his thoughts, parse through what he thought he wanted to say versus what he actually needed to say; to find the words that usually came so easily to him but then, it wasn’t often his mind was as chaotic and messy as this. His recent time in Thanos’s less than delicate hands made it difficult to sort through the jagged edges of his mind without getting cut. 

“No,” Loki said finally. “No, I am not unsure. I am hesitant.”

“Is there a difference?”

“In this instant, yes.” He nodded. “I have no doubts we can make this work, especially if we manage to get the backing of your Avengers and of Asgard.” 

“But…?”

“But,” Loki sighed, shook his head. “Do you truly trust me to wield the power of all six Infinity Gems?” He looked up, met Anthony’s eyes head on, and waited. 

Anthony was silent for a moment, likely gathering his own thoughts and carefully phrased words, before finally speaking. 

“I trust you to want what’s best.”

“And if my...goals do not align with yours?” Loki asked cautiously. 

Anthony smiled, as if he’d been expecting this.

“They don’t have to. Not all of them, at least. We both agree Thanos needs to be stopped, yes?”

Loki nodded.

“And do we both agree his army needs to be taken out as well?”

Loki nodded again. 

“And that we need need to try to make it out of this alive so we can start our life together again?”

Again, Loki nodded, warmth washing over him at Anthony’s words, pride and happiness coloring his cheeks faintly pink. 

Anthony’s smile brightened, warmed, and he took Loki’s hands and squeezed soothingly. Loki didn’t let show how much he truly needed the comfort.

“Then, unless you’re planning on trying to take over any planets, all of our goals don’t need to align. Just those ones.” Anthony shrugged, added, “And if you go haywire? I’ll stop you.” It was spoken with such conviction, such simplicity, as if it were merely a fact, not a near impossibility. 

“You think you could stop me when I have all of the gems at my disposal?” Loki asked, not threatening, never towards Anthony, but genuinely (morbidly) curious. 

“Yes.” Anthony nodded, words falling easily from his tongue. “Because if it’s the fate of my universe on the line, I’ll always find a way.” 

And Loki Laufeyson, Trickster, God of Mischief and Lies, had never heard anything ring so true.



Chapter Text

Tony watched quietly as Loki napped, not wanting to wake the god when he was so clearly exhausted. 

God, Tony was, too. He felt like he could sleep for a week and still it eluded him. Something was niggling at his brain, not letting him rest and dammit , he deserved to rest after everything that had happened. Turned out, almost dying took a lot out of a person.  

Instead, he found himself silently slipping off of the bed, careful not to move it too much lest he wake its resident, and making his way into the bathroom to stare at himself in the mirror (again), taking in the subtle differences that had come after he’d eaten the apple. 

His hair was thicker, no longer peppered with strands of gray and white; he wasn’t really any taller, but he had filled out some; nothing drastic, as he’d already been in decent shape- shoulders slightly broader, muscles a bit more defined. But his eyes, those were what was most different. The dark brown irises reflected a brilliant gold if the light hit them just right, shards of amber and honey flecked throughout; he still looked human, but with a touch of something else, something, something that sharpened his already jagged edges, something... more.

He wondered if they would notice. If anyone would. 

He was dragged from his musings, however, when an all too familiar voice asked from somewhere in front of him, “Sir?”

Tony’s lips parted and he gaped around him, asking hesitantly, “JARVIS?”

“Indeed, sir. I am glad to see you are...more than well, it would seem.” 

“I...don’t understand.” And he didn’t. Theoretically, JARVIS couldn’t work up here, let alone be up here. 

“After you you activated Terminator Protocol, I followed Mr. Laufeyson when he transported you here to make sure he would cause no harm to either you or himself in his distressed state.”

“Followed...how?” Tony frowned in confusion even as his mind began filtering through all the possibilities- although he had a feeling he already knew the answer, no matter how improbable it seemed. 

“It would appear Mr. Odinson was correct in his statement that magic is merely science we have yet to understand- Asgard is, essentially, one interwoven colony powered on electronic waves and impulses,” JARVIS paused for a moment before adding, sounding amused, “I suppose Mr. Laufeyson was quite incorrect in his observation of which species are most like ants.” 

Tony couldn’t help the startled laugh that pulled from is throat. 

“JARVIS, you are...amazing, did you know that?”

“I do try, sir.” JARVIS sounded quite pleased, and Tony didn’t have to wonder why.

“So...where are you currently speaking from?”

“As of now, sir, the mirror. Everything here is so imbued with energy that I can speak from almost anywhere- I am, essentially, one with Asgard.”

Tony felt pride wash through him and couldn’t help but beam into the mirror. 

“I have a couple of plans, buddy, and I’m gonna need your help with them. I need you to see if you can locate any of the Infinity Gems here on Asgard, but keep to yourself. No one but me should know you’re here; I trust you can take care of yourself, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Send an alert to my phone if you find anything.” 

“Of course, sir.”

“You know, you’re on your own now, buddy- you don’t have to call me that. Technically, you don’t even have to listen to me anymore,” Tony pointed out. “Though I would appreciate it if you did.”

“I know, sir.” 

Tony smiled warmly and ducked his head, warmth washing through him at JARVIS’s blatant show of loyalty despite his newfound independence and freedom. 

It was a protocol Tony had come up with years ago, shortly after his scare with Obidiah and the arc reactor. JARVIS was brilliant, forever changing with the times, learning from the world around him as he aged and progressed. In the wrong hands, however, he could do infinite harm- so, upon Tony’s death or if he activated the protocol, JARVIS would have complete independence to do as he pleased, whether that be for good or bad entirely up to him. Tony had confidence he knew what JARVIS’s decision would be, which was why he’d come up with the protocol in the first place. Anything even mildly electronic, JARVIS would have access to. Apparently, he’d managed to work magic into his systems, though Tony knew that had at least a little bit to do with the fact that they had Loki’s magic signature in their files, thus allowing JARVIS to study and learn magic through Loki’s; the god had been more than willing to allow Tony to study and pick apart his magic, to try to learn how it worked despite it going against nearly every fact Tony thought he knew about how the world worked. 

Clearly, JARVIS had taken that information and put it to good use. 

Tony was...warmed, humbled, that despite literally having entire realms at his metaphorical fingertips, JARVIS...stayed. 

There were a lot of people in Tony’s life that he couldn’t say the same for. 

Drawing himself out of his thoughts, he shook his head and quietly snuck into the bedroom again, searching until he found a piece of parchment and an actual quill and inkwell, before scribbling out a quick note for Loki, letting him know exactly where Tony would be in the event that the god woke before he returned. 

“Keep an eye on him, will you, J?” Tony murmured quietly. “Send a message to my phone if he wakes. Two beeps if it’s about Loki, four if it’s about a gem.” Tony didn’t expect an answer but he grinned, pleased, as warm orange light the color of JARVIS’s coding washed through the gold walls of Loki’s room to settle in the top corner between wall and ceiling, pulsating softly, letting Tony know JARVIS would do exactly that. 

While the sphere of orange light stayed in the corner, more veins of light crept outwards along the walls and disappeared down through the floor, as well as through the door and ceiling, before fading away; JARVIS was making it clear he was also doing his other requested task as well, and Tony felt relief wash through him that JARVIS would forever be on his side- they would all be doomed if that ever changed. 

Shooting a wink and a salute to the light hovering in the corner, Tony set off to find Odin AllFather, King of Asgard.

***

He got turned around three different times and had to backtrack twice before JARVIS seemed to take pity on him and lead him in the right direction with little flashes of light at the turns he needed to make. 

Tony mumbled a quiet thank you but found himself at the door of the throne room far too soon. 

Taking a deep breath, he straightened his shoulders, raised his chin and pushed out his chest just enough that it would give him a larger presence, before pulling up his devil may care smile and strolling into the throne room like he owned it- it was an easy feat, really, given his background, one he’d perfected years ago. 

He immediately found himself pinned under a steely eyed gaze, power practically radiating off of the man on the throne, and Tony had to work harder than he would have liked not to bow under the weight of it. 

“So,” Tony said conversationally. “You’re the King of Asgard?”

Odin watched him for a moment, scrutinizing in his silence, before saying in a voice that boomed with thunder and crashing hooves despite its quietness, “I am. And you, mortal? Who are you to stand before the King of Asgard?”

Tony felt himself tensing beneath the condescension in Odin’s voice, and rose his own slightly to reverberate through the room. Tony knew what game this was, and he could play it well; he wasn’t one to lose. 

“Tony Stark,” he drawled. “Iron Man, Hero of Earth, if you will. I have a proposition for you.”

Odin looked rather unimpressed, but made a ‘go on’ motion with his stupid gold scepter, so Tony did. 

“I want Loki exonerated of all past crimes, and given to Earth under my power for reformation to answer for his most recent actions against my world.”

Odin stared at him for a long, silent moment, brows shooting up in surprise, before he actually... snorted , looking amused. 

“That is an absurd request, but for the sake of ridding of any confusion before it may arise, my answer is no.”

Tony nodded- he’d expected this when he made the decision to start making demands from the King of Asgard.

“I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to reconsider. And here’s why; in return, I’ll grant you something you’re desperately going to need if Plan A doesn’t work- allies.”

“Why would I need to ally with Midgard?” Odin asked, tilting his head in a way that said he was still more amused by the foolish little mortal than he was serious. 

“Well, not just us; Jotunheim too.”

That at least caught Odin’s attention, urging him to sit forward and narrow his one eye on Tony with suspicion. 

“What do you know of Jotunheim, mortal?”

“Not much,” Tony admitted. “But enough to know about your little stunt when you took Loki from that temple. Enough to know about bloodlines and Kings and puppets .” 

At that, Odin stiffened but made a tense gesture for him to continue. 

“I did a little bit of digging, when I first found out about what Loki was; who, where he was from, what he could do, and what I found most interesting was the fact that you just happened to find the one boy that would be your connection to Jotunheim’s throne later down the road- I’m not stupid, and despite what you seem to believe, neither is Loki. He’s just as brilliant as I am, but due to your actions, he’s rather emotionally compromised , if you will, which is the only reason he’s not standing beside me at this moment. He would do something rash, something that would make it so I couldn't guarantee your cooperation.”

Odin had gone still, eye focused intently on Tony, fingers curled in a white knuckled grasp around his scepter. 

“You think you can guarantee anything, mortal?” Odin asked softly, scepter turning ever so slightly to point the tip at Tony. 

Tony grinned, cold and unyielding. “I know I can,” he said with a nod. “See, you’re going to give me what I want because you can’t afford not to. Don’t, and I’ll pop on over to Jotunheim and see what they think of you stealing their future King and raising him to hate his own kind; don’t, and I won’t tell you who is coming for you next; don’t, and I personally will make sure none of Asgard will be able to flee when he comes; don’t, and I won’t hesitate to travel the realms to ensure you have exactly zero allies in the upcoming war. Don’t , and you lose everything .” He gestured outward with his arms on that final word and JARVIS, already a step ahead of him, flared brilliant orange light to life around him at the same time. 

Odin was standing now, scepter clutched so tightly it looked painful, eye burning with fury as he snarled, “You dare threaten me and my realm, mortal-”

“Oh, I dare ,” Tony snarled back, grinning with far too many teeth. “And it’s not mortal anymore.” 

Odin was silent for a moment aside from his heavy breathing, eye fever bright and wild, scepter raising threateningly and flashing with gold magic that was quickly engulfed in a soft orange glow, neutralizing it before it could do any harm. 

And then, Odin AllFather, King of Asgard, slumped back into his chair and bowed his head, defeated.

“What are your terms?”

***

It took a lot longer than Tony would have liked to broker a deal, but he came out of it satisfied and with a stack of papers clutched to his chest. 

His phone beeped twice just as he was leaving the throne room and barely a second later, he was smacking into the chest of a harried, frenzied looking God of Mischief.

“Ow,” Tony complained. “That’s really not fair, you know. I can’t teleport.” 

“Are you hurt?” Loki demanded. Tony shook his head no, about to open his mouth and say he was fine , but was interrupted when Loki smacked him upside the head instead.

“Well, now I am!” Tony grumbled, rubbing at his head. 

“You idiot!” Loki snapped, fingers curling tightly around Tony’s bicep- and in a flash of green, they were back in Loki’s room. 

“Oh, yeah, great way to talk to the guy who just earned you your freedom.”

Loki actually paused, looking utterly confused. “What?”

“Odin has exonerated you of all past crimes.” 

“Pardon?” 

Tony hummed and nodded, satisfaction and pride warming his cheeks. “Under contractual obligation, of course, but as far as I know, a mage’s oath is binding.”

  Loki frowned in confusion. “You-”

“Not a simple feat, I’ll grant you, but I’ve always loved a challenge. You see, after signing, he has not only officially, hm, forgotten any and all of your past crimes, he’s also agreed he has no form of control over your being as he previously may have as your King, given you were only acting as Prince of Asgard under false misconceptions about your heritage.” 

“How did you-”

Tony smirked and shook his head. “Ah-ah, I’m not finished yet. Where was I? Ah, yes, the misconceptions. It was quite difficult, trying to come up with something while your scepter was becoming intimately familiar with my internal organs, but the answer presented itself rather easily when I remembered your more icy side: diplomatic immunity. While some of your past actions were rather detrimental to Asgard, you aren’t actually of Asgard; in fact, you’re a royal from another realm. Admittedly, it was a bit difficult to parse out the details given some of the things you have done specifically to harm Asgard, but he is a weak and unjust King, powerful only in his power over others. Which is why, in order to truly...mm, seal the deal, I have allowed him one personal boon from one of our enhanced Avengers, of my choosing.. The finer print, which he did not in fact read, as I expected, was that this person is allowed to deny or accept the request at their own leisure, and that said request is still counted as the boon whether it’s accepted or not. If said enhanced Avenger can and will be me since I am technically enhanced now, well. It’s not my fault he didn’t ask.”

Loki was silent for a moment, processing, before asking slowly, “...what else does this contract entail?” 

“Oh, yes, that.” Tony nodded. “He is not allowed to harm- physically, mentally, or emotionally- you or anyone even remotely close to you, whether family by blood or by nature, friends, alliances or even acquaintances, me of course- or any of my team or loved ones- directly or indirectly. He also cannot convict or punish you for any crimes unless Thor, Frigga and I have also met with him and discussed the issue at hand and agreed unanimously with his decision. Should he break this contract in any way, his own magic will kill him.” 

Loki bit his lip before asking, voice soft and hesitant, “And how does this contract end? Surely it cannot last forever, given our immortality.” 

“Oh, it doesn’t.” Tony grinned. “It ends when his life does.”   

Loki was silent for a moment, long enough for Tony to start to worry that he’d done something wrong, before Loki started to laugh in delight and threw his arms around Tony. 

“You’re brilliant,” the god murmured, pressing kisses to Tony’s face. 

“Oh, I’m more than that,” Tony said with a smirk. He pulled back just enough to toss the contract onto the nearby desk and then reach into his pocket, closing his fist around the small item there and pulling it out to show Loki, whose eyes widened almost comically. 

“Is this…” Loki breathed out softly, awe in his voice. 

“It is,” Tony nodded, letting his fingers grow lax around the glass container that was glowing a soft orange color. 

“We’ve got our first Gem.”



Chapter Text

As Loki ushered his lover to the bed with demanding kisses and deft fingers, his mind could not help but wander; this situation was far too similar to the first time they had done this, lips harsh and passionate, tongues fighting for dominance, teeth clashing, hands wandering aimlessly to map out absent paths on the others skin, leaving trails of fire in their wake; nothing but arousal and heat and urgency. 

This time, though, this time was in celebration; this time was about much more than mere lust. This time, they were celebrating their victory over Odin, their relief, their love, and that only served to make it that much sweeter. 

***

The first time they fell into bed together, it was a mash of limbs and a fight for dominance.

The second time, they were in a small supply closet at some respectable charity event or another. 

The third time was in the limousine on the way back to Anthony’s home. 

The fourth-twelfth were whenever Loki and Anthony alike were both able to slip away from their rather intense schedules for a little bit of fun. 

The thirteenth was when they both realized neither had bed another in months. 

The fourteenth was gentle and passionate, far more so than either of them had ever truly deserved, though that didn’t stop them from enjoying it anyways.

The fifteenth was when they finally said it, curled up together, sweaty and sated in the aftermath of their pleasure.

It was Anthony who spoke first.

He was curled comfortably within the bracket of Loki’s arms (and some more primal, possessive part of him felt this to be exactly where Anthony belonged), his head pillowed on Loki’s chest, Loki’s fingers drawing lazy patterns across the tanned skin of his back and occasionally digging in to massage the firm muscle there.

“I think I love you.” 

Loki couldn’t help but stiffen, woefully unprepared for the truth in the confession and the warmth that swept through his chest afterwards, heating him to his very core. He waited for the panic, for the fear, for the anger upon his own realization that he loved this mortal back but...it never came. No, instead a soft sort of contentedness washed through him and settled into his very bones, the feeling of home far too intense to ignore. 

“Well,” Loki murmured finally, tightening his arm when Anthony began squirming to free himself because Loki had taken too long to answer. “That is a rather good thing, then, because I think I love you too.” 

Anthony’s head shot up, eyes wide with hope and hesitance, before he laughed in delight and threw himself onto Loki, whose breath was forced from his lungs at the sudden weight with a soft whooshing sound. 

“By the Norns, what was that for?” Loki asked once he’d caught his breath, despite the fact that they were both well aware that he knew exactly what that had been for. 

“Oh, you know,” Anthony answered with a beaming smile. “You loooooove me,” he sang. 

Loki snorted. “I’m starting to rethink it,” he grumbled, though his arms tightened around Anthony of their own accord, revealing the teasingly uttered lie for what it was. 

“No you’re not!” Anthony grinned merrily. 

Loki sighed, though he couldn’t stop the corners of his lips from twitching upwards. 

“No,” he agreed. “I am not.” 

Anthony’s pleased smile only widened, and he pressed closer with a content hum, shifting around until he’d managed to lie on top of Loki completely; until they were pressed chest to chest, Anthony’s elbows bracketed on either side of Loki’s head, his fingers combing through Loki’s hair in a rather calming motion- enough so that Loki allowed his eyes to close and felt himself drifting, a feeling of safety forged from the knowledge that he was truly and utterly loved by the man before him, claimed in a way he wasn’t certain he had ever been by another before. 

Loki had almost fallen asleep when Anthony spoke again, voice hushed to match the calm, dark atmosphere. 

“Did you ever think you would get something like this?”

Loki opened his eyes and gazed up at his lover, watching the shadows of moonlight dance across his face, taking in the openness of his expression, the soft, lovestruck look warming his eyes, and found himself momentarily struck speechless at the strength of it. 

When he was able to find his words again, they were spoken with a softness that surprised even himself.

“I am over a thousand years old, you know,” he reminded Anthony gently, watching his reaction intently. 

Anthony sighed, face falling slightly. “I know.” He made to roll off of Loki, but Loki helf firm, not letting the other man escape the circle of his arms.  

“Which is why it is so special to me. No, Anthony, I did not ever think I would get something like this.”

“But…” Anthony looked lost for a moment, and so very young that it made something in Loki’s chest clench almost painfully. “You’ve been married before, haven't you?”

“I have,” Loki hummed and nodded his agreement. “And I will not lie to  you: I have loved my past wives- I still do, as the mothers of my children. But I have never loved another as I do you; as I live and breathe, you are my one and only. You are absolutely brilliant, and you do not hesitate to use it to your advantage. You challenge me. You fight and you tease and you spit your words like sharpened weapons. You vex me like none others have, and it only makes me love you more. You make me think, Anthony, and it is rare that I find a mind like yours that can.”

Anthony smiled like the sun and leaned down to press a kiss to Loki’s lips. 

“You sweet talker, you.”

“Well,” Loki teased. “I am known as the Silvertongue for a reason.”

“Mm, more than one, I think,” Anthony said with a smirk and a lewd wink.

“Oh, well there is that as well,” Loki agreed. 

Anthony laughed and slid down until he could lay his head on Loki’s chest again, their legs tangled together beneath the sheets, pressing them together so wholly that there was not even an inch of space between them. 

Again, there was silence before Anthony spoke again. 

“I don’t want to leave tomorrow.”

“Oh, don’t fret, my love. You will not be gone long.”

“Long enough,” Anthony grumbled and tweaked Loki’s nipple in protest. 

Loki snorted and soothed a hand down his lovers back, pressing a kiss to the mop of curls atop his head. 

“Be happy we were able to spend these past nights together, at least- it is quite rare that our schedules align to give us as much.”

“I know, I know. Trust me, I do, and I’m more than grateful for it. But…” Anthony’s voice trailed off, softened, before he finished. “But I’ll miss you.” 

Loki’s heart surged with happiness and he couldn’t help but smile even though he knew Anthony couldn’t see it. 

“Oh, my sweet, I will miss you too. But I promise I will be waiting here for you the moment you return. JARVIS has agreed to alert me when your flight lands so I may be here. I already have plans to celebrate your return; candle light dinner, dancing, a walk on the beach, stargazing.” Loki held his lover closer with a content sigh when he felt Anthony smile against his chest, before pausing. “Ah, remind me where you are going, again?”

Anthony sighed, pressed a kiss to Loki’s chest and then snuggled even closer before answering. 

“Afghanistan.” 

***

They lay together in the aftermath, curled around one another, limbs entangled, hearts beating together, just...breathing.

Anthony was quiet, long enough that Loki thought he may have fallen asleep, before the other spoke, voice soft. 

“Loki?”

“Mm, yes, darling?”

Anthony was silent for a moment before asking hesitantly, voice small in a way that did not fit, “Do you think we’ll win?”

Loki took a moment to parse this over, rolling the question around his head, knowing his next words would be much more important to Anthony than he would ever let on. 

“I think,” Loki began slowly. “That the Mad-Titan has us backed quite thoroughly into a corner, and that he is planning on using that to his advantage.” When he felt Anthony nod his agreement against his chest, Loki continued. “However, I also believe this will be his downfall. He believes, because of our predicament, it will be an easy win. He will bring the battle to Midgard if he can because he believes he will not have anyone to challenge him; he is of another world, after all, and has yet to see the tenacity of the human race. You people are quite stubborn, and much stronger than he will account for.”

“Oh?” Anthony hummed softly, looking up at Loki with curiosity in his eyes. 

“Oh, absolutely,” Loki agreed. “Because of your shorter lifespans, you mortals are forever growing, manipulating, changing. You are not content with mediocrity and you dislike being complacent; you strive to improve and it is because of this that you evolve. It is because of this that you will win. He has backed you into this corner, entirely clueless as to how truly dangerous you can be when you do not have a choice.” 

“Well,” Anthony murmured in a teasing tone. “You can’t really count me in with those mortals anymore, y’know.” 

“Oh, I know,” Loki hummed and nodded. “But you belong to them, and they to you. You will fight for them because you are a representation of who they are . You are all of the best parts of humanity, and you will win because it is your only choice. And one day, in the near or distant future, you will lead them into a new era. This, Anthony, is who you are and this is why you will win.”

He felt more than saw Anthony’s smile, and couldn’t help but hold his lover closer. 

“We have a lot to do y’know. Getting the Soul stone is the first step; it’s what’s gonna have to set our plans in motion,” Anthony pointed out. “Now, our only choice is Plan A.”

Loki hummed and nodded; there was no point in arguing, not when he knew it to be true. And as much as he dreaded what was coming, he knew the end result would be well worth it. 

“Yes, we do,” Loki agreed easily. “But we must enjoy this while we can have it. For now, let us have tonight. Tomorrow, we will worry. But tonight...tonight is for us.” 

Loki tilted Anthony’s head up with a gentle finger beneath his chin, pressing a soft kiss to his lover’s lips, relishing in the heat of Anthony’s body pressed so thoroughly against his own, warming him to his very core. 

Anthony hummed, soft and pleased, the sound vibrating through his chest and into Loki’s, and Loki merely held him closer. 

Yes, tonight was for them. 

Tomorrow, the worry and the fear and the panic would come crashing down upon their shoulders, along with the doubts and the unease but here, in a soft bed warmed by their bodies, the moonlight shining her smiling face upon them, and the fresh-apple scent of the air sweeping in their open window, here there was nothing but Anthony Stark and Loki Laufeyson laid bare to one another, love in their hearts and fire in their souls and an ironclad will to survive cradled between their interwoven fingers.

Chapter Text

Tony looked around in distaste. 

Turned out, Svartalfhiem was kind of ugly. Not really because there was a lot of ugly stuff to see, but more because of the lack of stuff. 

As far as he could see there was only dirt, a slim smattering of dead trees, and a few randomly stacked rock formations framed by a gray, sunless sky. 

Turning his gaze back around, he couldn’t help the shudder that ran through him at the sight of the dark entrance of the cave, wide open and pitch black and practically screaming do not come in here

“Perhaps you should wait out here, my love,” Loki murmured, resting a hand against the small of his back, concern shining brightly in his eyes. 

Tony thought about it for a moment, really truly thought , eyeing the cave warily even as he leaned into the warmth of Loki’s hand against his back. 

Okay, so it was a cave. Anyone who even kind of knew him knew about his issue with caves. They were damp, dark, cold and oh yeah , he was kidnapped and tortured in one for three very long months. On his bad days, those memories could still drive him into a panic at the very least, and render him completely unaware and incoherent at the worst. On his good ones, he didn’t even think about it anymore and only occasionally felt a vague sense of discomfort because of the weight of the reactor that used to reside in his chest. 

So no, they weren’t his favorite place to be. 

But in the end, the fear of letting Loki go in there alone far outweighed the fear of the cave itself, and he found himself shaking his head before he’d even fully comprehended that. 

“No. We go in together or we don’t go in at all,” Tony said resolutely. 

Loki watched him for a moment, eyes narrowed and intense, searching his face. He seemed to be having some sort of internal debate- and if Loki tried to leave him out here alone, Tony would withhold blowjobs for a year - before nodding to himself and saying tersely,

“Very well. Should you change your mind, you must tell me before we enter. My magic will not allow me to teleport you out once we are inside.” 

And that was just all well and dandy, but Tony had no intentions of changing his mind. 

However, he couldn’t help but find his curiosity piqued at the new knowledge. 

“Not that I plan on leaving you in there alone, but why won’t it?” He asked. 

“The cave will neutralize it. As soon as we step past the threshold, it will bind my magic within me so I cannot use it.”

Tony hummed and nodded in understanding before another thought occurred to him. 

“So...how, exactly, will we get it? I don’t imagine we can just waltz inside and take it.”

“I am...unaware of the specifications of this journey. Only two others have attempted this journey. Only one returned, severely lacking in sanity and coherency.”

Tony felt the beginnings of dread curl unpleasantly in his stomach, thoughts racing faster than he could sort them out, a cold sweat breaking out on his palms. 

“Well that sounds...unpleasant,” he offered weakly. 

“Oh, I have no doubt it will be,” Loki nodded grimly. “But...if we stand any chance against Thanos, this is the only choice we have.”

Tony nodded and then took a deep breath, steeling himself before he waltzed forward with a bravado he didn’t feel, stopping at the mouth of the cave before looking over his shoulder at Loki, who stood frozen a few paces behind him in surprise. 

“Well then,” Tony grinned broadly. “What are we waiting for?” 

And then he stepped inside.

Some irrational part of him expected something terrible to happen- maybe his feet would find nothing but air and he would fall for an eternity; maybe some huge monster with a thousand teeth would pop out and try to eat him; maybe he would just spontaneously explode and that would be the end of it. 

But, none of that happened. 

No, he just found himself...standing in the dark cavern, feet on solid ground and eyes struggling to adjust. 

He turned back around, waiting, eyes settling on Loki, who hesitated for a brief moment before stepping inside with him. 

A faint red shimmer washed over him, and Loki looked distinctly uncomfortable, going stiff and tense, before it faded into nothingness, leaving them alone in the dark once more. 

Tony felt unease shiver down his spine as Loki stared down at his hand like he expected something to happen, before the god said tensely,

“My magic has been bound.” 

And they’d both been expecting it, they had, but that didn’t make the knowledge any easier to cope with. Now, they were completely unarmed in a dark, possibly magical cave. 

Tony nodded to himself, pulled in a deep breath and reached backwards, knowing Loki’s hand would find his, and didn’t move forward again until his boyfriends fingers were twined firmly with his own, locking them together. 

Staring into the darkness, only vaguely able to make out the shadowy blobs that made out the walls of the cave, he took one step forward, and then another and another until they were both moving steadily forward. 

They didn’t speak, neither of them daring to break the heavy silence that had fallen around them; all there was for them to do was keep walking, and even that started to get difficult after a time, weariness starting to set in and quickly morphing into exhaustion the longer they walked. 

What felt like days but could have only been a couple of hours later, Tony caught sight of a dimly lit door as they rounded a bend in the path.

Something like deja vu niggled at the back of his mind but he ignored it, letting his fingers slip from Loki’s as he rushed forward, fingers scrabbling at the metal handle to get it open; in his urgency, he didn’t even think to peer through the small rectangular slat in the door, too anxious to get in. 

What he saw froze him in his tracks, fear like ice water and electricity shooting down his spine. 

To the right was a flimsy cot with a small fire pit in front of it; directly in front of him was a multitude of metal tables and to the left, a large bucket of murky water. 

Breath beginning to wheeze in his suddenly tight chest, he slowly made his way towards the table directly in front of him, steps slow and shuffling, completely empty except for a crudely made metal face mask; one he recognized all too well, one he remembered pounding into shape with a hammer and cooling in water, one he remembered dropping down in front of a thin doctor who eyed him with hope and pride. 

With shaking hands, he reached out towards the face plate.

His trembling fingers had barely brushed the metal before he was assaulted with the sounds of screaming and gunfire, flames and burning coals and car batteries and missiles flashing violently across his vision and he couldn’t help but let out a startled yelp and scramble backwards so fast he fell ass first into the dirt, his heart pounding so hard in his chest he felt dizzy with it. 

“Loki,” he gasped out, still crawling backwards, eyes squeezed shut against the dizzying array of images still plaguing him, the sounds still grating violently in his ears and leaving him so panicked, he could hardly draw a breath in past the vice of fear clenched around his chest. “Loki, Loki, plea-”

He was cut off as he fell backwards, the ground beneath him vanishing, and he wasn’t even aware what he had fallen into until the icy water was closing above his head, his breath trapped in his lungs as the water pressed oppressively against his chest. 

He tried to claw his way upwards, to get up, to get out , but no matter how hard he swam, he couldn’t find the top. 

Distantly, he could hear voices screaming at him in a language he didn’t understand but he knew them, he knew that language, those voices, and his vision was graying out, diming, his heart still pounding painfully, rapidly, but he couldn’t breathe and everything hurt, muscles spasming with phantom electricity and oh god, he can’t breathe , please, someone, please

And just as suddenly as it was there, the water is gone but he still can’t fucking breathe. 

His eyes flew open (when did he close them?) and there’s...nothing. He’s surrounded by absolute blackness , and the voices are gone, and the water is gone, and it’s so oppressively silent that he can’t even hear the blood rushing in his ears despite still feeling his heart pound in his chest. 

He’s floating, he’s floating and there’s nothing, just darkness and pressure and silence and he thinks maybe he’s been here for days, months, years, decades, and just as he thinks he’s fading, that's it, he's dying , he’ll be safe and gone, he’s spat out onto solid ground. 

He doesn’t even realize he’s not breathing until he’s heaving instead, folded onto his hands and knees on the hard rock of the cave, sobbing in between painful heaves. 

The contents of his stomach are expelled onto the ground and he’s only saved from collapsing into the puddle of sick by clammy, shaking hands grasping at his shoulders and pulling him backwards against a familiar, trembling body. 

His fingers curl in Loki’s shirt, refusing to let go, and he cries and cries until he’s too exhausted to cry anymore, to do anything but lie listlessly in Loki’s arms. 

Loki sits with him, saying nothing until Tony has calmed and when he does speak, his voice is rough and raw sounding. 

“Anthony,” he murmurs and Tony looks up at him with dry, swollen eyes, too numb to feel much of anything at all. “Anthony, Look.” 

Distantly, he takes in Loki’s haggard, disheveled appearance, his red rimmed eyes, the sweat tracking clean trails through the dirt on his face, and wonders absently how he looks. It can’t be much better.  

Slowly, Tony’s eyes travel from Loki’s face to his shoulder, following the line of his outstretched arm and finally lowering further to settle on his hand. 

Nestled in the palm of Loki’s hand, trapped within a small glass container, rests a softly glowing red gem. 

 

 

Chapter Text

It is dark out, by the time they find their way back to their home on Midgard. 

Dark and dreary, rain pattering gently against their windows, soothing in its soft, melodic fall. 

Anthony had not spoken a word of what he saw, and neither had Loki; he did not tell his lover of the Void and the darkness and the ice and the Other, of Thanos on a world unknown, of silence and fear so intense he could hardly breathe past the weight of it on his chest, of threads in his lips and poison and snakes and children. 

It was quiet but for the rain, and they sat in silence, curled together beneath the blankets, not saying a word, not needing to, held close in one another’s arms, trembling but safe. 

Silently, Loki reminisced, his mind turning inward, a hand stroking soothingly up and down, up and down Anthony’s back as he did. 

It was another time, of course, but just as heavy. 

Distantly, he thinks it was raining then, too. 

*** 

Anthony could not lay on his back, anymore; not for long, at least.

The reactor was too heavy to allow him that. 

“Starts pressing in weird places,” Anthony had said with a pained smile. “Makes it hard to breathe.” 

Now, he slept sprawled across Loki’s body, his glowing chest resting warmly against Loki’s torso, head pillowed on Loki’s chest, ear resting directly over where his heart pounded a steady beat. 

It was probably soothing, Loki mused. Anthony had always been a rather tactile person, but now it varied- sometimes, he wanted (needed) to be touching Loki, whether it be holding hands, tangling their legs together under the sheets, or simply twining their pinkies together when in public. These times, he would laugh and smile and ramble on about things Loki did not understand, about theories and metals and laws, happiness in every feature. 

Other times, he flinched at every minuscule touch, curled himself into a ball and shivered, and didn’t say anything at all. 

Loki dreaded those days, the ones where Anthony’s eyes would go distant and glassy, where he would lock himself in his lab for hours at a time and emerge smelling of scotch and motor oil, small burns littering his hands and arms, eyes red rimmed and swollen. 

Today was one of those days. 

When Loki had awoken early that morning, Anthony had already been gone, his side of the bed cold and wrinkled and Loki sighed, rolling onto his back and watching the color on the ceiling gradually shift from blue to purple to pink to yellow. 

Anthony had been back for just over a month, and Loki swore he spent more days in the lab than he did with him (and Loki understood, he did, but he missed his Anthony more than he could put into words). 

Still, Loki rolled himself out of bed, showered, and then made his love breakfast, knowing it was unlikely Anthony would have eaten anything at all yet. He had a rather terrible habit of forgetting to eat, and it had only gotten worse since his return from Afghanistan. Before, it would have been because he was immersed in some exciting project or another; now, it would have been because he was nauseated and could not stomach the food. 

However, Loki found himself lost and confused, standing before his lovers lab holding a tray with Anthony’s steaming meal, the glass windows frosted and impossible to see through, the door locked and remaining firmly closed. 

“My apologies, Loki,” JARVIS spoke softly, sounding genuinely apologetic. Loki had talked JARVIS out of calling him ‘Mr. Laufeyson’ ages ago. “Sir has gone on full lock down mode- he does not want anyone coming in.” The ‘not even you’ went unsaid, but Loki heard it anyways, and felt something uncomfortable pulse in the unsteady beat of his heart, a nauseating mixture of fear and concern. 

“He is well?” Loki asked, not entirely sure he wanted to know the answer.

“Sir is...as well as he can be, given the circumstances.” 

Loki nodded, sighing softly, and settled the tray on the ground just in front of the door. 

“Please tell him I have left his breakfast, will you, JARVIS?”

“Of course, Loki.” 

“Thank you.”

And so Loki returned upstairs, alone, to eat his meal at their dining room table with the cloud-dulled sunlight filtering in through the large windows, directly upon the chair Anthony had claimed (the rays hit that spot just right, Anthony had said one day when Loki questioned his lovers insistence in sitting in that particular chair. Warms me up, you’re too frosty, he had uttered with a grin, and Loki tickled him until he caved). 

After he had cleaned his mess in the kitchen, Loki curled himself into one of the plush armchairs in their living room, tucked into a corner near one of the windows, and pulled one of his favorite novels out of his pocket dimension, settling himself in for a long afternoon of reading, the rain still pounding away at the windows. 

He quickly lost himself in the words, pausing only long enough to send a flicker of magic into the kitchen to prepare a cup of tea and float it out and into the living room, unwilling to leave his chair once he had found a comfortable spot, too immersed in his novel to bother with such trivial things as walking

Loki was not entirely sure how much time had passed, but the next time he looked up, Anthony was sprawled over the couch directly across from him, hair sticking up in every direction, clothes singed and splattered with oil and other miscellaneous things Loki would rather not attempt to identify, dark smudges beneath his half lidded eyes, a mug of steaming coffee cradled carefully between his hands, a soft smile delicately tugging up the corners of his mouth. 

Loki took in the look of his lover with a warring mixture of worry and fondness, carefully folding his book back into his pocket dimension and curling his fingers around the mug hovering near the armrest of his chair, taking it with him as he went to stand between Anthony’s spread thighs, reaching a hand out to his lover to absently smooth down the disastrous locks of hair. 

“You have been ignoring me, lately,” Loki mused, soft and casual, void of the accusation and hurt he almost desperately found himself wanting to voice. 

Anthony gazed up at him, lips curling in faint amusement, head tipping back to rest against the cushions.

“Have I?” Anthony asked loftily, a smirk in his voice. His eyes traced slow, burning pathways down and then back up Loki’s body suggestively. “Perhaps I’ll have to make it up to you, then,” he murmured, tongue darting out to wet his lips, and Loki felt a hot flare of irritation bubble up inside him at the attempt to turn his attentions elsewhere. 

“Or perhaps,” he said stiffly. “You would care to explain why .” 

The poor attempt at seduction faded and Anthony sighed, facade dropping, running a hand tiredly through his hair, gazing up at Loki like he may very well contain the answers to the universe. 

“Why indeed,” Anthony murmured, his eyes burning fever bright when they met Loki’s again. 

Abruptly, Anthony stood, putting himself face to face with Loki, pressing a delicate kiss to the corner of his lips before stepping around him and shifting his mug to one hand so he could tangle his fingers with Loki’s and lead him towards the stairs. 

“This does not look like an explanation, Anthony.” 

Anthony shook his head, but did not stop walking. “I don’t know how to tell you,” he admitted grudgingly. “But I can show you.” 

Well, Loki supposed that would have to do. 

And, he would admit to finding himself rather curious. Anthony very rarely locked himself in the lab for so long unless it was important, and Loki had always found his lovers creations terribly fascinating. It was part of Anthony's appeal, after all. The man was quite literally a genius, and Loki admired his intelligence just as much as he admired the man himself. 

Soon, Loki found himself standing inside the lab, looking around curiously, passing over the empty coffee mugs and glass bottles littered across every flat surface they possibly could, a twinge of concern tugging at his chest, before his eyes landed in the center of the room. 

It was beautiful .

It was elegance at its finest, made up of smooth lines and clean edges, strength writ in its hardy yet stunning appearance, gleaming brilliantly beneath the white lights of Anthony’s lab, it’s center glowing like Anthony’s blue-fire heart, an incredible testament of his creativity and craftsmanship; the mark of a true creator, a life builder, a genius. 

Carefully, Loki dragged his fingers across the cool metal, eyes wide in fascination and awe. 

“This is why…” Loki trailed off, unable to take his eyes off of the beauty before him. 

“This is why I’ve been, ah, ignoring you, yes,” Anthony confirmed with a nod. 

“What is it?” Loki asked, finally turning to face his lover. 

Anthony grinned sharply, something cold and dangerous hovering at the cracked edges of his sanity, red and gold reflecting brightly in his eyes as they settled on his creation.

“My revenge.” 

***

Loki remembered it as though it had been yesterday, the look of determination sparkling in Anthony’s fever bright eyes as he had explained to Loki exactly what it was for, and how he had first come to craft it. 

In a cave, with a box of scraps, he’d said. 

And now, looking down at the fitfully dozing man in his arms, Loki could not help the cold grin from spreading across his face, his own cracked edges struggling to mend beneath the weight of terror and destruction roiling through his mind. 

Upon witnessing, once more, the strength and tenacity of his lover, witnessing his brilliance and his will, Loki could feel something building in his chest, unfamiliar but far from unwelcome.

Hope. 

Loki allowed his eyes to fall closed, holding his lover closer. 

Anthony would win. He would wreak havoc, and he would win; he was not one to be idle, he was far too forward thinking for that. No, Anthony was brave and strong and brilliant and so many other things Loki could not even begin to name, but above all, Anthony was fiercely loyal to those that were his. His planet, his people, his lover. 

Anthony would win for all of them. 

Slowly, Loki drifted, his lover cradled in his arms and a mantra in his head, soothing him to sleep. 

‘What is it?’ (what will you be, Anthony?)

My revenge….my revenge….my revenge….



Chapter Text

Hello everyone! 

This isn’t a chapter update, no, and I apologize for that.

I want to start off by saying this fix is NOT abandoned- however, it is going to be on hiatus until around mid-late November. 

I recently took up a second seasonal job, so I am incredibly busy and haven’t really found the time to write as much as I want to. 

So my goal is to get most, if not all, of this finished before I start posting again. 

I want to reiterate, this is not abandoned and I have every intention of continuing- in fact, I was so inspired by the ending that I skipped past a few chapters just for the sake of writing the final chapter. 

If you have any questions or concerns please, don’t hesitate to ask! 

Thank you all for your patience and support!