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 Mannaz: Rune of Humanity, Rune of Individuality. Mankind, Identity of self, and community. Can help build social bonds. Usually associated with the Midgard Serpent.

~Isa~

It had been Jormungandr who had caught him when he fell. He supposed it was luck that his son had noticed him and had been able to react quickly enough to save him before he hit the solid surface of the water that was Midgard’s ocean, especially since his underlings didn’t know who he really was.

He had been unconscious when he had broken through Midgard’s atmosphere and hurtled towards the surface. When he awoke, he had freaked out. The sound of some sort of contraption and the sight of a bare, white, unfamiliar room, after the last thing he remembers is falling through the void, did nothing good for his nerves or to make him feel more comfortable.

But the sight of Fenrir, in his human form, sitting next to his bed, smiling at him, made him calm down and realize that perhaps he was safe. With one of the sons he had saved, one of his children he had managed to rescue from Odin’s prisons. After all, if he was not safe, why would his son be here? Seeing Fenrir, after all that had happened on Asgard, made him wish, once again, that he hadn’t had to go back, that he could’ve just stayed with his children, and rescued Sleipnir, too.

“Mother,” Fenrir said, smiling at him and putting away the rectangle devise he had been looking at. “We were wondering when you were going to wake up. We’ve been taking turns watching you, though it’s been hard to keep anyone from getting suspicious.”

“Fenrir,” Loki breathed, sitting up, eyes focused entirely on his son’s face. “Fenrir.”

“Careful. It was a hard fall; would’ve been harder had Jormun not caught you.” Fenrir leaned forward to push him back down. Loki’s hand clasped down on his, as if afraid that he would leave him. Instead of doing that, however, his son simply smiled and turned his hand to clasp them together. “Don’t worry, mother. It’s okay.”

He relaxed marginally. After a moment, he managed to glance away from his son, for a moment, to take in the foreign room once more. “Where …?”

“The SHIELD Helicarrier.”

“SHIELD?” That sounded familiar. Did he know what that was? Most likely, if his son worked for them. But … there was something else, wasn’t there? Something to do with … Thor? Suddenly, Loki inhaled sharply and his body stiffened. Thor, right.

Fenrir squeezed his hand, looking a bit concerned. “You need to rest, mother. Whatever happened in Asgard is over now; you can start over now.”

“Jormungandr and Hel?”

“They’re here, too. Jormun is the director of SHIELD, so he is unable to come check on you as often as he would like. Hel comes as often as possible, though. Actually, she and I have been taking shifts.”

“Shifts? How long have I been out?”

“Two days.”

His eyes widened. “Two--!”

Before he could finish, the door suddenly opened. White it was a relatively quiet while opening, Loki still jumped, head swinging around to face the intruder. However, upon his gaze landing on them, his eyes widened.

“Fenrir!” a soft, sing-song voice came from the woman in the doorway, softly closing the door again. “Jormun wants … Mom!” Her voice trailed off for a moment before he started again, jumping at the man in the bed. She climbed onto the bed, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Mom, you’re awake! Are you okay? You’re awake and not dead, so that’s something, right?”

Loki smiled down at his youngest while Fenrir sighed exasperatedly. “I am fine, Hel. Just a bit confused.”

Hel grinned. “Don’t worry! We’ll explain everything!”

“But first, he needs to rest some more. Then we can explain everything.” Fenrir said before Hel could start. Likely, she would’ve literally started explaining everything.

The woman pouted, but crawling off his lap obligingly. “Fine. By the way, Fen, Jormun wanted you for something. He wouldn’t tell me what.”

Fenrir nodded. “Very well. I’ll go see what he wants. Come, let’s leave mother to his rest.”

~Isa~

The next time Loki woke up, he was alone. No Fenrir or Hel or even Jormungandr sitting by his bed side. For some reason, he felt strangely lonely and sad about that.

Sitting up slowly, he looked around the bare room. There was another door opposite the one that his children had left through and when he finally got off the bed, with minimal problems, thankfully—he had been a bit worried with the way Fenrir and Hel had been acting—and opened the door, he found a full bathroom behind it.

He smiled and took a shower, lounging in the hot water, letting it soothe his muscles. Let it wash away all of the problems and troubles and worries that had been plaguing him since before Thor’s coronation. At least until it started to turn cold. Then he stepped out and quickly dried the water off of his body and conjured up clothes for him to wear.

He stopped in the doorway of the bathroom, gaze running over the room, searching. But he saw nothing to consume his time and didn’t see any reason to just stay there until his children came back. Besides, he was curious about what this ‘SHIELD Helicarrier’ looked like.

When he opened the door to the quarters he had been lodged in, he saw a metal corridor stretching to both sides. People in black uniforms, usually with guns visible on a holster attached to their belt, were walking past, all of them were giving him weird looks, but none of them said anything as he picked a direction and started to explore.

It continued in a similar fashion for quite a while—with people walking past him, obviously wondering who he was, but not saying anything while he ignored all of them and explored place he was in—until he made it into a place that was obviously a training area. Inside, there was a man standing at one end of the room shooting arrows at a target on the other end. The target had several arrows already in it, a couple had been split in half by another arrow.

Loki stepped farther in, letting the door close behind him. The man tensed, then spun around and aimed the knocked arrow at him. He frowned.

“Who are you and how did you get on here?”

Loki only shrugged. “I just woke up here. Decided to explore a bit.”

The man’s eyes narrowed. “You’re the one that Phil was watching over, aren’t you?”

It took a moment for him to realize that he meant Fenrir before he nodded. “Yes, likely.” The other man nodded, lowering his bow so that the arrow was no longer threatening to launch at him, not that he was really worried about it. The other man was only mortal, after all, and he was much faster and more resilient than mortals. “If you don’t mind, who are you, then?”

“I asked you first.”

He smirked. “That you did. Very well, my name is Loki.”

“Loki, huh? Weird name. Were you from?”

He only smiled, deciding not to answer. Instead, he motioned for him to answer the question himself. After all, it doesn’t work as well if he doesn’t tell him his name after just stating that he asked first.

“Not gonna answer? Fine. I’m Agent Clint Barton, codename Hawkeye.”

“Why Hawkeye?”

Agent Barton grinned. He lifted his bow and aimed at the target again, he looked at it for only a second before letting the arrow loose. It flew straight and true until it split another arrow in half and lodged itself in the middle of the target. “That’s why. I can hit any target I want without missing.”

“Impressive. Especially as your kind seem fond of just pointing in the general direction of something and hope it hits it.”

“Thanks.” Barton grinned, seemingly proud of being different than the rest of his species. But then the other man frowned. “What do you mean ‘your kind’? You make it sound like you aren’t one of us. … Oh! Oh! Are you some kind of awesome mutant? Or an alien? We had an alien, recently. But we didn’t get much time to really talk to him and learn things, so it would be really awesome if you were an alien! The scientist would sure love it, anyway.”

Loki smiled even though he was alluding to Thor having been here. He wasn’t used to anyone, other than his children, being excited about him being there, to wanting to ask him questions, to wanting him to show them how to do things that they didn’t know how or just flat out couldn’t do. In Asgard, he was always shunned when he dared to show off his magic, dared to spend all his time with a book in front of him, dared to not act like a typical Asgardian warrior.

Yet here, this man, this human, this mortal, seemed to encourage it. And not even for himself. Perhaps he would like it here, on Midgard, if all of the humans were at least a little less self-absorbed than those on Asgard.

“I am from the realm of … Jotunheim, actually.”

 “Jotua—where?”

“Jotunheim. It’s a cold, desolate place that was ravaged by war over a thousand years ago. It’s where the Frost Giants live.”

“So you are an alien! … You don’t look like a giant.”

Loki smiled ruefully. “I am rather small for my kind, yes.”

“Well, you’re taller than average here, so that’s something, right?” Clint grinned, walking across the room to retrieve his arrows and put the still intact ones back in his quiver while discarding the rest of them. “So how did you end up here, anyway? I’ve been trying to figure it out, but Fury wouldn’t let anyone other than Phil into the room where they had you and they did a pretty good job about blocking off all other entrances and surveillance, so me and Nat haven’t found anything useful yet.”

“Nat?”

“She’s a friend. Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow. She’s been helping me try and find out about you, but there is nothing! So what’s with it?”

Loki shook his head. “Not much, I’m afraid.”

“Then you won’t mind telling us what there is,” a female voice stated.

Loki tensed, looking up to see a red-haired woman in the rafters, looking down on him. He frowned, wondering how long she had been there. And why she was up there. She smirked at him before letting herself fall from the ceiling to land on her feet next to Barton.

“Natasha Romanoff.”

Loki smiled, inclining his head. “Nice to meet you, Lady Natasha.”

“You as well, Loki …” The woman raised her eyebrow expectantly, but Loki just smiled at her, as if he didn’t know what she was hinting at. He could tell her a number of things, a number of names that would work, but at the moment, he wasn’t sure what he wanted it to be. And there were things he needed to talk with his children about before he told these mortals his full name anyway. For now, ‘Loki’ would be enough.

After a moment, the woman relented with a slight incline of her head. “Very well. Are you going to tell us your story?”

“Hmm. No, I don’t think I will. That would be much too easy.”

Luckily, after a bit of gripping on Clint’s part, the two let it go. They offered to show him around so that he would know where everything was, instead of just wandering and wondering what it was that he found. This weird, flying—he was told—fortress was certainly big enough, and yet, from the inside, it seemed very compacted, as if it struggled to make room for everything.

Eventually, they made it to the main control deck. It was filled with agents sitting in front computers and an entire wall of windows in the front. A table sat near the door, with a panel of screens on either side of the center stairs that led down into the computer areas.

A dark skinned man with an eye patch over his left eye stood next to these panels, watching them as they entered the room. Loki, immediately recognizing who he was, smiled softly at him. A twitch of his lips answered him.

“Agents Romanoff, Barton, I see that you found our newest recruit.”

“So, that’s why he’s here!” Barton exclaimed.

Loki’s brow arched. What this organization was had not been explained to him. Fenrir and Hel had said that they would explain it, but he hadn’t seen either of them, and he hadn’t asked either Clint or Natasha. And he still didn’t ask as Jormungandr nodded. He would know eventually, without showing these mortals that he didn’t know something.

“Yes, Barton. Thank you for showing him around, but now we need to get some more official things done.”

The two agents must’ve took that as the dismissal it was, since they turned around and walked back out. Jormun gestured for him to follow him and led him to an office. Once the door was closed, he actually smiled, more than just a tilt of the lips, and hugged Loki briefly.

“Mother, I was worried about you.”

“I know you were, Jormungandr. The other two, as well.”

“Have they explained everything?”

“Not really. Only that you caught me and that I am on SHIELD’s Helicarrier. But I am not overly sure what ‘SHIELD’ is.”

Jormun nodded, then he began to explain that SHIELD, or Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division, was an espionage division dedicated to protecting the order of the world and keeping the truly terrifying threats away from the general populace. Which meant fighting back against what was called Supervillians whenever they popped up and tried to take over the world, or whatever their end goal was.

Loki scowled as he remembered his recent failed plan to destroy Jotunheim. Undoubtedly, he would be counted as one of these supervillians, as he did attack a village on Midgard. Would his children throw him out as his not-family may have well as done back in Asgard?

“Mother?”

“You may want to call Fenrir and Hel. I don’t want to have to explain twice.” He didn’t really want to explain once, but it had to be done.

Jormun frowned, but immediately pulled out a rectangle device, similar to the one he had seen Fenrir with earlier, and started pressing on the screen for a moment before putting it away. “They should be here soon.”

Loki nodded, leaning back in the chair he was sitting in. He couldn’t help but feel apprehensive about the upcoming conversation. How would his children react to his actions? They knew something must have happened since he fell, and whatever they know about what happened with Thor when he was banished here. He didn’t know what they thought of that, but so far, they didn’t act any differently towards him, besides the comforting him and whatnot when he woke up after his fall.

He didn’t want to have this conversation at all, but they needed to know.

Jormun was right. Hel was the only one to ‘text’ back, according to Jormungandr, seemingly only seconds after he had sent the message, but both of them appeared in the room relatively quickly, considering the fortress seemed to be rather large.

Hel grinned when she spotted him, hopping over to hug him. “Mother! You’re up!”

“I have been for a while, sweetie.”

She sat down in the seat next to him while Fenrir opted to lean against the wall on his other side.

“I ran in to Barton and Romanoff. They said that you were with them and they showed you the Helicarrier,” Fenrir said, smiling. Loki nodded. “That’s good. They are good friends and allies to have. Plus, they both said they liked you.”

“I liked them, as well. Clint seemed … excited that I was, he called, an ‘alien’.”

Fenrir snorted while Hel giggled. Jormun only shook his head. “Yes, Clint has been like that since Uncle Thor came here. For some reason, he wants to know what it’s like to know an ‘alien’.”

Hel grinned. “Just wait till he knows that he actually knows three, now four! He’ll flip, especially since you’re his boyfriend, Fen!”

Loki’s brow arched. “Boyfriend? For how long and why didn’t I know about it?”

Fenrir’s cheeks seemed to get a tint of pink to them as Hel leaned forward, as if to give their mother all of juicy bits that he sadly missed while on Asgard. “Oh, just about a year or so. He wanted to keep it quiet for some reason, since Clint doesn’t even know who you are and would wonder where you came from if you showed up—that was the reason he gave, anyway. But I kept threatening to tell you, but I never got to actually go through with it! How sad is that?”

“Hel!” Jormun interjected. “You can gossip later. Mother wanted to tell us what happened on Asgard that resulted in Uncle Thor being here and then him falling here.”

“Right!” Hel sat back, looking at Loki expectantly.

Loki sighed, nodded. “Very well.” After a bit more hesitation, something that was unusual for him, he began to explain everything that happened before, during, and after Thor’s coronation. He explained his plan to make sure that the All Father saw that Thor wasn’t ready for the throne and how it had succeeded in making Thor angry enough to attack Jotunheim. He explained what he found out while on the frozen realm, as well as the conversation with Odin in the weapons vault after Thor’s banishment but before Odin fell into the Odinsleep. He explained how he had panicked while acting as regent King of Asgard and had a desperate need to prove himself to the All Father. He explained his fight with Thor on the Bifrost Bridge.

He explained how he fell.

He kept it brief, not wanting to go very deep into detail of his shame, but he got the feeling that they could tell how he felt about everything, despite having tried to keep the explanation objective and void of any real feeling on his part.

When he was finished, he found himself with a lapful of Hel, with her arms around his neck. Both of his sons came over and laid a hand on either of his shoulders. He felt something relax in him. They weren’t rejecting him. He still had some family left.

He wrapped his own arms around his daughter, feeling his eyes stinging. It was silent for several moment, as they sat there, with Hel in his lap and his face buried in her shoulder, feeling his two sons at his back, as he tried to stop himself from crying. But no matter how hard he tried, tears still escaped.

He was glad that no one else was in the room, though he still felt ashamed that he let anyone, even his children, see him this weak. He was supposed to be the strong support for his children, not someone who needed support.

“It’s okay, mom. You still have us. We don’t care that you’re a full-blooded frost giant. The Aś considered us to be monsters, too, remember. But that doesn’t mean they’re right. It only means that they are jerkwads who don’t know anything.”

“It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, anymore,” Fenrir added. “We can get past it. You can have a second chance here, on Midgard, like you gave to us. We can give one to you, now.”

“You will be an agent of SHIELD, if you want,” Jormungandr concluded.

Loki smiled, lifting his head to be able to see all of his children, looking at him with compassion and concern and love. He nodded. “I’d love to.”


 

The metal man was interesting, despite the dreadful color scheme. He flew around without a care, seeming completely at ease inside a flying metal suit that shouldn't have been allowed in the realm of the birds. If Loki was to judge correctly, he would’ve said that he didn’t even care that people were shooting at him.

Or the buildings that were catching on fire.

Loki smirked, watching the metal man—he was told that he was called Iron Man in this metal suit, but he liked his name better—defeat his adversaries in a way worthy of himself, though not anyone else on Asgard. He so did love watching someone use some finesse in defeating their enemies.

“… were several casualties, but no deaths. Several thousand dollars’ worth of property damage. So far, Stark hasn’t made any indication to paying for the damages,” Fenrir rattled off, sounding like an artificial thrall for the lack of infliction.

Loki blinked, glancing up to see both of them watching him. Jormungandr was giving him a look.

“Why are you showing this to me?”

“Stark doesn’t like any of the agents I’ve ever sent over there,” Jormun said before Fenrir interrupted him.

“And we don’t feel it would be prudent to subject any others to Stark’s presence. Even when dealing with his assistant, it always ends up being … stressful for them.”

“So you decided to send that newest agent with little knowledge of Midgard to deal with the most technology savvy mortal?”

“We figured you two would get along pretty well, since you are basically the same on Asgard.” There seemed to be something amusing behind that deliberately blank expression, but Loki was too busying frowning at them to ask about it.

~Isa~

Stark Tower was the capital of narcissism. From its faintly phallic shape to the name of its owner glowing on the side. It would make any who walked by think of the man who built it, and the man who built it would be filled with selfish pride at the permanent addition to Midgard’s capital city that literally spelled his name.

Loki loved it.

If only the name on the side was his own.

Walking inside, he noticed that the interior of even the lobby was just as extravagant as the outside. He wondered what the upper floors looked like. Since Stark lived on those floors, surely they were even more expensive than the bottom floor.

When he asked the receptionist, she directed him towards the elevator and told him the floor he would most likely find a Miss Potts, who was, as he was told before he was sent here, the CEO of Stark Industries as well as Tony Stark’s personal assistant. Or, former personal assistant, Loki was unsure which that would be since she was now running his company.

When the elevator finally got to the specified floor, he stepped out and walked down the corridor until he found the office with the name Virginia Potts, CEO on the sign right next to the door. The door itself was ajar, and he could hear voices coming from inside. Slowly, he pushed the door open, causing it to creak as most doors, annoyingly, did.

Both occupants froze, turning around to look at him. Loki smiled at them. He saw the brunet man that his children had shown him a picture of, named Tony Stark. The blonde woman on the other side of the desk, therefore, must be Virginia Potts.

“Hello, can I help you?” she asked.

“Yes, I’m Agent Silver with S.H.I.E.L.D. You must be Miss Potts and Anthony Stark,” Loki said, holding out the file folder towards Stark. Since the man was here, why not have him sign all of the paperwork?

“Tony, and I don’t like being handed things,” Stark said, glancing between the folder and Loki.

Loki arched a brow, stepping closer so that the folder nearly touched him. “I don’t care what you do or do not like. Take it, it is for you, anyway.”

“Nah, I’m good. Pep’ll take it, though.”

Eyes narrowing at the challenge issued, whether he knew it or not, Loki reached out, faster than the mortal could stop him, and grabbed his wrist, forcing his fingers around the folder before letting both go. Stark glared at him, though Potts seemed to be laughing behind her hand. At least Stark didn’t drop the folder.

“You’re from S.H.I.E.L.D.? What happened to Coulson?” she asked, not bothering to even look at Stark as he complained about the ‘evil, mean agent who had no business in his Tower’.

Maybe this is why Fenrir wanted someone else to come, if he had to deal with this every time he came over. How often was that, anyway?

“He had another thing to take care of, so he sent me. Apparently, I have to get to know how different things work in the organization.”

“Oh, you’re new?”

“Aye.”

“And they sent you to deal with Tony? You must be either promising or unfortunate for that to happen.”

“Hey!” Stark complained while Loki laughed. “I’m not that bad!” Potts only smiled at him. “Do I really have to sign all of this? Why can’t the bad guys pay for once?”

“Because they’re dead, Tony. Now just sign the paper and maybe Agent Silver will leave you to your toys in your lab.”

Stark grumbled, but he did grab a pen and signed the papers saying he would pay for all of the damages from his most recent fight. Loki smiled when he was handed back the folder. He opened it to make sure everything was signed correctly and in the correct place.

“Thank you, Mr. Stark, for your wonderful cooperation.”

“You are very welcome, Agent Silver,” Stark said, just as sarcastic as Loki had been.

Loki turned to Potts and bowed his head. “Thank you for letting me butt in for a moment, I shall take me leave now.”

He turned to leave, and even managed to walk out the door, but before he could reach the elevator again, Stark had jogged up to join him, having managed to escape whatever conversation he and Potts were having before.

“You’re not so bad, for a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, anyway. Not so bad looking, anyway.”

Loki raised a brow, giving him a once over as they both got into the elevator. “Thank you, Mr. Stark. Though if you are looking for a conquest, I hear there are cheap whores on the street corner.”

“Ouch! I don’t think they would thank you for calling them that, they to hate that name, and they aren’t that cheap, actually. The free ones are at the bars.”

Loki barked a laugh. “Are they? I wouldn’t know.”

“Virgin?”

“Uninterested in easy whores who may have contracted something.”

“Ah.”


 

After handing Fenrir the signed papers stating Stark would pay up, Loki managed to escape down to the S.H.I.E.L.D. science labs. There, he expertly dodged all of the little scientists running around everywhere, and made a beeline for the one he was most familiar with.

Jane Foster’s lab.

Surprisingly, after waking up on Midgard and getting used to being around mortals, Loki and Jane had become friends. Of course, Hel had dragged him over to meet her best friend and there had been some bumps, considering he had destroyed the town she had been staying in and had almost killed Thor—he almost mentioned that he did actually kill Thor, it wasn’t his fault that he managed to get back up again. But as soon as he gave any indication of interest and actual knowledge on her work, all grudges against him had been put aside in favor of learning a few things, though he refused to tell her everything, and she preferred to work it out for herself.

They actually got along fairly well.

He swept into the lab with an offering of cookies he had pilfered from one of the break rooms. Both girls in the room look up from what they were doing, one standing in front of one of the monitors, the other sitting on one of the tables with her smartphone in her hand.

“Hey, Loki,” Jane said before going to back to examining whatever was on the screen.

“Hey, cookies!” Hel said, reaching out for the plastic box in Loki’s hand without bothering to get off of her perch. Loki rolled his eyes, but obligingly brought the treat over and set it where both girls could grab them.

“Lovely to know that I am wanted.”

“Oh, hey, Loki!” Hel said right before she stuck a cookie in her mouth. Jane giggled before taking one herself.

He walked over to peek over her shoulder. He only really knew the magic side of her science, but he was learning how mortals did things—it really wasn’t that hard to see what was supposed to mean what, though those damned numbers seemed to be everywhere. But at least he knew enough to help her get close to making an Einstein-Rosen bridge.

At least, help as much as either would let him.

He pointed at the screen. “That’s wrong. ... That as well.”

She cursed, marking each spot as he said them. He would only ever tell her if something was wrong, not which part, exactly, or why. She wanted to figure it out on her own, and he refused to tell her, anyway. Though, he was sure she was using his explanations on magic to help her research.

Once he had found all of the errors he could find for the moment, he hopped up on the table next to his daughter to eat the cookie he had grabbed out of the box. He dimly wondered what they would do when the one who had gotten them in the first place realized that they weren’t there anymore.

“You free tonight, Loki?” Jane asked.

He bowed his head. “I do not having anything I must do, no.”

“Good! ‘Cause we’re having Girls’ Night tonight!” Hel exclaimed, finally jumping off the table and dragging both of them out the door.

~Isa~

In the end, they managed to get Natasha to come with them. Clint refused to come, even when Loki offered to change him into a female, like he did for himself. Fenrir only laughed when the archer managed to get himself slapped by all four of them using only his mouth.

After a quick stop at the market for supplies, all four girls picked a seat in Jane and Hel’s living room and made themselves comfortable. All of the lights were out, so they could only see by the light of the fire Loki had made appear over the table in the middle of all of them.

“Clint really should’ve thought before he said no,” Hel said, holding her marshmallow spit over the fire, dangerously close to the flames.

“What did you expect? We called it ‘girls’ night’,” Natasha said, rotating her own marshmallows over the fire, a bit further away from the flames. “Boys tend to be too concerned with their masculinity.”

Jane giggled from her chair, where she was keeping a careful eye on her own ‘mellows.

Deeming her white, cushy, apparently edible treats perfectly warmed up, Loki tipped his spit until they were directly in the flame. She smiled when, after she pulled them out, both marshmallows were on fire, which was quickly spreading to the other side. Once it was completely blackened, careful not to cause it to completely ruin them, Loki blew out the fire and proceeded to place it on top of a section of broken off chocolate and squished both between gram crackers.

She eyed it curiously before taking a bite.

“You love it?” Jane asked, watching him.

Loki grinned at her before taking another bite.

“So, Loki,” Nat started suggestively. “I heard that you were sent to deal with Stark earlier.”

That caught both of the other girls’ attention, as both immediately looked up from what they were doing. Jane only looked curious, but Hel grinned viciously, arching a brow.

“Tony Stark? He’s hot!”

“Isn’t he a bit old for you?” Jane asked, giving her best friend a look.

“What’s that gotta do with anything?” Hel asked while Loki snorted. If only she knew.

Loki looked back over at Natasha, who was giving her an expectant look. She only raised a brow, finishing off her s’more. “So? They wanted me to get out and do something. Supposedly it was to help me get familiar with the workings of the Division.—“

“By sending you to Stark?!” Natasha asked incredulously.

“—But I’m pretty sure Coulson just didn’t want to deal with him this time,” Loki continued as if she hadn’t been interrupted.

“Is he that bad?” Jane asked, finally getting her marshmallows off the spit and onto the chocolate and gram crackers.

Natasha let out a barking laugh. “’Is he bad’? That arrogant prick is impossible to deal with! I even had a hard time not putting a bullet between his eyes when I was undercover as his PA. I have no idea how Pepper does it.”

Loki snorted. “I like him.”

Nat gave him an expression that seemed to be a cross between betrayed and disbelieving. “You’re joking.”

She shook his head. “He’s interesting. Though I’m not sure how he feels about me, since he seemed to have mixed feelings.”

“What happened?” Hel asked, sounding like she wanted juicy gossip. It occurred to Loki that it should be weird to be talking boys with her daughter, but they were both much older than the other two women in the room and they were already past awkwardness in that type of conversation. She supposed it didn’t help that she had been unable to raise her properly.

“Did you know that he doesn’t like to be handed things?” He got two head shakes and a nod. Natasha looked like she wanted to start laughing, likely knowing where this was going. “Well, I forced him to take the file I needed signed instead of handing it to Miss Potts. He spent most of the meeting glaring at me, though he did sign the documents with little fuss.”

“No fuss?” Natasha asked, disbelieving. “How did you manage that?! He never does anything work related without throwing a hissy fit!”

Loki shrugged. “He just did. Afterwards, he rode the elevator down to the lobby with me. He didn’t seem to be that angry about it. We had a lovely conversation about my sexual status.”

Hel gasped. “You like him!”

“I believe I already stated such.”

“No, you like him!”

Loki raised a brow as all three girls started giggling. She wasn’t entirely certain she knew what they were laughing at, but she could take a guess. Though she still didn’t see how it was humorous. But she let them laugh for a few minutes before she let a smirk cross her face.

“At least I will have night to remember while the rest of you have to do without.”


 

A few weeks later, Loki was called into a conference room by Jormungandr. He had been in the middle of a card game with Clint, who had interrupted the actual work he had been doing before. But since it was paperwork, he gladly let the archer distract him from it. They both agreed that if someone came it, they would claim they were doing research together.

Luckily, it had only been some lower agent who came in, so Loki hadn’t bothered to hide the cards.

The agent didn’t tell him why he was being summoned, but he told them he would go anyway. Clint gave him a sympathetic look and told him that he was unlucky to have to work. Loki ignored him, leaving him in his office—which the archer had been jealous of; apparently it was odd for someone like him to have an office—and going to find the meeting room he was supposed to be in now.

He paused when he opened the door. Instead of just Jormungandr and some random mortal, he found both of his sons—that were on Midgard—as well as Stark. After a moment, in which Stark grinned and gave a little wave, Loki stepped inside the room, closing the door behind him, and headed to an open seat next to Fenrir.

Stark pouted. “You don’t wanna sit next to me?”

Loki raised an unimpressed brow. “Why would I want to do that?”

Stark opened his mouth, likely to complain, loudly, but Jormungandr cut him off before he could. “Stark! You were the one to request that he be here, but I will not hesitate to send Agent Silver away if he is a distraction for you.”

Loki mock glared at his son, but didn’t bother to say anything more.

“Oh, come on, Nick! No need to be so grouchy. We’re all friends here!”—A nonplused look crossed Jormungandr’s face while Fenrir snorted—“And friends joke around.”

“You can ‘joke around’ when you leave my facilities, after we go over what I want you to do.”

Loki tuned out all of the whining Stark did while Jormun proceeded to try and get him to listen to his proposal. He wasn’t the only to do so, as Fenrir discretely got out his smartphone and started to play some game with different shapes and colors aligned in columns.

While trying to act like he was actually paying attention, Loki watched his son play his game for several rounds before it, finally, sounded like the other two where wrapping up. Fenrir put his phone up and they, both, assuming the other did as well, tuned back in to the conversation.

“Yeah, whatever, Nick. I’ll have it done went I can,” Stark said, sounding bored. So much so that it was almost as if he wasn’t really paying attention to what was coming out of his mouth.

“We would like it done as soon as possible, Stark.” Jormungandr sounded like he had been saying that the entire time, from how frustrated he sounded.

“I know.” Stark stood up, moving to leave the room, but he turned back and grinned at Loki. “See ya, Silvia! You should come over to my place sometime, but this time without all the boring paperwork.” The smirk on the billionaire’s face left little to wonder what he meant.

Loki only gave him a blank look. “You may wish to fall asleep and dream, Stark, for only there will you find me.”

Stark pouted. “That hurt.” But he did leave, so Loki counted it as a success.

Jormungandr sighed when the door closed behind him, rubbing at his temples. “Why does he have to be so difficult all the time? That took double the time than it should’ve.”

Fenrir gave a shrug, like trying to say ‘what can you do’. “Well, on the bright side, I beat your high score in Bejeweled.”


 

“Hey, Sylvester!”

Loki blinked, looking up to see Stark sitting down on the other side of the table he was sitting at. Behind the billionaire, people kept looking at him. They seemed to be trying to subtly sneak glances at him, but as far as Loki was concerned, they failed. He frowned, setting down the book he had been reading. “Can I help you with something, Stark?”

It was Loki’s day off, something that his children seemed to think he should take to look around the city and get to know Midgard better. He was doing that, a little. After all, he was sitting in a coffee shop called ‘Starbucks’, surrounded by mortals in the middle of the city. But he didn’t feel any need to go much beyond that.

Admittedly, he much preferred to stay around S.H.I.E.L.D. with the few friends he had there. Why should he have to learn more about this realm when he had everything he needed where he already was?

Though, he was a wanderer and loved to look around for new and different things he wasn’t used to seeing. But it had only been a month since he landed on Midgard after falling from Asgard. He was still getting used to living on the mortal infested realm, he didn’t need to go out, alone, into their world, just to get lost and frustrated by what he saw with only mortal strangers around to sniff divisively at him if he didn’t know some common thing.

But, here he was. As far as they could get him to go away from his apartment.

“Nah, just wanted to say high, since you were here and all,” Stark replied, seeming much too happy to see someone from an organization he supposedly hated.

“Hello …”

That at least got a snort and an eye roll. “Yep! Anyway, what are you doing all the way out here? A little far from all the official government facilities, isn’t it? Is that book official at least? Some juicy file one someone?”

Stark was obviously staring at the book cover and no-so-subtly trying to open it to look inside. Loki let him. After all, it was just a novel he had picked up at a bookstore. Or, rather, Fenrir had picked up at a bookstore for him.

“I do not have work today. But, yes, it is an official book. It even says when it was published.”

The other male made a face. “Oh, ha ha. You get day offs from S.H.I.E.L.D.? I thought it was a work until you drop kind of job.”

Loki shrugged. “If they do not, then they forced one of my vacation days on me. Or are they the same thing?”

“Vacation days, too? Damn, I never knew. Maybe I should look into getting a job there, if they have all these benefits.” Stark didn’t look all that serious, though maybe that was just the way he had his mouth around the straw as he was saying it.

“Iron Man doesn’t have good benefits? Oh, what has the world come to?”

Stark laughed. “I know, right! Say, you really are much friendlier than all the other agents—“

Loki raised a brow. “I rather doubt many of them would agree with you.”

“—Do you actually have a name? Other than agent, that is?”

Loki was silent. This odd mortal, who had seemed content to not know his name, or even say the one he did know if his earlier nickname was anything to go by, was actually asking his name, and thinking he was good company? He just stared at the mortal, who was looking at him expectantly.

“Loki,” he finally replied. “Loki Silver.”

“Loki, huh? Odd, but I like it! Anyway, Lo-Lo, you wanna go get a drink together sometime?”

Loki stared at him. He finally knew his name and he still wouldn’t actually use it? Did all mortals do this? No, Clint and Nat didn’t. Nor did Jane. Perhaps it was just Stark. He eventually held up his coffee pointedly, causing Stark to snort and shake his head.

“No! I meant somewhere other than Starkbucks. Maybe we can add dinner with it, and go back to my place afterwards.” The mortals look very hopeful.

Loki, on the other hand, couldn’t believe that he was being ask on—what did the others call it?—a date. Was he trying to mock him, or did he genuinely like him enough to ask him? He wasn’t deaf; he knew Tony Stark’s reputation. But he also remembered what he told the girls.

Even if this was just sex, Loki would take it. After all, the mortal was good looking enough for it. And it had been so long since Loki had indulged in such carnal pleasures. But if it was just that, why go through the trouble of dinner, as well?

Loki nodded. “Very well.”

The mortal fist pumped. “Yes!”

Even if this was mocking or just a one-night stand, Loki was going to take it. After all, the girls could then be jealous of not having a night with the famous playboy Tony Stark. Especially if he was as good as they say.