Everything around him was touched by the snow that dominated this portion of the world, only hints of other colors spread around the land he was overseeing from his point of view on the small balcony he was sitting on. He could see the plants that actually thrived in this weather about to reach their peak with their rare and coveted fruit, along with the dark brown barn that housed them when stored before being shipped, along with the few animals they had managed to find and tame. He could see the place he had turned into a workshop, the windmill going strong producing power for their home… their home. Those words took on a different meaning now that he recalled fully who he was and all that had passed and he is now faced with a new perspective of his reality and he had a choice to make; to go back or move forward. One might think it's easy, but they would be wrong.
In the beginning…
The lights were soft as he came around, not sure where he was or what happened. He slowly opened his eyes some more and a part of him understood that this was some type of medical facility, but he didn’t recognize any of the equipment around him, and suddenly it occurred to him he didn’t know how he got to this strange place or even where he had been before he got here. He felt his heart rate rise and his hand moved to his chest, where he felt…yes a bandage, it was on his chest. Something stirred inside him and he began to try to remove the bandage, his efforts so concentrated that he didn’t notice he was no longer alone in the strange room.
“It is not advisable to remove the covering,” a soft but firm voice said. “It is good that you are awake,” it added.
He turned his head and blinked a few times, for surely he was seeing things, right? Standing in the room was a tall lean…male? He was dark skinned; the shade of Royal Purple if he was seeing correctly, but the rest appeared to what he believed was normal. “Who are you? Where am I?”
“I am IsTa, I am a Medical Practitioner and I am overseeing you and your mate’s case, since I have the most xenobiology experience on our world. I must admit, you and your mate have posed quiet the challenge, but I am pleased to say both will make a fine recovery,” the male replied warmly, moving closer to the medical bed where his patient rested.
“Mate?” he asked, he reached up to rub his hand through his hair, not sure why, but found a large bandage there as well. “Who…what?” he asked, feeling very confused.
“Let us start from the beginning, shall we. Can you tell me your name?
“Sure, it’s…um…it’s…ah…” he blinked a few times and realized he didn’t know his own name. “No?” he said with a small smirk, not sure why he felt like making it into some kind of joke.
“Hmm, we were afraid of that. It seems that the stasis unit you and your mate were found in was damaged in the crash. Though it preserved your lives, a section was leaking Eferzyfron…”
“F-er-z-fron?” he asked not having a clue what it was.
“Its composition is of no importance at this moment, but it is known that prolonged exposure can affect memory as seems the case. The ships computers were completely destroyed. There was little information we could retrieve from the stasis unit we found you both in. Only that the pair of you were to be delivered to your destination, which is unknown to us, alive and together. The only information we could get beyond that was what we believe are your names, though no distinction on who was who. Does either the name Loki or Anthony mean anything to you?” IsTa inquired.
He wiped his face, letting the words sink into him and realized both names had some sense of meaning, but not quite what. “Loki does sound familiar, but I get a stronger reaction to the name Anthony. Yes, I think that’s me…I think,” Tony replied, scratching the scruff on his face, wanting a shave and something else, but he couldn’t recall what it was off hand. “So does this mean Loki is…my mate?” he asked, not sure if that was quite right or not, but the name meant something, perhaps that was it.
“From what we can gather from what little information we found in the limited stasis unit data storage, you were entangled together, which only a mated pair would be, it is a reasonable conclusion.” IsTa replied.
“I guess I should ask how…they are?” Tony asked, feeling lost and unsure about everything. “And you said something about a ship crashing, do you know what happened?”
“Loki, the one we found with you is recovering, but has of yet to awaken. As for the ship, from what we can tell it was hit by an asteroid forcing it off course. The crew probably made attempts to save themselves, but they all perished in the crash, only you two were we able to save.” IsTa explained. “We also believe you both were heading to your home world, though we know not where that is for medical treatment by the conditions we found in you both.”
“Conditions?” Tony asked, feeling he was missing a lot here.
“Yes, Anthony. From what we could tell in our initial examination, your body was being aggressively attacked by rapid aging, your lifespan was being quickly reduced to a few decades, whereas your mate not as aggressively to a few thousand years. Also, your compatibility was unstable, we believe as a result from the disease that caused the rapid aging, both had since been fixed for both you and your mate. As to the device that was in your chest, a strange item to be sure, it has been removed along with the metal shards we found near your heart. In a few days all signs of the healing process will be gone and you and your mate will be free to leave the medical facility,” IsTa explained
“Ah, um…okay,” Tony said, not sure how to take any of what he just heard. “But um, if you don’t know where we’re from or who we are, how are we going to get home?”
“Until you or your mate is able to provide us with such information, you will be placed into the hands of Immigration. They will work with you and your mate to establish what choices are available for you and aid you into finding a way to settle until such information can be achieved.” IsTa answered, moving closer to Tony and removing some of the electrodes that were connected to him. “Since you are now awake, a nutritionist will be by to speak to you about your dietary needs since little is known about either of you, though not to worry. We have had many immigrants from various worlds arrive here and have learned how to proceed so as not to endanger either you or your mate.” IsTa said as he moved to exit the room through what Tony could now see was a sliding door built into the wall.
“Um, okay. Ah, just for the record, where am I? I mean, what is this world called?”
“Oh, my apologies. Welcome to Mirama,” IsTa said warmly and left, leaving Tony really baffled as to where exactly he was, who he was, how he got here, and just who and what was this Loki like? He couldn’t recall having a wife, but then he couldn’t recall what he did yesterday. As he laid there trying to figure out the answers to these questions, he fell asleep.
The next time Tony awoke, he felt a bit scared; for the room was different from the one he recalled and feared he lost some more time again. The sound of soft breathing caught his attention and he turned his head and saw someone in a bed next to him. He tried to sit up, but his chest ached too much, then spotted some type of panel and figured what the hell and started pressing segments on the black and white pad and found quickly what parts of the bed it moved. After a bit of craziness, he was able to get the bed to lift him upward enough so he could get a better look at his roomie. Upon looking at the man’s face, something inside clicked…this was Loki! He couldn’t recall much more than that, but seeing the tall handsome male, Tony began to figure perhaps they very well could be mates and if so, he had excellent taste. After a long moment of staring at the man, he noticed vibrant green eyes staring back at him. “Um…hi.” He said, trying to smile, but still unsure of everything. “I’m guessing that you’re Loki?”
“And you must be Anthony,” the man replied with a voice that stirred something in Tony that tilted the evidence just a bit further that perhaps the alien was right and they were mates.
“Um, yeah. Ah, by any chance do you remember how we got here?” Tony asked, hoping perhaps Loki could shed a bit more light on the situation.
“Only what IsTa has informed me that we were found sharing a stasis unit together. Our names and that whatever ailments they discovered were taken care of. He said the crew perished in the crash and that my mate…you were going to recover nicely. I figured that if we were truly mates it would be to our benefit to be together, so they moved us into this room. I hope I have not overstepped in so asking.”
“No, no, that sounds good, I’m afraid that didn’t occur to me, I’ve been wrapped up trying to recall something from my past, but it’s… like it’s there just…”
“Behind some wall refusing to reveal itself?” Loki asked.
“Yes, exactly,” Tony smiled, glad someone understood. “Have you had any luck?”
“I’m afraid not. I recall my name and yours, I also have the lingering letter “I” and the words Stark and something man at the edge of my thoughts, but they refuse to come clearer.” Loki said.
“Stark……Man…yes, that means something as well and something…I….hmmm,” Tony said, scratching his face and realized he’d had a shave while asleep? “How long was I out? I don’t recall getting a shave”
Loki smiled easily and Tony felt a flutter in his chest. “You were asleep due to the medication in your system. I once again felt the need to speak for us, so I mentioned that I believed you would appreciate your beard trimmed and the extra to be removed, was I wrong do to so?”
“Nope,” he grinned easily back. “I’m thinking Is-Ta or whatever his name is, was right. Though I’m thinking you seem to recall more about me than I do you, for offhand, I can’t recall much other than your favorite colors are green, black and gold…I think.”
“Hmm, I do like green and favor black, though I am unsure of gold,” Loki replied, eyeing the beige gown he and Anthony were wearing and disliking it immensely. “Though at the moment I almost prefer any color compared to these drab fabrics they are using.”
“Hospitals,” Tony shrugged. “What I’m wondering, if we’re really aliens among aliens, then how come we can understand them and they us?”
Loki looked like he was about to answer but ran into the wall as Tony had when seeking answers. “I am unsure, perhaps you can ask when IsTa returns,” Loki suggested.
“I guess,” Tony replied. “I feel off, like something is missing and I know it, but can’t get it back at present, you know?”
“Very much,” Loki nodded. “But I also don’t get a sense of danger at present and I don’t think panicking is going to serve either of us. All we can do is take things one day at a time.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Tony sighed, leaning his head back, feeling a tad dizzy from moving around so much. “I do feel there is something between us, I just…well, I don’t know you, but yet, I feel I do, if that makes sense.” Tony said to the ceiling, not looking at the handsome man in the bed next to him.
“Yes,” Loki replied. “But I felt…drawn to you upon seeing you, so perhaps we just need to take it slow and let whatever it was that brought us together do so again, but no pressure to force that which is not present.”
“Agreed,” Tony said, smiling, feeling pleased that his mate was very wise as well as super-hot!
“Hey, wasn’t some nutritionist supposed to come and interrogate us about what we eat?” Tony inquired.
Loki gave the smile that Tony was quickly finding he adored. “She was here and gone already. I was awake and apparently nowhere near as injured as you, so I was able to answer her questions as best I could and requested that she allow you to rest. They also apparently have a machine that we can use upon our release that will allow us to test any food, item or substance we come across to see if it would react poorly to our system. They just need time to calibrate it to our biological signatures.”
“Uh, seems like a good idea, then I guess the next question is, when do we get fed?” Tony smirked.
“I shall ring for an aide and request our meal,” Loki said, having it would seem, mastered the black and white panel.
Tony laid back and watched Loki…his mate. Perhaps things would be okay after all.
Tony gives a small snort after recalling how this all started here on Mirama, because someone assumed they were mates and because of the amnesia both were suffering from, didn’t dispute it. Tony wipes his hands over his face, having to admit to himself that sure, the doctor suggested it, but like a seed, they both watered and nurtured the idea. Loki took a strong lead in overseeing their recover…well mostly his since the arc reactor had been removed and his entire chest healed in its place not even leaving a mark. Tony was glad they had given the reactor back to him due to not understanding the technology and dismissing it out of hand.
Tony shifted on the chair edge he was using while trying to figure things out, and felt a strong arctic breeze blow across his face and it brought to mind their next big step in trying to adjust to not recalling who they really were and create a life on Mirama while they waited for that information to return.
Three weeks After Awakening (A.A.)…
Mirama was a bit strange in general with all the various purple people walking around, but thankfully there were quite a few other colors of people as well so it wasn’t too bad. Tony and Loki were being driven to the IAC or Immigration Adaptation Center, where he and Loki would live until they found what was considered their “perfect” environment and ways for them to provide for themselves in Mirama’s society.
Tony and Loki had been, as agreed upon, taking it slow, talking, and spending time together discovering each other and themselves all over again. Tony was convinced whatever bond they had once shared, it was still there for he couldn’t resist Loki’s smiles and hoped Loki felt the same toward him. “What do you think it’ll be like?” he asked Loki who sat next to him in the back of the transport vehicle that hovered across the ground as they headed to their destination.
“Boring,” Loki replied, his eyes never leaving the window and the world outside.
“Why do you think that?”
“Because it’ll be like the medical center, plain and simple and we’ll probably be observed constantly since they really don’t know what to do with us,” Loki responded, his poor mood obvious.
One thing Tony had learned quickly was Loki liked his privacy; thankfully he never seemed to mind him being a part of it. But he was right; the hospital folks were almost constantly in and out checking up on them and asking them questions. Tony presumed they were trying to figure things out for them ahead of time to make this transition easier, but Loki was a keen observer of people, another thing he noticed about the man, which meant that Loki was most likely right. Tony also came to understand that while he could deal with people, he was most definitely a tech person. Where Loki could copy instructions given about some of the tech around them, Tony could practically figure it out on his own; it balanced them out in his mind.
“It is me or is it kind of hot out here?” Tony asked.
“I’m inclined to agree with you, Anthony. I noticed their climate is rather hot, but not fully intolerable.”
“Perhaps we should consider a cooler climate since they said we could choose, as they said they had over eight different types of climates here.” Tony suggested.
“Perhaps,” Loki replied then gave a silent sigh. He sat back and turned a tired smile at Tony, which Tony was grateful for, as he could tell Loki understood what he was trying to do. He was even more pleased when Loki took his hand into his own and gave it a squeeze, but never relinquished it during their drive.
Upon reaching the IAC they were shown into the office of Jazaha 252-72-67-9, whom they had met before. “Welcome misters Starkman,” she greeted, both Loki and Tony having agreed it sounded about right to them, thinking the overall name was Anthony I Starkman, from what they were given about themselves.
“Loki and Anthony, if you please,” Tony offered, for Mr. and Mr. Starkman just got too confusing too fast since Loki couldn’t recall his last name at all.
“Again, call me Jazaha,” the woman returned warmly.
That was another thing, most people here didn’t have last names they had numbers that referred to their family, clan, and generation so on and so forth, and interesting way of keeping track of lineage Loki had told him. “So, now that we’ve been given a clean bill of physical health, what’s next?”
“First I will show you the living quarters you will be using during your stay here, then I think a quick tour of our planet to help give you both a sense of what we have to offer here on Mirama.”
“Slide show?” Tony smirked.
“Hardly would suffice, now would it?” Jazaha chuckled. “No, for such journeys I have secured us transport passes. It will allow us to literally travel around our world in minutes, but do to its sensitivity and obvious possible usage abuse, it is restricted. But here at the IAC, in such cases as yours, we get limited access. So, follow me and I will show you where you will be staying. It is just a few floors above here so if you need something you will be able reach to me or one of our staff,” she explained as she led them to a lift.
The lift itself was simple. Stand on the platform and turned the handle in the center. It would hold about five people at one time. The energy barrier was something which sparked Tony’s interest, but couldn’t get anyone to explain it to him, which irked him. Loki advised him to just wait, to let them get to know them better before trying to pull all their secrets out from them. Grudgingly Tony had agreed. But he still had to find out soon why no two lifts either passed each other or had to wait for one to clear, for there are always seemed to be one available and ready for use moments after one was being used.
The apartment was not as bad as Loki had surmised, but it was a bit drab in its simple lay out of a bedroom, living room, bathroom and kitchen. It had a few closets and basic furniture, in browns and white. “We have supplied a few basics for you including some more clothes. Later this week I will show you how to shop for your own items and more about how our system works. For now food and other basics will be supplied, and should you run out of anything you simply just have to ask; there is always someone on duty.” Jazaha explained and gave them a brief tour.
Once more they were on a lift and headed to a secure area in the basement of the IAC building. After Jazaha explained her purpose, the man operating the equipment produced a screen and showed all of the various areas they could travel along a wall panel.
“Can I get a look?” Tony had asked, nodding toward what his mind supplied was a transporter.
“Anthony,” Loki chided softly as the other man said firmly, “No.”
Tony pouted, he was getting tired of being treated like a child, and tech was his calling, why couldn’t they see that? He turned to hear Loki mention that they both would like a cooler climate than the one they were currently in.
“Hmm, we only have three that are cooler. Most like it either hotter or enjoy our current climate. But as your IA Officer, it’s my duty to show you all we have available. We will need some winter coats, if you please?” Jazaha asked of the man behind the machine.
Tony pouted even more as the man operating the system hit a button and a force-field came up around the machine and he went and retrieved three large winter coats. He didn’t even need to hit another switch to get the force-field to let him back into the machine.
“So, coldest to coolest or coolest to coldest?” Jazaha asked.
“Coolest to Coldest,” Loki had replied, not that Tony cared at the moment.
Soon they were off and the first place was cooler due to the rain, which their guide said it did frequently. He and Loki simply shook their heads no, both feeling this was not the place for them. The next place was nice, near an ocean, the area kept cool from the ocean breezes and the many storms off shore that kept the heat at bay. It was a location they agreed to consider. Then Jazaha suggest they place on their coats before she used her com unit and singled for a transport to their next destination.
Here it was covered in fields of snow, the wind giving a soft howl as it blew. There were pine trees or what Tony thought could pass for them, snow blanketing their needles as they grew toward the sky. The area was quiet but not silent nor empty. There in the distance was what could be a white wolf, but twice the normal size if Tony’s memory was right. There were other animals and plants, but what Tony noticed most was Loki’s expression. He watched his mate smile with radiance and moved forward, his chin up, letting the icy wind caress his face and blow his dark raven locks. He then noticed Loki remove his coat with a soft sigh of relief. Tony then noticed he also was too hot with the coat and followed suit.
“Babe?” he said softly having moved up next to Loki.
“I like this place, Anthony.”
“It’s comfortable, which is kind of strange, don’t you think?”
“I am not sure, but I think not,” Loki said as he reached down and swept some snow off a large bush.
“Quava!” Jazaha gasped in delight.
Tony and Loki turned to see their guide move forward and examine the plump silver-white fruit that was the size of Tony’s fist, until she found one that was whiter than silver and picked it. “This has to be one of the most rare and delicious fruits our world produces, if I say so myself,” Jazaha explained in delight. She used a nail and peeled the skin off and the inside was a delightful shade of green and Tony’s mind filled in the word “Orange” as she was eating it like one.
“May I?” Loki asked indicating the fruit.
“Oh, yes, of course.” Jazaha said, her face flushed under her thick hood for forgetting her charges for a moment. “Use the Compatibility Meter before handling anything new,” she advised.
Tony pulled it out of his pocket, the only piece of tech they would give him so far, but only after making him promise not to try and take it apart. He scanned the bush and then the fruit, all indicators came back positive, so he nodded to Loki it was okay. He watched Loki take a slice and slowly wrapped those succulent lips around the soft juicy flesh and sucked a little before taking a delicate bite. It met Loki’s measure as his face lit up on delight. “This is marvelous. Why is it so rare?” he asked as he handed some to Tony who couldn’t place the taste but also found it delightful.
“For one, it will only grow in this type of climate. Our people tried to find various ways to grow them in controlled environments, but they were never half as good and the crop only provide a low yield and then die after only a one harvest…it became too expensive to continue. Finding people who can even tolerate this type of weather for any decent amount of time is also costly since they have to hunt down the various plants as the weather is never good enough to attempt a regular planting…well…for…you’re blue!” she gasped in surprise and took an unconscious step back.
Tony watched as Loki looked down at his arm and noticed that yes, he did turn blue, with crazy sexy white lines all around and his green eyes turned red, but it was still his Loki. Without thought he moved forward and placed his still pinkish hand on Loki’s arm, “I don’t recall what these mean?” he asked, but didn’t listen for an answer as his own arm turned blue as well, but without the white line. “Oh!” he said in surprise.
“Your eyes,” Loki said with his own surprise. “They have gone from a dark brown to a bright yellow, not quite gold.”
“Well, yours have gone my favorite color,” Tony smirked.
“Red?” Loki gasped and reached up as if he could feel the change. He then looked at his arms and again noticed the white lines. “I…I do not know…what they mean, but I think they are part of me…I think.”
“I know one thing, before I was mostly comfortable, a touch chilly but now I don’t feel a bit cold.”
“Frost Giant,” Loki said in a whisper as if a thought had come to him.
Tony grinned. “We’re not very giant.”
“Perhaps that was another reason we were being sent away or leaving? To go someplace where there were others like us?” Loki suggested.
“No idea, but this is rather cool…pun intended,” Tony chuckled.
“You…you are ice creatures?” Jazaha asked in shock.
“It would appear so, though as you saw we can adapt to other climates as well,” Loki replied. “And why are you staring at me?” he asked Tony.
“Just that I thought you were gorgeous before, but now you are… beautiful,” he said softly, in awe of his mate, which he was so glad to realize had to be the truth. It was adorable to see Loki’s cheeks blush at his words, so he made a note to himself to do it as much as he could from now on.
“Well,” Jazaha said having gained her composure and professionalism. “You are both welcome here, but I must advise there is little but what you see. This is probably the warmest it gets in this area, but in several more months no one even journeys here for the temperatures dip way below freezing.”
“We will keep that in mind,” Loki replied. “I wonder,” he said as he got his coat and placed it on along with its hood. After a few moments he changed back to his pale creamy skin that Tony had been admiring from the start. “It seems we are adaptable overall,” he stated. He nodded for Tony to do the same and he did so and watched his own skin turn back to its light tan color.
“We should be heading back,” Jazaha said, her purplish face taking on a touch of blue in its lighter areas such as around her lips and eyes.
“Agreed,” they both replied and headed back to the IAC.
Later that night after a small meal which was delivered to them, Tony found Loki in a chair by the bedroom window, doing what looked like sketching. “What’cha doing?” he asked and sat on the bed as there was only the one chair in here.
“Nothing much,” Loki said in a tone that let him know Loki thought he’d probably find it amusing or make fun of him, which he had no plans to do so.
“Come on, if we are really the mates we believe we are, trust is a big part of it and I can tell it’s important as you’ve spent a lot of time in here,” Tony said, moving and placing a hand on Loki’s arm, hoping they could continue to rebuild their relationship.
“Very well,” Loki said and handed Tony the sketch book he had gotten upon their return. “It was just a thought,” he added in a dismissive manner.
Tony took the book and saw how talented his mate was, for every detail was perfect, and if it had color he would swear he was looking at a photo and not a drawing. “It looks like a farm,” he said as he examined the picture.
“Yes. I thought that since you and I were the only ones off hand that we know of that not only can tolerate that weather but probably thrive in it; we could make our home there. Since Jazaha said that the Quava fruit is highly prized but only grows best up there we could cultivate it into a small business.”
“That is… a brilliant idea,” Tony beamed. “And what is this?” he pointed to a small building off the main house.
“Your workshop,” Loki grinned, a light burning in his eyes as he shifted to show Tony more of the details of his dream. “I know you, Anthony, and you need to tinker and build, and thus you will need a place to do it, right?”
Tony grinned knowingly, “You’ve got me pegged alright. But we’re going to need power, so perhaps we could add…hmmm…a windmill here, hooked up to a storage unit to hold all the electricity it would generate, for there is no shortage of wind up there…”
“Here?” Loki said pointing to the area next to Tony’s shop.
“Yes, but attached so if it needed repairs I could reach it. In fact, we should find out just how deep the snow gets up there, we might have to design around it,” he suggested as Loki began to sketch in the windmill into the picture.
“I can do that,” Loki said with a huge smile.
“Then I think we should find out how their economy works here along with their business regulations if we’re going into the Quava market,” Tony added.
“I’ll have to learn all I can about these plants and their growing cycles and…well everything,” Loki stopped sketching and stared at Tony. “Do you think it might be too much?”
Tony just laughed. “Babe, if this is your dream, then no, it will never be too much.”
“What about your dreams?” Loki asked quietly.
“I’m finding rather fast that my dreams fit perfectly with yours,” he replied just as softly and leaned in and gave Loki what he considered their first kiss; gentle, tender and electric. It ended with a smile on both their faces.
“Yeah,” Tony said, eyes still meeting Loki’s.
“Can we…share the bed tonight…just sleep…I…”
“Would love too,” Tony finished for him. “And I think we won’t do anything until we’re both ready.”
“Nothing to it, if anything I should be thanking you.”
“For what?” Loki asked.
“For finding our home and future.”
Tony looked at his hand, Jotun blue, just like Loki’s and now understood what they doctor meant that time when he said he fixed him to be more compatible with his mate. This also meant that they made other changes to him, and from what he recalled it probably meant he and Loki would be living longer, for now he understood. The aging disease the healer had referred to was his mortality, something the people of Mirama probably didn’t understand since they were so long lived, putting Asgardians and Frost Giants to shame. He had to wonder what it meant to Loki as he just recalled the doctor said he fixed Loki as well. One thing was for sure, it meant they had a lot more time at their disposal; time perhaps to head back to Earth and let everyone he loved and cared about knowing he was alive…if they still lived. He knew how long they had been here, but how long were they gone from Earth before the ship that kidnapped them crashed? And what about the farm…Loki…? There was so much to consider between the memories of the past and the ones of the now, and Tony was unsure if he could get them to mix.
Six months (A.A.)…
The really good part of being an immigrant to Mirama is when they promised to help you get settled they meant it. When Tony and Loki told Jazaha their idea, she was first stunned then delighted to be part of such a grand adventure. While she made the arrangement for the basics of supplies they would need and the funding, Loki and Tony attended classes to help them understand how Mirama’s economy worked and all the basics they would need to know to not only function, but be a productive part of their society. As expected, Tony leaned toward their technology and Loki toward…well, everything else. Tony couldn’t be prouder of how intelligent his mate was and again what great taste he had in letting Loki catch him.
Tony wasn’t surprised to discover Red Tape existed everywhere, but thankfully Jazaha was a whiz in this area and was sharing her knowledge with Loki and Tony for future endeavors. Between the two of them, they were able to provide Jazaha a detailed list of what they would need up in what was referred to as the Kuzey kar*along with the basics the house the government was going to provide them since there was no housing already present there, would need to meet. This of course started another round of Red Tape, since the government only wanted to give them a shack, but with Tony’s insistence and Loki’s ability to sweet talk anyone into his way of thinking, they now had their two and a half story home; rebuild to Tony’s specifications.
Tony was currently triple checking the foundation since it was mainly lift, but needed to be able to handle the weight of the current house and the snow that will be added as time passed. Sure he designed the roofs at a nice slant to keep the weight to a minimum, but he wasn’t going to take any chances. The government wasn’t too happy to provide such a lavished home for them, but again Loki and Jazaha were able to get them to realize the benefit this endeavor would have, especially in the Quava market; which was next to nil at present. The best part was that when Loki was finished negotiating, they wouldn’t have to pay much of anything back towards the funds they were receiving to get this farm off the ground; metaphorically and literally.
At this point, Loki had the house set up in an orderly and organized manner and was currently directing the latest supplies that were being delivered via the transporter that was close but not too close to their home. Tony made a note to himself to close off that area so no one could just pop in, plus it would be good that any future supplies not get buried under a ton of snow or freeze while waiting to be picked up.
“They’ve delivered the supplies for the shed, the barn and the windmill. They said they will deliver the farming equipment and the rest of the mechanical parts once we have a place to store them. I told them to come back next week, we’ll have someplace for it, but I insisted that they leave the plow, for we have to get started soon or we’ll miss this cycle completely.” Loki said as he joined Tony on his final inspection of the house, greeting him with a kiss.
“Sounds good,” he agreed, taking liberty and snagging another kiss from his mate. They hadn’t gone beyond kisses and hugs, and snuggling together from time to time, but things were building nicely for both of them. “Over all things check out,” Tony told him, indicating the house. “I’ve made some notes of what needs to be done before the heavy snow falls in a few months.”
“Terrific, now if we could only get Mazor off our backs,” Loki snipped.
Mazor 124-415-94-45 was from the Overseer’s Office and was a nitpicky bastard according to both Tony and Loki. He was the reason it took so long for Loki and Tony to get the things they needed and only a few laws in favor of Immigrants bringing in new economic bounty – such as a Quava farm that actually stood a chance of making profit by the only two who could not only work the land but thrive, fell under that category, they finally got what they wanted.
“What does the Purple Powder-Puff want now?” Tony asked, for the man had dark purple facial hair that made him look like a powder-puff with eyes.
“He is complaining about the generator specs you designed…again,” Loki informed him.
“What is wrong with this man, the design is solid, but until Jazaha gets it properly patented, the details remain with me,” Tony replied with a touch of anger, which brought a flush to his currently blue face. It seemed when inside and warm they returned to their original forms, but outside they changed so the weather was no bother to them.
“Oh, darling, I’ve explained that to him many times, but a creature with a mind made of sand and rock is never going to understand it. I just figured I’d warn you he was going to be visiting again in the next few days. I suggest we get it up and running so he can gripe all he wants but won’t be able to stop us.”
“As usual, a great idea,” Tony said, once more stealing a kiss, this one lasting longer.
“So,” Tony said after the kiss, which still tingled his lips. “I’m done with the house, supplies are laid in, what first, my shed slash Windmill or the barn?”
“We’ve got a few hours left, I say the shell of the barn perhaps the flooring, so the rest of the supplies will be better preserved,” Loki suggested.
“Sounds good, it’ll also give me time to make some further design on the power distribution. I’m still leaning toward a tunnel connection to all the buildings,” Tony replied.
“Hmm, perhaps. This will be our first winter and from what we’ve researched the snow gets pretty deep. A system preset in place to reach each of the needed destinations would be desired.”
“I’m going to have to give that some though. Also, how are we going to get to the Quava plants if they’re buried under so much snow?” Tony inquired.
Loki smiled the one Tony adored. “That’s the best part. Once I get the land ready and seed the Quava plants, there is little to do for the major part of the cycle until closer to harvest. The snow acts like a blanket, providing the moister they need, but also locks in the heat it needs to germinate as well. By the time I’m needed to intervene, most of the growing is already done. I then will need a way to remove most of the snow, not all, so some sun can reach the fruit to help it ripen to its fullest and then harvest and off to market. If done right, the plants will produce for several cycles at least, with minimum care. The only reason no one else has done this, is the weather at times like now it’s almost too cold for visitors and when the snow will have to be lessened; especially then, it is beyond freezing to them.” Loki replied knowingly.
“We’ve got a few months, and I’ll have something to help with the snow removal by then, I’m sure,” Tony grinned as they headed toward where the supplies for the barn was laid to rest, for it was too cold for the regular people to remain here long. It seemed that besides going blue in the cold, Loki was rather strong compared to…well anyone they’ve met on Mirama so far and Tony wasn’t that far behind. Tony couldn’t shake the thought that this was all new to him, but since it was so ‘cool’ he was totally okay with it. So, between the two, they were able to put the frame work together, and in several hours had the shell of the barn up, the roof on securely and the sides, in progress.
“Storm’s coming,” Loki said as he looked around him.
“Yeah, I kind of figured. If we secure the sides now, we can then get the rest of the items inside, then block the door they should be alright until tomorrow.”
Loki thought about it then nodded. “You finish up the sides; I’ll start moving the supplies in.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Tony said, and grabbed a kiss as he never missed a chance to get one when he could.
Just as the heavy winds arrived, the Barn was up and the supplies inside secured, as were now Tony and Loki in their new home. Loki had a small fire going in the fireplace; Tony was just coming downstairs after a nice hot shower, seeing a nice meal waiting for both of them. “You didn’t have to do that, I would have helped,” he said.
Loki grinned mischievously, “I know, but you were showering…”
“Which I invited you to join,” Tony teased. The flirting between them growing every day.
“And I know how tired you are and so I figured a nice meal in front of a fire and then afterwards…”
“A story?” Tony asked, for there was no connection to any of the electronic entertainments a city would provide, and Tony loved the sound of Loki’s voice; especially when telling one of the few tales he could recall.”
“Dear heart, I have told you all I can remember, perhaps you could share one?”
“Honestly I can’t think of any off hand, but I promise when I do, I’ll share it with you.”
“Deal,” Loki said and they sealed it with a kiss. “How about I read to you?”
“That would be great,” Tony had replied, and then soon both were nibbling their meal and discussing future plans of what was needed to get this farm…Starkman Farm into full swing.
Kuzey kar* (Turkish for North Snow)
Tony stood and leaned on the snow covered railing and oversaw the many changes in the farm since then. The barn had been increased in size, and he could see the large lined lumps in the snow that were the tunnel passages he created so they could travel to any of the buildings, including the now housed transporter at the edge of their property. He could also see the large bumps out in the distance of a large snowy field that where the Quava plants growing, the amount planted triple since that first year. Farther back behind the barn was the Silo, where snow was gathered, melted and filtered into pure viable drinking water, another product of Starkman farms.
Tony snorted, that had been something, his creation based off the need to remove the snow from the plants and a good place to put it, along with the rest he had created during that first year. So much had happened then and Tony could see with his own eyes the results all around him; part of him was full of pride, another unsure how to feel, having been living life without a single thought to anyone back home…Earth.
Eight months (A.A.)
Tony couldn’t believe he had to explain this…again. “Is it more or can you not see the benefit here?” he asked the man that was the bane of his existence as of a late.
“No, I do not see what is so important that you are able to create a gallon of water from snow,” Mazor said harshly, his arms folded over his chest, showing his impatience in the matter.
“It’s more than about making a gallon of water!” Tony snapped.
“Darling,” Loki said as he just entered the workshop area. “Perhaps you might want a third perspective? I suggest Administrator Datshar?”
Tony blinked a bit at his mate, partner and significant other, and then grinned ear-to-ear. “Yes, I think we do,” he said and turned in his chair and within moments a screen lit up with the man in charge of the woestijn* project. Tony simply leaned back in his chair, eyeing Mazor and allowing his Loki to take matters into his hands.
“Administrator Datshar,” Loki greeted politely, but there was a hint of familiarity between them.
“Mister Starkman, it is good to hear from you again. How can I be of service?”
“I thought you might be interested in learning that my husband,” as Loki and Tony started to refer to each other since everyone else treated them as a pairing, “Has made a remarkable discovery.”
“Oh?” the lean lavender skinned man replied, having been the result of a mixed pairing, which was becoming more and more popular on Mirama. “What has he discovered?”
“How to turn large quantities of arctic snow into large quantities of viable drinking water in a very short time, for an extremely low cost,” Loki explained, knowing that now it was becoming clear to the man behind him just what kind of invention Tony had made, and Tony was beaming.
“Truly?” Administrator Datshar asked with clear interest. “The desert areas are suffering and the cost to keep it supplied with water for the people alone are astronomical and bringing in large amount of snow in the past has caused problems…”
“That is because the ice and snow was not filtered, thus the introduction of unwanted bacteria and other organisms not of that region, causing conflict in the land and the people who dwell there,” Loki explained. “With Anthony’s invention, we can easily produce hundreds of gallons if not more with little to no cost, passing the savings on to those in need; that is if you are interested?”
Administrator Datshar beamed. “Send me the figures and how soon you will be ready for shipment, for indeed my friend, Loki, I am most interested.”
“Excellent, we’ll be in touch in a few days with the information, good evening Datshar,” Loki said with a delightful grin.
“I’m looking forward to it, Loki,” the Administrator replied and then the link was cut.
“Ha!” Tony shouted with triumph at Mazor, “put that in your pipe and smoke it!”
“Anthony, darling, don’t be rude, it’s not Mazor’s fault he has no vision, now say good night to your playmate, it’s time for dinner,” Loki said casually, kissing Tony gently, keeping a straight face while in the Overseer’s presence.
“You heard the man, playtime is over, and I won!” Tony smirked as he got up to show the intruder out and follow Loki in.
“Insufferable,” Mazor snorted in disgust. “You cannot go around selling unapproved products, Starkman, and you know it.”
“But you did approve it, dear sir,” Loki said from the doorway. “You said it was just water and not of any real interest to you if Anthony made tons of it since it was not new. Now, if you do not mind, the temperature is dropping fast and I would hate to see you become ill, I’ll have Anthony escort…”
“No, I think not,” Mazor gritted out. “I can see my own way out, thank you,” the man grumbled while grabbing his heavy winter coat and left.
“Huh,” Tony said, trying to keep a straight face. “You’d think the man was outwitted or something?”
Loki chuckled. “I’m sure he’s more than use to it, now…dinner?”
“Yes, dear,” Tony beamed and began to turn things off that were not needed to remain running in his shop and followed Loki to their home. “How is the digging robots working out?”
“Slow, but it does beat us having to do the labor, dear, but you might want to reconsider their alloy for the metal cracks too easily and their energy unit keeps draining too fast.”
“Yeah, but finding a decent alloy so far has been disappointing at best.”
“Hmm, you might just have to create your own then, Love,” Loki said as they entered their home, their bodies shifting upon being encompassed by the heat.
“Yeah, I just might,” Tony agreed, and reached out stopping Loki in his tracks. “By the way, thank you,” he said as he wrapped his arms around the taller man and brought their bodies closer so they could share a deep kiss.
Both men warmed to the kiss quickly, hands traveling to touch the other as much as they could, reluctantly Loki pulled back. “I think dinner first,” Loki said and pulled Tony to the already set table.
“How are the little ones?” Tony inquired.
Loki snickered. “The ‘little ones’ as you put it are fine, as the floor cleaners clean and the dusters dust, but they need to have either some set hours or ways to better control them, for I refuse to wake up another morning with a duster trying to vacuum my hair again.”
Tony laughed, for yes that had been funny. “I’m working on it. I just need to get the place better insulation for the type of wire I have to work with, but soon, babe, I promise.”
Dinner had been good as usual; they ate, talked, planned, laughed and in their own way loved. After cleaning up, they once more snuggled on the sofa together before the small fireplace, finalizing some plans for Tony’s water project. “You are planning on placing a smaller unit than the one we’re going to build for the Administrator on the house, right?”
“You know it, babe,” Tony grinned, looking as cocky as ever. “We’ll not only save money from not having to buy viable water, you won’t have to cook the snow anymore.”
Loki laughed, “I never cook the snow, I simple let it melt, under some heat. But yes, I do believe having filtered water would be best and will make it more compatible for other environments.”
“Plus, let’s not forget it’ll give us someplace to put the snow from the field and where have you and make a tidy profit, that can’t hurt either.”
Loki laughed. “My husband the bread-winner,” he teased.
Tony laughed as well, then leaned over and kissed Loki silent, their hearts mingling more with each passing moment their lips touched. “Marry me,” Tony gasped out upon breaking the kiss.
“But…we’re…” Loki tried to reply, shocked by the sudden proposal.
“Perhaps, but I don’t recall that ceremony so I want another, I want there to be no doubt we are mates, a paired couple…family.”
Loki’s eyes blazed with joy and grinned Tony’s newest favorite smile. “Yes, yes I would…” He didn’t finish as he was kissing Tony once more, then he broke the kiss and stared into Tony’s eyes his own smoldering with desire. “I think, we should go to bed now.”
“I’m not tired,” Tony replied a bit confused at the change of subject.
Loki’s grin changed to lecherous and mischievous. “I know,” he purred.
“Oh…oh!” Tony’s face then shifted to match his husband and once again fiancé. “Yes,” he breathed and leaped to his feet and grabbed Loki’s hand and both rushed upstairs to experience their first night together.
Ah yes, that had been a night to remember and Tony couldn’t keep the smile off his face. Days later they had held a small legal ceremony and were properly married and things only got better as far as Tony was concerned. The H2O Silo was a hit and in the market before the first Quava harvest took place. Within a week of the fruits reaching their peak, Loki had received more bids for them than he had product. Of course, Loki knew what he was doing, and so that even if he didn’t take the highest bid, he took one that would assure even more people would know of Starkman Farm Fresh Quava, and future orders came rolling in. It meant increasing the planting area and more robots to help get things ready and aid in the harvesting and Tony couldn’t have been happier…well, once again, he was wrong.
Twelve and a half months (A.A.)
Tony was beside himself as he paced his shop. Loki had not been feeling well and was now seeing IsTa at the medical facility, but wouldn’t hear of having their home unprotected while he was away. Tony had had to not only build an enclosure around the transporter unit, but security as well after that awful incident about a month back.
Word had gotten out about their farm, and they were raking in the bucks as it were for their unique crop. It seemed that some of the overly well-to-do didn’t like being made to wait another cycle since Loki skipped a private sale for opening the market. That evening a late night howl from one of the arctic wolves, as Tony dubbed them, jolted him awake and it was then that he heard it…footsteps and Loki was in bed next to him.
He carefully and quietly woke Loki, “we have company,” he whispered. Suddenly both men were alert as they both now heard the rustle of movement downstairs. Without a word, both quietly and quickly got out of bed and as if by some instinct turned to their Jotun forms as they edged to the bedroom door, which was partially open. Barely breathing Tony could just make out some soft communication, regarding targets being upstairs.
Before more could be said, Tony and Loki were behind their bedroom door as the intruders pushed their way in and Tony noticed they were wearing some sort of night vision glasses and it gave him an idea. He motioned for Loki to remain still and silent as he crawled down and to the left of the three men that had entered the room, looking around in confusion.
“They must be around somewhere, we need to find them,” One said.
“Our orders are to take them alive, deliver the message and depart,” another replied.
Tony could tell when Loki understood what Tony had; they couldn’t see them with these type of eyewear due to their cold nature in Jotun form. He gave Tony a malicious grin and upon seeing Tony was in place, he nodded.
“And just what message would that be, gentlemen?” Loki asked, before ducking down and away from where he had been standing by the bedroom door.
“What the!” all three shouted and that was when all hell broke loose. A chair from Tony over one’s head took him out, a punch to the jaw by Loki took a second one by surprise and removed him from the scene and two very pissed off Jotun tackled the other into submission. It hadn’t taken long, between the two of them to find out who had sent them the so-called message they were to receive and to have them wrapped up for when security arrived to pick them up. It had taken all he had to keep Loki from killing them since he wasn’t too far behind in wanting them gone as well, but it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do overall.
It had been a wakeup call for both of them to realize their sanctuary of a home was vulnerable even with the harsh weather, so Tony and Loki got to work to fix that, but it had shifted some of the peace the place provided into anxiety. One thing it didn’t do was sway Loki from his task in how he was going to market his produce for he refused to be intimidated and Tony was so proud of him and backed him every way he could. After a dismal second attempt, it became well known that their little segment of the world was no longer vulnerable and up for the taking and the attacks stopped; but Tony never let down his guard and thus created the J-series protection robots. They could do anything from protection to snow removal, to minor chores to harvesting if Loki desired it and the best part is they learned-Artificial Intelligence. Tony just couldn’t shake the feeling that this wasn’t so new to him as it was to the rest of Mirama when they discovered his inventions when security came a second time to collect the unconscious criminals.
That was a month ago, and now Tony was beside himself wishing that Loki could trust his inventions as he did, so he could have gone with his husband and find out what was wrong. The small beeping sound indicated someone was in the transporter area. Tony hit the monitor switch and saw it was Loki and without hesitation headed out through the tunnel to meet him at the house. “Well?” he said as he dashed inside, seeing Loki remove his suit jacket, having dressed for success as it were, for he had made a business meeting before the doctor’s appointment.
“The meeting with the potential investors went marvelous; we should be seeing…” Loki began.
“Love, nothing personal, but its personal information I’m seeking, what did the doctor say?” Tony interrupted.
Loki smirked and gave a soft chuckle, nodding at Tony’s concern. He moved in and took Tony by the hand and led them to the couch and sat down. “That bad?” Tony asked, fear starting to fill his chest.
Loki grinned ear-to-ear, “Hardly,” he said not able to contain his joy. “It seems that I am capable of carrying,” he said as if that explained everything…it didn’t.
“Okay, carry what?” Tony asked, not getting it.
“Anthony,” Loki replied as if that should be enough, but thankfully realized it wasn’t. “I am with child.”
“You…child…my…our…Child!” Tony gasped out in shock.
“Yes,” Loki laughed.
“We’re going to have a baby?” Tony asked again.
Loki laughed harder. “Yes, we are.”
Next thing Tony knew he was kissing and hugging his husband with extreme amounts of joy; they were going to be parents. Then he leaned back, “Is it a boy or a girl?” he asked.
Loki, who had a few tears of joy in his beautiful green eyes chuckled in responds. “Love, it is too soon to know.”
“Oh, okay, how long, I mean, I have to get the nursery together, baby-proof the house, reprogram the bots in child care; especially diaper changing…I mean we have some time, right?”
Loki was laughing harder now. “Darling, I’m about three months along, from what IsTa and I can figure out and at the rate of growth we have at least six more months if not a few more, you my Sweet Spouse have plenty of time.”
Tony found himself laughing as well. “We’re going to be parents,” he said, then shouted, “We’re going to be parents!”
Tony remembered that day when he learned he was going to be a father, and what startles him even more is that he hadn’t been afraid of the idea. All his life Tony Stark had been afraid of commitment and the idea of having children for he feared he be like his own father, but Anthony Starkman didn’t, he took the idea like a fish to water and couldn’t have been happier and neither it seemed had Loki. Their lives were full between Tony’s tinkering to secure the farm and making innovations to aid in the ever growing Quava market Loki had started, and they seamlessly added in preparing for their child’s arrival. Of course, like everything else in their lives, when the time came, nothing went as it should.
Nineteen Months (A.A.)
Tony snapped awake trying to figure out what it was that woke him when he realized he was wet. “Really?” he grumbles and throws off the blankets. “Loki,” he calls out and see he’s still asleep, but this is just too much. “Loki,” he said again, gently nudging his husband.
“Mmmm,” Loki replied.
“I hate to ask you this, but…um…did you just…wet the bed?”
“What?” Loki asked, eyes fully open and not the least bit pleased.
“I’m soaked and so are the sheets and…” Tony began and saw Loki is taking stock of the situation around him.
“I assure you, Anthony I did not ‘wet’ the bed in as such, but it seems my water has broken, it is time.”
“Oh…oh crap!” Tony gasped. “JAZZ!”
“How can I be of service, Sir?” comes a soft accented female voice. “It’s baby time!” he stated as he gets up, gets the blankets off of Loki and heads to their closet for some clothes for both of them.
“Congratulations sirs, however, I must report Tunnel segment A9 collapsed about four point three minutes ago and the weather outside have increased snow levels to a new high that the only means of exit is through the second story.”
“What?” Tony and Loki gasped as one.
“Shall I repeat?” JAZZ inquires.
“No,” Tony groans and looks at a glaring Loki. “Okay, okay, you were right; I should have shuffled the snow remover bots from the field here. JAZZ, have all snow harvesters change directive and get us dug out, note priority to create safe passage from house to the transporter.”
“Acknowledged, sir. However, my scans indicate that the child will arrive within the next three point seven hours and the passage will only be a quarter of the way completed. Shall I contact Medical Practitioner IsTa?”
“No,” Loki said instead before Tony could speak. “He is of no use at this point. Bring up the emergency home delivery instructions I had IsTa create,” he ordered.
“Home delivery?” Tony knew he probably looked as pale as he felt.
“I was concerned something like this might happen so I prepared ahead of time. Downstairs in the hall closet is a suit case marked HBS on a tag, get it bring up and…”
“Boil water, right? In the movies they always have someone boil water!” Tony pointed, his brain trying to fire in all directions while going nowhere, a part of him wondering what the hell he was recalling, but otherwise was too busy to care.
Loki actually chuckled at that. “Usually it’s just to give the hysterical one something to do and get them out of the room,” he replied. “No, the kit has everything we need, get it…NOW!” Loki said when he got his by his first real contraction.
“Oh, crap!” Tony said and dashed down the stairs and got the kit. By the time he was back up, Loki was doing strange breathing exercises, but didn’t care; he simply followed the instructions provided by the home delivery tape that JAZZ was playing for him. Soon a dozen pillows were behind Loki, a lot of spare towels and sheets underneath him a light one over him as he was now stripped bare, and ice chips and some water in a glass nearby Tony wondering if his hand would ever be the same. “Is there anything else I can do?”
“Unless you care to switch places, I do not think so,” Loki panted.
“It is recommended sirs, walking can help aid in the dilation process,” JAZZ suggested.
“Do you want to walk?” Tony asked and after a long minute, Loki nodded yes.
Soon, Loki was leaning on him as they moved slowly up and down the hall, never too far from the bed room, also by now all the windows were open as Loki started to complain he was too hot and JAZZ said his core temperature was rising. Sadly no one knew if this was normal or if there was a problem, so they went with Loki’s instincts and cooled the place down.
“Sirs, my scan shows the child is in position and dilation is near completion. You should make your way back to the bedroom and prepare for the next stage.”
“What’s that?” Tony asked, feeling his brain had leaked out of his skull at this point.
“I do believe that is the pushing,” Loki snarled, trying to keep his temper in check, but he was in pain and they had nothing for it.
They made their way back to the bedroom and Tony got Loki situated and had the medical kit that Loki insist IsTa make for them nearby along with the small bassinet they would use when the baby was not in its crib. “Um, everything is ready, I guess now we…um”
“I recommend that Mister Loki push on the next contraction to speed the process along. According to the instructions the most difficult part after the child’s head is through, will be to help guide the shoulder, for once through and the rest of the child will follow. I will continue to monitor, sirs and guide you.”
“Thanks, JAZZ” Tony said as Loki took his hand and squeezed almost as hard as he pushed. Tony knew deep down that had it not been for the changes that were made to ‘fix’ him, his hand would be shattered and they probably wouldn’t be having this child, though it still hurt like hell.
Between pushing, panting and practically breaking Tony’s hand, Loki was doing well according to the Artificial Intelligence he created for the house. He was going to make it a male, but for some reason it felt wrong, so female it was. He named it JAZZ, but couldn’t settle on what the acronym would mean and gave up after a few tries, it just fit. At periods Tony used a cloth to wipe Loki down from the sweat on his body, which was impressive since the windows were open and it was double digits below zero in the room, the water totally frozen over. “You’re doing great,” he encouraged.
“I would do better if you would get this child out of me,” Loki groaned.
“Sir, I suggest you move locations and prepare to catch the child,” JAZZ interjected.
“This is it, Love, you can do it,” Tony said, moving to the foot of the bed and got into position. “I can see the head already.”
“Sir, I would suggest you look to the screen and emulate its technic in guiding the child’s shoulder through the pass.” JAZZ instructed. “Mister Loki, continue to breathe and do not push until Mister Anthony has the shoulder through or you will tear.”
“Anthony... hurry,” Loki panted
In moments Tony had done what was needed, Loki gave one more push and swoosh, there was a baby in his arms. “You did it!” he laughed with glee. “It’s a baby…girl! We have a girl!” he exclaimed with joy and looked up to see Loki’s tired face full of love and tears of joy. “Here,” he said and gently laid the baby on Loki’s chest.
Tony followed the A.I.’s instructions to tie off and cut the cord and what to do to catch the placenta that the hospital would want to make sure all was well with the birth, while keeping an eye on his husband, seeing him fall in love with their daughter, as his trembling hands caressed her dark locks. “Do we have a name for our little snowflake?” he asked once everything was done, including cleaning up his husband after the birth and closing the windows, letting things warm up a bit and the child like her parents changed from her Jotun blue to a soft white skin just like her mother.
“She’s so perfect,” Loki replied, his voice weary from giving birth, but his eyes never leaving the babe now cleaned and wrapped in a soft white blanket in his arms.
“Then there is no question she takes after you,” Tony said with joy and pride. “She looks just like you.”
“Ah, but she has your nose and I think hands,” Loki grinned.
“Hmm, I’ve got a great nose, and we both know I’m amazing with my hands, so long as she has your smarts, charisma and everything else.”
“She is perfect,” Loki said again, leaning in and placing a small kiss on the sleeping child’s forehead.
“Only a couple of hours in the world and already has us wrapped around her finger,” Tony mused.
“As she should,” Loki beamed, his now green eyes drooping. “I believe you wanted to name her if it was a girl, have you chosen yet?”
Tony continues to look at his husband and daughter and grins with triumph. “Yuki.”
“What?” Loki asked, looking caught off guard.
“It’s Japanese for Happy child and I think snow and it’s close to your name, which also makes it perfect. Yuki something Starkman.” Tony beamed.
“Yuki Aasta Starkman,” Loki corrected.
“Mean’s Love in my language,” Loki said while caressing Tony’s cheek.
“Very much loved,” Tony replied and kissed his husband tenderly and wasn’t surprised to find him asleep by the time Tony pulled back. “Come on, my much loved happy snowflake, let’s let your mommy sleep,” he said and lifted his daughter into his arms and moved to place her in the basinet at the foot of the bed and just stood there and watched both his loves sleep.
Tony growled in frustration and swiped the snow off the balcony railing. Everything had been going great, he was married had a child, allowed to tinker to his heart’s content while Loki ran his/their business, damn it, it was perfect, why did everything have to go to hell now? Except he knew why now…Thanos!
It was that slime that started this mess when he sent Loki to conquer Earth for the Tesseract and later Tony found out to appease his Lady Death, when Thor returned with the full story of what happened in Asgard, Loki and the mad Titian. What they didn’t know, though perhaps Loki did as he tried to warn them, was that Thanos held grudges like people breathed; constantly. He sent hunters to get Loki and the one responsible for destroying most of his army.
Tony recalled the sudden appearance of the hunters in his Penthouse in Stark/Avenger Tower an hour or so after Pepper left for work. He recalled he barely had time to alert Jarvis to get help when all went black. The next thing he knew he was in a cell with Loki, who was beaten back and blue, hogtied and gaged, his one good eye looking grieved upon seeing him there. The reason they were in the same stasis unit was because of the asteroid that hit the ship; Tony recalled that as his body ached from being chained to a wall and gagged, while watching Loki try and relax into his bonds, the aliens rushing into the cell and grabbing both of them, going on about the air levels leaking and not wasting suits on them. Another had said why waste energy just put them in the same tube and lo-and-behold, Tony was unchained and tossed into the unit and moments later so was Loki, with no time to react before it was sealed and all went dark.
“Pepper,” Tony said softly, recalling the spitfire that was his assistant/CEO/girlfriend at the time. “She along with the rest must think me dead,” he said to himself. Part of him felt guilty for forgetting her, Rhodey, and his team. Another voice tried to reason it wasn’t his fault, he wasn’t the only one who had forgotten a good portion of their past, Loki didn’t even recall he had magic, but fact was, their past was now like a huge elephant…mammoth that needed to be dealt with, not to mention the new hunters that were looking for them.
Tony leaned on the railing, trying to get his mixed thoughts and emotions together as they whirled like the wind around him. His hand went to his healed chest subconsciously rubbing where the arc reactor went and recalled that was what triggered all this not that long ago. His brand spanking new brilliant idea, to build a suit of armor that would allow him and Loki to take on the hunters, using the reactor as a power source…of course upon setting up the schematics both men watching as it came together, the reactor spiked a pulse from his tinkering and it was like the wall of Jericho, the memory block fell away and left them both staring at each other in horror and shock.
“Now what?” Tony said to himself. A noise on the wind caught his attention, it was Yuki crying and this got his attention and his gut said something was wrong, so he turned and headed back inside and toward the baby’s room, though she was over eighteen months old now. He stopped in the doorway and stared, for in the corner on the floor was Loki, head on his knees crying.
“Stop, please, please, stop,” Loki said from his corner, hugging himself tightly. “You don’t want a monster for a mother, please,” he softly begged between jagged sobs.
Tony was torn between going to Loki, his daughter or doing nothing; nothing won out for a part of him said this was Loki’s battle, no matter how much he wanted to step in. Thankfully he didn’t have to wait very long as Loki looked up, his face a mess from heavy crying and wiped it with his sleeve and went to their daughter. “Shhh, stop crying, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, my sweet darling, shhh,” he soothed as he picked her up and cradled her to him like he always did with bounds of tender love. “Oh, my dear heart, it is okay, we’ll manage somehow.” He said softly, fresh tears coming down his cheeks.
“Our daughter is not a monster,” Tony said firmly.
“Of course not,” Loki snapped in defense, also being startled for not noticing Tony was there.
“She isn’t even part monster as neither of her parents are monsters, got it?” Tony demanded as he moved in and stood next to Loki, who looked uncertain at his approach.
“I am a Frost Giant,” Loki snapped, now understanding all he had once forgotten about them.
“Yeah, well, it appears that now so am I and so is she, so again, no monsters here or giants for that matter,” he said, trying to keep the tiny smirk from his lips. He then reached out and wiped a tear from Loki’s cheek with his thumb. “Little Frosties perhaps, but no monsters.”
“Anthony I…I really didn’t know…I…”
“Doesn’t matter,” Tony said finally understanding that in the end, the past didn’t matter, it’s what they made to be here and now that did.
“Doesn’t matter?” Loki replied, looking surprised and not quite believing him as he took a step back. “My trying to conquer your planet, being your enemy, being the reason you were taken away from your friends and family, the woman you loved…it doesn’t matter!” Loki challenged.
“I can’t change the past and neither can you. But I can’t deny and I won’t even try that what I have here…Who I have here, means a damn lot to me and I for one think it’s worth fighting for. So yes, we left Earth as enemies and circumstances tossed us together, but we couldn’t have made something out of nothing, I don’t buy it. Without all the bullshit of our past, we were able to build a future…this future and I think it’s a fucking amazing one. Don’t you?”
Loki was silent for a long moment, staring into Tony’s eyes, holding their daughter who was now calm being held securely in her mother’s arms. Loki slowly nodded. “I do and I don’t want to lose it…or you.”
“I know we’ll have to talk about things, but as I was outside thinking about all we’ve achieved since we came here, I realized very quickly how much this all means to me. Yes, at some point I would like to go back to earth…”
Loki took a step back again, clutching his daughter tightly. “I won’t go back there.”
“Whoa, whoa, I meant only long enough to let them know I was alive and well, but…no rush, we’ll put it on the ‘Things To Talk About’ list, okay?”
“I can’t go back, Anthony. I was taken from my prison, Odin will not believe that I had nothing to do with my escape and he made it very clear that if I left I would be hunted and executed. I will not go back.”
“Seriously?” Tony asked, just realizing the fear in Loki’s eyes.
“The only reason I still lived was due to my mother, whom according to Odin begged on her knees to spare my life. I cannot return, please, do not ask this of me.”
“I won’t,” Tony promised easily. “Though up until now, you’ve not had any magic, how is it then no one but a stray hunter has found us?”
“I am not sure, but I believe we are outside of the Nine Realms as I have traveled it extensively and never heard of Mirama and Heimdall’s vision though vast, only functions within the realms. Thanos is not of the realms, but even with all his power, he has no scrying capability and since I was never using any magic previously he had no way of tracking me.”
“Is it any magic or certain magic he can detect you with?” Tony asked, moving closer to Loki and cupping his cheek, once more wiping excessive tears away.
“I am not fully sure, for I had little to no magic in my cell, though Odin could not take it all away as it is a part of my very existence. It could be that since I am no longer connected to that blasted scepter, it was only circumstances that lead them to my cell so far below the halls of Asgard.”
“Then perhaps it is not your magic at all, but we better keep that on the back burner,” Tony nodded, his mind already moving forward.
“What?” Tony replied softly, but he could see the request in Loki’s green eyes and nodded. He moved forward and embraced both his husband and daughter. “It will be alright,” he assured him. “Again, what we have wasn’t built merely on a suggestion, we made it, it’s real and it’ll continue to be real. We just need to stick together and be honest about…heck, everything.”
“Then you should know…I’m with child again,” Loki replied, his face buried in Tony’s neck.
Tony froze for half a second, and then pulled back, seeing hopeful glistening big green eyes and a sleeping Yuki and Tony beamed. “Really?”
Loki only nodded, and Tony hugged him again, placing kisses on his hair and caressed his back. “No one is going to mess with our family,” Tony vowed.
“I really am sorry about…everything,” Loki said into Tony’s shoulder.
“Oh, babe, I am too, it was just the overwhelming aspect of it all suddenly hitting that set me off, but I meant what I said, it’s the past. I like our present and where our future is headed, don’t you?” Tony asked again.
“Oh yes,” Loki said softly, leaning back and joy was filling his vibrant emerald eyes. “I cannot recall every being so happy, but I fear when the hunter does not report back, they will follow his trail, there will be others.”
“Perhaps, but unlike the times before, we’ll be ready,” Tony promised. “Now, I think we could all use some rest,” Tony advised, grinning at how he has grown up over the years having a loving family to look after and protect.
“She is a bit big for the bassinet,” Loki advised.
“It’ll do for tonight, I think we need to keep close.”
Loki nodded and placed a tender kiss on Tony’s cheek before heading to their bedroom, Tony trailing behind. Not long after the tiny family secure in the main bedroom slept, another major crisis passed.
Eighty months (A.A.)
The weather was very mild for this time of year, the snow levels were minimum, but in no way endangered their crops or their water business. Tony was in a rocking chair on the lower porch, holding the twins; Lokesh and Lokelani were now fifteen months old and as different as day and night like the fraternal twins they were. Lokesh took more after Tony with his curiosity and wanting to constantly explore, while Lokelani took after her mother, observant and scary smart. Right now both were sleeping in their daddy’s arms, the man pleased with himself as he watched his husband and two children; Yuki almost four and half…can’t forget the half, and Edward four months shy of being three.
Suddenly Loki looked up and around in full alert, which made Tony sit up and take notice. “JAZZ?”
“I am now just detecting a strange energy signal,” she replied.
Loki had already bundled up his children and just reached the porch when a flash of light struck in the heart of the courtyard. Tony knew his bots were already moving in and his suit was already on the way, as Loki he was sure had a spell on the tip of his lips. As the light cleared, Tony was unsure how he felt seeing Thor of all beings standing there in the middle of his yard. “Standby” is all he said knowing the command would have all units and his suit on hold in case they were still needed. He could see the panic in Loki’s eyes, so he did the next best thing and stood up and handed him the still sleeping twins, the two younger children hiding behind their mother. “Stay here,” he ordered and then made his way down the stairs toward Thor.
“Friend Stark! I cannot believe I have finally found you!” Thor boasts with great joy.
“Thor, buddy, I’m…amazed to see you…here, of all places. In fact, how?” Tony asked, trying to keep a smile on his face, but he didn’t need telepathy to know the anxiety his husband must be feeling.
“It was no easy feat, this I profess, but I was bound to find you after you were kidnapped by Loki’s…” Thor started only to stop as if suddenly he could see who was standing on the very porch Tony just left. “Loki?”
“Thor,” Tony snapped. He needed to keep the man’s attention on him, not his husband. “It’s been almost seven years, how did you find us?” he asked again.
“Thanos attacked Asgard, he was defeated of course, but he mentioned Loki working for him and father…”
“Naturally believed I was in cahoots with that fiend,” Loki said from the porch, his hearing as good as ever. “It never occurred to him that I was taken against my will, did it?” he challenged.
“Ah…” he looked to Tony for guidance.
“He was, in fact we both were. The ship crashed, we survived,” he pointed to himself and Loki behind him, “and as you can see, we made a life together. If you’re here to take Loki back to Asgard, I have to warn you, no one messes with my family.” Tony said firmly.
“Family?” Thor said, his eyes growing wide as he took in the two babes in Loki’s arms and the two children hiding behind Loki. “You…the two of you…family?”
“You are intelligent enough to recognize children when you see them, are you not?” Loki snarled.
“Loki, darling, why don’t you take the children inside and I’ll talk to Thor,” Tony advised, his eyes showing he was serious and thankfully Loki chose to acknowledge this and did as requested. “I’ll make lunch, don’t take too long,” Loki said over his shoulder as he went inside.
“Man of Iron, I am greatly confused. How is it you and my brother have a family? I mean what of Lady Pepper?”
“Again, it’s been almost seven years, I’m sure she’s moved on, at least I hope she has for I did, though it’s not so straight laced as that. When we arrived here, there was a problem with our memories that we didn’t recall a great deal of our past, but something was between us and we built on that. A few years ago we regained our memories and it was touch and go for a bit, but we chose to keep what we found; we’re happy Thor and we love each other and our children,” Tony told him.
“I cannot say in detail if the Lady Potts has indeed moved on, I do not have as much time with my Midgardian shield brothers and sister since I have taken over for my father, but he made me vow to continue to seek out my brother and it is my duty to do so.” Thor said gravely.
“Thor, Loki and I are married, we have four children; Yuki is 4 and half years old, Edward is four months shy of being three years and my twins Lokesh & Lokelani are 15 months and if Loki and I have any more say in the matter, which we do, they’ll be a few more kids due in the future. We have a home, a business and a world that accepts us, so if you can’t accept that then I suggest you leave and forget you ever found this place. But, if you can let bygones be bygones, then perhaps you’d like to meet your nieces and nephews?”
“Truly, you have made a life with my brother…here in this…wasteland?” Thor looked shocked as he looked around, but the more he looked the more he saw there was life here, there was a home here.
“Yep, and I plan to keep it.”
“And what is to happen to my brother and his children when you pass, as you are a mortal…”
“Ah…yeah, not so much anymore,” Tony replied. “It seems that the folks here thought my rapid aging was a disease and fixed me and Loki…”
“Yeah, we’re going to be around for a long, long time, plus, they made it so we could live here easily enough,” Tony explained and with a surge of will turned Jotun blue. “They thought we were already mates and fixed our ‘compatibility’,” Tony smirked. “It obviously worked.”
Thor looks shocked then shakes his head. “Man of Iron, my brother is a wanted criminal…”
“He’s redeemed, he has a family that loves him, he has a business that he created and runs, he has a home, what gives you the right to come here and try and take that from him?” Tony challenged.
“I am the King of Asgard!” Thor snapped back.
“Big fucking deal, I’m Anthony Starkman…”
“I thought you were Tony Stark.”
“What the fuck ever, Thor. My point stands. I’ve been ready for years to take on a Titan, I am sure as hell I’m ready to take on you. No one touches my family. Besides, why do you get to redeem yourself after the hundreds of thousands you’ve killed in your pursuit of glory on the battlefield and my husband does not? He went to jail, he was taken just like I was and now he’s redeemed and we’re happy, where do you get the fuck off in fucking with that!” Tony panted, his temper just barely contained.
Before another word can be said a snowball hits Thor smack dab in the face. It takes a moment before either of them is able to notice, as a second one makes its mark. “Leave my mommy & daddy alone!” a tiny voice shouts.
Tony turns and sees Yuki is outside, without her coat and in her Jotun form, already having learned to make snowballs and has fantastic aim, like her mother. He can’t help but beam with pride as he turns back toward Thor who gets a third snowball in the face. “And if you somehow get by me, you’ll have to deal with her and she’s a little spitfire, just like her mother,” Tony bragged.
“Yuki Aasta Starkman, get yourself inside this minute,” Loki hollers from the kitchen.
“Go on sweetheart, Daddy’s got this,” he said, not wanting his oldest to get in more trouble than she was, for standing up for her parents. “Just tell your mother what you did I’m sure he’ll understand,” Tony grinned and watched her scramble back inside.
Thor had wiped the snow from his face, once more taken back on what just happened, and then laughed hardily. “Yes, I can see without a doubt Loki in her. My niece has a strong throwing arm with her mother’s perfect aim…she will make a fine warrior someday.”
“I don’t know about being a warrior, she has options, lots of options here on Mirama and that is what we want for our children. So again, what will it be? The feast of family or the famine of war?” Tony asked.
Thor thinks for a bit then nods. “I have kept my sworn duty, I have found my brother, and I never swore anything beyond that. Indeed, I would greet my extended family and perhaps I can bring my wife Jane here, she is expecting our first.”
Tony beams, happy to hear this.
“You married the mortal woman?” Loki asked from the doorway, a kitchen towel in his hands, the children settled safely Tony is sure.
“It wasn’t easy, but she passed the tests, she is no longer mortal, as I hear is the same for your Anthony. And as I have just said, I have kept my sworn duty, I have found you, and the Man of Iron is right, you have found your peace, it is time to let all heal, do you not agree brother?” Thor asked, hope lingering in his eyes.
A noise gets Loki’s attention and he sighs. “Fine, come in, come in, I have made soup, plenty for everyone,” he said as he hurried back inside.
Tony and Thor are not far behind him as Tony can hear the joys of family in the air. “Mummy, Edwin took my crackers!” “Anthony, the twins need to be changed!”
Thor froze at the door at the chaos that lay within. “Hey, Point Break, you’re not going to tell me the Mighty Thor is afraid is he?”
“I…I fear nothing,” Thor muttered and allowed Tony to push him inside
“Hmm, since you said you had one of your own on the way, let’s get you some diaper changing experience,” Tony said with a mischievous smile.
Moments later Loki comes out, the two older children finally settled down to see what is taking his husband and Thor so long and can’t help but chuckle at seeing Thor struggle with the changing of the twins. “Have I mentioned how much I love you,” Loki asked his husband in a soft whisper so not to disturbed the hilarity that is occurring before him.
“Not within the last hour, but I think I get the picture, and a little diaper changing never hurt anyone,” Tony smirked.
“I’m glad you feel that way because I’m pregnant…again,” Loki smirked and headed back into the kitchen, once more the sounds of a household filling the air and Tony…he couldn’t be happier.