Excitement, and a rush of daring, had Tony Stark’s blood pumping wildly in his veins. Pulling the key from the car’s ignition, Tony looked up at the temple and tried to calm his breathing. His mind was whirling at a million miles an hour, revolving wildly from the elated rightness he felt in the wake of his decision to the soul-deep fear that welled whenever his brain reared up to remind him that Howard Stark had very, very strictly forbidden his son from presenting himself at the temple.
Tony liked to think that if his father could have possibly felt the roil and swell of his conviction, the assurance of this being the right step – or another right step on a path that he had been on for as long as he’d existed, though he hadn’t know it - that he’d have accepted what was going to happen with at least some grace. Or even a modicum of understanding.
But Howard hadn’t even bothered to try to understand.
And so Tony found himself, quite alone and very much on edge, standing in front of the ancient-seeming temple that had so recently appeared – somehow – in the city.
“Last chance to bug out,” Tony said to himself, eyes already sweeping forward, whole body leaning toward the seemingly out of place but at the same time so very there building before him.
And he stepped forward.
Sunlight disappeared as soon as he stepped into the building, the illumination became warm glowing lights perched at irregular intervals and heights. It seemed as if someone had thrown a handful of glowing globes around the room and let them settle where they willed. The feeling it produced, along with the warm, musky scent that filled the room, was something strangely on the comforting side of organic, though intellectually Tony felt he should probably have been having at least a moment of hesitation as the temple closed around him.
“What are you doing here?” The question was sharp, and totally unexpected, and nearly scared Tony from his skin.
He turned to face a gorgeous female decked out in what looked like a million yards of heavy silken fabric. Myriad shades of green shimmered in the muted lighting, and Tony pulled his eyes away from the woman’s body and met eyes that glowed just as emerald as the deepest, most jewel-like shade of green that appeared in the outfit she wore.
“In fact,” she continued, sauntering toward Tony with a pace that sent blood pumping to familiar places, “how did you even get in here? Where are you from?”
“Through the door,” Tony offered, crooking a thumb back toward the entrance.
The woman’s eyes narrowed and her head tilted in a graceful, sensual motion that just may have ruined Tony for life. He steadfastly refused to tug at the collar that suddenly seemed tight around his neck, and forced a charm-filled smile at the woman.
“Look, I’m just going to… This is going to sound crazy,” he said, “but I had to come here. I mean, I’ve never been one for all this…stuff.” He gestured around himself with flying – nope, not shaking – hands. “But I just…had to come here.”
The woman stepped closer. She was tall, taller than Tony, and wow, wasn’t that just weird? Not that Tony was tall, particularly, or that he didn’t see… He took a deep breath and dragged himself back to the present, and the green eyes staring into his soul, ripping him open and examining every inch of him inside and out.
Yeah, some bells went off at that point.
“I don’t know what to do,” he said, going with brutally honest. He was face-to-face with…well, someone associated with, at least…the God of Lies, among other very interesting titles, so it sort of stood to reason that prevarication would be seen through fairly easily. Plus, to tell a lie, one had to be intimately acquainted with the truth, after all, so…
A finger landed on Tony’s lips and the woman laughed, a sound both smoky and heady that swirled through Tony’s mind and left him dizzy.
“I think you might actually be in the right place,” she said. “If nothing else, you’d be a very interesting feature on my altar.” She stepped back and turned, midnight hair sliding over silk and shoulder in a sensual wave that Tony barely noticed, lost as he was in the realization that the woman before him was the God himself. Or herself. Or whatever.
The tantalizing Cheshire smile that the woman sent over her shoulder prompted a more coherent response than an incredulous stare, but for once his mind was blank – completely blown. He cobbled something together, ending up with, “Holy shit!” and
“Fucking brilliant,” in tones of awe and amazement. Which worked well, as her next smile was more cheery and less Alice In Wonderland friendly, and her walk changed from sensual to purposeful and then Tony was noticing that there was some gender-switching and some wardrobe adjustments going on as well, and that’s when he decided that yeah, he’d made the right decision and fuck Howard’s disbelief.
“Oh yes,” the God of Mischief and Lies purred – legitimately purred! – as he turned those brilliant emerald eyes on Tony and looked him up and down with positive eagerness. “We are going to have some fun!”