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The Cookie Gauge

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There were many surprising and outright strange things about having a former enemy, now teammate and Trickster God, living in the tower.

But there was one in particular which left everyone baffled: Loki liked to bake. No, that wasn’t right. He loved to bake.

When he’d first discovered Steve making cookies, he’d been noticeably curious, seemingly more interested in the process than the final result.

It turned out, princes weren’t meant to spend time in the kitchen unless they were sleeping with the maids or stealing food. Steve, always keen to create team unity, had decided to teach him.

However, after only a few minutes, it became obvious he didn’t need to be taught.

Years of potion making and following strict spell guidelines made him a master baker in moments. Anything he didn’t know, a quick chat with JARVIS, a picture, or a brief YouTube tutorial had him proficient in instantly.

They’d all warily sampled his works at the beginning only to quickly conclude they were amazing. The best anyone had ever had.

But once Loki grew assured of his own talents. Once the treats became familiar around the tower they started to…change.

Tony hadn’t noticed it at first. He’d merely come down to the communal kitchen, found the hot cookies and taken a bite of the mouth-watering, soft in the middle, gooey goodness. He’d made sure to pass on his compliments to the baker, being rewarded by Loki’s small, pleased smile.

Tony had then grabbed a coffee and sat down beside the tray of treats. Loki’s cookies never lasted long and he wanted to get his fair share.

He was on his tablet, eating his second one when the rest of the tower started to shuffle in. Steve had greeted them both cheerfully, grabbed a cookie and praised Loki. Bruce had been next. He was quieter but no less appreciative. He even made Loki tea along with his own before joining the Trickster on the couch where he was reading.

Natasha and Clint came in together, followed by Thor. The spies each grabbed a cookie. Clint shoving one directly into his mouth in a loud, obnoxious display. He already had a second one in hand when Thor grabbed his and took a bite.

The sound of him biting into the cookie was loud. They all turned. He grimaced even as he chewed. It sounded like broken glass. He swallowed with noticeable displeasure.

“Ah, brother. I do believe your cookie may have been overcooked.”

“Oh? Really?” Loki asked, tilting his head. “How odd.”

Nothing more was said as by that point, the cookies had all gone. Thor had just had been unlucky. No big deal. At least, Tony had thought so.

But it soon became obvious that while Loki’s cookies could be the most amazing thing in existence. They could also be brittle, hard and with a bad blend of ingredients.

It all depended on one factor: what you had done to piss Loki off.

It started to be known as the ‘Cookie Gauge’. If it was just mildly unpleasant, you could skate by with minimal damage. The more disgusting the concoction, the quicker you needed to duck for cover and grovel.

Tony watched on with amusement because, in the month and a half since the gauge had been put in place, he’d never once had a bad cookie. Even Bruce had been on the receiving end of it when The Hulk had picked up Loki and hurled him down the street.

In fairness, the cookie had soon become delicious after the initial bite. Everyone, even Loki, knew Bruce wasn’t entirely to blame for what had happened.

Tony had mostly stayed out of it. Bur he did start to pay more attention when it became obvious that it wasn't just a misstep towards Loki that garnered a bad cookie. It turned out, if someone on the team pissed him off, Loki would retaliate with horrid baking.

No one else seemed to have cottoned on to the new trigger point (although, Tony wouldn’t put it past Nat to have realised) and were instead trying to think back on what they’d done to annoy Loki.

Tony merely took his delicious cookie with him down to the lab. He found Loki sitting on one of the benches and manipulating designs faster than even Tony could manage.

“You know,” Tony said as the doors slid shut. “You’re not being subtle.”

“Aren’t I?” Loki enquired, not glancing his way.

“Nope,” Tony said.

He came forward, batting away the schematics with one hand and trusting JARVIS to save whatever Loki was doing. Loki finally focused on him. Tony met those gorgeous green eyes even as he placed a hand on Loki’s knee.

“They’re going to work out we’re dating if you keep this up," he pointed out.

“You’ll recall I have no compunction with your team mates knowing of our relationship.”

“They’re your team mates too. And that’s not the point.”

Loki sighed. “What is the point then, Anthony?”

“You said you wanted to see how long they would take to guess we were sleeping together.”

“I said that when you were merely a sating of lust.”

Tony’s eyebrows rose. “And I’m something else now, huh?”

“Obviously,” Loki answered.

Tony grinned, feeling warm.

“So, you’re basically saying, you want them to work it out faster?”

“And that they deserved it for treating you ill.”

“Awh.” Tony cooed. “Aren’t you the romantic.”

Loki rolled his eyes, but a hint of a smile was forming. Tony picked up his cookie and bit into the amazing goodness.

“Okay then,” he said. “Mischief away. Let’s see if they make it past a week.”

Loki’s grin widened. He also cupped Tony’s cheek and kissed him sweetly. And just like a cookie Loki had baked, Tony felt not only warm but gooey on the inside.