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Winterheart: A Radioplay

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SCENE 1.

INT. WINTERHEART CASTLE - NIGHT.

A HEARTHFIRE CRACKLES, AND BED SHEETS RUSTLE.

TONY:                                    (CLOSE) What did you think of me when we first met?

LOKI:                                      You were an arrogant half-wit with a death-wish.

TONY:                                    A handsomely arrogant half-wit-

LOKI:                                      Stop that. Between the two of us, you were the only one with non-bestial features. Of course I thought you were handsome.

 

SCENE 2.

INT. WINTERHEART CASTLE - NIGHT.

SOUNDS OF WOLVES AND WIND FILL THE CASTLE. CLINT RUNS UP THE STAIRS AND BREATHES HEAVILY.

CLINT:                                   BOSS! BOSS! (BEAT) BOSS!

LOKI ROARS DOWN THE STAIRS.

                                                (LOW) Shit.

A DOOR SLAMS.

CLINT:                                   Jesus.

HEAVY FOOTSTEPS DESCEND THE STAIRS. THE RUSTLE OF A CLOAK AND A GROWL.

                                                Shit. Hey Boss. Don't get all icy on me for nothing, but someone came looking for her.

LOKI:                                      The new one?

CLINT:                                   Yeah.

LOKI:                                      Someone came (BEAT) looking for her?

CLINT:                                   I know. Yeah. I guess we can't all be lucky. I mean-

LOKI GROWLS, ICE SHEERING OFF HIS FINGERS AS HE STOMPS AWAY.

CLINT:                                   Coming, boss. Got the lantern. (LOW) Not that you asked for it. Can't ask for anything, big, blue, red-eyed, horned hermit of a-

LOKI GROWLS AND SNATCHES THE LANTERN.

LOKI:                                      Give me that.

 

SCENE 3

INT. WINTERHEART TOWER - NIGHT.

WIND WHISTLES. A DOOR SQUEAKS AS TONY ENTERS THE TOWER.

TONY:                                    Pepper? I'm kind of desperately needing a sign of life right now.

PEPPER:                              Tony? Oh, Tony, no. You shouldn't have-

TONY:                                    You're freezing. Do you even have a jacket? I mean, I don't have one to offer you-

PEPPER:                              Tony, you can't be here. Go, now! Just-

TONY:                                    You telling me you want to be here?

PEPPER:                              No, but you don't understand.

TONY:                                    You're telling me. One minute I've found your car in Solstice Canyon, the next I'm running from wolves and freezing in some Tolkien fan's wet dream of a castle. Seriously, what-         

PEPPER:                              You need to go. Run, Tony! (hissing) You don't know what he is!

TONY:                                    Shut up, Pep. I'm the boss of you. I'm getting you out and that's final.

TONY TRIES TO FORCE THE CELL DOOR OPEN.

TONY:                                    I should have worn the Mark 1.

PEPPER:                              Tony, Tony, listen to me. You just got free of the Ten Rings. This-this thing. He's a monster.

TONY:                                    Oh, that's a little rough, isn't it. Six hours of confinement and you've branded him a monster? What'd he do, confiscate your Bluetooth? 

LOKI'S GROWLS AND FOOTSTEPS FROM OUTSIDE THE ROOM.

PEPPER:                              No one gets out alive. There are rules. It's not... it doesn't make sense but you have to go! Now!

THE DOOR BANGS OPEN. A GUST OF FRIGID AIR BLASTS INTO THE ROOM, EXTINGUISHING THE TORCH AND MOST LANTERN LIGHT. ICE SPREADS QUICKLY ACROSS THE SURFACES AS LOKI ENTERS IN SHADOW.

TONY:                                    Oh, hello. Look...I just want to get her out of here. I've got no business with you.

LOKI:                                      She trespassed. She stays.

TONY:                                    She got lost.

LOKI:                                      As some do. She stays.

TONY:                                    I won't-

LOKI:                                      SHE TRESPASSED. SHE STAYS.

 

ICE CRACKS DANGEROUSLY AROUND THE ROOM.

LOKI:                                      You're a mistake. You don't belong here. I release you from my lands. But she remains. The lost belong to me.

PEPPER:                              Tony. Can you. Can you water my plants for me? While I'm gone? And tell Obadiah the report on the Jericho contract is with his secretary? That's all, I think. The rest-

TONY:                                    I'm not watering your plants, Pepper.

PEPPER:                              Right. You can hardly remember to feed yourself.

TONY:                                    You're going to water your plants because you aren't staying here. I am.

TONY:                                    Tony, no. Don't. (LOW) Don't do this.

LOKI SNARLS AND PACES. HIS CLAWED FEET CRUNCH OVER ICE

LOKI:                                      I could keep you both. I have no use for martyrs.

PEPPER:                              If one of us is going home, it's got to be you, Tony. Stop-

TONY SPEAKS OVER HER.

TONY:                                    Let her go and I promise to stay here in her place.

LOKI:                                      Such sacrifice. (BEAT) Lift your lantern. See if you can still make that offer when you know what you make it to.

TONY LIFTS THEL ANTERN. HE DOESN'T SEE LOKI'S FACE, BUT SEES THE INHUMAN FORM AND HIS HEART BEATS LOUDER.

LOKI:                                      Lift your lantern. Lift it and swear your oath to me. If you can.

TONY SWINGS THE LANTERN ALL THE WAY UP. WHEN HE SEES LOKI, HE CLEARS HIS THROAT.

TONY:                                    Let Pepper go in my place. I promise you, I'll stay behind.

LOKI ROARS AND WALKS TOWARDS TONY. LOKI LOOMS OVER HIM, EYES RED, SHARP TEETH BARED, AND ICE FLICKING OFF HIS CLAWS.

TONY:                                    Those are some very red eyes. Allergies?

LOKI GROWLS LIGHTLY.

TONY:                                    (CLOSE) Look, whatever this place is, she doesn't belong in it. she's the mistake, not me.

LOKI:                                      You will never leave this place. The snow never melts, the wolves never leave. You would be doomed to walk the castle until madness or old age claim you. And yet you would trade your freedom for hers?

TONY:                                    Yes.

LOKI:                                      Then you're a fool. BARTON!

LOKI'S ROAR BRINGS CLINT IN, SKIDDING ON ICE.

CLINT:                                    (LOW) Oh god, oh god. (NORMAL) Yeah, boss?

LOKI:                                      Push the woman out the gates. She leaves.

CLINT:                                    Sure thing, boss.

CLINT FIDDLES WITH A KEY.

LOKI:                                      You. Follow me.

TONY:                                    Yeah, yeah, just hang on a second.

THE CELL SWINGS OPEN AND PEPPER STEPS OUT, HUGGING TONY.

PEPPER:                              (CLOSE) Are you stupid?

TONY:                                    Pepper, I can't breathe. (BEAT) This is my choice, this time. Give me that much. This time it matters.

PEPPER LETS GO AND STEPS TOWARDS LOKI.

PEPPER:                              YOU just try and keep him, smurfy. I didn't get a chance to help last time. I'll find him again.

LOKI:                                      Be my guest.

CLINT:                                    Yeah, get stuck in the rabbit hole again. That'll show everyone you mean business.

TONY:                                    Pepper... Keep Obadiah out of my workshop. Please.

PEPPER:                              Oh, I'll miss you too.

LOKI:                                      Follow me now, or I drag you. You do not want that.

THE TOWER DOOR OPENS. A COLD DRAFT OF AIR ENTERS THE ROOM AS PEPPER AND CLINT, KEYS JANGLING, LEAVE. ICE CRUNCHES.

TONY:                                    Bye Pepper.

PEPPER:                              Bye.

LOKI:                                      This way.

THEY WALK DOWN A HALLWAY.

TONY:                                    So...

LOKI:                                      The rules of this domain are simple. Passing the gates without my permission will get you killed. That is not a threat. Attacking me would also be ill advised.

TONY:                                    No arguments there.

LOKI:                                      The castle is largely yours to roam. The west wing is not. Trespass beyond those stairs and you will spend the rest of your days in the tower cell.

TONY:                                    I'm guessing Pepper got curious, and that's why she was in the tower.

LOKI DOESN'T ANSWER. THEIR FOOTSTEPS ECHO

TONY:                                    If you're not just giving me the tour while what's-his-face kicks Pepper out, where are you taking me?

THEY STOP WALKING. LOKI LIFTS THE LANTERN.

LOKI:                                      These are all bedchambers. Choose one for your own.

LOKI WALKS AWAY. HE IS NEARLY OUT OF EARSHOT.

TONY:                                    Hey! Do you have a name?

LOKI STOPS WALKING.

LOKI:                                      Not anymore.

TONY:                                    I need something to call you, don't I?

LOKI:                                      Do you?

 

 

SCENE 4

INT. WINTERHEART CASTLE - DAY.

TONY SNEEZES. HE TURNS ON A FAUCET, PUMPING WATER OUT AT AWKWARD INTERVALS.

TONY:                                    Shit.

HE TURNS THE FAUCET OFF AND LEAVES THE BEDROOM. HIS STOMACH GRUMBLES. HE HEARS FOOTSTEPS DOWN THE HALL AND BEGINS TO FOLLOW THEM.

TONY:                                    Hey! Hey, Clint, right? Wait up. Look, I know I'm the new guy and there are probably all kinds of-- jeez you walk fast-- all kinds of hazing rituals before you even talk to me, but starvation is a little- oh. Hello.

NATASHA:                            New guy. Hi.

TONY:                                    Well, after a once-over like that, the least you can do is show me where the kitchen is. Please tell me this place has a kitchen.

NATASHA SIGHS.

NATASHA:                            Not quite. This way.

THEY WALK DOWN THE HALL AND STOP AFTER A BIT. NATASHA OPENS A DUMBWAITER DOOR THAT OPENS ONTO A WOODEN TABLE, THEN CLOSES IT.

TONY:                                    An empty dumbwaiter. Are you telling me we have to ride it to the food? I mean, I'm small enough to fit,but those big blue curtains you're wearing-

NATASHA RINGS A BELL

NATASHA:                            When you decide what you want to eat, ring the bell. Food happens. Like so.

NATASHA OPENS THE DUMBWAITER AGAIN AND A TRAY SCRAPES OUT ONTO THE TABLE, SIZZLING WITH STEAK. CUTLERY TUMBLE NEATLY OUT AFTER.

TONY:                                    Wow. Steak dinner says a lot about a person, Ms. ...?

NATASHA:                            Romanov. I'm Natasha Romanov.

TONY:                                    Great. I'm Stark. Tony Stark. Can this thing make something shaken, not stirred?

NATASHA:                            If you're asking for alcohol, yes, it can produce that. But names don't mean a lot here.

TONY:                                    Yeah, I'm starting to see that. How about eating spaces? Do those mean anything? This dumbwaiter-table-thing is a bit-

NATASHA:                            Cook. Clint calls it Cook.

TONY:                                    Well, barring a kitchen or an actual chef, I guess that makes sense. Hey, where're you going?

TONY PICKS UP THE TRAY OF STEAK AND FOLLOWS HER DOWN THE HALL.

NATASHA:                            Eating space. This way's the only place really suitable for it. Clint makes his way through the castle, cleaning up rooms-

TONY:                                    Send him my way. I've spent the last thirteen hours just making that room of mine liveable. You'd think we could get a magical Maid if we get a Magical Cook.

THEY ENTER A ROOM (THE DOOR IS HEAVY AND CREAKS SLIGHTLY)

NATASHA:                            Clint calls this the Solar.

TONY:                                    You say that as if you don't.

NATASHA:                            I just don't talk to anybody here.

TONY:                                    Let me guess, he made a pass at you?

NATASHA:                            If he did, it's none of your business.

TONY:                                    All right. You don't want to talk about it. Cool.

TONY KEEPS MUNCHING ON FOOD

TONY:                                    How about you talk to me about you-know-who, then?

NATASHA:                            The boss.

TONY:                                    Yeah.

NATASHA:                            I don't know much about him. He doesn't talk. Never leaves the west wing except at night, and even then it's just to walk around the castle. It's the only time he seems to care about whether we're alive or dead.

TONY:                                    He's a hermit that ignores everyone, but he won't let people leave.

NATASHA:                            Sometimes it's nice to have people around to ignore. It's better than being truly alone, isn't it?

TONY:                                    Don't talk sense to me. I'm trying to get up a good head of angry prisoner steam here. What happens if you piss him off? Has anyone gone into the west wing? Can he get hurt?

NATASHA:                            (BEAT) Don't hurt him. If he didn't kill you on the spot, Clint would shove you out to the wolves. He's got a kind of Stockholm Syndrome loyalty problem.

TONY:                                    Do I want to guess how you found that out?

NATASHA:                            Be my guest.

TONY:                                    Would people stop saying that?

NATASHA:                            What?

TONY:                                    Nothing. Hey, good talk. Thanks for food. See you, what, like, never? That's when you seem to want to talk.

NATASHA:                            (BEAT) Leave the boss alone, Tony. I don't think it's his fault we're here.

TONY:                                    It's still his fault we can't leave.

NATASHA:                            Sure. But do you really have anywhere else to go? Or anyone you'd actually be good for if you did?

TONY:                                    (BEAT) I'm not answering questions like this without booze.

NATASHA:                            Which is why I talk, like, never.

TONY PUTS HIS CUTLERY DOWN ON THE PLATE AND STANDS UP.

TONY:                                    Back to Cook we go.

 

SCENE 4

INT. WINTERHEART CASTLE – NIGHT.

A FIRE CRACKLES IN THE BACKGROUND.

TONY:                                    So, if Anthony Hopkins had gone to the castle instead of me-

LOKI:                                      I don't know who that is.

TONY:                                    Older actor. Like, really old now.

LOKI:                                      I'm really old.

TONY:                                    Anyway. You talk about those bestial features as if I don't still see you like that. Right now, for example.

LOKI:                                      I still do not comprehend your preference for... this form.

TONY:                                    It's how I first met you. What can I say? I'm sentimental.

LOKI:                                      So, sentimentality is what had you on your back just now while I-

TONY:                                    Sentimental and completely okay with what you see as my sexual deviance, your highness.

LOKI:                                      Sleep, Tony. We have a guest tomorrow.

TONY:                                    Wait, Loki, what? Who's-

LOKI:                                      Goodnight.

Chapter Text

SCENE 1

FADE IN: THE SOLAR- NIGHT. THOR THROWS A TANKARD OF ALE ONTO THE FLOOR. IT THUDS.

THOR: Another!

CLINT: Why did you do that?

LOKI: In Asgard, my brother is accustomed to earthenware mugs which shatter like so many broken bones.

TONY: And lemme guess, some servant comes by to give him another?

THOR: My apologies. This place... it reminds me of different times. Clint, let me assist you. Your own tankard is empty, too.

THOR POURS BEER INTO HIS AND CLINT'S MUGS. NATASHA DOWNS A SHOT AND SLAMS THE EMPTY GLASS TO THE TABLE. THEN SHE BOUNCES A PING PONG BALL ONCE.

NATASHA: So, another round of Chandelier? Or shall I introduce a drinking game I'm even better at?

THOR: Your games amuse me, but I can play such things anywhere. In Winterheart, my brother and his loved ones--

CLINT & NATASHA: (disagreeing with the term 'loved ones' respectively and in unison)

THOR: have stories to share. Now, tell me, brother, about that staircase. You said it was a pivotal marker in your relationship with Tony.

TONY: You did, did you?

LOKI: I said nothing of the sort.

TONY: And you were calling me sentimental...

ALL: Awww!

CLINT BEGINS POURING SOMEONE A DRINK.

NATASHA: Who knew Loki was such a softy?

LOKI GROWLS. ICE CRACKS. CLINT STOPS POURING HIS DRINK ABRUPTLY.

LOKI: Contrary to my reputation, I do not revel in fatality. Allow me to remind you exactly why the staircase incident was so pivotal.

 

SCENE 2

CUT TO: THE SOLAR, DAY.

TONY KNOCKS OVER A BOTTLE.

NATASHA: You hold your liquor so well, new guy.

TONY: It's Tony. And I do, actually. You'll notice I remembered to screw the lid on tight. And how lucky you are. You'd have to make a whole 'nother dress, considering the state of the plumbing here. Good luck getting Dominatrix stains out without hot water.

NATASHA: Is that what you call this drink?

TONY: Yup. It'll kick you in the face and you'll like it.

NATASHA: Why exactly was the Jack necessary? Vodka would have been enough.

TONY: Natasha, Vodka is never enough. Back to your story, though. Why did you want to set a trap for the boss, and what is a 'standard oil trap' for those of us non-assassins?

NATASHA: What do you mean 'why'? Have you seen him? Sharp teeth, claws, horns, large--

TONY: I've met bigger-

NATASHA: Probably not bigger who also had magical ice powers.

TONY: So, did he threaten you?

NATASHA: No, he just was a threat.

TONY: That doesn't make sense.

NATASHA: (BEAT) It does when you've lived my kind of life.

TONY: We'll get to that when I open the scotch. Oil trap?

NATASHA: On the grand staircase.

TONY: Wow.

NATASHA: The boss found it, then Clint found him. Clint was hypothermic when I arrived. There's still nerve damage to his hand where the ice trapped it against the wall.

TONY: That would explain the limp handshake he gave me.

NATASHA: I hear he liked archery, too.

TONY: Damn. So you and Clint don't get on so well.

NATASHA: I avoid him. I avoid him, I avoid the boss, and if you're lucky you won't see me after today, either.

 

SCENE 3

NIGHT- BEDROOM. TONY IS HAVING A NIGHTMARE ABOUT AFGHANISTAN: WATER SUBMERGING HIM, THE WHIR OF A SAW, THE TEN RINGS AND YINSEN SHOUTING. HIS HEART BEATS FASTER AND FASTER, THEN HE GASPS AWAKE AND THE FIRE CRACKLES.

TONY: Shit.

FOOTSTEPS OUTSIDE THE ROOM ARE GRADUALLY AUDIBLE OVER THE FIRE. THEY STOP AT HIS DOOR, THEN RECEDE. TONY MOVES THE SHEETS AND STEPS OUT OF BED. HE LEAVES THE BEDROOM. LOKI IS WALKING AWAY FROM HIM.

TONY: Hold it, sno-cone. I want a word.

LOKI WORDLESSLY CONTINUES WALKING DOWN THE HALLWAY. TONY JOGS AFTER HIM.

TONY: Jeez you walk fast for someone so large yet graceful. Not talkative, either. Ok. So, if I was going to build a water heater to ward off death whenever I took a bath, where would I find materials for that? I was thinking just a basic old style wood-fired thing, since I'm guessing electricity is way out of this place's league, and frankly I wouldn't even know where to source wire from. I think I saw Natasha wearing your living room curtains earlier--

LOKI GROWLS LIGHTLY, BUT MAINTAINS THE PACE HE'S SET.

TONY: But we're not going to talk about her ever again. Forget I said anything.

LOKI STOPS. THEN HE WALKS AGAIN, THIS TIME FASTER.

TONY: Ok, if you don't want me tagging along, use your words.

LOKI: Because you seem like the type who listens.

TONY: Perceptive. But still-

LOKI STOPS AT AN IRON-BARRED DOOR THAT HE UNFASTENS-- IT SCREECHES AS HE DOES SO.

TONY: Those are some poorly-lit stairs down into darkness. Did I talk to much?

LOKI: It seems you have your own light, regardless. What is it? In your chest.

TONY: Oh, now you want to have a conversation? You first: what's down those stairs? Is it where you keep the torture equipment?

LOKI: So melodramatic. The boiler. It's broken.

LOKI BEGINS TO WALK AWAY.

TONY: I still don't know what to call you.

LOKI: I have no name. Neither name nor history nor word can define me. Only deed.

TONY: So, should I call you Ice-Smurf?

LOKI SNARLS.

 

 

SCENE 4

CUT TO BOILER ROOM - DAY.

TONY: Tink! Hey, is that you?

CLINT: My name's Clint. And who else were you expecting?

TONY: Like myself, you're on the shorter side. I mistook Natasha for you yesterday.

CLINT: Ok. Um, are you allowed in that stairway? What... The old boiler is down there.

TONY: You say that like you got a new one.

CLINT: I say it the way people say Old Man Jenkins. The old guy that lives down the street and was probably never Young Man Jenkins.

TONY: Well, I fixed Old Boiler Jenkins. I think. I'm not completely convinced I cleaned out all the sediment build-up, and the pipes clearly need some fortification for long-term energy efficiency, but I made hot water.

CLINT: Hot water? Hot water for baths?

TONY: That was the idea, yeah, but I've still-

CLINT KISSES TONY ON THE MOUTH. THE KISS IS NOT ACCEPTED, AND TONY PUSHES HIM AWAY.

TONY: Come on, man. You've clearly missed the affirmative consent movement, stuck here. I mean, I'm flattered, but-

CLINT: NATASHA! New guy made us hot water!

TONY: My name is Tony.

CLINT: Whatever. Good to meet you – again, I mean. So you can fix things? There's a lot of shit that needs fixing here.

TONY: I fix machinery, generally. I'm an--I'm in engineering. An engineer that dabbles. Sometimes I make things explode.

CLINT: That's cool. Think you could engineer some soap?

TONY: Show me some of these other rooms you've been working on, and we'll see what I can do.

 

SCENE 5

CUT TO: BALLROOM ENTRANCE. TONY FUMBLES WITH STEEL PIPE CURTAIN RODS. THEY ARE ATTEMPTING TO LEVER THE BOLT BLOCKING LARGE DOUBLE DOORS.

CLINT: Ready when you are. But for the record, this feels like breaking and entering.

TONY: If everything goes according to plan, it'll just be entering. Besides, nobody said it was off limits. On three. One, t-

CLINT JUMPS ON THE LEVER TOO SOON.

TONY: Dammit.

CLINT: Sorry. I got excited.

TONY: No kidding. Just spotted something anyway. Hand me that string--one of these curtain rods is ... You know, I've worked with less and made greater things, but there just aren't-

CLINT FUMBLES AND DROPS THE SKEIN OF THREAD.

CLINT: Sorry. Grabbed it with the wrong hand.

TONY: Natasha said your hand got iced pretty bad a while back.

CLINT: Hmm. Don't feel too much in it, but I get by.

TONY: The boss?

CLINT: Not his fault. I was stupid; I tried helping him up after he nearly broke his back slipping down the stairs. The boss doesn't do touching. I don't think he can. With people, I mean.

TONY: Because of the ice?

CLINT: I don't think he means to hurt anyone when he's angry, but the ice happens anyway. Happened all around my hand, and now look at me. Couldn't thumb wrestle a five year-old.

TONY: No wonder he's antisocial.

CLINT: Mhm. Fifteen years here and I've never really talked to him. Hell, after he iced my hand we didn't see him for three whole months.

TONY: (BEAT) Well, this door isn't going to open itself. On three. For real this time.

CLINT: Fuck off.

TONY: One, two, THREE!

THEY SLAM THEIR BODY WEIGHT DOWN ONTO THE LEVER, BUT THE BOLT JUST ROCKS IN ITS CRADLE.

TONY: It's still too short. Let's find some more things to raise the effective fulcrum.

REPEATEDLY, TONY AND CLINT JUMP ON, THEN TONY FIDDLES WITH THE MAKESHIFT LEVER ROD AND PIVOT POINT, BUT EACH TIME IT JUST BUMPS THE BOLT, RINGING WITHOUT KNOCKING IT OFF.

TONY: One more time. Then food.

CLINT: As long as your treating.

TONY: Ha. One, two, three-

JUST AS THEY JUMP ON ONE SIDE, THE STRING HOLDING THE CURTAIN RODS TOGETHER SNAPS AND THE WHOLE THING BREAKS APART. RODS TUMBLE OVER EACH OTHER. TONY AND CLINT FALL THE THE GROUND, WINCING.

CLINT: God damn it. I thought we were getting somewhere. Guess whoever barred the door really wanted it kept closed.

TONY: So how strong is the snow queen, anyway?

CLINT: The who? (BEAT) No, no, no, man, leave him alone. Even if he can, it's not--asking just ain't right, okay?

TONY: Why not?

CLINT: Shit, because he'll freeze you solid? Because he doesn't like people? Because he's probably the one who barred the doors in the first place? Take your pick!

TONY: Can't hurt to at least ask. We're all living under the same roof, right? It's just like Full House, except--I think that came after your time here, actually. But my point is, sharing is caring.

TONY BEGINS WALKING IN THE DIRECTION OF THE WEST WING. CLINT DOESN'T FOLLOW

CLINT: Sharing is death! Come on, Tony, let's just forget about the damn room.(OFF) It's not worth it!

SCENE 6

CUT TO: WEST WING. TONY JOGS UP THE STEPS.

TONY: Jeez, what if he has alarms or... I'm talking to myself. Three days of imprisonment and already...

TONY PACES. AFTER SOME TIME, A DOOR OPENS AND LOKI DESCENDS THE STAIRS SLOWLY.

LOKI: So you possess a sense of self-preservation after all.

TONY: Commenting on my self-preservation implies you'd have killed me if I went upstairs. Is that what you're saying?

LOKI: Perhaps.

TONY: I saw you up on the balcony. They said you only come out at night.

LOKI: Did they?

TONY: Why did you put Pepper in a cell when everyone else has the run of the place? Did she try to come up here?

LOKI EXHALES IN EXASPERATION AND BEGINS TO WALK AWAY. TONY GRABS ONTO LOKI'S WOLF PELT.

TONY: I'm talking to you!

LOKI: You dare. (CLOSE) You dare touch me?

TONY: Technically touching your fur cape, but sure, I dare. You don't get to walk away without an explanation. Why'd you lock Pepper in a cell? Who are you? What are you? Give me a real goddamn answer here because if you're going to own my freedom until the day I die, you owe me that much.

LOKI: Your woman tried to leave the grounds. You know what waits out there in the white.

TONY: The wolves. You locked her up so she wouldn't run out into them. But why the hell didn't you just let her do it? Because you sure don't look like you're keeping us for the company. Why doesn't anything about you make sense? Forget the magic, the ice, even the damn horns sticking out of your head. I can compartmentalize with the best of them. This place, you, why do people come here? Why do you keep them?

LOKI: I-

TONY: Is it a power thing? Control? Are we pets to you? Sacrifices, playthings, food? What use could you possibly have for keeping three broken humans stuck in this goddamn rat's maze--

LOKI: BECAUSE I NEED YOU.

ICE FORMS OVER LOKI'S HANDS, THEN CRACKLES AND FALLS AS HE FLEXES HIS HANDS INTO A FIST.

LOKI: (LOW) He never told me why.

TONY: He? You need us? What does that mean?

LOKI GROWLS FORLORNLY AND BEGINS TO WALK AWAY.

TONY: That's a wolf's pelt, isn't it? Around your shoulders.

LOKI STOPS WALKING.

TONY: This isn't our prison, is it? It's yours.

LOKI: An impressive deduction. Ultimately meaningless, but impressive.

TONY: You selfish asshole. You selfish, hateful bastard. No wonder you were dumped here.

TONY STORMS AWAY. BEHIND HIM, ICE GATHERS AROUND LOKI'S BODY. ARCTIC WIND HOWLS AND FOLLOWS TONY AS LOKI STORMS AFTER HIM WITH THUNDERING, ICY FOOTSTEPS.

LOKI: You have no idea--no idea of what you speak.

TONY: Yeah? Prove it. Let us go. (BEAT) You won't, will you? You know, the last time I was held captive I could at least understand why. You? You're just pathetic.

LOKI: You-

LOKI'S BREATH HITCHES AS ICE EXPLODES OUT AROUND HIM LIKE BLADES. TONY SLIPS ON ICE AND SHRIEKS AS HE FALLS. HE CRIES OUT IN PAIN AS HIS ARM BREAKS AND CONTINUES TUMBLING A FEW STEPS.THEN LOKI CATCHES HIM UP AND THEY TUMBLE THE REST OF THE WAY DOWN TO THE LOWER LEVEL FLOOR. TONY IS BREATHING HEAVILY, HEART POUNDING, AND SLOWLY CALMS DOWN.

TONY: (CLOSE) Fuck. You're bleeding. Your head- let me look at-

LOKI: DON'T TOUCH ME!

LOKI SHOVES TONY AND TONY SLAMS INTO THE WALL. SOMETHING MECHANICAL CLICKS IN THE ARC REACTOR IN HIS CHEST. HE CHOKES, UNABLE TO BREATHE NORMALLY.

TONY: I can't--breathe. Can't-

LOKI: The... light in your chest-

TONY: Notalight.

LOKI: It's not broken. I think. Breathe. I'm going to press my ear to your chest and listen.

LOKI STANDS UP AND WALKS TO WHERE TONY IS HUNCHED AGAINST A WALL. SECONDS PASS. WE HEAR TONY'S PANICKED BREATH CALMING SOMEWHAT.

LOKI: (CLOSE) The thing in your chest... it isn't broken. Try to relax it. Breathe more slowly.

TONY: (CLOSE) My heart. It's around my heart and I felt-

LOKI: There's no damage. When I pushed you... You hit the wall hard, but there is no new damage to that thing or your body.

TONY KEEPS TRYING TO CALM HIS BREATHING, MAKING SLOW PROGRESS. LOKI STEPS AWAY AND SLIDES DOWN THE WALL TO SIT ON THE FLOOR.

LOKI: Loki.

TONY: Gesundheit.

LOKI: No. My name. My name is... was Loki.

TONY: Tony Stark.

LOKI: Never touch my skin. (BEAT) I'm older, stronger and more dangerous than anything you've ever set eyes upon and I will be obeyed. Do not seek me out again, Tony Stark.

TONY: All right. On one condition. Since you're so damn strong –which I have my doubts about, but let's not go there– do you think you could get the big doors down past the main hall unbarred? We can't lift the beam.

 

SCENE 7

FADE TO WINTERHEART - NIGHT.

TONY: Stop playing with your shot glass like that, Nat. Makes me think you're prepping it as a weapon. (BEAT) No, stop smirking like that.

NATASHA: Idiots. You both could have died.

THOR: Of course, Tony was mortal then. But how might my brother have died? In simply his Jotun form, he is, in some ways, more resilient to-

TONY: Lesser things than an uncontrolled fall down fifty-two marble steps.

LOKI: I was perfectly in control caging your body so you didn't perish.

TONY: Not for that time Natasha got you with the oil trap. How many bones in your back did you say you broke?

LOKI GROWLS.CLINT CLEARS HIS THROAT AND POURS A DRINK.

CLINT: We kind of heard everything and expected you to be dead. But you weren't on the staircase.

NATASHA: There was blue blood on the steps.

CLINT: Weren't going anywhere near Loki's rooms, so we checked on you-

TONY: -while I was bathing.

NATASHA: Clint, weren't you surprised he didn't have any tattoos?

CLINT: Definitely. More surprised by that then by seeing the arc reactor for the first time.

TONY SNORTS.

TONY: Right. As I recall, you wouldn't stop staring at my penis. And you tried to kiss me again! In case you didn't know, Thor-

THOR: Clint needs zero alcohol or reason to press his lips to others'.

CLINT: Thanks, Thor. You make me sound poetic.

NATASHA: Tony, why must you focus on Clint's issues? Did you forget it was me hunting down materials for a cast for your arm?

LOKI: As easily as he forgets it was I who saved him that day.

TONY: Uh-huh. And what were you saving me from exactly?

LOKI SIGHS EXASPERATEDLY.

LOKI: That wasn't the last time you provoked danger.

THOR: Loki, give up. Tony will ever be a man of loud music, booze, and reckless acts of bravery.

LOKI: And as with you, Thor, I've never had reason to hope those traits would change.

Chapter Text

SCENE 1

THE SOLAR- DAY.

TONY: Thor, pass me the syrup. Sweet. So there I was, creeping up the stairs to the West Wing. I was listening at the door and pretty damn sure I heard something, so I ducked behind a tapestry.

LOKI: I wondered how you managed to sneak past me.

TONY: Didn't you go downstairs? How did you know I was messing around with your treasure?

NATASHA: Hunch. Sometimes you get them. Clint, fletch your arrows away from the table.

CLINT: Fine. But she's right, Tony. You gotta listen to hunches. Unless they tell you to go into the West Wing where you've been explicitly told not to go.

THOR: And this is where we learn more of Tony provoking the wrath of dangerous warriors.

THOR CLEARS HIS THROAT.

THOR: Stark, cease hoarding the pancakes. Now.

TONY: Fine, lazy bones. You know, Thor, you could just go to Cook and get your own plate piled high with-

NATASHA: Tony, why did you touch it?

TONY HAS A MOUTHFUL OF PANCAKES AS HE SPEAKS.

TONY: Huh?

NATASHA: The apple. The golden apple, Loki's 'heart' or soul or-

LOKI: It reflected the core of me. Half-rotten at the time Tony found it.

NATASHA: Under a bell jar, floating. And you decided to grab it?

TONY: Nat, I love mysteries. No. I hate mysteries. I need answers when I have mysteries. Are you telling me you wouldn't have touched it?

NATASHA: Not before careful study observing the apple with its owner.

CLINT: Really? I'd probably have eaten it.


 

SCENE 2

THE WEST WING - NIGHT.

THE WIND HOWLS THROUGH AN OPEN BALCONY DOOR.

TONY: Nice, friendly atmosphere up here. Real cozy.

A RAVEN CAWS.

TONY: Piss off, you. What are you, his pet? Watching the fort while he goes for a jog? Blow my cover and I'll be wolf bait. By the way, you could have warned me about the half-broken footstool back there. Nearly impaled myself. (BEAT) Well, no wonder we weren't allowed up here.

TONY WALKS TO THE TABLE AND REMOVES THE BELL JAR, SETTING IT ON THE TABLETOP.

TONY: Wish I had my lab. Or hell, a Geiger Counter. Birdy, I'll give you fifty bucks if you touch that apple for me.

THE RAVEN CAWS AND FLAPS ITS WINGS.

TONY: No? I'll take one for science, then.

TONY'S HEARTBEAT IS AUDIBLE, FAST BUT SUDDENLY IT AND THE SOUNDS OF THE RAVEN SLOW TO A DULL PULSE. THERE IS A THUD, HEAVY FOOTSTEPS, AND ICE CRACKING. THE SOUNDS OF THE WORLD RETURN TO A NORMAL PACE.

LOKI: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?

LOKI GRABS TONY AND HAULS HIM AWAY FROM THE TABLE SO HARD THAT TONY STUMBLES. A CHAIR IS KNOCKED OVER. LOKI REPLACES THE BELL JAR OVER THE APPLE. HIS CLAWS TAP AGAINST THE GLASS.

LOKI: The rot has spread so far. I tried. I did everything I was supposed to--The illusion of potential freedom. Hope. For nothing.

ICE CONTINUES TO SPREAD.

LOKI: Long have I pondered the meaning of his words. Long have I trusted in his wisdom. Long have I protected the scurrying vermin that infests my cage.

THE WIND HOWLS. ICE CRYSTALIZES AROUND LOKI'S HAND LIKE A SWORD.

TONY: Wow, that's a big ice sword. Look, I shouldn't have come, I know I shouldn't have come. I'm sorry I didn't keep my word, but don't-

LOKI: YOU DO NOT ORDER ME, HUMAN!

ICE STALACTITES FALL , TONY SHOUTS AND MOVES TO AVOID THEM AS THEY SHATTER.

TONY: Please, just calm-are you doing that on purpose? Let me-- make the ice let me go!

LOKI PANTS, THEN SNARLS.

LOKI: I've been generous with your kind for far too long.

LOKI TAKES THUNDERING, ICY STEPS TOWARDS TONY. TONY RIPS THE WOODEN LEG OFF THE HALF-BROKEN FOOTSTOOL.

TONY: Think fast!

TONY THROWS THE LEG AT THE BELL JAR, SHATTERING IT AND KNOCKING THE APPLE OFF THE TABLE. HE FLEES THE ROOM JUST AS LOKI ROARS. TONY SPRINTS OUT THE DOORS, BACK DOWN THE WEST WING STAIRS, DOWN THE GRAND STAIRS. SLAMMING DOORS AND THE SOUND OF AN ARCTIC BLIZZARD DESCEND AFTER HIM. THEN HE OPENS THE FINAL DOORS LEADING OUTSIDE. HE RUNS OVER COBBLESTONES. ABOVE HIM, THE RAVEN FLIES AND CAWS. TONY SWINGS OPEN THE GATES, THEN BEGINS RUNNING THROUGH THE SNOW. FOR A WHILE, THE ONLY SOUNDS ARE HIS BREATH AND THE SNOW CRUNCHING UNDER HIM. HIS TEETH BEGIN TO CHATTER.

TONY: Could have been worse. C-could have died in a desert, washing terrorists' dirty underwear.

WOLVES HOWL IN THE DISTANCE, AND TONY RUNS FASTER. WHEN HE HEARS LUPINE FOOTSTEPS SURROUND HIM IN THE SNOW, HE STOPS. THEY GROWL AT HIM.

TONY: Down, doggy.

TONY CRIES OUT AS A WOLF JUMPS ON, BARKING AND SNAPPING ITS JAWS. ANOTHER BITES INTO HIS LEG, TEARING DENIM. TONY CRASHES TO THE SNOW-COVERED GROUND, THRASHING AND SHOUTING TO GET THEM OFF. LOKI ROARS FROM BEHIND TONY AND EVERYTING STILLS. ONE WOLF BEGINS TO GROWL AT LOKI AND LOKI SMACKS IT AND ITS COMPANION OFF OF TONY. THEY WHIMPER, BUT THE OTHERS GROWL AND ONE HOWLS. LOKI DRAPES HIS CLOAK OVER TONY; SNOW CRUNCHES AS HE BENDS NEAR.

LOKI: Here, my cloak. Now don't move.

THE WOLVES SWARM AT ONCE, SNAPPING AND GROWLING. ONE BY ONE LOKI SWATS THEM DOWN, KILLING SOME OF THEM WITH HIS CLAWS, OTHERS HE SNAPS AGAINST TREE TRUNKS OR BREAKS THEIR NECKS. THE WIND AROUND LOKI IS ALMOST MUSICAL, LIKE A FINGER ON A WINE GLASS. THEN ONE WOLF LANDS A DEEP BITE INTO LOKI'S SIDE AND HE CRIES OUT, GOING TO A KNEE IN THE SNOW. THE WOLVES CONVERGE ON HIM, ABOUT TO TAKE HIM DOWN. ABOVE THEM, THE RAVEN CAWS AND FLAPS ITS WINGS VIGOROUSLY. THE WIND PICKS UP AGAIN AND ICY STALAGMITES IMPALE MOST OF THE WOLVES. THE OTHERS RUN OFF, WHIMPERING. LOKI SLUMPS DOWN IN THE SNOW WITH AN EXHAUSTED ROAR. TONY STANDS UP.

TONY: Thanks for the blankie but-- you're asleep. (BEAT) I haven't raspberry'd anyone in years, but desperate times and all that...

TONY SUCKS HIS FINGER AND SHOVES IT IN LOKI'S EAR. LOKI SNARLS, SITS UP, AND THEN MOANS AS THE MOTION UPSETS THE WOUND IN HIS SIDE.

TONY: Ouch. Yeah, no sudden movements with that bite wound.

LOKI: The wolves... What happened?

TONY: You mean you don't remember making that ring of death-cicles? Killed those two and scared off the rest. We need to leave before the big one comes looking for round two. (BEAT) Come on. First aid later.

LOKI: I've lost too much blood. I can barely stand. Just keep walking. All paths lead to Winterheart. If the wolves return, it will be me they come for.

TONY UNBUTTONS HIS SHIRT AND OPENS THE ARC REACTOR CAP TO SHED MORE LIGHT. IT MAKES A HISSING NOISE AS IT RELEASES.

TONY: There we go. More light. All the better to see you with.

LOKI: You could kill me. You could take your freedom and give me mine.

TONY: Cuz if you die, we're probably all free to go. The magic of the prison is just meant for you. Yeah, you're right, I could.

LOKI MOANS GRAVELLY AS TONY HELPS HIM STAND. TONY GROANS UNDER THE WEIGHT.

TONY: If you're going to be carried a lot, do us a favor and ease up on those twinkies.

LOKI: You're not carrying me.

TONY: You're leaning more than half your weight on me. I effectively am.

THEY LIMP THROUGH THE SNOW.

 


 

SCENE 3

CUT TO: THE SOLAR - NIGHT. NATASHA IS STARTING A FIRE. CLINT SETS A BOTTLE DOWN.

CLINT: Here's the moonshine.

TONY: Perfect. I don't want to think about the kinds of germs magic prison guard wolves have. Hey Natasha, give us some of those cloth-

LOKI SNARLS AND ICE CRACKS.

LOKI: (OFF) Do not touch me.

NATASHA: (OFF) Who's going to clean and bind your wound, then?

TONY SIGHS.

TONY: I will. But really, this is so dumb. Loki, I can take care of mine, they aren't that bad. Yours, on the other hand, need attention now. Come on, can't you-

LOKI: Give her another chance to kill me? You humans have done enough against my safety.

NATASHA: Don't tell me you're still angry that wide-eyed, innocent Natalie was a fiction. Or are you just angry that you believed it?

CLINT: Goodnight.

NATASHA: Clint, wait. You weren't collateral dam-

CLINT: Goodnight.

NATASHA WALKS OVER TO TONY. SHE TIPS THE MOONSHINE BOTTLE AND POURS IT ONTO A CLOTH NAPKIN. TONY INHALES SHARPLY AS SHE PRESSES IT TO A WOUND.

TONY: So, you pretended to be all sweet and nice to the boys until you could make your move?

NATASHA: (CLOSE) I had five broken ribs and a busted ankle. One minute I was in D.C., crawling out of a car wreck, the next I was freezing in front of that gate. Emotional connection was all I had until I could kill our warden.

TONY: You were a Russian spy weren't you?

NATASHA RIPS A HANDKERCHIEF.

NATASHA: Hold that in place, Tony. There. Now one more for your leg. Is that the same leg you hit on the stairs?

TONY: Yup. How lucky I am.

NATASHA TIES THE HANDKERCHIEF DOWN WITH ANOTHER CLOTH AND STANDS UP.

TONY: Go, talk to Clint. Pride first. Take some food to him.

NATASHA: He's not an animal.

TONY: No, but he's a guy. Food is an important bribing tool. (BEAT) Stop acting like you don't give a shit, Romanoff. He's probably the best friend you'll ever have.

NATASHA: I can't do anything more here anyway.

NATASHA WALKS AWAY AND CLOSES THE DOOR BEHIND HER. TONY STANDS UP AND LIMPS TO LOKI, GRABBING A CLOTH NAPKIN AND POURING SOME MOONSHINE ON IT. HE SETS THE BOTTLE DOWN ON THE RUG AND KNEELS BY LOKI.

LOKI: Wha- Don't- what are you-

LOKI YELLS OUT AS TONY PRESSES THE NAPKIN TO HIS WOUND. ICE SPLINTERS FROM LOKI'S FINGERTIPS, THEN BREAKS APART AS HE CLOSES HIS FISTS. HE BREATHES HEAVILY.

TONY: Don't impale me with ice, please.

LOKI: I'm trying.

TONY: You weren't trying so hard before.

TONY POURS MORE MOONSHINE AND TOUCHES IT TO LOKI'S SKIN AGAIN. LOKI GROWLS, LOW THEN LOUD, THROUGH HIS TEETH.

LOKI: I wasn't trying to kill you. I -

LOKI GROWLS AS TONY TOUCHES ANOTHER MOONSHINE SOAKED-CLOTH TO HIS WOUNDS. THEN HE BREATHES HEAVILY.

TONY: Okay. Then just don't touch me with the icy bits of you, and I'll work fast.

TONY SOAKS ANOTHER CLOTH. ICE FORMS AND BREAKS, AND LOKI CONTINUES EXHALING LOUDLY.

TONY: This doesn't look like a wolf bite. Shit, there's glass here-

LOKI: From the bell jar.

TONY: Oh.

TONY MOVES ON TO RIP CLOTHS AND TIE THEM INTO BANDAGES AROUND LOKI.

TONY: That should do it.

TONY SHIFTS AND LAYS DOWN ON THE RUG. HE FALLS ASLEEP. THE NIGHTMARE OF AFGHANISTAN HAUNTS HIM.

LOKI: Tony.

TONY GASPS AND WAKES UP.

TONY: Ow. Ow. (BEAT) I fell asleep didn't I?

LOKI: Yes.

TONY: You're a terrible person. Letting me fall asleep on the floor.

TONY PICKS UP THE MOONSHINE BOTTLE BUT DOESN'T DRINK. HE DRUMS HIS FINGERS ON THE GLASS, STARING AT LOKI.

TONY: So, you're an alien aren't you?

LOKI: To you and your Mid- Earth, certainly.

TONY: What kind of alien exactly? I mean, blue was definitely in the spectrum of colors humans have thought aliens would be, but...

LOKI: My people look like yours. I was... adopted.

TONY: And when you found out, you were so confused.

LOKI: (BEAT) I was.

TONY: Wait. If all your people look like all my people-- look, no one on Earth looks like you. You didn't-

LOKI: No, I didn't know. I am a ... frost giant.

TONY: Giant? Don't get me wrong, you're a leggy six foot something with shoulders a sculptor would dream about, but unless you hail from The Shire it's not really that accurate a name.

LOKI: I was the runt. My progenitor tossed me into the snow soon after I was born.

TONY: Ouch. Sorry.

LOKI: I have little use for your sympathy. I was found by their enemy and kept as a war trophy. Magic made me look like them. They let me believe I was trueborn of their bloodline, second-born, groomed for the throne just as my brother was.

TONY: Wait-- you're skipping a lot. Tell me the whole story. Start with your first alcoholic beverage. That's really when the mischief starts.

LOKI: That was centuries ago.

TONY: Uhh.... How old are you?

LOKI: Older than you will live.

TONY WHISTLES.

TONY: I hope I look that good at 65. But go on. Story time. Tell me about Planet of the Frost Giants and The Fall of the House of whatever this castle is. I have so many questions. What was that apple? Why are you here? Not existentially, I mean locked up. Why are we locked up? Do you have-

LOKI SIGHS.

LOKI: I was raised a prince. Before my time, or my brother's, our people waged war with the frost giants. Largely, it was an effort...

THE FIRE CRACKLES AND STORYTIME PROGRESSES. LOKI SHARES HIS PAST AS A PRINCE TAUGHT TO HATE THE FROST GIANTS.

LOKI: When the time was right, I brought peace. I chased my warmongering brother into a corner of this world and hunted him as prey. I turned a key and it burned a hole clean through the vicious host of my birth father's people. I ended the war before it truly began. I saved countless lives--

TONY: You tried to kill your own people?

LOKI: They're not my people.(BEAT) I did everything right.

TONY: If you did everything right, why are you locked up?

THE FIRE CRACKLES.

TONY: And the apple? What is it?

LOKI: It's my heart.

TONY: And I thought I had problems. These lines?

LOKI: Don't touch me-

TONY: Says the guy who leaned on my shoulder the whole time I bandaged him up. I'm not afraid of getting hurt.

LOKI: You should be.

TONY: I should be afraid, you should let me finish speaking. We both seem to have a disregard for "should." As I was saying: These lines on your skin-

TONY TOUCHES LOKI AGAIN. LOKI SIGHS.

TONY: -are a frost giant thing, you said. But these? On your back? Not so much. They look like scars.

LOKI: They are.

TONY: You tried to escape once, didn't you?

LOKI: Of course.

TONY: Then I'm guessing you got the wolf pelt on your cloak the same day you got... these.

TONY TOUCHES LOKI'S SCARS. LOKI GROWLS LIGHTLY.

LOKI: Be careful.

TONY: Relax. I'm working on a theory. Ice isn't popping out of your scars to freeze me.

LOKI: I can't control-

TONY MOVES HIS HAND TO LOKI'S BARE CHEST AND LOKI HISSES. WE HEAR A DIM HEARTBEAT.

TONY: You know, I've never felt an apple do that.

LOKI: You're too literal.

TONY: What happens if someone juices your apple?

LOKI: Take an educated guess. Why do you think I reacted so harshly to the sight of you touching it?

TONY: So you admit you overreacted?

LOKI: Did you not hear Romanov? My guests have a habit of trying to kill me. How was I to know you would be different?

IN THE DISTANCE, WOLVES HOWL.

LOKI: I wanted to hurt you, to scare you so badly that you would never intrude upon my chambers again. When the ice came, I didn't care. I wanted you to cower before me. And when you ran into the snow, into death, I was sickened. I thought I stood above monsters. As it so happens, I am one.

TONY: Just wait until story time with Tony Stark. You'll find you've got company in the monster camp.

TONY REACHES FOR THE MOONSHINE. IT SLOSHES IN THE BOTTLE AS HE BEGINS TO UNSCREW THE TOP. HE STOPS WHEN LOKI PLACES A HAND ON THE BOTTLETOP.

LOKI: Sleep instead.

TONY: Because it was so great before.

LOKI: Then like a civilized person, try something other than the floor.

TONY: Standing will hurt.

LOKI SIGHS.

LOKI: Here. Put your arm over me.

THEY AWKWARDLY, PAINFULLY NAVIGATE TO THE COUCH. TONY EXHALES HEAVILY WHEN HE'S FINALLY ON THE CUSHIONS.

TONY: Thanks. Goodnight.

TONY BREATHES IN AND OUT. THE FIRE CRACKLING TRANSFORMS INTO WATER. HIS HEARTBEAT POUNDS AT THE ONSLAUGHT OF THE TEN RINGS NIGHTMARE.

LOKI: Rest. Your horrors cannot reach you here.

TONY'S HEART CALMS. HE BREATHES IN AND OUT.


 

SCENE 4

FADE TO THE SOLAR -- DAY. THOR PUTS SILVERWARE DOWN ON A PLATE AND POURS A DRINK.

THOR: So that was the first night you lay together?

TONY: What? No, pervert. We just slept.

THOR: Loki, what a green lad's mistake.

TONY: He does like green.

THOR: From your story, I believe Tony could easily have been wooed that night.

LOKI: The both of you forget that I was and am a frost giant. Claws, horns, frostbite cold and-

TONY: And I complimented your physique at least twice that night. I probably would have gone for it. We could have skipped the month and a half of avoidance and tension that followed.

THOR: He avoided you for a month?

LOKI: It was three weeks.

NATASHA AND CLINT COME BACK INTO THE SOLAR, STOMPING SNOW FROM THEIR BOOTS.

CLINT: You guys are still eating?

TONY: Clint, this is a guilt-free eating zone.

CLINT: Oh, I can see where all that guilt-free eating goes.

NATASHA: Your butt's pretty big.

LOKI: (CLOSE) It's perfect for me.

CLINT: Ew, get a room. Thor! Natasha and I made an igloo. Did you know she knew how to do that? She's a better engineer than you, Tony.

TONY: The weapons I build to decimate your igloo will prove how wrong you are, Clint.

THOR: Alas, I cannot enjoy your snow warfare. I return to Midgard proper.

CLINT: All these stories of romance got you wanting to retch, huh? Me, too, buddy.

THOR: They make me miss Jane, actually.

THOR PULLS LOKI IN FOR A HUG, WHICH LOKI RESISTS.

LOKI: No, Thor, stop, you can just leave without hugging-

THOR: Be well, brother.

LOKI: -every time.

Chapter Text

SCENE 1

FADE TO BEDROOM - NIGHT. THE FIRE CRACKLES. TONY SHIFTS OUT OF BED AND GOES TO THE WINDOW.

LOKI: Tony, come back to bed.

TONY: Why don't you join me? We can look out at the beautiful landscape of our winter wonderland. Look, that's where I killed a wolf. And behold the frozen river, where you and Nat nearly died. That thing sucks at being frozen. Loki, do you know any Elsa's?

LOKI: One, actually.

TONY: Why am I not surprised?

LOKI: You're restless.

TONY: I've never been on vacation. Have I? There was Fiji, but I had a project there. Same with Maoi.

LOKI: What projects?

TONY: Testing the local police force. I stole as many swimsuits as I could. Don't look at me like that, I gave them back.

LOKI SIGHS AND GETS OUT OF BED.

LOKI: Dress. We go to the armory.

TONY: You've already seen my sword. Let's just-hey, don't throw socks. You know what? I'm done with you. I'm leaving you for Elsa.

LOKI: Enjoy yourself. She's one of Thor's goats.


 

SCENE 2

FADE TO THE GROUNDS -- DAY. TONY, CLINT, AND NATASHA ARE WALKING IN THE SNOW OUTSIDE.

NATASHA: Clint, is there a certain kind of tree we should be looking for?

CLINT: Well, I doubt there's any Osage around here, so we could try Yew.

TONY: Great, what do those look like?

CLINT: No idea.

NATASHA SIGHS.

NATASHA: I know what it looks like.

TONY: Ms. Romanov, you're all kinds of smart, you know that? These blankets were a great idea, you can make dresses from curtains, identify botanicals. Together, you know, you and I would make some really smart--OW!

NATASHA: Do not finish that sentence. Regarding this bow you want to make, those trees over there might be Yew, but we'll need to get closer to tell.

NATASHA RUNS OFF THROUGH THE SNOW.

TONY: Aww, look, she's so deceptively sweet and childlike, running through the snow.

CLINT: Let's-

TONY: Oh yeah. Snowball time.

TONY AND CLINT SCRAPE UP SOME SNOW AND PACK IT INTO SNOWBALLS.

TONY: (LOW) Ok, three, two- Ah!

CLINT ALSO RESPONDS VOCALLY AS NATASHA HITS THEM BOTH WITH SNOWBALLS FIRST.

NATASHA: (CLOSE) Drop your weapons.

THEY DROP SNOWBALLS TO THE GROUND. SHE PUSHES BOTH OF THEM INTO A SNOW DRIFT.

NATASHA: Make me a pretty snow angel, hmm?

NATASHA RUNS OFF AGAIN. TONY GROANS AND STANDS UP. HE HELPS CLINT UP, TOO.

TONY: My leg is not ready to run after her.

CLINT: Three weeks and it still hurts?

TONY: Yeah, but who knows how he's doing. He had it worse than me.

CLINT: The boss? Yeah. You know that there is his room. Well, a part of the West Wing, at least.

TONY: That balcony? Huh. Hey, what's Natasha doing?

CLINT: She's saying last one to the trees is a rotten egg!

CLINT RUNS OFF THROUGH THE SNOW.

TONY: Well that was positively kindergarten. Hey Clint, stop, I think-

NATASHA: (OFF) Stop!

TONY WALKS FORWARD IN THE SNOW UNTIL HE CAN HEAR.

TONY: Natasha, why aren't you moving?

NATASHA: It cracked. The ice beneath me cracked.

TONY: Ice? W-

CLINT: Stay back, man. It's a river. From there to Natasha--look where the wind has swept the snow away.

TONY: These are banks. This thing is huge-- it looks more like a lake. Jeez, I couldn't even see it from back-

CLINT: Nat, you can jump-

NATASHA: Why aren't you listening to me? If I move at all, I'm done. It cracked deep.

TONY: Rope. Clint, go get some rope-- there's got to be some inside.

CLINT: I'll do one better.

THE ICE CRACKS, SUPERFICIALLY AND DEEPER BENEATH THE SURFACE.

CLINT: I'll hurry.

CLINT BEGINS RUNNING AWAY, TOWARDS THE CASTLE.

CLINT: (OFF) And don't move!

NATASHA: Sorry, Clint.

TONY: Did you just say sorry? No. What? Just stay put.

NATASHA: There's no rope, Tony. I'm not getting out of this. If you step out onto the ice, I'll die. If I move, I'll die.

THE ICE BENEATH HER CRACKS AGAIN. WHEN IT CEASES, THERE IS A DISTANT THWACKING NOISE: CLINT HAS BEGUN SLINGING GRAVEL UP INTO THE WEST WING BALCONY.

NATASHA: If the ice doesn't magically fix itself beneath me, I'll still die, it's just a matter of time. This way, he won't see. I'll just be gone. (BEAT) I think I like it that way.

TONY: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. You're standing absolutely still so you can't see, but Clint isn't going for rope. He's going for the boss. Listen.

NATASHA: Are those pebbles he's throwing?

TONY: I guess so. No clue where he got them, though.

NATASHA: The flower pots.

TONY: Why are there flower pots around a permafrost castle?

NATASHA: No idea. (BEAT) It doesn't matter. The boss isn't going to come save me. I tried to kill him. He'll probably bring you two booze to celebrate my death.

TONY: If he wanted any of us dead, what's he been waiting for?

CLINT: (OFF) COME ON! I don't care if she tried to kill you. I don't care if you hate her and I don't care if she hates you.

CLINT GRUNTS AS HE THROWS ANOTHER ROCK UP INTO THE WEST WING, SHATTERING SOMETHING GLASS INSIDE.

CLINT: (OFF) She needs your help and you're going to help! You owe me this! YOU OWE ME!

CLINT KEEPS THROWING STONES.

NATASHA: He's an idiot. I guess he really was the best friend I'll ever have.

TONY: No, come on, Romanov. Please. Look- just jump. Don't tense, just-

NATASHA: It won't work.

TONY: Do you even want to live?

NATASHA: Of course I do! I haven't lived in years. This place- It takes us when we're at a crossroads, Tony. It-

LOKI JUMPS OUT FROM THE WEST WING, CLOAK FLUTTERING BEFORE HE THUDS DOWN ONTO THE SNOW AND STALKS TOWARDS THEM. CLINT STOPS THROWING ROCKS.

NATASHA: Bozhe moi.

TONY: If looks could kill, right?

LOKI: I heard that. You. You haven't moved from the original fissure?

NATASHA: No.

LOKI: Good. Stay still. Or fall. It's up to you.

CLINT: Can you save her? If you can, I'll--I'll--I don't even know.

LOKI: Calm down, Barton. And let go. I'll do what I can.

LOKI TAKES OFF HIS BOOTS.

LOKI: Stay still and I'll reach you. The ice cannot crack under my feet.

NATASHA: It can crack under mine. It already has. Is it because of what I did? Is it punishment?

LOKI BEGINS STEPPING OUT ONTO THE ICE. RATHER THAN CRACKING, AN ICY MIST WHISPERS OVER THE FROZEN RIVER.

LOKI: It's not my doing. You're a vicious thorn in my side but I can't fault your actions. After all, I once did the same. I came to one as a friend. When he believed me, I killed him. Of course, he was my father-

NATASHA GASPS, AND THE ICE BREAKS UNDER HER. SHE PLUNGES INTO FRIGID WATER. A SECOND LATER, LOKI DIVES IN AFTER HER. THE WATER RIPPLES AGAINST THE ICE.

CLINT: Oh god, oh god, Natasha. We've gotta-

TONY: No, you'll fall in, too. We wait. He might get her in time.

CLINT: What about him? Who gets him?

THEY WAIT, WATCHING THE WATER. THE SLOSHING RIPPLES GRADUALLY SLOW UNTIL THE WIND IS AUDIBLE AND THE WATER ONLY MURMURS.

CLINT: We should move downriver. Christ, What have we bee-

ICE CRACKS AND WATER SPLASHES FURTHER DOWN THE RIVER. LOKI GASPS AND FLOPS WITH NATASHA ONTO THE SNOW. TONY AND LOKI RUN TO HER.

CLINT: God she's frozen. Is she breathing?

TONY: Let me...

TONY LISTENS-- NATASHA'S HEART BEATS ABNORMALLY FAST.

LOKI: Your blankets. Get her out of the wet-

TONY: No. She isn't breathing. Clint, do you know how to take a pulse?

CLINT: Yeah.

TONY: Good. Tell me if her heart stops.

TONY STARTS ASSISTED BREATHING, TWO BREATHS PUNCTUATED BY A PAUSE FOR HIS OWN INHALATION. HE DOES THIS A FEW TIMES BEFORE NATASHA BEGINS COUGHING UP WATER.

LOKI: Here-- you have to turn the head.

TONY: Now we get her out of the dress.

LOKI: I'll c-carry her.

TONY: (BEAT) No, Clint, you carry her. She's small, he's got it.

CLINT: Yeah boss. Come open doors.

TONY: Then I'll take a look at you, snow queen.

LOKI: Ice falls from my f-fingers. I'm fine.

TONY: We'll see about that.


SCENE 3

CUT TO THE SOLAR - DAY. CLINT IS RUBBING THE BLANKETS AROUND NATASHA TO WARM HER.

LOKI: I sh-shouldn't even be in the room. I'll make it c-cold.

TONY: Clint and Nat are all the way over there on the couch. She'll be fine. I think.

NATASHA: (murmurs incoherently)

CLINT: (OFF) Shh, save your energy. It's Clint. You're ok. Tony, get some warm water for her to drink.

TONY: Since when were you the boss? Fine. No bows getting made today.

CLINT: (OFF) Fuck off.

TONY WALKS OUT INTO THE HALLWAY. LOKI FOLLOWS. WHEN TONY SWINGS THE DUMB WAITER DOOR OPEN, HE HEARS LOKI'S TEETH CHATTERING.

LOKI: I will-

TONY: Ok. This water is probably a bit too hot to drink. So let's pass the time with a little diagnostic.

LOKI: I d-don't understand.

TONY: You're master of cold and ice-

LOKI: I've told you, I don't-

TONY: Have control over it, whatever. The point is, like you said, you practically ooze ice. Yet, after a plunge in a frigid river that's left Natasha out cold--applaud the pun later-- here you are, teeth chattering, and oozing more slush than ice. Look at it. Seven-eleven beverage material.

LOKI: You w-want to do what, exactly?

TONY: Touch you. I think you've been affected by the extreme plunge, but I need to touch you to find out.

LOKI: (BEAT) Fine. But if your hands disintegrate at the cold of my skin, do not blame me.

TONY: I won't.

LOKI: And go slowly.

TONY: (CLOSE) I will. (BEAT) Ok. Definitely cold on your arms... and your face. Not worse than a refrigerator. Now for the final test: open your mouth.

LOKI: Excuse me?

TONY: I have a theory, but I need to touch the inside of your mouth to really know if I'm right.

LOKI: Fine.

TONY: Just... don't bite me. Please. (BEAT) Wow. Yeah.

LOKI: (MUFFLED) What?

TONY: It's a waste how smart I am. Being a prisoner in the desert, and now here. Loki, you're endothermic. Warm mouth, warm tongue, cheeks. Your body regulates temperature on the inside just like my body. If I had a thermometer-

LOKI: Enough with your tests and your jargon. What does this mean?

TONY: I think you've caught a chill. You're burning up, I think-- your tongue was way hotter than my thumb. You should probably rest up some more. Is that what you've been doing this whole time?

LOKI: The water has cooled. You should take it to Romanov.

TONY: Hey... Thanks. I know you have every reason to not trust her, and it couldn't have been easy saving her. She'd jump back in the water before saying thanks herself, so I'm saying it for her.

LOKI: (BEAT) What were you three doing outside?

TONY: Looking for the right kind of wood.

LOKI: For what? The stock for the fireplaces replenish themselves.

TONY: For a bow. Clint used to do archery. I promised him I'd make him a bow he could still use with his hand the way it is. I've got the designs all ready, now I just need the materials.

LOKI: Do you often build weapons to pass the time?

TONY LAUGHS.

TONY: Yes. Well, I used to, anyway. Weapons that did a lot more damage than a bow ever could. I was about to change that-- do something different.

LOKI: And that thing in your chest? You designed that?

TONY: Yes.

LOKI: Are you ill?

TONY: What? No. I mean. I'm not sick, but I'm --uh, damaged.

LOKI: (BEAT) Take the water to Romanov, Tony.

LOKI BEGINS TO WALK AWAY.

LOKI: And don't go wandering into danger again.

TONY: Relax, Mom.

LOKI GROWLS.


SCENE 4

FADE TO HALLWAY - NIGHT. TONY IS WALKING AND CROSSES LOKI'S PATH.

TONY: Well if it isn't our friendly neighborhood-

LOKI: Come with me.

TONY: Ok. Greetings are beneath people who have lived in castles for decades. Noted. Did you arrange a tea party? I have some good contacts in the escort service who could really spice it up.

LOKI DOESN'T ANSWER, AND THEY KEEP WALKING. LOKI TAKES TONY TO THE WEST WING, BUT TONY STOPS WALKING AS LOKI BEGINS TO CLIMB THE STAIRS.

TONY: Is this a joke?

LOKI: No, it's the West Wing. Come.

TONY: Yeah, I don't know. Last time I tried going up there I ended up choosing wolves over your furnishings.

LOKI: You have my permission to be here.

TONY: I'm still not comfortable going up there. Much safer down here.

LOKI: Then take my hand.

TONY SIGHS.

TONY: All right. But if my clumsiness breaks something, don't say I didn't warn you.

LOKI: You're hardly clumsy.

TONY: No, but I like to pretend at being humble every once in a while just to get compliments like that.

THEY WALK UP THE STAIRS.

TONY: So we're not going into the precious apple room?

LOKI: No. Come, this way.

THEY WALK SOME MORE. LOKI PULLS OUT A KEY AND AND PAUSES AT A DOOR.

TONY: That's a really old-looking key. Are you sure it works?

LOKI: Yes. This chamber has been a secret since my first years inside the castle. In addition to the golden apple and my own privacy, this room is the reason why I forbid all from entering the west wing.

TONY: Why? I mean, why show me, then?

LOKI: I've grown weary of licking my wounds. And you have something you crave to build.

LOKI OPENS THE DOOR, REVEALING THE ARMORY. A FIRE CRACKLES ENERGETICALLY FROM A LARGE HEARTH IN THE ROOM.

TONY: This is... an armory. Or at least...

LOKI: It was not the room's original purpose, no. But this castle was once a defensive fortification for a war-bent people.

TONY: You locked these away so that no one could use them against you. Isn't this a little much?

LOKI: Look at me. Would you not have picked up a weapon against your captor?

TONY: Yeah, you did look pretty frightening. It didn't help that you were always roaring and popping ice crystals out of your claws.

LOKI: Fear was my only weapon. Fear and ice. While you would have had many-- this sword, that axe, the halberds on the rack. There's a whole chest, there, full of daggers. So I took them --all of them-- the night Clint Barton wandered into my keep, and I locked them away somewhere no sane person would ever set foot.

TONY: I'd be insulted, but that's not the first time someone's called me crazy.

LOKI: Over there, behind the spears, is a wooden chest. Open it.

TONY: Ok. But if something nasty's in here-

TONY OPENS THE CHEST.

TONY: You devil. You sweet, sweet devil. Please tell me I get to use these. I can have them right? You wouldn't show me a room full of weapons, direct me to a chest full of bows and leather and daggers and not let me take the bow-- unless this is how you torture people. Just good ol' "You could have it, but I won't-"

LOKI: I'm not giving you the bows.

TONY PRACTICALLY GROWLS IN FRUSTRATION.

TONY: See! I knew it. For real? You're being like that? I really, really, really don't get-

LOKI: (LOUD) I'm giving you the room. Here.

LOKI GIVES THE KEY RING TO TONY.

LOKI: Take the key.

TONY HOLDS THE KEY.

LOKI: (BEAT) I thought you'd be happy.

TONY: I am. This is really great. Very generous. Very trusting. I'm not used to people actually trusting me. Hence all the sneaking around and breaking and entering and breaking again.

LOKI: I noticed.

TONY: Hmm.

LOKI: If you're so happy, why do you look so disappointed?

TONY: I think... I do really want this. After being cooped up with a messed up leg-- no, just being a prisoner here, I really need something like this. My own lab, workshop. Those are just grown-up terms for sandbox, but I've never pretended to be an adult.

LOKI: Does your human evolution prevent you from sorting thoughts out before speaking them?

TONY: TLDR: I want the room. But not if it means losing you. And I get the feeling that if I take this key, you're going to go back to your room with the view and never be seen again.

THE FIRE CRACKLES IN THE SILENCE.

TONY: You're a part of this place and I want to know more. Out on the ice, Natasha said this castle takes us when we're at crossroads. I think I get what she was trying to say-- like we're on the edge of become something. So between the sandbox and you, I'd rather have you.

LOKI REACHES FOR THE KEY RING, BUT TONY HOLDS FAST.

LOKI: For all those words, you won't release the key.

TONY: You know, that was the part where you tell me I get to have both.


  SCENE 5

FADE TO HALLWAY. NIGHT. LOKI AND TONY ARE WALKING.

LOKI: You were greedy, to ask so much and give so little in return.

TONY: Greedy, crazy, lazy, selfish. I believe you've called me worse, so I'll take that as a compliment.

LOKI: Your hand is hot.

TONY: Too bad. I'm not letting go. And judging by that smile, you don't want me to.

Chapter Text

SCENE 1

EXT. WINTERHEART GROUNDS - DAY.

CLINT HAS TARGETS SET UP TO PRACTICE AT. HE PULLS BACK THE DRAWSTRING ON HIS BOW AND RELEASES THE ARROW. FAR OFF, IT LANDS ITS MARK.

TONY:                                    Well, Clint, what is it? Bullseye?

CLINT:                                    Too bad you can't bring your suit 'round here. You'd be able to see I did, Tony.

TONY:                                    Must be nice having a fancy compound bow.

CLINT:                                    Hey, I shot just fine when my hand was broken.

TONY:                                    Uh-huh. Right. I see how fast you forgot --

CLINT:                                    The product of your blood, sweat, and tears. Shut up before I make you my next target. No one would know, Stark.

CLINT DRAWS BOWSTRING CLOSE TO TONY.

TONY:                                    You still have it though, right?

CLINT:                                    What?

CLINT RELEASES TENSION FROM THE BOW WITHOUT SHOOTING ANYTHING.

TONY:                                    The bow I made you.

CLINT GOES IN FOR A HUG.

CLINT:                                    Course, man. Most thoughtful gift I ever got.

CLINT PLANTS A KISS ON TONY'S CHEEK, WET AND SLOPPY. TONY GROANS AND PUSHES CLINT OFF OF HIM. CLINT CHUCKLES.

TONY:                                    Ugggh. Why, Barton? Who taught you how to express platonic affection? Wrong, man. You're like a rottweiller, slobbering ... everywhere.

CLINT:                                    Whatever man. You know you love it.


 

SCENE 2

INT. WINTERHEART ARMORY - NIGHT. TONY PUMPS THE BILLOWS AND SPARKS FLY FROM THE FIRE. HE HAMMERS A METAL BOW COMPONENT INTO SHAPE. IN THE BACKGROUND, LOKI IS SHARPENING A DAGGER AGAINST AN OIL STONE.

TONY:                                    How you holding up in this heat?

LOKI:                                      I imagine just a tad more uncomfortable than you.

TONY:                                    Nice for you, you don't seem to sweat.

LOKI:                                      Hmm.

TONY DIPS THE METAL INTO WATER, WHICH HISSES. HE SETS THE METAL COMPONENT ON AN ANVIL TO COOL. THEN HE PUNCTURES LEATHER AND CUTS IT INTO SHAPE.

TONY:                                    I'll wrap that in a minute. You look ready with that dagger.

LOKI:                                      Sit on this bench, and do not move unless I tell you.

TONY:                                    Your mama never taught you manners.

LOKI:                                      I was a prince. The other person I could not command was my mother. And the king.

TONY:                                    AKA your father. You ever talk to Nat more about that? I don't know what her story is, but you really shocked her when you said you killed your-

LOKI:                                      My biological father. I killed he who cast me out, who was of the enemy people I did not know I was also born into.

TONY:                                    Oh, that's slick. And warm.

LOKI:                                      Stop talking or this blade will bleed you dry before your soul departs your body.

TONY CLEARS HIS THROAT, THEN HOLDS STILL AS LOKI MOVES BETWEEN HIS LEGS AND BEGINS SCRAPING THE DAGGER OVER HIS BEARD.

TONY:                                    You’re breathing right into my mouth, you know. Do you need glasses?  You're so close.

LOKI:                                      Be still. It's been an age since I last did this.

TONY:                                    There’s oil dripping down my neck

LOKI:                                      Better oil than blood.

TONY:                                    Point taken.

THE ONLY SOUND FOR A BIT IS THE SCRAPING OF THE RAZOR.

LOKI:                                      What is it?

TONY:                                    You don’t have a hint of facial hair. Who have you been shaving?

LOKI:                                      My brother was gifted with a magnificent beard. Of course, being bare-cheeked as I was and deeply jealous of it, I saw fit to let him in on the secret that if he’d but let me shave it all off with my magic razor, it would immediately grow back twice as grand. He was furious when he realised.

TONY:                                    Diabolical. This is the same brother you got kicked out of the tribe, right?

LOKI:                                      Not precisely. I had anticipated punishment for my brother, but not of that scale. Strange that exile was the only punishment Father made us share. We were equal in something, after all.

TONY:                                    Was he sent here to the castle?

LOKI:                                      He was dropped into the desert for three days and became fast friends with scientists there. Perhaps he would be there even now, had I not directed our strongest sentinel to kill him. As you know, that plan went somewhat awry.

TONY:                                    You must have really hated him.

LOKI:                                      I loved him.

LOKI STOPS SHAVING, WIPING THE BLADE OFF ON A CLOTH.

LOKI:                                      You’re finished now. Take your bow and deliver it.

LOKI SNIFFS

LOKI:                                      Perhaps bathe first.

TONY:                                    That's offensive. Let me guess: you don’t sweat either. Thanks for the grooming.

LOKI:                                      Take it all with you. You can attend yourself from now on.

LOKI ROLLS UP THE RAZORS IN LEATHER AND STACKS THE OIL, STROP, AND STONE ON TOP, SLIDING IT ACROSS THE TABLE. LOKI WALKS AWAY, BEGINNING AN UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE. TONY  PICKS UP HIS THINGS AND BEGINS TO LEAVE, BUT STOPS BY LOKI.

LOKI:                                      What is it now? You have all you need.

TONY:                                    Yeah, and ... thanks. For all of it.

LOKI:                                      You are welcome.

TONY:                                    Can I tell Clint you gave me the bow to modify? I’m fine with taking all of the credit, don’t get me wrong, but I think it’ll mean more to him if he knows you helped.

LOKI:                                      I hardly think it matters. Barton’s regard is no concern of mine. Take the credit, Tony. I have no use for it.

TONY:                                    Really? I'm throwing you a bone here, Mr. Frost, and... Fine. You can all just keep on doing what you’re doing. It’s obviously getting you places.

TONY OPENS THE DOOR AND SLAMS IT AS HE LEAVES.


 

SCENE 3.

WINTERHEART CORRIDOR - DAY.

TONY WALKS DOWN THE STAIRS, SETS SOMETHING ON AN END TABLE, AND THEN STOPS MOVING WHEN HE SEES LOKI.  A COLD BREEZE WHISPERS THROUGH THE CORRIDOR AS LOKI COMES CLOSER.

CLINT WALKS QUICKLY ALONG THE HALL WITH A BUCKET IN HAND, STOPPING WHEN SEES TONY.

CLINT:                                    Hey Tony! Wh--Shit. Boss? Sorry. Didn't see you there at first. What’s going on? You’re not—you don’t usually come out m…I mean, not that you can’t or anything, it’s your place and all—

LOKI:                                      You helped pull me out of the river yesterday. After three years of abject horror when simply standing in my presence, you forewent your fear and tried to aid me. Tell me what changed.

CLINT:                                    Nothing. I’m…I don’t know what I was thinking... Same dumb thing that went through my head when I found you knocked out at the bottom of the stairs, I guess. This place is home and—I guess that makes you home too.

LOKI:                                      Home.

CLINT:                                    I mean, c’mon, boss. You scare the livin’ shit out of me but I’ve still got your back. No matter what. Besides, I didn’t even help that much. I was just kinda pulling at your arm.

LOKI:                                      I think you’ll need this soon. Try not to fall into the stream if you decide to whittle something out of the trees with this. I sleep soundly and would rather not be woken by a stone to the jaw again.

CLINT:                                    Sorry about that. But hey, this is a great blade. I used to have one like it for fletching my arrows. Never did trust the pre-made shit they tried to give me.

LOKI:                                      If the knife impresses you, it would perhaps serve your interests to turn around.

TONY:                                    Oh no, please, continue forgetting my existence. I’ll just take the product of my blood, sweat and tears elsewhere, maybe use it to prop open my bedroom window— What do you need with a custom-made bow, anyhow? Jeez-don't knock me down.

CLINT SHOVES TONY OUT OF THE WAY TO GET CLOSE TO THE TABLE, UTTERLY SILENT AS HE LOOKS OVER THE BOW.  TONY BACKS UP TO STAND NEXT TO LOKI AND TALK QUIETLY.

TONY:                                    (LOW) What are you doing here?

LOKI:                                      (LOW) Did you not purposely bait me last night so I would come down here? Don’t play coy. You’re appallingly bad at it.

TONY:                                    I’m great at everything. Everything except figuring you out, apparently. I'm actually very surprised.

LOKI:                                      Good. I should hate to become predictable to you, Tony Stark. Instinct tells me you’d find that quite boring.

TONY:                                    And you want to keep my interest, that’s what you’re saying? Look, don’t take this as an opportunity to slack off or anything, but I have a feeling you’re never going to get old.

LOKI LAUGHS GENUINELY.

LOKI:                                      No, no I won't.

TONY:                                    Conversation to be resumed at a later date. Clint, are you feeling all right? You look like you're gonna be sick.

CLINT:                                    (LOW) Shit. Tony, you really made me a bow. How’d you—man, we didn’t even have wood yesterday. Can I try it out?

TONY:                                    Go for it. You'll need these. They are technically pre-made, but I'm pretty sure by vikings a couple centuries ago, so.

CLINT:                                    So, I brace like normal, but the grip just means I don’t have to use my hand strength to brace when I draw? I don’t gotta squeeze so hard? Do I have that right?

TONY:                                    Yeah, that’s the design. But don’t rush it or anything—

CLINT:                                    Tony, I’m fucking with you. I know how to fire a bow, man.

CLINT TURNS WITH THE BOW RAISED, ARROW NOCKED. HE SHOOTS, AND THE ARROW THWACKS INTO SOMETHING DISTANTLY.

CLINT:                                    It’s two inches too far to the left. Damn.

TONY:                                    I thought I had it perfect. Let me-

CLINT:                                    No, not the bow. The target. I missed.

TONY:                                    How could you know that? It's-- you have binocular vision or something? Everyone's got a superpower.

CLINT:                                    Nah, man. I felt it the moment I let go.

TONY:                                    When you said you were good, I didn’t think you meant you could shoot with your eyes closed on a moving train and hit a pissed off jackrabbit in the ass. Can we please go check this target, now? You have to tell us what you were aiming for, first.

CLINT:                                    You might want to wait. I'm gonna fire off a few more of these. If that's... is that ok with you, Boss?

AWKWARD SILENCE, SINCE LOKI AND TONY ARE BOTH CONFUSED AT THE NEED TO ASK PERMISSION.

LOKI:                                      Ahm. Just ensure you don’t kill or maim anyone, no matter how tempting the opportunity.

CLINT:                                    Sure thing, Boss. So, Tony, we should hug. Because I’m fuckin’ touched.

THEY HUG.

TONY:                                    Just don't kiss me again.

CLINT:                                    Try and stop me, asshole.

CLINT PLANTS ONE RIGHT ON THE SIDE OF TONY'S NECK, SUCKING HARD. THEY SCUFFLE, PUNCHING AND SHOVING UNTIL CLINT FINALLY BACKS OFF, LAUGHING.

CLINT:                                    Thanks for the bow, Tony. I like your goatee.

TONY:                                    Sleep with one eye open, Barton. I’m serious.

CLINT:                                    Bullshit you are. I'll be back for the lantern oil. This here is my bucket of oil, Tony.

CLINT SETS THE BUCKET ON THE TABLE, THEN RUNS OFF DOWN THE HALL. LOKI STEPS IN CLOSE AS TONY YELLS AFTER CLINT.

TONY:                                    It's mine now! What, Loki? God, your hand is cold.

LOKI:                                      Sorry. It's just... that's quite an impressive shade of pink.

TONY:                                    No. Tell me he didn't. This is why you wanted me to take the credit, isn’t it? You fiend.

LOKI:                                      He’d never have been so bold with me. I must admit, I’m quite entertained.

TONY:                                    Oh sure, laugh it up. But when Natasha sees this HICKY, I’m telling her you did it.

LOKI:                                      It's not the only mark... But this doesn't look like...

TONY:                                    I just burned myself through the gloves last night, from the metalwork. No biggie.

LOKI:                                      Your spirit belies the fragility of your flesh. A single swipe of my arm could near rend you to pieces. Even a careless mouth on your skin can bruise. I don't like it.

TONY:                                    You know what? Neither do I. Try not to get shot on your way back.

LOKI:                                      (OFF) And you, Tony.

TONY PICKS UP THE BUCKET OF OIL, THEN NOTICES NATASHA, WATCHING.

TONY:                                    Hello, Natasha. Bucket of lube?

NATASHA:                            If you’re going to keep flirting with the boss like that, you might as well keep it for yourself.

NATASHA WALKS AWAY.


 

SCENE 4.

EXT. WINTERHEART GROUNDS - DAY.

LOKI:                                      Barton, I'll kindly thank you to keep your lips off of my husband.

CLINT SHOOTS A TARGET.

CLINT:                                    Way I hear it, you still got three weddings of three to go. You're both free game for me to slobber.

NATASHA:                            (OFF) You boys done playing in the snow? I'm ready to watch you fall on the ice over here.

TONY:                                    Can it. You just remember who made you those skates.

CLINT:                                    Meh-meh-meh. I'm Ironman. I make things for people and then guilt trip them to--

TONY THROWS A SNOWBALL AT CLINT, AND CLINT WAILS ABOUT IT, SPRINTING AFTER TONY, WHO FLEES.

CLINT:                                    Your suit can't save you now, Tony, and I'm faster than you!

LOKI:                                      Romanoff, would you like some company.

NATASHA:                              I didn't know you could skate, Boss.

LOKI:                                      I can do anything I like with the ice.

TONY HUFFS BACK INTO CLOSE RANGE OF LOKI.

TONY:                                    I'll say. Save me from Clint?

LOKI:                                      Oh no. You started it, you finish it, Tony.

CLINT LANDS A SNOWBALL ON TONY.

TONY:                                    Yeah. Yeah, I deserved that.