Work Header

Running On Empty

Work Text:

[Running on Empty]

Tony loves shopping with Loki. More specifically, he loves shopping with Loki when neither of them have slept in days (science and magic binges. They happen regularly and they've started syncing them, like women with their hormones if they hang out together too much). Shopping with Loki when they're both beyond tired and into am I high? territory is awesome. The more tired Loki gets, the more Norse God he gets, so he's never allowed to go to Wal-Mart on his own when he's sleepy. He starts forgetting how to read anything that isn't runic and he starts staring at people (mostly children) like they're aliens. Which they are. But only to Loki. Tony also needs to sleep.

“Everything is very loud.” Loki comments as they push the shopping cart down an almost empty aisle, throwing random things into it because Tony is rich enough to shop that way. They're both staring around at everything like it's new and wonderful and people are giving them a wide berth.

“And bright.” Tony adds. “She's bright.” He points to a woman wandering past the end of the aisle wearing a pink dress.

“There are children.” Loki says, staring at a packet of rice in an adorably confused way before tossing it into the cart. “I do not approve of this.”

“I thought you had kids. How do you not like children?” Tony asks, trying to get the cart to go in a straight line but only succeeding in making the weaving worse.

“All of mine are monsters.” Loki sniffs. “I find them much more agreeable than small, sticky people.”

“Yeah, I think everyone does.” Tony agrees as a toddler runs past him screaming a the top of its lungs, an open box of cereal leaving a trail of sugar puffs in its wake. Loki stares after it, looking as though he's unsure if it was real or he's hallucinating.

“Your planet is awful.” He says sadly.

“Yours is cold.” Tony counters, adding eight boxes of pop tarts to the cart because they live with Thor and this is what fuels him almost exclusively.

“Yours is filled with harlots.” Loki gestures to a group of innocent bystanders, who luckily don't hear him.

“Yours is filled with giant, nightmarish naked smurfs.” Tony narrows his eyes as he tries to read the aisle signs, but they dance about into a blur and he gives up. “Where's the bread? That's something we need, right? Bread?”

“Yours is blurry and out of focus.” Loki frowns, then picks up a can of pony-themed pasta shapes and looks down at it in slight dismay before adding it to the cart. “None of this is bread. This is Things in Cans.” He stares around the aisle they're in, frowning, and finds nothing bread-like. “I once helped Thor on a quest for an enchanted sword.” He supplies out of the blue.

“Was it anything like this?” Tony asks, giggling a little at how confused Loki is by everything.

“No.” Loki replies, frowning.

“How is that helpful?” Tony steers them towards the next aisle, which has cake and so might have bread.

Loki looks puzzled for a moment, obviously thinking but doing so very slowly.

“It was enchanted. It was helpful for killing large monsters.” He finally says.

“I meant...I have no idea. That's cool though. Hey, I want that.” Tony is distracted easily by any type of food he has not tried before, mostly only to find that he hates it, as with Shwarma. This time he has found a very ornate cake with the most intricate icing he has ever seen. Loki joins him in staring down at it in awe.

“It is beautiful.” Loki murmurs, apparently in love. Tony looks at him to find that he's staring at the cake with half-lowered eyelids and is abruptly reminded that Loki is part of a pansexual alien race and has had sex with things Tony isn't even certain count as 'things'.

“If I buy it, we're eating it. You're not allowed to fuck it.” Tony rules, to which several people behind him make shocked noises and back away hurriedly. Loki takes the cake box and puts it into the cart carefully, smirking.

“I make no promises, it is extremely attractive.”

“Don't come crying to me when you're pregnant again and it's cupcakes.” Tony grins, suddenly spotting the bread section and pointing. “Our quest is almost at an end.”

“Super.” Loki replies dryly, wobbling along next to Tony, who at least has the cart for support. They make it to the bread and frown at it for a while, staring at all the options.

“What kind of bread would Steve buy?” Tony asks, trying to find the most American-looking one.

“This.” Loki picks up a loaf that actually has the flag on as some sort of promotion. Tony squints at it, considering.

“But is it too American? He might think we're picking on him.”

Loki puts the bread in the cart anyway.

“We are.” He points out. “We also require cow's milk and strawberries.” Loki reads from the list he produces which is written in large, bold runes, since Thor is smarter than he looks.

“We are so not having the 'it's just milk' conversation again.” Tony mutters, heading for the front of the store where he thinks the fruit might live.

“This place smells of chocolate.” Loki says, weaving along behind.

“They pipe that in to make you buy chocolate.” Tony tells him, perusing the soft fruits.

“I want chocolate.” Loki informs him, swaying slightly and looking bemused at all the colours of berries.

“Yes dear.” Tony agrees, picking out the juiciest looking strawberries and heading for the candy. Advertising tends to work well on Loki. If he is shown a picture of something he didn't know he wanted he generally decides that he must have it, most of the time without even truly understanding what it is. The same applies to the chocolate, since Loki has never actually tried it. When he does, Tony is fairly certain he's going to cheat on that cake.

“We should get Bruce something sweet. What does Bruce eat?” Tony asks, blinking at all the colourful packets in the candy aisle.

“Masonry.” Loki counts on his fingers. “Policemen, glass, rocks...”

“Bruce, not the other guy.” Tony picks up a packet of M&Ms, tossing them into the cart. “I hope he isn't allergic to whatever that was.”

“Allergic?” Loki stares blearily at him, wobbling.

“When you eat something and it makes you sick.” Tony explains, feeling like a teacher and really wanting to pat Loki on the head.

“Ah. Like when you cooked pasta last week.” He nods to himself, picking out about twelve bars of chocolate.

“That wasn't allergies and you weren't even sick. That was just you being a diva as usual because you don't like mushrooms. Which is wrong because mushrooms are great.” Tony defends, making a three point turn of the cart to head for the milk.

“Your race eats fungus. Add that to the list of reasons this realm is inferior.” Loki orders, like Tony has been writing it down. Tony makes a motion as though he's writing on invisible paper, which Loki seems content with.

“Cow's milk.” Loki reads from his little rune list, glancing blearily around and gracefully dodging two children fighting over a bread stick.

“Milk.” Tony corrects, wondering how long they've been in the supermarket because he's having a hard time remembering what life was like before he came out shopping.

“Which comes from a cow, yes?” Loki frowns, not grasping the problem.

“We just call it 'milk'.” Tony informs him for probably the hundredth time.

“Then what do you call goat's milk?” Loki asks.

“Goat's milk.” Tony tells him. Loki glares at a display of eggs, hoping a child will run into it.

“One day I will learn your human codes and you will all bow before me.” The sleep-deprived god mutters.

“You're my favourite super villain.” Tony tells him in a slightly dazed voice, selecting the appropriate sized container of milk. Loki smiles sweetly at him, which is disturbing.

“Do we have everything?” Tony doesn't wait for an answer and heads for the checkout, Loki swaying along at his side. “Ok, we have to talk to a human now. Say nothing. We're pretending you're foreign.”

“I am foreign.” Loki protests.

“You're too foreign for the cashier to be able to deal with. We're pretending you're from Europe and you don't speak or understand English. Just stand there and look pretty.”

Tony reaches the checkout and Loki helps him load their shopping onto the conveyor belt, both arranging everything in such an OCD way that the cashier is already staring oddly at them.

Tony is fully expecting Loki to do something that the cashier will frown upon, but Loki does not. Instead he is distracted by an adorable little girl pulling at his coat. He looks down at her.

“You're pretty.” She tells him around the thumb in her mouth.

“I know.” Loki replies, confused by this. Tony watches with a grin as he packs the shopping and pays.

“Are you a boy?” The toddler asks, and Tony almost drops his credit card because he's trying not to cackle.

“Most of the time.” Is Loki's reply, glancing over at Tony for help because he's generally not allowed to talk to children.

“Why are you so tall?” The little girl asks, petting his leg.


She stares up at him with large eyes, entranced by the pretty man. Tony knows how she feels.

“What's perslective?” She asks.

“Hey kid, go find your mom.” Tony tells her as he picks up their bags and appears at Loki's side. “Prince Charming has to go home now.”

“Your chest is glowing.” She tells him, pointing.

“I'm a night light.” Tony smiles slightly deliriously. He hands Loki half the bags and they watch the little girl toddle off to her mother, who scolds her for wandering away.

“Your planet is awful.” Loki tells him again, sighing.

“Yeah.” Tony agrees, following him towards the exit. “But yours is way worse. At least we have that cake.”