Asgard continued to throw Tony off, every time he was there. It was the magic, really, and all the steps in industrialization that it had allowed the whole civilization to skip. There were places that were all gleaming metal and elegance, but they had torches on the wall, and one such massive chamber had an open roof plan simply because there was a gigantic goddamn tree growing in the middle of it.
And that’s the major contrast, with Asgard. The place is ancient, but technologically advanced, and no matter how much sleek metal might be visible in public well-trodden places, there was still wood everywhere, twisting its way up through everything like the most stubborn tree growing up from between the cracks on the side of a rocky mountain.
Outside the palace, the metal seemed more like the creeper, always at the edges, or embedded so deep within that it seemed surprising when it finally became visible, as things opened up under further scrutiny: that had been the case with the tree Loki had been imprisoned in, after the incident with the Norn Stones, when Tony was shown how it had worked. That had been a long while ago, after Loki’s first escape.
They had learned myriad ways to NOT underestimate Loki.
And now it showed. He couldn’t escape, this time.
That wouldn’t be much of a problem for Asgard, if Loki hadn’t managed to do something fairly impressive between his escape from that tree a few years ago, his attempted takeover of the nine realms with the Norn stones, and the war with Thanos during which he briefly allied with the Avengers and incidentally saved their sorry asses, and today, when he was to be sentenced for his myriad crimes.
The sentence was part of why a certain mad inventor of Midgard was present in Asgard again, a guest of Thor the Thunderer, who did not wish for his brother to be executed, and didn’t plan to let that happen without a fight.
Tony Stark had something to get off his chest, before that sentence got carried out. A whole number of things, really.
And so he strolled into the chamber they kept Loki in, and murmurs went up through the small crowd of important court figures as well as Asgard’s finest warriors and mages. Thor lingered at the door, blocking the exit, as Tony strode through the crowd, which parted for him as though he might have some sort of contagious madness they wished to avoid, and came to a halt on the dais Loki was bound upon. He’d been warned ahead of time not to expect Odin this time, but this was his first time meeting the long-lost true first-born son of Asgard, returned from a far-flung world wherein Thor and Loki had lost him, after which so many had blamed Loki for his death: Baldr.
While Odin dreamed in the Odinsleep, Baldr stood in as king.
Funny, how Odin had never discussed killing Loki as an option, Tony thought, but Baldr was pretty eager to put the younger trickster’s life to an end.
Loki was bound heavily with chains heavily etched with intricate runes of binding. Instead of gagging him, his lips had been sewn shut for the second time in his life. He looked fairly murderous, his upper lip curling to show his bloodied teeth behind the strings when he looked at Baldr, but his primary focus now was on Stark, now standing at his left.
“Are you done?” Tony asked sharply.
Another susurration of muttering from the crowd, this time even more baffled.
Baldr, too, looked rather surprised and bemused. “I beg your pardon?”
“I was asking if you’re done, so I can take Loki home with me.”
There was a long, deathly cold silence after that. It lasted nearly a full minute.
Tony decided to break it, then: “Look, he’s not yours. He’s not your brother, he’s not Aesir, he’s been all but officially disowned by Asgard so your can all keep the peace politically with the other worlds in the nine realms, other pantheons and civilizations outside of it, and anyone else on the long list of incredibly powerful people he’s pissed off. Yeah, you caught him, but last time you did that, he got out of his cage according to his sentence: he made an Aesir cry for him. Yes, he did it in a rather sneaky way against the spirit of that sentence, but no such limits were placed upon the terms in that regard. So he’s already been tried and punished for his crimes against Asgard and the rest of the nine realms, all of them agreed to it, you all agreed to it. Now you’ve caught him, and he’s still guilty of plenty of crimes, yeah, but against Asgard? Not in the time after that last sentencing. He’s been busy pissing off other people, and on one notable occasion, saving the Avengers’ collective asses from Thanos, and helping us decimate the bastard, which probably saved the nine realms he’d previously attempted hostile takeover of, anyway!”
Baldr shook his head slowly. “He remains a traitor, a murderer of thousands.”
“So am I, big guy. You had your chance to punish him for that, though, and he got out early for clever thinking, which in my book is way better than ‘good behavior’ given that’s infinitely more lame. You can’t sentence him again just because your pride is still bruised from how easily he got free last time.”
“I can. Our courts are not those of Earth. Loki remains of Asgard, and he has continued to commit crimes against those who have been allies to us in the past-”
“Then let them try to catch and sentence him,” Tony shot back. “You’re not going to kill this brilliant bastard as some sort of tribute to people he’s fucked with. Yes, he’s been all over the map committing thefts, aiding political coups in the ranks of the Kree just for fun and to see what chaos results from it, but that’s been of benefit to earth, lately. The Kree almost-revolution was, however accidentally, well-timed for us. It threw them into chaos just before they could send forces to earth to get rid of one Captain Mar-Vell, and set about paving the way for future conquest of earth by their happy little empire. So really, we’re fine with that.”
“Why do you defend him, Anthony Stark?” Baldr commanded.
“Because I’m in love with him, obviously, and you’d do well to remember exactly who I am, especially since this is all supposedly about politics between Asgard and other worlds. I’m the mortal who can start a war anywhere I damn well please, on earth or off of it, with five minutes’ effort and limited resources. I’m Tony Stark, and I keep Earth’s Mightiest Heroes under my roof, without any of them killing each other. No matter what governments get elected on my planet, no matter what changes happen there, whether S.H.I.E.L.D. is in chaos or not at any given time, I’m the one your civilization as a whole knows to go to when they need consult from earth, or help, or for earth to stand impressively beside them to scare off some other enemies. You rely on us, and on me, because you know without me, earth would be in real trouble, and Loki. Is. Mine. Is that clear?”
The room was tense and silent again for a long while. After half a minute of it, Tony pulled a small blade out of his breast pocket and handed it to Loki. The trickster god accepted it, and began to quietly cut the threads that had sewn his lips together. The soft sounds of cut strings seemed like the only sound in the room. Then Loki plucked the stitches free, wincing, but making no sound, as he dropped the bloodied things to the floor.
Baldr made no move to impede the process. He merely continued to try and stare Tony down, while the inventor simply waited for him to give up.
Loki muttered a spell in rasping tones, and his chains began to fall about him, clattering to the floor loudly. The god then rose to his feet, rubbing at his wrists with an expression of calm disdain. He then gravely intoned, “Tony, please marry me.”
The inventor did a quick double-take, losing his composure all at once for a few seconds as he sputtered, “Wait, what the––did you––what’d you just say?”
“I just asked you to marry me.” Loki held his gaze without hesitation, and with the beginnings of a smirk tugging at his lips. He pulled a cloth from his pocket and wiped away the quickly-drying blood from around his mouth. The wounds were already closed, and healing at his usual unfair pace.
Tony felt like the rug had been effectively pulled out from under him. He may have made a noise akin to a squeak. “Uhm.” He felt dizzy, and terrified, and panicked, and instinctively reached out for support, grabbing Loki’s upper arm. Then he finished processing it, took a deep breath, looking Loki in the eye steadily. “Yes. Yes, I think I’d actually like that.”
Baldr made a disturbed and outraged noise.
“Touch him and I will liquify your skeleton and leave you to die,” Loki growled at him. “He has made his case, you have nothing with which you can combat his claims legally, particularly now, and you well know it, Baldr.” He then smirked, wide and unkind. “Isn’t that right, father?”
“He is right, my son,” said a low, slightly harsh voice behind Baldr, who spun about to meet Odin’s disapproving stare. “To not seek petty revenge is a lesson your younger brothers, for the most part-” He shot Loki a mildly exasperated look, but the younger trickster only grinned in response. “-have already learned, Baldr.”
“Good to see you awake,” Tony said. “Nice timing. Family trait?”
Loki elbowed him discreetly.
Odin stepped forward, and pulled a golden apple from his sleeve, which he proffered to Tony casually. “Allow me to welcome you into the family, Anthony Stark.”
Tony spared Loki a glance and was impressed by just how shell-shocked the god of mischief appeared, and then reached out and took the apple. “Thank you.”
“I recommend you go now. I would have words with my eldest son.”
The crowd didn’t have to be told twice, and they carried Thor with them in their tidal wave of eagerness to get away. For his part, Loki wrapped an arm around Tony’s waist and teleported them out.
Tony wasn’t altogether surprised that Loki transported them to the guest quarters he’d been provided as Thor’s guest. Loki having been weakened by the spells keeping him captive, the odds of his being able to get them back to Midgard immediately had looked slim.
Loki was staring at him steadily, lingering close, as Tony held up the apple between them. “So...”
“You’re aware of the––significance, yes?”
Tony nodded. “Yeah.” He smirked a little. “You want to be sure I’m serious.”
Loki cleared his throat. “Well, yes.”
Without dropping Loki’s gaze, Tony brought the apple to his mouth and took a large, fairly decisive bite. Then another, and another, finishing the fruit quicker than he’d expected, leaving only the stem behind: even the seeds had been pleasant. He let the stem drop from his fingers as Loki pulled him close for a rough kiss and pressed him back against the nearest wall in one sweeping movement.
Tony had gotten very efficient at removing Loki’s armor, and was halfway through that process when the trickster grew a little too impatient, and simply vanished the rest of their clothes. “Missed me?”
“By the nine, yes. And I want you,” Loki panted. “All of you.”
“You have me, Loki, as long as your ass is mine too,” Tony shot back, grinning widely at how Loki laughed soft and satisfied against his lips. He lifted one leg, wrapping it about Loki’s hip, and grinned when the trickster took that as a cue to lift him a bit up the wall, until his only real choice to keep himself supported was to lean back and lock both legs around Loki’s waist. Then they were kissing again, hands wandering, hungry for touch and further closeness.
Loki took his time, slow and teasing with his preparations, once he’d managed to summon a bottle of lubricant from Tony’s luggage. How he’d known where it was so automatically gave Tony insight into just how long they’d been doing this, just how well they knew each other, and dear god I just agreed to a wedding, and I’m really serious, holy shit. “You’re unfair, you’re unfair,” he gasped, as those thoughts ran through his head. “Fuck, too perfect, not even––Ah.” Also on the list of features Loki possessed which were just unfair: those long, talented fingers were in the top 10. No other lover in all Tony’s experience could get him so close to coming just fingering him. Loki managed it consistently.
“I want you close, so that you’ll have to struggle not to come as soon as I’ve got my cock in you,” Loki purred.
“You’re––god, Loki, you’re doing a great job with that. Fuck!”
“How close are you?”
“T-too close, please I can’t, if you keep––” He certainly did not whimper at the loss of Loki’s fingers inside him. Not at all. Much. Then Loki’s cock pressed into him, fast and deep and all at once and Tony’s body jerked, and he really did almost come all over himself right then. A near-miss. He did, however, make an extremely embarrassing and breathless noise. “Ffffuck me.”
“That’s the plan,” Loki murmured, and obliged: hard and merciless, no buildup to the punishing pace he set, just headlong into the sort of fucking that usually led to damaged walls and furniture back on earth.
Tony’s nails dragged hard down Loki’s back as he shuddered and struggled to keep pace, rolling his hips to meet each thrust even as his senses and coordination began to leave him entirely. No one else had ever been able to do this to him: drag him to new lows and highs all at once, and so beautifully and unpredictably. Loki was all pleasure and pain and chaos and brilliance.
And it wasn’t long before Tony fell apart for him, coming so hard his vision whited out and he was a shuddering mess trapped between the trickster god, who soon followed him over the edge, and the wall.
After a minute or so wherein they both caught their breaths, Tony said, “I say we elope on another world or something. The press can merrily go fuck themselves.”
Loki chuckled and kissed at his neck. “I like this plan.”